A Minefield of Bed Bug Misinformation
Photo courtesy of Warren Wong
We’re twenty years post bed bugs resurgence.
Yet the amount of large infestations is increasing.
Bed bugs have become a fast-growing segment of the professional and over-the-counter pest control industry.
And we’re living the consequences of a minefield of bed bug misinformation.
We’re just not getting rid of bed bugs early enough to save from massive infestations building.
Bed Bug Stakes are High
There are certain things that have a significant impact on all living human beings.
Bed bugs are one of them.
We have over 7 billion people worldwide.
These hitchhikers only survival is blood and every one of us are at risk.
After twenty years of their existence, so many people still have no clue bed bugs exist.
Or, that they were somehow immune.
Even the economically challenged have cell phones and televisions.
And since bed bugs have made the news over again throughout the years.
It makes me wonder where they’ve been for the past twenty years.
Some of the stories I hear are so off that I am at a loss for words.
With such ignorance, we are looking at another twenty years of learning and education.
Separating Fact from Fiction
Based on calls we receive these are common bed bug questions and statements.
#1. I recently brought bed bugs home from a vacation and was told I have to throw all my furniture out.
This depends upon the extent of the infestation and condition of the furniture. Unless the furniture is old, broken and totally infested, there is no need to arbitrarily throw it out. There are ways to treat furniture including steaming, dusts, fumigation and heat.
#2. Bed bugs will jump on you, crawl in your hair, and cling to your skin.
First, bed bugs do not jump or fly. The likelihood of bed bugs being in your hair is slim and here’s why: Bed bugs are flattened dorsally like a flat disk. They also have two cat-like claws on the end of their legs which make it hard to navigate through hair. (exceptions would be tight curled hair or dreadlocks that they may get caught in). Same goes for dogs and cats.
#3. They only come out at night.
So not true. It’s just that the majority of people make themselves available for bed bugs in the wee hours of the night and early mornings. Suppose you work from 10 pm to 6 am in the morning and sleep during the day. The bed bug will adjust their life to yours. All they want is a blood meal. So, it doesn’t matter what time it is.
#4. Spraying my body with Raid, Hotshot or essential oils will keep them from biting me.
Sorry folks, this isn’t proven and pest products are poisons. Remember your skin will absorb those toxins! Even certain essential oils need to be applied using a carrier oil. Please be kind to yourself.
#5. But it says for bed bugs on the label why wouldn’t it work?
This is so very common. When people attempt do-it-yourself, they scan shelves in their local stores for anything with bed bugs on the label.
I always tell people, “If you can see a bed bug, you can kill a bed bug”. Your thumb can squish them or dirty dishwater can drown them. The problem is they are cryptic in nature and are difficult to find.
Aside from resistance issues, most of these are “contact kill” and you need to use these products as stated in the directions, directly sprayed on the bug.
#6. Sticky traps and monitors will detect whether or not you have bed bugs.
Sorry again, this is another misnomer. There are no proven products to detect low levels yet. The best monitor is you! Regular inspections of your beds and other resting places is better. Change sheets weekly, check piping and seams. Flip your mattress, vacuum box springs, steam frames and examine often.
It’s been known that people who spray pesticides or ignore them for great periods cause bed bugs to take up residence in ceilings. Bed bugs have been known to crawl across ceilings and drop down on beds.
Aside from people’s lack of knowledge, chemical resistance issues are increasing.
On a plane ride, in a matter of hours, a resistant strain from New York can make it to California.
The offspring of these resistant strains are not affected by chemical pesticides.
And, chemicals don’t kill the egg stage so more chemicals are used.
And so on, and so on.
Meanwhile, they keep spreading throughout whole neighborhoods.
Ranking as one of the largest problems is affordability for professional pest control.
From our last two years demographics, over 63% of the nation cannot afford a professional.
These people scan the internet or visit their local hardware store for a solution.
Without proper understanding and training, people overuse and misuse these chemicals.
Thus, causing yet more resistance issues and toxic environments.
It’s a catch 22.
The Deck’s Stacked Against Us
Whether we like it or not, the deck’s stacked against us.
Bed bugs will continue to infiltrate for many years to come.
We all need to do regular inspections for bed bugs.
Read “ How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on a Tight Budget”, to learn what does and doesn’t work before you attempt any treatment for bed bugs.
Your bed bug problem might be bigger than you think!
Learn if you can do-it-yourself or if you need a professional.
It Isn’t Your Fault – But Time is of The Essence
Know that it’s not your fault, but it’s still your responsibility to avoid bringing them into your homes.
The International Bed Bug Resource Authority has been a trusted resource for close to a decade.
We are here to help you understand what you are up against and direct you to powerful solutions as well as trusted professionals.
What Products Can You Trust?
In this minefield of bed bug misinformation, navigating the product world can be quite a challenge.
Do your homework!
Some products only work under controlled conditions in labs.
Remember, just because it worked under controlled conditions that don’t mean it is going to work in the real world.
Some companies downright lie about the effectiveness of their products.
With bold promises and savvy advertising they suggest that if you buy their stuff, you can get rid of bed bugs.
Through fear, they know exactly how to press your buy buttons.
Don’t lose your precious time following methods and ideas who will never work.
If you want to stay on top of the latest research and know what works and what doesn’t, reach out to us with a phone call or visit our site at www.ibbra.org