Is Permethrin safe and effective in the remediation of bed bugs?

There are several ways that Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) can remediate bed bugs. Among the most popular is Chemical Remediation. This is when PMPs kill bed bugs by using insecticides, or, more specifically, Permethrin.

Permethrin is part of the pyrethroid family. Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals that mirror the effects of extracts from the chrysanthemum flower, but are they safe and effective in the extermination of bed bugs and other insects? It turns out that the use of permethrin may not be the best choice anymore, and there are two big reasons why.


It’s becoming ineffective

Bed bugs are growing in numbers. In fact, the number of reported bed bug incidents has grown by 500% in the last decade alone. This phenomenon can be the result of many factors, one of which being their growing resistance to pesticides like permethrin. Over the years, bed bugs have been evolving and adapting to their environment. As a result of over-exposure to the chemicals, their outer shells have begun to thicken, making it harder for the insecticides to do their job. This is resulting in generations of bed bugs that are no longer vulnerable to permethrin and other chemicals used in their eradication. What does this mean for PMPs, hoteliers, and anyone who has encountered or will encounter bed bugs? Have you ever heard the expression an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Basically, taking measures to prevent deep infestations, and to protect your assets is going to be crucial in navigating the rise of pesticide-resistant bed bugs.  Knowing the warning signs of a bed bug occurrence, like where to look and what to look for, can help your local PMP remediate more quickly, before it’s a full blow infestation. It’s also becoming increasingly important to encase your mattresses and box springs in advance of an infestation. It’s probably no surprise that bed bugs are found most frequently in beds. This is due to their dark, hollow nature. Mattresses and box springs can also be some of the most difficult assets in any room to remediate, so it’s (super) important that they’re protected before bed bugs have a chance to set up shop.

Taking measures to preemptively protect your assets, reputation, and bottom line will result in a lesser need for chemical remediation. We’re not saying you can prevent bed bugs all together from entering your hotel, business, or home, but by being educated on what to look for, and by taking a preemptive approach to encasing your mattresses and box springs, you’re allowing for a quicker, easier remediation that may not require chemicals at all!

It’s hurting Fido and Fluffy

We love pets! We love our pets, we love your pets, we love ALL pets! And we know there are a ton of animal lovers out there who feel the same way. This is why you may want to reconsider using permethrin as an option for the remediation of bed bugs. Permethrin has been proven to have negative effects on animals. According to the national pesticide information center, “Dogs and cats that have permethrin on their skin may act strangely, and flick their paws, twitch their skin or ears, or roll on the ground. Animals that have licked treated skin may drool a lot or smack their lips. Cats that have been exposed by accident to products with high (45-65%) levels of permethrin may seem anxious and can't walk normally. They may also have muscle tremors and seizures and they may die from the exposure.” No pet-lover in their right mind would willingly put their furry friend in a situation where they’re uncomfortable, let alone a situation that could potentially be fatal. You yourself may not be a lover of animals, but as a hotelier, it’s becoming increasingly more popular for hotels to allows pets. According to a Lodging Magazine survey, 61% of hotels are now pet friendly, and with good reason; not only does it make your guests happy, it’s also proven to be profitable (check out the article here). Now imagine if you had rented a room at your property to a person and their pet that had recently been treated with harmful pesticides? A recipe for disaster!


Don’t despair, though. There are still ways for pest management professionals to effectively remediate bed bugs without the use of permethrin. Heat remediation is very popular among PMPs, and only requires that the room and assets inside are heated to a certain temperature. Remember, whichever form of remediation you and your PMP decide to employ, always encase your mattresses and box spring to take control of the situation.

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