Importantly, there are many alternative ways to manage bed bugs without the use of harmful chemicals such as propoxur. These strategies include habitat modifications and least-toxic alternatives available to prevent and control bed bugs. These include sealing cracks and crevices where bed bugs can hide, regular laundering of bed linens and clothing in hot water (120oF), as well as regular vacuuming and steam cleaning of carpets and other soft furnishings, which can destroy bed bugs and their eggs. There are also several least-toxic chemical alternatives on the market, including diatomaceous earth.
These alternatives don’t work very well for the majority of people who have bed bugs. Indeed, one can argue (and I do) that if they did, we would not be in this mess. They consume a great deal of resources (money and manpower) and time, and are beyond the capabilities and skills of people who are not strong and healthy. Even able-bodied people have a very difficult time eradicating bed bugs with these strategies. In cities, the most significant reason for this is that bed bugs spread between apartments and floors in multi-unit buildings and eradication is not a matter of individual actors.
Importantly, few government entities or social services providers are rushing to the aid of people who cannot fend for themselves to eradicate a bed bug infestation. Indeed, most vulnerable people are left to their own devices. Certainly in New York City they are. No one has the money or the will for this.
And this is something you would know if you actually knew anything about bed bug infestations in the real world.
While we’re at this, if you knew anything about bed bugs, you would not mention “regular laundering of bed linens” as an eradication method. You can launder your bed linens every day for months and not make a dent in the bed bug infestation in your home.
This is a serious situation. I understand the need to further an organization’s objectives, but some deeper acquaintance with reality would be useful right now. I’d welcome some real-world suggestions from organizations like Beyond Pesticides. We need all the help we can get. The suggestion that currently available alternatives are just fine is not it.
And that goes double for being reminded that bed bugs do not spread disease.