Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it warned more than 2,800 customers across the United States about risks associated with a pesticide purchased online through fastpestcontrol.com. Incredibly, this product was first banned from the U.S. in 1978! The ant control product contained mirex, a pesticide that was banned because it can cause liver, skin, reproductive and nerve damage. The EPA became aware of the product after our own Washington State Department of Health reported that a woman became ill after using it in her home.

Although this was a case regarding ant control, we’re seeing similar issues with online or over the counter pesticides as it relates to other pests—especially bed bugs. These products do not necessarily contain banned substances, but they are being misused, often due to the frustration that bed bug problems create. Sometimes people use powerful over the counter household products that should not be used in beds or furniture where people can inhale or absorb the chemicals through their skin. Worse yet, they try outdoor pesticides that should never be used indoors. Additionally, some are simply doubling, tripling or otherwise multiplying the amount of pesticide that is legal to use at a particular location, greatly increasing the risk to them or their family member’s health.

There has been such a concern over misapplication of pesticides that the EPA took notice and put out an alert that said in part: “”Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you, your family, and your pets sick. It can also make your home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.” For the full text of the alert and other helpful information visit: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/.

At Whitworth Pest Solutions, we take a multi-pronged approach to the control of bed bugs. We combine consumer education, thorough inspections, monitoring, exclusion, physical removal, and the judicious use of professional EPA registered insecticides labeled for interior use. This is the essence of integrated pest management, and it’s very successful in solving the problem.