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ESA members take part in National Bed Bug Summit

Fifteen members of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) gave presentations at the "Second Annual National Bed Bug Summit: Advancing Towards Solutions to the Bed Bug Problem," held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC, February 2, 2011.

The meeting focused on what is being done to combat bed bugs, the importance of educating consumers, improvements in prevention and control techniques, controlling bed bugs in schools and public housing, and on the state of bed bug knowledge and futue research needs.

"Many health departments are overwhelmed by bed bug complaints," said Susan Jennings (EPA). "Training is greatly needed to educate people about this pest."

Dr. Jody L. Gangloff-Kaufmann (Cornell University) stressed the importance of having bilingual team members on bed bug task forces in urban areas.

"We're seeing more reservoirs of bedbugs appearing more often and intensely in poor communities, where people do not have resources to care for themselves," she said. "The key to bed bug control is the involvement and awareness of members of the community."

Dr. Dini Miller (Virginia Tech University) spoke about some methods of bed bug control using integrated pest management (IPM), such as using dessicant dust, mattress encasements, removing clutter, using a vacuum cleaner, chemical treatments when applied correctly, and heat.

"The clothes dryer is the number-one line of defense. Clutter removal also helps by revoving bed bug hiding places," she said, noting however that some of these methods can be expenisve. "IPM using prevention and non-chemical methods take time, as do heat treatments, and time is money, especially when repeated treatments are necessary," she said.

Dr. Harold Harlan (Armed Forces Pest Management Board), who has maintained a bed bug colony for nearly four decades, gave some reasons whey bed bug control is so difficult.

"Control efforts most often fail because it is nearly impossible to find every bed bug in a room, insects are often identified as bed bugs incorrectly, treatments are often ineffective because the bugs are inaccessible, and bed bugs have developed resistance to certain insecticides," he said.

Dr. Coby Schal (North Carolina State University) spoke about the need for more bed bug research. To illustrate, he noted that "although bed bug research has been increasing, we have about 50 times as much research on mosquitoes than on bed bugs."

Suggestions were also made to launch a new website such as, to create an online clearinghouse for educational materials, to explore the use of new media, and to find new ways to reach out to multicultural communities.

The ESA entomologists, representing universities, state and federal agencies, and private pest-control companies, gave the following presentations:

  • "Federal Agencies: Areas of Focus and Activities," by Susan Jennings, Public Health Coordinator, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs

  • "Getting the public to listen to your message: Lessons learned from a mosquito education program," by Kristen Bartlett-Healy, Post-Doctoral Associate Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

  • "Reaching Key Populations in Bed Bug Control," by Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, IPM Specialist/Urban Entomologist, New York State IPM Program, Cornell University

  • "Bed Bug Control: Maximizing the Advantages of Your Treatment Strategies," by Dini Miller, Associate Professor/Urban Pest Management Specialist, Department of Entomology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

  • "IPM and Prevention in Bed Bug Control," Allison Taisey, Program Coordinator, Northeastern IPM Center, Cornell University

  • "Using Temperature Extremes for Best Effect," Stephen Kells, Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota

  • "Coordinating and Collaborating on Research," Stephen Kells, Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota

  • "Non-Chemical Interventions and Do-it-yourself Approaches," Changlu Wang, Assistant Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University

  • "Educating to Reduce Failures in Bed Bug Control," by Harold Harlan, Information Services Division, Armed Forces Pest Management Board

  • "Bed Bugs: IPM in Schools," by Thomas Green, Board President, IPM Institute of North America

  • "Educating to Increase Successes in Bed Bug Control," by Richard Cooper, Vice President, Bed Bug Central

  • "Bed Bug Research: A Variety of Approaches," by Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University

  • "Researching Bed Bugs: What's Known and What's Next," by Mark Feldlaufer, Research Entomologist, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

In addition, Daniel A. Strickman, a National Program Leader at USDA-ARS, and Adriana Costero, a Program Officer at the National Institutes of Health, moderated two sessions.


Contact: Richard Levine
Entomological Society of America

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