Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ohio’s Section 18 Emergency Exemption Testimony


Ohio House Environment and Brownfield Development Committee

Proponent Testimony on HR 182

Presented by

Andrew Christman, Co-owner, The Ohio Exterminating Co., Inc
President - Ohio Pest Management Association (OPMA)

March 24, 2010

Mr. Chairman Mallory and Members of the Committee,

My name is Andrew Christman and I am the 3rd generation owner/operator of The Ohio Exterminating Co., Inc. and I am currently the President of the Ohio Pest Management Association (OPMA). I would first like to thank you for the opportunity to testify today as a proponent for HR 182. Before getting into the importance of this resolution, I thought it might be helpful for me to give you a bit about my background as well as the history of bed bug control in the United States.

I grew up in my families pest control business with my father and grandfather. My Grandfather started his career as a chemist and an accountant and realized the public need for effective pest control products. My grandfather, Lowell Christman developed these products and sold them retail. Shortly after the retail store opened his customers requested that he come to their residents and apply the products for them. In 1936 The Ohio Exterminating Co., Inc. was established as both a pest control product retail outlet and a service company.

My grandfather was instrumental in working on behalf of the pest control industry in Ohio as a key member of the committee that worked with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Legislature and other pesticide use associations in developing and passing the Ohio Pesticide Law. He was also a past president of the Ohio Pest Management Association.

I have been a licensed Commercial Pesticide Applicator certified by the Ohio Department of Agriculture since 1997. I have served my industry in many capacities including various chair positions, board member and executive board positions within the Ohio Pest Management Associations, including my current elected role as President of the Ohio Pest Management Association.

I am a Steering Committee member of the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force (COBBTF) and an invited member of the Ohio Department of Health Bed Bug Work Group.

This month I traveled to Washington D.C. on March 1st and 2nd where we had our National Pest Management Association’s annual Legislative Day. We had 17 Pest Management Professionals from Ohio in attendance and we went up to the hill to talk to the Ohio members of Congress about issues critical to our industry, including bedbugs. I personally meet with Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich’s aids.

Based upon my history with the pest management industry and state and federal pesticide laws, I believe some information about bed bugs and some background of the history of bed bug control would be helpful to you.

Bedbugs are small, full grown about 3/16 to ¼ inch long and reddish brown in color. Their nutrition comes from blood meals, normally from humans. They tend to hide very well and come out only to feed once they sense warm temperatures and carbon dioxide (from exhaling). They have piercing mouthparts with which they pierce the human skin then draw the blood through a tube. This feeding behavior or mechanism is in part the reason that the current pesticides are not providing effective control. I will revisit this issue in a moment.

Back to the history of bedbugs. They have been very common throughout the world during all ages of human habitation. However due to long lasting and very effective pesticides developed during the 1940’s and 50’s bedbugs were pretty much controlled throughout the United States and many other countries by the late 1960’s. By the early 1970’s, bedbugs were totally under control and almost totally eliminated from the United States and many other developed nations. As a matter of fact, prior to this new onslaught of infestations, the last time our company did a bedbug service was in the early 1970’s. The effective control first came from products in the class of Chlorinated Hydrocarbon pesticides including trade names such as DDT, Chlordane and Lindane. Eventually, bedbugs developed resistance to these products and the next products that proved effective were the Organophosphate class of pesticides, such as trade names Dursban and Diazinon. With the use of these products, control of bedbugs was fairly simple, very effective and inexpensive.

Through the 80’s and 90’s the pest control landscape changed due to many changes in regulations of pesticide use and pesticide application methods. There were limitations on what pesticide products could be used indoors and the actual allowable application methods were changed (reduced). Then in the early 90’s Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). One of the primary initiatives of FQPA was to reduce the publics’ overall exposure to pesticides. FQPA established a concept called “the risk cup” or cumulative exposure to specific products. USEPA set forth as part of their cumulative risk assessment to establish “the risk cup” for each individual product. Each product, by class or chemistry, was expected to come within compliance of EPA’s limited “risk cup” or exposure by selecting which uses to withdraw or eliminate from their portfolio.

What happened was that pesticide manufactures had some very difficult decisions to make, and they eventually made their decisions based on economics. Manufacturers chose to preserve the products that contributed to the larger uses of their customers, which complimented their bottom line. So, at that time we lost the indoor uses of the Dursban and Diazinon products that had provided effective control of bedbugs and many other insects.

We currently have very effective products for the control of insects such as ants, termites, cockroaches, spiders and centipedes etc…. while these current products are effective for those insects, they have not been effective against bedbugs. The reasons, as I mentioned earlier, in part are due to the feeding habit of the bedbug (siphoning human blood through a tube like mouth piece) and an exoskeleton that is very thick and difficult for pesticides to absorb through and penetrate.

The mode of action of a pesticide is also important. A pesticide is either (1.) ingested by the insect by eating it (2.) by grooming itself and ingesting it or (3.) dermal penetrating or soaking through its cuticle – its skin. Well, this is exactly where the problem of control comes up. Bedbugs suck blood, so they don’t have a way to (1.) Ingest a pesticide (2.) they do not groom them selves very often and don’t have the opportunity for ingesting the pesticide and lastly (3.) their exoskeleton (cuticle or skin) is thicker than most insects and the class of products that we have available does not dermally penetrate the skin.

A product like Propoxur, which is what Ohio’s Section 18 Emergency Exemption request is asking for, is an effective product against bedbugs and is one that kills on contact and has a residual effect to keep killing via dermal penetration after the application has been made.

Now that you know a little more about bed bugs and the products used to control bed bugs, you need to know that HR 182 merits your support.

HR 182 urges the USEPA to grant an emergency exemption for the use of Propoxur to control bed bugs. We need this product to solve the bedbug infestations that the citizens of Ohio are plagued with. The majority of Ohioans dealing with this problem cannot afford proper and safe treatments and this is affecting their quality of life. The cost of treatments can range anywhere from $250.00 - $1,000.00+ per service and often times can take 3-4 services. Additionally, the cost of subsidized housing is growing and I predict in the near future the financial burden of bed bug treatments alone will be an out of control. No one has projected these bedbug control costs into their budgets, nor can they continue to afford them.

A huge area of concern is that many people are taking matters into their own hands. I often witness residents using non-labeled pesticides that are not effective and very costly while vastly exposing themselves and their families to potential hazards by the misuse of these pesticides.

