Can You Really Prevent Bed Bugs?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… the old proverb explains that it is easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. There is no truer statement when it comes to bed bugs.

The truth is bed bugs are easy to get rid of if found early but if you wait until they build up into breeding grounds and go into “repair” mode, the damage can cost you a bundle.

No one is immune to bed bugs no matter how clean or rich you are. Bed bugs feed on blood and unless you happen to be one that has no blood running through their veins, you too can fall victim to bed bugs.

So let’s think this out using a little common sense …

Picking up a bed bug can be as easy as going to your favorite store, business, doctor’s office, show or restaurant or grabbing one up at school or work or a friend’s home. One pregnant female can attach to your clothing or personal items, be brought home, lay eggs and start an infestation (if you don’t notice it early)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN “INFESTATION AND AN OCCURANCE”

Not everyone has an infestation. One or two bed bugs do not depict an infestation. That is what we call an “occurrence”. Now, if you happen to be one of those who do get a reaction from a bed bugs bite and you are bitten, suspect and search for bed bugs right away! If you still can’t find any signs, call in a bed bug detection dog team as soon as possible to avoid an infestation.

Now, let’s suppose you don’t react to their bites. You have no clue that bed bugs are coming out and feeding on you and months can go by when you finally realize dirty fecal stains. ßThis is very common and is the biggest reason you should be inspecting your sleeping quarters regularly. Again, finding them early in the “occurrence” stage is best and much easier to get rid of.

“INFESTATIONS” TAKE TIME

Female bed bugs lay eggs, the eggs must hatch and go through five stages of development before becoming a breeding adult. (Approximately 22-36 days or longer depending upon temperature, availability of food source and conditions) Although the female lays many eggs in her lifetime, she doesn’t do it all at once. Regular mating and feedings are required.

Those breeders now start laying eggs, which have to go through the whole process of development before they become breeding adults. So as you can see, it takes a couple of months before anything substantial builds.

If people get their steamers out at the first sign they can usually get rid of the problem before they get a chance to build up. (Providing they are doing it right and in the right places)

You can’t prevent infestations from occurring any better than that!

HOW ELSE DOES ONE PREVENT BED BUGS?

You could resign to never leaving your home, never having visitors and completely shut yourself off from the world, but that is unrealistic. The majority of society, goes to work, the grocery store, lets the repair person in, has guests, their kids go to school and go out for outings.

Living in a single family home is one thing, but when it comes to those who live in multi-unit properties where bed bugs can crawl through wall voids, be dropped off in stairwells, foyers, elevators, laundry rooms, that gets even more complicated.

Vigilance is the key to avoiding bed bugs to begin with. You have to be cautious with everything you bring into your home including the clothing you wear, backpacks, purses, and things you purchase when you come back from an outing.

Whenever you are in a place where there are many people, you have to be aware of the fact that one single bug could have crawled on to your person or a belonging of yours. That alone is enough to make anyone in their right mind lose it!

When you enter your home or place of residence, change your clothing and place them directly in the dryer if you have one or in a bag and seal it until you can do laundry. Don’t lay them on the floor of your room, on the bed, over a chair, couch or anywhere.

CAN YOU SPRAY AWAY YOUR BED BUG TROUBLES?

Face it we do not live in hermetically sealed homes. All kinds of bugs find their way in through openings like window and doorframes, electrical conduits, chimneys, eaves, crack and crevices everywhere. Some people think that if they constantly spray their homes or apartments with a pesticide that they have less of a chance to get bed bugs.

Problem with that is where are you going to spray? Repeated spraying of surfaces where there isn’t an insect (which is basically against the law for any pest management company to do – they must identify the insect in question before choosing the proper pesticide), leaves a chemical residual that can potentially build up and create a resistance anyway. Besides, how do you know that you are using the proper pesticide for the bug at question to begin with?

Next, if there is a bug where the pesticide is sprayed you also have the potential to repel the bug from that area to get away from the chemical, which can spread the problem to other areas.

Repeated spraying can also create a toxic environment in which depressed immune systems, children, pets and elderly can become sick. There is no safe and effective preventative chemical treatment.

FOGGERS

Here’s another mistaken treatment that many people turn to their local stores for. The problem with foggers or bombs is that they disperse a chemical into unobstructed air space and never get inside the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Foggers are a fruitless effort that also spreads them so don’t waste your money.

Bed bugs are not as easy to prevent as many other types of bugs but that doesn’t mean you can be as vigilant as possible and knock them out as soon as you get one or two of them.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO BE PREVENTATIVE AGAINST BED BUGS?

