I just came across this press release from the Federal Trade Commission urging consumers to use extreme caution when buying over the counter products touted as solutions for preventing and killing bed bugs. The EPA is reporting that an increasing number of marketers are making unrealistic claims about their products ability to eliminate infestations.
Some of their tips for consumers are:
- Some populations of bed bugs have developed resistance to common pesticides, making some sprays ineffective. Alternative treatments include heat and steam. Bedding, clothing, and electronic items should never be treated with pesticides, but can be treated with heat.
- Consumers should not attempt to control bed bugs inside their homes with products that are made for outdoor use. They should avoid bombs and foggers, and should not spray pesticides in areas occupied by children or pets, or on top of mattresses, sofas, or other upholstered furniture.
- Deal with a qualified and licensed pest-management company. State pest control regulatory agencies have information about the status of pest-management companies. In most states, the regulatory agency is the state department of agriculture. Other resources include state attorneys general, local consumer protection agencies, the Better Business Bureau, and Internet search engines.
- Inspect secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
- Use luggage racks to hold suitcases, rather than setting luggage on the bed or floor.
- Check the mattress and headboard before getting into bed.
- When arriving home, unpack directly into a washing machine. Wash all items showing bed bug stains, and dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. The heat from the dryer kills the bugs.
- Inspect and then vacuum luggage. Empty the vacuum or seal and dispose of the vacuum bag in an outside trash can after each use.
With the rise in bed bug infestations across the country, I am pleased to see that the FTC and EPA are putting forth solid information for the consumer. I have personally seen the damage that these do it yourself (DIY) products can do to a home. They will only make your problem worse. With a little effort and some basic tips, you can help reduce your own chances of bringing bed bugs into your home. That’s the only kind of DIY I recommend.
John, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist