Poisoning the Guest
January 1, 2013 7:46 AM   Subscribe

Pill Could Join Arsenal Against Bedbugs You take the pill and go to bed — perchance even to sleep, if you can sleep knowing how patiently bedbugs wait in your walls or mattress, sniffing for the sweet stream of your exhaled carbon dioxide and for your warm skin to grow still. You let them bite you. And then — in a few days — they die.
posted by R. Mutt (99 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
a TRULY happy new year would NOT start with bedbugs... just sayin'
posted by HuronBob at 7:48 AM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Interesting... Two things I'd be worried about would be side effects from repeated use and of there is any way bed bugs could become immune to this stuff.
posted by Artw at 7:49 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with this plan except EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PLAN.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:51 AM on January 1, 2013 [26 favorites]


And then — in a few days — they die.
And then — in a few years — they're resistant.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on January 1, 2013 [22 favorites]


There is nothing wrong with this plan except EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS PLAN.

I dunno, I basically do the same thing to the kitty every time he has his flea stuff- he becomes a roving poisoner of any of his little freinds he's deposited around the place.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on January 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


These bugs can't be killed by anything except extremely high heat, and can survive without food for up to two years. You want to me to kill them by ingesting a pill that will permeate my body with a poison that even they can't handle? Nope. Nope nope nope.
posted by reformedjerk at 7:59 AM on January 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh, yes. I love the idea of my very blood being a caustic bed-bug killing brew. I can just imagine, the hardy little fuckers climbing out of the cracks in which they sleep. Laughing at me and my impotence before their near-immortal exoskeletal might, they crawl onto my skin, and - still grinning at my powerlessness - start drinking my sweet, sweet blood.

But... what's this? It's a trick you little arthropod assholes! The poison was coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.

As I wake and see their twitching corpses, chloride gated channels firing wildly I let out a mighty roar of victory. Even sleeping I have triumphed.
posted by atrazine at 7:59 AM on January 1, 2013 [81 favorites]


When I first saw this link, I misread it as football news from England and thought, "I didn't know West Ham. was called the Bedbugs. I wonder who this Pill is?"
posted by klangklangston at 8:01 AM on January 1, 2013 [82 favorites]


"When I first saw this link, I misread it as football news from England and thought, "I didn't know West Ham. was called the Bedbugs. I wonder who this Pill is?"

It may be tomorrow before I stop laughing at this....
posted by HuronBob at 8:03 AM on January 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Will young French star Bernard Pill be the defensive midfield solution that Arsenal so desperately needs? This and more at the half.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:07 AM on January 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


Per the article, reformedjerk, ivermectin attacks a sodium signaling channel that doesn't exist in humans. Normally you just take the stuff for a couple days, every worm in your body dies, and voila, you're disease-free. Pretty amazing stuff, really. And it's been shown that accidental massive doses aren't visibly harmful in any way. But what they're concerned about is taking the stuff for a long time, because normally it's just one or two doses. They don't have data on prolonged exposure.

Bedbugs aren't magical. They're hard to kill because they hide really well, and are fairly resistant to pyrethrins, our usual family of contact insecticides. They'll often stay hidden for long enough that residue from sprays evaporates too much to kill them. DDT, of course, kills them dead, dead, dead, but since we don't allow the use of DDT anymore, they're back.

They're not hyper-tough, they're just good at dodging our usual bug remedies. And they don't live two years without eating. I'm pretty sure I read they can last almost a year if the temps are very low the entire time (the 40s), but only a few months if it's warmer.
posted by Malor at 8:07 AM on January 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


Perhaps Arsenal should not have been capitalized in the title. (And I'd rather just boil the bedsheets instead, thanks)
posted by infini at 8:09 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


This will all go well, until the strange poison coursing through our veins, coupled with the saliva of mutant bedbugs, changes us into curious pre-human shapes, and we rise up, ravening for delight, to end the rule of humanity and bring a New Era on the Earth.

Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing, and, you know, fuck bedbugs.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:09 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I read "You take the pill and go to bed —" and thought it meant The Pill.
Now I am sad.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:12 AM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I also thought this was something to do with the January trade window.
posted by Flashman at 8:18 AM on January 1, 2013


From the title, I also thought this was a football post.
posted by marienbad at 8:20 AM on January 1, 2013


RTFA, it's been safely used for years to rid humans of parasites.
posted by Mick at 8:24 AM on January 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dislike soccer all you want, but they're very talented athletes, not parasites.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:26 AM on January 1, 2013 [18 favorites]


Well they certainly need someone to replace Van Persie. Will Wenger splash any cash this transfer window? Of course he will.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:34 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and Gervinho falls further down the pecking order. "I just want to play," said the striker as he tried to wedge his massive forehead beneath the mattress. The heavy duvet muffled the Ivorian's sobbing.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:46 AM on January 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


I would try this in a hot minute if I had a significant bedbug problem. It's like Advantage for humans! Hell, maybe applying 6 doses of Advantage to your own neck would work.

don't apply six doses of Advantage to your own neck
posted by Justinian at 8:48 AM on January 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


And then — in a few years — they're resistant.

Will scientists never learn from Jurassic Park? Life finds a way, dammit.
posted by tracert at 8:56 AM on January 1, 2013


The evening before pill?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:58 AM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


This stuff can't be worse for you than inhalation of diatomaceous earth and people use that stuff all the time. Silicosis is no joke.
posted by Justinian at 8:58 AM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Perhaps we need to ask a few brave librarians to volunteer.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:04 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Silicosis sounds like a future disease from a Gibson novel. When your implants go bad you start to get toxic Silicosis. The only cure is full replacement at an illegal clinic in Chiba City.
posted by tracert at 9:07 AM on January 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


This stuff can't be worse for you than DDT and there are a lot of people calling for the ban on DDT to be lifted in order to combat these creatures.
posted by three blind mice at 9:13 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to admit that part of the appeal of this approach is that it reminds me of a scene in the comic book Hellblazer during Garth Ennis' run. John Constantine has had a rough go of it because of his girlfriend leaving and he's homeless and boozing hard, and the king of the vampires has come to gloat before drinking Constantine's blood. He goes in for the bite... and then his jaw falls off, because he didn't know about that one time when Constantine got an infusion of demon blood. (Constantine finished him off by dragging him out into the light of the rising sun, then pissing on him. It's great.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:25 AM on January 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


Can I ..um... have a taste of some of that?
posted by infini at 9:26 AM on January 1, 2013


I thought bed bugs were already showing signs of being DDT-resistant?

Today’s bed bugs are highly resistant to most pesticides, including ones such as DDT that worked well decades ago.
posted by armacy at 9:30 AM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since DDT's been tangentially mentioned in this thread, it's important to understand that bedbugs became DDT resistant a long time ago.
posted by Dimpy at 9:32 AM on January 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Constantine finished him off by dragging him out into the light of the rising sun, then pissing on him. It's great.

Being dragged back into the main DC universe won't change him AT ALL.

(mainly because everyone there is like that now)
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


No pill will keep Walcott from leaving, sorry Gooners.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:42 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why not just give the afflicted people flea collars?
posted by JHarris at 10:12 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll tell you why not...
posted by infini at 10:17 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


They might get caught in branches.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on January 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


Great idea! Now please develop the mosquito variant -- although I want those insects to die (horribly, painfully) after a few seconds, not days -- so I can watch, as well as the mosquito's sisters, who'll hopefully learn from the experience.
posted by Rash at 10:30 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So they admit that it's unlikely that all of the bugs would end up biting the person taking this, at least not right away. And since the bite alone can cause an allergic reaction in some people, as someone who has dermatographic urticaria (hives caused by scratching itches, basically), I can say that this is probably not for me... But let's hope I never have to find out.
posted by limeonaire at 10:36 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's important to understand that bedbugs became DDT resistant a long time ago.