It is noteworthy that an emergency exemption is not easy to obtain and it is rarely granted. In fact, when we first raised the issue with our peers at the national level and in other states we were told it couldn’t be done. We are extremely grateful to Representative Mallory in the House (and State Senator Kearny) for taking the time to understand this difficult issue. In fact, Ohio has become a leader in this discussion and again, we are very appreciative for Rep. Mallory and Senator Kearney for their help.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has been incredibly diligent in working with USEPA on this issue. Director Boggs at the Ohio Department of Agriculture formally filed the Section 18 request. The Section 18 request is asking for the use of Propoxur to be a “restricted use” product. This is important, as a restricted use product requires only trained and licensed pest management professionals can purchase and apply this product.

Pest Management Professionals are licensed through the State of Ohio by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. One must take and pass an examination to obtain their Commercial Pesticide Applicators license. One must also obtain the proper insurance and maintain continuing education credits to keep their licenses. Bed bug biology, behavior and control are the number one topics at our continuing education seminars today.

We (OPMA) are very fortunate to have such an experienced and hard working staff at ODA. While we are still a long way from having a product in hand, we wanted to thank Director Boggs, Matt Beal, Mike Eckhart and their staff for tirelessly pursuing this complicated but important issue on behalf of our industry and the citizens of Ohio.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I urge your support of HR 182 and thank you for the opportunity to sit in front of you today.

I am more then happy to field any questions you may have at this time.


For more information on this subject please go to My Bed Bug Series.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Sun is Undergoing a State Change

by James A. Marusek


Each morning, I turn on my computer and check to see how the sun is doing. For the past several years I was normally greeted with the message "The sun is blank - no sunspots." We are at the verge of the next sunspot cycle, Solar Cycle 24. How intense will this cycle be? Why is this question important? Because there are “Danger Signposts” ahead!

Sunspots are dark spots that appear on the surface of the sun. They are the location of intense magnetic activity and they are the sites of very violent explosions that produce solar storms.

The sun goes through a cycle lasting approximately 11 years. It starts at a solar minimum when there are very few sunspots and builds to a solar maximum when hundreds of sunspots are present on the surface of the sun and then returns back to a solar quiet minimum. This cycle is called a solar cycle. We are currently in a solar minimum leading up to Solar Cycle 24, so named because it is the 24th consecutive cycle that astronomers have observed and listed. The first cycle began in March 1755.

Figure 1. Image of Solar Cycle 23 from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
(SOHO) by Steele Hill (NASA GSFC)

The sun exhibits great variability in the strength of each solar cycle. Some solar cycles produce a high number of sunspots. Other solar cycles produce low numbers. When a group of cycles occur together with high number of sunspots, this is referred to as a solar “Grand Maxima”. When a group of cycles occur with minimal sunspots, this is referred to as a solar “Grand Minima”. Usoskin details the reconstruction of solar activity during the Holocene period from 10,000 B.C. to the present.1 Refer to Figure 2. The red areas on the graph denote energetic solar “Grand Maxima” states. The blue areas denote quiet solar “Grand Minima” states.

The reconstructions indicate that the overall level of solar activity since the middle of the 20th century stands amongst the highest of the past 10,000 years. This time period was a very strong “Grand Maxima”. Typically these grand maxima are short-lived lasting in the order of 50 years. The reconstruction also reveals “Grand Minima” epochs of suppressed activity, of varying durations have occurred repeatedly over that time span. A solar Grand Minima is defined as a period when the (smoothed) sunspot number is less than 15 during at least two consecutive decades. The sun spends about 17 percent of the time in a Grand Minima state. Examples of recent extremely quiet solar “Grand Minima” are the Maunder Minimum (about 1645-1715 A.D.) and Spörer Minimum (about 1420-1570 A.D.)

Figure 2. Sunspot activity throughout the Holocene. Blue and red areas denote grand
minima and maxima, respectively. The entire series is spread out over two panels for
better visibility.1

By monitoring the number of spotless days (days without sunspots) during a solar minimum, scientists can gain a sense of the intensity of the upcoming solar cycle. As of the end of December 2009, the cumulative number of spotless days in the transition into Solar Cycle 24 now stands at 771. The number of spotless days is beginning to tapper off. There were only 10 spotless days in December.

The transitions into Solar Cycles (SC16-23), referred to as recent solar cycles (years 1923 to ~2008), averaged 362 cumulative spotless days. Those minimums ranged from 227 – 568 spotless days. Since the current transition now exceeds this range, it is fairly clear that the sun is undergoing a state change. The solar Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century is coming to an abrupt end. The old solar cycles (SC 10-15, years 1856 to 1923) averaged 797 spotless days, over twice that of the recent solar cycles. Those solar minimums ranged from 406 - 1028 spotless days.2 If this solar minimum ends soon, as it appears to be doing, then the upcoming solar cycle may be similar to the old solar cycles.

The sun has gone magnetically quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. The Average Magnetic Planetary Index (Ap index) is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. It is commonly referred to a measuring stick for solar magnetic activity. For 11 months, from November 2008 to September 2009, the Ap index had been hovering near rock bottom with reading of 4’s and 5’s. But in the last two months, October and November, the Ap monthly index broke through the glass floor and spawned the lowest value in the past 77 years with a reading of "3". And then in December, the AP Index even went quieter with a reading of "2". 3

Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with high-energy galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). These are charged particles (protons, ions) that originate from exploding stars (supernovas). Many of these particles are traveling near the speed of light. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. Currently the sun's interplanetary magnetic field has fallen to around 4 nano-Tesla (nT) from a typical value of 6 to 8 nT. The solar wind pressure is down to a 50-year low. The heliospheric current sheet is flattening. In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we've seen since satellite measurements began 50 years ago. 4

If we slip into a quiet solar "Grand Minima" state, we can expect GCR flux rates to increase 200% to 300% above current levels.

There are Two Paths Ahead; Each Marked with a “Danger” Signpost

We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads “Danger”! Down one path lies the threat from massive solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine.

If either of these threats materializes, many nations will be hit blind-sighted. Both are related to the current state of the sun. The sun has been in a “Grand Maxima” for most of the past century. This has accounted for much of the natural warming the earth has experienced. But as evident in the high number of spotless days in this solar minimum, the sun is changing states. It might (1) level off and revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter magnetically slipping into a “Dalton Minimum” or a solar Grand Minima such as the “Maunder Minimum”. It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing.

Solar Storm Threat

Most solar storms produce only minor disquieting effects on Earth. Typically one might expect short-term electrical power blackouts, short-lived communication outages, rerouting of aircraft, loss of a few satellites and a beautiful “aurora borealis” in the night’s sky from a large solar storm. But as the intensity of a solar storm increases like a wild beast, the storm can begin to develop the capacity to create a major disaster on Earth. The difference in solar storm intensity is like the difference between being hit with a tropical rainstorm and being devastated by a Category 5 hurricane. The solar storm of 1-2 September 1859, which began with a solar flare so strong that it was subsequently named the Carrington Flare, was such a beast.

