Bed bugs insects are durable, resilient and hardy creatures detested by all who come in contact with them. These bugs have been a pest problem for centuries. Records of infestations in Europe date back to medieval times and even during Aristotle’s time of philosophizing in Greece, these insects were a chronicled menace.
Before the 1950s, people were aware of prevention methods. They were cautious upon leaving home and would take steps to prevent infestation. For example, movie goers were unlikely to set their belongings, such as purses or coats, in the seat next to them.
Also, when staying in a hotel, travelers would automatically check for insects and most apartment complexes were outfitted with a fumigation chamber. New tenants were required to decontaminate their beds and fabric covered furniture before moving in.
For almost 50 years, they have not been a nuisance and people currently toss coats and handbags in the movie theater seat next to them without concern of a possible infestation. When taking a taxi, riders think nothing of setting their briefcases on the floor or using the trunk for suitcases. In hotels, travelers store their luggage on the unused bed. Unfortunately, this lack of caution can transport these horrid insects into their homes.
Basic Information About Bed Bugs
Their scientific name is “Cimex lectularius” and they are in the insect genus Hemiptera. These clever little brown bugs have a thin body and were derived from Asia. Unfortunately, they are now found throughout the world.
Their primary food source is human blood, and the blood of family pets or rodents in the property. They strike while their victims are fast asleep and oblivious to having become a victim to a vampire-like insect.
Where Bed Bug Species Are Found
Cimex lectularius are multinational and can be found in most climates, although they prefer the environments of North America, Central Asia and Europe. They are occasionally found in southern regions. However, a different species known by the scientific name of C. lectularius is generally found in California.
Another species named C. hemipterus are often found in warm tropical environments such as Florida where they feed on people, bats and chickens. Other species, such as the Oeciaus vicaruis, is commonly named the swallow bug and the Cimexopsis nycatalis is known as the swift bug.
They are part of the same class of insects as aphids and water scorpions. However, the majority of the insects in the hemiptera order consumes plant sap as their food source and transport significant plant diseases.
They thrive when they feed on humans, but they will ingest the blood of other living mammals such as rabbits, mice, rats and birds. In the past, invasions generally occurred in run-down living conditions and from overcrowded residences. Unfortunately, these resilient insects have undergone revitalization and are now finding their way into luxury hotels and high-class multi-million dollar homes.
Reasons for the Resurgence of Bed Bugs
The reason for their renewed activity is not entirely known, but experts in the field of extermination, believe that people are traveling more, giving insect’s access to luggage and personal items. Often, these hardy insects make homes in recreation dwellings that are located in the wilderness near hiking trails.
Also, summer camp cabins and park facilities are vulnerable to infestation. When homeowners discover bugs in their mattresses, their occurrence can often be tracked to a trip spent at a leisure wilderness location.
Another factor in the resurgence is that pesticides are now chemically enhanced for environmental safety, which is a health benefit for people and animals. Unfortunately, this is causing the poisons to be less effective against durable insects.
Adapted to Humans
They have numerous common names and are also known as mahogany flats, wall louse, chinches, crimson ramblers, house bug and chintzes. Entomologists are aware of at least 92 separate species and their relatives throughout the world. These bloodsucking creatures have adapted to humans completely and have followed people all around the globe. In fact, when they feed, their bite is often pain-free to the host.
Within the United States, citizens claim to hate and fear them more than dirty, nasty cockroaches. During the 1940s, the use of DDT almost eradicated them, but they have found a way to regenerate with the elimination of this successful pesticide.
These bugs are considered the only bloodsucking insect that does not officially transfer diseases such as malaria or West Nile virus like a similar blood-feeding insect, which is the mosquito. However, the can contain several different human infections in their bodies and they can cause people to suffer from allergies, digestive disorders and nervous system problems. If you have an adverse reaction I recommend seeking medical assistance immediately – you are better safe than sorry.
Sensitive individuals may suffer greater problems from bites and lab testing has shown that they can transport contributing agents for typhus, anthrax, yellow fever and plague. Children can be greatly affected by living conditions where there is a significant infestation as they can cause lethargy.
How to Recognize Them
Mature bugs have long antennae and the first two sections of their antennae have an angled look. Their eyes are small and compound while their bodies are flat and oval shaped. Also, they are usually a reddish brown color with the area located behind their head stretching forward on adults.
Juvenile bugs have the same body style as the adult bugs; however, they are a smaller size with pale yellow coloring and a thin exterior skeleton. The upper portion of their bodies is reminiscent of paper and is covered with short yellow gold hair.
Males can be recognized with the end of their abdomen ending in a point while the female insects have rounded abdomens. They can measure at three quarters of an inch and are distinguishable from other blood-ingesting insects by their round bodies, size and absence of wings. Their legs are well formed and the bugs are able to climb vertically.
They have been spotted climbing up wood, plaster, wallpaper and even unclean glass surfaces. Furthermore, these insects have been known to drop from the ceiling onto unsuspecting residents. They are about the size of a regular power button on a television remote.
How Bed Bugs Infest Homes
The insects are increasing in numbers overall because they are able to reproduce through practiced traumatic insemination. The males cut into the female abdomen and leave their sperm within the body of the female.
Young bugs expel hormones, which notify the females that they are unable to fertilize eggs. When a female is fertilized, she will move to a location with fewer bugs to prevent other insects from inadvertently causing her harm.
The females are able to expel from three to five small, white eggs each day totaling 200 to 500 throughout their lifespan. They lay in groups of 10 to 50 and prefer to drop them on irregular surfaces such as newspaper or wood.
When a female releases her eggs, a sticky substance coats them and they hatch in one to three weeks. Furthermore, bugs hatch out of their eggs more quickly in a warm environment. Females can only lay eggs for 11 days, unless they feed. Once the eggs are hatched, the shells are left behind, and individuals suffering from an infestation may notice the abandoned eggshells.
Stages of Bed Bug Development
Juveniles, also known as nymphs, progress through five separate stages on their way to adulthood. In order to shed their covering into the next stage, the bugs must ingest a blood meal. The complete life phase to grow into a mature insect can take from five weeks to four months. Juveniles can survive for up to a year in this stage if a blood source is inaccessible and their climate is cold.
Additionally, their growth cycle is dependent upon the temperature of their living environment and how much blood is accessible to them. When they experience temperatures from 70° to 82°F, they are able to progress quickly.
Once a juvenile has fed, they will turn crimson or violet. Infested individuals can recognize a juvenile by comparing the size of the insect to a grain of fresh ground pepper.
How They Feed
They are cunning and in order to access their favorite food supply of human blood, they feed at night and hide in a variety of sneaky places during the day. The bloodthirsty creatures hide in mattress seams, box springs, furniture, behind pictures, upholstery and underneath ripped or loose wallpaper.
