MM Novato News

The bed bug epidemic is a strange and mysterious occurrence. Bed bugs have seen a huge resurgence worldwide, and researchers have yet to determine why. We thought we had it bad enough with the bed bugs we knew. Now, there is a whole other beast to worry about: tropical bed bugs are back. There are […]

Tropical Bed Bugs Invade Florida

Tropical bed bug

Tropical bed bug sample. Photo credit: Ken Walker, Museum Victoria

The bed bug epidemic is a strange and mysterious occurrence. Bed bugs have seen a huge resurgence worldwide, and researchers have yet to determine why. We thought we had it bad enough with the bed bugs we knew. Now, there is a whole other beast to worry about: tropical bed bugs are back.

There are two species of bed bugs that feed on humans. The first is called the common bed bug, or Cimex lectularius. It gets that name because it’s everywhere: common bed bugs can be found in all 50 states, and are widespread throughout the rest of the world. The tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus, is much less common. Tropical bed bugs have only been found in subtropic or tropic regions such as Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

Until recently, the common bed bug was thought to be the only species of bed bug found in the US. It is also subsequently the only species that has been widely studied. Now all of that may change with the discovery of the tropical bed bug, a pest thought long gone from the states.

The new case of tropical bed bugs was discovered in a home on Merritt Island, Florida. Florida is one of a few southern states that is believed to have the ideal conditions for tropical bed bugs to flourish. However, an infestation hasn’t been reported in over 60 years until now.

On the surface, tropical bed bugs are almost identical to the common bed bugs that we know and hate. Like common bed bugs, tropical bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped critters with six legs, short antennae, and small, vestigal wing pads. Where they differ in appearance is their neck segment, called a “pronotum”. While the common bed bug has a U-shaped pronotum that flares out on either side, the tropical bed bug’s pronotum is narrower and lacks those wing-like extensions.

Researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are asking the public to send samples of suspected tropical bed bugs. For more on this story, and on submitting samples, check out the UF/IFAS’s press release.

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MM Novato Reviews

Dry vapor steamers are invaluable tools in a proper bed bug treatment. By delivering dry vapor steam of over 180 degrees, these machines are capable of killing bed bugs of all ages on contact. They can even penetrate into soft materials, like mattresses, furniture and baseboards, to reach bed bugs hiding out of sight. But […]

Reliable Brio 500cc Review: the Prosumer’s Bed Bug Steamer

Dry vapor steamers are invaluable tools in a proper bed bug treatment. By delivering dry vapor steam of over 180 degrees, these machines are capable of killing bed bugs of all ages on contact. They can even penetrate into soft materials, like mattresses, furniture and baseboards, to reach bed bugs hiding out of sight. But it’s tough to choose between a budget-priced but limited steamer and a more powerful (but more expensive) machine. There’s a gap in the middle of the market that the Reliable Brio 500cc hopes to fill.

For most bed bug steamers out there, the steam treatment workflow feels roughly the same. The operator fills the tank, turns the machine on, waits for the water to boil, and then starts steaming until the tank empties. Once they run out of water, they must turn off the machine and wait for the pressure to drop before they can refill and reheat the tank.

Filling the Brio 500cc tank

Recently, commercial steamers have begun offering continuous fill designs. These combine a pressurized boiler with an unpressurized water reservoir. The technology allows the user to add more water to the reservoir without stopping and waiting to reheat the tank.

While continuous fill is a much desired feature among professionals, steamers with the feature can be quite expensive. The Brio 500cc by Reliable is the first continuous fill steamer available for under $1,000. Does the Brio have what it takes to be the new mid-range choice? Let’s find out.

Unboxing and first impressions

Brio 500cc accessories

With most commercial-grade bed bug steamers, you get a box with very little branding or accessories. Steamers like the Armato 9000 tend to come in a simple package with simple purpose. In this case, the Brio 500cc’s box and contents are targeted more as a consumer cleaning solution. That means you get plenty of attachments for cleaning and sanitizing every inch of your home.

Brio 500cc body

The steamer itself is a unique and attractive design. The body is surprisingly compact given its dual-tank capacity. You wouldn’t expect two tanks filled with 11 cups of water to fit into this unit, but that’s what it’s capable of. Other dual-tank steamers may carry more water, but they are much larger and heavier. That makes them harder to carry around during a treatment, and harder to store afterwards.

