In this article, we are going to talk about latest bed bug research which is surely going to surprise you. It is based on a study conducted in Eastern Virginia Medical School. The study comprised of a group of people who were administered an antibiotic called Ivermectin. They were then subjected to bed bug bites (as bizarre as that it sounds) with the view of studying what effect the drug would have on the bugs. The result was pretty astonishing: 3 out of 5 bugs who fed on the treated people succumbed shortly and the remaining bugs showed signs of lethargy an reduced motility etc. This study promises that antibiotics could be our latest arsenal in bed bug killing weaponry or even perhaps the only bed bug prescription treatment you will need. The study is definitely very interesting and sets up future for bed bug research 2017.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is sold under the brand name of Stromectol in the United States. It is a FDA approved antibiotic. The chemical formula for it is 22,23-dihydroavermectin. It is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic medicine that was first discovered by a Japanese scientist. Later another researcher, William C.Campbell, modified it to offer better resistance to parasites without the associated toxicity to hosts. Both researchers won a Nobel Prize for their efforts. Today, Ivermectin is hailed as a wonder drug that paralyses parasitic agents without any harm to vertebrates. It is particularly used for treating infections like ‘river blindness’ as well as lymphatic filariasis. Many doctors also recommend Ivermectin for treating scabies, mites and head lice. Ivermectin is also used for treating parasitic infections caused by mites, lice, mange and heartworms in canines.
Use of Ivermectin for bed bugs: Not a new idea?
Researchers and entomologists have always been on the lookout for latest bed bug treatments that are safe and chemical-free. Many conventional over the counter bed bug treatments available in pharmacies consist of chemicals like permethrin and DEET. Bed bugs are developing immunity to these drugs as a result of which pest control companies as well as establishment owners are at their wits’ end. The latest bed bug research on Ivermectin for bed bug treatment is thereby offering promise to all affected.
How much to take?
The dosage of Ivermectin humans need to take in order to eliminate bed bugs that feed on them is 2.5 ng/ml. Even at this low dose, bed bugs suffered from paralysis as well as feeding and molting difficulties.
Not such a great idea?
Expert opinion about Ivermectin for bed bugs is varied. Entomologists believe that this is not a potent method of killing bed bugs for the reason that it is not strong enough. The above study also shows that only 3 out of 5 bugs were affected by the medicine. Also experts believe that the bugs that survive are likely to pass on the resistance to the drug to newer generation.
Some other experts said that Ivermectin is designed to kill parasites inside the body. So if you want continuous protection from bugs you will need to keep taking this antibiotic. In reality, Ivermectin is designed to be a onetime dose. Taking antibiotics over the long run can be harmful to the human body. Humans could also develop resistance to it and it might even end up killing the friendly bacteria in the gut. This could lead to frequent episodes of urine infections, yeast infections etc. Lead researcher of the above study, Jonathan Sheele, said that the idea might work but he cautioned that the study needs to be conducted in greater detail to iron out its drawbacks. He also cautioned that one should not take Ivermectin long term and, since the findings are preliminary, bed bug sufferers certainly should not use it without consulting a doctor.
We need a lot more research before we can use Ivermectin for killing bed bugs. Dr. Sheele recommends dosing regimen for no more than 2 weeks at a low dose of 20-25 ng/ml. This would be enough to keep the blood toxic for bed bugs and eliminate the entire population. Naturally, pregnant women and children should not take it. We hope the trials are successful so we can start using Ivermectin for bed bugs as a part of an integrated pest control management approach.