Based on the statistics, it has been 60 years since the tropical bed bug caused an infestation in Florida, and it seems that this pest is back in town.
The tropical bed bug is a dangerous species of bug, which can quickly spread across the Southern states and Florida. According to Brittany Campbell, entomology UF doctoral student, this species is not like other ordinary bed bugs because it develops quickly, and it can lead to a massive infestation sooner than predicted.
Campbell and her team from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences confirmed the emergence of the tropical bed bug. This pest was recorded last time in the 1940s. Since then, Florida’s public health officials managed to prevent the bug from returning.
However, a family from Merritt Island reported last year that the bugs infested their house, which was situated around the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary. The researchers collected several samples, and after analyzing them, they concluded the insects belonged to the tropical species.
According to Campbell, Florida is the ideal environment for a potential bed bug infestation, which usually occurs in the South. People travel with bed bugs in their luggage making it easier for the insects to spread from one place to another.
The first tropical bed bug case occurred in Brevard. Campbell notes that it is still a mystery how the insects infested the house, but she suspects that they were brought through Port Canaveral. The researcher stresses that most pests invading Florida arrive in ports first.
Bed bugs can be found across the U.S. and the world as well, usually in temperate climates. The team said that many countries have used DDT and other powerful pesticides to deal with these insects over the past five decades.
However, they became resistant and reemerged in the 1990s. It might be the case in Florida as well, the researchers suggest. Tropical bed bugs need human blood to live, and they can cause a wide range of health issues such as blistery reactions, itching, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, and fear.
The team urges residents to send any bed bug samples to the UF laboratory. This way, scientists will be able to identify whether they have to deal with the tropical bed bug or not. People whose homes have been infested are strongly recommended to call the pest-control professionals to address the issue.
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