They can come home with homeowners from a variety of locations such as trains, buses and theaters. Also, they crawl easily into linens, suitcases and clothing.
These bloodsucking insects are able to endure long periods of time without feeding and can live up to 140 days without blood. Mature insects are able to live longer than juveniles, and adults have been recorded enduring 550 days without a food source.
When they feed, they generally eat for three to ten minutes and the amount of blood they are able to ingest can be up to six times its body weight. Once they’ve fed, they become bloated and look like moving drops of blood.
Adults exist for about 10 months, and may be responsible for up to four generations of insects each year. Additionally, these insects can crawl over 100 feet to ingest their preferred food source of blood.
Bed Bug Signs
They feed on humans by penetrating the skin with extended mouthparts that contain two bristle-shaped feelers, which tuck underneath the bug’s body when they are not in use. One feeler has a channel that transports saliva into the penetration and the other has a channel that sucks blood into the body.
When bitten, people generally feel a small pin prick, but because they feed when humans are sleeping, they are unaware of the attack until later.
Treatment of Bites
The insects often attack the face, arms and neck. Bitten individuals can treat bites by washing the area with gentle soap and warm water. Another cleansing option is to use a thinned enzyme solution. To prevent itching, a bitten individual can treat the area with anti-itch medications such as hydrocortisone or Benadryl cream.
Inhabitants with bites should see a doctor and may be advised to treat bites with bentonite clay. Bitten homeowners who experience chest tightness, problems breathing or allergic reactions should see a doctor immediately and will most likely be treated with antibiotics, epinephrine or antihistamines.
Their saliva can cause the penetrated area to swell, which is similar to mosquito or spider bites. In fact, the swelling so closely mimics mosquito bites that people often remain unaware that their home or hotel room is infested until they spot a moving bug or signs of infestation.
Detecting Bugs and Bites
It can take up to 10 days for infested individuals to notice that they have been attacked by the bugs and only about half of the overall inhabitants notice initial bite marks. Individuals who are over age 65 are unlikely to notice a bite. A report discovered that 42% these seniors are either not bitten or don’t notice when they are.
A definitive sighting is the only way for infested individuals to absolutely verify the existence of the bugs in their home, although an infestation may be suspected with other signs such as a foul odor. The smell is often described as moldy and excessively sweet. Additionally, the odor is often compared to overly ripened strawberries or syrup.
Another sign is small fecal stains that are dark red. Individuals can spot the insects by using a bright light with a hand lens.
When these annoying insects initially enter a home, they generally hide in mattress seams and around the edges of the bed, which places them in close proximity to their host at prime feeding times. However, the longer a home, hotel or shelter is infested, the further out the insects roam. You can use the bed bug registry to look up recent reports at hotels before booking.
The bugs’ flat bodies allow them to hide under buttons or in any type of negated space. Residents have found them in electrical outlets, window frames and drapes.
Bed Bug Inspection
Homeowners who suspect an infestation can inspect their home at night using a red light. They should look in drawers, under the mattress and check upholstered furniture. If the pests are uncovered, then the resident can vacuum the room, mattress and furniture completely.
Also, bed linens should be washed in borax and cleansed in hot water regularly after the infestation is discovered. They naturally stay close to their food source.
Before bringing in camping gear, used bed frames, secondhand mattresses or furniture of any kind, a thorough inspection can save residents a lot of work.
Individuals should note that any type of mattress is susceptible to harboring them including pillow tops, memory foam and even water beds.
They can also infiltrate empty apartments, outside dog or cat beds and chicken coops. They may remain in these areas even when they have been unoccupied for a long period of time. Cabin owners will want to ensure their vacation residence is sealed up tightly before leaving for the season.
Animals such as mice, rats, bats and birds can attract them as well because the insects can survive on their blood as well. Preventing these mammals from making a home in empty vacation residences can avert an infestation.
Vacation residence owners should seal all gaps or cracks in walls and floors. Also, owners should clean and vacuum mattresses, floors, drapes and upholstered fabrics periodically.
Preempt Bed Bug Infestation
Homeowners can prevent them from making a home in their residence by changing bed linens weekly, or daily for greater protection. These bloodsucking insects are unable to fly and transport themselves by crawling, so moving the bed away from walls and adding talc powder can dissuade them from making mattresses a home.
Beds can be protected further from the use of duct tape with the sticky surface left facing up or petroleum jelly spread underneath the mattress for those with solid surface flooring.
When traveling, there are several steps individuals can take to prevent them from coming home with them. Hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins and RV rentals should be inspected thoroughly. Vacationers are advised to look behind the head board and check underneath the mattress. Also, guests can closely inspect the mattress seams and inside the drawers of their vacation accommodations.
Travelers should keep their suitcases on luggage racks instead of on the bed or the floor. Once vacationers have returned home, they should unload clothing into a washing machine immediately and examine bags closely for hitchhiking bugs.
Bed Bug Inspection Options
Homeowners are advised to consider hiring a professional pest company for an official confirmation that their insect problem is a result of an infection of these bloodsucking insects. The company may require a fee for this service. However, they should provide the homeowner with a written explanation of the pest problem along with a definite identification. A professional exterminator will be able to recommend a course of action and can determine the safest most effective way to eliminate the pest infestation.
A pest management professional should work with homeowners to investigate how the infestation occurred and tell them how to prevent future insect problems. Additionally, residents may need to be informed regarding treatment preparation and what steps need to be taken for consistent home maintenance.
Homeowners should be aware that a cluttered home may result in the evaluator underestimating the amount of an infestation. Pest specialists base their treatment recommendations on the amount of bugs in an infestation along with how far into a residence the insects have spread.
Professional exterminating companies generally provide homeowners with a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS. This information will provide inhabitants with information regarding the hazards, chemical composition and the precautions that must be taken when employing the services of an exterminator.
Advice for Apartment Owners
Apartment owners who possess a residence with an infestation problem will want to visually inspect all apartments within the complex on a monthly basis. However, landlords may need to ask residents to inspect their own apartments if the owner is unable to do a visual inspection personally that often.
Apartment infestations can be especially tricky to resolve because they often infest all of the residences in the building.
Canine Inspection Teams
Specially trained dogs are frequently used by pest companies to detect these insects and are recommended for certain types of infestation. Canines can locate the entire infestation problem giving affected individuals the opportunity to eradicate the total problem.
These trained animals are also able to verify an infestation when a professional has been unable to do so. Dogs can double check after a treatment to make sure that the application was effective in eliminating all of the insects.