A solar storm can consist of three major components: a solar flare, a solar proton event and a coronal mass ejection. A coronal mass ejection can interact with Earth’s magnetic field to produce a geomagnetic storm. Not all solar storms produce all three elements but the largest solar storms tend to.

Will the world face the threat from a massive solar storm in Solar Cycle 24? An increase in the number of cumulative spotless days during a solar minimum appears to correlate to a reduction in the number of sunspots over the entire solar cycle. The old solar cycles produced overall 38% fewer International Sunspot Numbers than the recent solar cycles. Since the old solar cycles produced fewer sunspots, one might draw the conclusion that we will be entering a period of reduced solar storms. But historical observations show this is not true. It is quite the opposite. The old solar cycles produced very intense solar storms. Massive solar storms in the old solar cycles occurred on 1-2 September 1859, 12 October 1859, 4 February 1872, 17-18 November 1882, 30 March 1894, 31 October 1903, 25 September 1909 and 13-16 May 1921. How can this be? This is because the old solar cycles produced massive sunspots. It was as if the magnetic field energy still existed and still had to be vented but during a shorter time interval, so the sunspots exploded in size and power.

The old solar cycles ranged from 406 - 1028 spotless days. That is a fairly wide range. As of the end of December 2009 the cumulative number of spotless days stands at 771. The number of spotless days is beginning to taper off. There were only 10 spotless days in December. It is likely that the final number for the solar minimum leading into Solar Cycle 24 will be in the 800’s. This puts us uncomfortably close in spotless days to the two solar cycles that produced the most intense solar storms, Solar Cycles 10 and 13.

The solar minimum preceding Solar Cycle 10 produced 654 spotless days. The largest known solar storm in modern history occurred during Solar Cycle 10. On 1 September 1859, an extremely rare white-light flare occurred on the surface of the sun. This event was referred to as the Carrington flare. Minutes later a burst of high-energy protons struck earth. This Solar Proton Event (SPE) was the strongest observed in 450 years, producing an omnidirectional fluence of 18.8 billion solar protons (with energies greater than 30 million electron volts (MeV)) per square centimeter. Seventeen hours and forty minutes later the main mass of the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) struck the earth like a large battering ram distorting the Earth’s magnetic field, producing a massive geomagnetic storm. The intensity of this storm is estimated as magnetic intensity Disturbance Storm Time (Dst) of 1,760 nT (nano-Teslas). By way of comparison, the strongest geomagnetic storm since 1957 occurred on 13 March 1989 with a Dst of 589 nT.

The solar minimum preceding Solar Cycle 13 produced 736 spotless days. Five very large solar proton events (SPEs) occurred in Solar Cycle 13. These SPEs produced solar proton fluence of 2.3 billion, 7.7 billion, 11.1 billion, 8.0 billion and 3.1 billion respectively.5 The (11.1 billion) SPE was the second strongest solar proton event detected in 450 years of ice core records. By way of comparison, the strongest SPE’s during the past 5 solar cycles (1954 to ~2008) had a solar proton fluence of 8.0 billion for a November 1960 event and 5.0 billion for an August 1972 event.

If a solar storm of the magnitude of the Carrington flare were to occur today, the effect on our modern technologically dependent society would be grave. Of these, the greatest threat would lie in the loss of stable electrical power. The geomagnetic storm created as the coronal mass ejection collides with Earth’s magnetic field can destroy many of the large custom Extra High Voltage (EHV) power transformers used in the United States and throughout the world. In 2007, I described the effects from a massive solar storm in Solar Storm Threat Analysis.6 In 2008, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences took up the subject holding a public workshop to define the solar storm threat. Their independent findings (which mirrored mine) were published in a report titled Severe Space Weather Events - Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts.7 In their findings, the bottom line was if a massive solar storm struck the United States today “it would result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people and would expose more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage”. Imagine the effect of a total power blackout for months/years on 100 million people in the U.S. along with many millions around the globe. The report then goes on to say, “Historically large storms have a potential to cause power grid blackouts and transformer damage of unprecedented proportions, long-term blackouts, and lengthy restoration times, and chronic shortages for multiple years are possible.”

Imagine for a moment what modern life would be like without electricity. The transportation system would be thrown into gridlock. Electric trains and subways trains would stop dead in its tracks. Stoplights and railway signal light would no longer work. Gasoline stations would be unable to pump gasoline or diesel because the pumps run off of electricity. Businesses, schools and homes would go dark. Communication systems would either die or become severely constricted. Water in many homes would dry up after a few days because municipal water pumps are electric. Without water, the toilets would no longer flush. Some sewer systems would become inoperative spilling raw sewerage into rivers and lakes. Life without electricity for a few days is a major inconvenience. Life without electricity for months or years is a major disaster. Most EHV transformers are large, the size of a small house, and very unique. They are not off-the-shelf items. They are costly (around $10 million each) and have a manufacture lead-time of a year or more for replacement. As a result, restoration would be slow and the massive blackout could extent through many months. This is the threat. Our technological world is vulnerable to a master reset.

Quiet Sun Threat

There are some scientists that believe the sun, rather than leveling off into a new state in Solar Cycle 24, will continue to free fall throughout this solar cycle. Several scientists including David Hathaway (NASA)8, William Livingston & Matthew Penn (National Solar Observatory)9, Khabibullo Abdusamatov (Russian Academy of Science)10, Cornelis de Jager (The Netherlands) & S. Duhau (Argentina)11 and Theodor Landscheidt (Germany)12, have forecasted that the sun may enter a period similar to the Dalton Minimum or a more severe “Grand Minima” (such as the Maunder Minimum or Spörer Minimum), a decade from now in Solar Cycle 25.

A few scientists including David C. Archibald (Australia)13 and M. A. Clilverd (Britain)14 have warned this might even begin in Solar Cycle 24. We are at the transition into Solar Cycle 24 and this cycle has already shown itself to be unusually quiet.

The sun is a major force controlling natural climate change on Earth. Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high-speed charged particles (protons, ions) that originate from exploding stars. Many of these particles are moving close to the speed of light. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Charged raindrops are ten to a hundred times more efficient in capturing aerosols than uncharged drops. Low clouds tend to be optically thick and are efficient at reflecting sunlight back into space. A large increase in Earth's cloud cover produces a global drop in temperature.

Galactic cosmic rays are a very effective amplifying mechanism for climate forcing because the energy needed to change cloudiness is small compared with the resulting changes in solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface.

Earth’s ocean cloud cover is strongly correlated with GCR flux modulated by solar cycle variations. Refer to Figure 3.

