The Huffington Post recently reported that Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) found that Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, was fatal to bed bugs. The oral pill would be attractive to scientists and exterminators due to the difficulty of eradicating bed bugs, but does it work?
Ivermectin is a common ingredient in heartworm medication for dogs. It is used to treat a number of parasites in humans such as roundworms and lice. It is not approved for use to treat bed bugs at this time.
This drug is currently used to treat ectoparasites, or parasites that live outside the body and are generally concentrated in a specific area so they are easily dosed. Bed bugs are also ectoparasites, but they come to the body to feed only about once a week and spend the rest of the time hiding in mattresses, cracks and holes. This could cause Ivermectin to be less effective since the insects may not be exposed to the drug unless used for long periods. In addition, bed bugs have grown resistant to a number of insecticides including DDT and pyrethroids.
While Ivermectin appears to be effective at killing bed bugs, it will require more testing before it can be applied. According to Johnathan Sheele, an emergency room doctor and the lead author on the EVMS study, it shows promise “when used alongside, concurrently, with professional exterminators, , or as a standalone treatment for smaller introductions.”
If you find evidence of bed bugs in your home or apartment, it is important to seek the advice of a pest control expert. Do not try to address the issue yourself. For general information about bedbugs, please visit Bedbugs 101.
Tags: Bed Bug Pill, Bed bugs, Ivermectin, Pest Control