Scientists are studying bed bug behavior in the hope of figuring out how to better follow the old adage–“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Mark Feldlaufer and Kamlesh Chauhan, scientists at the Agricultural Research Service and colleague Henry A. Wallace of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center have isolated “alarm pheromones” in bed bug nymphs. These alarm pheromones could profoundly affect the way we treat bed bug infestations as the release of these pheromones seems to make bed bugs scatter.

The entomologists and chemists used bed bug skins to collect, analyze and identify chemicals found in bed bug scent glands through gas chromatography and mass spectometry. Gas chromatography is used to separate compounds into individual components. Mass spectrometry clarifies the chemical structures of molecules in compounds.

These scientists found 17 compounds in the bed bug skins and will continue to study whether any of these compounds can be used to disperse bed bugs. Dispersal may make bed bug sprays and pesticides more effective by putting more bugs in contact with the chemicals.

At Alliance Environmental Group, however, we would rather kill bed bugs where they are than try to get them to run away only to come back later. Which they will. It is extremely difficult to eradicate bed bugs with pesticides as they hide in cracks and crevices that pesticides may not reach. Those same pesticides are also not safe for humans or pets and leave dangerous chemical residue behind.

Heat treatment is more effective for eliminating bed bug infestations. By raising the temperature of a residence or other building over 140 degrees for 3-4 hours, bed bugs at every stage of development are killed where they lurk, with no need to move out for days, clean chemical residue, wash linens or bag food to protect human and animal residents. Heat works in one treatment and, since it even kills bed bug eggs, prevents reinfestation.

If you have a bed bug infestation in California, contact Alliance for help. Our highly trained, professional teams will arrive quickly to take care of your problem in one treatment. We can even bring our new thermal remediation truck which doesn’t need an outside power source to provide the treatment.

If you find bed bugs, don’t panic! But don’t try to treat them yourself. At best you will be frustrated and at worst exposed to chemicals damaging to your own health.