Who knew a fungus may very well be what finally garners us the upper hand in the war on BED BUGS?
You read that right. There now is a non-pathogenic fungus that we can use on bed bugs. This new technology is quite exciting. The species of fungus has a long history in the agriculture industry.
The following information is from the makers of Apprehend.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT?
The active ingredient in Aprehend® is a natural fungal disease of insects called Beauveria bassiana, it is specific to insects and does not affect humans or animals. While the use of Beauveria to control bed bugs is a new application, Beauveria and other insect diseases have been used to control pest insects in horticulture and agriculture for many years.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT APREHEND®?
The key difference between Aprehend® and other biopesticides developed for use in agriculture is the formulation. Aprehend® is a unique, ready-to-use formulation, which contains a special combination of oils, which enable the application of the Beauveriaconidia (spores) to surfaces where they remain attached until encountered by a bed bug. This proprietary oil formulation ensures that Aprehend® is effective even at very low (<20 %) relative humidity. The conidia remain dormant on the sprayed surface, and will only germinate when they come into contact with a bed bug. This is how Aprehend® remains effective for up to 3 months after application. All agricultural formulations are designed to be diluted in water and sprayed at high volumes directly on insects that are feeding on plants. Once conidia have been in contact with water, they germinate quickly and if they are not in direct contact with an insect they will die.
DOES THE FUNGUS AFFECT HUMANS OR PETS?
No, Beauveria is specific to insects and will not infect humans or pets. The formulation is designed to stick the conidia to the surface where they are applied, and will not remain airborne after the spray application. There are no chemical toxins in the Aprehend® formulation.
HAS APREHEND® BEEN TESTED ON HUMANS?
No, human testing is never conducted on pesticide products. There are a specific set of animal test protocols that are required by the EPA, and these were part of the regulatory dossier submitted for Aprehend®. Human testing is only conducted on drugs for treating human diseases, these are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
DOES APREHEND® HAVE ANY ODOR?
No, Aprehend® is odorless and invisible on most surfaces.
WILL APREHEND® STAIN FURNITURE?
No, Aprehend® is invisible on most surfaces, and is applied to areas that are generally hidden, and not normally contacted by humans, such as the perimeter of the underside of a sofa, and the seating area under the cushions etc. Aprehend® should not be applied to leather surfaces or silk.
IS THE SPRAY VISIBLE ON WOODWORK OR DRYWALL?
Generally, no, but depending on the paint surface (semi-gloss/gloss), it may be possible to see the spray line under certain lighting conditions. If this occurs, the spray can be easily removed, with a disinfectant wipe or kitchen spray and paper towel, but always leave the spray barrier in place until the bed bug infestation has been completely eradicated.
HOW DOES BEAUVERIA KILL BED BUGS?
Beauveria is a natural disease of insects, it infects an insect by direct contact, and does not need to be eaten to initiate an infection. Aprehend® contains the conidia of Beauveria, these microscopic ‘seeds’ readily attach to insect cuticle (insect skin). Once attached, the conidia germinate and penetrate directly through the cuticle and gain access to the insect’s blood system. Once there the fungus grows inside the insect, using the blood as a food source. Very soon the insect becomes sick and dies from the fungal infection. In bed bugs, this takes between 3 and 7 days
DOES APREHEND® HAVE TO BE SPRAYED DIRECTLY ON A BED BUG TO WORK?
No, bed bugs are extremely difficult to find and target directly, because they hide in tiny cracks and crevices (called harborages) in furniture and the structural elements of a building. It is impossible to locate and treat inside every harborage in a room. Aprehend® is designed to be sprayed in 2” wide barriers around the bed and items of furniture where bed bugs are likely to walk when they emerge from to look for a blood meal. When bed bugs cross the barrier, the conidia readily attach to the cuticle of the bed bug, and will initiate the infection process.
WHAT ABOUT LOW HUMIDITY, DOES APREHEND® WORK AT HUMIDITIES LESS THAN 20% ERH?
Yes, our proprietary formulation was developed specifically to ensure efficacy at low relative humidities. This is one of the unique advantages of Aprehend®.
DOES THE DISEASE SPREAD IN THE BED BUG POPULATION?
Yes, once a bed bug has come into contact with the conidia, it will carry the conidia on its body back to the harborage. When an exposed bed bug comes into contact with another bed bug, the conidia transfer from one to the other. Since bed bugs live packed tightly together in harborages, the fungal disease easily spreads in the population. This process is called auto-dissemination.
HOW LONG WILL APREHEND® BE EFFECTIVE AFTER APPLICATION?
Aprehend® spray barriers remain active for up to 3 months. This means that any bed bug crossing the barrier, even 12 weeks after treatment can pick up the conidia and go on to die. However, it is important that the spray barriers are not disturbed. Spray barriers should be applied to areas that are not exposed to frequent contact by humans, or sunlight. Do not clean the areas that have been sprayed until you are sure that the bed bug infestation has been completely eradicated.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR A BED BUG INFESTATION TO BE ERADICATED AFTER USING APREHEND®?
