Treatment and Removal
America is facing a bed bug outbreak of explosive proportions - and the resistance of the blood suckers to commonly used pesticides means there is no magical cure, public health and pest control experts warned today.
Bed bug outbreaks in the US have tripled since 2005, a conference put on by the Environmental Protection Agency was told.
"It's become a trajectory. We are at the point similar to the Aids virus where everyone knows someone who has had bed bugs or have had it themselves," said Dini Miller, the urban pest management specialist for the state of Virginia.
"Right now we are kind of at a loss at what the best answer is," she said. "We didn't realise how tough they would be."
The EPA gathered experts in entomology and pest control as well as government officials to a two-day conference designed to chart a new strategy for dealing with a sudden and bewildering rise in bed bug infestations that has cut across class and region, affecting poor urban neighbourhoods and luxury resort hotels from New York City to Honolulu.
Bed bugs were once thought eliminated in the US. The conference - or summit as billed by the EPA - was told their return after nearly half a century was due to changes in pesticide use and increased resistance to pesticides by the bed bugs, as well as increased travel.
There are many insecticides that are available in both dust and spray applications. Some of the primary ingredients to look for when choosing something proven to combat bed bugs include permethrin, propoxur, chlorpyrifos, cyfluthrin, fencalerate, benseneacatate, and resmethrin. Most of these products are available in retail and hardware store. Hydoprene is an insecticide that does not actually get rid of bed bugs outright, rather it works to sterilize adult bed bugs. While the process may take a bit longer it tends to ensure the eventual end of the infestation. For a more organic approach you might consider the use of non-residual pyrethrin. This form of insect control is derived from the chrysanthemum flower and routinely kills insects on contact.
General housecleaning measures, such as vacuuming floors and surfaces, seldom reaches the places where bed bugs hide. Targeted vacuuming of infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before treatment with insecticides. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets. Afterward, dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag. You must first locate where the bed bugs live. Remember, just because they are called bed bugs, doesn’t mean they can’t live in other areas of the home. Once the bed bugs are located, there are many control methods that may be used to combat the bed bugs. Vacuuming all visible bed bugs from the mattresses and box springs and their other known dwellings is an effective removal option. Ensure the vacuum bag is removed, sealed, and disposed of immediately after the vacuuming process. Mattresses and pillows can be cleaned, paying particular attention to the seams and ribbing of the mattress, to kill any remaining bed bugs. Seal the mattress and box springs in plastic bags to make sure any missed bugs do not attempt to escape. Bed linens and drapes can be dry cleaned or wet washed with a cleaning detergent and bleach in hot water.
Many pesticides are available for use. But only one is approved for use on bedding (Unsmoke Microban). They should always be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ label. Insecticides can provide instantaneous results for active bed bug infestations and residual protection against future infestations. Insecticides are classified by the application method: Crease and Crevice, Indoor Surface, Indoor Space, and Fumigation. It is important to know the differences between each category in order to utilize the most effective treatments. Crease and Crevice application are for areas that are typically hidden or hard to reach. Granual pesticides and some wetsprays fall into that category. Granuals can be applied using either a puffer or a brush. Graqnuals are lighter and can penetrate further than insecticide wet sprays, therefore, they should always be used in places where with deep cracks and crevices. Granules are also preferred over wet sprays for treating the tufts, folds, and sleep surfaces of mattresses & bedding materials. Indoor Surface treatment is for areas where the bugs are most likely to crawl en route to either their dwellings or to where they like to feed. This type of process is commonly referred to as residual treatments. They are designed to stay active for an extended period of time to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. The sprays are to be applied to the bed frames and the non-sleeping surfaces of mattresses. Drawers should be removed from dressers and flipped upside down, to ensure all surfaces are thoroughly sprayed. Spray wood and all walls at least 24 inches above the flooring for the entire room.