Can ivermectin assist exterminate mattress bugs? – examine


The popular antiparasitic drug ivermectin, which was also once mistakenly touted as a possible cure for COVID-19, may actually have another secret and groundbreaking use: killing bed bugs, according to a recent study.

While ivermectin isn’t effective in curing the deadly coronavirus that has been spreading across the world since 2020, it may be able to help address another issue plaguing people around the world.

The results of this study were published in the peer-reviewed journal Parasite and Vector.

Ivermectin: Can it save us all? But from bed bugs, not from COVID-19

Ivermectin is used to treat or prevent parasites in animals and is often referred to as a “horse wormer.” In fact, the drug can also be used to kill fleas and ticks on pets.

Ivermectin (Credit: REUTERS)

Ivermectin is also useful for humans as it can be used to treat parasitic worms, lice, and other skin conditions in humans. The formulations for animals are chemically different from those for humans.

While its heavy involvement in the COVID-19 controversy has tarnished the drug’s reputation, ivermectin is actually a very effective antiparasitic treatment.

Here’s how ivermectin can help humanity fight bed bugs?

What are bed bugs? Are they dangerous? How can we stop them?

Known by the scientific name Cimex lectularius, Bed bugs are one of the worst “pests” the earth has to offerespecially for humans.

Bed bugs can be found anywhere in the world where people live live. They are very small, sometimes only a millimeter long, and therefore very difficult to see. But they can exist practically anywhere.

Bed bugs can be found in your bed at home, on train seats, in your office, on luxury cruises, in hospitals, on airplanes and more.

And not only that, even if you don’t feel them there, they could end up in your luggage or in your bedding or clothing. You can be anywhere.

These small pests are parasitic and humans are their main hosts. However, they do not live on the human body. Rather, they only come when it’s time to eat, consuming blood by biting through skin.

This leads to the development of very irritating bites that can be extremely itchy and visible.

Luckily it doesn’t get any worse unless you’re having an allergic reaction, but it can still be extremely debilitating to daily living.

Arguably bed bug bites can be treated as there is no full scientific consensus as to whether these treatments actually work, but in any case only existing bites and the symptoms are treated, which can go away by themselves in about a week or two. It doesn’t get rid of the bed bugs. This is a far more difficult challenge that some end up believing is impossible.

To get rid of the parasites, it may be important to thoroughly vacuum, scrape and seal all fabrics and furniture to prevent reinfestation. All garments would either have to be washed in water of at least 60 degrees Celsius or frozen at -20 degrees Celsius.

For mattresses, you would have to steam them to at least 60 degrees Celsius and then heat the entire room or tent, if that’s where the infestation is, to at least 55 degrees Celsius.

And even then it still can’t work.

Do you want to use pesticides? Good luck with it. These tend to be far less effective than non-chemical solutions, and there is considerable evidence that some bed bugs have begun to resist common insecticide solutions.

And with bug infestations increasing since the 1990s, finding a way to get rid of them is extremely important.

And that’s where ivermectin comes in.

How Can Ivermectin Eradicate Bed Bugs?

The study, by researchers at North Carolina State University, looked at ivermectin and another antiparasitic, fluralaner, to see if they could kill bed bugs.

The study was conducted because bed bugs were present in another seemingly random location: poultry farms. It’s completely unclear how bed bugs, which normally only feed on humans, got there in the first place.

Given that poultry farms are far less easy to clean than a house, and because chemical solutions tend not to be as effective on bed bugs, a solution is needed to kill them.

Granted, there once was a way to kill bed bugs on poultry farms: dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). However, this particular insecticide is highly illegal in the US and in many other countries around the world, due in part to its effects on birds, which have caused eggshells to thin and populations to decline drastically.

But one method the North Carolina State University scientists wanted to try was known as xenointoxication. This is a method in which the host is treated to kill the parasites rather than infecting the environment to kill the parasites directly. Essentially, the parasites bite the skin, but instead of just eating regular blood, they end up eating the antiparasitic.

Xenointoxication is widespread in humans and animals and has been used to control mosquitoes, ticks, mites and fleas.

Ivermctin and fluralaner are both used by xenointoxication. So the researchers decided to test these two in chickens, which currently harbor many of these bed bugs on the farms when humans are unavailable, to see if they could be used to kill bed bugs.

What did the results say? Did they show how ivermectin can finally save us from bed bugs?

Unfortunately, not. But fluralans maybe.

While ivermectin caused bed bug deaths a few days after feeding, this was still ineffective as this effect did not last long.

However, there may be a few reasons for this. For example, the chickens can metabolize or clear ivermectin from their bodies very quickly. This is supported by blood tests showing how ivermectin appeared to be cleared from the chickens very quickly. This is remarkable since chickens, like all birds, have a far higher metabolic rate than humans.

However, Fluralaner was much more effective and, if further research is successful, could be an effective means of combating bed bugs.

In other words, ivermectin probably cannot be used to control bed bug infestations on poultry farms, although fluralaner can, especially when fluralaner is added to the chicken’s drinking water.

And maybe with further research down this path we finally have a way to defeat the scourge of bed bugs once and for all.