Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eco-Friendly and Highly Effective Bed Bug Pesticide?

Could such a thing exist?

I've tried spraying bleach where my walls and floor meet, only to end up sneezing uncontrollably from the volatile chemical, plus my apartment ends up smelling like a swimming pool. It bothers the hell out of my sinuses, and once I realized the bleach had a minimal effect on bed bugs I stopped using it altogether.

And oh yeah, I accidentally sprayed some bleach on one of my favorite black shirts, ruining it forever. :(

So I was surprised to find out about Sleep Tight, an all-natural pesticide which was not only designed to kill bed bugs, but has been proven to be highly effective. The best part about this product, besides the fact that it kills bed bugs, is that it is non-toxic to humans.

I read about this new product in a news story from a Tennessee news station's web site and after learning exactly how it works I decided to peruse the manufacturer's web site. Apparently the company, Natureplex, has a wide range of natural products that address everything from sexual health to denture care.

I'm really glad to see a product has finally been developed specifically for bed bugs. In an earlier post I wrote about a pesticide made by Dow Chemicals which was designed to kill termites, but can kill bed bugs if used at three times the concentration needed to kill termites. I really didn't feel safe administering a triple dosage of insecticide in my living space. But I feel confident enough to order Sleep Tight. The site is very informative and doesn't try to hide anything about this pesticide.

I'm going to order this tonight and see just how well Sleep Tight works. I'll happily post my review of Sleep Tight on Bugged Out.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I say save your money unless they can prove that this produce is effective vis a vis an indepedant lab report.

Some of these dubious products are marketed to take advantage of people's fears.

Bugged in Atlanta said...

I looked at Natureplex's site and was confused whether it was a contact kill or residule. I bought a product called Kleen-free that's similar natural and all that and it's a contact kill. whether it even works or not I'm not sure. It does help ease my mind to know I have a natural subsitute, but frankly it's not enough.

I have been treating my apt myself, I moved and they moved with me I immediately sprayed the place down two weeks after we moved(in Jan) and have been ever 2-3 weeks(I'm on the eve of my 7th spraying), been living out of plastic bags since. We do not have a couch and our only chair is a little office chair we bought when we moved and a glass and metal coffe table, side table and metal desk, and an air mattress, that's it for furniture. yet I was bitten a few nights ago.

They are nearly impossible to get rid of. I've had them for at least a year god knows how much longer before I figured it out. It sounds like your infestation is large, so was mine before I moved. It's nearly impossible to get rid of a large infestation without moving, I know of one who did after extreme no holds prisioner style of pest control. If that is your plan you need to do everything you can. Pesticides pesticides pesticides, are the only hope. I have been spraying Demand and Suspend along with dusting Drione dust into light sockets and on my air mattress and caulking evey crack I can. And still they are with me, although I think there are few left. What did your exterminaters do? What did they use? and how often have you had your place sprayed? when I first discovered the buggers my buildings pest control people fumigated my bedroom, ths made the problem even worse sending them into other rooms and I'm sure my neighbors only to make them harder to control. Which is why along with cost issues I have been doing this myself.

Anonymous said...

I am just curious about how Kleen-free works for you. Does it really work at all? I checked out their website and I almost purchased 5 gallons of it. And of course, I was freaking out from being bitten by these little blood suckers! There has to be some chemicals we can use to eradicate them. I wish I can get DDT from a black market or something like that to kill them once for all!

Also, does sleep tight work at all? Please come back to let us know. As I will be traveling to NYC again soon.

Bugged Out said...

To the first anonymous poster,

You are definitely right about dubious companies playing on people's fears. But since this product is relatively new, it's unlikely that any independent testing has yet to take place. Plus, I figured it's only $15 and $20 after s/h and sales tax, so I considered it a safe gamble.

All I know is that the ingredients on the MSDS sheet on Natureplex's web site appear to be non-toxic or somewhat organic, so I know I probably won't have an allergic reaction to it the way I did with the bleach.

Bugged Out said...

