08 Apr Brushed burlap, collectabed, and insecticidal dusts

One of the reasons it is difficult to poison bed bugs is because they walk around like they are on tip toes with hard claws for feet. This makes it difficult to impart a lethal dose to the bug.

I have found that it is entirely possible to get rid of all bed bugs in a suite by simply heating the beds and couches and placing glue boards under the bed legs. We have done this many times. The difficult part of glue board traps is they only last a few weeks and need to be replaced. So I decided to find a method of using dusts instead of glue boards. As the bugs slowly leak out of the walls they are forced to cross a dust barrier and die.

I looked for a very coarse cloth and settled on burlap bag material. I then brushed it with a wire brush till all the hairs were sticking straight up. I watched the bugs interacting with the this cloth and the bugs would grab one hair and it would collapse as it put weight on it causing the bug to stumble and fall while traversing the cloth. I then lightly dusted this brushed burlap with a “technicide” duster containing Tempo 1% dust and put it in a teflon pan arena containing a harbourage with hungry bed bugs. The bugs were a little hesitant to cross the new substrate but within a few minutes they were walking across it vey nicely. The interesting thing is that some of the bugs died within 10 minutes and all died within 24 hours – even if they left the cloth. The bugs died quickly because they managed to plaster themselves with Tempo even after a very short traverse. It is kind of like walking through a corn field after a rain and hoping not to get wet.

I sent Richard Naylor a complete miniature sample of my collectabed complete with a brushed burlap crevice. The reason the crevice is important is that one must follow the directions when chemicals are applied and often the chemical application is restricted to cracks and crevices. If a crevice is built into the bed then the better “crack and crevice dusts can be used legally and safely. Richard dusted the crevice with Cimexa and put the miniature Collectabed in an experimental arena. Bed bugs were released into the arena and they sought shelter in the brushed burlap crevice of the collectabed. All were dead within 24 hours.

Unfortunately I live in Canada and do not have legal access to any of the good dusts like Cimexa or Tempo 1%. I had to buy my container of Tempo in the USA so I could experiment with it. I have pleaded with Health Canada to do some experimental field work with me using the collectabed but so far no luck. This is really unfortunate as public housing often has very difficult tenants that do not cooperate resulting in years of unsuccessful treatments. If these tenants slept on a bed that killed any bug approaching the bed they would be much better off. And the community would be much better off as they would not continually spread bugs everywhere. Interestingly this method would be far cheaper than continual unsuccessful treatments as well. Given the massive resistance levels for everything we use in Canada I am a bit mystified at the lack of Health Canada’s response.

It is interesting that all the major technologies of the Collectabed including modified glue boards, strategically placed and easily inspected cardboard harbourage, and brushed burlap crevice worked perfectly in Richard’s lab. Indeed they even exceeded my expectations.