Monthly Archives: October 2011

Do’s and Don’ts of Dusts and Bed Bugs

As a bed bug specialist I see all sorts of botched DIY bed bug treatments.  I am usually called in when the individual has finally had enough.  I have seen homes covered in INCHES of DE, wall to wall DE, bugs on ceiling due to bombs.  Then when the process is done wrong, I see bed bugs exhibiting strange behavior such as living in air vents,  living in hanging clothes, etc.

I cannot say it enough, if you are going to use DIY methods to kill bed bugs, follow the instructions on the products.  That does not mean they will stop your bed bug problem, but at least you won’t hurt yourself.  The CDC released a report last month on how people have accidentally killed themselves from pesticide poisoning attempting to treat their own bed bugs.  Chemicals can hurt us if they are not used appropriately.

I think dusts are a great way to kill bed bugs, but only if they are used the right way.  Unfortunately dusts have a difficult time killing ALL the bed bugs in an environment. So if you are going to use them I recommend dusts in conjunction with steam, vacuuming, and your dryer.

A few notes on the proper use of dusts…

  1. They should be used in the cracks and crevices only.  The term “crack and crevice” is a specific application method in the pest control industry, it is not a suggestion, but an approved method for your safety.
  2. Do not spread a layer throughout the house. A bulb duster is the best tool.  More is not better.
  3. Dusts will ruin computer and electronic equipment.
  4. Breathing these dusts is not good for your health.  They may be natural products but that does not mean they are not poisonous to humans. Boric acid is a dust commonly utilized, but in high concentrations will be dangerous to us.  There is no antidote for boric acid poisoning. DE slices bed bugs and then dehydrates them.  I can only imagine what it does to human lungs.

Please, please, lookout for your health first.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Heat Benefits Large Multifamily Bed Bug Problems

Just imagine, you own a large apartment complex that is infested with bed bugs.  No matter the reason for the infestation, and for arguments sake, lets assume that you were surprised by this new development.  What should you do, how and why???  Here are some advantages and disadvantages of your possible options.  You know me, I recommend the heat – more bang for your buck and it solves the problem, it is not just a band-aid.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Option 1: Chemical Treatment

Advantages:

  1. Less expensive than other treatments
  2. Any licensed pest control provider can do it
  3. Shows that you are attempting to treat the problem

Disadvantages:

  1. Less effective than other treatments, will require multiple applications per unit infested.
  2. No guarantee of extermination. It will control the population but it will not stop it.
  3. Spraying causes bed bugs to migrate, expanding your population and your clean up costs.  For any hope of decreasing populations all surrounding units must be treated as well as the infested one. Therefore more costly than anticipated.
  4. Will cause bed bug hibernation and dormancy, they will hide till the chemicals have dissipated and then return.  This can occur many months later.
  5. Requires large effort on part of resident to treat personal belongings appropriately. Surprisingly some people don’t care that they are living with bed bugs.  Therefore they wont be as diligent in their unit preparation and may not even do it at all.  This will increase your failure rate.
  6. Chemical applications typically miss eggs and nymphs.  This requires frequent re-treats which will nullify the economic value of the less expensive option.
  7. Even low toxicity chemicals can be harmful to “at risk” populations like the elderly and infants. You may need to provide alternate locations for families to stay while the chemical treatment is taking place.

Option 2: Whole Room Heat Treatment

Advantages:

  1. More effective than chemical, can usually be effectively completed in one treatment
  2. Does not scatter bugs or send them into hibernation
  3. Heat permeates all furniture so there are no escapees and you don’t have to replace the furniture
  4. Treatment is safe to all walks of life (except the bed bug and other insects caught in the heat)
  5. Requires less resident preparation of the unit than chemical treatments.  They need to remove aerosols and firearms but the list is short.

Disadvantages:

  1. More expensive than chemical
  2. Requires a licensed pest control professional that specializes in bed bug extermination with safe and approved equipment, so not everyone can do it.

Option 3: Fumigation

Advantage:

  1. Fumigation chemical (vikane) is very effective against all stages of bed bugs (typically used against termites)
  2. Can complete large units in single treatment

Disadvantages:

  1. Expensive! (Usually over 10K)
  2. Requires full tenting of home or apartment building
  3. Requires a specially licensed pest control professional to perform work