Figure 3. A strong correlation between Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and Earth’s cloud cover
over the oceans. This figure shows cosmic rays fluxes from Climax (thick curve) plotted against four satellite cloud data sets. Triangles are the Nimbus-7 satellite data, squares are the ISCCP-C2 data, diamonds are the DMSP data, and crosses are the ISCCP-D2 data.15

In 2006, the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen conducted experimental studies of aerosol nucleation in air, containing trace amounts of ozone, sulfur dioxide and water vapor at concentrations representative of Earth’s atmosphere over the oceans. Their experiments confirmed the causal mechanism by which cosmic rays facilitate the production of clouds in Earth’s atmosphere.16 Specifically the experiments showed that (1) stable cloud aerosol clusters were formed in the presence of ions, (2) the nucleation rate was proportional to the ion density, (3) the characteristic time for producing stable clusters was very short (2 seconds or less).

This theory is not an abstract threat but rather a very real one grounded in historical observations. The last solar Grand Minima was the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715 AD). During the 30-year period from 1672-1699 AD, there were less than 50 sunspots detected, whereas during the past century over the same period between 40,000-50,000 sunspots normally would appear. The Maunder Minimum corresponded to the depths of the Little Ice Age. Before that was the Spörer Minimum (about 1420 to 1570 A.D.). That Grand Minima was also noted for bone-chilling cold temperatures and was referred to as a Little Ice Age.

The threat from a quiet sun is describe in the Solar Grand Minima Threat Analysis.17 Historically past solar “Grand Minima’s” produced a global drop in world temperatures. Food production declined due to shortened growing seasons, unpredictable early frost, a dramatic increase of days with overcast skies and a resulting decline in the intensity of sunlight. With diminished food production, a string of famines occurred. Added cloud cover also produced greater rainfall, massive storms and floods. For example during the Spörer Minimum, approximately 400,000 people perished in the A.D. 1570 “All Saints Day storm” in northwestern Europe. And two catastrophic storms hit England and the Netherlands in A.D. 1421 and A.D. 1446, each storm killing 100,000. Flooding created swamplands that became mosquito breeding grounds and introduced tropical diseases such as malaria throughout Europe.18 During the Little Ice Age, glaciers expanded rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America. This caused vast tracts of land to become uninhabitable. The Arctic ice pack expanded into the far south. Several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finland’s population fell by one-third, Iceland’s by a half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities.19

This threat is not a short-term threat but extends over several decades. Of the 27 “Grand Minima’s” that have occurred over the past 12,000 years: 30% lasted less than 50 years, 52% lasted between 50 and 100 years, and 18% lasted over 100 years. Of these, the longest was Spörer Minimum, which lasted approximately 150 years.
Preparedness Planning

It would be unfair to discuss the threats from massive solar storm or from a solar “Grand Minima” event without providing some guidance in dealing with many of the after-effects. As a result, I have laid out civil defense planning to deal with each of these threats. The plans are in English (my native language) and freely available on the internet. The Solar Storm Disaster Preparedness Plan is available at http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/SSDPP.pdf. The Solar “Grand Minima” Preparedness Plan (i.e. Little Ice Age) Preparedness Plan is available at http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/GMDPP.pdf.

The goal of the Solar Storm Disaster Preparedness Plan is to alleviate some of the misery and hardship that may be encountered following a massive solar storm. The plan identifies both a reactive approach (immediate actions) and a proactive approach (long-term measures) that can be taken to minimize adverse effects from this threat. The plan provides practical advice primarily focused on survival basics: water, food, shelter and protecting human life.

The reactive approach discusses steps to be taken immediately to prepare for an imminent major solar storm and potential electrical blackout. The first section is similar a “to do” list. Stock-up on extra batteries, such as those used in flashlights and radios. Fill vehicles with gasoline/diesel. Pick up alternative fuel for cooking such as charcoal/propane and don’t forget the matches. For individuals on prescription medicine, obtain a 90-day or more supply. Visit the bank, withdraw some savings and have cash on-hand. Store tap water or buy bottled water.

Obtain non-scented chlorine bleach for drinking water purification. Stock up on food, which does not require refrigeration or cooking. Make sure you have a manual can opener. Prepare intelligently for the morning commute. Avoid elevators. Don’t fly on airplanes. Coordinate preparations with friends and family. Make sure you have a portable radio. Fully charge all rechargeable batteries such as those found in cell phones. Disconnecting power from electronics. Fuel and check operation of automatic backup electrical generators. Individuals over 35 years of age should take an aspirin a day for the next week. Stock up on buckets, vitamins, and toilet paper. Have activities ready for your spare time such as visit the library or bookstore and obtain books for reading. For those with pets, make sure you have adequate supplies of pet food. In winter in cold weather areas additional preparations are required. If you have an electric garage door opener in your home, know how to manual disengage it. Reduce power consumption from the electrical power grid.

The next section discusses issues after an electrical blackout has taken hold: determining the scope of disaster, communications that will still be operational after a blackout, controlling traffic jams, travel advice, the threat from accidental electrocution, emergency call centers, reducing electrical surge loads, loss of water, perishable food, loss of indoor electrical or gas ranges, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, frozen water pipes, surviving climate extremes without electricity, inoperative toilets, tall buildings, neighborhood watches, critical computer infrastructure, national guards, riots, conservation and relocation.

The proactive section describes the preparation needed to survive a long-term electrical blackout lasting months/years. At the individual level this section discusses in depth: water storage, watertreatment, long-term food storage, food preparation and cooking, lighting, sanitation, cold weather considerations, alternate electrical power, medical emergencies and security. At the governmental level, the plan discusses: service stations, traffic lights, emergency communications, old standard equipment, emergency system design, satellite hardening, spacecraft shielding, electrical grid design, backup grid assets, power restoration priority and the breakdown in banking and the financial system.

The Solar Grand Minima Preparedness Plan focuses on threats present in a Little Ice Age. Mankind has been down this road before and we will go down this road again and we will survive. The last time we faced the threat from a solar Grand Minima was over 300 years ago, and as a result it has almost been erased from our collective memory. A solar Grand Minima produces a time of great hardship, a time of significant natural global cooling, a time of great famine and starvation and a time of major epidemics.

In general, the way we survived this harsh cold weather in the past will be the way we will in the future – through adaptation. The plan researched the methods individuals use to survive the extreme cold weather in Fairbanks, Alaska; International Falls, Minnesota; and in Antarctica. It looked at the problems they faced and how they coped and adapted. This adaptation encompasses the clothes we wear, our transportation, the design of our homes and businesses, a greater understanding of cold weather health hazards and treatments. Little Ice Age conditions will strangle food production resulting in a series of famines. One section of the plan describes techniques individuals can apply in preparing long-term food storage. Massive ice storms and blizzards cause massive electrical outages. Many of the methods we currently use to heat our modern homes in the winter require electricity. Without electricity, homes in cold environments will slowly lose heat and become unlivable. Therefore, another focus in this plan is the need to have a back-up heat source that does not use electricity. At the governmental level, this plan discusses farming, energy, natural resources, plagues and excessive environmental regulations.


