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The Threat Summer Bed Bug Infestations Pose To Tequesta Residents

July 12, 2018

Bed bugs are a serious summer threat that many Tequesta residents don't know a whole lot about. And bed bugs are counting on that. The less you know, the easier it is for them to spread throughout South Florida. One of the ways they spread is through travel and tourism. Recently, we talked about how bed bugs hitch a ride. Now, we're going to delve into a heavier subject. The issue of bed bugs and public health.

bed bug crawling in tequesta home

For a long time, it was believed that bed bugs were not linked to human-spread pathogens. Then scientist discovered pathogens inside bed bugs but could not link those pathogens to human illness. A new study from Penn Medicine has found that a bed bug, like its cousin the kissing bug, is able to transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, which is the parasite that causes Chagas disease.  

If you're not familiar with Chagas disease, it affects as many as 8 million people worldwide and claims the lives of around 50,000 individuals a year. Symptoms of this disease include dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations, fatigue, constipation, chest pains, and difficulty swallowing. Later in life, this disease can lead to cardiac and intestinal complications which can ultimately lead to death.

Chagas disease can be acquired in many ways: blood transfusion, organ transplantation, congenital transmission (from mother to baby), accidental laboratory exposure, and consumption of uncooked food contaminated with feces from infected bugs. It is this last one that has entomologists concerned.

Bed bugs can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, not by bite, but by feces that are left on a sleeping person. Since bed bugs are drawn to carbon dioxide emissions, they often crawl on the face and this can lead to exposure.

Researchers also made a link between bed bugs and mice, finding in their experiments that transmission was bi-directional. That is to say that it could move from mice to bed bugs and from bed bugs to mice. How does this affect Tequesta residents? If you have bed bugs and mice living in your home, it is a double threat. You can catch Chagas disease from either one.

When mice climb around in your food storage areas, silverware drawers, dish cabinets, and on food prep surfaces, they can contaminate them. Mice are very mobile throughout a home and they can get into some surprising locations.

Bed bugs defecate while they feed. So, when they feed on a mouse or they feed on a human, there is a high potential for transmission because the feces comes in contact with the skin (if it gets into an open wound, like another bug bite on the skin.) It was also found that 1 in 5 mice were infected when the skin was broken by the bed bug's bite only.

Chagas disease is a growing issue in the United States and a growing concern for government health agencies. The link found by Penn Medicine increases this concern because kissing bugs don't get into U.S. houses the way they do in Central America, but bed bugs do. This increases the possibility of transmission.

What To Do About Bed Bugs

Bed bugs, referred to by entomologists as Cimex lectularius, have been dwelling almost exclusively with humans since the dawn of time. If they were easy to get rid of, we would have wiped these bugs out a long time ago. So, we strongly urge people to seek professional assistance when dealing with a bed bug infestation.

A trusted professional has many high tech tools, products, and methods for effectively arresting bed bug infestations. Heat remediation or a fumigation can eliminate a widespread infestation like flicking a reset button. And, when infestations are small and isolated, conventional treatments can deal with those bugs discreetly.

Most importantly, a professional knows how to inspect for bed bugs and ensure that the treatment done was successful at getting rid of the bugs. When it comes to health threats such as Chagas disease, this is definitely a must. The last thing anyone needs is a bed bug infestation that continues to resurfaces over and over again. But sadly, that is what happens when people turn to DIY bed bug methods and products.

Protect yourself, your family, and your pets from the illnesses that bugs, rodents, and other wildlife can present. Reach out to Nozzle Nolen. Our QualityPro, Green Shield Certified team is standing by to assist you.


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