Utah Pests News Winter 2009-10

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The following can be found on our Web site:

Raspberry Horntail 
Community Grasshopper Control


Parents of school-age children should become aware of reducing or eliminating harmful chemicals in Utah’s schools. Get involved by visiting the EPA’s IPM in Schools, or the University of Florida’s School IPM Web sites to learn about helping to keep your child’s school healthy.


Diane Alston 
Entomology Specialist  

Ryan Davis
Insect Diagnostician 

Marion Murray
IPM Project Leader 
Editor, Utah Pests News

Cory Vorel
USU CAPS Coordinator

Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
BNR Room 203
Utah State University
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

Utah Pests News is published quarterly by the UTAH PESTS staff. 





Additional articles in this issue:

Turfgrass Insect Pests of Utah

Encouraging Native Pollinators in Your Yard and Garden

In the Spotlight: Are Native Plants Resistant to Pests?

On the Lookout for Invasive Tree Fruit and Landscape Pests

News, Publications, and Websites


Battling Bed Bugs in Utah

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”  All people know this phrase, and the harsh reality of its meaning is becoming known once again.  Over the past decade, reports of bed bugs (Cimicidae: Cimex lectularius) throughout North America and abroad have been on the rise.  Accordingly, bed bug submissions to the UPPDL have also been increasing.  This article will briefly explain the recent resurgence of bed bugs, and considerations for selecting a pest control company to eradicate bed bug problems.


In the 1920s and 1930s, Americans were plagued by bed bugs.  Some reports stated that one out of every three homes was infested.  People could pick up unwanted bugs on buses, taxis, in the movie theater, and just about anywhere.  But in the early 1950s, bed bugs disappeared from the developed world’s radar, thanks to new insecticides like DDT, and improved living standards.  DDT applications in homes, hotels, transportation vehicles, and health care facilities would kill bed bugs for several months to over a year.

Due to the elimination DDT and the increase in world travel, bed bugs started a resurgence in the 1990s, with increasing reports of infestations in the last few years.  Today’s insecticides are not up to the challenge of effectively controlling bed bugs, largely because pesticide manufacturers have not had to create chemicals to battle these pests, and because of resistance to the few products that are registered for use.  Because of increased travel, people are unknowingly transporting bed bugs all over the world, and even into their own homes.

Top:  Bed bugs can be found in a variety of life stages (instars), often huddled together.

Middle: Adult bed bugs feed for about 15 minutes before they become engorged to three times their size.

Bottom: Blood-like excrement emitted from a feeding bed bug will stain sheets and mattresses, and can be used to detect the presence of an active bed bug infestation.


The first thing you need to understand is that bed bugs are a very difficult indoor pest to eliminate. Their biology and habits are geared toward survival, and standard management practices that work on most indoor pests are not applicable to bed bugs.  Eliminating bed bugs will take two to three visits from a pest control professional.  Proper treatments are expensive, time consuming, and require your commitment.

If you find a suspected bed bug, have it identified.  There are many look-alikes, as well as closely related species that should be treated in a different manner than bed bugs—most notably western bat bugs (Cimex pilosellus).  Once identified, begin looking for a pest control company; do not try eliminating bed bugs on your own.  You will not succeed.

You should obtain at least three bids to determine the pest control professional that works for you.  Do not be swayed by the cheapest bid.  Eliminating bed bugs is intensive, expensive, and takes trained, experienced professionals to get the job done properly.

Do your homework before selecting a pest control company and ask questions.  The company you select should provide a well thought-out management plan, but should not claim to eliminate bed bugs 100% (unless they use whole-structure fumigation).  Other characteristics of a successful pest control company include:

  • proven track record for bed bug removal
  • educates clients on bed bugs and the treatment process
  • informs client of responsibilities up-front, which should include washing and bagging clothes and linens, and emptying drawers and closets
  • treats and inspects a minimum of two times, and possibly more than three
  • uses multiple formulations of insecticides (liquids, dusts, and aerosols)
  • performs a detailed inspection before every application and after the final application
  • takes detailed notes during spray treatments and inspections
  • vacuums and steam cleans carpets, mattresses, box springs, and furniture
  • runs a staff of well-trained technicians
  • affiliated with a professional pest management association
  • licensed and insured

To help facilitate successful elimination of bed bugs and to prevent reintroduction, you should plan to supplement the professional treatment with the following tactics:

  • vacuum frequently and remove bag or empty canister regularly as vacuums can distribute bed bugs
  • purchase bed-bug proof mattress and box spring covers
  • use hot water to launder clothes and linens
  • minimize clutter

As a homeowner, business owner, landlord, facilities manager, etc., it is important to have realistic expectations concerning bed bug management.  Unless you employ whole-structure fumigation, treatment for bed bugs will be rigorous, involving multiple, thorough inspections and insecticidal treatments, cooperation and understanding, the use of supplemental integrated pest management tactics, and tolerance for the bugs while the program is implemented.

For an in-depth discussion of bed bug history, biology, control tactics and more, please see the updated Bed Bug fact sheet, or contact Ryan Davis at the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab (ryan.davis@usu.edu).

-Ryan Davis, Arthropod Diagnostician

Utah Pests Welcomes New CAPS Coordinator

This fall, Cory Vorel started as the Utah State University Cooperative Agricultural Pests Survey Coordinator.  Along with Clint Burfitt, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food CAPS Coordinator, Cory administers the CAPS program, which monitors for invasive pests throughout the State.  In addition, Cory is teaching a variety of workshops, writing fact sheets, and participating in other Extension activities. She recently attended a conference on thousand cankers disease of walnut trees, an emerging threat of black and English walnuts.

Cory is originally from Ogden, and she received her B.S. in Zoology from Weber State University.  More recently, she completed her doctorate with the Department of Biology at Utah State University.  Her dissertation research was completed at the USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory in Logan, where she studied learning, nest selection, and dispersal of solitary bees.  Nowadays she can be found in VSB 317, or you can drop her an email at cory.vorel@usu.edu.

Featured Picture of the Quarter

California prionus beetle is a large root boring beetle that attacks many deciduous trees and shrubs.  Prionus has been a problem on cherry and peach trees growing in sandy soils in northern Utah.  Entomologist Diane Alston is researching different monitoring techniques using lures and traps to get a better understanding of the beetle flight period and the potential for mass-trapping and mating disruption.

-Utah Pests archive image