One of the largest reasons that the bed bug epidemic continues to proliferate is the rise and spread of misinformation regarding how to handle an infestation. Improper treatment of the problem is what allows bed bugs to continue on their quest to infest every home. Here are the myths that somehow still survive.
Hopefully, you’ll never be cursed with a bed bug infestation, so you’ll never have to think about any of this. There are a lot of articles about bed bug treatment online these days, much of it good information, and some of it misinformation. Should you ever find yourself battling bed bugs, make sure you know the myths and misconceptions about bed bug treatment. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will save you time, money, and aggravation.
1. We should bring back DDT to get rid of bed bugs for good.
Oh, for a cheap and easy solution to the bed bug problem. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for bed bugs. Set aside the environmental and health impacts of DDT for a moment, and let’s look at how DDT works. DDT acts by binding to the sodium pores of cells, allowing sodium to flood the cells and causing the nervous system to misfire. Today, the pesticides of choice for bed bugs are pyrethrums, but bed bugs are quickly developing resistance to this class of pesticides.
Do you know how pyrethrums work? They bind to the sodium pores of cells – just like DDT. Bed bugs with the genetic mutation that makes them invincible to pyrethrums will be just as resistant to treatment with DDT.
2. You can treat bed bugs yourself by using bug bombs.
Bug bombs, or total room defoggers, release a pesticide into the air in your home. Most bug bombs do contain pyrethrin, a chemical used to treat bed bugs, so you might think this product is an effective way to eliminate a bed bug infestation. Not so. First of all, bed bugs (and other crawling insects) typically flee when the pesticide is released, heading for cover in the deepest, most inaccessible crevices of your home. Second, effective bed bug treatment requires directed applications in all the places where bed bugs hide – behind molding and casework, inside electrical boxes, or inside mattresses, for example. A bug bomb will not reach these areas adequately to kill all the bed bugs in your home. In fact, a bug bomb is one of the least effective treatments you can use for any insect problem.
3. If you have bed bugs, you have to throw away your mattress, couch, and other furniture or you will never get rid of them.
This one falls into the “It Depends” category. In some cases, you may need to discard heavily infested furniture items to win the war. If your mattress is torn or separated at the seams, bed bugs have probably moved inside, making treatment near impossible. But even in that case, a good quality mattress encasement can often be used as a barrier to trap them inside the mattress for good. If a pest control company can fumigate your home (which is costly and not always an option), there’s a good chance your furniture can be saved. With persistent inspections of your furniture, lots of vacuuming, and targeted treatments by a professional exterminator, you have a good chance of keeping your couch and other upholstered items. So don’t put your furniture on the curb at the first sign of bed bugs!
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