Coronavirus Pandemic may be the end of Bedbugs?

31/08/2020

 By Wendell Arnett, Bayer Territory Sales Manager – Pest (NSW/ACT/WA)

Given the reduction in travel and spending nights in hotels and other venues outside our homes, the chances of being bitten by bedbugs or bringing these uninvited guests home have been greatly reduced.  Wendell Arnett, Territory Sales Manager at Bayer, said “The spread of bedbugs can be likened to a virus, in that they spread via hosts – person to person – usually by travellers moving from one place to another.  The traveller only needs to stay in one hotel or apartment with a bedbug infestation and the bedbugs then get into their open luggage and stay with them for the ride, infesting more and more accommodations along the way”.

Recently, in Melbourne, a city hotel designated as a Coronavirus Quarantine hotel by the Victorian State Government was found to have a bedbug infestation.  Hotel quarantine guests were horrified, however, Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, emphasised what we, as professional pest managers already know, hotel bedbug infestations are caused by travellers, being transported in luggage and is not the fault of hotel management necessarily.  He reiterated “they are part and parcel of the hospitality industry”.

Mr. Arnett said “Social distancing and the ban on interstate and overseas travel will most definitely have an impact on the spread of bedbug populations. However, in the case of apartments for permanent or long-term renters, if the apartment has a history of bedbug infestations, Coronavirus isolation could in fact perpetuate the problem. 

According to the “Bed Bug Code of Practice” (https://aepma.com.au/Codes-of-Practice) “Bedbug control can only be successfully achieved by a professional pest manager and only if the customer fully co-operates with the recommended treatment procedure.  Co-operation may include preparing the apartment or room for treatment, to possible room closure.  During times of Corona however, this latter scenario could be difficult, and a customer could be unwilling to co-operate with the pest manager.  A successful elimination may not be achieved in this circumstance, and the pest manager should consider not accepting the work.”

“It should be remembered, that adult bedbugs can survive up to 12 months without a blood meal.  This means, that although the spread of bedbugs may currently be impacted, their survival most likely will not be.  When the Coronavirus pandemic is finally over (or under control so that ‘normal’ life can recommence), bedbugs will be back and they will be very hungry indeed!”, said Mr. Arnett.

It must be acknowledged, that bedbugs have been associated with humans as far back as the 1300BC from the time of the Pharaohs. The insect’s worldwide distribution demonstrates their success, so it is unlikely the Coronavirus will be the end of bedbugs.

For the treatment of bedbugs, Bayer recommends using Suspend® Flexx Insecticide with Partix™ formulation technology.  The active ingredient in Suspend Flexx is deltamethrin and with its patented formulation technology, it allows very flexible application rates.  For initial bedbug infestations use 10mL/L of Suspend Flexx where a residuality of at least 12 weeks is required under difficult conditions of high pest pressure.  For follow-up treatments use 5mL/L.

Ravi Singh from Roachbusters Pest Control in Sydney uses Suspend Flexx for bedbug treatments.  Ravi said “Recently we have changed to Suspend Flexx for all our bedbug treatments and we are having such great results. We have found Suspend Flexx has such a broad-spectrum, it’s our go-to product for all our pest control needs. It has a longer lasting residual and we believe in using the right products for the right job always makes a difference because at the end of the day, customers are paying for results!”
Mr. Arnett said professional pest managers should follow the ‘Bed Bug Control Treatment Strategy’ when dealing with bedbug infestations.

Bed Bug Control Treatment Strategy
Before undertaking any bedbug treatment, it is strongly recommended that you follow the Code of Practice Bed Bug Control in Australia (CoP).  Free download here: https://aepma.com.au/Codes-of-Practice

Educate the customer about bedbug biology
Follow the Product Label

For further information: Please contact 
Wendell Arnett
(m) 0407 396232

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