Dear Bugged in Atlanta,

First of all, what is a residule? I'm not familiar with this word, and since it appears to be related to pest control and/or pesticide, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me and everyone else exactly what a residule is as opposed to a contact kill pesticide.

I'm also unfamiliar with Kleen-Free. Can you please post the web site for Kleen-Free? I'm a bit embarassed to admit that I'm also unfamiliar with the other products you've mentioned, Demand, Suspend and Drione dust. Could you please post the websites for these products for the benefit of myself and the other readers? Also, have the use of these pesticides affected your health in any way?

Yeah, caulking/spackling is a great idea, plus it's really easy and inexpensive to do yourself.

My infestation was rather large, but it was concentrated in my bed, mattress and headboard, so once I got all three of those items out of my house, I have seen very few live bed bugs, and I have only been bitten like three times in the last month, which considering I used to get bitten so often I could no longer sleep in my own bed, is a remarkable improvement.

My building's exterminator really didn't do much except spray roach pesticide and suggest I spray bleach where the walls and floor meet, sprinkle boric acid along the edges of my mattress, throw out my mattress, bed and headboard and look for holes in the walls for my building's maintenance crew to seal up. I didn't feel like waiting for the maintenance guys to spackle up any holes or cracks in the wall, so I did it myself.

The boric acid has had a minimal effect, namely because on the label, bed bugs are not among the species of insect the product claims to kill. Plus I live in an Asian neighborhood, so everyone in my neighborhood keeps telling me to use Chinese chalk, which is effective in killing roaches. Though I haven't used it yet, I'm pretty sure it will be rather ineffective against bed bugs, given that other roach pesticides have little or no effect on bed bugs. The bleach also had a minimal effect, and gave me an allergic reaction.

Good luck with your bed bug problems, I know what you're going through.

Bugged Out said...

To the second anonymous poster,

I will definitely tell everyone how effective or ineffective Sleep Tight is once I get it.

Buying DDT off the black market doesn't sound like a bad idea. It can't be that hard to obtain it. From my past experience participating in the underground economy, I've found that the black market responds more rapidly and accurately to consumer demand than the conventional market does.

One thing I'm concerned about is, wasn't there a reason DDT was banned? Is it harmful to humans? What are the side effects of it? I'm too young (27) to remember when DDT was in regular usage, so I don't remember anything about it except that it was banned. But I have read in more than one article that there is a connection between the ban of DDT and the worldwide resurgence of bed bugs in the last few years.

Also, best of luck with your bed bug problem, and come back to NY soon!

Anonymous said...

Bleach and Boric acid will do nothing to deter the Bedbugs. I did read MSDS on the Sleep Tight site. Those ingredients will do zip in helping you control the bedbugs. Please take note there are some websites that have been advertising "natural ways" to kill these blood suckers. Beware that some of the testomonials that say it works are bogus.

If you are in New York, I suggest you go and see Andy Linares, I've contacted him and he is very knowledgeable. He has all the products you will need to DIY.

Another note, a lot of the products use to fight the bedbugs are made of pyrethrins, which is derived from the chrysanthemum plant/flower. There are natural and artificially produced pyrethrins. They are most effective imo when used as a "direct kill" and not so much as a residual kill. The one drawback is that this product causes the bedbugs to scatter. But most pesticides these days do that anyway. Drione dust is very effective and is the product to use if you want a residual. They are also using something called "gentrol" which is a product that stops the bedbug from molting and maturing. Note that each time a bedbug bites you it will go on the next stage(4 or5) before it becomes an adult and is able to reproduce and lay more eggs. Thus the cycle starts all over again.

One thing to keep in mind is when using any pesticide is to follow the instructions to a tee.

Andy's website:
http://sites.securemgr.com/folder9374/index.cfm?id=25209&fuseaction=browse&pageid=1

Jake said...

I am not happy that I qulaify to join in to this online community but I am very appreciative that it exists.

These vile creatures have been driving me nuts for almost two months.

I'm trying the combo of Kleen Free and Drion Dust along with getting rid of clutter and sealing cracks.

