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Methyl Bromide?

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  1. maverick

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 1:56:56
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    Can anyone explain the difference between Methyl Bromide and Vikane? I have heard that methyl bromide is being phased out in favor of Vikane. Are the two chemicals similar in terms of safety and effectiveness?

  2. Bugologist

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 7:59:10
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    They are just different active ingredients. Methyl bromide and sulfuryl flouride (Vikane). Both can be used in fumigations but you are correct with your statement that methyl bromide is being phased out of the market. It's still used for a lot of different things but most of the people I talk to who perform structural fumigations use sulfuryl flouride (in fact I can't even think of anyone I know who uses methyl bromide but I'm sure someone somewhere does).

    Methyl bromide is used more in the commodity market (port fumigations, commodities) and for agriculture (they fumigate the soil for nematodes and other insects).

    If used properly, they are both very effective but both are restricted used and classified as hazardous materials so the public shouldn't be able to get their hands on either.

  3. thebedbugresource

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 10:35:39
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    Methyl Bromide is an organic fumigant and is being phased out because it has been proven to deplete the ozone layer. As stated above it is used for commodity fumigations (mainly lumber and wood exports) at the moment but the government is allowing less and less of it to be used each year. Bed bugs are not on the label and this product should not be used for them.

    Sulphryl Flouride (Vikane) is not an ozone depleater and is the best candidate to fully replace methyl bromide in the coming years. It is an inorganic compound. At the moment it is being used widely in grain fumigations (US) and termite fumigations. The label does allow for it to be used for bed bugs.

    Fumigants are by far the most deadly forms of pest control and they should NEVER be used by an untrained person. Used incorrectly a fumigant can kill a person in a matter of seconds.

    Sean
    Entomologist / Pest Professional

  4. Bugologist

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 12:41:18
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    Depending on the state, certain states allow pesticides to be used for certain pests even though they may not be on the label as long as the pesticide is being used consistently with label directions. Meaning, if you have bed bugs and you want to fumigate a couch, and the label on methyl bromide says you can fumigate a couch but doesn't mention bed bugs on the label, you can use the product for bed bugs as long as it says you can fumigate a couch. Wow, that was confusing, I hope that made sense. So, as long as the label says you can fuimgate a couch, it doesn't matter what pest you're fumigating for (obviously you want to be sure it'll kill the pest and methyl bromide will kill bed bugs).

    These laws can differ from state to state. I do know people who have used methyl bromide to kill bed bugs.

  5. maverick

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 15:40:51
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    Thanks very much for the responses!

    One issue I forgot to ask about: I've heard from a few sources that methyl bromide can impart an odor to certain fabrics, like wool and leather. Is that accurate, and if so, is it permanent? Does Vikane share this problem?

  6. thebedbugresource

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 14 2008 23:26:41
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    Methyl Bromide should never be used on fabrics for that very reason.

    Sulfyrl Flouride does not have this same problem.

  7. crossroads

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed May 17 2017 13:08:31
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    I think it is worth reviving this old thread to mention this 2015 article about the potential lethal and alarmingly rapid consequences of methyl bromide:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/07/the-bug-spray-that-felled-a-family

    Terminix later settled with the family for $87M:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/terminix-set-87m-settlement-poisoned-family-article-1.2734342

  8. loubugs

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Wed May 17 2017 14:41:09
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    "Terminix has admitted that one of its workers sprayed the apartment below with methyl bromide, an odorless gas that was banned from indoor use in 1984 and can cause severe damage to the nervous and respiratory systems."
    Answered under the other post, but spray application actually can't be done with methyl bromide. Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) is what is actually used as a fumigant product in bed bug remediation. The procedure, if not applied in a tented home, would be to contain affected objects, materials, etc. in a special pod or in a truck trailer unit for large amounts of objects. This, too, is not a product that is sprayed for its application. Special equipment is used to monitor the entire procedure.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  9. crossroads

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu May 18 2017 1:52:50
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    Hi Lou: It seems quite clear that methyl bromide was sprayed, every single news report on the matter mentions this. A local news source goes into more detail (legal action against Terminix by the VI government is still ongoing in 2017):

    http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/05/03/v-i-terminix-suit-continues/

    Investigations found the company used a pest control spray containing the highly-toxic chemical, methyl bromide.

    More details of the disastrous fumigation work:
    http://stcroixsource.com/2015/03/25/dpnr-methyl-bromide-pesticide-came-from-puerto-rico/


    He said they used it in an attempt to eradicate powder post beetles at Sirenusa condominium resort on St. John. Powder post beetles are a type of bug that can turn wood to powder.
    ...
    When it is used, stringent precautions must be taken, according to Todd Roskin, a licensed pesticide operator on St. John. The building must be evacuated and if the whole building is involved, it must be tented. In the case of smaller areas, a tent must be put up around it. “They did not tent. It was obviously a clear misuse of the pesticide,” Nielsen said.

    Also given that it's an ozone destroyer, isn't that consistent with it being a spray?


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