Bed Bug Insecticide Linked to Illness and Death

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A new study has linked pesticides used to kill bed bugs to illness and even one death. On September 23, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report linking pesticides sprayed in attempts to control bed bugs to poisoning incidents and death.

The study reports:

· A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug–related insecticide use were identified.

· 90 (81%) were low severity, one fatality occurred.

· Pyrethroids, pyrethrins, or both were implicated in 99 (89%) of the cases, including the fatality.

· The most common factors contributing to illness were excessive insecticide application, failure to wash or change pesticide-treated bedding, and inadequate notification of pesticide application.

It seems that this “solution” is more harmful than the problem. Bed bugs do not transmit disease, but they are awful. I sure wouldn’t want them in my house, but do you want to spray something that isn’t all that effective and can also lead to some side effects?

Here are great tips from Beyondpesticides.org to help deal with this pesky problem:

· Caulk and seal crevices. Prevent bed bugs from entering your home.

· Eliminate clutter. Getting rid of as much clutter as possible will help you locate and eliminate infestations.

· Vacuum. This will only remove visible bed bugs, but is important to get rid of dead bed bugs and their frass. Use a stiff brush to dislodge eggs in cracks and crevices and use a vacuum attachment that does not have bristles to get into the corners. Be sure to discard the bag immediately after vacuuming.

· Launder fabrics and clothing. Wash and dry clothing for 30 minutes or a full cycle at the hottest setting the fabric will allow. Dry-clean-only clothes can simply be put into the dryer. If the fabric is too delicate for the hottest temperature, place it on a lower heat setting and let it run for the full cycle.

· Encase mattresses and box springs. Make sure the encasement has been tested for bed bugs and will not rip and does not contain synthetic pesticides impregnated in the material. It will eventually kill all bed bugs inside.

· Steam treatment. Steam treatment will kill all stages of bedbugs. Move the nozzle over the bed bugs at a rate of 20 seconds per linear foot, and wrap a piece of fabric over the upholstery nozzle to reduce water pressure to make sure bed bugs don’t blow away. Many pest control companies provide this option, but you may have to ask for it.

· Heat treatment. Heat, either blown with a fan or ambient, can provide complete control of bed bugs, if all areas of infestation reach 120 degrees F.

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September 2011
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