Observations of the consequences of RAID spraying in a severe infestation

I was asked to assess a bed bug problem in a triplex with two suites upstairs and one suite downstairs. I entered the front common door and was immediately confronted with several thousand dead bed bugs on the all the stair treads leading to the second floor. As I walked up the stairs I noted that there were more live bugs closer to the top of the stairs than the bottom of the stairs. It was like walking on a carpet made of bed bugs. Highly unusual.

I entered the “problem” room and was confronted with baseboards that were black with bed bug excrement. The pillow had more blood stain color than the normal white color. The blood stains occur when bugs are feeding on the face at night and are crushed during night time tossing and turning. This infestation was among the top 5 in terms of the severity of infestation and I have seen.

The caretaker was present so I asked questions. Apparently there had been no bed bugs on the stairs a few days previously but had appeared when the “problem” suite discharged a can of RAID (aerosol pyrethrin) into his room. I have noted in other infestations that the bugs tend to be forced to the suite below when a tenant sprays RAID. In this case the bugs went down the common area stairs by the thousands. That is interesting as bed bugs normally prefer climbing to going down (see blog “observations on bed bugs climbing up and down.”)

Also interesting was a piece of double sided tape on the stairs that caught several hundred bed bugs. When bed bugs are healthy they can walk over double sided tape with little difficulty (see blog on my experiment with double sided tape and bed bugs). Actually we find that approximately 2 percent of bed bugs can walk directly over a sticky mouse glue board which is at least 10 times stickier than double sided tape (see video “climb up interceptor versus modified glue board” for a photo of bed bugs traversing two or more inches of mouse glue board). If bed bugs can occasionally walk across a mouse glue board then certainly carpet tape will make a poor trap. But in this particular case we saw that bed bugs with pyrethroid poisoning were caught in the carpet tape by the hundreds. Bed bugs with pyrethroid poisoning have poor motor control and are less likely to escape a predicament.

Once again we see a graphic demonstration of the dangers of spraying RAID on bed bugs. Don’t do it.

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