Bed bug infestations have become a nationwide problem. They can be found in homes, hotels, motels, theaters, retail stores and even office buildings. They hide during the day and emerge at night to feed on the blood of the hapless sleepers. They are not known to carry disease, but the bites can cause intense itching that may last up to two weeks. Excessive scratching can cause skin infection. The experience can also cause severe emotional trauma in some individuals. The experts are advising you to travel with rubbing alcohol. As the hotel rooms can have bed bugs on the bed. The rubbing alcohol will be beneficial for killing them. The skin infections will be reduced through it.
Taking a Pill Can Kill Bed Bugs
According to Bloomberg, it is possible the problem can be solved by using a drug. It is not used on the bed bugs but is ingested by the human victims. This may sound like lunacy, but think about it. You give your pet dog an ivermectin pill to kill heart worms. It is given in larger doses to treat mange, ear mites and other parasites. It has recently been approved in lotion form for eradication of head lice.
A trial was conducted at Eastern Virginia Medical School using human subjects as bait. They were administered a dose of Merck Stromectol (ivermectin) and were subjected to bed bug bites three hours later. Sixty percent of the bed bugs died. When feeding after a 54 hour wait, 42 percent of the adult bed bugs died. This appeared to hold great potential to help control bed bugs. The drug also retarded the molting process in the younger bugs, which is needed to let them mature.
Bed Bugs Have Largely Developed Immunity to All legal Insecticides
According to Newsweek, with the advent of DDT in the 1940s, the bed bug population was greatly reduced. Insects are experts at evolving to survive insecticides. The few that survive pass the resistance on to their progeny. Some conservative bloggers are blaming the EPA ban on DDT for the resurgence of bed bugs. The truth is that they had already developed resistance to DDT and later to a host of other insecticides. They can survive a year without feeding.
Newsweek quotes a Virginia Tech entomologist as saying, “Most of the things we have now, you almost have to spray directly on the bug to do anything to him. Or hit him with the can.”
Do Not Take Your Dog’s Heart Worm Pills
A Popular Science article presents arguments that question the ivermectin approach. They state that Jonathan Sheele, the physician who conducted the trial, cautions that people should not ingest the drug on their own. Much more research must be done, and approval needs to be obtained from the FDA before ivermectin can be prescribed for this purpose. FDA approval requires extensive trials and tests before the drug can be considered safe for humans.
Ivermectin is effective against heart worms in dogs and threadworms and roundworms in humans. Being confined to the body, they are exposed to a constant dose of the drug. Bed bugs feed weekly and there would be a problem of timing the human ingestion of the drug with the appetites of the bedbugs. Then there is the psychological trauma of being used as bait for the hungry little creatures.
While Not a Panacea, Ivermectin May Have a Future in Bed Bug Control
There is a definite potential to use the drug to help control bed bugs in combination with other control measures. The downside is that widespread use of the drug would probably soon start the evolutionary cycle and the intrepid bugs would soon develop immunity ti ivermectin.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, medical professional or exterminator. This article is not intended to be professional advice and is for informational purposes only. I disclaim any responsibility for the results of any action you take or do not take as a result of reading this article.