Origins: Some homespun efforts to eradicate pests are downright foolhardy and dangerous. Gasoline poured on peoples' heads in attempts to kill lice (very, very bad idea, that) has resulted in permanently disfiguring burns and left victims hospitalized for months. The employment of too many
In June 2012, an apartment renter in Carlisle, Kentucky, doused her couch in alcohol in an attempt to kill the bedbugs that had taken up residence there. This pest extermination foray ended badly after she subsequently dropped a lit cigarette on the sodden furniture, starting a fire that left
This was not the first such conflagration. Attempts to rid by fire items infested with bedbugs have previously resulted in uncontrolled blazes, some of which left homes in ruins.
In March 2012, two men renting a house in Indianapolis accidentally set their home ablaze after transporting three bedbug-infested couches and two chairs into the backyard and setting them on fire. Flames leapt from the furniture to the house, causing about $15,000 in damage.
In January 2011, a man attempting to kill bedbugs with rubbing alcohol while smoking a cigarette started a fire in his Mount Carmel, Ohio, apartment. In that instance, property damage amounted to only about $600 (the home's couch and carpet), with the unthinking householder having to be treated at a local hospital for burns to his hands.
In 2006 and again in 2009, firefighters in
Even the experts can sometimes get it wrong. In May 2011, a two-family home in Cincinnati was destroyed after a heater being used by an exterminator to destroy bedbugs (by raising the home's temperature to
Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and the U.S. is experiencing an explosion in the number of these pests. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has seen a
The best remedy is to not bring bedbugs into your home from other sites in the first place. Our "Fashion Bug" article details a number of ways to avoid bringing them home with you, including subjecting second-hand apparel to a lengthy session in the clothes dryer.
Barbara "tumble weeded" Mikkelson
| Bed Bugs — Pest Note |
Gaskell, Stephanie. "And Don't Let the Bedbugs Ignite: FDNY." The New York Post. 30 June 2006 (p. 20). del Signore, John. "FDNY: Pouring Gas on Mattress NOT the Solution to Bed Bugs." Gothamist. 21 December 2009. Associated Press. "Ohio Home Burns Down During Bedbugs Treatment." 16 May 2011. Associated Press. "Men Burning Bedbug-Infested Items Set House Ablaze." 12 March 2012. Associated Press. "Ky. Woman Tries to Kill Bedbugs, Burns Down Apt." 30 June 2012. UPI. "Man Starts Fire Trying to Kill Bedbugs." 24 January 2011.