With the recent increase in bed bug activity in the US, there has also been an increase in the misuse of chemical treatment applications by homeowners. The CDC reports, “A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug–related insecticide use were identified; although 90 (81%) were low severity, one fatality occurred…The most common factors contributing to illness were excessive insecticide application, failure to wash or change pesticide-treated bedding, and inadequate notification of pesticide application. Although few cases of illnesses associated with insecticides used to control bed bugs have been reported, recommendations to prevent this problem from escalating include educating the public about effective bed bug management.”
How can you protect your family from becoming a statistic in pesticide poisoning?
Education: As with all pest control products, the DIY pest controller needs to be educated about the use of both chemical and non chemical methods of control. Your local extension service, internet or pest control specialist can shed light on the many ways to avoid pests in the first place and to limit reoccurrence.
Prevention: Utilize as many prevention measures as possible to reduce your need for chemical applications. Make your home an unwelcome place for household pests by reducing access through cracks and crevices. Limit their access to water and food sources by maintaining good sanitation and checking your home for leaks, even tiny ones.
Early Detection: Be aware of common pests in your geographic region and keep an eye out for signs and symptoms related to infestation. Most all pests have some early warning signs that the educated DIY pest controller can identify. It is easier to handle small areas instead of having to deal with a full scale infestation.
Treat the right pest, the right way: Not all chemicals treat all pests. By using the wrong chemical on the wrong pest, you may only scatter your problem to other areas of your home, creating more work for yourself in the end. If unsure, consult with a professional. Most online pest control suppliers have a “help desk” that you can submit inquiry to.
Read, and I mean READ, Labeling: Many of the pesticide poisonings resulted from persons using pesticides rated for outdoor application indoors.
Do not exceed application rates: The pesticide labeling will tell you what the chemical is rated for and the application rates. More is NOT always better when you are protecting your home and family.
Do not reenter your home too soon after application: Even with the right application rates, give your home time to air out, especially when using foggers. Do not reenter prior to the recommended reentry rates listed on the fogger.
Make sure all fabrics that have received application have dried completely: If you are applying pest control products directly to any fabric surface, the fabrics need to have dried before you come into contact with them.
Keep all pesticides out of reach of animals and children: As with all potentially dangerous chemicals, make sure that they are stored far out of reach of little hands and paws.