Chemical pesticides simply don't work well on bed bugs; even strong bed bug sprays sometimes only accomplish a "knock down," temporarily immobilizing these parasites. Studies have shown that most bed bug pesticides are largely ineffective. Bed bugs had evolved strong resistance to DDT before it was banned in the 1970s! |
Now bed bugs are immune to DDT and other similar bed bug pesticides that provide bed bug control. Many industry and over the counter chemical bed bug sprays are ineffective as they are pyrethroids that act on the nerve endings similar to DDT.
Even when pesticides are effective, their use is not ideal for eliminating bed bugs. Many pesticide-based bed bug solutions require direct contact to kill these critters. If that's the case, then why use a pesticide at all?
Insects that are hit by aerosol sprays or fogging may simply scatter or hide, making the problem worse. Some compounds like alcohol-based bed bug treatments, do kill bed bugs, but do not work on the eggs, so it's only a matter of time before the next bed bug infestation begins!
Chemical methods are not the only way to control bed bug infestations. In fact some non-chemical measures are among the most effective in reducing bed bug populations. Vacuums play a major role in bed bug management efforts. Vacuums are used to physically remove as many bed bugs from the mattress, box spring, bed frame, head board, furniture etc. While vacuums are extremely effective, care must be taken to dispose of the contents of the vacuum immediately after use. Bed bugs can live quite happily inside even the dirtiest of vacuums. Vacuum bags should be placed into trash bags, tied shut, and disposed of outside of the home. Bagless vacuums should have the contents of the canister disposed of and the canister washed. Steam is another very effective tool in bed bug management and can be implemented very effectively in a variety of situations to include mattresses and box springs.
High quality mattress and box spring encasements are also very effective and serve two purposes: a properly fitting encasement can be very effective at sealing in any bugs that may have escaped all of the other management efforts as well as protecting the mattress and box spring from becoming re-infested. Bugs trapped inside the encasement will eventually die from starvation and bugs on the outside of the encasement can easily be removed with mechanical methods such as vacuums. It is critical to use high quality encasements that have been specifically designed and tested for use against bed bugs. When purchasing mattress encasements, it is important that the encasements are both bed bug "bite proof" and "escape proof". It is important that encasements are installed correctly so that they are sealed completely, preventing the escape or entry of bugs. If the encasements become ripped or torn they must be replaced. Once installed, the encasements should not be opened or removed in order to insure that any bugs inside do not escape and are eventually starved. Remember, bed bugs can easily survive several months or more without food and in some cases have been observed surviving over a year without a blood meal.
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