Richard Cooper on Leonard Lopate again (download mp3 or listen to streaming audio here). Last year at around the same time, Leonard Lopate did a bed bug show (which is a must-listen, perhaps even a bit more interesting than this one in some respects: click here for the 2006 edition).
Highlights in today’s update: Cooper talks about pesticide resistance, saying insecticides should not be “the first line of defense” for getting rid of bed bugs. While pesticide resistance does seem to be a huge problem, I am wary of someone saying this on the air, and then not really explaining what options people have. Ideally, you should call a PCO, and the PCO available to you will be qualified, experienced, knowledgeable about the latest research and methods, and able to implement something effective. But since I run this blog, and read everything I can find on the web about bed bugs, and I see how many people interpret “bed bugs becoming pesticide resistant” as “don’t bother with calling a PCO and don’t bother using pesticides,” I think this is a dangerous statement.
If you have the option of tenting and gassing your home with Vikane gas (which is done to houses and entire buildings only, and is legal in NYC but not in every geographical location, since laws vary), this may be the most effective available option. I don’t have any statistics (would welcome links to these), but I understand it’s pretty fool-proof, if expensive and tricky (obviously, pets and people must be out of the building).
Thermal treatment seems very promising, but is also currently not legal everywhere (I understand its illegal in NYC due to the fuels used). If done properly, it should work. But bed bugs are the new gold rush, so your results may vary based on the service you use.
Most non-pesticide means that are available to us now (covering the mattress, which everyone should do, serious vacuuming with a super-strength vacuum, enzyme cleaners, steaming, and freshwater diatomaceous earth) are not sufficient to eradicate a serious bed bug problem. Vacuuming, mattress protection, and freshwater DE are promising ways of preventing infestations, and all these methods may help in clearing up small ones. (People need to remember that you can have a serious infestation without “seeing lots of bugs.”) If Vikane and thermal methods are not an option, for now, you are going to have to use serious pesticides, and a PCO experienced with eradicating bed bugs should be applying them.
Also notable: Richard Cooper, whose PCO business is based in New Jersey, is getting a bed bug dog, and will be testing it in various settings to gauge its effectiveness. We’ve heard mixed reports about some bed bug dogs, which do vary depending on how and by whom they were trained, so this seems like a good idea.