Say No to “Do-It-Yourself” Bed Bug Control

By Elaine Gammon

We know bed bugs are nasty pests and if you find them in your home, the first thing you want to do is get rid of them as soon as possible. However, popular, “do-it-yourself” pesticide treatments including bug bombs, repellent sprays, natural oils, and store bought chemical applications are not recommended. In fact, applying pesticides on your own or improperly using pesticides will not only prove to be ineffective, the results can also be dangerous to your home and your family’s health.

Here is a list of the top ten least effective DIY methods to prevent or eliminate bed bugs taken from an article written by Brian Hirsch:

  1. Gasoline/kerosene – dousing the bed and residence in diesel fuel or kerosene.
  2. Sulfur – burning sulfur inside the home; (this was known as the “fire and brimstone” method back in the 18th century).
  3. Bug bombs – setting off multiple bug bombs that can blow the windows out of the building as a result of increased pressure.
  4. Fire extinguishers – using fire extinguishers to freeze the bugs.
  5. Leaving lights on – sleeping with the lights turned on to trick the bugs into not biting.
  6. Exterior pesticides – using pesticides that are not effective against bed bugs and risking the health of people in the home.
  7. Olive oil – covering your body in olive oil so the bugs can’t climb.
  8. WD-40 – spraying the bugs directly.
  9. Eliminating heat – turning off the heat in the winter to freeze them out.
  10. Baking soda/rubbing alcohol – applying this combination to the mattress or sofa.

Article cites dangers with DIY bed bug control
In the article “Treating bed bugs isn’t a “do-it-yourself project“, author Kate Spinner talks about the issues and dangers associated with people trying to control bed bug infestations on their own. Here are a few points from her article to consider:

  • Rampant misuse of pesticides in Ohio, New Jersey and New York, where bed bug infestations are skyrocketing, has led to home explosions and illnesses from over-exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Bed bugs are extraordinarily tough to control and a lot of over-the-counter applications can make problems worse. Many products claim effectiveness, but have only been tested in lab situations.
  • Bed bugs are so hard to control because they hide easily in small crevices, develop chemical resistance quickly, their population can explode exponentially in months and they can go long periods without food.
  • Bed bugs have developed resistance to almost half of the 300 pesticides listed for their control. And even the pesticides that do work can make infestations harder to beat if they are not applied correctly.

In addition, concern over do-it-yourself bed bug control is so high, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control recently issued public warnings urging people not to tackle bed bug problems on their own. If you find yourself facing a bed bug infestation, follow these steps:

  • Partner with a Pest Management Professional
    Early detection of bed bugs is critical, but it’s only the beginning. As soon as bed bugs are suspected, a thorough inspection should be made by a licensed Pest Management Professional (PMP) to determine the extent of the infestation and then a treatment strategy and follow up plan should be discussed, including the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tools and techniques.
  • Treat with heat
    Considered one of the most effective solutions against bed bugs, Modern Pest Services offers Thermal Remediation® or heat treatment to help control bed bugs and protect families throughout New England. And starting in early 2011, Modern will be offering canine inspections, a faster, more reliable way to detect bed bugs.
  • Work with your PMP for best results 
    Homeowners, renters, landlords, and property managers play an important role in the elimination of bed bug infestations and need to work closely with their pest management professional throughout the entire process. This includes following preparation guidelines prior to treatments and being aware of preventative measures to prevent bed bugs from recurring.

When it comes to bed bugs and other pests, consumers who hire PMPs are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome than those who try to tackle the problem on their own. Visit Modern’s website for more information about bed bugs.