Companies have used chemcials in a pyrethroid insecticide class. According to Merchant, while these have a long residual a strain of bed bugs have developed varying levels of resistance to these insecticides. Other chemiclas include diatomaceous earth, a very abrasive dust that scratches the bug's wax on their exoskeleton (where they hold moisture), which could be used very safely in any kind of environment for cracks and crevices, he says.
Other methods include heating the location to 120 degrees F or higher for an extended period of time. While this may not be feasible for a larger facility, heat has been known to kill all stages of bed bugs.
"With bed bugs [the pest control industry] have to follow the integrated pest management (IPM)," says Merchant. An IPM basically says you cannot rely on any one technique to control a pest. "There is no silver bullet ... but you try to do several things together: sanitation, pest proofing mattresses, caulking and sealing cracks and cervices in the area and using dust and liquid sprays wherver you can," he says.
It should be noted that the use of chemicals may affect a trained canine. It is reccommended to not use a chemical spray before utilizing a bed bug sniffing team.
"You could be proactive or reative. Waiting till something happens at that point it really is too late," warns Bryan. "For anybody in these facilities, proactive is key; it would be in everybody's interest to do the best thing they can do proactively," he says.
Wenning agrees. "The key for law enforcement becomes protecting themselves as much as they can and being aware of what bed bugs are and what they look like and if they see them to take preventative measures ... and doing some personal inspection before heading home so they are not carrying them home as well," he says.
As director of the National Bed Bug Registry Database, Mark Smith has seen bed bug reports blossom throughout the country. The Database provides a single place where people can voluntarily report and search infestations. His position requires him to field daily calls on the subject.
“At some point every police officer is going to come in contact with bed bugs, not just because of the people that they arrest but also the fact that there are a lot of police officers going in and out,” he says. Adding that “at some point they are going to bring bed bugs home, it’s just a matter of time.”
From a simple search on the Internet, an overload of information can be found on the bed bug free and open to the public. The “Joint Statement on Bed Bug Control in the United States from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)” document is readily available online and in a PDF file at www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/Publications/Bed_Bugs_CDC-EPA_Statement.htm.
On their site, the EPA provides some best practices, dispels some common myths, offers a few points of advice and more at www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs.