Once bed bugs have moved into your home, all priorities come second to getting rid of them. Bed bugs are a terribly resilient pests, and desperation may lead you to believe that harsh chemical pesticides would be a sure-fire way to eradicate them. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, there can be cons when using pesticides to eliminate bed bugs. There are a number of things to be aware of before settling on a chemical treatment for bed bugs—namely, that they may not work.
The recent resurgence of bed bugs has resulted, in large part, from their built-up resistance to chemical pesticides. New research from Ohio State University shows that bed bugs have evolved three distinct defenses against common pesticides: thicker exoskeletons that can block pesticides, stronger nervous systems that can withstand the toxic effects of pesticides, and higher levels of enzymes that can detoxify the chemicals used it pesticides. As a result, bugs in New York City are now 250 times more resistant to standard pesticides than those in Florida.
One of the cons of using pesticides is the toxicity. Chemical bed bug treatments are, after all, designed to kill insects, so it should come as no surprise that they, at some level, pose a threat to other living things. Exposure to pesticides has been known to cause skin and eye irritation, nerve damage, disruption of the endocrine (hormone) system, and even cancer. In a recent 2-year span, Centers for Disease Control linked chemical bed bug treatments to 81 cases of pesticide poisoning.
Almost all sprayed pesticides used to combat bed bugs will wind up reaching the air, soil or water, where they can affect nontarget species, like fish, birds and people. Ultimately, no chemical insecticide can be used without some level of risk. Alternatively, heat treatments like that provided by All Bed Bugs Begone, can fight bed bugs without the use of toxic chemicals, or the risk of resistance.