I find it interesting that many people fear imaginary threats while at the same time basically ignoring threats that are real and imminent. Two imaginary threats currently playing out on the world stage are the man made global warming scare and the predicted cataclysmic world disaster linked to the end of the Mayan calendar in the year 2012.

In the Man-Made Global Warming scare, it is alleged that man-made industrial emissions of carbon dioxide are increasingly trapping heat, which would otherwise escape from our atmosphere, thus causing global warming. It is further believed that this increasing carbon dioxide level will reach a tipping point where the world will heat up to the point that life will no longer be sustainable on the planet.

The consensus among scientists in support of the man-made global warming theory has been grossly exaggerated. For example, over 31,000 American scientists signed the following petition "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."20 This number of scientists is not a trivial number.

By taking this stance many scientists place their careers in jeopardy. This is because the global warming lobby is very powerful and vindictive. The scientists that signed this petition believe in the scientific principles of openness, falsifiability, replicability and independent review. When the integrity of science is at stake, they are willing to step forward and be counted.

The primary greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere is not carbon dioxide. Rather, it is water vapor. Water vapor is directly responsible for the Earth’s present climate. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are only minor constituents in Earth’s atmosphere and produce only very minimal effects on our climate.

Life on Earth is based on the carbon atom. Carbon dioxide is part of the fabric of life. Declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant is scientifically unsound. Without carbon dioxide; plants would quickly die. Even humans require some carbon dioxide to survive. Over the last 350 million years carbon dioxide levels have varied between 250 parts per million (ppm) and 2,500 ppm with an average level of around 1,500 ppm. This average level (1,500 ppm) happens to be an optimum level for many plants. Present atmospheric carbon dioxide level is currently on the low side at

387 ppm. Consider that individuals with respiratory problems are routinely given oxygen. Oxygen concentrators remove nitrogen from the air and provide 95 percent pure oxygen along with argon, other trace gases and over 1,500 ppm carbon dioxide. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) reports that only when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reach 100,000 ppm that the gas becomes immediately dangerous to human life.21

Satellites provide generally the most accurate atmospheric temperature measurements covering the entire globe. Average yearly lower Troposphere temperatures (relative to the 1979-1998 average) were as follows: 1998 (0.512°C.), 1999 (0.040°C), 2000 (0.035°C), 2001 (0.198°C), 2002 (0.311°C), 2003 (0.275°C), 2004 (0.195°C), 2005 (0.338°C), 2006 (0.260°C), 2007 (0.282°C), 2008 (0.048°C), and 2009 (0.259°C) according to the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) LT5.2 satellite data.22 Comparing the peak year 1998 to the present, the lower

Troposphere temperature is currently a 1/4 degree Celsius colder. This is despite the fact that over that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide (at Mauna Loa) has risen 20 ppm or 5% from 367 ppm to 387 ppm. The manmade global warming theory failed to predict this trend. The falling temperatures occurred at the same time as the sun produced minimal sunspots as it is transitioned into Solar Cycle 24.

There will be some that might argue that the year 1998 was a temperature anomaly. Indeed, they would be correct. But the elevated temperatures observed that year were used to drive fear into the hearts of many people that the Earth had finally reached a tipping point and this was proof-positive that man-made global warming was a hard fact instead of just a hypothesis based on untested (unvalidated) computer models.

Analysis of ice core data through glacial/interglacial transitions shows an association between carbon dioxide and temperature. But the climatic temperature always changed first and carbon dioxide levels followed. There is a measurable lag time of 400 – 1,000 years.23 Therefore; it is earth’s temperature that is driving atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rather than carbon dioxide levels driving temperature. Why is this the case? It is because the oceans stores vast quantities of carbon dioxide; far greater than our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is soluble in water. This solubility decreases as the water temperature increases. As the world’s oceans gently warm naturally, carbon dioxide is released into Earth’s atmosphere.

The Earth’s atmosphere is fairly stable and resilient. Carbon dioxide levels during the Ordovician period (which began 490 million years ago and ended around 443 million years ago) were approximately 5,000 ppm, but these high-levels of carbon dioxide did not throw our world into runaway global warming.24 So if exceptionally high carbon dioxide levels did not cause run-away global warming in the past, why would we expect that to be the case in the future (especially at the minimal levels of 387 ppm)?

Another imaginary threat is the Predicted AD 2012 Cataclysm. The long count calendar of the ancient Mayans ends on 21 December 2012. Someone reasoned that since the calendar ends - so must the world. The cause of the cataclysm has not been well defined. Proposed causes include: a geomagnetic pole reversal, crustal displacement caused by a physical pole reversal, a collision or near-miss with a phantom planet (Nibiru/Planet X), an alignment of the super-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy causing a massive gravity wave, a crossing of the

galactic plane, asteroid/comet impact, a coronal mass ejection from the sun, an explosion from the black hole at the center of our galaxy, a religious apocalypse, an alien invasion, a gamma ray burst, changes in the flux rates of high energy galactic cosmic ray striking Earth, flu mega-pandemics, nuclear or biological war, a super-volcano eruption, a global warming effect, distortion in the time space continuum, the unleashing of a self-replicating nanotechnology

bug, a nearby supernova explosion, a nuclear accident, ice age inception, the creation of a mini black hole in the Large Hadron Collider that gobbles up Earth. And the list goes on and on and on. In the movie “2012”, neutrinos from the sun heat up the Earth’s core causing the tectonic plates to shift.

A couple years ago, an anthropologist in Mexico City contacted me. She had heard rumblings about this potential cataclysm and wanted to determine if any scientific basis to support the claims. I felt that some of the following questions need to be addressed. Did the ancient Mayans possess the technology to accurately predict this cataclysm with great precision? Is it even possible for the proposed threat to cause a global cataclysm? Where are the physical signs that the cataclysm is about to occur? At the time, the focus of the cataclysmic threat was from a

gravitational wave generated by an alignment in the galactic core. The Mayans did not possess the technology to observe what is happening in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Even today this is cutting edge science. If a gravity wave was plowing thought our galaxy, it would be observable. Other stars would be affected and the distortion would be noted with astronomical instruments. Where are these scientific observations?

