After decades of virtual absence, bed bugs are back with a vengeance. The media coverage bedbugs receive is ever increasing and the public is quite shocked that this thought to be “extinct pest” is back, alive and kicking – and biting! Many of the conventional insecticide treatments leave bedbugs unharmed. There are strains that are resistant to Pyrethroids, a common group of insecticides used to control bed bugs.
However, there is always a natural solution available, and similar to the Emerald Cockroach wasp controlling cockroaches there are some bugs with really cool names that can deal with bedbugs.
The Masked Hunter vs Bed bugs
Meet the Masked Hunter, avenger of innocent bed bug victims, with a name that sounds like it’s straight out of a superhero movie. It is even cooler that the Masked Hunter (Reduvius personatus) is a member of the family of Assassin bugs (Reduviidae). The Masked Hunter is quite a large bug, around 15-20mm and looks somewhat similar to kissing bugs.
The fun part about these guys is that they really like to hunt and eat bed bugs. However, I doubt that many people would be overly happy about having 2cm bugs in their home; in addition to this these bugs can give very painful bites, when threatened. So, the Masked Hunter has his name, family and food preferences going for him, but it might not be the perfect solution to bed bug problems.
Centipedes vs Bed bugs
Than there are house centipedes (more than one species, but for instance: Scutigera coleoptrata) that will happily eat: bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, silverfish, ants, and termites in our homes.
However, even though I like invertebrates I am scared to death by centipedes (they are too fast, too many legs and these guys can also give a painful bite) and I guess so are a large number of other people too.
Ants vs Bed bugs
Opposed to the story of pest partners in crime where there are co-operating pest species, ants also eat bed bugs. However, I think it is questionable if casting out devils with the Beelzebub is a good solution. Plus who will take care of the ants afterwards once the bedbugs are taken care off. Having an ant and bed bug infestation at the same time is what I would call a prime example of a deteriorating situation.
Humans vs Bed bugs
While there are ways to keep most pest infestations at a tolerable level (of course this depends on your own tolerance level) by adhering to strict sanitation and good housekeeping practices, bed bugs have to be exterminated because even a single female will start a new population again. As we are a bed bug’s food source, even keeping the place sparkling clean will not affect them much. Even though there are natural enemies that will surely reduce the number of bedbugs, these are not helping in eradicating bed bugs from our homes. The best piece-of mind solution is to call a professional pest controller to take care of the bed bugs.
(Ed: All references to bedbugs changed to read bed bugs – thanks Matt)