Being preventative is more of an act than anything else is. One never knows when they, a family member, or visitor could have come across a situation where they picked up a hitchhiker.

Here are some of the best prevention methods:

  • Be aware of where you go and where you place items in your home.
  • Be careful to inspect any secondhand items or hand-me-downs you get before bringing them in your home.
  • If you should show signs of bites, suspect and look for bed bugs right away.
  • Change your sheets on a regular basis and check for signs while doing so.
  • Do a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of your home and places you rest.
  • Use a steamer often on your mattress edges, carpets and edges, couches, baseboards and other areas where bed bugs hide. [It also helps sanitize against bacteria and viruses]
  • Remove any clutter throughout your home
  • Organize closets and drawers [Place items in clear totes with locking tops]
  • Talk about bed bug risks with all family members

CAN I PAY SOMEONE TO PREVENT BED BUGS FOR ME?

No, there isn’t enough money in the world to pay someone to follow you around to prevent you from picking up and introducing a bed bug to your environment; but there are detection dogs that can come in on a regular basis to make sure they don’t build up into infestations in your home.

If you have a large family, have many visitors, travel often or work in a high-risk environment, having your home or office checked regularly can help to prevent an infestation from building. It takes approximately 22-36 days past the eggs hatching when you have a new amount of breeding adults so quarterly inspections will keep you from ever having a serious infestation.

Reach out if we can be of any assistance, we are always here to help!

Denise

IBBRA Welcomes Bed Bug Experts in UK as Founding Member

Bed bugs are not just in the United States. They are infiltrating homes worldwide and Bed Bug Experts, now founding members of IBBRA are the only UK pest control company to offer a 12 MONTH BED BUG GUARANTEE. Yes, you heard it right, 12 months! Let’s see how they can do that.

Here in the US, it is rare to find a company that will treat “just the infected area”, as most insist on doing the whole premises. Once stung by an expensive one time, whole-house bed bug treatment, if they get them again, because of affordability issues, people tend to turn to self-treatments, which always gets them in trouble down the line.

Since the cost for treating a whole home vs. an infected room is so vast, the Bed Bug Experts evaluate each case carefully to make sure they don’t do needless treatments in rooms that are not affected. This builds trust and confidence with their customers and if they should ever have or suspect a bed bug problem in the future, they always get the call.

What separates Bed Bug Experts from other companies is that their whole focus is on only one pest, bed bugs. Richard believes that education on this evasive bug is important for all his clients and includes a Q & A section on his web site as well as client handouts.

THE ONLY GOOD BED BUG IS A DEAD BED BUG

Just ask the experts how you got bed bugs in the first place, and they will answer – just bad luck. When communicating with Richard Barrie, owner of Bed Bug Experts, he indicated, “sometimes a person may have just returned from a trip and only have the beginning stages of bed bugs in one room, or a bed bug or two may have come in on a single item. Why spend the money and treat the whole house if only one room is affected?”

Bed bugs can spread for numerous reasons: A person moves an infected item (blankets, pillows, clothing, etc.) from one room to another, a person may go and sleep on a couch to get away from bites, by dragging an infested item through the house to dispose it, or a person uses a product without knowing what they are doing. Of course, it also depends upon how long a person has bed bugs and it’s also possible they could have come from a neighbouring property, particularly if the adjoining rooms have been vacated for a while. The list goes on…

Bed Bug Experts located in Ayr, Scotland, stands behind their guarantee for both single treatments in one room and whole house treatments. They take away the “scare you to death and do the whole house” treatment and have never failed to get rid of even the most infested homes.

Their sensitive, highly knowledgeable and confident technicians evaluate each case and do their best not to disrupt the household any more than it already is. Their treatments are kinder and simpler than other companies are because they don’t create great emotional distress for the client by insisting on them throwing their possessions away or doing tons of preparation. The confidence and security for their client’s exists in their guarantee to come back if necessary without an extra charge. They are with you every step of the way until every last bed bugs is destroyed.

With all the horror stories on the internet, Richard says, “Don’t believe everything you hear about bed bugs. Getting rid of them is not a big deal if you know how. We do”.

Bed Bug Experts know that the effects of a bed bug infestation can go far beyond irritating bites, so their incentive to get it right the first time grew into their ironclad guarantee. However severe, they have never been defeated and are always 100% EFFECTIVE. That is a big commitment but their record of accomplishment proves their success.

