Out of the frying pan and into the fire

by nobugsonme on January 25, 2011 · 6 comments

in bed bugs, cincinnati, fire, Hamilton County, ohio

UPI reports that another person has set their home on fire by attempting to self-treat for bed bugs (with rubbing alcohol) while smoking.

This time it happened in Mount Carmel, Ohio, in a rented home.

Here’s a similar story from January 2009 (Cincinnati), and another from October 2009 (Hamilton County).

Q: What do these cases all have in common, besides the bed bugs and the flammable liquid and the cigarettes?

A: They all occurred in or near the Cincinnati area.

Alcohol is a known contact killer.

However, besides being flammable, it’s not sufficient as a treatment method. After all, few of us stare directly into the eyes of the only bed bugs we have to deal with.

Many people lack the skills and knowledge to safely and effectively do their own self-treatment for bed bugs, but end up doing it anyway.

Unfortunately, for all too many people, there don’t seem to be other options.

This is not a good situation.

In not unrelated news, Ohio’s second request to the EPA for a Section 18 Emergency Exemption for Propoxur has been denied.

Mike Merchant notes on his blog that

Propoxur, as it turns out, is still pretty effective against bed bugs. In Australia, for example, PMPs regard one of the propoxur-containing products as most effective. In another study using presumably resistant bed bugs from Sri Lanka, propoxur provided the best control compared to DDT and malathion.

There is hope: Merchant notes that the EPA is considering allowing the use of propoxur in senior residences, since there would be less risk of exposure to children.

1 Doug Summers MS January 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm


Check out the drawing of a bed bug from UPI?

Doesn’t look anatomically correct… Color is wrong, too.

Really disappointed to hear that the EPA turned down Ohio’s second emergency request for use of Propoxur… It is already in general use for other pests like cockroaches… Seems like a professional use only designation with a black box warning about use in households with children would address the EPA objections.

2 nobugsonme January 29, 2011 at 1:15 am

Hi Doug,

Yes, I spotted the odd illustration too. UPI gets it from this photo on Wikipedia, which cites it as “Uncredited illustration for Charlotte Taylor, “Unwelcome Guests”, Harper’s magazine, No. CXXVII – December 1860 – Vol. XXII, p. 41.”

As to why UPI is using Wikipedia as a source, well…

3 CarpathianPeasant January 29, 2011 at 9:57 am


Check out the drawings (bottom of the page) here:


4 nobugsonme January 30, 2011 at 12:20 am

HI CarpathianPeasant,

Yes– that’s not my favorite life cycle photo. But I do think the Wikipedia image is more “off.”

5 CarpathianPeasant January 31, 2011 at 8:52 am


Agreed that image is “more off”; but, I’m not sure it’s more important. Scripps no longer owns United Press International. It’s now owned by something like the Unification Church, and I doubt that it’s considered an important media source. Indiana University, on the other hand, probably should be viewed as an authority.

In my humble opinion, if you are talking about reliable media, Number 1 would be the British Broadcasting Corporation, Number 2 would be Reporters Without Borders, and Number 3 would be the Associated Press.

The BBC can be soft, and it is consolidating, but it seems to have a better viewpoint overall and, of course, is in English. Bed bugs may be world-wide (and present in London); but, I simply can’t see them doing much on the topic. Reporters Without Borders, being basically French, does rely on some translation, and I can’t see them doing much, either.

The BEST bet for generating some action such as dissemination of information and agitation for legislation for bedeviled Americans and friends, again in my humble opinion, is the Associated Press New York offices.

Now, me, I’m in Greater Cincinnati, and there is an office in Cincinnati, but approaching that would be rather like trying to move a mountain from underneath in the middle.

If/when you convince AP in New York there is a problem….

6 Pest Control Toronto February 27, 2011 at 3:02 am

Heat does kill bed bugs. I’m sure after the house burnt down the bed bugs were dead! As for the proxpur it may still be effective but until it is registered for use in your area it would be wise to avoid it’s use… not worth the fines. Besides other legitimate treatments are working quite well.

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