With so many calls monthly, we are often called upon to help people that are seriously injured by the negligence of landlords and property managers, the purchasing of bed bug infested goods or staying in infested hotels. These victims can’t find experienced help in their demographic area. It is for these people that we have aligned ourselves with a national law firm resource who deals with victims of bed bugs through no fault of their own.
I would like to introduce the engagement of the IBBRA and the law firm of Dell Law, Chartered who has been representing the injured and disabled since 1979. Dell Law is a multi-lawyer trial practice focusing on disability insurance claims, personal injury, and has established a National “Bed Bug Specific Division.”
Craig Dell formed the bed bug division in response to calls from innocent bed bug victims across the nation. These are people and families who needlessly suffer from serious injuries as a result of others failures to take the necessary precautions to prevent bed bug attacks.
A Little about Craig Delland his Team
Craig received his law degree from St. Thomas University Law School and has a Masters in Taxation from the University of Miami in Florida.
Over the years, Craig gained his trial and court room experience by handling thousands of criminal cases as a former Broward County Assistant State Attorney and has gained notoriety being recognized as a “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine,multiple years in a row.Craig was instrumental in Dell and Schaefer’s ranking as a Tier 2 in the 2014 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” for the firm’s work in areas of Insurance Law and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.
Additionally, Craig is a member of the American Association for Justice, along with other state bar Trial Lawyers sections.
A lot like me when I started the IBBRA, Craig too has big visions and deep passion for what he and his team does; but never imagined being instrumental in creating a national resource for bed bug victims.
He quickly realized there are so many bed bug victims whose complaints have fallen on deaf ears and have walked away suffering unfair consequences of the negligence of others. He knows bed bugs are not just an isolated problem in certain states or areas; and reaches far beyond the scope of what the average person imagines. Craig created a solution and stepped up to the plate to help make a difference for more than just local demographics by creating http://www.bedbuglaw.com/.
Craig is a team player and by establishing a national group of experienced bed bug attorneys he and his group provide help for people in all states and federal courts. The combined efforts, resources, and experience of this national team greatly contribute to powerful claim recovery for their clients.
It’s all about people helping people. http://ibbra.org/ask-a-bed-bug-pro/
Let’s welcome them aboard!
Below are a couple of informational videos Craig has made to help those injured by bed bugs.
Bed Bug Bites? Important Reasons to Hire a Bed Bug Attorney
Recommendations for Someone Injured By Bed Bugs at a Hotel
Bed Bugs and Furniture Stores
Property Damage Issued Faced By Bed Bug Victims
I’ve been recently following a blog in which an investment landlord gives his advice freely about being a landlord and how to make their investment profile sing. I chose not to try to embarrass him or put his name out there; but use this information as examples of what NOT to do for bed bugs in multi-unit properties.
I just had to put this out there for all of you professionals and those victims who have experienced bed bugs in multi-unit properties to read; and I’m certain that it will get your hair standing up on your neck as it did mine.
It is times like this that I can’t resist. They say “ignorance is bliss”, but as you read to the end of his blog; especially the things in bold; like I said in one of my last articles “Sometimes you just can’t fix Stupid”.
His repertoire includes the following quoted from his blog:
- Unfortunately, chemicals are the answer once you have bedbugs. All of the other ‘solutions’, like oils, diatomaceous earth, etc. are a second class solution to a solid, proven insecticide
- In the ‘old’ days, DDT was the answer. Unfortunately the DDT hoaxers got it banned.
- Avoid a low income renter, and moving a renter out once they have bedbugs. Then, hitting the bedbugs with a powerful insecticide that lasts a long time.
- They are gross, but better than a cockroach, if that helps. It will always be better to get rid of the tenant, and then tackle the bugs. Or the bugs will always be back.
- Bedbugs are generally a low income issue. They can happen to anyone, but getting rid of them in a higher income unit is easier.
- Generally, higher income people do not have bedbugs, and their friends’ homes that they visit do not either.
- If your tenant has clutter, which is common in a low income rental, you will have a hard time getting rid of the bedbugs.
- If you have a tenant with clutter, understand you will have to get rid of the tenant before your problem will be 100% resolved.
