Category Archives: Bed Bugs Massachusetts

  Massachusetts, United States Bed Bug Registry Map
  Friday 12th of May 2023 05:18 AM

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Latest Bed Bug Incidents and Infestations

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What you need to know about ticks – The Independent


Ticks are common in Eastern Washington and some species can transmit diseases to people. Here is information from the Washington Department of Health about tick types, how to avoid tick-borne disease and how to safely remove ticks.

Ticks are small blood-feeding parasites and some species can transmit diseases to people. Some species of ticks perch on the edge of low-lying vegetation and grab onto animals and people as they brush past. Otherticksare associated with rodents and their nests, and at night they venture out to feed. Once aboard, ticks crawl until they find a good spot to feed, then burrow their mouthparts into the skin for a blood meal. Their bodies slowly enlarge to accommodate the amount of blood ingested. Ticks feed anywhere from several minutes to several days depending on their species, life stage, and type of host.

Learn about thefour tick species commonly foundin Washingtonthat are known to bite and transmit disease to people.

In the Pacific Northwest, relatively few tick-borne disease cases are reported each year in comparison toother regions of the United States. In Washington, the tick-borne diseases known tobe locally acquired include: babesiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick-borne relapsing fever, tick paralysis,and tularemia. Learn about thesetick-borne diseasesand others of concern, and whatsymptoms of illness towatch for. Many other tick-borne diseases can be acquired through travel outside the state and country. You can find information about tick-borne diseases in different regions of the United States atCDC Tick-borne Diseases of the United Statesand in other countries atCDC Tick-borne Diseases Abroad.

Your best defense against tick-borne infections is to reduce exposure to ticks.

More information on ways you can prevent tick bites can be found atCDC Avoiding Ticks.

Avoid folklore remedies to remove a tick. Hot matches or coating the ticks body with petroleum jelly, soap, or nail polish do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin. In fact, they may make matters worse by irritating the tick and causing it to release additional saliva, increasing the chance of transmitting disease. Your goal is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Do not wait for it to detach. Follow these steps on how to safely remove a tick.

Neither the Washington State Public Health Laboratories nor the CDC routinely tests ticks for disease. DOH can, however, identify ticks to species. Because different tick species transmit different disease pathogens, knowing the tick species may help a healthcare provider diagnose an illness that could be associated with a tick bite.

DOH does not recommend testing ticks for evidence of infection in people or pets because:

Ifyou are interestedin having your ticktested for other reasons,see theLaboratory of Medical Zoology, University of Massachusetts. For a service fee, the laboratory will test for presence ofpathogens common to the determined tick species, andgettest resultsto you within three to five days.The laboratory isa non-profit organization.

You can make your yard less attract to ticks. Focus your management of tick habitat to areas frequently used by your family, not necessarily your entire property.

Soft ticksbehave differently than most ticks. They are found in mountainous regions living within rodent burrows and nests of mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. The ticks prefer dark, cool places, such as rodent nests in shaded wood piles outside buildings, and between walls or beneath floorboards inside buildings. People most often encounter these ticks when sleeping inrodent-infested cabins. Soft ticks emerge at night and feed briefly, like bed bugs. Because the bites are quick and painless, most people do not know that they have been bitten. Infected soft ticks can transmittick-borne relapsing fever.

When staying in summer cabins or vacation homes, especially in eastern Washington, make sure rodents, and their ticks, arent spending the night with you. Practicerodent controlby not attracting rodents, sealing them out of your living areas, trapping rodents, and properly cleaning up rodent-contaminated areas.

Hunters and their dogs are especially vulnerable to tick-borne diseases because of time spent in tick-infected areas. Learn how to prevent tick bites during hunting season, seeCDCs precautions for hunters.

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What you need to know about ticks - The Independent

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Bed bug protocol |

Pre-treatment Procedures

Once a bed bug has been positively located and identified, treatment (e.g., pesticide application) will be necessary to rid the building of the pests. Control actions should be instituted in the immediate area, within 24 hours if possible.The office manager/area director, facility manager, and licensed pest control applicator should determine the scope (e.g., size of area, materials affected) requiring treatment.The treatment area may be the original isolation space or an expanded area as identified through the inspection.Once the size of location is determined, the space must be prepared for pesticide treatment.When possible, the following preparation procedures should be taken:

Only pesticides approved for use against bed bugs by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be legally applied.Further, the pesticide applicator conducting the treatmentmust hold a current licensefor pesticide application in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.The most common room treatments include liquid and aerosol insecticides.Based on the experience of DPH/BEH staff, the most common and effective chemical products used in treating office space includes:

These pesticides are designed for targeted application and will not be applied to any desk surface or personal belongings.By implementing the treatment preparation procedures, staff can facilitate a successful treatment and prevent any potential for unintended treatment of personal items that may be left on the floor.