A pest inspector who has purchased a canine trained to locate these insects has paid around $10,000 for the animal and generally charges homeowners $1,300 every day a team is needed at the home.
Canines can help apartment residents relax based on their success rates at detecting infestations. Dogs are able to accurately detect the insects 98% of the time. Unfortunately, that does leave a few instances when the animals incorrectly report insects or when the dog handler may have misunderstood the animal’s signals.
Dogs can have problems correctly identifying infestations for several reasons including a stressful environment, uncomfortable situation or they can just have an off day. Handlers should remember that dogs used for this purpose are service animals and are not pets.
Also, the canines must be constantly trained to reduce the chances of falsely reporting bugs when there aren’t any. Training involves blind test kits, personal visits and video conferencing with their original trainer.
Dogs that are well-trained can even detect fertilized eggs from those that are not viable. Furthermore, they can inspect a home much more quickly than a human can. Canine inspections are recommended when a professional is unable to confirm an infestation.
Another verification option for homeowners to consider is a monitor. These handy devices are used as an alternative to visual inspection. There are two types of monitors that can be used as confirmation, which are the moat design and the portable device.
The cost of moat monitors is $8.00 for four, but when a carbon dioxide-attracting mechanism is added, then the cost increases and can be from $15.00 to $950.00.
The moat-style monitor is used under the leg of a bed frame or bedside table. The leg is placed in the center of the device and talcum powder is sprinkled on the sides of the moat. This monitor causes the bugs to fall in and become trapped.
Regular moat monitors are an affordable option and are also used to determine further treatment methods. Additionally, a moat device is placed on the interior and exterior of the bed, which can detect where the bugs are hiding. This monitor will also prevent bugs from crawling into the bed.
This is a beneficial system to establish the existence of insects in a home and if a pest treatment is needed. Also, a moat monitor can save homeowners time and stress.
Effectiveness of Moat Monitors
The downside to moat monitors is that they use a person as bait to tempt and capture. Furthermore, the talcum powder must be maintained for maximum effectiveness. If it’s not, then these crafty insects can get into and out of the moat.
Beds with decorative additions, such as bed skirts or even just a blanket hanging to the floor, will give bugs a way to access their human victims around the monitor. Also, moats can only be used with furniture that has legs and the devices can crack when they’re not placed on a flat surface.
A moat device can be a better detection tool that is less expensive than animal or human discovery because the device isn’t based upon training or diligence. However, they are only as good as the maintenance completed to keep them working properly.
A portable monitor entices these insects by the use of heat, pheromones and carbon dioxide. They keep the bugs trapped inside the device, which prevents them from feeding and causes the insects to die.
This type of monitor generally uses a combination of lures to tempt the bugs into entering them. There is some debate as to which formula works the best, so homeowners may have to attempt different attraction methods. Also, these devices can be expensive at over $500.00.
One study found that heat offered a much greater attraction for than other lures, but homeowners who use this lure should note that the highest temperature the monitor should be set at is 110°F. Higher temperature settings will repel the bugs.
However, separate studies found that carbon dioxide and chemical pheromones were successful as well. Therefore, homeowners with an infestation may find that their particular insects are attracted to one lure over another.
Effectiveness of Portable Monitors
Overall effectiveness is still in testing phases, so once their performance has been confirmed, a portable monitor could be a better option. They may be able to prevent the moving between units in an apartment complex and monitors would be cost effective for landlords in this situation.
Additionally, monitors have demonstrated a higher success rate at locating the bugs than visual inspections and they are able to provide homeowners with a better understanding of the degree of infestation that has invaded their home.
Pest control specialists use monitors when an infestation is suspected, but can’t be confirmed, generally due to low insect involvement. Also, monitors need to be left in place for as long as a few weeks to confirm an invasion.
Preparing A Residence Properly For Treatment
Pest removal professionals should be trained to organize a treatment plan correctly and homeowners should always make sure that they hire an experienced company. Homeowners can expect the pest company to give them initial instructions, which is to clean and arrange the infested area the same as they would if they had guests coming for a visit.
However, preparation will depend upon the pest company because some experts request that homeowners don’t disturb the insects prior to their arrival. Additionally, this will prevent homeowners from unnecessarily preparing their home.
The Inspection Process
When pest control specialists arrive and inspect the problem, they will decide the best method of treatment to eliminate the infestation. Administration efforts to eliminate infestations include steam, monitors, pesticides and vacuuming. Pest experts may decide to use a combination of treatment options to eradicate the problem more effectively.
While an inspection is in process, specialists will kill bugs that they locate using methods that are non-toxic for people or pets. They will also remove the insect and advise homeowners about their elimination process.
For most infestation cases, pest control experts will generally utilize one of two options. The first option requires the homeowner to prepare the home before treatment. This step includes scouring items, adding mattress encasements and straightening up disorder. Or, they may treat the home during the inspection and then schedule a follow up treatment to confirm complete elimination.
Non-Chemical Bed Bug Treatments
A natural way to remove these bugs from a residence includes removing debris and clutter. A pest professional will have a much better chance of spotting insects and treating the home when residents participate in this step.
Homeowners with a hoarding problem will need to work with mental experts to remove items from their home that have emotional ties. Other psychological conditions may be debilitating the homeowner, causing them to protest removing infested items. In situations where exterminators aren’t sensitive to the issues facing the resident, a home may not be prepared correctly causing the infestation to spread.
How to Ensure Extermination is a Success
An overabundance of clutter is most often the reason exterminating efforts fail. Also, failure occurs when a homeowner doesn’t follow up with the pest control company’s advice to keep the bugs out of the home.
The most difficult treatments are done in homes with more than one family in residence. This is even more complicated in multi-family low-income housing units. Problems occur because of the number of people included in the infestation and lack of funds available for provisions, such as mattress encasements.
It’s important to note that clutter and inadequate cleaning habit do not cause infestations, but once a residence is infected, then disorder and poor cleaning can make treatments less likely to succeed.
Before the Inspection
Prior to the first inspection, the exterminating company will give homeowners a list of simple clean-up that is required in the areas suspected. Personal possessions should be removed from the floor and homeowners are advised to vacuum the rooms before a pest inspection is completed.
An inspector may advise affected homeowners to prepare for their inspection by loosening outlet covers near the bed. This will let the inspector review the home quickly and avoid damage to the walls. If a pest inspector locates a bug, then he should kill it immediately and remove it from the home.
Pest professionals should expertly prepare a room to eliminate bugs prior to treatment. In cases of apartment infestation, a pest expert can advise management on how to treat future infestations.
When to Throw Out Items
Homeowners may be planning to throw out infested items, but this may not be necessary. In actuality, this may cause the insects to spread throughout the city because thrown-out items are frequently foraged by other needy individuals.
