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An inexpensive good treatment option that has been taken away

(17 posts)
  1. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Oct 11 2016 21:28:18
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    From the August 2008 PCT magazine-- "Fumigants. Early bed bug fumigation often involved burning sulfur, sometimes called the “fire and brimstone” method (brimstone being the ancient word for sulfur). A dish of powdered sulfur was placed in the center of the room, surrounded by a larger pan to keep the molten mass from spattering and setting fire to the floor. Ready-made sulfur candles could also be used but were more expensive. Metal fixtures prone to tarnishing and corrosion were removed or coated with lard or Vaseline.® The sulfur fumes also bleached and damaged wallpaper and fabrics, especially in the presence of moisture. Nonetheless, the procedure was simple, affordable and relatively safe to humans, making it a viable control option for both householders and professionals. The sulfur fumes were lethal to all bed bug life stages including eggs, but had poorer penetration than some other gases and sometimes had to be repeated."

    This method seems like it would be very easy to train professionals to do. They could be trained to know what materials would need to be taken out and how to circulate the fumes. The raw materials are very inexpensive.

    I have been in contact with quite a few people who have either used it, or remember their parents using it against bed bugs. In 1993 sulphur candles were made illegal in the US. This is definitely something that could be used, even if in conjunction with other treatments. This was very common to do. Otherwise the infestation rate would have been 100% if 19th century people didn't have these methods.

    Obviously it's dangerous if people are too stupid to vacate the area, or set up the pans properly-- but so are cars dangerous, alcohol, prescription medications. That would be easily solved by training and certifying professionals to burn sulphur in homes. Professionals could be trained on location of candles and venting times. Proper equipment could easily resolve the risks. Everyone who has used it says it was simple and only left a clean smell behind, and that they remember it working. One man does it at his summer house to this day, and says he leaves tv's and radios in the home and they have been fine, he also never noticed it cause a problem with plumbing or anything related. But all these things could be noted if some researcher spent some time looking into this procedure.

    Why is this method illegal for us? With 50,000+ people reading Nobug's sticky note about suicide prevention and families spending $1,000's of dollars for cures, why is no one bringing up this cheap, easy solution?

    There are experts such as Changlu Wang, Dini Miller, etc. that emphasize being able to help people. And the EPA claims to want total eradication. Surely, a little burned sulphur is more environmentally friendly than the gallons of pesticide, thrown out furniture, many plastic bags, losses to the economy. Where are the experiments with this method so we can try to make treatment more available to poorer populations? You've all seen the desperate people here, that really have no hope of eradication. It's obscene to overlook and not examine at all such a simple and reportedly effective treatment option. We should all be asking why this option isn't being examined.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Oct 11 2016 23:24:23
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    Fumigation is available right now with sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane is one brand). Because it has to be done by a knowledgeable pro it's pricy.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 6:17:01
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    Yes, I know that Vikane is available. My family paid more than $9,000 to Vikane our home. (After paying $1,000's of dollars for conventional treatments.) We cannot do that again. The delivery system of sulphur candles set up all over the house would have to be cheaper than that. The article says that the method was "simple, affordable and relatively safe." Back then adults were actually allowed to be responsible and do dangerous things that were very beneficial for their families.

    Researchers could even design a delivery system for the straight sulphur, or explain a pattern for setting up candles and putting dust in the voids and between rooms, etc. Straight sulphur is sold in feed stores and very inexpensive.

    We need more options. I hope this method could give some progress to helping this problem. If anyone reading this has some time, I hope you could contact representatives, or even the part of the EPA that is in charge of the "expedited review process for public health pesticides". Please, why couldn't this be one more piece of the puzzle to bringing this problem under control? I really feel that it could. It used to be a solution for our grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations.

  4. jim danca

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 12:29:17
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    Why would anyone spend $9,000 for bedbug control? There are cheaper and safer alternatives.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  5. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 13:41:54
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    Jim,
    I appreciate your comment, but your perspective as a PCO may be different than mine. You have knowledge of treatment options and access to any pesticides and tools you would need.

    At the time this happened we had 6 children at home. We suffered through 3 months of a very confident, but very uninformed PCO. For example, at first he told us to go sleep on our couches so we could sleep without worrying about getting bitten. After all the time dealing with mistakes and our children being restricted about being able to go anywhere and us being worried about spreading to school, work, and our other family's houses, spending tons of money on laundry, etc. We finally just needed to be done, so we fumigated with Vikane. We needed it to be done. I wish I was a PCO so this situation wasn't as destructive of our family as it was. But I would imagine that there are plenty of people that have a lot of trouble with eradication. You see them on the forum every day.

