How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Bad Idea #4: DIY Poison

Bed Bug Bad Idea 4 Poison

When your baby suffers from bed bugs, would you spray her with insecticide?

Of course not, but some people would! That’s why DIY poison is number 4 in Thrasher Termite & Pest Control’s bed bug bad ideas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory alert of national concern regarding misuse of pesticides to treat infestations of bed bugs. Over a four year period, 129 people suffered mild or serious health effects (including one death) from misuse of bed bug pesticides. Don’t become a statistic!

The vast majority of problems were caused by do-it-yourself application of pesticides in excess of the amount recommended on the label, application of the incorrect pesticide, application of outdoor pesticides in an interior location, application of pesticides where they came in direct contact with skin. One mother contacted the National Pesticide Information Center describing her infant who developed vomiting and diarrhea after being placed on a mattress treated with an undiluted indoor insecticide!

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) warns that outdoor pesticides should not be used indoors under any circumstances. Homeowners and applicators should always carefully read the product label to make sure that:

  • It has an EPA registration number
  • It is intended for indoor use
  • It is effective against bed bugs (the label should say it is meant to be used to treat your home for bed bugs) and
  • You know how to properly mix the product (if a concentrate) and where and how to apply it safely within the home.

ATSDR also warns:

Consumers should also be aware of recent cases where licensed and unlicensed pest control applicators illegally sprayed outdoor pesticides indoors to control bed bugs. In some cases, these pesticides were found at levels that harmed or could have harmed people’s health. In some cases, residents were relocated until their homes could be decontaminated.

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and muscle tremors.

If you believe you or a family member has become ill from a pesticide exposure: Call your local poison control center: 1-800-222-1222, your local hospital emergency room, or the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378. You can also call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Information Line at 1-800-CDC-INFO for information about pesticides.

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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