More on (shudder!) head lice and bed bugs

Adult female of the bed bug - Cimex lectulariusScale: bug length ~ 5 mm. Image by Gilles San Martin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Adult female of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, length 5 mm. Image by Gilles San Martin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Thankfully, I have not experienced the misery of bedbugs first-hand. But families I know have endured cycles of head lice. Which forces some degree of crisis response.

If you’re lucky those events are a hassle. For some the hassle goes into nightmare territory. And lice are not choosy, they’ll go for everyone.

Jennifer Garner just explained getting “the dreaded call” from school regarding head lice to Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. She goes on to recount how she met George Clooney for the first time while still smelling of her own head lice treatment.

A resurgence of bedbugs over the past few years has been well-covered. Here’s a Fresh Air feature on that problem from 2010. And they’re still around, so interest in bedbug remediation remains high.

A recent article from the CBC details how a family of entomologists in the Montréal area says they designed a way to kill bedbugs in bed. Mind you, this is a solution-built bed frame, not your own regular bed.

This bed gets heated during non-sleeping hours and uses glue traps to catch any remaining bugs before they bite the sleeper.

The son, Tim Maloney, acted as the family’s guinea pig. He released hundreds of bed bugs in a carefully insulated structure set up in the family’s back yard. He then placed the bed inside, which heats to 50°C, killing the bugs and their eggs. [Editors note: 50 degrees C =122 F.]

“Pesticides don’t even penetrate and kill the eggs,” he says. “So heat is really the ultimate weapon.”

This bed is marketed at That’s included here as information – not an endorsement – in the spirit of discussing ways to solve problems and sharing possible innovative solutions. Here’s the company’s explanation of combining heat with traps as a non-toxic control method. Needless to say, one must be careful when using heat and heating elements.

A wealth of info on bed bugs and how to deal with them can be found at this EPA site, including this list of top-10 tips to prevent or control bed bugs.

Here’s more on bed bugs and head lice from the Centers for Disease Control.

Good luck to those who live these battles!

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1 Comment on “More on (shudder!) head lice and bed bugs”

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  1. Hank says:

    There are also sites on-line where travellers can report bed bug infestations in hotels, motels, etc. How accurate or up-to-date these are is anyone’s guess. However, I do check one called Bed Bug Registry before booking a hotel or motel in North America.

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