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Climate change blamed for bedbug, jigger infestations in Bungoma

Climate change experts are now attributing the sudden increase in bedbugs and jiggers in Bungoma to the global climate change crisis.

They argue that residents in Bungoma County have experienced an extra-ordinary surge in bedbugs at homes and schools.

Many families living in villages in Mt. Elgon, Webuye East sub-counties, and Sang’alo in Kanduyi sub-county are battling jiggers.

Speaking in Chwele on Wednesday during a training on climate change, Bungoma branch Red Cross Chairman Dr. Ferdinand Nabiswa said the surge in bedbugs and jiggers in the region may be due to climate change and lack of knowledge about preventing infestations.

Nabiswa argues that in previous years, cases of bedbugs and jiggers in the region were low, adding that the climate change phenomenon has created a conducive environment for the breeding of the pests.

The expert said that warmer climates promote a faster spread of bedbug reproduction and development than cooler climates.

“Bedbugs can hatch and become mature bedbugs in as little as 21 days in warmer temperatures when there is a good food source,” Nabiswa said.

He noted that it can take more than four months for the same process to occur in cooler temperatures and even longer if there is no steady supply of food.

Dr. Nabiswa attributes the warmer climate in the region to frequent deforestation, which has in turn promoted warmer breeding sites for bedbugs, adding that deforestation has also resulted in the drying of streams, springs, and rivers in the region.

 “The intensity of bedbugs in Bungoma is because of the climate change crisis,” he said, adding that these two pests have also become resistant to pesticides.

Nabiswa noted that schools in Bungoma have also become breeding sites for bedbugs, making students nightlife uncomfortable.

He called on school management to ensure that dormitories and classrooms are cleaned thoroughly and sprayed with potent pesticides as a strategy to fight bedbug invasion.

“The efforts we applied to fighting COVID-19 should also be applied to fighting bedbug and jigger invasions in this region,” he said, noting that leprosy has also become common in the communities.

By Roseland Lumwamu

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