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safety of bed bug fumigation

(6 posts)
  1. PhL667

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 28 2012 1:04:32
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    I realize there are several different fumigation methods for bed bugs. Does anyone have any advice on which methods are "better" ? Has anyone fumigated their home ? Assuming one abides by the recommended number of days one should wait before entering the house - is it really perfectly safe ? Are there residual odors ? Should I be worried ?

  2. Koebner

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 28 2012 8:50:45
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    I doubt that you mean "fumigation". Fumigation refers exclusively to gas treatments. Such treatments are in use for termites & require tenting the entire building.

    For bed bugs, "fumigation" refers to off-site treatment of posessions, using (in the USA) Vikane gas in a sealed environment.

    Despite the continued & entirely reprehensible sale of "bug bombs" & other space treatments labelled for use against bed bugs, such products are a very bad idea. The active ingredient does kill BBs, it's true, but in lab tests, not in real life application. Bug bombs are an extremely bad idea, as they carry a high risk of not eradicating, but dispersing a BB problem throughout a building.

    Normal chemical treatment for BBs in both N America & Europe is direct application of insecticide in a spray formulation. The safety testing protocols for such treatments are rigorous & we have learned a great deal from the unfortunate lack of precautionary principles of our forebears (eg unforeseen problems of organophosphates in agriculture). Whilst this means that new pesticides are slow to come to market, it also ensures much safer products.

    There is a never-ending chorus of ill-informed hippies shrieking that "chemicals are bad" but since human life itself is a chemical process, it's best to treat such notions with the contempt they deserve.

    At this stage, your best course of action is to read the FAQs on this site calmly & carefully. If at all possible, hiring a specialist PCO is the most effective approach to BBs, but whether you choose pro or DIY, it's important to understand your problem & all your options, so that you can make a fully informed decision.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 28 2012 9:39:37
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    Koebner - 48 minutes ago  » 
    For bed bugs, "fumigation" refers to off-site treatment of posessions, using (in the USA) Vikane gas in a sealed environment.

    It's true most people are using the term "fumigation" incorrectly, to refer to "bed bug treatment."

    Koebner's response is very helpful but I want to add that in the USA, Vikane gas fumigation is also done for bed bugs on free-standing homes, or entire buildings.

    PhL667 may actually be talking about this since s/he mentions staying out of the home for a period.

    I haven't had this done, so I can't comment on any residual odors or other effects, but others may be able to. It should be safe.

    Structural heat treatment is also an option, though methods vary, and you want to get someone experienced since it's not unheard of for these to fail. Some people who use structural heat also hedge their bets with dusts or sprays.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. Koebner

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 28 2012 10:47:14
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    Wow. I'd missed Vikane for whole buildings, sorry about that Nobugs. Seems a pretty major undertaking - I assume it's for when an infestation has got seriously out of control in a large property?

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 28 2012 21:56:40
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    No problem, Koebner!

    My understanding is that bed bugs take 3x the Vikane to kill them off as termites do. Just a bit of trivia.

    I am not sure where the pricing stands in markets where structural heat and Vikane are available for a comparably-sized single family home, but people do seem to do it, and not only in terribly advanced cases.

    Larger buildings I think are quite expensive and yes, in those cases, it probably appeals most in situations which are quite extensive.

  6. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Aug 29 2012 10:01:16
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    Dear ph,

    Fumigation is a specific term that means the application of a (fumigant) toxic gas that is capable of penetrating various surfaces and materials within the treated space.

    Here in the US fumigations are usually conducted as follows:

    > As whole house treatments for drywood termites usually in gulf coast states and CA where drywoods occur.

    > As fume chamber treatments to eliminate boring pests of furniture and, more recently, to eliminate bed bugs in certain items.

    > As whole house treatments to eliminate bed bugs.

    > In agriculture as treatments to eliminate certain grain and food pests from various bulk stored food items.

    When conducted in accordance with label directions and safety concerns fumigation hazard concerns are mitigated and such applications occur on nearly a daily basis in the US.

    You should be primarily concerned with selecting the proper service provider for you to conduct this work if this is your chosen option.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.


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