I've had five straight bug free days (and nights) and am hoping for the best. Of course all my clothes are still in black plastic garbage bags.

I suspect the aggressive application of the Drion Dust as being the most effective.

Here are links to sellers; I am sure there are other retailers of the same products.

Drion Dust:

http://www.cooperseeds.com/pestproducts.php3?prod=drione&cartid=

Kleen Free:

http://www.naturalginesis.com/remove_bed_bugs_the__nontoxic_way_.htm

Billy Mac said...

Hey...it's Bill the bugman form the pest control blog...The above comments are goog in reference to the sealing of cracks and crevices. You have to be real careful of the application of these products. They are insecticides and poison. Drione Dust is potent stuff. I reccommend going on an all out offensive. Research products (I have some in mind I'll get the names of them) and then from top to bottom vaccum like there is no tommorrow. Take apart your bed, vacuum under the tufts, rip off the covering of your boxspring and vaccum the cracks and crevices of that, vaccum the cracks and crevices of your baseboards, doorframes, window frames, (carefully) take off the outlet covers for your plugs and light switches and (carefully) vaccum (might want to cut the juice to those outlets) they hide everywhere. Then treat with a labeled product for bedbugs. If you are in an apartment complex you might never win the battle unless your neighbors also get treated. Also if you have other rooms you must treat these areas too. DOn't just concentrate on your bedroom. If you have carpets you may have to pull up the carpets and treat and vaccum between the tackstrip and the wall and under the basemboard and then treat these areas. Fight the battle. You can win...

Jake said...

Thank you Bill. I, of course, live in an apartment building Brooklyn. I did not see the bbs until I'd been in the place for 15 months.

I had new wall to wall carpeting installed when I moved in and there was a gap between the bottom of the molding and the carpet so I've completely filled that in in the bedroom. I used acrlyic caulk and also (my favorite) was this foam caulk that expands as you apply it. I have some serious sanding and aestic work to do but I am sure this helped in abating.

I used spackle for any cracks in the walls and in between the ceiling and the tops of the walls.

I disposed of the futon mattress I was sleeping on and the drapes in the room soon after I first discovered the bugs.

I enclosed my new futon in one of those allergenic/dust mite casings 60.00 at Bed Bath Beyond and vacuum almost daily. I am also lucky enough to have borrowed my sister's steam cleaner a few years ago so every couple of days I bring that out and give the carperting in the bedroom a dose of live steam. I don't know if it helps in the war but it sure feels good doing it.

I applied the Drion Dust all along the edge of the moulding and underneath and around an amoire and bookcase also the legs of my computer desk. I did find one dead one on the floor last night but I am still going to count this as day six.

getting rid of clutter is key. I had some boxes of checks and file folders with tax papers etc on a low shelf of a bookcase in the bedroom and sure enough I found a live one in there. I trashed what I could and the ones I need to save have been in my freezer for about 10 days now.

the Caitlinator said...

I think that what is most effective is the Drion dust. You can purchase this and other pest control products (I think the Gentrol, which is the spray, is also extremely effective) by calling (800) 476-3368. I haven't used it myself (not sure what my own exterminator used) but it comes highly recommended by a member of the Bedbug Support group on Yahoo! Groups. Apparently there is an organic alternative called Results, although the non-organic contains more of the active ingredient and thus kills more bugs.

I don't want to say for certain, but I'm guessing what Bugged in Atlanta was talking about the difference between contact killers and residual killers. Sprays that kill on contact will only work on bugs that you see. Residual sprays continue working long after you've sprayed, so that bugs that cross its path will still be killed by it. Raid would be a type of contact killer (Raid, incidentally, does NOT kill bedbugs); the Gentrol would be a residual spray.

I think Billymac has the best advice I've seen so far on killing bedbugs. Bleach, boric acid, vaseline, and other homeopathic remedies will likely only deter bedbugs for a short period of time. You have to attack them where they live with poisons that are potent enough to kill them.

That said, I don't recommend trying to find black market DDT. The reason it was banned is because it was widely considered to be a human cancer risk. Even if test results are inconclusive (which I don't know much about), I personally would rather not take the risk.

