CDC bedbug advice: Avoid pesticides and freeze your bedroom

The government is here to help on bedbugs — avoid insecticides and cool your room to 3°F.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reported that during 2003-2010, 111 became ill after using insecticides to treat bedbug infestations. But rather than emphasizing that users follow label directions, the CDC first emphasizes,

CDC and EPA promote integrated pest management (IPM) for bed bug control. IPM is an effective pest control method that uses information on the life cycle of the pest and incorporates nonchemical and chemical methods. Nonchemical methods to effectively control bed bugs include heating infested rooms to 118°F (48°C) for 1 hour or cooling rooms to 3°F (-16°C) for 1 hour by professional applicators; encasing mattresses and box springs with bed bug–excluding covers; and vacuuming, steaming, laundering, and disposing of infested items. [Footnotes omitted]

It’s not until the last two sentences of the final paragraph, that the CDC gets around to stating:

Persons applying insecticides should follow product instructions for safe and appropriate use. Insecticide labels that are easy to read and understand also can help prevent illnesses associated with bed bug control.

The EPA has done just about everything possible to put safe (when directions are followed) and effective insecticides out of reach of consumers. Integrated Pest Management makes a mockery of consumer wants and needs. There’s no way that IPM can solve the bedbug problem. Unlike insecticide use, IPM can’t be done on in a sufficiently widespread, prolonged or cost-effective manner.

8 thoughts on “CDC bedbug advice: Avoid pesticides and freeze your bedroom”

  1. Thank you for the useful advice. Sealants would be quite effective, especially in conjunction with proper use of insecticides. That’s Integrated Pest Management in action.

    Why don’t we have you working for the government?

  2. A couple of years ago, during winter up here in Saskatchewan, the battery in my thermostat went dead while the furnace was running and left it on……permanently. I discovered this about 6-9 hours later and the temp in the house was a comfy 38 C. This was during -20 c outside weather. So it would likely be possible to do the 40 for an hour or two. But, The heat in the house actually caused some plastic stuff to deform slightly. Picking up a normally hard plastic glass, was more like picking up something made out of wet modeling clay. So it is not without danger too your belongings. Plus im sure it would cost a fortune.

  3. Everything that has happened was totally predictable, and the finger of blame for this whole mess must be pointed at the EPA. When you remove effective products from the market you will have desperation followed by folly. I will have more to say on my blog later!

    Rich Kozlovich

  4. Bedbugs live in walls as well as in mattresses, etc. They can crawl a considerable distance. Most sprays on a bed will get to YOU–not the bedbugs who often live in your walls. An hour of heat at that level will do nothing to a bedbug insulated in a mattress…or in a wall…same for the ‘cold’..the thoughtless article might be referring to experiments where bedbugs die in a jar when subjected to such temperature extremes. How to get rid of bedbugs? SEAL ALL CRACKS around floorboards, etc. in the bedroom and adjoining rooms with silicone, check your air vents and clean them out and make sure all vents are covered with thin mesh screen…remove old mattress after sealing and either cover it with heavy-duty plastic to seal it entirely, or replace with new one —and thoroughly wash all bedding. Dry the bedding at highest heat that you can. This method also greatly reduces dust mites that cause allergies. remember to check your pillows carefully, and if they are old, encase in plastic as well, or discard. Be sure that anything stored in your closets, such as old luggage, or any other hiding place, is cleared out.. Bedbugs are tough and pest control companies would have to fumigate the house.AND make sure all cracks and crevices had the fumigation pumped through into the walls….even then, good luck…

  5. Cool! I like to keep the bedroom temperature low. Unfortunately, my wife likes it to be warm. Maybe I can sell her on this as a way to prevent bedbugs.

  6. The only way to do that is to wait for winter and open your windows. Alternatively, in the South, open the windows in high summer and put space heaters in the middle of the room. Close the doors against the lung-burning heat and hope nothing spontaneously combusts. Even then, 1 hour is far short of the length of time necessary to permeate through a box spring and mattress.

    Compared to the relatively safe application of insecticides on a bed, this is needlessly expensive and dangerous.

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