Another threat we discussed was pole reversals. The Earth’s magnetic pole reverses at random intervals. The intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field has been declining. Scientific analysis of ancient pottery has shown that the magnetic field strength has declined 50% in the last 4,000 years. Recently, the decline has become very steep and pronounced. The decline in field strength at the equator has fallen 4.5% during the last century. Most of this decline occurred during the last 25 years. But having said this, the Earth’s magnetic field is still significantly stronger than the norm. Perhaps in a few thousand years it might reverse polarity. Also a reversal in the magnetic poles does not pose a grave danger to mankind. If there is any threat it lies in the restructuring of Earth’s strong dipole into several mini-poles (or magnetic anomalies). Earth’s magnetic field helps to deflect cosmic rays (galactic and solar) and a weakening of local magnetic fields would produce greater numbers of particles drilling down through our atmosphere. The Mayans did not possess the technology to predict magnetic pole reversals.

Even today’s science has not advanced to that level.

From there our discussion drifted to physical pole reversals. The Earth spins like a top. This is a very stable system. Ever strike a spinning top? It can bounce a quarter of a meter and keep on spinning. So long as the spin rate remains unchanged, the Earth spin axis could change orientation in frictionless space without producing an end-of-the-world cataclysm. But what is the scientific mechanism that would cause this threat to come about?

Someone has suggested a near miss by Planet-X, the phantom planet. A planet on an elliptical orbit would approach Earth at a high-speed greater than 50 kilometers per second. It would flash by Earth and not severely affect Earth’s spin rate. It might cause a tidal effect and it might slingshot Earth into a slightly different orbit around the sun. This might cause some problems but it would not produce a physical pole reversal. Also this requires a phantom planet to actually exist outside the realm of one’s active imagination.

Everywhere I looked for scientific explanation and evidence to support this Mayan cataclysmic theory I find none. The list of proposed threats have grown so long that it is like visiting a smorgasbord. This scare is unscientific. The only thing certain about this scare is the date and even that is not set in concrete. Some have set the date as 23 December. This cataclysmic myth is similar to the ones that came before it, like the Great Nibiru Collision Scare of 27 May 2003 (after that date came and went, it was readjusted to year 2010 and then to year 2012), or the "Jupiter Effect" cataclysm predicted for 10 March 1982, or the planetary alignment cataclysm slated to take place on 1 January 2000 (after that date came and went, it was readjusted to 5 May 2000), or the Hale-Bopp comet scare of 19 March 1997 in which 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide.

The Mexican anthropologist eventually met with a Mayan astrologist, a descendant of the ancient Mayans. The astrologer explained that the Mayan calendar does not completely end. It is a cyclical calendar that just starts up over again. It is an astrological calendar not an astronomical calendar. It doesn’t predict the end of the world. This finally brought some peace-of-mind to the anthropologist.

Closing Comments

Will the sun’s magnetism continue to free fall during Solar Cycle 24 or will it level off into a steady state similar to the old solar cycles? Will the next decade produce massive solar storms or will we see the start of a Dalton type minimum or even enter a more severe solar Grand Minima producing another Little Ice Age? As a scientist I can say that I do not have all the answers. The road ahead is bricked in uncertainty. But what is certain is the sun is undergoing a state change and two main threats lie on the horizon.

Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we are slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature.

There is a lot of talk these days about the legacy we will leave our children and our grandchildren. When I stare into the immediate future, I see a frightening legacy caked in darkness and famine. Instead of intelligently preparing; we find ourselves whittling away this precious time chasing fraudulent theories. We have a decade to prepare, but have a misguided sense of direction and urgency. In ten years from now when the next solar cycle begins; if the sun goes quiet, who will comfort the starving children who cry out in the middle of the night for a small piece of bread?

These will be our children. Each morning I turn on my computer to see how the sun is doing today. The appearance of gigantic sunspots foretells the coming of massive solar storms. Months of spotless days foretell the coming of a quiet sun. Be alert, stay healthy, and alive! And remember, the soul of man shines brightest in adversity. Survive the hardship with a hearty soul and an enduring spirit.


1. I.G. Usoskin, S.K. Solanki, and G.A. Kovaltsov (2007) Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: new observational constraints, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 471, pp. 301-309, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20077704, URL: http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/aa7704-07.pdf [cited 14 April 2009].

2. Jan Janssens, Solar Activity & Earth Monitor (Solaemon's) Spotless Days Page, URL:

http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Spotless/Spotless.html#Number [cited 10 January 2010].

3. Hans-Joachim Linthe, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam/GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Ap Index dataset “ap_monyr.ave” available at http://wwwuser.gwdg.de/~rhennin/kp-ap/

4. NASA, Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High, 29 September 2009, URL: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29sep_cosmicrays.htm [cited 10 January 2010].

5. K.G. McCracken, D.F. Smart, M.A. Shea and G.A.M. Dreschhoff (2001) 400 years of large fluence solar proton events, Proceedings of ICRC 2001: 3209.

6. J.A. Marusek, (2007) Solar Storm Threat Analysis, Impact, URL: http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/SSTA.pdf [cited 9 January 2010].

7. National Research Council (2008) Severe Space Weather Events – Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, National Academies Press, Washington D.C., Refer to URL: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12507

8. Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries, Physorg.com, URL: http://www.physorg.com/pdf66581392.pdf [cited 25 May 2009].

9. W. Livingston and M. Penn, Sunspots may vanish by 2015, URL: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/livingstonpenn_

sunspots2.pdf[cited 25 May 2009]. Athanor March/April 2010

10. Kh. I. Abdusamatov, (2007) Optimal prediction of the peak of the next 11-year activity cycle and of the peaks of several succeeding cycles on the basis of long-term variations in the solar radius or solar constant, Kinematics and Physics of Celestial Bodies, 23 (3), June 2007, pp. 97-100, URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/6t76758j320636u7/[cited 25 May 2009].

11. C. de Jager and S. Duhau, (2009) Forecasting the parameters of sunspot cycle 24 and beyond, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar- Terrestrial Physics, 71 (2), February 2009, pp. 239-245.

12. T. Landscheidt, New Little Ice Age, Instead of Global Warming?, URL: http://www.schulphysik.de/klima/landscheidt/iceage.htm [cited 25 May 2009].

13. D. Archibald, (2006) Solar Cycles 24 and 25 and Predicted Climate Response, Energy & Environment, 17 (1), 2006, URL: http://www.davidarchibald.info/papers/Solar%20Cycles%2024%20and%2025%20and%20Predicted%20Climate%20Response.pdf [cited 25 May 2009].

14. M.A. Clilverd, E. Clarke, T. Ulich, H. Rishbeth, M.J. Jarvis, (2006) Predicting Solar Cycle 24 and beyond, Space Weather, 4, S09005, doi:10.1029/2005SW000207, URL: http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24Clilverd.pdf [cited 25 May 2009].

15. H. Svensmark and E. Friis-Christensen (1997) Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage - a missing link in solar-climate relationships, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 59 (11), pp. 1225-1232, URL: http://atoc.colorado.edu/wxlab/atoc7500/svensmark1.pdf [cited 13 January 2010].