- It is easy to kill a bedbug. If you see it, you can step on it. You can squish it with your thumb. You can spray them with almost any bug spray, (share a sale) and they will die. And you know where the bugs will eventually go to, the bed where people are sleeping.
- But fear not, they must feed five times before they can breed, and by that time, they are easy to spot. Be patient on that bed, it will only be a few months, a year at best. Other options are heat, which is expensive, and might not work. It may damage some items in your apartment because your entire apartment would be heated to ~130 degrees. Everything gets hot, except the small deep crevasse (or the apartment next door) where the bedbugs went to hide. And there will be places for them to get to. Heat is also very expensive.
Here’s what he says to do with the tenants
- If you have tenants in the unit, you will have a different approach than if you are vacant. If your tenants have clutter, you want to start the bedbug extermination just before you give them notice to move. Moving them out will be your only way to be 100% bedbug free. Understand that every time they do wash, or walk through the hallways, they may be spreading the bedbugs to other units, so do not waste time.
- I highly recommend if there is significant clutter, give your tenant notice to vacate, so you can be rid of the issue.
- If your tenant is going to stay, have them buy bedbug mattress covers. (Of course there is a little “vested” interest here with share a sale)
- You need a pesticide that has a long residual effect. You need a pesticide that is non-detectable by the bedbug. You need a pesticide that the bedbug does not have a resistance to. And you need the bait or feeding source to stay put until the poison gets to the bedbugs. The bait is your tenant. (Didn’t he just say get rid of the tenant?)
His bed bug insecticide strategies
- One of the best poisons for bedbugs is a chemical called Chlorfenapyr, which is the active ingredient in Phantom. Phantom is made by BASF. It meets all the basics. In tests that I have read, they sprayed Phantom on a surface, let it dry, and walked a bedbug across the surface. The bedbug died but it took 10 days for a near 100% kill. Doing it again, on the same surface four months later, the bedbugs died in 10 days again.
- So Phantom works, but it takes time. As long as your tenants are in the unit, this insecticide is the one to use. That’s why you want to start with this spray. The bugs will not migrate to the next unit, as long as they have food in this unit. And they won’t hide, as they cannot detect Phantom. And they are not resistant to it.
- Phantom also kills all sorts of other bugs. Cracks, crevices, baseboards, bed frames, the back of headboards, box springs, outlets, etc. are all great places to spray. Move stuff around, or take it apart, and spray. Spray it under the sinks to kill roaches while you are there, odds are if they have bedbugs, they have roaches too.
- If your tenants are not moving out, Phantom is the only insecticide that you will need. You can also use an insecticide dust, but Phantom will do the job.
- One strategy that works is to give your tenant a 2-gallon sprayer full of Phantom. They will be able to spray all sorts of places that you might not be able to. They can spray new places every day. Fill it up when they empty it.
- I had tenants spray about 10 gallon of spray over the course of a few weeks. They really wanted to get rid of the bugs. That is about 40x the recommended amount, but it worked.
And finally, he sums it up with; “after the tenants are moved out”
Once the tenants have moved out; like 2 minutes after the door closes; get a fast acting insecticide like Temprid. (He’s sharing the sale again here)
You want a product that will not let the bedbugs out of the apartment once they touch it. You want a long residual life; Temprid lasts 90 days indoors. Even if the bedbugs can detect the spray, it’s OK. You want to contain them. When they eventually come out, looking for food, you want a fast kill; you do not want hungry bedbugs looking for an easy meal in the next apartment. You want them to die, as soon as they come out from hiding. If your tenants are gone, spray the walls, ceilings, carpet, everything.
If you have worn out carpet, now is the time to replace it. You sprayed the top of the carpet as soon as the tenants have vacated, now spray the floor again after the carpet is removed, especially the edges and tack strips. Caulk the top of the baseboard. Caulk where the window, and door trim meet the wall, to eliminate hiding places. It will also look better. Remove the outlet and switch covers, and spray inside the electrical boxes. Spray the window trim. You need to make sure that is a bedbug comes out of hiding a month later; it will cross a line of insecticide. Once you have done that, you should have your problem contained. Have a follow up treatment with Temprid in ~4 weeks, if you are still vacant.
Now how would you like to rent an apartment from this guy?
