2 Children, Siblings, Are Dead After Illegal Bed Bug Insecticide is Used by Family

Alberta, Canada

Two children are dead after their mother accidentally exposed the family to phosphine, a highly toxic insecticide.

The mother of five children illegally imported phosphine from Pakistan after a family vacation. She was attempting to combat a bed bug infestation in the apartment where the family lived. However, phosphine is not meant to be used in areas where humans live, work, or breathe.

About Phosphine

Phosphine is a colorless gas that can be manufactured in tablet form. In its pure form, phosphine is odorless. Depending on the additive, phosphine can have a slight smell of garlic or decaying fish.

When the tablets are moistened the gas is released. The toxicology and damage done to the nervous system of phosphine is comparable to that of sarin. Sarin is an illegal chemical weapon that is catagorized as a weapon of mass destruction. It may sound familiar as it was used in 2013 on civilians during the Syrian Civil War.

Phosphine is equally toxic to children and adults, but it is classified as a heavy gas. Meaning that the fumes sink, putting the fumes closer to the floor. Children tend to be closer to the floor. As a result, they are at greater risk of inhaling larger concentrations and quantities of phosphine. Additionally, children are generally more sensitive to their environments, thus increasing their risk factor.

Regulations in Canada and the USA

In Canada, phosphine is registered in the most toxic group of chemicals. In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies phosphine as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP).

In both countries, pest companies use phosphine for fumigation purposes. However, phosphine fumigation is not allowed for any buildings used for human inhabitation. All structures must be ventilated afterwards. Additionally, all applicators must be licensed. They must have extensive, special training in the handling and use of phosphine.

Phosphine should never be used without proper training and supervision. The strict regulations are meant to help prevent the types of tragedies that happened in Alberta, Canada from happening.

This tragedy is unfortunately a crucial example of why you should consult an expert prior to any pest management treatments, especially do-it-yourself treatments. If you are planning on applying treatments yourself, make sure you research the treatment and all of its guidelines and regulations.

Treatment instructions for insecticides should be carefully followed and only be used according guidelines. Failure to follow guidelines can result in injury or death. If you aren’t sure, do not apply treatment! Contact a trained professional or refer to the EPA and CDC’s websites for additional information.

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has the original story, along with updates here.

Are Those Itchy Bites Caused by Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs aren’t as uncommon as you might think. If you’re seeing signs you think might be caused by these pests, you could be right. Many people are unsure if their bites are caused by bed bugs because they’re not sure exactly what the signs of bed bugs are or where the pests came from.

Examining Bites

The first step in determining if you have a bed bug problem is to examine your bites. Look to see if you wake up with marks that you didn’t have before sleeping. Bed bug bites are usually small, inflamed, itchy red bumps with a dark red center. They are often clustered together and can sometimes cause reactions such as blisters and hives at the bite site. Other things to look for are red smears on your skin or on your sheets. This is a sign that they have been biting and feeding off of you.

Bed bugs don’t spread diseases, but their bites can be very itchy and irritated, making it difficult not to scratch them. The bite and itchiness will generally disappear in one to two weeks. You can use anti-itch creams to help reduce the irritation and to help the bite heal more quickly.

Inspecting Sleeping Areas

Next you should inspect areas where you sleep or rest. Beds, couches, futons, recliners and anywhere with dark crevices and seams should be thoroughly examined for signs of the pests.  Dead bugs and black or brown fecal stains are two common identifiers.

Also inspect for red streaks when you get up in the morning. This can be a sign that a bug has fed on you.  Areas between sheets, inside pillow cases, underneath sheets on the mattress and in the seams of your mattress itself are all good places to look. Be sure to check under pillow cushions and inside casings on cushions your furniture too. You should also inspect your carpet and curtains as well as any other fabrics in your house where bed bugs may be lurking.

Traveled Recently?

Bed bugs are pesky creatures that can easily find their way into your suitcase and follow you home from your destination. It isn’t uncommon for hotels to have untreated bed bug problems. Sometimes hotels refuse to acknowledge the problem, but more frequently they don’t realize they have an infestation until it’s very bad. Unknown to you, the tiny hitchhikers can climb into your suitcase and come home with you.

If you have traveled recently and are suddenly noticing symptoms like bites, stains and perhaps even dead bugs its possible that you may have bed bugs in your home.

Identifying a Bed Bug

Bed bugs are small, flat, oval shaped insects. They have six legs and no wings, therefore they rely on humans to carry them from place to place. They are a dark reddish brown color and are most active at night. They can be difficult to find and identify but if the signs are there and you find dead or live bed bugs in mattresses, furniture, curtains, carpets, and other fabrics then it’s time to call a professional exterminator to have the pests taken care of.

Bed bugs, while not dangerous, can be very invasive and annoying pests. Its always a good idea to call an expert as soon as you find signs of bed bugs. They can quickly come to your home to do an inspection and will advise you on the most effective way to get rid of the bugs before the problem gets worse.

How do people get bed bugs?

Many people think you have to be dirty or have an unclean or cluttered living space to get bed bugs.  That is not true.  Bed bugs are becoming a big problem, and they don’t care how clean your house is.  As long as there are humans around for them to feed on at night, and places for them to hide during the day, they’re happy to take up residence anywhere.

