- Eliminating Pests
How do Pests Become Resistant to Pesticides
Pesticide Resistance Basics
Natural selection is the theory that describes how pests become resistant to pesticides. When some bugs encounter synthetic chemicals, they acquire a gene mutation. They pass the mutation on to the next generation.
Many bugs can multiply quickly. How soon they multiply is dependent on many factors, such as temperature and species. The faster they multiply, the sooner the next generation acquires the gene mutation that makes them resistant to bug sprays.
Researchers have accumulated copious amounts of information while researching pests and their various mutations. These genetic mutations describe stages of pesticide resistance in bugs. Genetic variation allows the next generation to adapt to the pesticides used on the previous generation.
Factors that contribute to pesticide resistance:
- Decreased susceptibility
- Common ancestors
- Previous pesticide usage
- Genetic variation
- Single gene locus with 2 alleles
- Chain reaction increasing immunity
- Temperature in relation to mating cycle speed
Many bugs reproduction cycles change as the temperature changes. For example, bed bug reproduction is optimal between 70 and 90 degree F. Under those circumstances, it may only take 10-12 weeks to birth the next generation. With each generation, the resistance becomes stronger. At this rate, it suggests that it could be as little as 9 months for bed bugs to become immune to a given poison.
If you find a pesticide that works at first, and sooner or later it stops working, then it is time to switch to a different product, one with a different active ingredient.
Over time consumers may need to rotate pesticides based of-of active ingredient. Consumers must also understand that pesticides alone won't stop bed bugs. There must be an entire treatment and prevention plan. This is why professional exterminators are recommended for bug infestations.
Location and Resistance
Whether you are using a professional or taking a DIY approach, consumers must know what pesticides work in your area. In the United States, the EPA requires pesticide to fall into one of seven chemical classes. They also ban chemicals determined to be dangerous to humans or the environment.
These important regulations help consumers understand why active ingredients are a major concern to pesticide resistance. The big problem is that bugs acquire pesticide resistance over generations. Anyone who wants to manufacture insecticides needs to prove themselves to earn the right to sell their product on the market.
It's now known fact that bugs become immune to some pesticides after exposure, such as pyrethrins. Humans can adapt to this by switching the types of chemical agents used to kill bed bugs fast. Even though only a few bugs mutate, if there are even a few infestation can reoccur.
Don't select a professional exterminator, choose a pesticide, or spend lots of money before you know which pesticides still work where you live. Not knowing this one piece of information can mean the difference between extermination and infestation.
If you choose to go with an exterminator, look for exemplifications that emphasize their understanding of pesticide resistance in bed bugs.
So how do you get real facts about which pesticides work and don't work in your area?
Public Health Resources
Bed Bug Resource and Education Groups
Facts about pesticide resistance best come from agencies who fund scientific research about the given bugs. Bed-bugs are one of the most invasive of household pests because they gain pesticide resistance quickly. Special attention must be paid when dealing with these blood suckers.
Public health organizations that provide local bed bug education and removal resources are:
- The Center for Disease Control - This national public health agency is administered on a state and county level. Call your local CDC for accurate local statistics and information.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency decides when a pesticide meets regulations. They keep data about product usage in the U.S.
- Department of Health - The department of health has an agency present in each state. Their main responsibility is to promote good health. They provide educational bed bug information.
Bed Bug Spray Products
Hot Shot Bed Bug
Imidacloprid and Cyfluthrin
Neonicotinoid and pyrethroid
Destroys Central Nervous System
$60 USD for 8.12 Fluid Ounces
$40 USD for 1 Pint Concentrate
$15 - $20 per gallon
$40 USD per 3/4 Gallon
Makes 13-25 gallons
Makes 12-16 gallons
Makes 8-24 gallons
Selection Run Down
Hot Shot Spray and Fogger
Squeeze Handle and Fogger
Srpay and fogger must be used together. Kills on contact.
Highly Flammable. Can cause skin irritation. Fogger hazerdous to people and animals.