You are automatically considered low class or low income if you get bed bugs; and looked at like YOU were the bug.
And God forbid if you had elderly, children or pets or had a breathing problem; because he is going to drench you with pesticides anyway AND give you enough to continue poisoning not only you and your family but the whole neighborhood for years to come!
Come on people wake up and smell better solutions! We’re here to help!
I recently read an article from a real estate “guru” explaining ways to make more money with rental properties. He covered vacancies, increased rent strategies, minimizing turn overs, late fees and adding revenue streams. After reading the article in it’s entirely; I realized that they forgot one of the most important factors that plague rentals properties now days – Bed Bugs!
I often ask myself why investors in multi-unit properties would even consider not addressing bed bugs as a huge potential in any of their properties. To me it’s just as important as location, location, location and having running water, heat and paying tenants.
Many of those who are building real estate portfolios are often caught with structural bed bug problems that continue to escalate; and then feel the financial drain. Within a short amount of time they blame everyone but themselves for not doing what they should have before they rented their units out to begin with.
We all know that vacancy leads to financial death for an investor and must be minimized as quickly as possible. Because I have rented property out in the past I always look for those who have long term previous renting patterns.
I kept the property in not just good working condition but in excellent condition with beautifully desiring characteristics that always drew in the discerning lessor. I added in free carpet shampooing yearly as part of my maintenance. This allowed me to see how my property was cared for and helped to develop a good relationship with my renters by showing them I cared. And in several cases I visited their previous apartment with paperwork to see how they lived. Ok, it isn’t possible with everyone but then again I was not a huge multi-unit say, 10 story building owner that had property management groups taking care of them.
Unless one was transferred for employment or their family was growing; most tenants would stay for years. I would also express my greatest concern as a landlord and tell them that I have experienced those who have destroyed my property. As a reward I let them know that if they were to take care of my property like it was their own; I would go easy on rent increases.
So all in all, I did well with not having my properties destroyed and had good lessors for the most part. I was lucky to not be in the days where bed bugs were a common occurrence and honestly; I am glad I no longer have rental property because of it.
But for those who do, it’s important that they know they now have a new problem that can and will rise up sooner or later. And that problem is bed bugs.
Writing from experience and authenticity; I can address this sensitive and expensive subject with the knowledge and wisdom that it takes for landlords to understand this pending dilemma.
I’ve spoken to many landlords throughout the years who call for help only after the fact and have been drained of monies, lack of complete control and law suits against them for being negligent. It is then that they reach out for help. The first thing I begin to cover is having a good solid relationship with a pest control company that is highly experienced in bed bug remediation. No, not the biggest ad in the yellow pages or a sign on the highway; a fully trained and experienced bed bug company. Then develop an relationship with a company that is highly experienced in inspection services preferably with a dog. Bed bugs hide in the most obscure places that human technicians often miss.
For years, the pest control industry has been in their “learning curve” just like the consumer. And it had taken these companies time doing trial and error before they found out how to best address bed bugs. Now days there are many companies that are proficient and can set up and develop and pro-active protocol for these landlords if they are allowed to.
One of the most confusing things I run across is the financial ignorance of most landlords. Granted, the cost of getting things set up ahead of time may be a little more than they expected but down the road when they rear their ugly heads; you will find that treating in early stages and not when they have taken hold of your property is far less in comparison.
In order to do this; there needs to be complete awareness developed with the communities. Not just you, maintenance or staff; everyone including and especially your tenants! It is tenants that are bringing bed bugs into units. In most cases they don’t even know it. And I do not mean handing them a flyer of a few pages along with a bed bug addendum that holds them responsible either.
If done right, with a complete proactive protocol that covers all aspects from education to treatment options and regular inspections; a landlord can have a fruitful revenue stream and grateful long term tenants which yields fewer headaches while building your portfolio.
Do it yourself Bed Bug Control?
Should a landlord ever do their own bed bug control? Good luck my friend.
I get these calls all the time also. It’s either I used to be a pest technician or I have a friend that is and he told me to use XXX
I actually wrote a blog about not being able to “fix stupid”
Let’s put it this way…
Your best friend or loved one has a heart attack and desperately needs surgery; do you get out your knife and jump right in? Obviously not! You are not qualified; don’t know enough about the extent of the injury of the heart in question and certainly don’t understand all the tools that are needed to have a successful outcome.
