How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Bad Idea #10 Fire

Bed bugs can lead even the most sensible, level headed person to try the most preposterous extermination measures. One of two things usually happen when someone attempts DIY bed bug extermination: either they poison themselves and their family, or they start a fire. Using fire to fight bed bugs is Number 10 in my —

Top 10 Bad Ideas for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Want proof? There is ample evidence of bed bug fires getting out of control.

From the News (I am Not Making This Up!)

Two tenants in Indianapolis had been in a rental property for about three months when they spotted bed bugs on the furniture — three couches and two chairs.  They moved the upholstered furniture outside and set it on fire. The blaze quickly spread to the house. Firefighters who contained the blaze estimate that this antic cost the landlord about $15,000.

A Phoenix, Arizona, man fed up with being bitten by bed bugs tried to spray the them with cologne (yes, he was drunk). When that didn’t work, he set the bedding on fire inside his apartment. When the fire got out of hand, he moved the sheets to his front porch. Firefighters contained the blaze and the man was arrested for arson.

Five people escaped a house fire in Columbus, Ohio after a teenager living inside the home spotted a bed bug on the couch and tried to use alcohol to kill it. His grandmother then tried to light the bug on fire, which lit the couch on fire. Two adults and three children made it out safely.

Danny W. Alcorn of Miamisburg, Ohio, was charged with aggravated arson, a second-degree felony after setting a couch on fire to rid it of bed bugs. He moved the couch to the yard between his residence and a store before setting it…and the store on fire.

A fire started in an apartment in Kalamazoo, Michigan when the tenant used a cigarette lighter to chase bed bugs. No one was injured and the blaze was contained to a bedroom, which sustained fire, smoke and water damage.

Homeless man starts fire when trying to smoke bed bugs out of his futon.

Finally, here’s a fire mishap that did not involve bed bugs, but was too comical to skip—

A fire that destroyed eight units at an apartment complex in Holland Township, Michigan, was sparked by a man using a propane torch to cook a squirrel for lunch. The man was on a deck on the third floor of the apartment building when he lit a torch to burn off the squirrel’s fur. The deck caught fire and flames spread to the roof and other parts of the building. Eight apartments were destroyed and two dozen other units were damaged by smoke and water.

About the Author:

Garrett Thrasher is Vice President and General Manager of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal, Inc., Chairperson of the San Diego District of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), a member of the bedbugFREE network, and a member of the National Pest Management Association. Author of The Bed Bug Battle Plan: Field Tested Solutions for Bed Bug Extermination and Prevention (ISBN: 1500838209), Garrett’s solid understanding of bed bugs, their behavior, current outbreaks, and experience on camera has made him a leading contact for news and media outlets. He is also a sought after speaker on the topic of managing online reviews for positive impact. He has spoken at PestWorld and PestTech, and was featured in PCT Magazine and the PCT Podcast. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal is accredited by QualityPro–the mark of excellence in pest management.

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