But that hasn't stopped people from calling for the re-instatement of DDT. It's clear that some people are willing to adopt extreme measures to eradicate these pests and in that light xenointoxication doesn't seem so radical.
posted by three blind mice at 10:49 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about a warmed pig bladder of poisoned blood, with a little dry ice on a plate to the side? Why does the poisoned bait have to be a live human?
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:52 AM on January 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Sadly I would be the best candidate for bait for the mosquito version. The little fuckers love my flesh like Nothing else.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kind of like the idea of my blood being poison; it makes me feel a little like a xenomorph.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:57 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm shooting up your bug powder. You might like to try it yourself. Or you might not.
posted by adipocere at 11:09 AM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


How about a warmed pig bladder of poisoned blood, with a little dry ice on a plate to the side? Why does the poisoned bait have to be a live human?

I think the poisoned pig blood may even be an extra step: the blood is what the bugs are after, but they find it by searching for the carbon dioxide of exhalations. I wonder if blowing up a balloon and fixing it on the floor with a ring of something lethal (diatomaceous earth) or entrapping (Vaseline) around it might not work.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:10 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


And then — in a few days — they die.

And then — in a few nights — they take me away in a straightjacket.
posted by Splunge at 11:23 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm shooting up your bug powder. You might like to try it yourself. Or you might not.

I'll hold off until the mugwump jism gets passed around.
posted by jquinby at 11:25 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: Will young French star Bernard Pill be the defensive midfield solution that Arsenal so desperately needs? This and more at the half.

This fits in quite nicely with my watching of all the Monty Python shows over the holidays. To be read in Eric Idle's voice.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:28 AM on January 1, 2013


I could see high end hotels hiring bedbug pill takers to sleep in infested rooms.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:46 AM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ivermectin? Seriously? Ask a sheep farmer about how well persistent doses of ivermectin work on parasite populations over a couple of seasons.
posted by stet at 11:51 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not too good?
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on January 1, 2013


If your big plan contains the step, "Then you let them bite you," that's a non-starter for me.
posted by emelenjr at 11:55 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't it be trivial to put this stuff in a body-temperature, soft skinned, CO2 emitting decoy? Why should anyone have to ingest insecticides? Are you telling me that bedbugs are too clever to fool?
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:58 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be trivial to put this stuff in a body-temperature, soft skinned, CO2 emitting decoy?

You don't need insecticides at that point, you can just physically trap the bed bugs.

If making a cost effect CO2 emitting decoy is trivial you should be able to make megabucks selling it to both home customers and hotels in affected areas. That nobody has done so indicates to me that making a CO2 emitter either isn't as easy or isn't as effective as it might seem.

Should be easy to test, though. Put some dry ice in a bowl on the floor surrounded by that sticky stuff used for silverfish. If there are stuck bed bugs in the morning you have proof of concept.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, it works very well as a program for breeding resistant intestinal worms. The consensus is that you want to either dose your sheep with a cocktail of antibiotics or rotate their pasture. I would be lying if I said I fail to find the concept of rotating Brooklyn hipsters through a series of apartments failed to amuse...

There might, of course, be something fundamental about bedbugs that prevents this from happening in this case and I certainly hope there is. But still, rotating hipsters!
posted by stet at 12:17 PM on January 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


I smell RomCom.
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


It would be better if bedbugs were smart enough to realize that your blood was what poisoned them, and before their agonized (AGONIZED) death throes they put out a newsletter to all the other bedbugs, which in turn kill themselves in an agonizing (AGONIZING) way because they are defeated.

I don't like bedbugs.
posted by angrycat at 12:28 PM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


They need to combine this with something that would attract bedbugs.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 12:45 PM on January 1, 2013


Should be easy to test, though. Put some dry ice in a bowl on the floor surrounded by that sticky stuff used for silverfish.

Yabbut doesn't it have to be warm? Dry ice is not very warm, IME.

I smell RomCom.

It looks like she'll marry the successful asshole, but in the end, she winds up with the guy everyone can see is right for her: the CO2-emitting insecticidal decoy.
posted by kenko at 12:47 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


This thread is like a novel with three interlocking plots, none of which resolve at the end. In other words, exactly why reading Metafilter is such a fucking delight.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 1:06 PM on January 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


It looks like she'll marry the successful asshole, but in the end, she winds up with the guy everyone can see is right for her: the CO2-emitting insecticidal decoy.