Brio 500cc display

Another clever design touch is the Brio’s digital control panel. This LED display has a single soft-touch toggle for steam power and an easy-to-read pressure gauge. Unlike other steamers at this price range and beyond, you won’t have to fiddle with analog flip switches and PSI readings. Instead, simple colored indicators alert you of the Brio’s status at a glance.

Under the hood

Reliable Corporation is well-known for their efficient and powerful heating units. The 500cc comes equipped with a stainless-steel boiler, the same one used in their higher-end commercial models. This means the Brio can put out higher boiler and tip temperatures than competing brands. The boiler’s insulated construction ensures that that extra heat stays in place, too.

Along with the rugged tank are a couple of high-tech inclusions as well. The Brio features a micro computer, responsible for things like steam output and control. The Italian-made solenoid controller regulates steam flow into the hose. This reduces moisture and condensation buildup to ensure a hot, dry steam all the time.

There is a slight drawback for some users when it comes to the Brio versus other commercial steamers. Professional-grade models often have reinforced metal bodies made of sheet aluminum or steel. This is a design detail that’s sought after by pest control operators who keep their gear in the back of a work truck. Even a little bit of light jostling of tools in a truck can add up to a fair bit of body damage over years of service.

The Brio series is intended for home use, and wasn’t designed for professionals. That means that the 500cc comes with a plastic body and mostly plastic moving parts, in contrast to the Armato or Pro6 Duo’s metal frames. The upside of this construction difference is that it helps the Brio meet that $500 price point. You won’t find any of those metal-bodied dual-tank steamers anywhere near this price.

Using the Brio 500cc

Steaming with the Brio 500cc

The Brio has the features we want at the right price and then some. But how does it perform on the line of duty? Fortunately, a discounted price doesn’t show in the 500cc’s performance. With 72 PSI of max pressure from a boiler capable of a 320-degree boil, the steam from the Brio is always hot and dry.

Reliable didn’t stop at just tank power and performance when designing the Brio. There are many ergonomic advantages that come into play when steaming with the 500cc. The first that you’ll notice is the electronic control panel on the steamer body. This allows you to turn the steamer on and off with just one touch, and shows the pressure status with simple indicator lights.

Brio 500cc steam adjustment

Rather than manage steam adjustment on the steamer’s body, the Brio allows you to adjust steam pressure from the gun handle. Reliable placed the wheel right under your thumb, allowing you to make adjustments on the fly. Just turn the wheel left or right to decrease or increase the pressure.

Wrapping up

Reliable Brio 500cc

There’s no question that the Reliable Brio 500cc is one of the best values on the steamer market. But it’s more than just a bargain – the Brio has the guts and features to stand on its own, regardless of price. Few steamers boast continuous fill design, steam adjustment, and solenoid control all in one package. The Brio 500cc packs all of that into a simple, attractive, and compact package.

So who should buy the 500cc? If you’re a pest control operator or property manager, the Brio checks off most of the specs you’ll be looking for in a commercial steamer. However, you’ll still want to consider more expensive steamers, like the Armato 9000 or Cimex Eradicator. The Armato offers class-leading durability and water capacity, while the Cimex Eradicator was purpose-built for bed bug treatments. But if you’re a homeowner who won’t be steaming every day, and just want a steamer that’s a cut above the usual consumer-grade options, the Brio 500cc is an exceptional choice.

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MM Novato Reviews

Homeowners, property managers, and pest control professionals often prefer to use insecticide concentrates as they’re easier to apply in large areas and are generally a better value for the given volume. There are a lot of pump sprayers on the market for concentrate spraying. These allow the operator to apply large amounts of insecticide with […]

Green Gorilla ProLine Sprayer Review: The Ultimate Professional Sprayer

Homeowners, property managers, and pest control professionals often prefer to use insecticide concentrates as they’re easier to apply in large areas and are generally a better value for the given volume. There are a lot of pump sprayers on the market for concentrate spraying. These allow the operator to apply large amounts of insecticide with relative ease.

