Diary

Activism Needed Force the EPA to let us fight bed bugs

I wish I was making this up or exaggerating.  A pest management survey found 1 in 10 people “knew someone” with bed bugs in 2011 and 1 in 5 did just 3 years later 2014.  And people try really hard to hide this information, this is not something people are publicizing.  It’s been 3 years again, almost, has it doubled again?

This horrible reality could be another casualty of the election with such a bad Republican candidate.  But we can’t do it, HONESTLY, people cannot live like this, and this will not take all four years of Clinton.

Under Bill Clinton’s EPA, in 1996, a very strict new law was passed that made companies reregister all indoor pesticides (that had been being used in homes for years).  That resulted in effective pesticides Diazinon and Durban being made illegal in the early 2000’s.  Those two pesticide losses led directly to the bed bug resurgence.  Somewhere along the line another effective bed bug pesticide Propoxur was made illegal, as well. Because of that, from 2001-2005 rates of bed bug infestation rose exponentially and lately there have been double digit increases in infestation rates.   Liberal countries such as Canada and the UK allow more pesticides than the US does (propoxur, bendiocarb +others).  In fact, of four pesticides that the World Health Organization recommends for bed bug treatment, pyrethroids, propoxur, bendiocarb and dichlorvos, US citizens are only allowed to use one.

And, predictably, pesticides we can use (pyrethrins and neonicotoids) have to be used multiple times and resistance of the bugs to them is growing greater and greater.

So now, there are many cases of people who are not really capable of getting rid of an infestation (handicapped, single moms, etc.) and resistance is making it less likely to get rid of infestations.  These things will be passed around at even greater rates.  I have tried to think that we will learn to live with these tormentors just like the pre DDT population did, but our great-grandparents had many tools that are illegal or ineffective for us, now.  For example, they were able to burn sulfur and sulfur candles to get rid of these (both illegal in the US, now).  They also used a primitive pyrethrum powder that is not effective for us now.

The EPA says to use heat, but that costs $1,000’s of dollars for a home and fails pretty frequently.

It’s obscene that the EPA stands in the way of low income families getting help from this horrible condition.  Look in the comment section of any recent article about bed bugs to see heart breaking stories about people desperate to stop the itchy bites. People do risky dangerous things, like set their homes on fire because of using rubbing alcohol, or applying pesticides in an unsafe way because there are no solutions for them. We accept risk to drive cars, eat junk food and take prescription medication can we also accept risk to not have itchy bumps covering our bodies all the time.

The EPA  sees it’s mission as standing in the way of any effective treatment.  They have turned down a promising product researched at Penn State to use fungi to fight the bugs; because they didn’t like the base it was in.  And other researchers wrote a paper about a low cost way to decontaminate your bed and belongings with dry ice.  But the EPA won’t even let people use a dry ice process unless a company comes forward to fund the registration process for CO2 as a fumigant.  Seriously a company has to pay millions (I heard $100 million) to earn the right to use dry ice, even though people use it all the time at Halloween parties and dance parties.

The experts will admit that we don’t have what we need to fight these.  Here’s a quote from one of the top bed bug experts in the country, Dr. Dini Miller from Virginia Tech.  “Like the EPA, many people have concerns about applying chemicals where children sleep or play.  But, if bed bugs should become as big a problem as they were at the beginning of the 20th century (they are), the public may demand that the federal government register products that are effective against bed bugs.  We will just have to wait and see.  At this time, we do not know of any product that is in development specifically for bed bug control. “

One bright spot is a powder silica gel product that is effective.  (Not DE– Cimexa)  But a powder can’t be used everywhere, we NEED more tools.  This problem is fueled by people not being willing to talk about it, please don’t give this up without a fight.  It really will effect you and those you love.

PLEASE call your Senators and Representatives to demand that they make the EPA use emergency measures to approve propoxur, and dichlorvos, even bendiocarb (although resistance here, too) –anything!!  We could even demand the FDA allow people to take ivermectin to help the situation.  Ask me any questions, I’ve done a lot of research.  Share on social media, please.  We don’t have much time.  This EPA is so ideological it will take MUCH pressure to change this and save our future.  Please!!