Bed Bugs – We Can’t STOP Them, BUT We CAN AVOID Them
Bed bug populations are growing faster than we can keep up with and to top that off, the chemicals used for elimination are increasingly showing signs of ineffectiveness.
In many cities, growth patterns of bed bugs are so large that you can pick up one of these hitchhikers while sitting at your favorite restaurant enjoying dinner, at church, school, work or (just recently a caller admitted she picked up bed bugs from) lying on a massage table.
The most intelligent move anyone can make is learning how to avoid bed bugs in the first place. Since bed bugs have become part of life, as we know it, learning how to spot their signs will be important for everyone. Many people are not affected by their bites, and months can go by while infestations build up, yet the person has no suspicion they have them. Focusing on their signs will help detect them early enough to fight them before infestations have a chance to build.
TRAVELING AND BED BUGS
Most people are concerned in traveling and picking up bed bugs. You can’t stop your life because bed bugs exist, so be prepared to avoid them hitchhiking a ride back from where ever you should travel. After spending hours on the phone with people I wrote the “Bed Bugs Travelers Handbook” that teaches you how to pack and unpack properly! The best ten bucks you’ll ever spend to guarantee not bringing bedbugs back from a recent travel. This can also be used for those who have kids that visit camps, relatives or friends’ homes, bed and breakfasts or overnights anywhere. It will walk you through exactly what to do and look for and how to pack and unpack so you will not bring in a hitchhiker.
Some people live to shop for secondhand items, so don’t stop shopping! Learn how to thoroughly inspect items for bed bugs and if ever you suspect bed bugs in an item, learn protection skills BEFORE you place those items into your car, truck or back in your home. Most all items are salvageable by utilizing specific treatment options. Contact us we are always here to help!
APARTMENT MANAGEMENT AND TENANTS
Not always are new tenants at fault for bringing bed bugs in to your apartments. Many times, bed bugs may be present from the previous tenant or they could be coming from an adjacent apartment. Unfortunately, many property owners and management groups are unaware bed bugs are lurking behind walls or baseboards in units recently unoccupied. If these units are left untreated for any extended time, infestations continue to grow into extreme levels and spread throughout whole buildings. Since the units are not inspected for bed bugs, it’s always assumed the new tenant brought them in. This is when fingers start pointing and new tenants are held financially responsible for someone else’s infestation.
Learn the in’s and out’s of apartment living with “Bed Bugs for Landlords, Tenants and Property Management: Concerns, Challenges, Education and Prevention for Landlords and Tenants” infestations are explored from several unique perspectives, including history, identification, health, environmental, legal, control methods and economic consequences for all.
One of the smartest moves a property owner can make is talking about bed bugs with their tenants by educating their lessors and having regular inspections to avoid having infestations build inside the structures of the building.
If you are a hotel or motel provider, there are things you need to know about bed bugs. They are on the foot or luggage of your next guest. Anyone can complain about a bite and blame the hotel when in essence they could have been bitten at home or during their travels. When I receive calls from people waking up in a hotel with bites, before they point the finger, I always ask them if they could have brought them in on their luggage. Bed Bugs Hospitality and Risk Management covers what you need to know and helps you from giving away rooms and avoid bed bug lawsuits.
EDUCATING YOUR COMMUNITY
In order to keep bed bugs from spreading throughout our communities, we must educate all our residents. “Think Like a Bed Bug” was written for just that. Think…like a Bed Bug: A Guide to Knowing What Bed Bugs Are, Who’s At Risk, How You Get Them, How to Spot Them Early, Health Implications, Prevention … What NOT to do, Tips, And What To Do If You Get Them!
No matter what the occasion, where you travel, where you go, bed bugs are an avoidable pest if you know where and how they hitch a ride, and what to do to prevent their presence in your home.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the International Bed Bug Resource Authority for the answers you need.
Don’t be afraid of bed bugs because they are here to stay. They are not any different from fleas, cockroaches, mosquitoes and mice because anyone can get them. The biggest problem with them is once they take up residence they can be difficult to get rid of. We can teach you all the in’s and out’s so that you can keep your family safe from expensive bed bug treatment.
By The International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA) and Institute for Responsible Bed Bug Control, Providing Valuable Bed Bug Education and Resources
If you had a serious condition that required surgery, would you hire your dentist? Alright you’re probably thinking that bed bugs are nowhere close to as important as choosing a surgeon but… if you don’t find an experienced professional for bed bugs it can be just as agonizing.
I retired around ten o’clock PM, laid my head on my pillow, heaved a long sigh after a rather let’s say “exasperating” day on the phone. It seem like that every call was from someone who wrote a large check for bed bug services yet were still dealing with bed bugs.
About ten minutes into my respite, I heard a distant chirp from my phone. “Darn! I didn’t turn the ringer off”. Since I needed to get up and turn the ringer off anyway, I made the decision to answer one more call for the day.
“Bed Bug Hotline, how can I help you?” Hi, can I talk to you about a bed bug situation? In a silent yawn I softly answered “yes, what’s going on, talk to me.” By the sound of her voice, I envisioned a rather frail elderly woman. I was right. After a brief history of her continued nightmare, she asked me, is there some hidden “secret” to getting rid of these bloodsuckers. I laughed to myself thinking, honey, if everyone knew the secrets, we wouldn’t be having the problems we have. Instead, I replied, “It all depends. Dealing with bed bugs takes an informed client that works right along with a highly experienced bed bug technician. Both have to work together for a successful outcome”.
