One of the biggest topics in the media this year has been the reemergence of bedbugs. These parasites have been all over the news in stories about their ability to invade properties across the country. The insects have even been found in everything from fancy hotels to apartment buildings and individual homes. Bedbugs are from the Cimicidae family of insects. They feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans, typically while they sleep. Adult bedbugs grow to a size of 4 to 5 millimeters. There small size can make them difficult to find and identify.
The hearty parasites can survive a wide range of temperatures and atmospheric conditions which has helped them in their ability to spread nationwide. When property owners and managers believe they may have a bedbug infestation they often look to professional help to confirm if it is bedbugs or some other pests. Because of their size they are difficult to identify and their tolerance for various environmental conditions also makes them difficult to eradicate. Identification techniques in the field have typically relied on visual inspections and in some cases through the use of dogs trained to smell their presence. Unfortunately both of these techniques are prone to false positive and false negative conclusions.
EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s premier environmental testing laboratories, has a PCR technique to identify bedbugs and their remains. “Relying on a visual inspection or the use of canines can be a real hit or miss strategy for determining if bedbugs are a present,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President at EMSL. “Utilizing advanced PCR technologies that look for DNA markers specific to bedbugs is one of the most accurate testing methods possible. This helps prevent the expense and disruption caused by other techniques.”