However, these sprayers all feature the same flaws in usage: you have to manually pump them to get enough pressure to spray, and you have to stop spraying and pump again after the pressure drops. That’s where the Green Gorilla ProLine sprayer comes in. This is a battery-powered sprayer with a smart pressure technology that ensures you’ll never have to use a hand pump again.

Design & Accessories

Green Gorilla design

The Green Gorilla ProLine has the look and feel of a premium sprayer without any unnecessary complexity. It features a 1.5 gallon tank with measuring lines on the sides, a pour valve with a manual pump handle up top, and the power pack on the front of the tank. The wand holder features a built-in drip cup, which is a nice touch.

While other, cheaper sprayers on the market feel disposable, the ProLine is built to endure years of daily use. The tank itself is made of high strength, chemical and impact resistant polymer with a burst pressure rating of over 60 PSI. The Green Gorilla team tested the design by dropping it from six feet onto concrete, with no visible or functional effects. The connections are made of acetal to ensure strength and chemical resistance, and the hose features stress relief springs to protect the double-walled design even further.

Green Gorilla PowerPack

The power pack is the most unique development in this new product. It’s innovate, sturdy, and easy to use. It just snaps into place and starts building pressure as soon as you turn it on. Unlike traditional powered sprayers, theGreen Gorilla ProLine pressurizes from the top to the bottom to focus on the empty space in the tank, where the pressure is actually applied.

When in use, the Green Gorilla is capable of maintaining a pressure of about 18 PSI. This is a big improvement over manual pump sprayers that vary in pressure; the Green Gorilla won’t lose pressure over time, instead providing a smooth consistent output. If you want to release that pressure — such as before opening the tank reservoir — remove the PowerPack and hold down the red pressure release valve beneath it.

Using the Green Gorilla

Using the Green Gorilla

Before using your Green Gorilla ProLine, make sure the power pack is fully charged. Unscrew the top handle to open the tank, then pour in your diluted mixture and close the tank up again by screwing the handle back in. Take the power pack off the charger and push it into the slot on the tank until you hear a click. Press the power button on top of the power pack and the tank will start to build pressure. Once it reaches the ideal pressure and quiets down, you’re ready to start spraying.

You can use the ProLine in crack and crevice treatments or broadcast spraying, indoors and outdoors, as long as you’re following the label instructions of whatever insecticides you mixed in the tank. Unlike traditional sprayers that vary in pressure, the ProLine offers a consistent spray output over hours of use. The included extension wand has an adjustable nozzle so you can switch from a light cone misting to a strong, course jet stream. You can also swap the extension wand out for another commercial wand of your choice.

Wrapping Up

Green Gorilla

The Green Gorilla ProLine is a no-brainer for professionals and homeowners that do frequent concentrate spraying. It’s well-built, easy to use, and features a stronger, more consistent spray pressure for less effort. It’s the best way to make insecticide application easier, both on your back and on your schedule.

Green Gorilla ProLine Vi Pro 1.5 Gallon Sprayer

The Green Gorilla ProLine uses Smart Pressure Technology to precisely control pressure automatically, eliminating manual pumping.
Our Price:
$377.01
Green Gorilla ProLine Vi Pro 1.5 Gallon Sprayer
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MM Novato Reviews

A common myth perpetuated online is that insecticides are completely ineffective against bed bugs. This idea that chemicals won’t work against bed bugs is usually followed by a recommendation for natural or alternative treatments. What would be really unnatural is if an insect were to become completely immune to every pesticide ever made. While bed bugs […]

CrossFire Bed Bug Concentrate Review

A common myth perpetuated online is that insecticides are completely ineffective against bed bugs. This idea that chemicals won’t work against bed bugs is usually followed by a recommendation for natural or alternative treatments. What would be really unnatural is if an insect were to become completely immune to every pesticide ever made.

While bed bugs can still be killed by pesticides, they have grown resistant to certain formulas. That’s why it’s important to use the newest formulas, not the old-school compounds that have been retired to the discount brands. CrossFire is one of the newest formula targeted specifically for bed bugs. It’s a fast-acting and hard-hitting residual spray from MGK. Is this dual-action concentrate the modern answer to bed bug infestations? Let’s dig in and find out.