We spent time on the phone as I explained more about bed bugs biology and nature, risks, prevention, ya da ya da and in conclusion; she admitted to holding the company completely responsible even though she had piles of clutter everywhere. I drove home the fact that “clutter” presents a failure nightmare when it comes to bed bugs. She then revealed that the technician “mentioned” that her clutter may present a problem, but never drove home the importance of possible failure because of it.
She thanked and blessed me for my time and said she wished she had known these things before she hired the company that she did. From what I heard her explain, she humbly realized the fault of her treatment failure was her lack of working with the requests of her professional. Since most people point the finger at their pest control company, it was truly refreshing to hear that she admitted she was at fault.
Of course, I stared at the ceiling for the next twenty minutes to unwind from the call and my mind started to wander. It made me think…if you had a raccoon, a wildcat, and bats in your attic or swarms of bees around your home, or if you need fumigation for a severe termite problem, who would you call. Obviously, someone experienced in such removal. I consider bed bugs just as important.
I thought I would address this growing problem, in hopes of guiding people to pay attention to the requests of their pest control company.
The process of bed bug removal isn’t like a broken appliance that needs no assistance from you for a service technician to fix. Yes, that gap in the windowsill plays a significant role in whether spiders, mosquitoes or any other crawling or flying bug gets into your home. If your professional points out “entry problems” for insects and asks you to fix it, do it! If you don’t, then don’t complain when bugs keep coming in, it’s your failure not theirs.
Leaving food dripping down the kitchen counters, trash piled and food crumbs on the counter-tops will certainly cause complete failure for cockroach elimination attempts no matter what the pest controller does.
So don’t blame your professional if you are not willing to do what’s needed.
By contrast, the potential enormity and complexity of eliminating bed bugs grows the longer you have them. It’s not asking too much to eliminate the clutter or clean up your environment to insure complete elimination.
Choosing the right Professional
The Internet is a great resource but can be extremely misleading. Bigger doesn’t always mean better! Many times the bigger the company the harder it is to micro manage all employees. Weekly tech meetings and people managers are necessary to keep everyone on the same page and drive home business ethics in order to maintain good customer service. Not all pest control companies, regardless of their size or web site words, are qualified and experienced to handle the most challenging aspects of bed bugs. How do you make a good choice?
Experience really counts when it comes to bed bugs. Find a qualified company that has intensive training, tools and plenty of experience to deal with bed bugs. Ask intelligent questions, lots of them! You should feel fully informed before you hire them and show up to do the job.
Look for companies that do the following:
- Proper Inspection and identification (including surrounding units if you live in a shared wall or multi-unit property)
- Establish threshold level for pest activity
- Show you evidence of your problem
- Employ appropriate control and/or management measures
- Evaluate effectiveness
- Properly trained in application and techniques
- Provide you an IPM information sheet of standards and Material Safety Data Sheet if using chemicals
- Specialize in bed bug treatment
You can ask these questions:
- How many treatments have they done?
- Do they commence treatment without finding “evidence” of the insect of question?
- What is their success ratio?
- How will the problem be treated? By what means of treatment and why that particular treatment.
- How many treatments does it take to get rid of them? (Be sure to fully understand the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem)
- Do they have any referrals or people you can speak to about their service?
- What results do they expect?
- How much is this going to cost you? (When dealing with bed bug treatment it can be costly – get several bids, beware of exterminators that offer bargains that sound too good to be true)
- Do they offer a post treatment follow-up or inspection? (with or without a scent detection dog)
- If bugs are found post treatment, will they continue to treat until all bugs are gone?
- Is there a warranty? (If a warranty is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary)
- Make sure they do a proper inspection and find bed bugs and SHOW YOU THE EVIDENCE BEFORE they give you an estimate! Finding the extent of the infestation greatly affects estimates for treatment.
- Fully read any and all contracts before you sign. Find any “hidden costs” so that you are not surprised.
- Fully follow any instructions your professional gives you. So many times preparation instructions are not followed and treatment fails.
Ask them to cover the following in detail with you:
- Learn about re-introduction; review your work or school situations, vacations or any travel. Knowing your risks will help to avoid them again in the future.
- Learn what to do before you enter your home. Bed bugs can be picked up just about anywhere nowadays. Attending to your personal items before you enter your home can be the most significant benefit to not bringing in bed bugs.
If you are unsure or need help finding a reliable bed bug expert, reach out to the IBBRA, we can help! The IBBRA diligently screens their service providers who have extensive bed bug experience, care about their clients, are ethical, and are known for exemplary service. If you have any questions feel free to call us 1-888-9-NOBEDBUGS www.ibbra.org
Don’t be surprised if in the future you see signs that say, “Possible Bed Bugs Enter at Your Own Risk!”
In 2009, I wrote the first Bed Bug Detection Dog book with the vision and understanding of the future growth of this field of expertise. The book has been the go-to for several educational institutions, a teaching tool and revelation for pest control and an awareness book for readers everywhere.
Whether we like it or not, just like fleas, flies, ticks, cockroaches or any other common pest, which we are familiar, bed bugs, will and are becoming a way of life and will further their abysmal presence through exponential growth deep into this century.
Bed bugs have moved into first place as the number one most difficult pest to identify and eliminate because of their esoteric nature, sheer ignorance and denial of their existence for most. Since bed bugs are persistent miscreant hitchhikers and many people are not affected by their bites, they are carried daily by both people who cannot afford professional services and unsuspecting individuals to work, school, friends’ homes and frequented public places.
