[BED BUG SUPPLEMENT] Treating Bed Bugs in Sensitive Areas

Features - Bed Bugs

How should pest management professionals treat sensitive items like electronics and books? Though best known for their use with flying insects, Amvac Nuvan Prostrips are now also registered for use with bed bugs.

March 31, 2011
Lisa Lupo

Electronics. Artwork. Memorabilia. Sensitive items are as susceptible to bed bugs as anything else in an infested room, but standard treatment methods for such items can be questionable at best, harmful at worst. While they can be bagged and removed from the room, they certainly can’t be thrown in the dryer with clothes and linens. Nor would customers be willing to simply discard the valuable items.

So how can they be treated?

Though best known for their use with flying insects, Amvac Nuvan Prostrips are now also registered for use against bed bugs.

The strips contain DDVP imbedded in plastic matrices, resulting in slow release of the insecticide. When placed in a container with the sensitive items, the chemical is released to fill the space with lethal vapor to kill the bed bugs — or other labeled insects — in the space.

“They can be used to treat any sensitive items you don’t want to treat any other way — heat, cold, conventional chemical,” said Jeff Alvis, business manager for Amvac Environmental Products.

“Control is a function of exposure over time,” he added. That is, similar to a microwave, the more items in the space the longer the exposure needs to be. The target insect is also a factor in treatment, with a general standard for bed bugs of 48 to 72 hours for exposed nymphs and adults, and up to seven days for eggs. The strips are available in two sizes, with the small size labeled for areas up to 200 cubic feet, and the large strips for areas up to 1,200 cubic feet.

Dini Miller, associate professor and urban pest management specialist at Virginia Tech, sees the strips as valuable in bed bug control of sensitive items, such as electronics and books. However, with items such as packed clothing and cluttered closets, the strips may be less effective, with the vapor less able to penetrate compressed clothing and clutter.

The strips were approved for supplemental bed bug labeling in 2009. “We were preparing to reintroduce them in 2006,” Alvis said. “They cleared re-registration at about the same time that bed bugs were coming to the forefront, between 2006 and 2008.” So Amvac conducted efficacy testing and submitted the strips for bed bug approval. Although approved in early 2009, use has grown gradually, with recent gains in momentum, he said.

Alvis cautions that a bare strip should never be placed directly on an item, and should be used within the provided plastic container. As with all pesticides, carefully read and follow the label and check for any state and local regulations and restrictions.

Support materials on the Prostrips are available on the Amvac site at
http://amvac-chemical.com/nuvan_prostrips_labels.html or www.amvac-chemical.com

The author is a frequent editorial contributor to PCT magazine. Email her at llupo@giemedia.com.