So, it's an Adam Sandler movie, then.
posted by hippybear at 1:15 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


If making a cost effect CO2 emitting decoy is trivial you should be able to make megabucks selling it to both home customers and hotels in affected areas.

It actually is trivial to make a cost-effective CO2-emitting bedbug trap using only an insulated jug full of dry-ice, an inverted dog-bowl, and baby-powder (video, PDF). Such a trap has been observed to catch over 1,000 bugs a night (academic presentation PDF on this and other bedbug-detection methods), and is an effective way of detecting bedbug infestations.

Unfortunately, I've seen no literature indicating that such a trap will actually control or eradicate an infestation, despite being very effective at catching large numbers of bedbugs: it seems to fool some of the bedbugs some of the time, but it doesn't fool all the bedbugs all the time.
posted by Dimpy at 1:22 PM on January 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


I am hesitant about this in theory.

However, I have suffered through a bedbug infestation and I can tell you that in practice I would have shoveled fistfuls of this shit into my mouth, and probably would have snorted it and shot it up as well. Because FUCK YOU BEDBUGS DIE DIE DIE YOU GROSS BUGS SUFFER AND DIE AND GO TO HELL GGGGGRRRRAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHWWWWWWWAAAAARRRRRBBBAAARRRGGLE
posted by louche mustachio at 1:24 PM on January 1, 2013 [22 favorites]


I don't want them to just die. I mean, yes, let's poison ourselves and let these fuckers drink deep from a poisoned chalice. But I want them to really understand that what they did was wrong. I want them to feel great remorse and understand the suffering they caused before their little jointed limbs curl up beneath their segmented abdomens. And an apology for the whole traumatic insemination thing would also be appreciated.
posted by Auden at 1:25 PM on January 1, 2013 [17 favorites]


To Kill A Single Bedbug I Would Fill My Blood With Knives And Caltrops
posted by Greg Nog at 1:34 PM on January 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


According to twitter Gervinho is out for 3 weeks after head-butting the floor of his bedroom.
posted by fullerine at 1:36 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love bedbug hate. Hate with me my fellow haters. HATE. Our passion shall fuel homes, towns, nations!
posted by angrycat at 1:38 PM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Amateurs. I take a small neutron-bomb pill before I go to bed each night.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:40 PM on January 1, 2013


[and by small, I mean with respect to the size of your average neutron bomb. Compared to other pills, small isn't how I'd describe it]
posted by b1tr0t at 1:41 PM on January 1, 2013


What would make this pill even better is if it could somehow prevent well meaning friends and other assorted would-be well wishers from making bedbug jokes and giving you bedbug related gifts after you have suffered through an infestation. People did that for years afterward and oh holy shit that was awful. Oh thank you so much for this hilarious PTSD triggering, nightmare inducing novelty, that was so thoughtful of you, you really shouldn't have. REALLY.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:49 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, it might not prevent that but you should put it in their food anyway, just to find out.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It actually is trivial to make a cost-effective CO2-emitting bedbug trap using only an insulated jug full of dry-ice

As you say, that's a detection trap only. Because dry ice isn't stable at temperatures in a home freezer it is impossible for households to keep reasonable amounts on hand, so you can only buy enough dry ice to last a single night at a time. That's not at all useful even as a supplement to other methods of eradication.

A CO2 emitting trap which lasts for weeks at a time might well be a different matter. It might prevent bites even if it can't completely murderdeathkill all the little fuckers.
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on January 1, 2013


I wonder if a CO2 rig for planted aquariums could be substituted for dry ice. One of these, hooked up to one of these or these (if you need a year's worth of CO2) in a bowl of soapy water set on top of one of these and voila, a warm, liquid filled CO2 emitting bedbug trap.
posted by jamaro at 2:29 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does it produce enough CO2?
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on January 1, 2013


Also, you could test the trap w/o investing in an expensive CO2 tank, just make your own CO2 supply with yeast, sugar, water and a soda bottle.