Experts do recommend discarding possessions when this is the cleanest option for an item that has a massive infestation, or when the furniture item cannot be fitted with a properly fitted encasement. A bed frame can be treated with a pesticide and fabric items can be heated or fumigated, saving expensive pieces from the landfill.
Also, when replacement items are brought into a home, residents should not use the same vehicle for transport, as this can re-infest a home. Homeowners should be given specific details by exterminators on how to dispose of items properly.
For example, items should be wrapped and marked to prevent others from inadvertently bringing infested items into their home. When residents are disposing items, they should make insect filled furniture unusable by ripping open the fabric and breaking wood sections. Affected homeowners may also write on the items that the items have an infestation.
Managers of low-income housing units may consider providing tenants with mattress encasements to protect them from potential infestations. This protective device removes hiding places and eases the process of determining an infestation in its beginning stages.
Treatment is easier with encasements and the use of chemicals can be avoided. For individuals with asthma, an added benefit of mattress encasements is the prevention of dust mites.
Residents living in low-income housing may not be able to afford the price tag of encasements, which can be approximately $80.00 for the mattress and $50.00 for the box springs. This piece of equipment is constructed to contain these insects and they are unable to bite their way out.
However, the device must stay on the mattress for more than a year to make sure the insects trapped inside are dead. Additionally, apartment owners should be aware that inexpensive covers constructed from vinyl often tear before the year is over.
How Effective are Encasements?
A cover must prevent the bugs from escaping and should be strong enough to endure a year of use without breaking. Often, bugs find their way out through the zipper and residents considering adding an encasement to their mattress should confirm whether the device has been tested specifically for treatment.
A well-constructed mattress encasement is vital in treating an infestation and should be used immediately upon insect discovery.
These blood-thirsty insects starve when they are trapped inside an encasement with studies showing that the insects can die in as little as three months, but homeowners should keep the cover on for the entire year to ensure insect elimination.
Who Should Use Encasements?
Locations that see a high resident turnover such as shelters, apartments and hotels should add encasements before an insect infestation occurs. This step will make treatment easier and save funds in the long run.
If a homeowner is unable to purchase an encasement for both the box springs and the mattress, then the box springs should be protected first as they are more likely to hide effectively in a box spring than in a mattress.
How Safe Are Encasements With Added Pesticides?
Mattress encasements with a pesticide added are available, but should be used with caution. Studies have shown that in some cases that the bugs can adjust to the pesticide making eradication more difficult in future bug generations.
Also, the added chemical may aggravate the person sleeping on the mattress. If a pest professional recommends this step, then the mattress encasement should be exchanged for one without the added chemical after the bugs have been killed. In most cases, this type of encasement is used to kill the bugs quickly before taking the mattress to the landfill.
One pest specialist tested pesticide-added encasements against encasements without the added chemical and found that an encasement with the pesticide included was much more effective at treating infestations.
Vacuuming is another non-chemical treatment method that can be utilized to reduce residents’ exposure to pesticides. A pest professional may remove bugs with a vacuum during the inspection process.
In a large infestation, live insects are present along with dead, rubble, molted skin, empty egg shells and feces. This leftover debris creates a challenging environment for inspectors to evaluate.
Vacuums are not powerful enough to remove cemented eggs, but a strong vacuum will be able to help the pest inspector locate live insects. This treatment method is an immediate eradication approach, although re-inspection and other types of treatments such as cleaning are usually required.
How Effective is Vacuuming?
A disadvantage to vacuuming is that often they hide in areas where a vacuum can’t reach. Also, the pests can re-infest a home by remaining in the vacuum if the appliance isn’t cleaned properly after treatment.
The best way for vacuums to be used during a treatment is during the initial inspection to extract the insects as they are discovered. Pest professionals recommend using a vacuum that has a bag, which can be removed and tossed out.
Additionally, adding an insecticide sand or talcum powder inside the bag to eradicate the insects can ensure a successful treatment.
A HEPA vacuum, which will expel healthy air while removing these insects, can cost from $250.00 to $500.00.
Heat is a non-chemical treatment that can be used for elimination. Pest professionals use a heating device along with fans to increase the heat in a residence from 130°F to 140°F and keep the home or unit at a temperature of at least 120°F for several hours to kill the insects and their eggs.
This form of treatment is recommended for spaces where homeowners do not want to use chemicals. Heat treatment is able to completely remove the pest problem from a residence, but permanent elimination will depend upon the quality of the expert preparing the heat treatment.
The home must stay heated at a high enough temperature for the recommended timeframe to completely eliminate the problem. This treatment is generally used in residences when the space cannot be primed beforehand.
How Effective is Heat Treatment?
The disadvantage to heat treatment is that it can be tricky to ensure the entire area is heated to 120°F and a lower temperature will not eradicate all of the pests. Also, professionals must remember to detach carpet near the baseboards, open drawers and de-clutter areas that may have fabric items stacked.
Additionally, sinks must be heated because the correct temperature can seep out lowering the climate needed to kill the bugs. Studies have shown that when a home is kept at 130°F, then all eggs and bugs are eliminated.
Heat application is a treatment that can be completed within several hours along with the timeframe it takes to clean the home of the dead bugs, eggs and debris afterward.
Exterminating companies from the Southern part of the United States have been using heat methods to kill cockroaches and termites for years and may be able to provide support for Northern areas that are new to this type of nullification process.
Cost of Heat Treatment
Heat treatments vary in price with the cost at $330.00 for a device that’s the size of a regular suitcase. Apartment buildings may need a heater for the entire unit, which is $90,000. However, to heat treat one apartment, a pest company will charge $800.00 to $2,000.00.
In situations where moveable items are infested, a heated compartment is a cost-effective method of eradication. The individual items can be treated while a pest control expert works in other infested areas of the residence.
Bagging and Wrapping Infested Items
Infested homeowners can place their valuable items in plastic bags or bins to prevent insects from making these objects a bug residence. Items that are infested can also be placed in bags to be treated later.
However, this form of containment only works if the bugs are unable to escape and the item can be wrapped long enough for the bugs to starve.
In some cases, a professional may be able to safely use a chemical within the wrapping to kill the insects quickly. Other options for eradication from furniture items include laundering, heat and carbon dioxide.
Wrapping or storing items can take up to a year to kill while chemical treatments can eliminate insects in as quickly as a few hours up to a few days.
One study indicated that insects did not relocate well on plastic or metal furniture. Some of the insects were able to hold on, but most of them slip off and struggle to move on slippery surfaces.