THE BEST BED BUG GUARANTEE IN THE UK

All their single treatments come with automatic 6 MONTH GUARANTEE, but where all the main living rooms and bedrooms in the property are treated, they extend the guarantee to a FULL 12 MONTHS for no extra charge. Usually one treatment is enough, but if the bed bugs aren’t completely gone after a few weeks they go back and do it again FREE OF CHARGE until they are gone for good. People do not pay another cent for any additional treatments.

What I loved most about the Bed Bug Experts is that they are honest and professional. Let’s all reach out and welcome the Bed Bug Experts and whether across the street or across the oceans, we all look forward to working with them to help make a difference! Bed Bug Experts on 020 3285 7399 www.bed-bug-experts.co.uk

IBBRA Introduces Bed Bug Detection K9s as a Founding Member

The IBBRA would like to welcome Kay McDonald and Bed Bug Detection K9s as a Founding Member of the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA).

Dogs trained for scent are just that, trained for scent, but a working “team” is both the dog and the handler together. The importance of good handling is that it keeps the dogs on cue and working at high efficiency. False positives are not an option with this team!

Kay McDonald isn’t just a dog handler. She is a woman with vision, care and a great big heart. As Vice President and Canine Training Director for Massachusetts Rescue and Recovery K9 Unit (www.mark9.us) she expressed to me how minutes in a search can mean the difference in life or death for someone lost or injured or trapped. These teams are crucial in the rapid location of someone lost to save their lives and each of their dedicated teams consist of professional volunteers who donate thousands of hours to train their dogs for the sole purpose of helping others in times of need.

Both of Kay’s search and rescue (SAR) dogs have the highest level of certification for their chosen training through the Massachusetts Search and Rescue Dog Federation (www.MASSARDF.org) and Crime Scene work through the International Police Work Dog Association. Her live find dog searches for live missing persons and her cadaver dog searches for expired people.

Just recently, her 7-year-old Border Collie Rio passed an advanced 160-acre certification test, finding the hidden person in just three hours. Her cadaver dog is Poppy, is a 5-year-old Border Collie/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Poppy was initially bred for flyball, but now works on century-old cold cases as well as fresh.

Few bed bug detection handlers have such professional versatility as Kay. Kay is a highly experienced, multifaceted trainer/handler that has been instructing dogs in high-level activities for over 20 years. From agility sports, animal wrangling for films, flyball competitions, rescue and recovery work; she has now joined the world of bed bug detection.

During my interview with Kay, you can feel her passion about rescue work and equally with bed bug detection. “Finding bed bugs early changes the game for people. It can help prevent a serious outlay of money for long-term infestations. These people need help, she explained to me, and I’m here to do just that”. She’s focused and committed to helping people.

A dog “team” is only as good as the handler, says Kay. You can have a highly trained dog, but if the handler doesn’t know what they’re doing you can miss bed bugs or have false alerts. Accuracy and taking my time is number one priority for me. We sweep the room with great detail so we don’t miss anything. I may take longer than other teams but if there are bed bugs, we will find them.

Kay trained her own bed bug detection dog Spice, and certified as a team through the IBBMA Integrated Bed Bug Management Association (www.IBBMA.org). Kay is also an evaluator for both MASSARDF and for IBBMA. She conducts working, detection dog training sessions in narcotics, explosives (vapor wake), human remains, live find and nose work. Her long-term goals and intentions are to help other bed bug detection handlers perfect their skills and become the best in their field.

When she and her dogs are not working, they enjoy playing flyball and compete on the Bay State Bandits Flyball Team. Let’s all reach out and welcome Kay and Spice aboard!

Bed Bug Detection K9s is located in Pepperell, MA right outside of Boston and you can reach Kay at Bed Bug Detection K9s (http://www.bedbugdetectionk9s.com)

Do Your Customers Love You and Leave you? Bring em Back!

An owner of a pest control company recently told me, he doesn’t get as many calls for bed bugs as he had the past two years. He also added, “He thinks bed bugs are dropping off as they did years ago and once he takes care of a client’s problem, he never hears from them again”.  That told me two things, he might be doing a good job, but he is not engaging his clients.

The fact is, a few years back there were only a handful of pest control companies doing bed bug work, but today, the competition is so much greater. In addition, in some areas, do-it-yourselfers are rapidly growing.

I asked him where he targets his marketing and advertisement, who writes his blogs, how does he stay in contact with his previous clients“, and how he optimizes” his web site to get new customers.