On preview: one can regulate the flow of CO2 out of a tank rather easily with a regulator. It can certainly pump out more CO2 than a person's exhalation could, if you wanted it cranked up that high.
posted by jamaro at 2:36 PM on January 1, 2013


Could one make a nighttime breathing mask/hose assembly to trap exhalations and expel them outside to prevent detection by bedbugs, or does enough carbon dioxide get emitted through skin that this would not be effective?
posted by eviemath at 3:39 PM on January 1, 2013


I smell RomCom

This is not where I expected a sheep joke to end up, but okay.
posted by stet at 3:49 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


louche moustachio, you need new friends. Or a more fearsome visage, such as the one a bedbug-infested friend lasered me with, when I offered a remedy from a ca. 1900 housekeeping manual: simply insert each foot of the bedframe in a tin can half-filled with kerosene.

Not a word was said, nor needed to be. Bedbugs are no. laughing. matter.
posted by dogrose at 4:00 PM on January 1, 2013


FUCK NO THEY SURE AREN'T.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:03 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


No need to use kerosene, that sounds dangerous. When I had bedbugs six years ago, I put each leg of my bed in a tupperware full of soapy water. The soap eliminates surface tension so the bug sinks instead of floats. This plus encasements for my box spring made a big difference.

And yea, fuck bedbugs. They are sneaky little bastards, I found them hiding in the frames of paintings, in the screw holes on the bottom of my futon, inside electrical sockets, etc. I had to hunt them down one by one, bombing with insecticide did nothing. If I'd known worm pills could help I'd have eaten them by the handful, and to hell with concerns about resistance.
posted by foobaz at 5:01 PM on January 1, 2013


On preview: one can regulate the flow of CO2 out of a tank rather easily with a regulator. It can certainly pump out more CO2 than a person's exhalation could, if you wanted it cranked up that high.

All you guys talking about cranking up the CO2 at night haven't seen that CSI episode where one college kid accidentally kills another with dry ice, have you? Do this in a small enough bedroom and it isn't just the bedbugs that are going to have a problem.
posted by limeonaire at 5:19 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ivermectin is pretty well tolerated by humans. Merck makes the stuff and (since 1988 or so) has been sending absolute buckets of it to places that are beset with disfiguring and icky tropical diseases like lymphatic filariasis and river blindness. From the NIH: "Ivermectin is the essential mainstay of two global disease elimination campaigns that should soon rid the world of two of its most disfiguring and devastating diseases, Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis, which blight the lives of billions of the poor and disadvantaged throughout the tropics. " In a brief google, I couldn't find anything on fatalities from ivermectin being administered to literally thousand upon thousands of parasite-ridden folks. (Occasionally people with huge parasite loads suffer additional effects from having that many dead parasites all at once, but odds are good that if you are a first worlder, your parasite load isn't that bad.) The half-life of an oral dose of the stuff in the human body is about twelve hours and studies in mammals show about 90% of the drug is excreted unmetabolized.

I'm not saying that it's completely harmless and certainly, any drug should be fully and carefully studied before being used. A four-person trial on the bedbug issue is not really very much oyster from which to make a stew, that much is certain. But, Ivermectin has been used in *millions* of humans to kill assorted parasites for the last twenty-odd years. If it were horrifically dangerous, we would probably be noticing something by now. Similarly, if it caused severe birth defects (like thalidomide), we would probably be aware of it by now.

Finally, if you have some compelling need for ivermectin and do not have health insurance (for the doctor visit) and a drug plan (for the $40.00 that a human pill prescription costs), enough ivermectin for 5 250-lb people is available without a script from online horse supply places like valley vet or country supply. The cheap generic-ish version is about $2.50 for 1250 lbs of dosage, which brings it to $0.50 per 250-lb dose. (Horse dewormer is formulated to provide 91 mu-grams per lb of animal bodyweight. Ivermectin for people is dosed at 200 mu-grams per kilo of bodyweight. The dosages are equivalent per amount of bodyweight... 91 mu-grams/lb * 2.2 (lbs/kilo)= 200 mu-grams/kilo)

For the record, cheap horse dewormer is annoyingly chemical-flavored but swallow-able. But, this shouldn't matter because it is FOR HORSES. Not people.