This type of furniture may be a better choice for patios because wicker and wood offers plenty of hiding spots for the wily creatures. However, if owners do not maintain metal and the furniture rusts, then the insects can grip the furniture surface and infest homes.
Shelter volunteers have confirmed that the addition of metal furniture was an important step in eradicating infestations.
Cleaning to Prevent Future Infestations
Cleaning is also an important step in permanent elimination. Pest professionals can help keep residents’ living conditions sanitary after treatment by advising them about cleaning procedures.
Also, when professionals remove blood spots from furniture, they are able to confirm the type of insect that is infesting a home. Cockroaches leave excrement while bed bugs leave a reddish-brown stain. Cleaning can assist homeowners in discovering a pest problem and in treating the home quickly for better results.
Cleaning With Soap and Water
Homeowners are counseled to clean infested delicate items with soap and water instead of harsh chemicals to prevent damage. Cleansing with soap and water will remove the insects, but may not kill them.
Items must be scrubbed thoroughly; merely spraying the furniture with a cleanser will not eradicate the bugs. When cleaning, homeowners should be careful around electrical elements and with items that can be damaged by water.
Cleaning With Washer and Dryer
The best method for cleansing is to use a washer and dryer. The heat that a clothes dryer expels will kill the bugs very successfully. Homeowners should use dissolvable laundry bags when moving infested items to the washer and dryer.
Bags cost about $22.00 for ten bags and residents should always refer to a pest expert before washing infected items. Unfortunately, homeowner’s may inadvertently cause the migration of these insects into other locations. Also, laundered items must be taken to and from the laundry area in different receptacles.
The suggested method of washing and drying items is to transport all fabrics loaded in dissolvable bags and wash items on a hot setting. Fabrics should also be dried on the hottest setting that the item can safely endure.
The laundered fabrics should then be stored in a new plastic bag that can be sealed to avoid re-infestation. While the home is in the treatment phase, these items should remain sealed for as long as possible.
Effectiveness of Washer/Dryer Cleaning
This cleaning step will just about guarantee that the bugs will be eliminated. However, it can be almost impossible to launder every infected item in a home and it may not be necessary to remove them from a residence to eliminate them from the home.
In some cases, the pest professional may recommend placing fabrics in the dryer without washing to kill the insects. This step will lower costs and save time. It may even be a safe way to kill them on items that require dry cleaning.
Laundromats are unlikely to transmit these insects.. The reason for this is that these businesses are often well lit 24 hours a day and business owners frequently protect their patrons further by dusting with pesticides underneath machines and tables to prevent infestation. However, owners should not allow customers to stow their laundry in the facility all night.
The timeframe involved with the cleaning method of eradication will vary based upon the amount of people taking part in the clean-up. Also, laundering can occur quickly when several washers and dryers are used simultaneously.
Steam is a non-chemical method that can be used to kill bugs and their eggs. It kills quickly, although steam requires a patient pest expert because every inch of a suspected infested room or furniture item should be steamed. This may be the best treatment option for sensitive individuals.
The technician must remember to maintain the steam for at least 20 seconds covering every section of the infested area. Steam is an affordable method that costs less than fumigation or dry heat. However, when treatment over a larger space is required, then fumigation or dry heat may be needed for absolute elimination.
What are the Disadvantages of Steam Treatment?
The downside to steam treatment is that it may not infiltrate into fabric far enough and too much steam pressure can cause bugs to be blown into other areas. Additionally, steam can cause water damage and the heat can destroy delicate items.
Experts have noted that a dry steam unit may be the best option with the least possibility of overall damage.
Homeowners who choose to use steam for the health benefits it can supply may wrap a piece of fabric around the end of the steam nozzle. This will stop the steam from blowing the bugs away and will still employ the heat needed to kill the insects.
Most pest experts use other methods because steaming takes more time. However, it is a viable option for those with health problems that would be aggravated by the use of chemicals. The cost of steam is from $500.00 to $1,500.00 for treatment.
One study using steam in two different hotels found that when the steam treatment was used in conjunction with a dust pesticide, the hotel treated with both was pest-free after a year. The hotel that was treated with dust alone was bug-free for 60 days, but after an additional 30 days, the hotel needed another round of treatment.
The total timeframe for elimination using steam will depend upon the level of infestation. It may only take a few hours to treat an infested bed or box springs with steam. However, it may take several days for complete eradication if an entire room is treated with this process.
Bed Bug Chemical Treatments
The powerful DDT pesticide was created in 1874. However, the chemical wasn’t used as an insecticide until 1939 when it was used against insects to successfully prevent malaria and typhus at the end of World War II.
Rachel Carson, an American biologist, wrote a book questioning the health and environmental impact of DDT. The public began protesting the use and the chemical was banned in 1972.
DDT had been incredibly effective against bugs, but since the ban, the bugs have been able to make a comeback and are now infesting homes in record numbers once again.
Freezing is an effective way to eradicate bugs and homeowners have two choices with this method. Infested fabric items can be placed in a freezer to kill the insects or solid carbon dioxide can be used to flash-freeze insects and their eggs. Delicate items such as electronics that would be destroyed in a heating process can generally be frozen, which will keep items safe and free from damage.
Disadvantages of Freezing
The downside to carbon dioxide freezing is the cost, which can run $6,900.00 for the machine. Additionally, the chemical may be expelled with too much pressure causing the bugs to be blown away. Also, the chemical may not infiltrate far enough into the hiding places to eliminate the creatures completely.
Items placed in a freezer can be problematic if the item isn’t left in the cold long enough to kill the bugs, or if the item isn’t frozen at a low enough temperature.
When using a freezing method for bug eradication, the cooling process must happen quickly. In some cases, bugs have adapted to the colder temperatures allowing them to survive the process.
Also, it’s not a good idea to place items outside in the winter during freezing temperatures. Unknowingly, another individual may decide to take the items into their own home extending the infestation.
Shelters and apartment complexes may have access to a common freezer, which should be set at a temperature below 0°F to ensure bug elimination.
The use of isopropyl alcohol is known to destroy these insects and will also disinfect furniture along with bedding and linens.
Unfortunately, studies have not yet been completed to verify the alcohol’s total effectiveness. Additionally, it hasn’t been confirmed by the EPA as a pesticide, so if isopropyl alcohol is used, homeowners should review their state’s pesticide regulations.
Petroleum jelly can be used to create a barrier, which can be helpful in several situations such as spreading the ointment on a table to protect a television from insect invasion.
However, the use of this substance can cause damage to furniture surfaces and the material can be messy, so residents should check the durability of the area in need of petroleum jelly. Also, a crack in the jelly barricade may lower the effectiveness of the substance.
