There were news reports recently about a fire in an apartment block in Kentucky caused by do-it-yourself bed bug treatment going badly wrong. It left, around 30 people homeless – their possessions destroyed. Reports suggest that at least some of the flats occupants were elderly. Fortunately no-one was badly hurt or worse killed.
It appears one of the residents had put alcohol all over her sofa in an attempt to kill bed bugs, then, accidentally dropped a lit cigarette on to it.
I have done some research on bed bug forums etc. and I have found articles and advise suggesting the use of rubbing alcohol or even surgical spirit to kill bed bugs. Now, I am not for one minute saying that either of these don’t work as a method of killing bed bugs on contact – they do.
However, they evaporate very quickly meaning they do nothing to kill eggs or bugs which come out of hiding once you have done, and secondly they are highly flammable as the poor lady in the report found out.
If you want a bed bug treatment which will kill on contact most of your average household detergents will do the job without the high fire risks of alcohol and surgical spirit. There are a great many non toxic sprays etc. available for bed bugs treatment, this too work although many do have limitations.
The first big problem seems to be many individuals with bed bug problems are afraid to approach landlords about this issue, partly because of the embarrassment and also because in some cases they fear they will be evicted for bringing an infestation into the property.
The second problem is that many fear that if professional bed bug treatment is instigated by their landlord for their unit they will be expected to cover the cost – which everyone knows can be hundreds of Dollars if not more. The vast majority just don’t have that kind of cash and take matters into their own hands sometimes with disastrous results.
Apartment block owners should be made to have clear policies set fout to inform their tenants how such infestations will be dealt with and who is responsible for the cost. The laws on this subject seem to be unclear in many states.
The internet is full of advise for do-it-yourself bed bug treatments. Some of it is sound and will work, however there is some which is misguided and down right dangerous.
Remember as with any DIY project when carrying out bed bug treatment safety should be your top priority.