Dual-action formula

CrossFire Bed Bug ConcentrateCrossFire is the latest bed bug formula from MGK, and has been in development for years. It combines two active ingredients, metofluthrin and clothianidin, for that dual action effect. By combining a broad spectrum contact killer with a long-lasting, chemically stable residual, CrossFire is able to deliver a quick knockdown of the population and continue to kill over time.

Metofluthrin is the first actor in the compound, delivering quick kills on contact and in the minutes afterwards. Metofluthrin is most commonly used as a mosquito repellant, impregnated on paper strips and positioned in outdoor areas like campsites and patios.

As with any pyrethroid, there is an inherent risk that certain strains of bed bugs will develop a resistance. Today’s bed bugs can secrete chemicals that digest toxins on their shell, rendering them harmless. Some chemicals that enter a bed bug’s internal organs can even be flushed out by sophisticated biological pumps.

To combat these defenses, MGK included a synergist called PBO. PBO, or piperonyl butoxide, is well known for inhibiting a bed bug’s natural defense mechanisms. This allows contact killers like metofluthrin to do what they do best without fear of resistance.

CrossFire’s residual killer is clothianidin, a synthetic insecticide that’s chemically similar to nicotine. Nicotine has been used as a pesticide since the 18th century. Scientists designed clothianidin to break down very slowly, allowing it to stay effective for months. Clothianidin has been used for years to protect seeds from chewing and sucking insects. It also happens to be extremely effective as a broad spectrum residual spray indoors.

Both chemicals penetrate the bed bugs’ exoskeleton and attack their central nervous system. This causes their nervous system to overreact, causing paralysis then death. CrossFire is non-repellant, and kills within 5 minutes of exposure. It’s also been proven effective against resistant strains of bed bugs and their eggs.

Using CrossFire

Formulas and theories are all well and good, but what about actually using CrossFire to kill bed bugs? As with any other insecticide, CrossFire isn’t a silver bullet. It’s meant to be used alongside other treatment methods, both chemical and non-chemical, making up a complete treatment solution.

What’s interesting is that CrossFire is currently the only liquid concentrate we offer that doesn’t have a signal word on its label. This means that CrossFire’s ingredients are considered to have minimal toxicity to humans. Even so, we still recommend that you follow the basic safety guidelines suggested by the EPA and the manufacturer. This includes wearing long sleeves, shoes and socks, and taking care to keep the chemicals off your skin and out of your eyes and mouth.

Chapin SureSpray concentrated sprayer

To use CrossFire in a bed bug treatment, mix 13 ounces in a gallon of water. Start with a half gallon of water in your spray tank, measure out and pour in the CrossFire concentrate, then add the other half to start agitating the mixture. Shake the tank to make sure it mixes thoroughly and you’re ready to go.

Apply CrossFire to cracks and crevices, like on or around baseboards, floorboards, bed frames, headboards, furniture, door and window frames, closets, beneath floor coverings, and the edges of the carpet. CrossFire can also be applied directly to the seams and folds of your mattress and box spring. Spray until the fabric is damp but not wet, and wait for the bed to dry before you put your linens back on. Make sure that you read and follow the product label and MSDS for safe and effective usage.

CrossFire is a modern and unique approach to bed bug sprays. Its dual-action formula makes it effective as both a contact killer and long-term residual, and the broad indoor labeling and minimal toxicity make it an ideal choice for treating homes and apartments for these persistent pests.

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MM Novato FAQ

A common issue when dealing with bed bugs is knowing when the coast is clear. If you can’t see every bed bug in the area, you can’t know when to declare victory. You may have steamed, sprayed, and encased every nook and cranny that you can reach, but you don’t know if it’s enough. Can […]

FAQ: How Long can Bed Bugs Live Without a Meal?

