University of Florida Study Examines Potentially Harmful Effects a Bed Bug Infestation Can Have on Humans

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Although bed bugs have not been shown to transmit disease, is blood loss something we should be worried about? A University of Florida study released in the Journal of Medical Entomology explores this further. BedBug Central's Technical Director Jeffrey White weights in with his thoughts as well.

This study proved to us that the potential of blood loss in humans is actually real and can get to harmful enough levels within 15 – 20 weeks,” said Dr. Roberto M. Pereira, University of Florida

A University of Florida study released in the Journal of Medical Entomology suggests that uncontrolled populations of bed bugs can reach harmful levels for humans in three to eight months. The study demonstrated that bed bugs feeding on a 1 year-old child can have harmful effects when feeding daily in as short of a time as 11 weeks.

Even though many have stated bed bugs are not a health risk because they can’t transmit disease, this study raises questions as to whether or not those statements are accurate. In situations where a high level of bed bug infestation goes untreated, there is a greater risk for anemia. This study helps to reiterate the importance of identifying infestations and taking measures to reduce the impact bed bugs can have on humans.

These findings, combined with the recent research that bed bugs can have a measurable psychological impact on humans, may cause certain people to think twice about labeling bed bugs as a non-health risk.

“One of the important things about our study was that we were able to prove that bed bug populations have a greater potential to grow than we originally thought,” said Dr. Roberto M. Pereira, Associate Research Scientist at the University of Florida. “Because we allowed them to feed on a daily basis, our research showed that bed bugs consumed about three times as much blood as we’re used to seeing. With this boost in feeding and consumption the bed bugs ended up producing three times as many eggs, therefore population growth was a lot faster than expected. This study proved to us that the potential of blood loss in humans is actually real and can get to harmful enough levels within 15 – 20 weeks.”

Technical Director of Bed Bug Central Jeffrey White weighs in with his thoughts. “It has long been thought that if you have enough bed bugs present they may be able to take enough blood to cause a health risk. This study gives us a time frame to keep any eye on in regards to when an infestation may be at a risky level. The next step would be to conduct a follow up experiment in an actual infestation to see if this model actually correlates with what happens in the field.”

Seeing that it appears bed bugs are back and here to stay knowledge is the best weapon in staying protected from infestations.

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BedBug Central serves as the nation’s most authoritative information resource and website available to the public for information concerning bed bugs and bed bug related issues concerning health, prevention, and treatment methods.

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Elana Scheier
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