Unfortunately, the burden of proof lies on proprietors, yet at no fault of their own proving where the bed bugs came from is impossible. Intake procedures and running people through decontamination before entering all dwellings is not an option.
In commercial environments, once discovered, usually by a patron complaining or suffering from a bite, there is no way to know who brought them in or where they came from. A maintenance worker, employee, repairperson or a patron can introduce them.
This “proof” and burden falls on the proprietor/owner of the business to protect their environment; remediate, and in some cases compensate the individual for their annoyance. In some cases, the law becomes the conciliator between both parties with the proprietor normally taking the financial fall. This intermediary between parties to reconcile drains the ROI when handled by “reactionary” means only.
Reactive vs. Proactive Solutions
Because bed bugs come with a physical disgrace of “unkempt, dirty, low-income, street bum, and filth” accompanied with a bucket of emotional shame, guilt and embarrassment; most people don’t want to talk about them. The time for this ignorance to stop is now!
A more common sense approach is the only way that we can combat and control their growth in the future. An example of common sense is precautionary and prevention processes that initiate a vigilance to discover them early enough so that “infestations” are not allowed to build.
You wouldn’t go camping without a mosquito repellant, and you would certainly check for ticks if you frolicked in an open field, so the same type of precautions will eventually become the norm when it comes to bed bugs. Developing patterns of regular proactive inspections will be the only way to stay on top of infestations building along with mass public awareness and education.
Offering a Cloak of Protection
Regular Proactive K9 Inspections offers an extra layer and cloak of protection against the physical building of bed bug infestations, and early detection thus helping to limit the extent of bites to one or two compared to dozens from larger amounts of bed bugs found in “infestations”. They also help reduce the remediation costs of pest control by targeting the areas that require treatment to assist in avoiding treating areas that are not affected. Another benefit is reduction of pesticides when using chemical treatments.
Let’s all get our heads out of the sand and start talking about how we as home owners and businesses owners can make a significant difference in the way people look at bed bugs.
Visit the IBBRA web site to schedule proactive K9 inspections!
We are here to help!
www ibbra.org 888-9-NOBEDBUGS
Over the past decade, bed bugs have slowly crept their way into homes and businesses across our nation, stretching out from the inner cities into the burbs and beyond. For the most part, people assume bedbugs are seasonal because of the attention they received during spring and summer, but the fact remains that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is to them. The only thing that matters for a bed bugs survival is warmth and human blood, which our homes provide.
Aside from a few seasonal high traffic travel and visiting days during fall and winter like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s; normally people are less active during the cold winter. News of infestations and breakouts rise when the weather warms and people start moving around more. It’s not that they weren’t there during the colder season to begin with; they were hiding in places that people were not looking.
Infestations Take Time to Develop
Unlike other insects, the bed bug doesn’t lay all their eggs in one day. The female lays her eggs over the course of her lifetime. The process is temperature conditional and requires regular blood meals. Each egg takes approximately seven to ten days to hatch. Again, depends upon temperature and moisture. Once the first egg is hatched and the first instar (nymph) is introduced to the world, it requires a blood meal in order to grow into the next stage of development. This happens five times until they reach full adulthood and are now able to breed. This growth happens over twenty to thirty six days. So you might say that with perfect conditions the whole process takes approximately six weeks.
If this goes undetected or ignored for several months, infestations develop where people start to see the more serious signs including accumulation of shed skins, old blood stains (fecal or poop marks) and/or smears of blood from the bug feeding on sheets or other materials where a person rests for long periods.
(Since some people are not affected by the bite of a bed bug, months can pass before they recognize the fact they have them).
Temperature greatly affects bed bugs. If the temperature inside is too cold in the environment they reside, they go into diapause, which is like a suspended lifelessness, a type of hibernation. Unoccupied, seasonally used homes may harbor their lifeless bodies and eggs until the temperature inside warms to wake them to a possible host. The eggs won’t hatch and bed bugs don’t move around anymore than a bear would during cold temperatures with no heat source.
Transfer during Winter Months
Bed bugs will hitchhike during any time of the year. A characteristic example is during school winter break travel times (Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s) are students bringing home bed bugs. Alternatively, a holiday visitor can pick one up on their way and transfer bed bugs from one warm home to another.
According to callers, during the winter months many people breakout and suffer from a persistent rash, dermatitis, or hibernal eczema (dry skin) and bites are often mistaken as from dry itchy skin. People tend not to suspect bed bugs, don’t know about them or ignore the signs. After a month or so of lathering lotions and prescriptions with no relief, the bugs have built up and visible signs are now showing. At this time the news fills with new stories and the Internet search engines explode with people typing in the word bed bug.
Because bedbugs are a specialty pest, it takes a specialized education and experience when faced with a serious infestation on the part of the exterminator to rid them properly. Actual Certified Bed Bug Exterminators are few and far in-between.
Bed bugs are still a learning curve and some pest control companies refuse to do bed bug work because of the failure rates. The process of eliminating every bed bug is difficult enough for pest control but when the infestations are allowed to grow over many months, it present even more of a challenge.
It Takes Two – The Setbacks of Bed Bug Elimination
No matter what time of year, it takes a committed “team effort” that includes complete cooperation and assistance of the client to handle a bed bug problem properly. Especially with environments that contain clutter without this, efforts can be counter-intuitive and can fail.