He had a blank, lost look on his face. It reminded me, of me a few years back when I didn’t even know what a URL was. Keeping up to date with Google standards and ranking algorithms is a full time job all by itself. I learn something new every week.  And just when I think I understand completely it, it changes. Thanks Google!

He shared with me that he spent a lot of money on his site but he is not getting the traffic that he thought he would. Some people think that once you put up a web site, you’re all done. Not true, with hundreds of thousands of web sites on the Internet how does Google know who to put on the first page unless you let them know you exist?

Sure you can pay though your nose, but if you use the words Bed Bugs, it will cost you dearly!

You need to earn that position by optimizing your site daily in order for Google to take you serious and place you high in the search engines.

Some people think they can just hire a SEO company (and there are plenty of them out there), and starting at around $499 a month for a basic package, will promise you first page ranking in three months.

Please be careful and don’t bite for this…check out the SEO company thoroughly. Do a trail run or test before you sign up for any long term, costly adventure.

They can get you to the front page quickly – top – front and center – but be careful here – some of these companies purchase links, thousands of them and add them to your site. You will see a huge surge of traffic, which leads you to thinking that you are getting your monies worth.

The problem is, they are loading you with bad backlinks. When loaded with bad backlinks, and Google realizes it, you are tossed back five pages or more it can be years before your site will see the light of day on the front page ever again. Bad backlinks can harm your domain permanently.

A high quality website grows over time with organic visits in terms of both search engine trust and loyal readers. I’ll say it again, loyal readers. You have to blog!

Make sure that your content is unique and original and Google hates publish duplicate content on websites. If you must use the same content in two areas make sure do a “no index and no follow” on those pages so that they do not have a negative impact on your SEO.

Are you a key word stuffer? Great, you have a list of keywords often used by your target market that you want to include in your content. Don’t cram all of them into one piece of content or use all of them in each article you write. Google will pick this up as an attempt to manipulate their algorithms, and you will lose ranking. Use them only in your title or opening paragraphs and naturally within the body of your content.

Guest posting for links – You do me and I will do you – Be careful here, if done wrong can damage rankings! Remember; always create original, relevant and useful blogs and information for your audience. If you’re going to allow any guest posting for links, make sure they are industry related and not just for exposure or recognition.

There is an expression, “Content is King!” Great content encourages people to link to your pages, give them thumbs-up and share them with others and this shows Google™ your pages are interesting and authoritative which leads to search engine success. It is that simple!
However, good content alone is not enough.

Here’s the catch – it involves writing regular, powerful content that people find useful and beneficial and it has to be shared on a regular interval (daily-weekly-monthly) in blogs, twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., and over-time Google™ picks up on these authoritive signals.

Creating inbound traffic and unique visitors is an investment that turns into a gift that keeps on giving. Its said, the rule of thumb for an average firm in this industry is 1,000 visitors per month. If you are getting 1,000 unique visitors per month… Pat yourself on the back.

But when I see that I’ve been working on a particular segment, and then seeing a spike (or trend) towards more visitors – then I know that I’m doing my job. The number of visitors will ebb and flow a bit, so having analytics measured across months and years is more important to the big picture. If you are not seeing anything close to that, you may have some work to do.

Last year, the IBBRA web site received over 72,000 unique visitors searching for bed bug solutions and answers. Growing to that volume took a consistent growth pattern based on daily postings of important information that people are searching for or opted-in to receive.

Since we’ve gained strong SEO, we continue to create stronger value for our members. Many of our members share our posts or link to our posts and blogs and we do the same for them when they send their blogs to us. If you are not sharing them, you cannot benefit. THAT is what it is all about.

Great content from idea to publication can help you build your audience and drive continued traffic growth to your site. So if you don’t have a blog, you need one.

If you can’t write, then reach out!  There are lots of blog writers out there starting at $100up a blog which is a small price to pay for the amount of unique visitors you’ll get after around 10-20 blogs. Find someone who is well versed in your industry.

I’ve been ghost writing blogs and books for others specific to bed bugs, heat treatments and much more for several years and would like to open my services to you as well. Some of our members already use me to create original blogs for them with great success, so I decided to open it up for others that require help.

If you are looking for content on bed bugs, I am offering packages of five blogs at a time. Just tell me what you want to tell your audience and I will write it for you. Most blogs are 600+ words (most are more). If I feel that I can’t write about the topic you choose, I will bow out gracefully and help you find someone who can.

Your customers don’t stay with you because you’re “cute”, they found “value” in your services.  Insure your customers think of you beyond just the first service day.

So what makes you stand out from your competition?

Always here to help! www.ibbra.org

Denise