Bugged in Atlanta said...

I agree with Caitlnator although good knows it's tempting to try to get my hands on some DDT it was banned for a reason and I do know people have one the battle Bugged in Vancover has (you can read about my journey here as well)
http://abigfatwasteoftime.blogs.com/a_big_fat_waste_of_time/2004/09/im_sure_youve_n.html

Caitlnatoris also right about what a residual vs contact kill is. It's best to have products with a residual because when they kill them for 3 to 4 weeks after you spray, so when they come out from hiding looking for blood they'll run across it. Suspend and Demand are both residuals. They both work the same way you mix it with water and spray it's safe for children and pets when it's dry and from my experience I would spray every 3 weeks. They both work by micro - encapsiladed stuff attaching to them that kills them when they clean themselfs. I use a dust mask on my face while spraying. Make sure to spray the windows good they love windows for some reason, I found a dead one in my bathroom window today.

Drione dust is good because it's a residual and contact kill that lasts for 6 months, as long as it's not disturbed. But it's a dust so it's hard to use in a lot of areas. The most important area to use it is in electrical sockets, they love to hide in these and with bed bugs being thorough is key. And you can't spray liquid into an electrical socket.

I got my products from Do it yourself Pest Control, which is actually a pest store a mile away from me but ironically it's cheaper to buy they're stuff off of there site and they have free shipping, and a 1-800-number you can call and talk to them before ordering. They do have a liscenced exterminater there, they seemed to know a fair amount on bed bugs, more then the exterminaters who did my apt., but I still knew a little bit they didn't I think for the most part that's usually the case with exterminaters because this is all so new and they haven't had a chance to see a lot of first hand feed back, unfortunately I have. They have kits you can buy that's cheaper then buying seperately I would get Kit #2A . I also bought a magnify glass from them and had it shipped it came in like a day ( but I do live like a mile from the place) I use it to fight my parinoia that eveything is a bed bug.
http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/bed-bugs.htm

Do buy real pesticides your fighting a war here you need an arsenal. The only reason I got the Kleen-free stuff is to have something to spray on my air mattress (the fabric cover part) and to throw into laundry on items I don't want to use hot water with as an extra precaution to disinfect every thing. If it works or not I don't know, that's the other thing. How do you know if it works or not?

So in conclusion buy real pesticides and spray everything you can in your whole apt., not just your bedroom. Don't use bug bombs by the way it only makes them disperse to your neighbors only to come back later. Throwing out infested furinture helps but isn't enough. I threw out almost all my furniture and moved and they still moved with me. I'm spraying today for the 7th time and still found a dead bug today 5 month after moving. I get bite on average a few times a month, and they're tiny one's you probably get but don't notice. I haven't had big mosquito like ones for a few months. I think they're the adult one's that bite like that, I have tiny red dots I'm assuming from nymphs or young adults and they last for months. Do you have any like that?

Anonymous said...

I can speak to the Kleen Free product as I have used it and it worked very well for me. It is an enzyme based product an so it is chemical free and hypoallergenic.

It has been independently tested by Middle Tennessee State University. (I asked and was shown a copy of the results of the test)It is proven to work on contact and has a residual value of 24-36 hours.

Even if you use the pesticides, you still might want to use this product because it can be used directly on the bed and mattress and then you can sleep on them. Do not do this with pesticides.

I bought my Kleen Free for bedbugs from http://www.licescabiesandbedbugs.com

Don said...