Many people are used to cutting a check and allowing pest control to come in and do their magic while they are at work. Unlike other insects, the bed bugs nature is to hide in the most insignificant places where people wouldn’t dream to look.
Because of this, the client has to do a detailed accounting of most all their belongings. Depending upon the extent of the infestation, dresser drawers may have to be emptied, as well as closets, etc. Beds need stripping and items need to be dried in a hot dryer. Many other items may need removal; but there is a process that needs to be followed very carefully for success. Most people would not want pest control rummaging through their personal drawers nor do they have the time to do so.
Bed bug prep companies are popping up throughout the US that assist people that may have a handicap or are bed ridden or stuck in a frozen emotional state. They are fully trained in what to do to make the process easier for pest control to eliminate the majority of bed bugs on the first try by making the spaces where they usually hide available for access.
Reach out if you have any questions – we are always here to help you understand your role in bed bug elimination! www.ibbra.org 888-9-NOBEDBUGS
One of the leading challenges with bed bugs is getting everyone to work cohesively towards the greater goal of eliminating all the bugs. Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder than getting rid of the bugs.
What people don’t understand is pest control can only do so much. Because bed bugs are so enigmatic in nature, they are often hidden in places that need complete exposure and cooperation to treat properly. Sadly, clients don’t understand the importance of doing all of what is required on prep sheets for a successful treatment.
Creating Infection Control
Suppose you cut your foot and have an infection and you go to your doctor for help. He makes his diagnosis says he’s glad you caught it early and gives you medication and a protocol to follow to help the success of your treatment. It might include a change, addition or avoidance of liquor or certain foods or staying out of the sun for the duration of your treatment and it is expected that you will follow the protocol completely. In any case, he and you create a “partnership” that requires cooperation from both you and he towards getting you well.
Suppose your aliment requires taking a prescription for this bacterial infection and the doctor gives you a ten-day supply of antibiotics to take. He warns you that because of where the infection is located, you need to do exactly what is required so it doesn’t lead to more serious conditions like cellulitis or staph.
You fill the prescription, take them for a few days, the redness begin to fade (out of sight, out of mind) and you feel better so you figure you don’t need them anymore. You didn’t heed the doctors warnings or pay much attention to his requests for complete elimination of the infection.
Before long, the infection flares up but now it has moved further up your ankle and back to the doctor you go. You now put the doctor in a quandary of prescribing a much stronger and aggressive anti-biotic that is harder on your body but must be done in order to save your leg or maybe your life because it is showing signs of going systemic.
Prep Sheets Are Like Prescriptions
The same goes for bed bug elimination. Prep sheets are just like written prescriptions. They are developed to assist pest control in complete elimination of bed bugs. “Infestations are like infections” that must be attacked properly early on to avoid spreading. If the two of you don’t work as a partnership in the elimination of the “infected” areas, and don’t do exactly what is prescribed, before long, bed bugs will flair back up and take over requiring a stronger or more aggressive treatment.
Clutter and Hoarding
Most of the time, complaints come from those who have excess amounts of clutter or are hoarders. They are literally overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes for them to have their dwelling ready for pest control.
If you are too overwhelmed and can’t possibly do the work yourself, reach out and find someone to help. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the dwelling prepared for treatment.
In some cases, pest control may have a division that does prep work at a cost. Techs that do treatment do not have the time to prepare your space nor would you want them rummaging through all your personal belongings any more than they want to.
People are Changing their Environments Because of Bed Bugs
A few years back I wrote about how environments would be changing because of bed bugs. Hotels are reconsidering their furniture designs to make finding bed bugs easier. Shelters are replacing wood frames with metal and summer camps where children frequent are changing as well.
The days of boxes piled in corners of rooms and under beds are changing as more people are beginning to clear out items that haven’t been used in years or are just collections of meaningless “stuff” that they haven’t gotten around to cleaning out. Since the chance of getting bed bugs is becoming greater for all humans, it’s smart to take inventory of your items and get rid of the things that would stand in the way of acknowledging early signs of bed bugs or cause failure of treatment.
Partnerships Help Accelerate Change
In order to get ahead of bed bugs infiltrating homes and businesses across our nation, it is important that as consumers we trust and follow complete directions and create a partnership with our pest control professionals for their knowledge and experience. Just like your doctor, your bed bug professional knows what’s best and doesn’t hand you a list for their own health. If more people did what is required, we could start containing infestations better which could lead to better elimination in some multi-unit communities.
Therefore, if your pest professional hands you a list of things to do so they can do their job better do your best to complete each item and if you have questions call them and ask. With bed bugs, there are no stupid questions when it comes to doing what is needed to get rid of them completely.
We’re here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
I’m often asked which type of treatment is the fastest or best way to get rid of bed bugs. There are so many variables when it comes to bed bugs that it isn’t up to me to make that decision for anyone. So my job is to teach people the pros and cons of both treatments so people can make an educated choice as to whether heat or chemical is best for them and their situation.
The first thing to take into consideration is how the people living with the bed bug situation are affected by their bites. Some people have little to no reaction at all and it wouldn’t matter to them if the treatment took weeks compared to a one day treatment. Emotional issues play a significant role because some people cannot stand being in an environment with any type of bug.
Environment: Medically challenged people, adults, children or pets that cannot withstand any chemicals.
Next, is affordability: Some treatments are more expensive than others are and not everyone can afford them.
