By Chris King • 29 July 2022 • 18:39
Image of new tropical bug in Spain.
In a statement released this Thursday, July 28, the National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) has warned of a new species of tropical bug that has been found in Spain. It is of the bed bug species (cimex hemipterus), a parasitic insect of between 5 and 6 mm in length that feeds mainly on human blood.
These bugs tend to nest in beds, the folds of sheets, furniture, armchairs etc, and their bites can cause discomfort and even various allergic reactions, insomnia or stress. Their presence is closely associated with the hotel sector and tourist accommodation, and since travel started again after the pandemic, their presence has been reactivated said Jorge Galvan, director general of ANECPLA.
“Due to their tiny size, it is common for them to stow away among clothes or suitcases, causing new infestations in homes, hotels, apartments, etc”, explained Galvan. In this way, it is highly likely that tourists can transport these creatures in their luggage back to their homes.
The quality of accommodation has no bearing on whether it could be home to these parasites as they simply nest wherever they can make a home. Until now, their presence was thought to be related to dirt and neglect, but it has been shown that the presence of bedbugs has nothing to do with these factors. Their exponential growth, especially in the last two decades, is more related to other much more general circumstances.
“Globalization, higher levels of pollution and rising temperatures due to climate change are behind this resurgence of bedbugs in Europe”, claimed Jorge Galvan.
As a result, the reactivation of tourism, skyrocketing levels of environmental pollution, and suffocating temperatures like the ones we have been experiencing in recent weeks, have added to the extraordinary speed of proliferation of this species.
In recent years, the bed bug population has increased by more than 500 per cent. “This is undoubtedly a very serious emerging public health problem that we at ANECPLA believe is important to transcend the private sphere and be addressed at the institutional level. Otherwise, we run the risk of it becoming chronic, with all the implications that this may have”, warned Mr Galvan.
Originally from Asia, cimex hemipterus in recent years has been colonising Australia, the United States, and Europe. It is a species that is highly resistant to conventional insecticides whose use, on the other hand, is totally discouraged by experts, since they not only solve the problem but also spread the plague to nearby spaces.
“It is very important that professional pest management services, who have the necessary specific knowledge, are in charge of dealing with the problem from an approach based on the biology and habitat of this species”, Galvan stressed.
Although until now bedbugs have not been disease-transmitting vectors, ANECPLA warned that this situation may change at any time. This can be due both to the appearance of new species such as this one and to the chronification of contributing factors in its spread: the transit of people, the progressive increase in temperatures, and pollution.
“ANECPLA urges the necessary collaboration between the sector and the Public Administrations in order to carry out a more rigorous control of this issue. Until now, Chagas disease – a fatal disease endemic to Central and South America – has been the only one proven to be transmitted by bed bugs, despite its powerful vectorial capacity. However, this circumstance can change at any time”.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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