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August 14, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an alert for consumers warning of dangers associated with improper bedbug pesticide treatments.

Bedbug infestations have been widely in the news lately, especially in New York. Retail stores including New York’s Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister temporarily closed to combat infestations of the tiny bloodsucking insects, according to The New York Daily News.

Bedbugs are a small, parasitic insect that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Named “bedbugs” because they often inhabit sleeping areas where they feed on unsuspecting victims at night, they can also feed during the day and inhabit places other than a bed including chairs and couches, folds of curtains, in drawer joints, in electrical receptacles and appliances, under loose wallpaper and wall hangings — even in the head of a screw.

The offices of Time Warner and the Brooklyn District Attorney are the latest places requiring the use of an exterminator for bedbug control.

Bedbug infestations are difficult to control. Along with a rise in bedbug outbreaks, the EPA warns that cases in which individuals or companies who offer to control bedbugs with unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost are also increasing. In some bedbug situations, pesticides not intended for indoor residential applications have been improperly used or applied at greater rates than the label allows.

“While controlling bedbugs is challenging, consumers should never use, or allow anyone else to use, a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use, as indicated on the label,” the EPA alert stated. “Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you, your family, and your pets sick. It can also make your home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.”

The Associated Press reports that Bergdorf Goodman, a New York retailer who has not had any infestation problems, hired a bedbug-hunting beagle to patrol the store for bedbugs at night after closing.

The EPA recommends these non-chemical methods to control bedbugs:

  • · Removing clutter where bedbugs can hide
  • · Using mattress covers designed to contain bedbugs
  • · Sealing cracks and crevices
  • · Vacuuming rugs, and upholstered furniture thoroughly and frequently, as well as vacuuming under beds (take the vacuum bag outside immediately and dispose in a sealed trash bag)
  • · Washing and drying clothing and bed sheets at high temperatures (heat can kill bedbugs)
  • · Placing clean clothes in sealable plastic bags when possible
  • · Being alert and monitoring for bedbugs so they can be treated before a major infestation occurs

If you need to use pesticides, the EPA says to follow these tips to ensure your safety and that the product works:

  • · Before using any pesticide product, READ THE LABEL FIRST, then follow the directions for use
  • · Check the product label to make sure it is identified for use on bedbugs. If bedbugs are not listed on the label, the pesticide has not been tested for bedbugs and it may not be effective
  • · Any pesticide product label without an EPA registration number has not been reviewed by EPA to determine how well the product works
  • · Make sure that the pesticide has been approved for indoor use

For more information, see Bedbugs on the EPA website.


  1. Gravatar for Jane

    This is all confusing!

    The natural Bedbug spray containing peppermint sold at lovely stores doesn't kill even when sprayed directly on a bedbug. I caught one and sprayed it once in the evening and again in the morning and it lived. The powder diatomaceous earth gets into your lungs.

    The TD Eaton at hardware stores kills on contact and claims to keep on killing for 6 weeks. It has no smell.

    Real noticeable results are from a HOUSEHOLD STEAMER.

    As for dogs - my dog can find a bedbug only if it has blood in

    it. Do dogs find nymphs and eggs?

    I would give anything for a little DDT safely contained in roach Combat like discs.

    Before Combat thousands of roaches populated every

    kitchen in NYC!

  2. Gravatar for Jane

    apparently bedbugs have built a resistance to DDT, so a site suggests

    malathion as used in Eastern Europe but can't recommend because it isn't on the label??????

  3. Gravatar for Gerry McGill

    ABC's Good Morning America ran a segment on this problem today. Clearly the problem is spreading to clothing stores where people try on items and to office furniture. About the only encouraging news is that apparently, according to the segment shown, bedbugs do not transmit human blood carried diseases.

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