    From my perspective, having more realistic options for homeowners is very important. Even people who don't go to the extreme that we did may have reasons that traditional treatment is very, very difficult for them. Even if an option like this only helped a very small percentage of people, it would decrease the overall problem. What's wrong with more options?

  6. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 14:53:49
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    Did you finally come out ahead and rid your home of bed bugs? Did you find out how they actually were introduced?

    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.
  7. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 15:18:41
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    Yes, thankfully, the Vikane was effective as promised. They were introduced from a business trip or helping someone move, we were never sure. But now we have a son renting an urban apartment and coming back for visits, so the issue is in my mind again.

    You've heard of the sulfur burning treatment, right? Wouldn't it be a good idea for the EPA were to allow people to have this option again, if it could be done safely? This seems to be right in the wheel well of not overly relying on pesticides with the resistance issues they have.

  8. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 19:59:05
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    Leaving it up to the general public just can cause problems. There would be no education in order to use it and many people would just not understand what to do and cause fires. Also the sulfur odor is not so great. There are many stories where people use the total release aerosol or bomb and cause fires. If one works well, then 10 could be better.

  9. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 20:38:30
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    Yeah, I guess we've seen enough of the people with the rubbing alcohol setting their homes on fire here to not realize that people are dumb about these things. That's why I was suggesting that professionals be licensed to use this. Maybe there could be research done on equipment for containing the burn or the EPA reallowing the sulfur candles and research about their placement in rooms for effectiveness, etc.

    I just can't believe that an effective non-pesticide remedy is illegal for use, in this day and age with so much disruption from these pests. I was just trying to raise awareness about this. I see it as potentially being very helpful and I can't believe it's not available to use when our grandparents and great grandparents used it all the time.

  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Oct 12 2016 22:13:40
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    It's a good question.

  11. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Oct 13 2016 7:53:38
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    I hope if anyone else reads this and thinks it's a good idea they will contact the EPA or their Congressperson or a bed bug research scientist or someone to request action on allowing this treatment, or at least starting experiments so that we can figure out how this treatment can be used safely.

    This situation will never get better until people demand better treatment options be allowed by the EPA. They say they want non-pesticide treatments, yet they make sulfur candles illegal. Please, let's work together for future help.

  12. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Oct 13 2016 11:32:59
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    I don't think they'll go for open flame pest control. You can't use propane heating in certain municipalities and have to rely on electric systems.

  13. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Oct 13 2016 11:46:38
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    I think for the straight sulfur, it wouldn't have to be open flame. But maybe it does. It just seems like with the scope of the bed bug problem and lack of resolution for many people there would be a way to design equipment to mitigate the risk and still use this process. There are desperate people who are trying this and other dangerous things without guidance (buying chemicals from oversees, figuring out on their own how to fumigate with Nuvan, etc., the tons of rubbing alcohol, etc.)

    The PCT article describes this method as "simple, affordable and relatively safe"-- and this is with amateurs doing it. Imagine with pro's getting training and guidance from researchers, with specially designed equipment, guidelines, etc.

    Mr. Sorkin, you are a very influential person in bed bugs research circles, I hope you'll give this some thought and maybe pass it along, to other influential people. I think this could help some people.

  14. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Oct 14 2016 1:12:21
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    Can you share a link to the article? Thanks!

  15. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Oct 14 2016 4:11:26
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    Here: http://www.pctonline.com/article/-bed-bug-supplement--lessons-from-the-past/ You have to go down to where it says, "Fumigants".

    Thank you.

  16. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Oct 14 2016 6:34:02
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    No bugs, I have tried 3 x to share the link to the magazine and I can't, very frustrated. But this is so important. You can google it I guess but it's pct online. com/ article/ -bed-bug-supplement--lessons-from-the-past/ without all my extra spaces in there ( so I can get it to post).

    It's in PCT's August 2008 issue.

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Oct 15 2016 0:41:03
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    barelyliving - 18 hours ago  » 
    No bugs, I have tried 3 x to share the link to the magazine and I can't, very frustrated. But this is so important. You can google it I guess but it's pct online. com/ article/ -bed-bug-supplement--lessons-from-the-past/ without all my extra spaces in there ( so I can get it to post).
    It's in PCT's August 2008 issue.

    Thanks-- it hit the spam filter. Shouldn't happen again. The link is in your previous post.


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