You weren’t planning on getting a good night’s sleep tonight, were you? Because a team of researchers has discovered that bed bugs, the peskiest and most psychologically-torturous of all nighttime critters, are stronger than ever. They’ve developed a resistance to standard insecticides.
Was that an itch you just felt?
A group of researchers believe that bed bugs, also known as “Cimex lectularius,” are growing resistant to neonicotinoids (neonics for short). Neonics are a relatively new insecticide, having been on the market for only 20 years or so. Many bed bug-control products combine neonics with another form of insecticide called pyrethroids.
Researchers ran some tests on a variety of bed bugs captured (some were recently taken from the wild; others had been kept in a lab for decades, preserved from insecticides; all were from various parts of the U.S.). Scientists realized that it took a much, much higher quantity of neonic combinations to kill those that were out in the wild. Meaning? They’re becoming stronger.
This, among other things, means you need to be extra cautious when you travel, while frantic scientists scramble to come up with a new solution. (Keep in mind, bed bugs are a fairly new issue for Americans, having re-emerged in the ‘90s likely because of an increase in international travel).
Luckily, experts from the University of Maine recently released a video with useful tips on how to perform a thorough bed bug check in hotel rooms. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Put your luggage in the bathtub. Seriously.
Beds and luggage racks are the most prominent spots for bed bugs. It’s likely that there will be none in your bathroom.
2. Investigate all the backboards, corners and creases of the bed with a flashlight.
A few minutes of detective work will save you months of trauma and exterminator bills.
3. Check the mattress for blood spots.
It’s gross, but you need to do it. These dark brown spots are a sign that bed bugs have been feeding.
4. Check inside the drawers and the luggage rack.
Don’t only stop at your bed. They could very well be in these spots, too.
You can check out the entire video here. And on those occasions when you’re not curled up in the fetal position muttering about the end of the world and decide to go outside, be sure to spot check your clothes when you come home. The enemy is everywhere.