Pests like termites, roaches, ants, beetles are a nuisance to people and cause damage to a number of industries. Apart from these insects, bed bugs are a large problem and cause inconvenience and damage.
Bedbugs are found in a number of locations including homes, household furniture, office buildings and most commonly in hotels and transport like trains, buses etc. The railways are one of the most infested areas of bedbugs.
These insects are small, brownish and flattened and can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Adult female bedbugs can give about 500 eggs during and the eggs take a week to hatch. Bedbugs can develop fully in a month.
In houses bedbugs are found in mattresses, bed frames, furniture, wall cracks and even in electrical switches. Bedbug bites result in skin rashes and allergic symptoms. They cause inconvenience and problems.
Bedbugs are difficult to control. A bedbug infestation may take weeks or months before it is discovered and the infestation which can lead to increase in bedbugs. Presence of eggs and spots is a sign of bedbugs.
Railways are largely affected by bedbug infestations. The Southern railways in India are one of the most affected. There have been a number of cases in which passengers had to face inconvenience due to bed bug infestation on the seating and berthing in the AC compartments.
Control of Bedbugs
Bedbugs are difficult to get rid of. These insects can remain in a structure for years. A thorough inspection is required to determine the presence of bedbugs. Various methods of removal for bedbugs have been used but even with multiple methods removal of bedbugs is difficult.
Bedbugs can live in any location and are mainly found in cracks. They are attracted to wood and fabric materials.
Disposal of infested materials
The disposal of the infested material is done in case of severe infestations. However this method is inconvenient and expensive and causes loss of the materials.
Vacuuming of bedbugs has also been used as a method of removal. Vacuuming can pick up bed bugs, but bed bug eggs are not removed as they are sticky and remain on surfaces. This method is not effective and can also be a source of bed bug distribution.
Bedbugs are not killed by vacuuming and can remain in the interiors of vacuum cleaners and spread.
Toxic pesticides are applied to the cracks and areas which contain bedbugs. However bedbugs are resistant to most pyrethroid pesticides. The powders or dust are difficult to apply and are also toxic and affect people. They release toxic fumes and are dangerous.
Treatments with aerosols are ineffective against well-hidden bed bugs and can cause a fire hazard.
Dry Steam is also used to tackle the bedbug problem. Steam must be at least 113 degrees Fahrenheit. However this method is expensive and can also cause hazards around electrical outlets. It is also inconvenient to use. Portable heaters and fans are used to heat the air.
Heating of the infested materials in special equipment has also been used. However this method is not suitable for large scale applications ad may not get rid of all bed bugs
Heat treatment is inconvenient to use and requires special equipment. Higher temperatures can damage furnishings and electronic equipment. Heat treatment also does not prevent a structure from being re-infested after it is heat treated.
Cold treatment, using cold air on the materials has been used but has limited efficacy. Equipment using spot freezing has also been used to treat areas with bed bugs. However this method does not remove all bedbugs and prevent against infestation.
Baits have been used to trap bedbugs. The bait is a container which is placed under furniture. The bed bugs climb on to the bait and are trapped, they cannot move out due to the slippery surface of the container. This method is not suitable for large scale use and is not effective in the removal of bedbugs.
An effective solution is required to prevent bedbug infestations. Termirepel™ is a non toxic, non hazardous, anti termite and anti insect aversive.
Termirepel™ has been tested in the Indian railways with favourable results. The pantry coaches and walls of the coaches were coated with a lacquer and paint solution and the coaches were put in running condition. The coaches were inspected every 3 months and there were no pests found as compared to untreated coaches.
Termirepel™ can be used in berthing and seating in railways. It can also be used a lacquer coating for wooden materials to protect against pests.
Termirepel™ can be effectively used for a number of applications in masterbatch as well as coating form to repel bedbugs.