16. H. Svensmark, J.O.P. Pedersen, N.D. Marsh, M.B. Enghoff and U.I. Uggerhoj (2007), Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 463 (2078) pp. 385-396, doi:10.1098/rspa.2006.1773 URL: http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/463/2078/385 [cited 18 January 2010].

17. J.A. Marusek, (2009) Solar Grand Minima Threat Analysis, Impact, URL: http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/SGMTA.pdf [cited 9 January 2010].

18. Scott A. Mandia, The Little Ice Age in Europe, URL: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html [cited 10 January 2010].

19 Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers: Our spotless sun, National Post, 31 May 2008, URL: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/05/31/the-deniers-our-spotless-sun.aspx [cited 9 January 2010]

20. Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine: Global Warming Petition Project, URL: http://www.petitionproject.org/ [cited 7 January 2010].

21. Richard Chouinard, Carbon Dioxide: The importance of Carbon Dioxide to your health, New Zealand Centre for Political Research, 24 February 2009, URL: http://conservativemeanderings.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/carbon-dioxide-the-importance-of-carbon-dioxide-to-yourhealth/ [cited 6 January 2010].

22. University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) Monthly Means of Lower Troposphere LT5.2 Satellite Temperature Data, URL: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2 [cited 9 January 2010].

23. Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Climate Change Reconsidered, URL: http://www.heartland.org/publication/NIPCC%20report/PDFs/NIPCC%20Final.pdf [cited 7 January 2010].
24. Nick Lane, Oxygen – The Molecule that made the World, Oxford University Press, 2002, Oxford U.K., p. 83.

James A. Marusek graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in physics. Worked as a physicist and engineer for the U.S. Department of the Navy for
almost 4 decades and retired two years ago. At the Lunar & Planetary Science Conferences presented papers titled The Cosmic Clock, The Cycle of Terrestrial Mass Extinctions and The Great Permian Extinction Debate. At the International Planetary Defense Conference presented the following papers: Comet and Asteroid Threat Impact Analysis, Comet Threat Mitigation Approaches & Challenges, and Impact Disaster Preparedness Planning. At the International Conference on Global Warming and the Next Ice Age sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory presented papers titled The Relationship between Cosmic Rays and Hurricanes and The Art of Forecasting Extreme Weather Events. Storminess Analysis described in the last paper was used twice thus far to forecast the intensity of upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Seasons and the United States Tornado Seasons. As those seasons came to a close, the demonstrated accuracy of this predictive tool is  presently at 100%.

The first version of this article has been published, in Spanish language, in Athanor magazine, under the title 'El Sol y elcambio climático' ('The Sun and the climate change') (March ‐ April 2010) ( http://www.athanor.es )."


Friday, March 12, 2010

Girault and the bed bugs

by Renee Corea on March 3, 2010

In History

This appears on the home page of New York vs Bed Bugs web site. 

"New York vs Bed Bugs was started by a small group of New Yorkers who were bed bug sufferers or former sufferers. We had a simple goal: we wanted our city to achieve control of the spread of bed bug infestations. In March 2008, we started a campaign for a bed bug task force. In February 2009, the New York City Council held a hearing on various legislation proposals, including the original bed bug task force bill (PDF) sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer in 2006. 

Thanks to Council Member Brewer’s sustained efforts over the past several years, the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board was convened. Please see the local law (PDF) which created the board and the Mayor’s March 2009 statement upon signing the legislation. A report is expected in April 2010." 

I assume that Renee has been the hosting the web site all of this time.  She has done a magnificent job in the BLOG section of the site. These are two of her last posts.   However the site will remain up for some time and I think this is important because I can't find any site anywhere that has been more thorough about the history or science of this issue.  Renee and her group have worked hard and passionatly to alleviate the suffering of New Yorkers of this plague.  They will be missed I am sure because they have impacted the views of untold numbers far from New York.   These  two articles have been reprinted with Renee's permission.  Rich K.

Alexandre Arsène Girault checked into an elegantly furnished room in one of the best hotels in Cincinnati on October 29, 1907. It was close to midnight. Later he would have occasion to ask the hotel manager if anyone had slept in his room the night before.

Girault worked for the U.S. Bureau of Entomology. He was 23. His major work on chalcid wasps — and the many “eccentricities” that were to shape his tragic life — were in the future.

He takes pains to describe the events of the night in detail. This is his description of the room:
This room was on the second floor, and proved to be a rather small one, about 18 feet long and about 12 feet wide. It was elegantly and neatly furnished, with the walls painted a dark gray and ornamented with mural paintings of flowers; the floor was well carpeted. The bed was of iron, painted black, and the whole room, including the rest of the furniture, presented the usual neat, cleanly, and attractive appearance found in hotels of this class. The room was lighted with two 16-candle power electric globes on a chandelier suspended from the middle of the ceiling, and about six and a half feet above the floor. Also these lights were just about four feet above the bottom third of the iron bedstead; the bed was therefore in full glare of the light. A neat, bronzed steam radiator supplied heat.
The temperature in the room was 75dF.

I found a photograph of a (comparable?) hotel room, c. 1910:

A room in the Chittenden Hotel, Columbus, Ohio, c. 1910 - Library of Congress

And this is Cincinnati in 1907: (And for more history, this is the lobby of the Hotel Havlin, one of the grand Cincinnati hotels of this time, but perhaps too grand for the account in question.)

At 12:30 am Girault noticed a third instar nymph on the bedspread:
[T]his nymph was pale. I killed it. After this, I looked the bed over, and finally decided not to get into it, but to lie across it after disrobing, leave the lights on and obtain such sleep as possible under the circumstances.
He left the light on. Like all of us have done.

This lasted half an hour before he saw several bed bugs crawling away from him “swollen with blood” — they were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th instars:
The time was about 1:20 A. M. Between this hour and 3:30 A. M., I dozed off from time to time, lying in the same place, but distinctly remember waking at 2 A. M. and 3:20 A. M. and discovering numerous specimens hurrying away over the coverlid. Each time I arose and killed all of the bugs in sight, and also those, which having been glutted from the host, had left it, crawled 2 or 3 feet away, and were hiding in the bed linen; these latter were discovered after a brief search, and were evidently hiding temporarily. At both of these times, the majority of the insects were in instars III and IV, but two were found in V, and one in I, the latter discovered coolly feeding from my fingers, and from its color, evidently obtaining its first meal. At 2 o’clock, I also killed one or two rather pale nymphs of about instar III, crawling toward the host. No adults were observed.
No adults. And one first instar.

At 3:30 am he called it quits and slept in a rocking chair until 6:00 am.