Here is the information I share with my callers:
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET RID OF BED BUGS?
Reduction of bed bugs is generally not difficult if discovered in their early stages and breeding grounds have not been allowed to build and spread. However, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to eliminate every bed bug in long-term, serious infestation situations. If even one adult female survives, the environment can become re-infested quickly.
WHAT ARE MY TREATMENT OPTIONS?
CHEMICAL: Chemicals are applied to the affected area to eliminate bed bugs. Failure rates for chemicals are greater because of chemical resistance issues becoming more common and you can’t always get the chemical in the space where bed bugs are hiding. This method cannot be used in chemically sensitive environments (daycare –senior – medical) and will delay the use of post treatment inspections by canines.
Chemicals don’t kill the egg stage so depending upon the severity of the infestation, it may take up to three or more back to back treatments over a span of a couple months to completely get rid of the hatching eggs.
With chemical treatments, there is a tremendous amount of preparation work that has to be done by the owner/tenant. Cluttered environments cause failure.
HEAT TREATMENTS: Bed bugs cannot withstand high heat. Heat is a proven safe, non-chemical, non-toxic, environmentally friendly method of treating bed bugs. 24 hour turnaround. It is safe to use in sensitive environments. Heat treatment uses nothing more than heat and air and helps sanitize and kill bacteria in the environment at the same time.
FUMIGATION: This is used in severe bed bug infestations where whole dwellings are infested. The building is tented and injected with chemicals and left in place for several days. Residents must reside elsewhere during treatment.
Each of these options varies in price, time and demographics of where you live.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you which treatment option that works for you. If you need immediate relief, heat does the job, if its affordability issues, chemical may be what will work for you. Here’s a chart giving you the pros and cons of both heat and chemical bed bug treatments.
The choice is up to you!
- Less Expensive Treatment
- May offer Some Residual
- Works in Conjunction with Other IPM Methods (Steam – Vacuum – Dusts)
- Low Success Rates
- Dependent on Client Involvement
- Resistance Issues
- Does not penetrate egg
- Clutter Influences Effectiveness
- Limits use of Canines (30 days)
- Repeated Treatments Required
- May Spread Bed Bugs
- Some Items May Have to be Discarded
- Requires Extensive Prep Work
- Health Issues
- Possible Added Costs
- May Not Solve Problem
- Environmentally Friendly
- High Success Rates
- Immediate Single Treatment Elimination
- Can be Used to Target Single Room Outbreaks
- Non-toxic – Chemical Free
- No Odors
- No Resistance
- Kills all Stages of Bed Bugs Including Eggs
- Penetrates wall cavities, mattresses and other hard to reach areas
- Limited Discarding of Items
- Minimum Time Away
- Minimum Preparation
- Safe for People and Pets Immediately After Treatment
- Sanitizes and Disinfects
- DIY Rental Options in Some States
- No Residual
- Some Items can Melt
“Bed Bug Education will never be as expensive as Bed Bug Ignorance” D Donovan
You can see that the benefits of heat outweigh the use of chemicals. Especially used in high turnover environments such as hotels/motels/bed and breakfasts, when down time in each room is very costly for the proprietor.
Regardless of what treatment you choose, or what works for your situation, it is important to know that even after the problem is solved it is possible for you to become re-infested again. Especially for those who are not affected by their bites – This is why it is important to check for bed bugs regularly or have regular canine inspections.
Reach out, we are always here to help with any questions you may have regarding bed bugs, treatments or inspections. www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
I love this picture from http://www.organizemyhouse.comIt reminds me of a typical kids room when pest control would go out to start a bed bug treatment and the client would say, “I told my kids what needed to be done but they didn’t do it”.
On Sunday evenings, the IBBRA Bed Bug Hotline is flooded with calls from people that have questions about prepping for chemical treatment for the next day. Because most people don’t even look at the list until Sunday morning, they are often overwhelmed with the extent of the list. They realize that it is much more work than they anticipated and have lots of questions pertaining to the process. Of course, they called their pest control company but to no avail, no one answers the phone on Sunday (nor should they -everyone needs a day off) and they are left to scan the internet for answers.
It is always blamed on the pest control company because people feel they should have someone to answer their questions at their convenience. Funny how people feel that they are so entitled! Surely, some people tell me that since they are paying so much for the treatment that the pest control company should be doing all the work.
They have no clue.
Right up front, I let them know that since there are so many different scenarios that have to be taken into consideration when it comes to bed bugs, I couldn’t possibly make alternative suggestions nor go against whatever it says on the list that was given to them from their professional.
I have no problem helping to walk them through the process if they had not already hired someone to do the job but I would never attempt to change or go against their pest control company procedures.
Because of this, I decided to share a simple but powerful introduction to bed bug treatment preparation so that people fully understand that it may not be something that you can do in the later part of a day before a treatment and in most cases needs a few days up to a week to prepare.
Bed Bug Education isn’t an Option – it’s Mandatory!
For most of you, getting rid of bed bugs is the easy part, providing the client does exactly what is needed to prepare and do their follow-up. The problem we all face is lack of corporation but you have to be “specific” if you expect your clients to be part of the solution.
I’m sure that if I did a swot analysis of more pest control companies, I would be able to define your weaknesses in client communication right up front. Whether you realize it or not, these are threats to your bottom line each year. Your time, is money and your reputation is all you have.
All of this is part of the upfront education that pest control companies need to be addressing with their clients. You can’t just hand them a contract to sign and a single sheet for prep and walk away leaving them to fend for themselves if you expect it to be done right.
