Local business offers bed bug blasting alternative

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There is another, not entire well-known way, to annihilate bed bugs and it does not involve extreme heating measures.

This procedure involves wrapping your entire house and there is only one company in Cincinnati that does this - Valley Termite and Pest Control.

It's a whole-house fumigation, where your entire house is wrapped and sealed, then a very specialized gas is pumped in and within 24 hours you're clear, without moving any of your stuff or throwing-away anything.

First, they wrap and seal your entire house, then pump deadly sulfuro-fluoride, also known as Vicane, inside.

"It's a gas," said Valley Termite and Pest Control owner Tami Burkel, who swears by the stuff.

"The gas will pass through the molecules of the mattresses, the beds, the clothes, the baseboards," Burkel said. "It'll get in all the nooks and crannies, and it doesn't destroy anything."

And the gas leaves no residue, so 24 hours after fumigation, you can return to your home, bed bug free, without having to get rid of anything.

So why doesn't everybody use it? For starters, equipment for the gas is specialized.

"So it's very expensive for other pest management professionals to use it," Burkel said. "But it is the only product on the market that is 100-percent effective on all stages of bed bugs, it kills the eggs and the adults."

With the gas, your house needs to be just 70 degrees.

"It's not used very widely around here because of our climate, we have a cold climate but it's used all the time in warm climates, like Florida and California," she said.

As for Propoxur, Burkel said it would be just another tool in her arsenal. The Cincinnati Health Department also supports using Propoxur.

"And what we're saying is, we want it to be labeled to be used for bedbugs in residential areas but only applied by a licensed pest control operator," said spokesperson Rocky Merz, who explained the government changed the licensing some time ago, so you could not use it in residential environments even though it worked.

"A lot of the pesticides we were able to use in the past, the bugs have developed resistance to," Merz said.

City Council has been waiting for word from the EPA since last March, when they approved a resolution to make the labeling change and bring Propoxur back into home use.

"The way I understand it," Merz said. "They've not approved it and they've not yet said no."

If you're wondering how Valley Termite and Pest Control can be sure the gas worked, they place a sealed vial of live bed bugs inside the house that's being fumigated. They've never lived  to see the next day.

And the timing could not be better for a big meeting Wednesday, May18 of the National Pest Management Association. They're holding a bed bug workshop series in 15 different major U.S. cities and it's open to the public and for businesses.

There is a workshop at the Double Tree Hotel on Kemper Road in Sharonville, from 7:30 a.m. til 3:30pm.

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