It’s that time of year, folks, bed bug season!
Sure, bed bugs happen year round, but they do tend to multiply and spread a bit more quickly in the warmer months, due to various factors. This means the pest management professionals are busy, and the consumers are too-often itchy (and hot, which makes itching worse).
Add in the fact that summer can be a slow time for news, which means the media is doing everything it can to report bed bug stories. If the local news haven’t got any hot bed bug stories, they will sometimes try and come up with something anyway.
Today we have this example, from the Salem News (in Salem, Missouri): the title, “Bed bugs are a year-round problem” suggests that we’re probably not going anywhere new and unchartered.
And the first three paragraphs do not disappoint. They note that bed bugs are nothing new, are found locally, and are a year-round problem.
But wait, here it comes, paragraph four:
“The best and easiest way to rid your home of bedbugs is to use a hair dryer to kill the bedbugs in your furniture, [Carol Shipley of Shipley’s Pest Control] said. You can also buy spray to kill them, but this isn’t always effective the first time. If it’s a severe infestation, you may have to get rid of your bed and burn it to be rid of the bedbugs.”
(Image credit: Conair Pro Style 1200 Blow Dryer by Twitchery on flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.)
Wow. There’s just so much going on there!
First, while a hair dryer does emit high heat which can kill bed bugs, the logistics of killing bed bugs with a hair dryer might be a bit impractical, and, depending how you use it, might even be hazardous. I don’t think we’ve heard any experts recommend a hair dryer for treating bed bugs.
A steamer would be a better choice than a hair dryer for killing bed bugs using heat. The back of your hand or a newspaper can be quite effective too.
And, yes, pesticides may require re-application, but that’s not a reason to eschew them. It is the reason pros will usually need to come back in 10-14 days and retreat. It stands to reason that do-it-yourselfers aren’t likely to kill bed bugs in one shot with spray pesticides either.
While we always recommend an experienced and knowledgeable professional be hired to treat for bed bugs if at all possible, if you need to do the bed bug treatment yourself, please do your research and be sure and get professional advice on using pesticides.
Finally, while experts tell us you usually do not need to discard belongings, keep in mind that if you do, “burning your bed” is probably not the best or safest way to do that, and I don’t know any experts who would recommend that.
I want to note that I don’t assume the advice in the article linked above was what was intended by the professionals cited in this story, since we all know that the news media often gets things a bit wrong.
However, it’s important to set the record straight on what works and to this end, I welcome further input in the comments below from readers (including experts) on the advice given in the Salem News story today.