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New Bed Bug Pesticides - Not a Reality!

DDT does not work, EPA won't approve propoxur without deep research and there are no new chemicals in the pipeline, because there is no money in it.  Oh, but that wont stop the political battles in Washington.  I wonder if the bed bugs will choose Republican or Democrat?



Old/New Research on Bed Bug Pesticide Resistance

I'm fairly certain that it is poor taste to blog someone else's blog, but Bug Girl has her PHD in bugs and does a great summary of what this 2008 study really means to us laymen.  Even the National Pesticide Information Center tells people to not spot treat with pesticides because it causes the pesticide-resistant populations to grow.  You know - natural selection - if you kill the ones who are susceptible to pesticides the strong will survive to reproduce!

Here is a nibble of Bug Girl's Feb 2009 Blog:

So, what does this new information tell us?

  • DDT will be utterly useless against bed bugs, so people should stop asking for it.
  • We’re going to need a lot more research on ways to kill bedbugs other than just poisoning them with the usual pesticide suspects.
  • In cities where there are active bed bug populations, insecticide choice for resistance management will be very important in urban entomology.
  • Bedbugs are not going to go away, and you should probably be getting a little paranoid.

EPA Bed Bug Pesticide Alert

Does anyone remember why DDT was banned in 1972?  No other pesticide has done more for mankind than DDT worldwide.  It has effectively dealt with malaria and a variety of other unnecessary diseases better than any other pesticide in the world.
So why the concern?  Well, it lasts a really long time after it is applied.  Residual DDT was found as the culprit in the weakening of the Bald Eagle eggs and the decline of our national treasure.  Environmentalist will tell you that traces of it have been found in many other species.  One should also note that there were already DDT resistant bed bugs in 1972.

So they were right to ban it in my opinion. But now given the hysteria that the US is experiencing with bed bugs, people are clamoring for a stronger chemical to kill them.  Really? you want a stronger chemical in your home!  That is the last place I want a strong chemical.  We have no idea the long term effects of common household chemicals in our house today, much less the harsh insecticides.  I cannot imagine adding a pesticide to my child's bed and being responsible for the possible implications to their long-term health.

The EPA is suggesting that chemical treatments of bedbugs should be avoided, and non-chemical treatments or prevention methods should be used for bed bugs. 

So cook the little bugs and then be extra careful in the future.  Heat remediation, the green solution,  is the way to go!

EPA Bed Bug Pesticide Alert

  • Never use a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use. It is very dangerous and won’t solve your bed bug problem.
  • Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bed bugs can make you sick, may not solve the problem, and could even make it worse by causing the bed bugs to hide where the pesticide won’t reach them.
  • Check if the product is effective against bedbugs -- if a pest isn’t listed on the product label, the pesticide has not been tested on that pest and it may not be effective.
  • Don’t use a product or allow a pest control operator to treat your home unless bed bugs are named on the product label.
  • Before using any pesticide product, READ THE LABEL FIRST, then follow the directions for use.  Keep in mind that any pesticide product without an EPA registration number has not been reviewed by EPA, so we haven’t determined how well the product works.

Unchartered Waters - NPR Interview with Michael Potter

A great NPR interview last night with Michael Potter, Professor of Urban Entomology, at the University of KY.  He called the bed bug the perfect parasite because it eats undetected, does not live on its host, and leaves confusion in its wake.
It is no surprise that he describes himself as "very concerned" about the current outbreak of this pest.  We are in "unchartered waters" with bed bugs because mankind has changed our habits:

  • unprecedented movement of people
  • more clutter in our lives
  • exterminators have changed their techniques
  • less potent insecticides with shorter shelf life
  • humans are less tolerant of insects now 

In the 23rd minute of the program he discusses the incredible success rate of heat remediation. He describes it as efficient, effective, and much less hassle than the alternatives.  His concerns were that it was not widely available and that it is expensive. 

NOT ANYMORE!  Welcome to The Bed Bug Answer!

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