Moreover, I suggest not complaining that your clients don’t have their prep done right if you haven’t taken the time to let them know that prepping is the most important part of the process in order to eliminate the problem completely.
For close to a decade, the IBBRA had their thumb on the pulse of obstructions that accompany communication problems and frustrations between clients and companies. Whenever we found a need to provide information to assist pest control, we created it for them. The list has grown throughout the years full of data specific materials that address bed bug problems for pest management. All these materials are customized for each company with their logo and contact information and easily printed out to hand to their clients.
As an example of the 70+ documents, we provide to our IBBRA members, these documents are updated and revised yearly. I have placed our opening statement for our chemical prep sheet below. The complete prep sheets details every possible situation so you don’t have to spend hours in upfront education with your clients.
I hope this can help more of you!
Stress the Importance!
We always suggest that you tell your client upfront, not to hold off reading the prep sheet until the night before a treatment as it entails a lengthy process that may take days to prepare depending upon the residents, dwelling condition and extent of the infestation.
Preparing For Chemical Bed Bug Treatment
Chemical treatment for bed bugs requires complete cooperation and compliance which is essential to ensure the most effective and successful results. Thorough preparation may present a considerable hardship for (handicapped or senior individuals) and may need time considerations and additional assistance.
A thorough and successful treatment cannot be achieved while there is excess clutter. Removal of excessive clutter is mandatory. Let them know you will conduct an inspection to get a sense of the full extent of the problem and to prevent the disturbance and spread of bed bugs before treatment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These following detailed instructions must be performed before any treatment can commence. Failure to have your unit prepared will cause rescheduling costs and your technician will not provide treatment to any unit or dwelling that has not met these preparations. We reserve the right to refuse to perform any service if the property is not properly prepared for any bed bug treatment. If you should have any questions regarding the content included in this preparation guide, please do not hesitate to contact us.
DO NOT MOVE ANYTHING FROM INFESTED ROOMS WITHOUT PROPERLY WRAPPING AND SEALING TO AVOID THE SPREADING OF BED BUGS
Make sure to prepare and put aside, two weeks of clothing items for each member of the family.
When you are sitting with your client and signing a contract, it is at this time that you ask them to read the prep sheet in full and SIGN HERE ________________________.
If your client has a problem with it, you may have to schedule treatment at a later date when they feel they can have the list completed. Give your client a call BEFORE you show up asking if the prep list was completed – you can save yourself a trip. Don’t waste your companies or techs precious time with a client that isn’t willing to work with you. There is no amount of money that is worth it – you will find that it will cost you more in the end if you don’t.
The IBBRA is always looking for new members that want to be part of our team! You become part of a community of respected bed bug professionals. As a community of likeminded professionals, we are dedicated to eliminating bed bug infestations through environmentally sound practices and the most comprehensive and valuable educational resources available. Reach out to us; we’d like to welcome you aboard!
http://ibbra.org/become-a-member/ or email us for an application at firstname.lastname@example.org
So many property owners are having bed bug problems! They feel powerless because even after repeated treatments, the bed bug still keep coming. Makes one wonder what are they doing wrong.
Infestations are Completely Avoidable
It never ceases to amaze me how some of the best success stories come from the biggest failures. The truth is, that one doesn’t have to get bed bug infestations and infestations are completely avoidable. (If you are paying attention and doing your due diligence)
After years of listening to the bed bug woes of renters and owners of rental properties (and having been a property owner myself), the bottom line is, bed bugs deeply affects your ROI. For most, that bottom line is their retirement account and without a proactive common sense plan in place, the bed bug treatments will easily drain it until there is nothing left for retirement.
I recently spoke to a man that was so upside-down because of constant bed bug treatments that he went into foreclosure and lost his building. Another woman couldn’t afford a professional and attempted self-treatment for close to a year that failed – she got in her car and drove away, never to return.
Major Concerns for both Tenants and Property Owners
- The major tenant concern nowadays is moving into a unit or building that already has or had bed bugs.
- The biggest concern for the property owner is whether their tenant will bring bed bugs into their unit upon move-in or somewhere down the line and not be susceptible to their bites.
Since November 2016, I have been working with a property owner of 40 units who was suffering with repeated bed bug outbreaks. He had eighteen back-to-back professional chemical treatments over the past year and a half costing him on an average of one and a half times the rent of each unit, each time. He was losing money fast and feared he would never get ahead of it and reached out to me.
Once I explained what was happening within his property and gave him tips on how to get ahead of it, he now understands how his innocent ignorance created part of the battle and his pest control company never filled him in to the truth about bed bugs.
I often ask people if one hundred people walked across a lawn and seven of them had fleas jump on them – who’s fault is it? How about your child that went to school and played touch football with Johnny who had head lice (but no one knew it) – and your child came home with head lice – who’s fault is it?
It’s kind of the same thing with bed bugs. They are parasites and can be just about anywhere you visit where people congregate. You may sit waiting for your appointment at the social security office and have one crawl on you – at the doctor’s office – work – your school auditorium, the gym or at your favorite restaurant.
Pointing fingers doesn’t accomplish anything. Sure you might have a tenant that isn’t “the ideal” tenant but all in all, life gives us enough guilt and shame and adding bed bugs to the mix only exacerbates bad feelings.
The Saboteur Is the Bed Bug
Anyone can get bed bugs at any time. It’s not your fault – you did nothing wrong – it is what it is.
