Battle of the bed bugs has fronts nationwide
The battle against bed bugs has land-grant universities engaged with local communities across the country.
Researchers in New Mexico devised new tactics to manage insecticide-resistant bed bugs. They developed safer, less-toxic strategies coupled with tools to overcome pesticide resistance. A digital clearinghouse, in partnership with Extension, has accelerated the sharing of outreach materials to the public.
In California, scientists and Extension specialists were part of a team that delivered bed bug education to residents of low-income, multiple-occupant housing complexes. The work included field demonstrations of integrated pest management strategies to prevent bed bugs—including proactive monitoring and regular surveillance. A year later, results showed reductions from 29% to 88% in the incidence of bed bug infestations. More than two-thirds of participants reported they were more satisfied with bed bug control than before the program began.
In Florida, researchers developed curriculum that helped elementary school students identify bed bugs and learn how to prevent the insects. A program evaluation found that hands-on learning experiences increased knowledge about coping with bed bugs, and that information delivered in the schools found its way home to parents, friends and neighbors. The curriculum has been used by schools internationally, and has enhanced understanding of integrated pest management approaches and health risks of bed bugs.