The usefulness of petroleum jelly was confirmed by a volunteer at a homeless shelter. The volunteer stated that when they used the ointment around the bottom of a bed, the following day a number of they found insects trapped in the substance.
The use of pesticides is a popular option with pest control specialists. They can use a formulated poison to kill bugs quickly and affordably, but the cost for insecticide substances will vary by chemical. The downside to pesticides is
resistance, which is a known complication among pest control experts.
Specialists create their pesticides to kill bugs with a direct spray and keep watch for bugs that are able to resist the poison. Additionally, experts are formulating their pesticide strategy so that they aren’t waiting for a residual chemical to kill the bugs over a longer time period.
This approach will eradicate bugs from a home once the treatment is completed. However, when the liquid solution has dried, then it is no longer deadly against insects and if the pest specialist was unable to locate all bugs in a home or failed to locate eggs, then a reapplication will be needed.
When residents choose a pesticide method for elimination, they should expect the process to take several weeks or months to completely decimate an infestation.
A Warning Against Bug Bombs
Homeowners should not release bug bombs as an eradication method for these insects. In most cases, foggers do not kill the insects, and will cause insects to move into a nearby room. Residents should be cautious when choosing to attempt a total home eradication without the help of specialists.
Pest experts will safely kill insects that are spotted during an inspection. Companies who are in the business of pest elimination should ensure their employees are certified and trained properly.
Residents should always be cautious when personally treating infestations and be aware that self-treatment often results in a larger infestation.
Types of Pesticides
Insecticides are manufactured pesticides that chemical experts create to annihilate insects. Specialized formulas are used to eliminate certain bug species including cockroaches and grasshoppers.
However, once a substance formulated to kill these bugs dries, it is much less effective at killing them. These insects would have to spend several days standing in the dried chemical in order for the dried pesticide to poison them and
there are only a few pesticides that are safely formulated to work indoors. Also, pesticides are generally unable to eliminate eggs and re-application is needed to kill newly hatched insects..
Pest experts may employ the use of aerosol products, which allows them to spray from a can. This method also propels the insecticide into small cracks and gaps.
Experts must be cautious because aerosols are individually formulated for specific purposes. For example, aerosols may leave a remaining residue behind that can negatively affect homeowners for several days forcing residents to find another place to stay during this time.
Some sprays are meant to be misted right onto a mattress while other formulas should be used directly on the insects.
Pyrethroids are a main chemical used in treatments; unfortunately, the insects are becoming resistant to the chemical.
However, pest experts do report that the product is still able to kill the insects while it’s wet, but once it dries, it is no longer effective and may be causing these insects to develop a resistance to the formula in pyrethroid poison.
Most pest companies add other chemicals to their solution to annihilate and prevent resistance. This solution has shown to be effective against their eggs as well.
Research into the chemical pyrethroid pesticide found that the chemical annihilate at a rate near 60%. Unfortunately, death rates were not at 100% and homeowners may need to use other methods such as steam or laundering to completely eradicate an infestation.
Phenothrin and Permethrin
Mattress infestations, in particular, have benefited from the use of phenothrin with an alcohol additive. This pesticide is preferred for this type of eradication due to the lack of residue left behind.
Permethrin is an insecticide that can be used in reduced concentrations and studies have proven that after treatment with the chemical, bugs remained only on woods or metal materials. It is more effective on fabrics and cardboard.
When insecticidal liners treated with permethrin have been studied, results have shown 25 % bug mortality after they’ve been in use for 24 hours. Insects were still moving around over the chemically enhanced net for approximately 30 minutes with this method.
Beta-Cyfluthrin and Deltamethrin
Beta-Cyfluthrin is a substance with a successful control rate of 95%. The chemical couldn’t be rated at 100% because of clutter and problems with homeowners cooperating. Another chemical often in use is Deltamethrin, which is successful in residential areas, but field bugs were more resistant to this particular pesticide.
The bugs were able to sense when the substance had been used because they avoided areas that had been treated with Deltamethrin. Homeowners may want to reconsider a pest specialist that uses this product because bugs appeared to have a low death rate and were more active when this chemical was used over others during testing.
Chlorfenapyr is used as an alternative to pyrethroids with pest specialists preferring to use it for its non-repellant lasting effects. Experts have reported success with this chemical, but it can take over a week to take effect and is useful when eradicating eggs. Unfortunately, a repeat inspection and re-application may be needed.
The fastest acting chemical agent for treating vulnerable populations is lambda-cyhalothrin. However, studies have demonstrated that insects tested in the lab are resistant to the insecticide.
In some situations, boric acid is put down in a residence to kill bugs. However, insects that get their nutrition from blood will not ingest Boric Acid like a cockroach and so it is totally ineffective.
Homeowners should avoid a pest company or expert that uses boric acid for this type of elimination. However, there are several dust pesticides that are able to eliminate them by removing their protective wax coating causing them to become dehydrated and die.
Dust Formula Pesticides
A highly experienced pest professional using pesticides will result in greater overall success for this type of treatment. Out of all chemical treatment applications, dust formulas are most often applied incorrectly. Specialists using chemicals to eradicate infestations should always make sure that they are using the products properly.
The benefit of using a dust formula is that bugs will walk through the substance causing them to be coated in the dust. This form of insecticide can be directed into small cracks and crevices, which will keep the substance contained in one area.
Also, dust can be sprayed into wall voids stopping the insects from moving between apartments. Additionally, it can be blown behind electrical outlets, under baseboards and floorboards.
The three ingredients in dust insecticide that eradicates insects are limestone, diatomaceous earth and pyrethroids. These dusts are used by pest experts as a reliable lingering pesticide to kill insects that survive an initial treatment.
Dust substances stay complete and will not easily break down. However, homeowners should be aware that a dust formula is vulnerable to UV lighting or cleaning materials.
Silica-formulated dusts have also proven to be effective. When pest experts add pheromone to the dust, they have found that the pesticide is even more successful.
Diatomaceous Earth and Limestone
To enhance treatment, many pest specialists include diatomaceous earth to extend their formula. This chemical can take up to two weeks to eliminate insects and most infestations must be dealt with more quickly. However, diatomaceous earth can shore up a treatment and attack insects that may have survived the initial application. The chemical is also able to eradicate resistant insects.
Limestone hasn’t been very useful in the field, but pest specialists have released reports stating that it may work as a back-up. Research has confirmed that it can take eight weeks to kill these insects. However, when used in combination with other treatment methods, it has shown to be successful.
Insect Growth Controllers
Pest experts often add insect growth controllers with their treatments despite the fact that further eradication has not been proven. They are used because the risks of the added chemical are minimal and pest companies want to use every method at their disposal.
