21 Oct Bed bugs, alarm pheromones, glue boards, and Diatomaceous Earth
It has been known for some time that bed bugs emit an alarm pheromone when sand is poured on a bed bug’s back. I have not seen the research on bed bugs releasing alarm pheromones when injured but concede that is possible. As such there is some question about whether or not bed bugs, when subjected to Diatomaceous earth or glue boards, would emit alarm pheromones and discourage other bugs from approaching the materials.
For one of my inner city landlord customers we have been combining chemical treatments with Climb Up Interceptors powdered with Diatomaceous Earth for at least 3 years (200 suites plus minus a few) successfully. In one building we took a 32 suite building with a 90% infestation rate and brought it down to zero bed bugs in 4 months. As such I suggest that DE can be used successfully in Climb UP interceptors and the issue of alarm pheromones being released after being injured by DE is not insurmountable. I suppose one could argue that the chemical treatments masked the alarm pheromone issue but I consider the point moot as we have used the product successfully many times. I myself am much more concerned with the repellency of the Climb up Interceptor as the bugs often refuse to fall into the device (see my video entitled “bed bugs refusing to fall into interceptor). The bugs choose to walk around the top edge of the interceptor and are then repelled. On the other hand if we combine chemical treatments with interceptors the bugs become unstable after being poisoned and are more likely to fall into the interceptors.
Another landlord I work with has been using Climb Up Interceptors surrounded by Trapper Max glueboards for 3 years with zero chemical applications (there have been a handful of exceptions where chemical was applied but the vast majority receive zero chemical). We heat sterilize the beds and couches and bait the bugs via the tenant into the traps. On the worst infestation we have caught over 500 bed bugs every night for 2 weeks in these traps (for photo of these traps please refer to my blog entitled “at attempt at chemical free bed bug control” . The glueboards were so full of bed bugs that they needed to be replaced every few days to make room for new bugs. As such there did not appear to be a repellency issue. This is especially true as my landlord customer, and examples in my own apartment building, suggest it is possible to remove all bed bugs from a suite in this manner.
Also I have done research work with bed bugs and glue boards. I have watched one bed bug become stuck in the glue board and another bed bug follow a few minutes later. The second bug actually used the first bug as a traction device to escape the predicament. If alarm pheromones were an issue I would have expected the second bug to avoid that spot. As such the theory that glue boards and Diatomaceous Earth repel bugs due to alarm pheromones needs to be reexamined.