1. What is a ‘Biopesticide’?
The US Environmental Protection Agency defines a biopesticide as ‘a type of pesticide derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.' Aprehend™ is a ‘microbial biopesticide,’ meaning that it consists of a microorganism (e.g., a bacterium, fungus, virus or protozoan) as the active ingredient. Microbial pesticides can control many different kinds of pests, although each separate active ingredient is relatively specific for its target pest(s). For example, there are fungi that control certain weeds, and other fungi that kill specific insects. The fungus in Aprehend™ is called Beauveria bassiana and is highly effective against bed bugs.
2. What are the advantages of using biopesticides?
Biopesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides. Biopesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects, and mammals. Biopesticides can be effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, thereby resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the toxicity problems caused by conventional pesticides. When used as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, biopesticides can greatly decrease the use of conventional pesticides. However, users need to know a great deal about managing pests.
3. Are biopesticides tested for safety like conventional pesticides?
The EPA always conducts rigorous reviews to ensure that biopesticides will not have adverse effects on human health or the environment. For EPA to be sure that a biopesticide is safe, the Agency requires that registrants submit a variety of data about the composition, toxicity, degradation, and other characteristics of the pesticide. Any product not registered with the EPA has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy.
4. What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed on blood. Despite their name, bed bugs can be found in a variety of environments outside of bedding such as furniture, walls, office buildings, college dormitories etc. Recently bed bugs have undergone a massive resurgence and are quickly becoming a worldwide problem.
5. What do bed bugs look like?
Adults are small, brownish insects, just under a ¼” long and are relatively flat. They are nearly as wide as they are long, and oval in shape. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are much smaller and lighter in color. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent and are no bigger than a pinhead.
6. Do bed bugs transmit disease? What are their bite symptoms?
No. Although bed bugs carry over 28 human pathogens, there has been no documented case of bed bugs transmitting disease. The medical concerns of bed bugs are typically limited to the itching and inflammation associated with their bite. The bites' effects are similar to allergic reactions and can vary from itchy welts to severe and painful rashes that require medical attention. Often, the emotional trauma associated with discovering a bed bug infestation is considerable.
7. Why have bed bugs made a comeback?
Bed bugs were a common problem during WWII. The use of DDT insecticides nearly eradicated the insect from North America and they have not been a significant problem for nearly 50 years. Although changes in pest management practices and increased international travel may be blamed for the resurgence of bed bugs, the lack of public awareness may be the primary reason these bugs continue to spread at their current rate.
8. How do you get bed bugs?
Bed bugs need to be introduced into an environment. They do not jump or fly but are excellent hitch-hikers and can be transported on clothing, luggage, used furniture and various other objects. Risk for bed bug exposure increases in several of the following situations:
- Purchasing or using second-hand furniture and mattresses
- Entertaining or being an overnight guest
- Staying in hotels, college dormitories, boarding schools
- Children coming home from summer camp
9. How will I know if I have bed bugs?
The most reliable way to confirm you have bed bugs is to contact an entomologist or pest management professional and have them identify a sample collected from your home. However, there are key warning signs that you may have an infestation:
- Waking with bites, welts or rashes. Bite marks may appear in rows and clusters.
- Dark spotting or blood droplets on mattresses or bedding. These are waste products bed bugs excrete while digesting a blood-meal.
- Visible observation of eggs, molted insect skin, or the insect. The failure to locate an insect does not indicate they are not present. Adult bed bugs are difficult to locate and immature bed bugs can be difficult to see due to their size.
10. How can I prevent infestation?
There are several steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of infestation:
- Carefully inspect or avoid second-hand furniture, mattresses and bedding
- During hotel visits, do not place luggage on the bed or furniture until you have inspected the bedding, mattresses and headboards
- When traveling, periodically inspect your luggage and bag
- Encase your beds with bed bug proof encasements such as Protect-A-Bed bed encasements
11. Aren’t bed bugs typically associated with the dirty and poor?
No. Bed buds have been found everywhere from low-income housing to five-star hotels. Anywhere bedbugs can be transported, they can infest. Everyone should take precautions regardless of socio-economic status.