Hi folks,
I'm doing some research for a paper I need to complete for work & ran across your site. I work for a pest control company that manages to control & eliminate bedbugs in numerous hotel chains across the US & worldwide. I'm sorry to hear all of your troubles but I think I may be able to help. 1st... bed bugs are simple creatures of habit that are going to behave EXACTLY the same way in every situation, so PLEASE follow the routine!
#1 INSPECT
You're going to find them (mostly) in the head end of your bed, mattress, bedboard, & boxspring of your bed - CLOSELY examine every fold of fabric (especially the corners)(if there are very many then they will spread to crack & crevice of surrounding furniture & carpet/floor joint). You should now have an idea of the size of your infestation.
#2 Remove infested equipment... by now you know the size of your infestation, remove the bed, you cant guarantee a 100% kill rate with all the hiding places available in your bed (I know this is expensive, I'm sorry but it is what it is). If the infestation is to the point where surrounding furniture & carpet/floor seam is active then remove this as well (again, I know this is expensive but necessary).
#3 You now have eliminated 50% or more of the problem. Time to use the power of pesticide... this is a 2 product combination. 1st is Suspend, mix at manufacturers recommendations (found on label of bottle) ... SATURATE!!! Completely wet all areas around the entire room at floor level as well as any furniture cracks & crevices, floor/carpet seam, picture frames, wall joints, window joints, curtain fixtures, seams in curtain upholstery and anywhere else in site of bedding that may harbor them.
2nd product... Drione powder... apply this product lightly (do not breathe this product... not lethal but it will irritate your throat) into outlets (remove the face of the outlets), around heat/ac vents, light fixtures, & anywhere else that you have avoided due to liquid pesticides being non practical.
After 72 hrs you should find that you now have a 95%+ successfull kill rate. At this point you want to investigate & spot treat live bugs with Suspend. you should have 99% kill rate at this point, treat once monthly with liquid suspend treatment for the next 6 months (bed bugs are an asexual creature... breeds without a mate) so you want to continue the treatment once a month for 6 months to discourage any new arrivals.

Hope this helps you;
Don Spinner
donspinner@charter.net

PS- Feel free to drop me a line & let me know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

hi there,
I feel pretty alone right now battling my bed bug nightmare so I've sought out your bed bug blog. I called an exterminator here in Toronto and he seemed to be knowledgeable however, the technician he sent wasn't very thorough. He also sprayed with Prelude which is apparently a permethrin and coated 3 out of the 4 mattresses in our house. We have an old 80year old house with lots of natural wood.

Does anyone know if Prelude can be sprayed directly on mattress surfaces? I understand that it might be cause endocrine problems and can cause cancer?

We've been sleeping on the floor in the living room and have vacated the upper floor bedrooms so now we're scared to sleep on the mattresses.

Itchy and Paranoid in Toronto

Jeff said...

I'm not sure whether to believe anything that Don Spinner wrote since bed bugs are certainly sexual. You can read about bed bug sex here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=11331783&Dopt=Citation

I have only had bites for about 10 days. And only a few times. I called an exterminator that uses all natural ingredients (mitebusters - i assume they use kleen-free) and they are coming today. I'll let you know if it works!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Please keep us posted on the natural exterminators. I have asthma and it gets exacerbated by chemicals. Hoping to find something that will work and won't make me not be able to breathe.

-- thanks!

Ms. D* said...

So, did the Kleen Free work or what? I apologize if I could not find your blog about this, but I searched and searched and it's passed my bedtime... Thanks for starting this blog. I want to do all of the preventive things I can!

Ms. D* said...

I bought the KleenFree and it was worth every penny! I steamed my dry cleaning and fine washables and did not have to throw out my pillows. It also helped with my allergies after the harsh exterminator's chemicals nearly destroyed the wood my bedframe is made from. I HIGHLY recommend KleenFree and that you keep your home clean. Also, spray around your baseboards with 90% Isopropyl alcohol (Duane Reade) - no lesser percentage - which deters bugs in general. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I contacted Natureplex, the company that formulated the product Sleep Tight, to see if it has been proven to work, and they said that it had been tested in multiple independent studies performed by a well qualified entimologist and that it had a 99% success rate. It kills the bugs on contact and up to a few hours after application and then once the all-natural spray composed of 4 natural oils dries, it repels the bugs.

I had a bad bed bug problem, so i decided to order a couple of bottles off Natureplex's online store site, (www.natureplexstore.com) and i haven't had a problem with bed bugs since.

I tried spraying other bugs like spiders around the house and it killed them too.