Bed bugs are a much larger nuisance than many other types of pests for several reasons.  One of which is that they are resistant to many common pesticides.  Additionally, they don’t have to feed often so they can hide in the seams of your bed, behind your headboard, in your couch or behind light socket covers for several months.  By that time, any pesticide application for bed bugs may have worn off before they ever touched it.

What are common ways people get bed bugs?

Bed bugs can travel fast.  They are stealthy hitchhikers.  There are many ways they can make their way into your home:

1)      Bed Bugs While Traveling

If you stay in a spot where bed bugs are present and set your suitcase on the floor, they can crawl into your suitcase and come home with you.  For this reason, it’s important to never set your suitcase on a bed or the floor while traveling to prevent bed bugs.

2)      Bed Bugs in Public Places

Bed bugs can crawl into cuffs, pockets and seams of clothing.  When someone who has bed bugs in their home visits a movie theater, uses public transit or sit anywhere that provides a place for the bed bugs to hide, they can switch hiding spots and wait for their next host.

3)      Getting Bed Bugs From Used Clothes & Furniture

Hiding is one thing bed bugs are very good at.  It’s why they generally only come out at night and how they are so hard to detect.  Used clothing or furniture brought into your home can be a potential host for unwanted bed bugs.

4)      Your Neighbors Can Give You Bed Bugs

If you live in a multi-family property like an apartment or condominium, it’s possible to get bed bugs from your neighbors.  As the bedbugs reproduce, they travel in search of new food sources.  Traveling through floors and in ductwork between buildings, they can infest your apartment even if you didn’t bring them home yourself.

5)      Move Into Home With Bed Bugs

Sometimes people get tired of trying to deal with a bed bug infestation, so they move.  What they leave behind are bed bugs.  New occupants can’t see the hiding blood suckers which may be living in carpet along baseboards, behind light fixtures or in the walls.  Once new people move in, the bed bugs come out of hiding to feed.

Being educated about how bed bugs travel allows you to be proactive in preventing them from coming into your home.  Being careful when you travel, examining used clothing and furniture before bringing into your home and continually monitoring your home for signs of bed bugs are the best ways to prevent them from becoming a problem in your home.

If you spot a bed bug, have unexplained bites or notice small brown or red spots on your bedding, it’s important to contact a pest control company specializing in bed bugs as soon as possible to take care of the problem before it gets worse.

Bed Bugs Texas: Fighting Them In A Big Way

According to a report by Texas A & M University, Department of Entymology concerning bed bugs Texas residents living in a condominium or apartment building should report the infestation immediately to the property manager in order to initiate a coordinated, pest eradication effort (Bed Bug Options). Bed bugs are tiny, flat insects that move easily from one apartment or condo to another, slipping through miniscule cracks in baseboards, crawling under doors and hiding deep in furniture and mattresses. Because they are primarily nocturnal and tend to do most of their feeding at night (they consume blood), the “bed bug” title is applicable, although they will bite people and animals during the day if given the opportunity.

Detecting Bed Bugs–Texas Exterminators Can Help

Similar in appearance to carpet beetles or cockroaches, bed bugs are oval-shaped and reddish-brown to tan in color. They crawl like ants and exude a disagreeable odor similar to decayed raspberries if crushed. What makes bed bugs so hard to eliminate is their ability to survive in extreme environmental conditions. When subjected to extremely cold temperatures, bed bugs enter a state of semi-hibernation in which they can live for up to a week in freezing temperatures. In addition, bed bugs do not require much water and have a thermal death range of between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, as far as killing bed bugs Texas climate is frequently conducive to the proliferation of bed bugs, which makes them difficult to eliminate in this state using amateur household methods.

Recognizing Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are often dismissed initially because they resemble small mosquito bites or red rash bumps. What is important to early identification of a bed bug infestation is the detection of a pattern to the bites. Bed bugs are known to bite humans three or four times in a linear fashion, leaving what is referred to as the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” bite pattern. These bites usually swell and itch like the typical mosquito bite but remain symptomatic longer, leading to not only the aggravation of chronic itching but also the stress and anxiety of being constantly attacked by bed bugs.

Eliminating Bed Bugs Texas Style

Hiring a professional exterminator is the best way to quickly and efficiently rid your home of bed bugs. Licensed exterminating companies use only pesticides that are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and have been determined to be non-hazardous to human health. Chemical solutions to kill bed bugs often provide other benefits as well, such as the ability to eliminate ticks, roaches, fleas and other insects that may be invading your home. In addition, most professional pesticides eradicate mildew, mold and fungus, which tend to attract parasites due to their moisture content.

To rid a home of bed bugs Texas exterminators may also steam clean carpets, furniture and other household items that can safely be sterilized. When a bed bug infestations is severe, exterminators will return to give your home a second treatment and later perform a thorough inspection to ensure that no bed bugs are still living in your home.

Removing a bed bug infestation without the assistant of a professional exterminating company may be ineffectual and only prolong the itching and swelling of bed bug bites. To initiate rapid eradication of bed bugs Texas exterminators can provide the knowledge, experience and expertise needed to alleviate a bed bug problem in a timely manner.

What is the difference in speciality pest control companies and Do-It-Yourself remedies?

You see a trail of ants sauntering across your kitchen deck. Your first impulse is to use a store-bought pest control spray. That may be just fine, depending on the kind of ant and where its home base is located. But, if it is a fire ant that nests in walls and ceilings, you have only killed the visible pests.

Continue reading “What is the difference in speciality pest control companies and Do-It-Yourself remedies?”