At 9:00 am he conducted a search of the bed and the room but could not find any bed bugs. There was a suitable crevice at the head of the bed but there were no bed bugs there either. The mattress was a hair mattress with covered springs. He thought they were hiding in the spring coverings. He found no bed bugs and no eggs.

And the previous night’s guests?
I learned through the kindness of the hotel management that the room had been occupied on Oct. 28th by two persons, but in spite of that fact, the bedbugs which I encountered did not seem to have been recently fed. Unfortunately, I could not ascertain whether the bed had been utilized, or whether they spent the night there.
Incredibly, this was not Girault’s first account of what he called “very unpleasant experiences” with old Cimex l. There’s a great deal more, as always! Hopefully we can review some of it next.

A. Arsène Girault, Notes on the Feeding Habits of Cimex lectularius Linnaeus, Psyche, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 85-87, 1908. doi:10.1155/1908/85427

Girault, cont’d

by Renee Corea on March 8, 2010

in History, Research

So there was that hotel stay in 1907—the attack, to use his word.

But two years earlier Girault had published a major article about bed bugs followed by an extensive critical bibliography, likely the entire literature of bed bugs until that time, which unfortunately I haven’t found, though surely much of it is in Usinger… but I wonder if only the useful bits and not the outlandish stuff that one really wants to find. In any case, Girault wrote several articles on the bed bug. We have time for only one.

There is this remarkable passage you should see about his “very unpleasant experiences” during a summer spent in “a small town in Virginia” (Girault studied at Virginia Polytechnic):
The whole place was thoroughly infested, and it was not an uncommon thing to see mattresses and bed-slats turned out to air, which were literally white with the insect’s eggs. The writer’s room was as bad as the rest; the old-fashioned bedstead was full of them, while during the day scores of them could be detected hiding in the walls. The place was almost unbearable, for the insects were not satisfied in staying indoors, but were frequently found secreted in one’s clothes. One night, returning to the room from outside, two were found beneath the collar, while occasionally, one would be found hiding within a pamphlet which was carried in my pocket. Wherever they were very numerous, many could be found frequenting privy-houses or other similar places, where they would be sure to obtain an occasional meal, visiting the host at every chance, night or day. That these insects are very active and freely move from place to place, that is to say, not necessarily confining themselves to certain rooms or houses, and hence not directly dependent upon any one host, is evidently true.
Remarkable, yes? Reminds me of WCW’s hat.

As if that were not vivid enough, Girault continues with this account of a colleague’s bed bug experience in an entomology lab:
Mr. William F. Fiske informed me that when stationed at Tryon, North Carolina, while working in the laboratory at night, bedbugs would crawl along the under sides of the edges of the table and stealthily approaching his bared arms, would attempt to feed.
Girault, A. A. 1905. The Bedbug, Clinocoris (=Cimex=Acanthia=Klinophilos) Lectularia Linnaeus. Psyche 12: 61-74. doi:10.1155/1905/10393

(What’s with Clinocoris… Acanthia? They couldn’t figure out what to call the bed bug at one time? Pity they didn’t ask us.)

I think Girault was having a bit of fun with the following, which he cited from an 1885 source, Lintner:
A correspondent wrote as follows: “ ‘Will you tell us something about the bed-bug, what its habits are, when it “spawns,” what it eats, how long it lives, and if it ever dies? I ask because I have moved into a house that I find was already occupied by several colonies of the pest. The room in which I have my library has the most. They are in my files of papers and periodicals. They seem to grow fatter every day, but for the life of me, I cannot tell what they live on. *******. Can it be that they live on the paste on the wall paper? As for remedies, ******. The latter (red pepper), I have sifted through my papers and books, and wherever I could get it; but instead of driving them off, they seem to fatten on it; ***************.****’ ” pp. 6-7.
And we may laugh at it too, for it is fantastic. What it eats!

Girault called bed bugs abominable. Actually, odious and abominable:
The trouble then is, that definitely stated facts are wanting concerning much of the life-history of this pest. This has doubtless been caused, partly on account of its being so common everywhere, and having an extensive literature, thus causing modern writers to believe it at first glance to be well studied, and partly because of its odious character and abominable nature. The last cause seems to have the most to do with it.
It is the insect most directly affecting man, and the one, if any, which should be thoroughly studied, and yet, not until as late as 1896 (Marlatt, 1896 a) was its true life-history made known.
This is not scientific literature without personality. Girault could say of the body of a first instar that had just fed that it “became stained a very beautiful, deep, purplish red.” Nymphs are described as “sordid yellow.”

Like many, he fed bed bugs himself; except for 5th instars which caused “a distinct itching sensation,” he was not responsive to the bites. These are some of his notes on feeding bed bugs:
A single nymph or larva hatching during the morning of June 24th and isolated in a small glass vial, was fed at once. It was very active after hatching, and at first made attempts to escape, though in a few minutes readily took food. Just as soon as the least bit of blood entered the body it could be traced to its destination, and as more was sucked in, the body became stained a very beautiful, deep, purplish red. The abdomen, at first flt and round in outline, soon became distended, lengthened, and cylindric, and the nymph then measured 2.00 mm.a

On the afternoon of the next day (25th), the nymph was again fed, and the abdomen was much darker, not stained as previously. Again on the morning of July 6th, it was fed. It had not changed. On the morning of July 6th, it fed long and eagerly, until the abdomen became so large and distended that it was all out of proportion to the rest of the body; it was then stained purplish red, as after the first meal. The insect after this gluttonous meal did not lose its usual activity. The first molt then occurred about 7 P. M., 7th July. It had thus fed four (4) times during the first instar.
And his findings on feeding times for each instar:
The nymphs are very voracious, and at a single meal gorge themselves until unable to hold more. The time therefore given to each meal is limited by the capacity or size of the nymph at the time of any one meal, the capacity of course depending upon, or rather being more or less bounded by, the different instars. Hence, in each instar, the time taken for any single meal is more or less definite, shorter in the earlier, longer in the later instars, as the capacity is less in the earlier, greater in the later instars.

For its first meal after hatching, in instar I, it requires on the average, about three (3) minutes to glut itself, and if another meal is taken in this instar, a slightly longer period. In instar II, five (5) minutes; in instar III, six (6) minutes; in instar IV, eight (8) minutes; in instar V, ten (10) minutes, and when adult, from ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes. These may be taken as averages, as the time for individuals varies somewhat.
He found that adults were unable to re-feed for at least 48 hours.

This is his table detailing the lifespan and the number of eggs deposited for two females, one fed and the other unfed:

oviposition and lifespan of fed and unfed female bed bugs - Girault 1905

I think of Girault sometimes. He pops into my head. I’m glad he was in the world. And wrote about bed bugs.