BED BUGS…. If you have ever had to deal with getting rid of bed bugs, just saying the words make you itch! So for everyone lucky enough not to have had an encounter, and I say lucky because they are everywhere, this is a myth buster blog for you.
1. We should bring back DDT to get rid of bed bugs for good.
Oh, for a cheap and easy solution to the bed bug problem. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for bed bugs. Set aside the environmental and health impacts of DDT for a moment, and let’s look at how DDT works. DDT acts by binding to the sodium pores of cells, allowing sodium to flood the cells and causing the nervous system to misfire. Today, the pesticides of choice for bed bugs are pyrethrums, but bed bugs are quickly developing resistance to this class of pesticides. Do you know how pyrethrums work? They bind to the sodium pores of cells – just like DDT. Bed bugs with the genetic mutation that makes them invincible to pyrethrums will be just as resistant to treatment with DDT.
2. You can treat bed bugs yourself by using bug bombs.
Bug bombs, or total room defoggers, release a pesticide into the air in your home. Most bug bombs do contain pyrethrin, a chemical used to treat bed bugs, so you might think this product is an effective way to eliminate a bed bug infestation. Not so. First of all, bed bugs (and other crawling insects) typically flee when the pesticide is released, heading for cover in the deepest, most inaccessible crevices of your home. Second, effective bed bug treatment requires directed applications in all the places where bed bugs hide – behind molding and casework, inside electrical boxes, or inside mattresses, for example. A bug bomb will not reach these areas adequately to kill all the bed bugs in your home. In fact, a bug bomb is one of the least effective treatments you can use for any insect problem and will make it harder for a licensed pest control company to effectively get rid of your problem.
3. If you have bed bugs, you have to throw away your mattress, couch, and other furniture or you will never get rid of them.
This one falls into the “It Depends” category. If you are using a heat treatment company like EXTREME HEAT then you do NOT have to throw away any furniture or mattresses, the heat can penetrate to the core. If you are using a chemical, then yes you will need to replace you items. (Heat is the way to go)
4. If you cant see bed bugs then you don’t have them
Wrong! Bed bugs love to feed at night and if it is a new infestation in your home you could have only a couple of bed bugs that you can’t find. Call in a bed bug sniffing dog. The K9’s used at Extreme Heat are trained the same way a bomb sniffing dog is trained and are 90% accurate. They can even detect an egg.
5. You can kill the bed bugs by turning up the heat in your house.
Heat treatments do kill bed bugs effectively, but simply turning up your thermostat is not a heat treatment. For this method to work, your home must be heated to over 120ºF for over an hour, and everything must be heated to that temperature evenly. That means the voids in exterior walls and the insides of your furniture must reach that temperature and stay there for an hour. You just can’t do that by turning up your thermostat. A professional heat treatment usually involves enclosing your home and using different heat sources in various areas of your home to safely raise the temperature throughout the structure. And whatever you do, do not use a grill, propane heater, or other portable heat source to kill bed bugs in your bedroom. People have started fires and exposed themselves to deadly carbon monoxide fumes while attempting to treat their own homes with heat. Call a heat professional.
6. You can kill bed bugs by turning off the heat in your house.
Just as bed bugs can’t withstand extreme heat, they can’t withstand extreme cold. Temperatures below 32ºF can and do kill bed bugs, but not quickly. To kill the bed bug eggs, your home must remain below freezing for at least a month. And the real trick is in dropping the temperature rapidly. If you simply turn off your furnace and let the temperature drop, the bed bugs can adapt and go into diapason, waiting until it warms up to become active again.
7. Just move out of your house for a while, and the bed bugs will starve and die.
How long are you prepared to stay at a hotel? It’s true that bed bugs require blood meals to complete their reproductive cycles. If they go too long without finding a host, they won’t survive. At normal room temperatures, though, bed bugs have been known to last for 12 months or more without a blood meal. In some conditions, bed bugs can survive an entire year without eating. So overall, simply vacating the premises is not a very effective strategy for eliminating these pests from your property.
8. A mattress cover can prevent a bed bug infestation.
A number of companies make bed bug mattress covers, or mattress encasement’s, that you can use if you’re concerned about bed bugs. All these covers do is create an impenetrable barrier to bed bugs around the outside of your mattress. If you already have bed bugs in your home, any bed bugs living in your mattress will be trapped inside the cover for good, unable to bite you, and they will eventually die. Any bed bugs elsewhere in your home will still have free access to your bed and to you, although they won’t be able to take up permanent residence inside your mattress. If you don’t yet have bed bugs, a mattress cover will keep the bed bugs out of your mattress, should they ever find their way into your home. Again, it will not keep you from getting bed bugs, nor will it keep bed bugs from biting you in your bed.
9. Any product that says it kill bed bugs will work.
If it’s not legally considered a pesticide product, it doesn’t require registration with the E.P.A. And if it’s not a registered pesticide with the E.P.A., then any claims made on the label don’t have to be proven with scientific data. Also, keep in mind that how the chemical pesticide is applied makes a difference. For example, some companies market total room foggers (aka bug bombs) that disperse pyrethrin, a chemical that does work on bed bugs. However, room foggers don’t allow the chemical to reach the places where bed bugs hide, making it a considerably less effective way to treat bed bugs than having a professional pest control specialist use the same chemical in your home.
10. All you need to get rid of bed bugs is the right pesticide.
Unfortunately, a pesticide application is almost always required to eliminate bed bugs completely. A pesticide alone, however, isn’t going to get the job done. You’re going to need to do a lot of housekeeping and cleaning, because bed bugs can hide anywhere and everywhere, and pesticides can’t be applied to everything you own. You’ll need to get rid of your clutter, and launder everything that’s washable in hot water. You’ll probably need to do a lot of vacuuming, and may need to steam clean your carpets and furniture.
We are having a FREE seminar in Wilmington Delaware (lunch provided) on December 4th at the prestigious downtown Doubletree Hotel to teach local professionals what they need to know to detect bed bugs and how to get rid of them. This is a growing problem in many homes and professions. Their are legal obligations for landlords, legal obligations for health care professionals etc…