Caution: Do It Yourself Bed Bug Destruction Can Be Dangerous


Just last week, a family in Alberta, Canada was devastated by the deaths of two of their five children after exposure to an unlicensed pesticide. The children were exposed to pesticide pellets, purchased by the family in Pakistan, which the mother had positioned around the house to get rid of bed bugs. It is unclear how the family got the phosphine into the country past officials. The substance is highly toxic and, in both Canada and the U.S., is only approved for use by people with special training. In fact, it is not even approved for use on bed bugs. However, the family had apparently heard it was effective and took the pest problem into their own hands--with tragic results.

Health Canada issued an immediate warning to use only industry-approved substances to kill bed bugs. If you have a bed bug problem that you would like to handle on your own, do you know how best to do so without endangering your family?

Practical measures

Before even considering any pesticides, you first need to take some practical measures to begin the bed bug battle.

  1. Find the bed bugs. You will get nowhere in your elimination efforts if you don't first identify where the bed bugs are nesting in your home. There may be multiple burrows in your bedroom alone. Start with your mattress and box spring, moving to your headboard, the baseboard close to your bed, and bedroom furniture in successive order.

  2. Clear the clutter. Clutter contributes to bed bug infestations, so clear out cluttered areas close to where you've seen evidence of the bugs. Throw away papers, trash, food wrappers, and old clothes. This will make it easier to get to affected areas.

  3. Decide whether your mattress is salvageable. Because bed bugs' primary goal is to get to you while you sleep, your mattress and box spring are probably infested. You may be able to clean the mattress thoroughly enough to remove the bugs, and then wrap your mattress in bed bug-proof plastic casing to prevent further problems. However, if your infestation is severe or you just can't imagine sleeping one more night in a bed where bugs crawled, then you may want just to invest in a new one.

  4. Vacuum and steam clean. Vacuuming is an excellent way to clear out bed bugs, but must be done properly. Steam cleaning applies both heat and suction to your carpet and upholstered furniture, which are both excellent removal methods.

Professional help

There are numerous pesticides approved by the EPA to kill bed bugs in the United States. If you decide to use one of these, read the label carefully and follow directions completely. Make sure not to use the pesticide on any surface for which it isn't approved; for instance, it may not be safe to use on mattresses or carpets.

What pesticides aren't safe to use? Substances not approved by the EPA should never be used for your bed bug problem. Even if your great aunt swears by some strange chemical or concoction, stick to a pesticide that has the government's nod of approval. You could end up sickening yourself, your family, and your pets.

Although you can use a pesticide on your own, you may want to enlist the use of a professional pest control company at this stage of your bed bug eradication. A professional technician will be able to

  • spot areas of infestation you may have missed

  • offer advice on additional practical measures you can take

  • advise what pesticides are the best ones to use, and apply them safely

Admittedly, bed bugs are difficult to eliminate from your home. You may feel so frustrated that you are tempted, like the family in Alberta, to listen to the counsel of friends or family about what chemical methods will kill them. However, keep your family safe. First, do practical things to get rid of the clutter. Then, if you decide to use pesticide on your own, use only EPA-approved solutions. If your efforts don't work, or you have any questions about the methods you've chosen, call a professional pest control company or check out the site for more information.


5 March 2015

how to eliminate pests for good

Do you spend your spring and summer months battling the pests that enter your home? There are many ways to prevent the intrusion of ants, roaches, flies, mosquitoes, mice and other pests in your home. I own several rental properties that I have to be sure do not get infested with all sorts of pests and have learned a lot about preventing the intrusion to begin with. You can learn from my personal experiences and keep the pests from ever becoming a serious issue in your home. With a few minor changes to the home and working with a skilled pest control agent, your home can be pest-free forever!