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Tropical bed bug returns to Florida after 60 years

Species feeds on human blood
Posted at 9:20 AM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 16:19:07-05

It's been decades but the tropical bed bug is back.

Last year a family in Brevard County reported tropical bed bugs in their home and researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences say that they have now confirmed the findings.

It's the only confirmed case in the state, but researchers suspect they will find others because the bug lives in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Researchers say the tropical bed bug is similar to the common bed bug found in many states.

The last time the tropical bed bug was confirmed in Florida was in the 1930s and 1940s.

“I personally believe that in Florida, we have all of the right conditions that could potentially help spread tropical bed bugs, which is the case in other southern states,” UF/IFAS entomology doctoral student Brittany Campbell said in a news release.

Campbell said tropical bed bugs feed on human blood. “I have been asking people to send bed bug samples to our laboratory so that I can properly identify the species."

She said reducing clutter is the first step toward controlling the bugs' spread.

If you think you have tropical bed bugs, you can send them directly to Campbell at the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department; University of Florida; 1881 Natural Area Drive, Gainesville, Florida, 32611 or to the identification lab at UF. Campbell recommends people place their insects either into a small plastic container or sealed into a plastic bag, folded over multiple times to help cushion the insects from being smashed.