Well, I’m not sure if they laugh, but they certainly don’t care if you set them off in your home. Bug bombs, when used incorrectly, can have devastating consequences. “But wait…don’t they do good things for us when used correctly like kill bugs and stuff” you ask? Not always. And just because the label claims to treat a pest, do not believe it. A recent article published in theJournal of Economic Entomology details how ineffective these products truly are when it comes to treating some pests; in this case Bed Bugs.
Bed bugs have been a long standing concern of public health officials as well as anyone who doesn’t want insects sucking on them while they sleep…so I assume that’s most of you. They have been sharing our beds and lives for thousands and thousands of years. The exoskeleton of a bed bug was found in an Ancient Egyptian tomb for crying out loud! With the widespread use of DDT in the mid 20th century they mostly disappeared from the North American continent for a good long while. DDT worked, it did some good things in treating pests. But it also had some harmful consequences. With our growing consciousness about the affect we were/are having to the Earth, there was an outcry and push to ban these ecological harmful products.
However, for those of you who might think, “Let’s just start using DDT again! It worked so great the last time!” Think again. Most, if not all bed bug populations are resistant to the mode of action employed by DDT and they are highly regionally resistant to other products like permethrins and pyrethroids. Some do work, but the bottom line is, you need a professional to know what to use.
So this brings us back to the article in the JoEE. A series of over-the-counter Bed Bug Bug Bombs were tested for efficacy in their claims to treat bed bugs. Bugs were exposed to the bug bombs per manufacturer instructions with no hiding spots and with hiding sites. The low down is this, when sprayed directly with the stuff (no hiding places), the bugs mostly died. But, when given a place to hide there was little to NO mortality of the bed bugs. In other words, if you use one of these foggers in a place that might have places for hiding, like say…your home…then the ruddy things WILL NOT WORK! End of Story!
When I first posted on my Facebook page about this news, one of my FB Friends posted the following statement [sic]: “Cats and a metal bedframe appear to help with long term maintanence after the infestation is gone though.”
There is a long standing myth that bed bugs will only hang out in a bed. This is NOT true! Additionally, people think that bed bugs are only introduced into your home by infested items. While this is technically true, it is not always the whole story.
The only way to prevent a an infestation and/or reinfestation is to keep them out of your home. That’s it. This includes by using appropriate precautions while traveling, not purchasing used furniture. When you purchase used clothing and bedding, immediately bag it and seal it up, then take it to a laundromat and dry on high for 30 minutes. This will kill any adults, nymphs and eggs that might be present. If you live in an apartment or other building with attached walls, bed bugs do travel! This is why if you are a renter, it is your landlords responsibility to treat a first infestation (*disclaimer* this depends upon your state and their laws, but that’s what it is for Ohio as far as I know…first “offense” + shared wall = landlord pays). Single family home, all on you unless you can demonstrate there was no treatment for a prior infestation before you moved in.