Tropical bed bug found in Florida after 60-year absence

Insect found in Brevard County home

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A tropical bed bug has been found in Florida for the first time in 60 years, according to a release from researchers at the University of Florida. 

The bug was found at a home in Brevard County, and scientists with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences were able to confirm the finding. It's the only confirmed case of tropical bed bugs in the state.

Prior to this instance, the insect hadn't been spotted in Florida since the 1940s. 

Brittany Campbell, a UF/IFAS doctoral student in entomology, said in a news release that tropical bed bugs are similar to the standard variety of bed bugs, but they could potentially develop more quickly. 

“This could mean that this species would develop more quickly, possibly cause an infestation problem sooner, and also could spread more rapidly,” Campbell said in a news release. 

Though there's only one confirmed case in Florida, researchers believe tropical bed bugs could be found in other parts of the state because the species prefers tropical and sub-tropical climates. 

The insect feeds on human blood and could cause fear, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and itchy, blistery reactions in the case of a severe infestation. 

Anyone who thinks they may have tropical bed bugs at their home is asked to put the insect in a small plastic container and mail it to Campbell at 1881 Natural Area Drive, Gainesville.

 

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