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10/6/2010
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EPA Unleashes Bed Bug Database

Environmental Protection Agency pesticide listing offers tips on stamping out creepy insect infestations.

Got bed bugs? The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled a new online database to help the public combat multiplying bed bug infestations creeping across the country.

The database helps consumers search among the 300 EPA-registered pesticides appropriate for battling bed bugs. The product search feature allows consumers to find bed-bug products by company, name, EPA registration number, active ingredient, and place of application.

A related EPA site also offers other buggy information, such as the "top 10" non-chemical tips for dealing with bed bugs, including how to verify that you've actually got an invasion of cimex lectularius and not some other insect issue.

Other EPA advice includes washing and heat-drying bed linens, reducing clutter, and how not to pass the pests on to friends and neighbors. The site also debunks common bed bug myths. (For instance, the critters are "attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide, not dirt and grime.")

A resurgence of international and domestic travel, lack of public knowledge about bed bug prevention, and increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides are suspected to be at the root of the insect influx, said the EPA.

The United States is among a number of countries seeing an "alarming" uptick of bed bug cases after the insect population dropped significantly in the mid-20th century, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infestations of the creatures in homes, hotels, colleges, and other dwellings across the United States have crept up in recent months, becoming headlines in small town newspapers and the butt of late night TV jokes.

While the EPA admits on its site that there is no one "silver bullet" or "quick fix" to rid your abode of bed bugs, the problem can be managed effectively with a combination of "chemical and non-chemical methods."

Most of all, if you find the creepy crawlies in your quarters, "don't panic," advises the EPA. While bed bugs do bite, they aren't known to transmit diseases, even if they do induce stress and skin sores.

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