Its 2015 and the bed bug problem isn’t letting up. What have we learned and what are we doing?

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs in Apartment Buildings

Well…. Throw away the vacuum, steam, laundry and 2 visits for sprays technique.  It just doesn’t work on medium to high infestations, period. Sure if the resident has just found a couples bugs or just been bitten and there’s very few bugs basically only on the beds and possibly the couch, sure it may be successful. UNLESS… They miss one single fertilized bug on the first visit and it bites and lays eggs that will be hatching past the second treatment within 14 days.

What are the odds? Almost 100% failure in medium to high infestations. Common sense should have kicked in a long time ago you would think? I’ve seen millions of dollars spent on this treatment leaving apartment buildings worse than ever. Now the solution to this that makes the most sense is a third chemical treatment. The third treatment has been recommended by exterminators for years to policy makers and I believe the only excuse not implementing it would be a slight increase in the cost of that particular job as well as using more pesticides in the treatment cycle. Well again where has this thinking gotten us? Broken budgets, a population in fear of socializing with friends in their own homes as well as visiting others and possibly the most important … The overuse of pesticides with multiple cycles of failed treatments because the jobs are never finished. The third spray in severe infestations with the appropriate pesticide will ultimately result in far less pesticide use and less resistance to pesticides in the insects.

Now lets talk about bed bug heat treatments and where and when they are best used. Most apartment buildings are built with concrete, heating an apartment can be a big challenge especially high floors. We’ve overcome the higher level floor problem with our proprietary mix of heaters as well reduced the cost of heat treatments to our customers. We still perform chemical treatments with the heat. I’ve personally performed many apartment heats with $100,000 machines and the results are the same as with our $10,000 setup…. Heat and chemicals must both be used in most apartment situations. We recommend a chemical treatment and in-wall diatomaceous earth/pyrethrin dusting through wall outlets and cracks prior to heating an apartment, if possible a week before in severe infestations to aid in clearing the walls. The benefit of the heat treatment over steaming is basically it will kill all bugs and eggs in the furniture and possessions if performed properly on the first day with major relief of bugs on the first day ( It saves furniture from being replaced so its worth the expense). The exterior walls being concrete may still be a problem as they are next to impossible to penetrate with heat if there are wall voids or cracks with bed bugs hence the need for chemical treatment in combination with the heat treatment in apartments. Follow up treatments should be offered until clearance is achieved.

Do treatments push bugs to the neighboring apartments? Chemical and heat treatments in high infestation apartments will both push the bugs to other apartments – yes its a problem, almost unavoidable it seems. If a high infestation apartment unit is discovered, most likely others around it may already have bugs as well. In the private sector, we will basically take them all on until they are done. Communication with all residents is of major importance. Low infestation spread is controllable, it’s an in wall infestation problem that explodes through the building. The wall voids are not usually the choice harbourage until a high population pushes out for territory. Off the shelf pesticide aerosols also cause this problem and will repel bed bugs to high areas as well as wall voids to stay away from the sprays. These products cause more harm than good when in the wrong hands and are usually too weak anyways to be affective to these insecticide resistant pests. Townhouses or multi-unit rental homes should be treated in the same manner as apartments when it comes to bugs spreading to other units.

Single Family Unattached Homes

Single family homes can be treated relatively easily in most cases. Depending on how the bugs got into the home and a bit of education to the residents usually makes for a situation where we can guarantee clearance for the homeowner or tenant. In an uncluttered tidy home we can offer several different treatments. These depend on affordable budget, level of bed bug infestation and how soon they would like complete clearance. The most economical but possibly the longest treatment solution would be multiple chemical treatment, yes 3 visits and the residents do all there cleaning and laundry work themselves each time. The most common middle of the road treatment we are performing for most now is the targeted room heats combined with chemical treatments and follow up. With this targeted heat treatment we basically only heat the rooms with bugs or that we suspect may have bugs. Last but most costly is the entire home heat treatment with chemical treatment. We inspect all homes prior to quoting now as we will not perform any treatment that will be unsuccessful or unsafe.

“Compulsive Hoarder” Cluttered Homes or Apartments.

Basically a home with a hoarding situation is almost untreatable for bed bugs. At best if the clutter or possessions could be reduced, multiple chemical treatments would be the most effective. Heat treatments in this situation are a complete waste of time due to the amount of floor space or tightly packed possessions that the heat will never penetrate. In many cases these homes can only be kept under control but not cleared of bed bugs.

 So what is the perfect bed bug treatment?

Targeted Heat /Chemical combination treatments with follow ups. Its affordable and it effective , less pesticide is used and it saves furniture and possessions. There’s minimal preparation and minimal work for the resident as well.