As with all current bed bug control methods (except heat), it will take time before all the bed bugs in an infestation are killed. Aprehend® starts working immediately after spraying, and remains effective for up to 3 months, providing the barrier has not been removed by cleaning. When a bed bug crosses the spray barrier, it picks up conidia, which will germinate within 24 hours. The fungus will then grow inside the body of the bed bug, and death will occur between 3 and 7 days later. Bed bugs that remain in their harborages can become infected if they contact a bed bug that has picked up conidia from the spray barrier, these bed bugs will also go on to die within a few days. It will take time before all bed bugs have been exposed to the fungal conidia, either by crossing the barrier themselves or coming into contact with others who have picked up conidia. However, since the spray barrier will remain effective for up to 3 months, all bed bugs will be eliminated. Depending on the level of infestation, and the activity of the bed bugs, it may take between 4-8 weeks to effect complete eradication.
CAN I SEE THE CONIDIA FROM APREHEND® ON SPRAYED SURFACES OR THE BODY OF A BED BUG?
The conidia in the formulation are invisible to the human eye, being about 2 microns in diameter. The formulation looks milky, because it contains millions of tiny conidia floating in the suspension. After application to a surface, the conidia cannot be seen by the human eye. Similarly, when they are picked up by bed bugs, it is not possible to see the conidia on the surface of the bed bugs. Once the bed bug has become infected, the conidia grow inside the body of the bed bug, making it sluggish and inactive. Within 3-7 days, the bed bug will die. Bed bugs that have been killed by Aprehend® look the same as bed bugs killed by dust or chemicals.
CAN I BUY APREHEND® FOR USE IN MY HOME?
No, Aprehend® is only supplied to Licensed Pest Controllers. Application of Aprehend® requires specific spray equipment, it cannot be applied with standard ‘high volume’ sprayers. All pest controllers who purchase Aprehend® must take an online training course to ensure that they are familiar with the use of fungal biopesticides, and the application strategy required for successful bed bug control. The Aprehend® spray applicator must also be purchased along with the first bottles of product.
As you can see. This product has been proven in the lab and in homes.
How will we be using this? Clearly, no one wants to wait several weeks for the bed bugs to be eliminated. To avoid a delay, we will also be using a new form of steam technology for the direct kill of bed bugs. We will continue to also use a low toxicity food grade dust for in the wall voids and other areas where steam won’t work.
Hitting the bed bug from three different fronts will not only eliminate the current problem, but it also helps prevent new activity. By incorporating Apprehend, we ensure any deep pockets are eliminated without relying on a shorter list of chemicals or potentially damaging high heat.
Many are asking if there is still a pre-service prep. Yes, there is. It is not as complicated as a pre-prep for chemical use. The following is the method recommended by the manufacturer based on University Studies.
Aprehend™ pre-treatment preparation
For best results, follow the preparation instructions below, more time spent on proper preparation will be rewarded with faster results.
• Remove all sheets, covers, dust ruffles, comforters, pillows, or any other bedding covers from your mattress and box spring in all bedrooms. Wash all bed linens in the hottest water possible and then run through a hot dryer cycle for a minimum of 40 minutes
• All clothes, on floors and hanging over chairs should be picked up and washed as above, place in a large garbage bag sealed at the top until the treatment has been completed.
• De-clutter, this will assist in removing potential bed bug harborages. Check items for signs of infestation. Cardboard is a favored harborage for bed bugs, dispose of any unwanted packaging materials to remove these harborage sites from your home.
• Do not re-arrange furniture other than moving items three feet away from the walls. It is not necessary to remove clean clothing items from draws or cupboards unless these items are clearly heavily infested (visible bed bugs).
• Keep beds pulled out from the wall until bed bugs have been eradicated. All other furniture items can be returned to their original position after treatment.
• Cabin beds/beds with built-in storage. Remove all clothing items from these storage areas and launder and dry at high heat. Items can be replaced after treatment.
• Vacuum baseboards to remove dust build-up from these areas. Remove the vacuum cleaner bag or contents of the canister, place in a plastic bag, and dispose of in the trash can outside your apartment/home.
• In order to give the treatment time to work, do not clean or remove the spray barriers that have been applied. In most cases, barriers will have been applied in areas that are not normally accessed, but if infestation was suspected behind baseboards or electrical outlets, for example, a 2” spray barrier will
have been applied on the wall above or around these installations respectively. Under certain lighting conditions, these barriers may be visible. Leave these in place until you are certain that the infestation has been eradicated. The barrier will remain active for up to 3 months if left undisturbed but can be easily removed with detergent and water, or disposable disinfectant wipes when required.
• Please allow 3 to 4 weeks after the treatment for it to be completely effective. Bed bugs may not leave their harborages for a number of days after treatment, and nymphs hatching from eggs will not be affected until they cross a spray barrier. However, all bed bugs will die within 3-7 days after crossing a treated surface.