As mentioned, treatment of an office requires not only preparation of the space but also coordination of staff to be away from the office. During application of these products, the treatment areasmustbe vacant.These pesticides, Temprid SC in particular, must be allowed todry for 4 hoursfollowing application.During the drying time, no access to the treated areas is permitted. It is important that staff are made aware of these restrictions, and building and agency management should ensure the necessary arrangements are made.To limit building occupant exposure and allow appropriate time for post-treatment procedures, it is recommended that the pesticides be applied on Fridays after hours or over the weekend.

Following treatment of an office space, arrangements should be made with the building manager to ensure that the treated spaces are cleaned properly.Cleaning should include the following:

As mentioned, during the pre-treatment processes, items that may require chemical treatment should be gathered and placed into file boxes or heavy-duty (2-mil thick) contractor bags.Boxes should then be carefully placed into contractor bags.All bags should be placed in a second bag, in case the primary bag is punctured.These bags should be moved to a storage area that does not share ventilation with occupants.If a storage area cannot be secured, consideration should be given to renting a storage container that can be placed outside, away from passersby.Once items have been located to an appropriate storage space, the licensed pest control provider can begin to treat the materials using chemical fumigants strips.

The fumigant strips MDPH/BEH staff are most familiar with are the Nuvan ProStrips.The active ingredient in the Nuvan ProStrip is dichlorvos. Dichlorvos is used to protect stored products from insects.This product is designed to treat adult and nymph bed bugs, as well as bed bug eggs within the confines of the sealed bag.Once the strip is opened, the gases released from the pesticide product diffuse through the materials to inactivate bed bugs.While some studies have documented neurologic effects from dichlorvos, such effects involved very high exposure levels.It is important to follow the procedures outlined above (e.g., placing materials in two heavy-duty contractor bags, placing bags in a secure storage area) to prevent staff from potential exposure.

The licensed pest control provider will place fumigant strips into each bag and take appropriate steps to tie and seal the bag openings once the strips are in place.A building manager shall provide the means to secure the storage area or be available to secure the storage area after the licensed pest control provider has completed bag fumigation.

Fumigated materials must remain in place for a minimum of 7 days.It is recommended that bags containing fumigated materials be allowed to sit for two weeks.Following treatment, the licensed pest control provider must open each bag, and the bags must be allowed to ventilate for 2 hours. During the ventilation process, the licensed pest control provider will examine these bags for evidence and condition of bed bugs.

Immediately following the treatment, staff should remain vigilant and report any further sightings of bed bugs. The steps outlined above inMonitoring and Preventionshould serve as guidance for all occupants of an office space. Two weeks following the initial chemical treatment, a licensed pest control provider should thoroughly inspect the treated area to identify any further bed bug activity. If live bed bugs are observed, the licensed pest control provider may recommend second chemical treatment of the office space. Whether at the two- or four-week mark following the initial treatment, it is recommended that a second pesticide application be made to ensure thorough treatment and elimination of bed bugs.

The services of bed bug detecting dogs may be employed one month following application. The dog can serve as an additional means for identifying further bed bug activity. Work with the pest control company providing pest management services regarding these follow-up inspections and activities. Building managers and area directors should continue to report bed bug-related activities (e.g., inspections, treatments) to their Agency Director and Agency Human Resources Representative, as well as DCAMM and MDPH/BEH.

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Bed bug protocol |

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Researchers reveal which types of neighborhoods get bedbugs – Fast Company

The dramatic resurgence of bedbugs has not plagued Americans equally, according to a new, creepy-crawly study from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Researchers tracked inspection reports of 21,340 Chicago buildings from 2006 through 2018 and found that bedbugs thrive in poorer neighborhoods. The strongest predictor of infestation was low household income, along with, to a lesser extent, high eviction rates and crowding. The researchers were quite surprised at the high correlations.

The neighborhoods suffering high rates of bedbugs also suffer a disproportionate number of other health burdens. The map of where people are most at risk for bed bugs looks like the same areas where more kids have asthma, lead in the bloodstream and likely even COVID-19, says coauthor Daniel Schneider, a biologist and professor of urban planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

No connection was found between bedbug infestation and education level, nor are bedbugs any more likely to appear in areas with predominantly rented units. This was all news: Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to track, because residents self-report to local governments, and reporting patterns vary by race and income, among other factors.

If youre reading this because youre brewing a wee bedbug colony, dont freak out: Here is an excellent guide to vanquishing them.