I am not a doctor nor is this medical advice of any kind.
posted by which_chick at 6:02 PM on January 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is fucking rad on a number of levels. I would worry about the selective pressure that would be instituted if half of NYC started taking ivermectin regularly, esp. as ivermectin isn't just used to kill worms, it's also used to kill bad cases of scabies, etc. Could be particularly not-so-great for the immunocompromised. Still, bedbugs are a scourge and if this were deployed in a sensible way (i.e., as a second- or third-line treatment) it could be a really powerful weapon.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:11 PM on January 1, 2013


Perhaps we need to ask a few brave librarians to volunteer.

Let him be struck with Bedbugs when he picks up the latest Dan Brown paperback--which he only checked out for research purposes of course--and all his Belongings so blasted. Let him languish in Pain, crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till he sink to Dissolution of too many Lolcats and Brony videos. Let Bedbugs gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment let the strains of "Call Me Maybe" consume him for ever and aye.
posted by librarylis at 6:16 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


And here I thought vish kanyas were a myth!
posted by Soliloquy at 9:44 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it possible for insects over generations to develop tolerance to a “gated chloride channel” that acts as essentially as a nerve agent?

It doesn't seem possible. After all, ivermectin is administered to millions of people around the world, and diseases like river blindness continue to decline - there doesn't seem to be any evidence that various parasites are building up a resistance.

This seems like a cool alternative therapy for a challenging public health problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:37 PM on January 1, 2013


No pill will keep Walcott from leaving, sorry Gooners.

I usually like football until the point where a grown-ass man reminds people he wants 100,000 pounds per week to do his hobby. For that kind of money he had better eradicate bedbugs too said he, tying two of the thread's threads together.
posted by ersatz at 5:35 AM on January 2, 2013


> Is it possible for insects over generations to develop tolerance to a “gated chloride channel” that acts as essentially as a nerve agent?

Absolutely, and ivermectin resistance in human pathogens is a thing. Just not a particularly effective thing at the moment. Still, life finds a way and all that.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2013


I'm just here to say that I love all the DIY CO2 wrangling speculation this thread has created.
posted by cirrostratus at 8:22 AM on January 2, 2013


The lady in that video suggests a 1/3 or 1/2 gallon cooler of dry ice. Based on a density of 1.5 g/cc, that comes to between 4.2 and 6.3 pounds of CO2 for one night. I'm seeing CO2 tanks that are 8" in diameter and 27.5" tall being advertised as 20 pounds, so that would only be 3 or 4 days worth of CO2 at that rate.

Now maybe that amount has more to do with the sublimation rate, i.e. it's what's required to keep it going all night rather than just all melting away in a few hours, a problem you wouldn't have with a tank. I suppose we really need to know the approximate volume of CO2 that an adult expels while sleeping.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:47 AM on January 2, 2013


I think bedbugs are drawn more than just carbon dioxide and the right temperature. There's also, apparently, L-lactic acid, proprionic acid, etc, which indicate warm delicious people.

In the future, we will all be sleeping in hammocks where the two wall connectors are guarded by infrared lasers each night, and during the day the whole thing is removed and put in a box which gently cooks the hammock to 120F.
posted by adipocere at 8:52 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it possible for insects over generations to develop tolerance to a “gated chloride channel” that acts as essentially as a nerve agent?

Sure. A mutation to the channel itself is less likely because those tend to be highly conserved structures, but a mutation to a membrane pumping protein that removes it from the cell is more likely. (In fact, after reading Panjandrum's links, it's already been observed).

Also, the ion channel is usually activated by glutatamate which is a nice, small molecule while ivermectin is a big old hefty fucker of a drug. I could imagine a mutation to the gate protein that allows glutamate to bind [almost] normally while blocking the ivermectin molecule from binding.