Companies have reported that certain chemicals are able to kill juvenile bugs at later development stages, but not full-grown adult bugs. Also, growth controllers can reduce the lifespan of juveniles that are born from the eggs of female insects that had previously been exposed to the chemical.
Research regarding the use of growth eliminators alone has not been completed. However, studies conducted with the substance against other insects have shown that they could increase the length of time bugs spend in their nymph stage and could also affect their protective outer shell.
Growth eliminators postpone killing bugs, but they can eradicate the insects that may outlast an initial application.
Studies have also proven that females affected by growth eliminators expel fewer eggs. Success rates for a growth regulator chemical combined with pyrethroid was 95% after eight weeks. The area was treated four times. However, this was a situation where the home had not been cleaned or prepared prior to treatment, so a home with added cleaning and clutter preparation could potentially see higher results.
Hydroprene is a chemical that works by killing bugs when they reach adulthood. The substance isn’t 100% effective and the adults that survive do create offspring. This chemical is used in conjunction with other treatments to extend the timeframe that pest control can eliminate the bugs.
Fumigation is the most expensive option. However, it is extremely effective and is able to eliminate insects at all growth stages with 100% kill rates. It is often the last hope for massive infestations.
Fumigation can be dangerous and it is important to locate a trustworthy company. Homeowners can be exposed to leftover chemicals from the treatment and steps must be taken to avoid re-infestation. If bugs remain after fumigation, then insects would have re-entered the home from items that had not been treated effectively.
Fumigation with organophosphate dichlorvos can be utilized for heavily infested items that can be treated in a plastic bag. This option is generally only used as a last try to save valuable possessions and only after reduced toxic options have been attempted.
Problems with misapplication have been reported. In some cases, too much of the chemical is applied in a small space, or the chemical is used in an area that is too large.
Affected individuals who don’t have the time to contain their infestation correctly or those who may be concerned with the safety measures associated with the toxic chemicals and treatment involved in eradication should hire an exterminator.
Before homeowners hire the services of a professional, they should research candidates and treatment options. It is recommended that affected individuals ask friends and family members for referrals. Also, homeowners are advised to contact several companies to compare cost, procedures and policies.
Before choosing a professional exterminator, homeowners should verify the type and extent of the services provided, such as will they spray for pests with a pesticide several times, or do they use a nonchemical technique to remove insects.
Also, homeowners must make sure that the exterminating company is licensed, registered and has insurance. Additionally, residents will want the exterminator to use the least amount of poisonous pesticides possible to ensure eradication.
What Precautions Should a Professional Take?
Pesticides can be dangerous for the elderly, pets, children and those who are sensitive to environmental factors. A professional exterminating company can review a home for easy insect entry and advise the homeowner to take steps preventing access such as installing screens on all windows, fitting doors with sweeps on the bottom or changing the time a yard is watered and for how long.
The pest management professional should be able to advise residents as to the extent of the infestation. A site inspection is important to determine the best method for treating the problem.
Homeowners may have detailed legal requirements that must be followed after a pesticide application is completed to make sure the bugs don’t return.
When pest specialists are treating residences, such as elderly care facilities, they should use pesticides that won’t aggravate respiratory problems or medical conditions.
Also, elderly facilities are especially vulnerable to re-infestation due to the occupant’s inability to spot check for bugs. Resident inspections require strength to lift heavy items and good eyesight to see the small insects.
Self-Treating Bed Bug Infestation
An infestation that is limited to the bed and surrounding area is considered a minor case. If this is the situation, then the pests can be isolated by pulling the bed away from the walls and windows. A bed infestation can often be resolved with two expert treatments and a small level of preparation of the areas nearby.
Homeowners can treat the problem themselves by clearing out the room and throwing away disposable items such as newspapers, magazines or books. The clutter will need to be placed into a sealed plastic bag and tossed away.
The next step is to remove fabric items including linens, clothing and blankets. These items should be placed into dissolvable plastic bags and cleansed in a washer at the highest setting available.
Delicate possessions that shouldn’t be submersed in water can be placed into a dryer and heated at a high temperature. After the items have been treated, they should be placed into a fresh plastic bag to prevent recontamination.
Homeowners who are treating their infestation problem themselves should remember to inspect the corners of drawers, closets and underneath the bed.
Homeowners should then vacuum thoroughly including the bed, fabric furnishing and curtains. Even unusual places such as light switches, smoke detectors and alarm clocks should be vacuumed. Bugs will literally hide anywhere.
The vacuum bag or canister must be emptied into a sealed plastic bag and homeowners can follow up vacuuming with a steamer. These annoying insects are sensitive to heat and this form of treatment can kill juvenile bugs and eggs as well as fully developed insects.
Homeowners may then attack the infested area with a spray or treatment, but should do so with caution and research the different formulas and pesticides available.
Infestations that have expanded into more than one area of the home should be treated by a professional pest company.
Homeowners may discover that by purchasing substances to eradicate insects, they are only treating the infestation on the surface. Depending on the degree of infestation, a residence may only be completely free of bugs by the expertise of a pest company.
Vacation Residence Self-Treatment Options
Vacation residences can suffer from an infestation for several reasons. Vacation homes are generally used sporadically and if insects move in, then the bug population can grow unchecked as long as they have a food source.
Also they are a problem because they arrive with their food sources into a vacant shelter. They have been known to hitch a ride on mice, bats and birds.
Steps for Treatment
Several steps must be taken for vacation owners to remove and prevent an infestation on their own without the assistance of a professional pest inspector.
Residents should vacuum hiding places every day. This step will get rid of the bugs, eggs and dirt that they prefer to reside in. Bed linens should be washed in borax at least once a week. Also, drawers, cracks and electrical outlets can be powdered with talcum.
Infected mattresses can be treated with a steam cleaner or a diluted solution of borax in enzyme cleaner, which will eradicate the insects and their waste. In vacation residences, mattresses should be stored in protected rooms and drawers should be left open when owners leave the vacation home to prevent rodents from nesting in them.
Additionally, owners can caulk gaps and small openings. Wallpaper must be glued tightly to the wall and drawers should be vacuumed regularly. Leaving drawers and cabinets open will dissuade insects and rodents from making these spots their home. Consistently cleaning with borax and enzyme solutions will prevent infestations.
Recommended Treatments For Specific Infestations
A home infestation treatment action plan will depend upon the level of insect activity. Homeowners who discover bugs in a concentrated area can self-treat. For example, if bugs are found on a mattress, then washing linens and covering the bed in an encasement may eradicate the problem.
However, when insects are widespread, then hiring pest professionals to eliminate the problem may be the most cost-effective way to completely for eradication. Even then, re-infestation can occur, and residents should be vigilant in looking for the insects.
