Ohio Bed Bug Workgroup’s Final Report and Recommendations

by nobugsonme on January 6, 2011 · 8 comments

in bed bug task force, bed bugs, ohio

The Ohio Bed Bug Workgroup, which was organized by the Ohio Department of Health and which first met in February, 2010, has released its final report (which you can view or download here, providing the Ohio Governor and General Assembly with a list of recommendations for fighting bed bugs in Ohio.

Its key recommendations are in bold below:

“Pest management professionals need pesticides which are effective and safe alternatives to those currently available for the control of bed bugs.”

The Working Group has supported the state’s request for an exemption allowing the use of Propoxur under specific conditions, as well as petitioning the EPA and other federal agencies to direct funding towards developing and registering new pesticides and formulations to fight bed bugs.

“Identify the roles and responsibilities of local and state agencies in addressing bed bug problems to better coordinate education and control efforts.”

This addresses the current problem where agencies and citizens alike are confused about agencies’ responsibilities and jurisdiction.

“Implement measures to coordinate education and awareness to reduce the spread of bed bugs and prevent infestations.”

This may include educational literature, a website, and educational campaigns.

“Identify ways to assist low income persons with bed bug prevention and control.”

This is one of the biggest problems everywhere: people on limited incomes have the most difficulty fighting bed bugs. They desperately need assistance.

The workgroup has already sought federal funding to develop outreach and education programs.

“Create a state operated toll-free information line to provide information on bed bug prevention and control and direct callers to appropriate resources. Usage statistics could be used as a sentinal source of data to monitor bed bug complaints and concerns throughout the state.”

No elaboration needed.

“Individual [Local Health Departments] should have the ability to create local hotel/motel inspection programs, should the need for such programs be determined and should the political will to create such a program exist.”

A number of recommendations pertain to hotel/motel inspections, notably:

“Inspections must be done for all units that share a common wall with the infested unit. With regard to treatment, hotel and motel management must also be sure to hire only individuals and companies that are properly licensed as pesticide applicators.”

It’s an interesting and useful report.

I was glad to see the emphasis on a need for federal funding to help support low-income residents in terms of outreach and control efforts. The amounts described in the appendices for these do not seem exorbitant. In fact, I would emphasize this need even more.

The bottom line is that if we as a society do not help people who cannot pay for bed bug treatment to do so, they will continue to suffer with bed bugs, and bed bugs will continue to spread even further.

Ohio residents please note: the Ohio Department of Health will provide identification services for samples sent in by Ohio residents. You can download this form or call ODH at (614) 752-1029 and press Option 1 for information.

1 CarpathianPeasant January 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Thank you very much for posting this. I, for one, would never have known about it otherwise. A link to the PDF has been posted a couple of places.

2 Colin Smith January 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

This is a very good report, but once again we see reports of no help from the EPA . Why is this? I thought the EPA were there to help & support the people USA. Please see below my recent experience with the EPA, which I have shared with the Ohio team.

7th January 2011
Dear Sirs,

Excuse me for writing to you ‘out of the blue’ like this, but I have just read your excellent report on the bed bug problem you are experiencing in Ohio. I write to you in the hope that you may be able to give me some guidance as to how I may overcome some of the difficulties I am experiencing in trying to help people like yourselves deal with this problem. I note the many of the frustrations you have in dealing with this problem are similar to the ones I have; in that I can not get any help or support from your EPA.
Allow me to explain, I have been involved in the development of pest control technology for more than 30 years. During this time I have developed many effective systems for the detection and control of bed bugs. In recent years I have developed a highly effective, totally pesticide free method of removal of bed bugs from bedding and related items. You may already know of it. It is a method where we place bedding, including mattresses, into huge gas tight bags. We place oxygen scavengers in these bags and then seal them for 10 days. During this period, the oxygen is removed and all life stages of the bed bugs are killed. The items can then be safely removed from the bags and re-used. The oxygen scavengers contain no harmful chemicals and can be disposed of as domestic trash. It is similar to another system which I developed which has been widely used in the USA and other counties for the removal of pests from museum collections for many years.
This latest system has been available for some 18 months, we are using it in Europe and Asia. It is fully tested and ‘up and running’ and I think it could make a major contribution to reducing bed bug infestations.
About 18 months ago my distributor in the USA decided to make a courtesy call to the EPA just to confirm that that this method did not require pesticide registration. Many months passed and eventually, to our surprise, we were told that the EPA had decided it was a pesticidal method and would require registration and in the meantime we were not allowed to make it available in the USA. We thought there had been a misunderstanding, particularly as similar systems has been used in the USA for many years, without any registration requirement. This is not the case in the EU. We contacted the regulatory people in the EU and were told we were not required to register

Through a Washington based company of registration consultants, we have been trying to set up a meeting with the EPA to discuss this ruling and seek their help in resolving it. I have to tell you that after nearly a year of trying, the EPA will not arrange a meeting with us.
As you will appreciate this is most frustrating, we have a perfect method of bed bug removal which is desperately needed in the fight against bed bugs, but we can’t supply it.
I have to wonder what role the EPA is playing in this battle. Their decision is in no ones interest. There is no environmental issue. We have now reached a stage where we do not know what to do next and this is why I write to you in the hope that you may be able to give me some guidance.

3 Dave January 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

The OHIO BED BUG WORKGROUP statements sound nothing like those stated in (Harlan et al. 2008

By the mid 1950’s, this insect all but disappeared in the U.S. and other
developed countries, likely the result of the development and use of broad-spectrum long-acting pesticides
(Harlan et al. 2008).

[Admin note: link to Google docs pdf version of the Ohio Work Group report already linked to in the post above removed.]

Please read:
Harlan, H., M. Faulde, and G. Baumann. 2008. Chap. 4. Bed Bugs, pp.131-151

4 Colin Smith January 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yes good point. Of course I have read Harlan, H., M. Faulde, and G. Baumann. 2008, it was their comments and my experiences which have led me to believe that a major cause of the bud bug epidemic is due to the heavy handed draconian legislation enforced by the various legislative authorities around the world. Have controls by all means, they were needed, but not to the extent where professional pest controllers have all there weapons taken away and are prevented from working effectively.

5 nobugsonme January 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm

“Have controls by all means, they were needed, but not to the extent where professional pest controllers have all there weapons taken away and are prevented from working effectively.”


I don’t see where the Ohio Work Group’s report is disagreeing with you on this point. In fact, they were among those supporting the request made by Ohio to the EPA for the Section 18 Exemption for Propoxur.

6 Dave January 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm


Regarding the Section 18 Exemption for Propoxur, what is everybody using?
What works and what doesn’t? I’m curious as to what everyone is seeing regarding this pest.


I appreciate your point. Personally I think the net is driving this.


7 nobugsonme January 30, 2011 at 12:19 am

HI Dave,

I’m not a PMP, so I would not be the best one to respond to that question. A number of skilled pros are participating in our forums, so you might consider asking there.

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