Officials warn of pesticide use to treat bed bugs

The state departments of Public Health, Energy and Environmental Protection, and The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are warning the public not to use outdoor pesticides to treat for bed bugs.

“Pesticides meant for outdoor use should never be used inside under any circumstance,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen said in a news release. “Even pesticides made for indoor use can make people sick if they are used improperly.”

Bed bugs are parasites that preferentially feed on humans. In the past decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States. With the growing concern about bed bugs, there have been reports of people using strong outdoor pesticides in bedrooms, playrooms, and other areas inside homes, according to the news release.

  The National Pesticide Information Center has received numerous calls to its hotline from residents, homeowners, or pesticide applicators who have sprayed pesticides indoors to treat bedbugs. These cases involved pesticides that were misapplied, not intended for indoor use or legally banned. Many of the calls resulted in mild or serious health effects -- including one death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an official health advisory use to these repeated misapplications.

“Using the appropriate pesticide in a manner consistent with the manufacturer’s label instructions is always critical to protecting public health and our natural resources,” DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty said. “We advise anyone who suspects they may face an infestation that is difficult to address – such as bedbugs – to consult a professional to ensure the most effective and safest results.”

People who have concerns about possible misuse of pesticides or questions about the proper use of pesticides should contact DEEP’s Pesticide Management Program at (860) 424-3369. For information about precautions that should be taken when considering using pesticides to treat for bed bugs, visit: www.ct.gov/dph/bedbugs and click on “Bed Bugs: What to Consider When Treating for Bed Bugs with Pesticides.”

Information is also available by calling the public health department at (860) 509-7367; DEEP at (860) 424-3369; the agricultural experiment station at (203) 974-8600; or the Connecticut Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.


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