Ok I get the fact that some guys are proficient in “handyman” type things and you do your own maintenance items like plumbing, electric, dry wall, painting and stuff like that. But when it comes to bed bugs; unless you have a background in bed bug entomology and have recently taken an updated course and know their nature; what really works and what doesn’t then I suggest for you to leave it to the pros.
Now can you learn by having a professional get you set up and show you what is needed? Sure, but why take the chance of failing to begin with?
Feel free to call the IBBRA to find out how you can put a positive spin on your investment profile.
Bed Bugs for Landlords, Tenants and Property Management: Concerns, Challenges, Education and Prevention for Landlords and Tenants
We are always here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
Increasingly, this is becoming a hot topic in the consumer market and recently in the pest control industry that has graced my desk every few weeks or so. The concern is in conducting comparative research and testing guidelines that surround products.
As consumers we all want products that can back up their product claims with solid proven technology and clinical and safety validation before making an informed buying decision. We truly want to know that the money we spend isn’t going on a product that says one thing but doesn’t deliver on the promise.
I am sure that each of you has purchased a product that said it does this and that and after when you bought it; it failed miserably and got throw out in the trash. Many people don’t ever take advantage of “money back” guarantees which only helps the company become richer.
I’d like to share a story with you that forever changed the way I think about products and advertising. This is from many years ago. A gentleman in his late 80’s lived down the street from me who would take a leisurely stroll past my house on the way to the beach every morning. He stopped and introduced himself and asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a manufacturer of dietary supplements. His eyes lit up and he told me that when he was “a younger man” he was the CEO of a rather large pharmaceuticals and OTC company.
We talked about all I was going through in order to provide proof that my products actually worked as we said they did. He concurred and explained that once they had a product in which they had invested a rather large amount in clinical studies; to find out that the product didn’t work as designed.
Far be it for any company to not recapture their investment because ROI is what they are in business for so; during a board meeting with company “officials”, one of the board members cleared his throat and said “Clinically Tested”.
Well, it was the truth because it was “Clinically Tested”, but then again – mandatory disclosure of the results wasn’t required; and there was nothing to say that they couldn’t say “Clinically Tested”; so they did. Claims can easily mislead through omission of some of the facts. This product is still sold on the market today with the main ingredient hidden in a “propriety mixture”. Deceiving? You bet ya! There will always be some that will swear by it saying it works for them (placebo) and that is what they count on.
Buyer Always Beware; and get mad and Do Something!
Now let’s kick it up another notch and realize that many of these so called “clinical tests” are also “tweaked and falsified” when needed. Just do a quick search on the Internet on the disclosure of those who have gotten caught.
Ah! Another one of the giants that are under scrutiny is those behind Genetically Modified Foods. These “modified or altered foods” (after many years where they got away with it) are blamed for how sick we are as a nation; causing food additions, obesity, diabetes, heart problems and cancer.
Go ahead; serve your family up and nice big bowl of healthy delicious broccoli, which has been genetically modified and see what happens.
Don’t take my word for it; see for yourself. http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/65-health-risks/1notes
The wool has certainly been pulled over our eyes for years!
Product registration processes can be complicated; but if you really take the time to do your research and read between the lines, you can find how one can easily fit in the gray areas to put anything on the market. The so called “unintended” (Ha!) consequence of all this is selling products to the end user that reads what is proposed to be the truth.
Market positioning of some of the “big guys” play a significant role. Product suppliers that have “paved the way and are solvent” can and will lead with their own unique science and research regardless of the consequences of the end user.
In related news, Dr. Mercola wrote about the death rate for overdoses in people using opioids and how it has tripled in the last decade due to decades-long marketing plans to create a market that should never have existed in the first place. The largest funder of the UW Pain Group was Purdue Pharma, which donated about $1.6 million to the group. Purdue actually ended up having to pay fines and restitution payments to the tune of $635 million after the US Department of Justice accused the company of misleading doctors with fraudulent claims, back in 2007. The company promoted OxyContin as “less addictive, less likely to cause withdrawal, and less subject to abuse” compared to other pain medications—claims for which they had no proof.