I am now a big fan of Sleep Tight and I would recommend it to anyone dealing with a bed bug problem.

It smells pretty nice too, like cinnamon. I spray it in my car because it has a bad mildew smell and Sleep Tight makes it smell 10 times better.

Sleep Tight was a lot cheaper and safer than having a pest control company come in and fumigate my house.

I am overjoyed to have found a product like Sleep Tight!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's something my husband and I have figured out through conducting a couple of our own scientific studies within our own home. Vaseline! It doesn't eliminate them, or even kill them, but when applied to your body and around the sides of your bed, it will help to keep them off of you. After ensuring none are harbored within your bed linens and only after ensuring bed linens are kept off the floor. Move whatever you're sleeping on as high off the floor as possible and to the middle of the room. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased my first gallon of kleen free today. My husband and I feverishing been treating our furniture and beds every weekend with neem oil(5ml per every 100 ML of H2O) & flea&tick concentration. We also went to Jefferspet.com online and bought 10% perithiums for horses($14.95). We are going to spray that all over our furniture too. We have also been using neem oil (5mL per every 100mL of lotion) on our bodies. It keeps us from getting bit so much because it acts as a safe insect repellent. I mix it with Lubriderm cocoa butter lotion(what hospitals use) because Lubriderm also has caster oil in it...which might help to smother bugs/larvae on your body. The neem oil not only acts as a repellent but it also if the bug ingest it/soaks it in...it does something to their reproductive system so they can't lay eggs and multiply. So it helps if you have bugs/scabies/lice who happen to live through perithium treatments on your body or furniture by cutting their population down and causing them to eventually die out on their own. You can google PURE NEEM OIL to find suppliers. We haven't resorted to black bags/plastic on our furniture/bed yet because we are getting bit so much less. But I am still thinking about it. I also want to mention NEEMWELL.COM also carries premixed lotions and cremes with neem oil. I started using that at first but after spending over $300 on their products in one month...I started mixing my own. It is alittle stinky but neem lotion on your body fades in about an hour and neem oil may stink your furniture for a day or two. It smells like peanuts. And you can take it to work too and everytime you get an itch...rub alittle on that spot. Neem does kill on contact. I hopes this helps someone. Signed, A Mother of three and daycare provider.

TJP said...

Regarding the uninformed fears about DDT (cancer, for instance [WRONG!]) above, I am posting this piece from Ecoworld.com --TJ Pierce

BRING BACK D.D.T.

Overspraying Made Pesticide
Look Worse Than It Deserved

By Edward Wheeler, Ph.D.

March 4, 2004
Sacramento, California, USA

Editor's Note: Author Edward Wheeler doesn't beat around the bush. Are mosquitoes carrying Malaria, or West Nile Virus? Then kill them all with D.D.T. Is the globe warming? Because if it is, environmentalists, then Malaria and West Nile Virus won't be just stories on television any more. According to Wheeler, the pesticide D.D.T. has gotten a bad rap. Used responsibly, he asserts, D.D.T. is the safest, most inexpensive, and most effective pesticide ever known. Only massive over-use of D.D.T. causes the kind of harm to ecosystems and organisms that got it banned. Meanwhile throughout the tropical world, Mosquito-borne disease is on the rise. While we sit comfortable in the cool north we can afford our articles of faith - D.D.T. is evil - yet still tens-of-millions in the tropics die each year of diseases brought to them by Mosquitoes. These diseases are preventable, and indeed, when D.D.T. was in widespread use, were nearly eradicated. Not anymore. Maybe it's time to reopen the discussion about D.D.T., and whether banning its use causes more harm than good. - Ed "Redwood" Ring

Environmentalists have been around a long time in America. The Audubon Society, John Muir, even Teddy Roosevelt, but the environmental movement really didnメt take off until 1962 when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. At that time, U.S. farmers were dumping around 80,000 tons of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (mercifully known as DDT) a year on every poor insect existing, good or bad. It was the "miracle" insecticide, just as the relatively new antibiotic, penicillin, was called a miracle drug (which we now know was also WAY overused). The main problem with DDT is that it takes years for it to chemically break down, so that much of the runoff from the sites that were sprayed with those 80,000 tons of DDT found its way into streams, rivers, and ultimately the oceans and persisted there. It builds up in fatty tissues of all animals, including humans.

