As if we needed any more reasons to avoid bed bugs, a recent Penn State study has confirmed that bed bugs can, in fact, transmit disease. Previously, we knew that bed bugs had many negative effects like triggering allergies and contributing to psychological and social stigmas about the cleanliness of the people who encounter bed bug infestations in their homes; we knew that dealing with a bed bug infestation is far more than a mild nuisance and requires several days of extensive and thorough treatment to be eliminated, but now there is an added risk of these pests spreading disease! It seems the more we learn about bed bugs, the worse it gets!

Identifying Bed Bugs

One of the most important things Morris County residents can do to help prevent the spread of bed bugs is knowing how to identify them. Unfortunately, bed bugs are often hard to spot, so you are more likely to see signs of them such as blood spots or dark streaks of excrement on mattresses or discarded exoskeletons. When performing a bed bug inspection, make sure to look in corners and seams of mattresses, inside peeling wallpaper, around or inside outlets, in the back corners of drawers, and behind headboards. If you see something that resembles a small, reddish-brown colored apple seed, take a closer look to see if it has the characteristics of a bed bug that are mentioned here.

The Penn Medicine Study

A study by Penn Medicine researchers showed that it was possible for both bed bugs and mice to transmit a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease to one another. In the first experiment, mice that were infected with the parasite transmitted the parasite to the bed bugs that they were exposed to over a period of a month; almost all the bed bugs that were in contact with the infected mice contracted the parasite. In the second experiment, infected bed bugs were exposed to uninfected mice, the result was the same in that the mice became infected. In the final experiment, feces from infected bed bugs were put on the skin of mice that had been inflamed by bed bug bites, and again the mice contracted the parasite.

The T. cruzi parasite that causes Chagas disease is spread through bed bug feces. This disease is very hard to diagnose; in fact, many people have been infected for years before the heart or digestive issues associated with it cause any alarming symptoms! It’s very difficult to determine when or where the infection occurred. Therefore, knowing more about how bed bugs could potentially lead to this infection could be crucial in treating it early on before it becomes fatal.

Preventing Bed Bugs

With this additional health concern related to bed bugs, it’s now more important than ever to prevent an infestation! Due to the fact that Morris County is a perfect breeding ground for bed bugs in the summer, it is a necessity to get the professional help of ChemTec Pest Control for complete protection from these disease-spreading pests! Contact us at ChemTec Pest Control for more information on our bed bug control options.