According to Chou, Santa Clara spends millions of dollars to treat overdoses and addiction in its public hospitals, and he wants the drug makers to pay for these costs—just like tobacco companies were forced to pay after being sued in the 1990s. The lawsuit accuses the drug companies of purposefully downplaying the risks of these drugs, and secretly funding front organizations, like the American Pain Foundation, to promote the use of painkillers. ‘This is an out of control epidemic, not caused by a virus or bacteria, said Kolodny… This epidemic has been caused by a “brilliant marketing campaign” that dramatically changed the way physicians treat pain. They’re the ones who deceive the doctors about the risks and benefits of opioid drugs. And they also deceive patients who then demand these drugs from the doctors. Ultimately, I don’t think that the problem could be resolved until doctors and patients get accurate information. You have to start at the source.”
Bed Bug Product Testing
This brings us to ask the questions of insecticide/pesticide registration.
Just recently I had been contacted by a colleague who had been approached by an insecticide manufacturer who wanted “bed bugs” for a trial to prove efficacy for their product registration.
He explained which “insecticide resistant field strains” he had available, but they declined those and specifically requested the “laboratory strains” that were completely susceptible to insecticides.
The shocking results of this are that the registration of these insecticides doesn’t make any stipulations for the strains used for the efficacy data and after a little research; it seems that all the insecticide manufacturers use the same susceptible lab strains when registering new insecticides.
Needless to say, the efficacy data for all these products is extremely good, but in reality all the chemicals are completely useless. Completely susceptible populations of bed bugs don’t occur naturally anywhere. So these products are being licensed on the basis of their ability to control populations of bugs that only occur in labs.
One assumes that if a product has “Kills Bed Bugs” on the label, it must work to some extent, but this is not at all true.
Consumers (and that also includes pest control companies) are drawn to seminars and symposiums where vendors from all sorts of companies are there to sell the latest, greatest thing since chopped liver to you. They show you their “tests” and we fall for it every time.
I received a call from a pest control company on Friday of last week who shared with me what he had just gone through with a new product for bedbugs he just bought.
Although he had been doing quite well using what he normally does; he thought he would give it a try since the rep told him how wonderful it was.
Within a couple of days of using the product he received calls from his customers and had to go back. The product failed miserably.
This now cost the company more than just the cost of the product; a disgruntled client, reputation and money.
It’s time that we all start asking intelligent questions about the parameters and mechanisms used in product efficacy and most of all the truth behind the testing done.
Corruption is everywhere not just here in the US. Money and power can manipulate the system to great extent without the concern of the people. If knowing that this exists in the world isn’t enough to make anyone mad as hell; I don’t know what will.
We’re here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
Most of us would rather be the hunter than the prey; but with bed bugs cryptic nature, often the hunter goes without being noticed before they invade our premises and lives.
Bed bugs have steadily spread throughout the world in recent years and we try our best to help people understand that if you can take these assaulters out, before they take you out, you don’t need any other defense…
Your mom tells you to always wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze, your mechanic tells you to make sure to change your oil often and keep your tires with the right amount of air but what can one do to create a defense against bed bugs?
Face it; anyone can get bed bugs at any time. Don’t wait until you get bit or see blood smears or castings. Thinking ahead and preparing against having bed bugs take over your life now can certainly help you minimalize the amount of time and money you spend compared to not having a prevention plan in place.
Good Defense Preparation around Your Home:
Cluttered Homes and Environments:
- One of the most critical components surrounding a cluttered environment is that it provides a multitude of hiding places for bed bugs. Because of their cryptic nature; you will be playing the game Find the Needle in a Hay Stack with mounds of clutter if you don’t eliminate it.
- This is a great time to re-evaluate keeping old items and doing a little “spring cleaning”
- This is all about time management also. The time it will take you “if” you do discover bed bugs will be overwhelming for most people. They can be anywhere within the piles of “stuff”.
- Clean out from under your bed and your closets. Items can be placed in vacuum sealed bags or seal sealing bags and stacked. www.USBedbugs.com is a great place to find many of these items.
- Treatment costs and time to get rid of bed bugs can be significantly higher in cluttered environments.
