Please Don’t Try to Treat Bed Bugs By Yourself
By Chris Williams on November 4, 2014.
Occasionally we read a story in the paper or on the Internet about someone who took bed bug control into their own hands with a predictably bad outcome. Experts are always reminding people that bed bugs are one pest that always requires professional intervention; it’s not a DIY job.
The thought of an insect crawling on you and sucking your blood is traumatizing. People get desperate, and take measures into their own hands, even when they know better. There are stories of folks spraying pesticides on their skin or on their mattresses, contrary to instructions on the pesticide label. They use products in their bedroom that are for outdoor use only, or use pesticides that are not for use on bed bugs at all. They are re-applying pesticides more often than the label allows, making themselves sick.
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) became so concerned with the dangerous trend that it issued a health advisory regarding misuse of pesticides for bed bug control. CDC says that pesticide applicators (whether professional or homeowners) should make sure the pesticide label has an EPA registration number, is intended for indoor use, is for use against bed bugs, and that they they know how to properly mix the product and apply it safely.
CDC’s Advice to Residents with a Bed Bug Infestation:
- Use a pest control expert if you hire someone to treat your home for any pest problem. An experienced professional exterminator can help you treat the infestation effectively.
- A professional exterminator should thoroughly inspect your residence, and provide instructions for preparation and cleaning.
- When hiring a pest control professional, ask about the specific steps they take to treat bed bug infestations. They should use a combination of practices that include nonchemical methods along with limited and targeted pesticide use only as needed. In most cases, getting rid of bed bugs involves more than just chemical treatment.
- When you hire someone to control bed bugs or any other pest, make sure they are currently licensed and certified to apply pesticides. Ask to see the certification. Ask for the name brand of the pesticide and the name of the product’s active ingredient in case you or a member of your family gets sick from exposure to the product. Read the label of the product the exterminator is planning to use to make sure it is for indoor use.
Photo: Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org
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