Stand alone sprayer (sold separately
Kills nearly all bugs includind bed bugs. Can be sprayed on mattresses. Invisible, non-oily film- lasts 3 months.
Safe enough to use in food handling areas and on mattresses. May cause skin irritation if skin comes in contact while still wet.
Best Yet Bed Bug Spray
Food grade Red Cedar Oil and melted Quartz rock. Kills on contact and eggs.
Safe for humans and animals
Essentria C3 Concentrate
Stand alone sprayer (sold separately)
Uses natural oils, short term protection, but can be sprayed often.
Organic, safe for humans and pets.
Bed Bug Patrol
Stand alone sprayer or squeeze handle
All natural, kills on contact, kills eggs
Chemical free, organic, safe for humans and pets.
Stand along sprayer all in one bottle
Liquid deltemethrin base, kills on contact, kills residually for 30 days
Caution in homes with children and pets, allow to dry before entering area
Where to Buy Bed Bug Spray, Foggers, and Dust
I purchase bug spray online, mostly through Amazon Prime. There are many logical reasons that I choose this method. I understand the convenience of buying bug spray from the local Home Depot or Lowe's. Yet I find that brick and mortar stores stock an inferior selection of pesticides.
Buying online can be difficult because there is so much misinformation on the web. Some information about bed bug spray could be scams or false due to the use of persuasive writing to get you to buy their products. Don't fall for the hype.
Everyone wants you to buy their product; however, the cost of price per gallon can range from $3.50 to $100 a gallon.
Thoroughly research each spray before you make a decision. The general rule is a gallon for every 1000 square feet. In the $100 per gallon, it could get pricey.
I use Amazon Prime because it provides a platform which brings buyers and sellers together is a safe way. Amazon requires sellers to follow strict Terms of Service. This benefits consumers because sellers must display professional behavior.
Vendors need to maintain a positive reputation, so are more likely to sell quality bed bug products at competitive prices. When you are buying pesticides you want to buy it from someone you can trust.
One major con when purchasing bed bug spray on Amazon, as of now, is that the bed bug categories are still in a formulation period. This means it is difficult to find certain products unless you have a link or know the brand name.
Amazon has it categorized pesticides under Lawn and Patio 7 out of 10 times. That seems pretty odd considering that some products are formulated for indoor use.
In the same respect, if you do find a product you might like you can read user reviews to see how real people feel about their purchase. When you purchase a bed bug spray product on Amazon, you will be sent an email sometime later. This gives you enough time to receive, and use the product.
It is a good idea to respond to this email and provide your experience. In this way, Amazon has some of the best bed bug spray reviews on the net.
Shopping for Pesticides
Many people prefer to buy pesticide in person. There is something comforting about having employees on hand to answer questions you might have. Most hardware stores sell at least a few types of bed bug sprays.
You are less likely to find concentrated bed bug pesticides in-person. They usually carry some form of desiccant, such as Diatomaceous Earth. There are 300 EPA approved products on the market. In person, you will only see a small percentage of that.
Hot Shot and Raid products are easy to find in hardware stores. You can also buy one-gallon sprayers for concentrated pesticides at hardware stores. Don't be afraid to compare buying pesticides online versus in-person.
Stores that sell bed bug pesticides:
- The Home Depot
- True Value
- Ace Hardware
- Lehman's Hardware
- True Value
What do you think?
Where would you rather buy bed bug spray?
The Hardest Part
Congratulations, if you made it this far you are closer to eradicating your bed bug infestation. Now comes the hard part, you must choose which pesticide to try and decide where to buy it.
This is a semi-permanent choice, you won't be able to spray again until after a waiting period. Some people get tempted in increasing frequency of sprays. Do not do this! Even if it is legal for you to do your own extermination, you should never ignore safety issues.
Once you choose a pesticide, be prepared to spend an extensive amount of time reading the instructions. Be prepared, the print is usually very small. Taking the time to fully understand the label is the best way to be successful defeating blood sucking bandits.