Central Ohio Bed Bug Problem Getting Worse


UPDATED: Thursday March 3, 2011 1:08 PM
New research shows central Ohio's bed bug problem is getting worse.

Experts said the pests are now becoming resistant to the methods used to kill them, 10TV's Josh Poland reported on Thursday.

"I think it's unrealistic right now to think that we will see within the next few years a reduction," said Paul Wenning, a member of the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force.

The insect's numbers have risen every year in central Ohio since tracking began in 2007. Wenning attributed the growth to a number of factors, from the bedbug's ability to travel to the ineffective use of pesticides.

SPECIAL SECTION: Health | SLIDESHOW: Images Of Bed Bugs

"You could have a bedbug crawl on you and you wouldn't know it," Wenning said. "We have a class of chemicals that the bedbugs are becoming rapidly resistant to."

A team of researchers at The Ohio State University is hoping to change that. Dr. Susan Jones is an entomologist and part of a team that completed the first comprehensive genetic study of bedbugs.

"We're trying to breed them in the laboratory because we're doing testing with different products and different insecticides," Jones said. "They kind of resemble an apple seed, at least the adults do, about the same color, about the same size and shape."

The research team discovered bed bugs currently making their homes in central Ohio have high levels of enzymes that can cleanse them of poisons.

"And so they're constantly combating what we're throwing at them," Jones said. "This is not an insect that you take lightly."

Jones admits the study is just a step in figuring out why bed bugs are so difficult to control but she said with further research and studies, more effective treatment methods could become a reality.

Experts said if you spot bed bugs, call an exterminator immediately to discuss treatment options because over-the-counter pesticides are not effective.

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Previous Stories:

September 13, 2010: Grove City Motel Cited For Bed Bugs
August 23, 2010: Northeast Side Hotel Battling Bed Bugs
June 15, 2010: EPA Ruling Could Limit Pesticide Used To Fight Bed Bugs
February 22, 2010: Bed Bug Infestations Rising, Affecting All Areas