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This weekend WNBC 4 – New York and WABC-7 Eyewitness News both reported on how chemicals used in a bed bug treatment of units in an Elizabeth, NJ apartment caused illness in residents and public officials. Quoting the two news accounts:
- EMT and firefighters first responded to the building in Elizabeth after receiving a report of a woman having a seizure. As they were bringing the woman down from her fourth floor apartment, the emergency responders noticed a strange odor. The source of the odor, officials said, was believed to be an apartment that had been recently fumigated for bed bugs.
- Suddenly one of the EMTs couldn’t breath or feel their hands and a fire captain began vomiting, officials said. Another EMT began to feel sick, along with a fire fighter who felt tightness in his chest. Two children and two adults living in the building also became sick from the fumes.
- In total, nine people (Four first responders went to the hospital, plus five civilians, including two children) had to be taken to the hospital for respiratory problems, officials said.
- A County hazmat crew responded to the scene and discovered the pesticide believed to have made everyone sick. Two apartments were decontaminated.
No one reported on if the bed bug issue was actually solved in the treatment.
Since bed bugs are adept at disappearing into literally every nook and cranny in a home or facility, traditional pesticides and bed bug sprays are not effective. In order to get rid of bed bugs from an entire building using only pesticides, every single crevice would have to be reached with toxic chemicals!
1- Chemicals Are Ineffective on Bed Bugs. The latest research shows that bed bugs have proven immune or at least extremely resistant— to many popular pesticides, meaning even areas treated with these chemical bed bug solutions will have survivors who return after a brief ‘knock out’ period.
At best, fogging, an approach of delivering chemicals as an aerosol solution, has dubious effectiveness on bed bugs as the pyrethroid chemicals do not kill most populations of bed bugs. Earlier this year, Dr. Susan Jones a professor of entomology at Ohio State University released a paper “Ineffectiveness of Over-the-Counter Total-Release Foggers Against the Bed Bug (Heteroptera: Cimicidae).” Her research demonstrated that total release aerosols are not very effective in killing bed bugs – a.k.a., Bug Bombs – don’t work! To Bell Environmental this isn’t news- which is why we warn bed bug victims that they should steer clear of this method. Bed Bugs aren’t an insect you can or should try to bomb or fog away!
2- Chemicals can be harmful to people- especially when used incorrectly- and may drive the bugs deeper into hiding only to return in greater force later. The fog may also drift into areas where you don’t want it to go. In addition, some active ingredients in certain chemical fogging agents are banned substances under New York City’s Local Law 37 which can cause cancer or damage reproductive health.
When it comes to bed bug solutions- chemicals should never be the primary approach.
What should you do to solve a bed bug problem? Choose only bed bug solutions that are safe and effective. To learn more about Bell Environmental’s InstantFreeze approach that is safe, thorough, and works – Click Here.