Resistance typically comes in the following flavours:
-Pathogen develops the ability to produce a molecule that blocks the active site of the drug (appropriately, this is basically what many drugs do to the pathogens)
-Pathogen develops an enzyme that can destroy the drug. You can recognise these because they have the suffix -ase in them. Beta-lactamases, for instance, destroy Beta-Lactam antibiotics.
-Pathogen develops ability to pump the drug out of the cell.
-Pathogen develops mutation in active site targetted by drug.

The last is the least common because drugs target sites which are metabolically crucial for the pathogen and organisms are not very tolerant of changes in the functioning of these sites so any mutant strain resistant to the drug might be non-viable. The perfect antibiotic or antifungal of course would be one where any mutation that conferred resistance would also be fatal but nature is a bit too resilient for that to work.
posted by atrazine at 9:06 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Googles claims an average human exhales ~2.3 pounds of CO2/day, with output increasing the more active one is. Figure an average of 8 hours of sleep = ~12 oz of CO2, which we'll use as our target output as a bedbug lure; a 20 gallon tank of CO2 should last ~26 nights. This output is quite a bit higher than I use in a planted tank, where a 20gal CO2 tank lasts about a year but not so much as to suffocate anyone (even dumping the entire contents of that tank in a small bedroom in one night wouldn't cause death. I tested this repeatedly throughout college because I used the same size tank trying to hit deadlines for my stupid airbrush class).

Since we don't want the water part of the trap to absorb a big chunk of the CO2, we can either position the diffuser at the surface or we can use a diffuser that makes bigger, less dissolvable bubbles. A standard aquarium airstone should do. You could just leave the end of the tubing bare but I feel like having an airstone on the end would make for a better omnidirectional spread of CO2 and will also be less noisy than a bare tube glub glubing away while you're trying to sleep.

I almost want to find some bedbugs to try this out. For added trappiness, I'd ring the pool of water with Pinguicula.
posted by jamaro at 10:46 AM on January 2, 2013


I almost want to find some bedbugs.

This should neither be written or uttered.
posted by angrycat at 10:54 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


I almost want to find some bedbugs.



NO YOU DO NOT
posted by louche mustachio at 2:24 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about the fucks is that they get into your head, and pretty soon you're finding any reason not to go to bed, and staying up as late as possible and then they come and find you anyway, and then you never EVER EVER EVER feel them crawling on your skin, the only way you feel them is after the topical anesthetic they use to numb their blood sucking begins to wear off and a sort of aura of itchness begins in the area, and that is the moment you need to rip off your clothes and check them for the fuckers, but most likely they like to move away a little bit like under a couch pillow and vibe on the deliciousness of the heroin like high that blood gives them, and if you're quick enough you can catch them between thumb and forefinger as they're lolling about like tiny drunken elephants and go to the freezer which is where you keep a miniature Altoids tin inside a plastic sandwich baggy and throw the fucker into that freezing cold tin where it lays on it's back it's little legs kicking in the air as it realizes it's surrounded by dozens of DEAD DEAD FUCKING STONE COLD DEAD FRIENDS AND FAMILY and pretty soon it's also going to be dead because that miniature Altoids tin is going to be slammed shut and go back in it's baggy and that baggy is going to be wrapped around it and it's going back in the fucking freezer and it's going to freeze to death after it's nice fix of Skygazer blood it's going to die and be FUCKING DEAD.

But, hey, that's the way I handle it. It might not work for everybody, to each his own and all that, I've tried every fucking thing else...

And BTW, I now cover up head to fuckin' toe because they cannot bite through clothes and wear a hood and basically only leave a small area for my mouth and nose when I'm sleeping, also I find if I turn off the heat and it's cold they do not like that at all and will leave me alone. Although I did get bit once on my cheek, and have had bites in other areas of my body that feel the size of a baseball and shaped like continents of itchiness you need to leave alone or they will itch forever, I still have an itch on my elbow that never goes away, I hope I don't get arthritis there from the poison.

Also, they have feeding patterns, certain times of the month more than others, usually of between 4 and 5 AM, but that only works a little while because they'll still find you. I've left the apartment for a few weeks and they do move on, but always eventually return.

