Warning: This series of articles may make you slightly squeamish….but wouldn’t you rather be informed than completely ignorant about such an important epidemic?
Please, keep reading.
Have you noticed dark red spots splattered across your bedding? Do you notice a slightly sweet, rotting-fruit-like odor in your bedroom? Do you wake up with small insect bites dotted across your arms, neck, upper back, or any other parts of your body that are exposed while you sleep?
Part 1 & Part 2 of our four-part bed bug series covered how to identify a bed bug infestation along with commonly held myths about these unsavory parasites. Today, we’ll cover how to treat a bed bug outbreak in your home and return your bedroom to the sleep sanctuary it once was.
In 2010, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated that a comprehensive approach to pest management is crucial to remedying any outbreak. The CDC recommends the use of bed bug monitoring devices, heat treatment, ridding your home of clutter, vacuuming, sealing cracks and crevices, and using both nonchemical pesticides (ex. diatomaceous earth) and “judicious use of effective chemical pesticides.”
But, what is judicious use of effective chemical pesticides and do you really want to take control of applying potentially dangerous chemicals in the most intimate rooms of your home? When it comes to chemical pesticides, it’s wise to be wary of the potential risks to your health, wellness, children, family, and pets.
When you’re desperate to remedy a home invasion of bed bugs, you may be quick to purchase harsh pesticides…even if you would normally gravitate toward more natural means. However, today, potent chemical pesticides aren’t even guaranteed to rid you of a bed bug infestation. In fact, some bed bugs are resistant to almost all pesticides that were once effective in treating them.
Pesticide resistance paired with overzealous occupants may be adding to the problem; when people use too much pesticide in an enclosed area, apply outdoor pesticides indoors, or attempt homemade treatments, these scenarios may result in a potential public health concern of its own.
Instead of attempting to apply these potentially dangerous chemical pesticides yourself, contact a trusted professional to attack the issue. According to Michael Colongione owner of GotchA! Bed Bug Inspectors, only two alternatives currently on the market can be considered, without a doubt, a green alternative to pesticides:
Colongione recommends inquiring about what green certifications a pest management company may hold, and keep in mind that not all treatments labeled “green” are in fact eco-friendly.
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In March 2017, Phys.org announced that new research could soon put the bed bug epidemic to rest. Nina Jenkins, a senior research associate in the Department of Entomology, and her team of researchers at Penn State University have developed a naturally derived pesticide that “uses the bugs’ vexing tendencies to humankind’s advantage.”
By using a natural fungus that is harmless to humans but fatal to bed bugs, Penn State researchers formulated a biopesticide, now known as Aprehend, that kills bed bugs within four to seven days. While most pesticide treatments require multiple treatments spread out over a period of weeks or months while utilizing dangerous chemicals not safe for humans or our planet, their eco-friendly treatment requires a single application. When bed bugs walk across a treated surface such as the perimeter of the box spring, they pick up spores of the fungus and spread them around to other bed bugs in other areas; when the spores later germinate, this product can achieve a nearly 100 percent infection rate with exposure to only a small percentage of the total population.
In an interview with Phys.org, Jenkins states, “Because the Aprehend spray lasts and will do its job for a period of three months, it can be used as a quarterly preventative treatment in hotels. We can’t prevent bed bugs from coming in, but if we can maximize the chances of bed bugs crossing a sprayed barrier on their way to or from their hideout, we can prevent an infestation from establishing.”
Expected to hit the market in 2017, this highly anticipated product release could be the end of the bed bug epidemic as we know it. To be notified when Aprehend will become available in your state, click here.