A big part of my mission is to help as many people as I can understand bed bugs and how to properly treat for them. The mistakes that people make are causing more spreading than we can keep up with. They are showing up in places that they’ve never been before and growing faster than ever.
The cost of hiring a professional to treat for bed bugs is out of reach for many and causes a person to run to their local hardware stores to buy up anything that has bed bugs on the label. Way too many calls come in from desperate people after they’ve wasted their money on products with the promise of getting rid of their bed bug problem and failed. So I thought I’d address this again so that hopefully people will read this BEFORE they attempt their project.
BED BUG FOGGER/BOMBS
These are total release (meaning they release the entire product at once) and were designed for fleas and other insects but were relabeled to include bed bugs. DO NOT – and I repeat DO NOT use these for any reason. This is a very common mistake that many people make because they are cheap. The bed bugs will likely become scattered, resulting in a more difficult treatment and costs required at a later date.
If you follow directions for use, you’ll place the fogger/bomb on a protective surface in the middle of a room and remove the seal to allow it to release a chemical in the space you are treating. Since the can is pressurized, it will shoot straight up into the air and the droplets fall on unobstructed surfaces (exactly where bed bugs DO NOT hang out). The chemical doesn’t even come close to adequately reaching the cracks and crevices where the bed bugs are.
They don’t kill the hidden bed bugs and eggs and in fact, used alone is one of the least effective treatments you can use for bed bug problems. Bed bugs can sense chemical odors and will run from it driving them deeper into cracks, crevices, under carpet tacks, electrical outlets and areas which are in-accessible by the chemicals these foggers and bombs release.
People are given a “false sense of security” thinking that with one application that all the bed bugs will be gone. The problem is that because people don’t understand they didn’t get them all and soon they start to get bitten again.
Out of frustration they go out and get more – thinking more is better. The vapors from these (especially when using more than needed for the space they are treating) can lead to a buildup of dangerous levels of flammable vapors and have led to an estimated 500 fires and explosions a year according to the California Department of Pesticides.
These vapors can be ignited by pilot lights (in a stove or water heater, for example), or by a spark from an electrical appliance that cycles on and off (for example, a refrigerator, air conditioner or thermostat). There have been reports of excessive use in apartment buildings and the pesticides circulated to other residents through the ventilation systems causing sickness.
These are called “contact” killers that mainly kill exposed insects. If you see a bed bug you can kill a bed bug. Problem is since bed bugs nature is to hide; these do not reach those hidden behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices of the bed, under carpet edging and in walls.
Furthermore, they will move away from the smell and scatter the bugs to other parts of the room or home. A prime example is pest control going into someone’s home and seeing bed bugs on the ceiling during early infestations. The first question they ask is who’s been spraying what?
DIATOMACEOUS EARTH (DE)
DE is relatively inexpensive and works by dehydrating or drying out the exoskeleton of insects. It is not a contact killer and takes time to work.
A big mistake made by many people is getting the wrong type of DE and another is, over applying it. There are three different types of DE which include pool, feed and food grade.
- Pool grade DE – it filters impurities in water and is dangerous to breath. The high heating process to make this grade alters the DE enough that it won’t work in your home, yard or garden
- Feed Grade DE – This type is not as common anymore because most people use food grade on their animals.
- Food Grade DE – This is what people should use because it is a multipurpose product that can be used in your home, yard or garden.
Although they are considered low risk with low toxicity, they have to be used correctly. I always tell people, if you see the dust, you’ve applied too much. Unfortunately, people tend to think that “more” is better and apply it in mounds throughout their whole dwelling. These mounds are like mountains to the bed bug and they will avoid it.
They are lightly applied in areas where bed bugs often frequent such as cracks, crevices, wall voids, electrical outlets, behind furniture, and under couches using a hand duster or brush. PEOPLE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! I often suggest using CimeXa to my clients.
Pesticides do have a specific purpose and are intended to:
- kill organisms that cause disease and threaten public health
- control insects, fungus, and weeds that damage crops
- control pests that damage homes and structures vital to public safety
Because we use pesticides to kill, prevent, repel, or in some way adversely affect some living organism (the pest), pesticides by their nature are toxic to some degree. Even the least-toxic products, and those that are natural or organic, can cause health problems if someone is exposed to enough of it.
The risk of health problems depends not only on how toxic the ingredients are (Pesticide Ingredients), but also on the amount of exposure to the product.
In addition, certain people like children, pregnant women and sick or aging populations may be more sensitive to the effects of pesticides than others.
To reduce the risk of health problems from pesticides there are several things you can do:
- Identify the least-toxic way to control your pest
- Always read the pesticide label first! Select the appropriate product for your site, method and goals.
- Read all precautions and warnings on the label prior to use. These are intended to help you prevent harmful exposures.
- Take steps to minimize your exposure, even when using low toxicity pesticides.
Many people believe that some pesticides are safe, while others are dangerous. Actually, the words “safe” and “dangerous” are misleading. Any chemical, including any pesticide, can pose risks to people, pets, or the environment. Understanding pesticide risks will help you take steps to minimize it.
The risk of a pesticide depends on two things, exposure (how much?) and toxicity (how poisonous?)
The “exposure” is the amount you get in or on your body, or the amount that is released into the environment. The toxicity of a pesticide is the measure of how poisonous it is to people or the environment.
Even products that are low in toxicity can be hazardous if the exposure is high enough. This is the basis for the argument that, “the dose makes the poison.”
When I talk about over application, some people tell me, “It’s OK I used a “natural” product. I always reply, “Water is natural right?” – But a Tsunami will kill you. Folks think before you overuse anything!
For example, one aspirin is beneficial for pain or certain medical conditions, but too much aspirin could be very hazardous. As the amount of exposure (the dose) increases, so does the risk.
Pesticides often contain more than one ingredient, and each one may have a different toxicity. One easy way to estimate the toxicity of a pesticide product is to look at the signal word.
Most pesticides will have either the word CAUTION, WARNING, or DANGER on the label, and that signal word reflects the toxicity of the product: 
- CAUTION represents the lower toxicity products
- WARNING indicates medium toxicity products
- DANGER stands for the highest toxicity products
HEALTH CONCERNS / PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES
NOTE * the excessive use of pesticides can result in health problems and accidental deaths. As a result of pesticide use the bed bug is developing greater resistance to current methodologies. This oftentimes leads to overcompensating by increasing amounts of chemicals.
Remember, if you must do-it-yourself, it will take a conscience effort and continued follow-up. Bed bug elimination takes time and patience. Depending upon whether you have a recent introduction or a full-fledged infestation, after the first treatment you may have to go back several times and do it all over again.
Avoid making mistakes and read, “How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on a Tight Budget” BEFORE you attempt any bed bug treatment yourself! Book is under twenty dollars and Kindle version with immediate download is only $4.99 It will save you from spreading them further, spending your money on things that don’t work and help keep your environment free of toxins for your family and loved ones.
Learn all you can about the nature of the bed bugs by visiting http://www.ibbra.org or give us a call 888-966-2332
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