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Researchers reveal which types of neighborhoods get bedbugs - Fast Company

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New Evidence on Bed Bug Burden in Urban Neighborhoods – UMass News and Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass. In the first study to use systematically collected data from multifamily housing inspections to track bed bug infestation, investigators including Christopher Sutherland at the University of Massachusetts Amherst confirm what has long been suspected for bed bugs, but also for public health issues in general infestations are strongly associated with socioeconomic factors, including neighborhood income, eviction rates and crowding.

Writing in People and Nature about their Chicago-area study, biostatistician Sutherland, with biologist Daniel Schneider and urban planner Andrew Greenlee, both of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, point out that documenting the scale of the bed bugs dramatic resurgence as a common household pest and identifying socioeconomic factors that determine infestation risk are challenging, because data usually come from self-reporting, which has potential for bias.

But unlike previous research, our data come from systematic inspections with known sampling effort and are, therefore, uniquely able to attribute observed reductions to declines in bed bug prevalence rather than trends in reporting, they add.

Sutherland and colleagues say the evidence of higher risk of bed bug infestation in poorer neighborhoods, in areas where evictions are more common and in more crowded neighborhoods provides important empirical evidence of the disproportionate allocation of public health burdens upon neighborhoods already facing multiple dimensions of disadvantage for example, poverty, contaminated water and health inequalities.

Sutherland says he was surprised that the patterns were borne out so strongly. Its discouraging that we still have these extreme polarities in society, he notes. Differences in socioeconomic factors means that these public health burdens fall on groups that are less able to cope with them than their more affluent neighbors. We shine a light on yet another public health concern that points squarely to who is bearing the burdens.

Schneider, an expert in dispersal ecology how species move to new habitats and get extinguished adds, The map of where people are most at risk for bed bugs looks like the same areas where more kids have asthma, lead in the bloodstream and likely even COVID-19. How cynical we were coming into this determined how surprised we were by the findings.

The authors analysis uses administrative data on inspections from Chicagos Department of Buildings. From 2006 to 2018, addresses of 21,340 multi-story multiple dwelling residential buildings four stories or higher, and mixed residential/commercial buildings three stories or higher, saw a total 56,384 periodic inspections. Of these, 491 resulted in definitive bed bug evidence a code violation at the property. These bed bug-positive inspections occurred at 446 unique properties, indicating that some had bed bugs present across multiple inspections, they note.

Using this and other data, the researchers aggregated the number of inspections and violations in each year at the census tract level and derived socioeconomic measures of each tract. From this, they identified four broad socioeconomic categories residential stability, housing affordability, resident demographics and neighborhood housing characteristics and nine variables associated with them.

Their analyses showed that, in addition to significant variation among years, neighborhood-level median household income was the strongest predictor of bed bug prevalence. Eviction rate and crowding had significant, but relatively smaller effects. We did not find evidence that bed bug prevalence was influenced by mobility rate, percent of renter households, or the percent population with a graduate degree.

Schneider says, This is just one facet of a larger problem. This is not just a bed bug problem, and if you stack public health issues on top of each other we believe these will correlate strongly. The work appears in an open-access journal, Sutherland says, so anyone can access the data. We tried hard to make the language clear enough for policymakers, to show that this is more evidence of serious public health disparity.

This study grew out of a two-year, interdisciplinary workshop the authors organized for the National Science Foundations National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) to study bed bug history, sociology, ecology, entomology, urban planning and epidemiology. The research combined existing environment and social data, melding ideas that existed but were not synthesized together before, in Schneiders words.

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New Evidence on Bed Bug Burden in Urban Neighborhoods - UMass News and Media Relations

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How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City – The National Interest

It took only a few seconds to spot one. Then another. As I walked into the small park around noon, dozens of rats could be seen scurrying in every direction. They dashed in and out of burrows scattered around the planting beds. They scampered between the safety of shrub cover and the trash bins containing a smorgasbord for them to feed on. They leaped on and off the unoccupied benches encircling the park. The rats of Churchill Square had returned.

I study urban rats, but this tiny park in New York City at the intersection of Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan has been a side curiosity of mine. The first time I visited the square, I was just looking for a place to sit for a few minutes during a family excursion.

But an urban ecologist is never really off the clock in the city. I had never seen so many rats in such a small area. Rats are generally nocturnal, so the high activity during daylight probably meant the infestation was severe, which increases the risk of disease transmission to people, damages urban infrastructure and even takes a toll on the mental health of residents. The health, economic and social impacts of rat infestation can be significant.