Not always is the tenant at fault for bringing in bed bugs because they can be in an adjacent unit which when the tenant moves out the bed bugs start to forage for survival food.
Most people who rent, once they hear of or encounter a bed bug problem in their unit or building want to move. The most common question I ask of those who rent is; “if your landlord educated you on bedbugs and had regular inspections, would that make you want to stay?” The answer was ABSOLUTLY! It’s so much better than being made to feel that it is all their fault. One of the main reasons renters turn to self-treating is that they are afraid to tell their landlords they have them for fear of being evicted or shamed or having to pay extra for treatments.
Now I don’t know about you, but having a full building with good paying, long term renters is the goal of any property owner. Turnovers cost money! That tenant retention means not having to shell out money to prepare a unit for rental, which may stay vacant for a while sucking the life out of your ROI.
Bed Bug Education
Your best return on investment is proper bed bug education and regular inspections. I can’t stress this enough! This increases your properties desire for people to live and helps you to avoid expensive turnovers. Talking about bed bugs and informing your tenants that you want your building to remain as safe as possible at all times, creates a true intrinsic value for you and your tenants.
(If possible and available in your area) Hire a professional bed bug detection dog team to inspect your properties quarterly.
This will keep any introduction of bed bugs to a minimum and make it much easier to rid them when they show up. Inspections less than quarterly will allow bed bugs to go through more than two or more breeding cycles, which lead to infestations. (Eggs hatch and nymph bed bugs grow to adults in approximately six to eight weeks -with regular blood meals and temperature condition specific- causing new breeders)
Create incentives for your tenants should they spot a problem in-between inspections. No one likes a snitch but if a tenant should notice another bring in secondhand furniture or see’s someone dumping their mattress in the trash, they need to tell you. This can help to avoid a serious problem.
You Get More with Honey
Putting anyone on the defense with bed bugs will cause more problems than you need to deal with. Tenants hide physically and emotionally and come up with the most bizarre excuses and attempt self-treatments that spread them even further, so be careful out there.
Always call your tenants or knock on their door; the human bond goes much further than slapping a notice on their door with accusations. Start with; it has come to our attention that “we may” have a bed bug problem in your building and “we” want to protect our tenants from “infestations” of bed bugs. We will be conducting an inspection on XXX so we can resolve any problems before they get out of hand.
Give them amble time of 5 to 7 days. We will be using a specialized Bed Bug Scent Detection Dog Team. Please understand that there are some things that need to be done to prepare for the dog team to inspect. (Hand them a prep list) Tell them, for the safety of the team, it is imperative that the list is complete. Let them know this is a service to protect the building and safety of the tenants and there is no extra charge.
Believe me, the cost of having regular scent detection pales in comparison to the cost of constant reactionary treatments over a years’ time. And if you don’t think you can afford it, call me and I will show you a way to have all your detection and remediation services paid for without coming out of your own pocket.
Stress the importance of having their unit prepared for the day of inspection and that you all have to work together. Let them know that if they don’t properly prepare they will have to pay for a re-scheduling fee of $100- 125.00 so please make sure you are fully prepared for the teams.
In cases of handicapped or elderly persons, find a way to offer a service to help them at a nominal cost.
Talk About Bed Bugs
It is no secret that bed bugs are plaguing our nation and will continued to do so for several decades to come. The more people that get their heads out of the sand and talk about them will help others to speak up as well. Take the shame away and realize that bed bugs are here to stay and have now made it into the list of standard household bugs like mosquitoes, fleas, cockroaches and spiders.
The IBBRA has written 13 educational books on bed bugs in all different venues and has built an organization of professional bed bug control companies’ detection dog teams and product manufacturers that are committed to helping people with their bed bug issues. Our Think like a Bed Bug book for complete bed bug awareness includes What NOT TO DO and is available to all property owners to hand to their tenants.
Call us for deep discounted prices! 888-966-2332 888-9-NOBEDBUGS
We are here to help! www.ibbra.org
Today, the intrinsic value of qualified Bed Bug Scent Detection K9 Teams is growing. These dog teams assist in not only finding early stages of bed bugs to help avoid infestations, but for proofing conditions clear of bed bugs after a treatment is administered. As bed bugs continue to proliferate worldwide, the demand for more skilled dog teams and qualified certifying bodies will also continue to grow.
Advanced Handler Training
Throughout the years, the IBBRA has worked closely with select organizations that train and certify scent detection dogs for government, military, police, medical and pest control.
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of Advanced Handler Training. Many Bed Bug K9 teams are struggling to perfect their skills with little to no professional training outside of a few days when acquiring their K9. Furthermore, the costs for handler training can exceed the cost of two fully trained dogs, which many cannot afford and cannot afford time off their work schedules to attend. Let’s face it, becoming a proficient handler comes with learning, direction, time and experience.
Aside from team proficiency, not all environments provide the same situations and the team has to be able to adapt to them. Honing your animal behavior skills helps you to address and correct problems when they occur to fine-tune you as a team.
IBBRA Evaluators/Certifying Officials (ECO)
The IBBRA carefully chooses their certifying bodies to help address and assist those who need support in advanced handler training. Our ECO’s are measured by professional ethics, skill, achievement, experience and commitment. Each of our ECO’s is highly experienced; handler trainers who provide affordable advanced trainings to K9 teams. We recently have six (6) ECO’s in the US and Canada and are adding more each month. We want to make it easier for teams to be certified and be able to take trainings closer to where they live and not have to acquire unnecessary costs to fly their teams to different destinations.
