Diamotaceous Earth & Delusional Parasitosis #whatbugsme

knoxville pest control, DE         The expansive internet buzz on Diamotaceous Earth lately has proven to be a negative thing.  Everyone wants something effective, safe, and something they can do themselves.  DE is supposed to fit that bill.  It doesn’t.  Don’t believe me because Aunt Bertha told you it was great stuff?  Read this and this. But lets be real, if you don’t want to know the truth you aren’t going to read my references. Here is an example.

I received an email earlier this week about bird mites plagueing a family.  I went to inspect and found they had been rubbing DE (diatomaceous Earth) on their skin and in their hair.  I also found it piled up around the bedrom and in the bed.  After not finding any indications of any insects I told them to clean up all the DE, change the air filters and left glue boards to inspect today.  The glue boards have almost nothing on them and I definately could not find anything causing problems.  The misses had been to the dermatologist for a topical treatment and didn’t find anything either. I told them that I would take the samples to UT for them to use their hot shot microscope to see if there is anything on them.  Well, this did not sit well.  They wanted me to spray.  Legally I cannot treat if I don’t know what it is and  its not smart either. The wrong treatment could make it worse.  As you can immagine that went over like a ton of bricks as well and the customer began to get more upset.  At this point I identified that they were not going to listen to reason and legality.  If I had continued to try to explain things they would only get more upset.  I learned a long time ago there is no point in engaging this type of person.  I told them that if they were not interested then I would wish them a good day.  I never charged them a dime for them to not believe me and belitle me.UPDATE: I got the results back from the entomology department at UT from the samples I took.  They confirmed no biting insects in the sample.  So, I will forward the results to the customer and let the chips fall where they may.

knoxville pest control, itch, delusional parasitosis        Here is the issue, there is a possibility that the bird mites are there but all the indications lead to environmental reaction, or delusional parisitosis.  They could be reacting to the DE that was everywhere, soap, pollen, dust, static electricity, a dermatological issue or even folie à deux.  The point is, if I don’t know what it is, I don’t know how to kill it. I am not willing to break the law or do anything that is not safe.  So they will call another company who might just spray to take their money.  The ironic thing is that it might “work.”  The truth is that if it is all psychosomatic, the “bites” will stop.  They think the treatment did something but unfortunately the problem is still not fixed.

knoxville pest control, itch scratch cycle          Delusional Parisitosis is something we all deal with in this industry.  We even fall prey to it at times.  It is that feeling of somthing crawling on you because you are creeped out.  It is a real fealing, but not a real bug. UC Davis has more info at http://delusion.ucdavis.edu/delusional.html. At the end of the day some people only want you to do something THEY think is the solution.  I would think that they would want the truth but in this fast paced society of magic pills and instant messaging, not everything is so easy to accomplish.

Some signs of Delusional Parasitosis from the  Bohart Museum of Entomology

The Sufferer:

  • Has had the problem for a long time.
  • Has been seen by numerous physicians, exterminators, parasitologists, hygienists
    and entomologists.
  • Consistently and fiercely rejects negative findings or any that deviate from their perceptions of the infestation.
  • May exhibit the “matchbox sign”, where sufferers deliver or mail containers holding samples consisting of dust, lint, skin scrapings, toilet paper, dried blood or scabs, hair or other pieces of human tissue.
  • May engage in self-mutilation, ranging from scratches to deep ulcerations. These can occur where the patient has attempted to dig out the parasites.
  • Uses home remedies and distrusts prescription drugs.
  • Has exposed themselves to often dangerous levels of pesticides and household cleaning products.

One Or More “Family Members” May Share The Delusion:

  • Folie à deux – two family members involved, usually husband and wife or parent and child.
  • Folie à partagee – three or more family members involved.

The Infestation Is Described By The Sufferer As Located:

  • In, on or under the skin.
  • Around or just inside body openings or in sputum.
  • Internally, particularly in the stomach or intestines.
  • In the vicinity of the sufferer, particularly in the home or automobile.

This trust of, and overuse of “natural” safe” products such as DE complicate a situation that is already complicated. If this describes you, see a doctor. If you have more questions feel free to contact me. aaronv@phoenixpestcontroltn.com. Phoenix Pest Control services Knox and Blount Counties in East Tennessee.

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Aaron Veal