Ms. Carson alleged that DDT was killing off all kinds of birds, especially seabirds, by causing eggshell thinning (thus the title of the book), and that it was a potent carcinogen in humans. She went on to predict that a cancer epidemic would hit practically 100% of the human population (probably based on a 1961 epidemic of liver cancer in trout that was later found to be caused by aflatoxin, a VERY potent NATURAL fungal toxin and carcinogen).

In fact, DDT is not now and never was a carcinogen in humans, or even a cancer prone lab rat carcinogen. In contrast to its effect on bugs, it is remarkably non-toxic in humans, at least acutely. You can even drink the stuff and suffer no ill effects (no thanks anyway). Its indiscriminate spraying also, as a side effect, eliminated malaria in the U.S.

So what happened? After considering 7 months of court testimony in 1971, then EPA administer William Ruckelshaus banned the use of DDT in the U.S. This in spite of the fact that the presiding judge in the hearings, after hearing all the arguments, concluded that DDT was not a hazard to humans, and probably wasn't responsible for egg shell thinning in birds either. Not coincidently, Mr. Ruckelshaus was an activist member of the Environmental Defense Fund.

I personally believe that the use of DDT should have been severely restricted, given the fact that long term effects on the environment were not known, and it was being used so indiscriminately. Ms. Carson's book, although totally alarmist and unscientific, at least made us pause and consider the possible ill effects of overuse of any chemical that builds up in the environment. It also provoked chemical companies to develop more environmentally friendly pesticides that do not persist in the environment.

So why is DDT still the poster child (along with dioxin) for "all chemicals of any kind are bad" environmental groups? For example, the World Wildlife Fund wants to ban its use altogether, anywhere.

My own feeling is that environmentalism is a religion for many zealous members of various radical groups. They don't want to be confused with scientific evidence that may contradict their beliefs. But in the case of DDT, there is a compelling reason to resume or continue its use (it is still used in about 24 countries) in parts of the world where malaria is endemic, regardless of one's faith.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 25 million lives were saved between 1940 and 1973 by its use (overuse, to be sure). They now advocate its LIMITED use for malaria control in poor countries when adequate treatments are not available, such as sub Saharan Africa.

It is about 75% less expensive than pyrethroids, and persists much longer and kills the mosquitoes far more efficiently. How to use it? Spray the mosquito netting for beds and the inside walls of houses every six months. It will kill the bugs if they land on the wall, but even better, it is a very efficient repellant. Mosquitoes fly in, then fly out without biting. Even the venerable and liberal New York Times calls for its use, estimating that malaria now kills about 1 in 20 African children each year.

Let's consider a great example of my point. For 50 years, South Africa used DDT to control its malaria problem, but in 1996 it stopped using it because it was found in the breast milk of mothers and there was great international pressure to ban its use. In no time at all, the rate of malaria infection went from a few thousand per year to over 50 thousand per year. Last year, ignoring howls of protest from various environmental groups, South Africa began indoor spraying of DDT at only a few grams per square meter. Guess what? The malaria epidemic ended as quickly as it began. The same story is true in Belize.

And just in case you need more convincing, has anybody here ever heard of the West Nile virus? What blood sucking little insect (40 different species of them) do you think spreads that microbe? The virus has been found in 42 states in the U.S., and infected more than 1400 people in 2002 and killed at least 66, and it's SPREADING. It is time to rethink some of the general chemophobia that exists in the developed world.

Edward Wheeler, Ph.D in chemistry from U.C. Berkeley (long ago during hippie times), is a noted biochemist who has had extensive experience in food chemistry, cancer research, and toxicology. He has authored numerous articles in refereed scientific journals on those subjects, and holds 12 U.S. patents in the areas of reduced calorie foods and lower calorie "natural fats".

Anonymous said...