A common issue when dealing with bed bugs is knowing when the coast is clear. If you can’t see every bed bug in the area, you can’t know when to declare victory. You may have steamed, sprayed, and encased every nook and cranny that you can reach, but you don’t know if it’s enough. Can bed bugs still reach you and your family? Are they still feeding and breeding? If not, how long can bed bugs live without a meal? Let’s talk about what it takes for bed bugs to starve to death:

How Bed Bug Feeding Works

Before we dig into bed bug survivability, it’s important that we understand how bed bug feeding works. After a bed bug egg hatches, the nymph goes through five instar stages before it becomes an adult. While nymphs still behave and feed like an adult bed bug, they are much smaller and weaker. This has an effect on their lifespan if they are unable to feed.

The bed bug life cycle

In ideal conditions, a nymph will feed about once a week. With a blood meal digested, they are able to molt into the next instar stage. They need to do this six times to become sexually mature. That means that each bed bug needs to feed at least six times before it is able to reproduce.

While reports on actual timing varies quite a bit (more on that soon), data shows that younger instar nymphs starve to death faster than adults. First instar nymphs will starve 30% to 50% faster than adults in the same environment. This is yet another benefit of cutting off the bed bug population’s food supply.

Unfortunately, bed bugs are a lot better at living without food than humans and other animals are. They have evolved to enter a hibernation-like state when a food source is unavailable. To help cope with this fasting period, the bugs will form a “hunger bubble” that fills their gut.

Conflicting Reports

So with all this information available, how long can bed bugs live without feeding? The bad news is that it’s difficult to give a single solid number to answer that. There are some very old studies that people like to cite as a source, while newer studies have conflicting results.

The most common figure we see online is 18 months for an adult bed bug to live without a meal. This comes from a commonly cited source from Lister Institute entomologist A. W. Bacot’s 1914 paper, “The Influence of Temperature, Submersion and Burial on the Survival of Eggs and Larvae of Cimex lectularius“. In the paper, Bacot describes how he studied starving bed bugs in various life stages. He kept a mixed population of adult and immature bed bugs in an outhouse (not the kind you’re thinking of) for 18 months. Some bed bugs in the mix reportedly survived fasting that long, and were allowed to feed after.

Bacot’s test is later cited by C. G. Johnson in 1941. Johnson published a paper that year in Cambridge’s Journal of Hygiene. In his experiment, he allowed 51 bed bugs to feed until they reached adulthood. They were then deprived of a food source and observed. On average, these bugs died only four and a half months later. The hardiest specimen made it to six months before expiring.

Other Variables

Bed bug lab research

Unfortunately, there’s more to bed bug starvation than basic timing. New strains of bed bugs may have different survival characteristics. In 2009, entomologists reported that a Virginia strain of bed bugs could only survive two months without feeding. These results also suggest that bed bugs from different strains may live shorter or longer than other bugs.

To complicate matters even further, the area temperature affects the bed bugs’ survivability. Researchers conducted a test of bed bug nymphs that were fed only once, allowing them to molt into the first instar stage. Their survival time without feeding varied drastically in different ambient temperatures.

At 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the first instar nymphs lasted an average of 28 days after their meal. Turning the temperature up to 98.6 degrees dropped the average to just 17 days. For adults in the tests, the averages were 39 days at 80 degrees and only 33 days at 98.6 degrees.

Conclusion

If we were to focus our estimates on more recent studies, we could deduce that today’s bed bugs can be expected to live from two to six months without a meal. So what does all this have to do with your bed bug treatment efforts? Not a lot if you’re approaching your treatment appropriately. An effective treatment shouldn’t depend on isolating yourself from hungry bed bugs and then waiting for them to starve to death.

There is no debate about the importance of stopping bed bugs from biting you. They need to feed to reproduce, so it’s top priority that you stop that from happening as soon as possible. You also don’t want to keep itching and scratching. That’s the whole point of treating the infestation in the first place!

However, there’s more to a bed bug treatment than just cutting off their food supply. The truth is that bed bug survival time without a meal is mainly relevant only in a laboratory setting. In the real world, bed bugs will search for a meal until they find one. There isn’t a question of if they’ll starve to death, but when they’ll find a new host to feed on.

There’s also the concern of their dispersal making treatment harder. By cutting off their original path to a meal, you will likely cause the infestation to spread as they search for a new way to feed. That’s why it’s important that you cut the bed bug population down as much as possible while also preventing them from feeding. Learn how to kill bed bugs quickly and keep them from biting you with our recommended treatment solution.

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