Here, There, Everywhere!
By Dr. Stuart Mitchell
Defined as a public health nuisance, bed bug, Cimex lectularius, behavior favors agoraphobia and nocturnal activity. Host intimate and feeding upon blood, bed bug infestations are morally repugnant. When present, here, there, and everywhere, bed bugs pose a significant threat to occupant health and wellbeing.
Phoresy, from the Greek phorēsis or “being carried,” is a strategy of dispersal where one animal is carried to a new location by another animal in the quest for food. Bed bug ecology favors such a strategy. Dispersal is efficiently facilitated within the belongings (stuff) of people moving from one location to another.
- People like stuff
- People especially like their stuff
- People make stuff
- People buy stuff
- People sell stuff
- People give stuff away
- Peoples’ stuff gets lost
- Peoples’ stuff gets stolen
- People accumulate more stuff
- People store stuff
- People move stuff
- People take stuff with them
- People ship stuff
- Peoples’ stuff mixes with other peoples’ stuff
- People throw stuff away and other people take the stuff
- People want more stuff
- People can occasionally “put 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bucket of stuff!”
Knowing the more curious types of bed bug refugia points (bed bug resting sites) is essential. Any standard operating procedures (SOPs) or best management practices (BPMs) must note and address the detail of the “here, there, and everywhere of bed bugs in stuff!” Following are a few considerations (author’s experiences).
- Poorly serviced bed bug monitors (active or passive)
- Books, magazines, newspapers, and stacks of undisturbed paper
- Coat hangers
- Clothing folds and shoes (worn or stored)
- Eye glasses and jewellery
- Crutches and walking cane appliance interiors
- Wheel chairs and motorized scooters
- Artificial limb interiors (prosthetics)
- On the person of non-ambulatory persons (including skin folds and orifices, bandaged areas, and catheters)
- Prescription bottles/containers
- Cigarette packages
- Empty beverage containers
- Pet cages, cat litter boxes, and food/water dishes
- On the bodies of companion animals (under pet collars)
As an opportunistic infestation structurally takes hold and develops, bed bugs can refuge in any number of items that people possess. Overtime, dispersal prevention and infestation elimination can be extremely challenging.
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