Serious Risks of DIY Bed Bug Treatments

DIY bed bug treatment risks are no laughing matter.  The recent news headlines of fires shed light on a very critical factor that can cause serious danger.  From self treating with alcohol, kerosene heaters (torpedo heaters), self application of dusts, bombs or spray and more.  Let’s chat about the risks of each of these, and why it is best to leave it to the Pros.

Alcohol DIY Bed Bug Treatment Risks

As highlighted here and here where individuals were trying to treat bed bugs by using pure alcohol, each are tragic examples of what can go wrong.  In both instances, the individuals were trying to use alcohol as a means to kill bed bugs, when an open flame caused the alcohol fumes  to combust, leading to hundreds of thousands in damage. Alcohol, particularly in spray form, is extremely flammable.  Spraying it in a spray bottle can be a recipe for disaster, with both the risk of fire and the risk of severe respiratory issues.

The only time alcohol should be used in any way is as a delousing agent if you suspect you may have come into contact with bed bugs. Alcohol can be sprayed on your shoes and pants to force the bed bugs into shock, and then able to easily brush them off. This should always be done outside, and with no risk of open flame or combustion. This is common practice for case workers, home health care aides and other individuals that are often into and out of peoples’ homes.  Alcohol alone does not kill bed bugs.

Kerosene Heaters / DIY Heat Treatments

Another incredibly dangerous DIY bed bug treatment risks is the use of kerosene heaters in doors.  Commonly referred to as ‘torpedo heaters’ kerosene heaters are designed to be used in well ventilated areas or outdoors.  They should never be used as a means to heat your home in an attempt to kill bed bugs.  First, kerosene torpedo heaters produce incredibly dangerous fumes that can cause  respiratory issues, loss of consciousness and even death. Second, it is a serious fire risk indoors, and even the fumes can build up and pose a combustion threat.  Lastly, they will not kill bed bugs. Torpedo / kerosene heaters are completely ineffective in killing bed bugs, as they simply do not raise the temperature high enough.

Bed bug heat treatment should be left to the professionals, that use either electric or propane heat.   These individuals are properly trained to set up, ventilate and operate the equipment and no one should be indoors at the time of heat treatment.  We use electric heaters to be discreet, since propane heaters require duct work leading to the exterior of a home for proper ventilation.

DIY Bed Bug Treatment with Pesticides

Shelf store brand bed bug treatments are not effective.  Commercial grade pesticides can only be legally obtained by someone with an exterminators’ license by the Department of Agriculture.  DIY treatments with chemicals, bombs, foggers and dusts will only make the problem worse. Here is why;

  • Most store bought treatments are repellent based
    • Will push bugs throughout your home
    • May kill a few, but spreads them to other rooms
    • Provides a temporary ‘fix’ because you won’t have bugs on your treated area, but they have now gone elsewhere
    • Not as effective as professional grade pesticides
  • Improper application
    • More is not better
    • Can lead to resistance
    • Can be dangerous to health
    • Contamination of in home environment – Air quality, food surfaces, sleeping surfaces, etc
  • Dusts are particularly dangerous. Diatomaceous earth or DE is the basis of all shelf brand powder products
    • Diatomaceous earths’ main ingredient is silicon dioxide (glass) milled down to a microscopically fine powder that can easily be breathed in and penetrate your lungs. Because of the shape, it cannot be exhaled.  This is very similar to asbestos. Silicosis can turn into a cancer of the lungs, cause asthma, can impact COPD and more in people and pets.
    • Because of how fine the dusts are, they cannot be vacuumed up by normal vacuums.  You will just be spreading the dangerous particles. It must be vacuumed up and cleaned by a professional or have a fine particulate filtered bag (like for drywall dust, etc). Failure to do so can cause the dust to cover every surface of your home.

DIY bed bug treatment risks can end up costing you big, and prolonging your bed bug issue.  If you think you have bed bugs, give us a call today for a free, no obligation estimate and expert support. Our unique treatment planned coupled with extensive working experience makes our value an excellent choice. Call 216-544-8292 or request a free quote here.