We are moving in 2 weeks to a new house and just found out we have a new infestation- definitely bedbugs. It's minor right now, but I don't want to move these guys into our new place. Does anyone know: can we control it with containing our belongings in a hot moving truck/storage pod for like a week? I'm hoping that if we get some good sunny days, they will all die in the hot truck. I will get rid of as many as I can before packing it, bag the mattresses and pillows, but what else? Can anyone comment? ~freaked out

fkngbugs said...

NO! Don't be stupid. Hot truck is not going to save you. Spray the inside of the truck before you fill it and spray everything that come out of your house. Wash everything you have at a laundrymat and bag it before you leave there. Then spray everything again when you take it out of the truck. That still isn't enough. Take this very seriously, very very seriously. You should be freaked out.

Anonymous said...

Don't want to alarm you folks, but as someone working in the industry and has seen the problems this "new" bug has been causing, I can tell you first hand, that there is no correlative effect of the amount of chemicals you spray on how many bed bugs will be killed. Residual pesticides do not work very well because bed bugs do not have tarsal pads, unlike roaches. They don't pick up chemicals easily. That wouldn't matter anyway as some populations of bed bugs are highly resistant to these chemicals anyway. I like the PhD supporting the use of DDT on these critters. DDT was ineffective on bed bugs in the 40s, why would it work now? Check out Potter, the expert (imo)on bedbugs http://www.pesticidesafety.uiuc.edu/newsletter/html/200605e.html

Also, pyrethroids don't last very long anyways and the hiding bugs may not have to cross the treated zone to reach a host. Sorry to give you so much bad news.

The key to control and eventual elimination is to treat your bed like and island or a fortress and surround it with a moat. First, focus on finding and steaming all harborages in the mattress/box spring/frame. You should take apart the frame to inspect. The box spring is the most difficult. Rip the cheese cloth off and inspect. Remember, the evidence is sometimes easier to spot than the actual bedbugs themselves. The evidence is the fecal droppings which look like small globular pieces of tar. This may take an hour plus. After, use a mattress bag to seal in/out bedbugs from the mattress. Put the posts of the bed in plastic champagne cups (you can even out a little ethanol in the cup) and pull the bed away from the wall. This should eliminate bed bugs from getting to the bed from the ground.

Gentrol does not kill bed bugs and the intended effect may not actually have an effect. Imagine that, a product that doesn't do what it says it supposed to. Suspend is probably the best liquid to use, for some reason deltamethrin is fairly potent. I suggest using Boric acid dust. Another thing about chemicals is just because they aren't labeled for use, doesn't mean they don't work. Boric acid is made of an element, which works because too much boron disrupts the metabolic chain. good luck

Militia Milano said...

I've been looking through your blog and seeing many of the same products recommended repeatedly.
I was eaten alive by bed bugs last month - I was really allergic and got giant rashes and it was so horribly itchy.
I covered the couch and bed in diatenacious earth and sprayed with something chemical I had lying around. I left it on for a few days, covering the couch and box spring with garbage bags. I then vacuumed the box spring, mattress and couch. I was good for a month and unfortunately I was bitten again last night.
I've read Neem Oil may be good, at least to cover your body in to ward off bites, and I've spread some diatenacious earth over the bed again. Anyone had any luck with this? I'm going to buy neem oil tomorrow.

-Margot (Toronto)

jojo said...

so far i am most impressed with the honest results of using kleen free or kleen green or even more affordably nature's eradicator; all of them are working directly on melting the exterior of these mites and dissolving them. that is a pretty effective solution. most of the REPUTABLE companies doing spraying use it. the pesticides are not working. if you have been harassed mercilessly by these bugs, you want to do anything to eliminate them. i know. its my second go round with a 2 year break in between. so fighting them fully. enzymes are the best way to go. you don't hurt yourself. just them. though be careful it will dissolve glues and adhesives; as you spray it on furtniture, it can damage, or leave a residue if you spray too much.
this is a great time to do a lot of 'spring cleaning'
and gradually you can see what you forgot... but persist; it is possible to get to the other side!