If you do bed bug treatments, you may have heard or will hear about an article published in Time Magazine recently, How To Build Your Own Bed Bug Detector at Home. The article references a Rutgers University study to see if heat, pheromone cues from the host, or carbon dioxide is the best attractant for bed bugs. The study concluded that dry ice was the best attractant. Dry ice pro duces carbon dioxide as it melts. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide, which humans exhale, and that is believed to be the method bed bugs use to find humans to feed on. So it makes sense, but are these safe?
A customer called us who believed her 18 month old son was getting bed bug bites. She read the Time Magazine article and wanted to place a dry ice pitfall trap under her son's crib. My first question with new products is always-how safe are they? So, I checked the MSDS for Dry Ice. Below are some of the statements from the MSDS that caused me to be concerned:
Signal Word: Danger!
Acute Health Hazard-Severe: X
Special Hazard Precautions: Concentration in excess of 1.5% carbon dioxide may cause death. At higher concentrations, displaces oxygen in air below levels necessary to support life.
Target organs: Respiratory system, skin.
In my opinion, the use of homemade dry ice traps by consumers may be dangerous, as indicated by the signal word “Danger”. According to the New York State Health Department website,“Dry ice can be a very serious hazard in a small space that isn't well-ventilated. As dry ice melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas. In a small space, this gas can build up. If enough carbon dioxide gas is present, a person can become unconscious, and in some cases, die.” “Symptoms of overexposure to carbon dioxide include headache and difficulty breathing, and with greater exposure, nausea and vomiting.”
As pest control professionals, customers depend on us to provide information regarding responsible control of pests in their homes and businesses. In my opinion, everyone who may discuss bed bugs with customers need to aware of the dangers of dry ice. I have e-mailed Time Magazine regarding their article, I have not heard back as of this time.