Public enemy number one

While rats Rattus norvegicus, to be specific in New York City are not unfamiliar to residents, the Churchill Square rats had become too comfortable. Too established. Too numerous. The following year, rodent bait stations appeared around the park. The familiar black boxes are filled with edible bait containing rodent-killing compounds rodenticides that technicians can replace easily on a set schedule. It seemed to work remarkably well; there wasnt a rat to be seen in Churchill Square during my visits that year.

Yet rats are superbly adapted to forage efficiently, breed often and produce enough progeny to repopulate quickly. So despite the millions of dollars spent annually to combat rats, their numbers appear to be increasing in cities around the world. Most rat populations also rebound quickly after a control campaign ends a phenomenon known as the boomerang effect. Churchill Square is an example of this effect; when the rodenticide stations were removed, the rats returned.

Theyre back, but theyre different

While the return of the rats is nearly assured, my colleagues and I recently found that the repopulating rats are fundamentally different than the rats present before lethal control was carried out.

For example, an intensive eradication campaign in 2015 in parts of Salvador, Brazil succeeded in cutting the rat population in half, but also led to a 90% reduction in the genetic variation contained within those populations. This included the loss of many of their rarest gene variants. A broad variety of genetic information is thought to be essential for organisms to respond to and remain viable in changing environments. In addition, because the survivors were more closely related to each other, there was also a greater risk of inbreeding among the remaining rats. All of these impacts observed in the Salvador rats constitute what scientists call a genetic bottleneck and a particularly severe one by any standard.

Genetic bottlenecks are almost always considered in the context of vulnerable populations of conservation concern, not a notorious pest. And the overarching concern is usually long-term survival of the imperiled population. But, pest species like rats, mice, roaches and bed bugs are subject to repeated intentional attempts to deplete their populations through lethal control.

The problem is that there is rarely coordination between pest management staff working with cities or property owners, often with short timelines and insufficient budgets, and scientists interested in tracking the long-term viability of urban pest species.

As the environmental health coordinator for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, Georgianna Silveira is on the front line of efforts to integrate pest management and policy decisions with a scientific perspective on long-term trends. Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations, Silveira notes. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions, often because there is too little communication among residents, city agencies, pest management professionals and scientists about sustained goals.

Survival of the fittest super rats

For the city rats that survive lethal control, there are two long-term outcomes that our research team is investigating now. The first, and most concerning, is tied closely to the idea of survival of the fittest.

A successful rat control campaign removes many, maybe even most, individuals from the population. The survivors are likely to have certain traits that make them more fit able to avoid the onslaught of exposure to rodenticides, snap traps and other sources of mortality. These survivors then produce more baby rats, which inherit the same helpful traits.

If only the fittest rats make it through the control campaign, the survivors may be even better adapted to take advantage of the high-resource minefield of modern cities, leaving a new population of super rats to breed and repopulate. In fact, scientists have identified specific versions of some genes that render common rodenticides ineffective. These beneficial gene variants have been observed in some natural populations of rats regularly exposed to these poisons.

or evolving into sickly rats

On the other hand, biologists know that there can be severe negative consequences for populations that lack genetic variation, similar to the risks of inbreeding in people.

Our data from Salvador suggests that rats can lose most of their genetic variation very quickly during a lethal control campaign. This variation is the key by which species can respond to changing environments through natural selection. And city environments can change rapidly.

So the second long-term outcome for rats subjected to repeated control programs could be a gradual reduction in survival, reproduction and other traits related to evolutionary fitness. This was observed in crows, where inbreeding was associated with lower survival and weaker immune function. Progressively weaker, more sickly rats is certainly the preferred scenario when dealing with persistent rat infestation.

So what will happen to the rats of Churchill Square, Salvador and other places where they are frequently targeted for lethal control? To understand if city rats are evolving toward the super or sickly set of traits, our research team is studying populations before and after rat control campaigns to determine how survival, reproduction and other beneficial traits change during intense control campaigns.

Jonathan Richardson weighs a rat as part of a study in New York City. Jonathan Richardson, CC BY-SA

But it is immensely challenging to study these aspects of rat biology in wild populations, especially in urban environments. Genetic insights may provide the most practical way to assess the impacts of control efforts, including a way to measure these impacts in a standardized way for cities around the world. Regardless, we know that urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

Comprehensive rodent control will need to focus on long-term and sustainable goals, reducing populations to tolerable numbers using varied tools like rodenticide, dry ice and even applying contraceptives to reduce fertility. And of course the low-tech yet most effective approach of reducing trash availability and installation of rodent-proof garbage cans must be included. Meanwhile, research will shed light onto what effect all of this money and effort is having on urban pests is it eroding their viability, or turning the gears of evolution to create unintended super organisms?

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Jonathan Richardson, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters

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How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City - The National Interest

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