Infestations at Schools
Bloodsucking insects are becoming a larger problem affecting residences all over the country and with increased infestations at home, schools are becoming vulnerable. School officials must be careful when treating a problem based upon the number of potential victims within their walls. Insect elimination is a tedious process, but having a plan of action is an important part of achieving successful eradication.
The first step for schools is to notify staff, parents and students that there is a plan for dealing with an infestation. Often, school districts have a certified pest company that they are contracted with for insect problems. However, school officials should review the company’s procedures to make sure they are able to effectively manage the situation.
Asking the pest company about their success rate and how often they are faced with treatment of this durable bloodsucking insect will give school officials an idea of the pest company’s ability to successfully annihilate the bugs.
Schools that have an experienced pest control company on hand will be able to handle an infestation quickly and completely. Successful companies may charge more, but are worth the added expense, if they handle a problem correctly the first time.
Having Informed School Staff
Additionally, school staff should be trained in identification. Early identification of the pests can help the school with a quick resolution. Schools can prevent multiple treatments by removing unnecessary clutter such as unused books or stacks of paper.
Management can look into cleaning and removing unneeded items that can become hiding places. Also, reducing the amount of items that students carry from home to school can reduce the likelihood of an infestation.
Caution With Transported Items
Teachers and officials should consider including items that students can take home and leave there for the school year, so folders such as reading trackers that must be marked daily can remain at home for long time periods. Other school items can remain at the school throughout the year.
The use of labeled plastic containers for lunches, coats and extra clothing from home may contain bugs when they are brought into the school from home. This step will also stop students from infecting each other’s belongings. After the school day ends, containers can be inspected for insect activity and the source of the insects would be located allowing the school to contact the parents.
Bringing a Bed Bug Dog to the School
Schools can also hire a specially trained sniffing dog to inspect the school on a regular basis, which will ensure a clean, pest-free school. Dogs are able to locate eggs and live bugs giving school officials an opportunity to act quickly and eliminate the problem. Canines are especially convenient in junior high or high schools with hundreds of lockers and hiding spots.
As with any profession, there are imposters with dogs that give a fake positive, so school officials should ask to see verification of insect activity. Schools should not pay for treatment unless officials have been shown live insects.
Heating Options on School Campuses
In situations where a bug is located on one child or his or her belongings in particular, then discretion can be exercised. If the school has a dryer on campus, then the child’s clothing can be heat treated in the dryer for 30 minutes, as long as the school has temporary clothing for the child to wear. Also, the child’s parents should be notified.
School districts that face multiple outbreaks problems may consider purchasing a heating system that can be utilized by many different schools. The district will need to train pest specialists in using the equipment properly. Areas are treated by heating the room to 135°F, which will not cause damage to delicate items located in a classroom such as a computer.
Infestations at Hotels
Hotels are another location where it is important to have a specific action plan for infestations. Guests arrive daily from all over the world and in some cases bring the bloodsucking insects with them. For this reason, a quick response is extremely important for hotel managers.
All employees should be trained to check for these insects in order to save the hotel’s reputation. Bed bug-sniffing dogs are a recommended prevention tool for hotels as well.
Infestations at Homeless Shelters
Homeless shelters are housing locations that must have an action plan. Shelters are vulnerable due to the high turnover rate of residents living in them. These centers of hope deal with these types of issues in numerous ways. One shelter found $10,000 to treat their infestation. Another shelter threw away all of their furnishings and bought new metal beds. While a third shelter closed their home to the needy, until they were able to completely eradicate their insect problem.
Unfortunately, while these methods were able to eliminate the infestation, shelters are unable to endure the costs of continuously treating these sturdy little insects.
How Can Shelters Take Action
Shelters must take the step of implementing their action plan. Also, it is important to note that a shelter set up to house homeless families will operate differently than a temporary shelter that is there to house families for several nights during an emergency. Similar to school action plans, shelters should have a trustworthy pest company on hand in case of an infestation.
Shelter volunteers are advised to investigate several pest companies to gain information about the pest specialists experience and treatment protocol. Also, shelters should choose a pest company before an outbreak. With a pest expert on hand, treatment can be handled quickly and effectively.
All shelter workers should be trained in spotting insects at every stage of development and where they like to hide. With this information, employees can locate bugs early during an infestation. Shelters may want to designate one employee as the designated technician.
Choosing The Right Treatment
It can be unsettling for individuals to find an infestation whether in a personal residence, a retail shop, a school or shelter. Retail owners may wonder if they need to close down until the insect problem is taken care of and homeowners may consider staying with a family member while their home is being fumigated. School officials must decide if they should cancel classes and shelters may have to turn away needy homeless families while the facility is sprayed for bugs.
Individuals who discover an infestation are advised to research treatment options when locating a reputable pest company. The company should be able to determine the correct treatment based upon the type and level of insect involvement.
Depending on the pest company, a 30 to 60-day treatment warranty may be offered. A pest company that offers a guarantee will retreat a home, business, school or shelter that continues to be infested.
Most pest professionals will use a multi-faceted approach. Chemical and non-chemical treatment methods are generally used together, which works the best to permanently eliminate infestations.
Homeowners Should Avoid Treatments That Are Ineffective
Pest control companies may advise homeowners to increase the temperature on their regular thermostat after spraying pesticide. Their hope is that the warmer air will increase movement and tempt them to move around in the chemicals.
Unfortunately, this has not been proven an effective treatment because the pesticide will dry faster in the higher heat making the poison futile.
Another ineffective treatment for homeowners to avoid is placing an infested mattress in the hot sun wrapped in black plastic. When tested, the side facing the sun registered a temperature of 185°F, but the side lying on the ground never became warmer than 95°F; these bugs must be exposed to temperatures above 100°F to effectively kill them.
Bed Bug Facts
- If 40 bugs are left in a regular size bedroom for a 6 months at 70° F, then their numbers would grow to 5,905.
- Their only food source is blood.
- They bothered only the wealthy in ancient times because they were the only people who could afford to warm their homes.
- They are unable to smell a food source if it’s more than 5 feet away from them.
- These bloodsucking insects can live 18 months without air.
- They have bristly hair that can tangle with the leaves of garden bean plants, trapping them.
- A thin coating of talc can prevent them from crawling.
- They are not afraid of light and will still come out in light to bite their host if they’re hungry.
- Repellents do not work,
Work Closely With a Pest Company to Eradicate the Problem
Treatment options are vast and it can be confusing for infested individuals to select the right option. Homeowners, school officials, shelter volunteers and elderly care facility workers must remember that several treatments may be needed. However, working with a pest company that specializes in bed bug infestations is often the best decision and most affordable option to completely eradicate these tough little bugs.