How to Deal With Bed Bugs
How to Deal With Bed Bugs
14. I have bed bugs. What do I do?
Step back a minute. Because several different kinds of insects resemble bed bugs, specimens should be carefully compared with good reference images and sent to a professional entomologist.
Next: make a plan. We’ll tell you how. You want to get rid of bed bugs, limit your exposure to insecticides, and minimize costs. Don’t get rid of stuff and don’t treat unless you have a plan. A big part of your plan: hire an experienced professional like the Bed Bug Guys with a warranty. Trust us, it’ll save you time and money in the long run. You’ll still have a lot to do—just leave the extermination to the pros. Working as a team with a professional is the quickest way to get bed bugs out of your life.
Here are the basics of bed bug IPM:
Inspection: ALWAYS inspect. Proper identification helps you know what to do and where to target your efforts. Along with looking, you should write down what you do and see. Having a history will help if more people become involved. The Bed Bug Guys provide inspections, so make sure to call us about that!
Educate yourself: find out about bed bug biology and behavior to become even more effective.
Cultural and Mechanical Control: This makes your home unwelcoming to bed bugs, blocks them from feeding, or at least makes finding them easier. Don’t skip these steps and go straight to insecticides. Examples:
- Choose furniture of plain design. A metal chair offers fewer places for a bed bug to hide than a wicker one.
- Don’t buy or pick up used furniture.
- Choose light-colored bedding—easier to see insects and blood spots.
- Don’t store things under beds. In fact, get rid of clutter anywhere near the bed.
- Use tightly fitting, zippered, bed-bug proof mattress and box spring encasements. Putting them in place ahead of time (proactively) makes bed bugs easier to see since encasements have no piping or tags and they’re light-colored. Putting them on during an infestation means no need to throw away the mattress and box spring. But … check periodically to be sure they haven’t torn.
- Vacuum regularly. Use an attachment to get in cracks and crevices.
- Maintain a gap between the walls and your bedroom and living room furniture.
- Seal cracks in wooden floors.
- Repair peeling wallpaper.
- Keep bedding and dust ruffles from touching the floor. Better yet, remove the ruffles.
- When returning from a trip, unpack on a light-colored, bare-wood or vinyl floor keeping an eye out for bed bugs. Put everything that traveled in a warm dryer for an hour or a hot dryer for 60 minutes. Put things that can’t be heated in a freezer for two weeks. Everything else … inspect carefully!
- When you travel, inspect rooms, keep luggage closed and use luggage racks away from the wall—don’t leave things on the bed! Take along a traveler’s card to guide your inspection.
- See non-insecticidal control for more ideas.
Biological Control: No known biological control agents target bed bugs well enough to keep them at bay.
Chemical Control: Insecticides do not work, and have a less than 50% success rate. DIY insecticides such as bed bug bombs are actually detrimental to your fight against these pests. They will spread the bed bugs and make it more difficult to get rid of the bed bugs.
Monitoring: This involves inspecting regularly to be sure:
- Control is working.
- Bed bugs haven’t been brought back in.
- Encasements haven’t torn.
- There isn’t any way you could improve your cultural or mechanical control.
- Use the reporting form every time you inspect.
- What is my obligation if an infestation in my condo or apartment leads to an infestation next door?
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15. What are the legal repercussions of bed bugs?
The question, “Who’s responsible for a bed bug infestation?” has no clear answer. It’s hard even to identify who’s technically at fault because bed bugs can enter a space in so many ways. Landlords and property owners do have legal obligations to provide safe and habitable accommodations for tenants. Bed bugs may be an unacceptable condition. Tenants have an obligation to cooperate with owners and landlords. This includes preparing the apartment so the pest management professional can easily inspect rooms and treat if necessary.
You are legally liable if you misapply an insecticide or apply it without a license to the property of others—including common spaces in apartment buildings. In most cases, landlords, owners and building managers cannot legally apply insecticides unless they are licensed to do so. Make sure you call the Bed Bug Guys to get professional extermination.
Laws are changing and every situation is different. Local health departments and law offices have the best answers to legal questions. The only thing that’s for sure is that bed bug problems won’t just work themselves out. Left untreated, they will spread. The best way to cover all bases is to inform all who are potentially involved early on—managers, neighbors, friends…
And take steps to solve the problem:
- Call the local health department to find out what regulations apply.
- Call a professional pest control company.
- Document everything.
Landlords and tenants should make sure bed bug work is specified in their lease. For example, an agreement that requires tenants to do thorough preparation for bed bug treatment and to leave the living space while a pest management professional (PMP), such as the Bed Bug Guys, works can go a long way if bed bugs arrive. The PMP should visit all rooms or units that share a wall (including directly above and below). Everyone needs to cooperate. Having a plan ready can save time, frustration, and money.
If you are a landlord, inspection should be done often with the permission of the tenant. Some tenants will not view bed bugs as a problem. It can get ugly if their infestation spreads to other units and unhappy tenants report that they have bed bugs. Inspect often to find infestations before they spread.
Safety is always the #1 priority. Bed bugs aren’t known to spread disease. Don’t put yourself or PMPs in danger on account of bed bugs. Anyone who inspects apartments must be cautious of sharp objects or weapons under mattresses or in furniture. Always look with a flashlight before touching.
Document ALL prevention and control in a unit. This helps prove you took precautions and helps PMPs evaluate the situation.
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16. What shouldn’t I do when trying to eliminate bed bugs?
- Do I have to throw out my mattress and furniture?
Don’t panic. Although bed bugs can be annoying, you can get rid of them if you adopt a well-considered strategy.
Don’t put the legs of the bed frame in kerosene or coat them with petroleum jelly. Bed bugs have been known to climb on the ceiling and drop down onto the bed. Plus kerosene is a fire hazard.