So do your best to unclutter your home or businesses. Many items can either be discarded or placed in plastic tubs and lockers and removed to the garage or storage (if you just can’t live without them)
Open Access, Cracks and Crevices:
- Again, bed bugs cryptic nature causes them to hide where they are not noticed. Although in many of the newer homes and buildings most of the baseboards and crown moldings are sealed with silicone or other sealers; when buildings settle or when they are older, there are spaces between crown molding, windows, chair rails, the walls, baseboards and floors. Take some time, vacuum them and seal them up to take away areas where a bed bug can squeeze between, hide within and behind.
- Small spaces between cabinets and walls are another place they like to hide which if you seal those as well you can take away another possible hiding place.
- Molding and frames around doors and windows are a favorite place for bed bugs. Give a squirt around these areas too.
- Check for loose seams in wallpaper and get them glued up and resealed.
- I don’t know about you but I change my sheets and do an inspection of my bedding on a regular basis. Doing so can help identify any signs of bedbugs (or any other bug) in early stages to help avoid a surprise down the line.
- Pull your bed out and vacuum around and behind monthly.
- You can also place good quality encasements on both your mattress and box spring. If you got bed bugs; these protect from them getting into the seams and piping and inside the grommets. They also protect against having to treat mattresses which may destroy the integrity of fabric and break down fibers. These also serve as a protection against dust mites building up in your mattress as well as keeping your investment clean. Remove them every 6 months or so, wash them and put them back on.
- People are not going to stop traveling and don’t have to because of bed bugs. It’s what you do when you come home from an adventure that can make a difference of whether you brought a bed bug back and introduced it to your home environment.
- The IBBRA has a book called The Bed Bug Travelers Handbook. In this book you will learn how to pack, what to pack, how to identify if the room you are staying in has signs of bed bugs, how to protect your luggage and belongings during a trip and most important and guaranteed; how to unpack properly when you arrive home.
Visiting Others Homes
- We are social people with social habits and visiting other people’s homes is a given for most of us. Whether it’s a friend’s home or a family member; take some time and discuss bed bugs together. The more you know and share the better off you’ll be.
- An occasional visit to someone’s home you don’t know can be a place where you pick up a hitchhiker. Be careful of where you sit or place your belongings and check before getting into your car to the best of your ability if you should suspect a bed bug problem in their home.
- If you think there may have been a bed bug problem you can always keep large plastic garbage bags in the trunk of your car to place things into until you get home to check them.
- Many people do home health care for seniors and others and can also be subjected to bed bugs. Always check your surrounding and avoid bringing in items if you can. If you do bring anything in, be careful where you lay them down. Always check them when returning to and before getting into your car.
- More and more bed bugs are being brought into office buildings and work areas by employees. Bring this up to your employers and have them address and hand out educational materials on bed bugs with all employees.
- Keep your personal items, coats, sweaters, extra shoes, lunch bag, computer sleeve and other items in a sealed bag when not in use and/or in a sealed tub under your desk or in drawers.
- Check for bed bugs often.
Keep in mind that there is a sharp increase of bed bugs and making a sincere effort to learn about bed bugs and their nature will help you in dealing with them in a much earlier stage than if you didn’t know anything about them.
If you should suspect or encounter bed bugs; don’t wait to do anything about them. Address the situation as soon as possible. In many cases when a single bed bug is introduced and you immediately do what is necessary to get rid of it you will be fine; but treating for bed bugs is best left to those who are professional in elimination.
Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Process
Can I do it myself? It depends. If the bed bug problem is NOT an infestation level and you only have a few; many people have been able to successfully eliminate their problem. But it is a process that needs to be followed to the T and even when you do everything possible, you may have left one bug behind to start all over again.
Bed bug scent detection dogs can help find bed bugs better than a human inspection and can help to pinpoint areas that need to be addresses; this cuts down on having to treat the whole environment.
If you insist on trying to eliminate bed bugs on your own; take the time and learn the process completely and especially learn what NOT TO DO before you attempt do-it-yourself treatments.
Here is a book that takes you through the process of elimination the safe way. Bed Bugs-Treatment Methods and Options for the Homeowner – Safe –Do-it-yourself
Professional Steamers and other supplies mentioned in the book can be found at www.usbedbugs.com
We’re always here to help!www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332