But like I said, they get into your head, and that's the worst part, because every tiny itch and every tingle that's the normal workings of the body or some dry skin or whatever turns into a frantic attempt to try and find a BB. I guess in a way I've made my peace after two years of exhaustive proactive stuff and after a while the exterminator won't come back because there's only a certain amount of poison they can lay down at once.

I do know that here in NYC the law says a landlord needs to inform you if the apt has ever had an infestation BEFORE they rent it to you, I was never informed, and indeed there was a problem here, and a problem apt in the building with an elderly alcoholic who was basically sleeping on hundreds of the things before he finally drank himself to death, which like, how fucking sad is that?? Right.

And then the fuckers began to move around the building even more (and they tend to move UP in a building, and I'm on the top floor), and were coming out of my electrical sockets.

I guess I would've given this whole xenointoxication scheme a shot if I could afford it, but I don't think I would stay on it for any amount of time, but losing sleep and losing workdays has put me behind on rent and now the landlord wants to evict me for being behind in rent.

Yeah, so tell me about fucking bedbugs.

If you're already in a delicate place in your life and you cannot move, and your mental and emotional health begins to suffer, it's its own very peculiar and frustrating sort of a Hell.

Maybe this should go in AskMefi, apologies for too much of a derail, but this thing is hard to talk about and this thread has kinda opened up the floodgates.
posted by Skygazer at 9:06 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]



I do know that here in NYC the law says a landlord needs to inform you if the apt has ever had an infestation BEFORE they rent it to you, I was never informed, and indeed there was a problem here



A cursory search tells me that your landlord* is breaking several laws by allowing such a severe infestation to persist.



I am not in New York, so I really don't know that much. There is a tenant hotline number on the Met Council site - I am not sure how much they can help you, but that is something you can try. I am almost positive that you are familiar with bedbugger.com but I will throw that out there just in case - it helped me tremendously.

Believe me, I empathize. I only went through my ordeal for a couple of months - I can't imagine dealing with it for two years. Nobody should have to. I want to scream and punch things on your behalf.


*who, it should be noted, can go directly to the deepest smelliest pit of Hell, where hopefully a suitably elaborate torment awaits him.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:28 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh skygazer, I so want to hug you. Check this out: I had an injury that kept me BEDBOUND during a BEDBUG infestation. That period of my life -- jesus, I can't begin to explain how awful.

Hang in there, memail me if you want.
posted by angrycat at 7:31 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooh, pharmacology thread! Sorry I'm late.

So the anecdotal consensus is that ivermectin is pretty harmless in humans. I'd definitely want to see some large-scale clinical trials for chronic dosing before I'm convinced of that fact—plenty of drugs have severe side effects that occur only rarely, or only in specific populations (e.g., the elderly, those with liver/kidney impairment, etc)—but let's assume it's true.

If ivermectin is harmless to humans, it's not because it binds to a GABA channel found only in invertebrates; it also binds to mammalian GABA channels (though I don't know off-hand how the two affinities compare), and can produce toxic effects by doing so. The reason it's normally benign, at least at therapeutic doses, is that the drug is a substrate for a transporter called P-glycoprotein, whose job is basically to pump suspicious molecules out of places where they don't belong. In this case, P-gp keeps ivermectin from accumulating in the brain in significant quantities.

Why is this important? Because P-gp can be inhibited by other drugs (e.g., ketoconazole and verapamil), which could potentially result in CNS toxicity. Conversely, ivermectin might compete with other P-gp substrates (e.g., digoxin), which could cause toxic effects from those drugs.

That's not to say that ivermectin shouldn't ever be approved for treatment of bedbug infestations. It's an interesting idea. I only make the point to emphasize that there's a reason why new drugs (and new uses for existing drugs) must undergo extensive pre-market testing. Interactions like this can be harmful or even deadly, and they won't necessarily show up in a small population—or be recognized for what they are if and when they do.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:28 PM on January 4, 2013


Skygazer, I'm wincing and sorry on your behalf. Maybe we could have a whip-round to buy some cheap horse dewormer…for any horses you are keeping in your apartment…but I don't want your horse to die of CNS toxicity either. Agh, so sorry!
posted by nicebookrack at 12:51 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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