Don’t depend on thyme oil. Thyme oil may discourage bed bugs, but it won’t kill them. Chances are it’ll spread, not fix, the problem.
Don’t leave the home unoccupied through a winter as a control measure. Bed bugs have adapted to the unpredictable habits of humans. If given time to go dormant—for example, in a vacation cabin that slowly gets cooler, then cold over fall and winter—bed bugs can survive, living without a meal for many months while waiting for humans to return. The quick penetration of killing cold (or heat) is the key to any temperature treatment.
Don’t turn up the heat. Exposing bed bugs to 120 ºF or more an hour will kill all life stages—and whole-structure or “container heat treatments” do work. But the caution is similar to using cold. High heat must be maintained at every point in the building: the outer walls, deep in the sofa, etc. for the full hour. Professionals enclose the structure, using tools to guarantee that it reaches the right temperature. If you go with a full-structure heat treatment, consider if the heat could damage furniture, appliances, and belongings. With the Bed Bug Guys, we are experts in heat treatments and can do this without damaging things if instructions are followed, and it’s a safer, pesticide- free option.
Don’t sleep with a light on. Bed bugs feed when hosts are inactive. Usually that’s when it’s dark—but they’ll feed under lights if they’re hungry.
Don’t sleep in a different room. Bed bugs will move to a neighboring room if they can’t find food. And they can live months between meals. Sleeping in a different room, staying at a hotel, or moving in with friends won’t solve the problem. And the chances of carrying the bugs to a new place are good. Keep sleeping in your bed. If you have awful reactions to the bites, try to get someone to sleep in the bed.
Don’t throw a bed bug-infested mattress away and buy a new mattress. Buying a new mattress won’t solve the problem. Bed bugs hide in more than just mattresses. New mattresses might be transported in the same trucks that pick up used and possibly contaminated ones. If you need a new mattress, wait until the infestation is eliminated before buying a new one. (Remember: A bed bug-proof mattress and box-spring encasement kept in place for 1 ½ years will starve them to death. Inspect often for torn spots in the encasement (and evidence of bed bugs).
Don’t dispose of good furniture. Infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. Placing infested furniture (particularly mattresses) into common areas or on the street could spread bed bugs to other peoples’ homes. If you’re getting rid of infested furniture, deface it: make it less attractive to other people. Paint a picture of a bug on it and write “bed bugs” or “chinches.” Building managers should make sure disposed furniture is in a dumpster or taken to a landfill or waste facility right away.
Don’t wrap items in black plastic and leave them in the sun: it needs to get hotter than that to kill bed bugs, and heat needs to evenly penetrate the entire item. It will be easier to just get the heat treatment with the Bed Bug Guys and get it done properly.
Don’t move infested items out of the room without wrapping them in plastic. Bed bugs or eggs could be knocked off into an uninfested area.
Don’t apply insecticides unless you fully understand what you are applying and the risks involved. You are legally liable if you misapply an insecticide or apply it without a license to the property of others—including common spaces in apartment buildings. In most cases, landlords, owners and building managers cannot legally apply insecticides unless they are licensed to do so. Pesticides can also hamper the ability for PMPs to get rid of bed bugs- so leave any extermination to the experts.
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17. What do I do with my pets if I have bed bugs?
Pest management professionals (PMPs) have seen bed bugs feeding on pets, but no one knows if they prefer pets. The bugs might get caught in a pet’s hair, but they won’t live on pets the way fleas do. Still, a pet could carry a bed bug from one room to another.
Since bed bugs rarely feed for more than 10 minutes and their feet don’t grip onto hair, Twenty minutes of grooming outside lets you rest at ease. All bedding and cage items should be inspected and washed and dried (60 minutes on hot) or frozen (for 2 weeks). Inspect furniture, floors, and walls near the pets’ areas.
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18. How long does it take to get rid of bed bugs?
With the heat treatment with the Bed Bug Guys, it should only take ONE DAY. When you have a heat treatment you will have some prep to do, but once the professional shows up with the equipment the treatment can take 6-10 hours, but after the treatment you will be BED BUG FREE.
19. What should a pest control company do for me—and vice versa?
Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) should be knowledgeable about bed bugs, educating you so you understand why time-consuming and thorough preparation is so important. If the company doesn’t require you to do prep work, call the next company on your list.
PMPs may ask you to launder all clothing, bedding, and draperies; buy resealable bags for all possessions in drawers, closets, etc.; clean rooms thoroughly; and vacate rooms on all treatment days. One thing that differs by pest control company is whether callers should do anything to the bed ahead of time. There’s no right way. Still, the company should be able to explain the why behind their methods. The Bed Bug Guys will provide a sheet with instructions for preparation.
The time and money it takes to battle bed bugs will be easier to grasp if you understand:
Bed bugs aren’t found just in beds. Any space a credit card edge could slide in is a possible hiding spot. PMPs need to treat baseboards, picture frames, bed frames, dressers, drawers, and tables. Because preparation will disturb the bugs, you should choose a pest control company and learn their operating procedure before doing much to the room.
Bed bug jobs take time and expertise. The service is justifiably costly. Prices vary by region and the type of contract. Call around to get an idea of prices in your region. The Bed Bug Guys will have the best value for your money and a 60 day warranty.
Technicians who inspect and treat should be able to answer questions about bed bug biology and behavior as well as explain their plans. Even if someone has already come to inspect and quote the job (some companies will quote over the phone, others inspect first and quote at that visit), technicians should always inspect before treating. At the very least, they should use a flashlight when inspecting. Proper inspection takes time and shouldn’t be rushed.
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taken from: http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/whats_bugging_you/bed_bugs/bedbugs_faqs.asp