Anyone use Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs?

I have a couple of comments about your citation:

  1. This looks to be for the “Natural insecticide pyrethrum” not the ‘synthetic’ versions found more ubiquitously for purchase. I suspect the natural pyrethrum is used in ‘natural’ products and for organic farmers.
  2. Pyrethrins are extremely safe for mammals (except cats), and any health issues are primarily due to excessive exposure. The flower pickers are not exposed to the levels that cause problems.
    3.From your cite, it looks like this resource is highly valued by the farmers and not viewed on as a detriment to their health and economy. There is no mention of harm due to exposure to the flowers.

I think the only real solution is to kill them with heat (best to have a pro seal your house and heat the hell out of it) and then have them check their work with dogs.

Bed bugs cannot stand heat above 50 C. The easiest way to kill them is to get the temperature in your house to 50 C. There are professional companies that do this by sealing your home and raising the temp by introducing hot air. A multitude of thermometers ensure that every nook and cranny is at the right temp. This is maintained for 36 hours. The critters are fried.

Heat does work better than cold, yes. You can kill the bugs by placing a pillow, bedding, luggage, etc outside on a hot day in a black plastic bag.

For a one room infestation, you can use no-pest strips & diatomaceous earth. Wash everything you can in hot water and use the hot setting on the dryer.

I suggest getting a no-pest strip or two, placing them in the garage, and always putting luggage there when you come home from any hotel trip.

How so? How would being exposed to the flowers all day, every day during the harvest not lead to excessive exposure?

I was documenting how the flowers are picked by hand. The health problems is something I read about in a gardening book 10-15 years ago. I have had a vegetable garden almost every year since 1981, so I can’t remember this one particular book.

Its about concentration as well as length of time of exposure. I just don’t see any evidence in your one citation that demonstrates these workers are exposed to the chemical in enough concentration to lead to excessive exposure. I’m willing to admit they are if there is some good data to back it up.

The main point however was referring to the synthetic permethrins that you typically purchase as an insecticide. Your reference to the flower pickers does not account for the synthetic permethrins used. The flower pickers and their health is not relevant to these synthetic chemicals…its a different source and a different (set of) chemicals. They are not harmed by these synthetic chemicals in this way because they are not exposed to them when picking the flowers.

I’m sure there are health problems associated with permethrins for those people that are exposed to them in above normal conditions (i.e. industrial chemical spills). I’m also still convinced that ‘normal’ exposure in the garden, or on bedding, or as a lice shampoo does not pose a significant health issue. I pose as well that soaking clothes in 11% permethrin is actually safer and more healthy for some individuals than not…Lymes disease and the required chemical treatment (doxycycline) to combat it is MUCH worse than exposure to Permethrin (just as one example).

That’s OK. I don’t want beneficial bugs crawling around my house, either.

That’s a tougher one. I hear that unemployment leads to starvation which also leads to health problems. Are those problems better or worse than the exposure problems? I really don’t know. What alternatives do we offer these workers? Sure, shutting down the pyrethrin fields might be an easy thing to do, but then what? Do we just leave the workers to fend for themselves?

My main concern is that things get labeled as organic or all natural and this gives the average American consumer the idea that this makes them automatically a good thing. Most Americans aren’t educated enough and won’t bother to educate themselves enough to not fall for such marketing ploys. Marketing ploys drive profits and the profit motive encourages big business to take advantage of people who seldom have any choice but be taken advantage of.

I absolutely agree here.
I’m also concerned that things that are “chemical” are automatically viewed as a “bad” thing. I concur that most Americans aren’t educated enough and won’t bother to educate themselves enough to not fall for the concept that “chemicals” are automatically evil and inherently harmful.