Our ECO’s will work directly with K9 Teams; submit an evaluation and help you achieve the defining skills needed to improve and sharpen your handling skills. Our ECO’s will be listed on the IBBRA web site. If you are having difficulties finding an official near you, please contact one of our board members or training directors for assistance.
There is no set standard for certifying these teams like police; however, we follow the same guidelines used to test other scent detection teams developed by the Bed Bug Foundation in Europe combined with experience of bed bug K9 trainers/handlers here in the US. The Examination consists of a written and practical test. All information will be up on the IBBRA web site by the end of June 2017
I would like to take a moment to introduce the IBBRA K9 Certification Division Board of Directors:
A.T.S. K9 Ltd
484 Hwy 20, RR #3 Fenwick, Ontario L0S 1C0
With close to 30 years in the industry, Sid comes to us with a long linage of professional k9 scent training and handling. Founder of PAWS International Detection Services, Sid’s talents extend worldwide. With over 20 years of providing drug searches for Lake Carriers from Montreal to Sarnia and being the former Director of CADA (Canine Accelerant Detection Association) and Former Vice President Fire K9 from California, his name is well known in the industry.
His training includes landmine detection, which no doubt has to be spot on! Aside from being a seminar leader and speaker on scent detection, from border checks to Tailgate parties for the Maple Leafs, Sid’s life is dedicated to scent detection K9s and their handlers.
EXCELLENCE IN SCENT DETECTION AND TRAINING
Corey Walter Peladeau
16 Groton Rd
Tyngsboro, MA 01879
Cory began his career in training single and multi-purpose canines for law enforcement and private sectors. As a K9 handler, trainer and specialized breeder, he focuses in elite training methodologies identifying and developing individual canines for working careers.
As a Handler Instructor for these agencies, Cory provides from basic K9 detection through advanced obedience, personal protection, and private contract specialized imprinting and detection. Since 2008, Cory has provided his professional services to the Westford PD’s, Special Services Division as Head Training Officer, where he authors, does canine acquisitions, develops methodologies and implements SOP’s.
His disciplines include, Multi-purpose Canine Handler/Operator for Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT. • Instructor of K9 Patrol School, K9 Narcotics School, K9 Explosive Detection, Large Quantity Narcotics Detection Program, Homeland Security Drug Law Enforcement Training, Active Shooter Levels 1 & 2, MPTC Firearms, MPTC Defense Tactics, Israeli Special Forces Krav Maga Defensive Tactics, Sig Armorer, and Taser training.
Complete Canine1 certified the IBBRA’s first Bed Bug Detection Dog Team.
K-9 Advanced Detection
Elad Bachar/Head Trainer
As an International K-9 trainer and breeder, Elad Bachar has more than 20 years of experience. The working dogs at Advanced Detection are trained as single and multipurpose canines, bed bug scent detection and narcotic detection dogs. In his former military career, he was selected to become an instructor to train many handlers and dogs for explosive detection. His last overseas position was one of Head Trainer at Ben Gurion International Airport supervising eight teams of dogs totaling 16 canines. This airport has one of the tightest security procedures in the world. Over recent years, Elad has successfully trained over 200 dogs in explosives detection for sale in the global market.
As the Head Trainer at Advanced Detection, Elad directed all aspects of canine training from pets to detection. In addition, he has been working with many area police departments in Illinois and Indiana as well as the Northfolk Southern Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. Working with Pups for Peace, Elad was afforded the opportunity to work with eight US Homeland Security Officers in Israel including tactical urban combat training. All of this is supported with continuous experience and extensive training in IPO-Working Dogs Sport Club competing in three (3) different Schutzhund Dogs (IPO 2 and IPO3)
2440 E Little Patterson Rd
Wendover, UT 84083
R 385-229-0742, J 775-990-9100
Utah, Nevada, portions of Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona
Judith, raised with working dogs since childhood, heads up the Bed Bug Detection Division of OQUIRRHBERG KENNELS and has been involved in the training of detection and patrol dogs for police, government, and private agencies throughout the United States including training detection canines for narcotics, explosives, bed bugs, and human remains.
On the competition side, she has multiple titles in Agility, Obedience, Rally, and K9 Nose Work. Her current competition dog, a mixed breed rescue she hand raised from 3 days old, is a national level competitor in K9 Nose Work Dog with his Elite 2 title in the NACSW organization. Professionally she handles several bed bug detection canines, a narcotics detection canine, and an up and coming explosives dog for private businesses and families in the western United States.
Nicole Reusser, Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI)
15375 Barranca Pkwy, H101
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 424 3859
Nicole began training professional scent detection in 2003, starting with Search and Rescue. Her interest in this field led to additional detection areas and soon she trained numerous canines for a variety of scent detection including narcotics, explosives, bio and bed bugs. Working with her favorite breed, the Malinois, she became involved in IPO/Schutzhund and competition and the Malinois rescue.
One of the biggest problems I hear about is property owners that use Bed Bug Addendums to try to get out of paying for bed bug treatments. Not that addendums are a bad thing – it’s how they are written that I have a problem with.
Even though I have received many calls like this over the years, this story is based on the most recent call I received: (names, location and unit numbers have been changed to protect confidentiality of my caller)
Ms. Stacy rents apartment 1552. On Sunday afternoon, she goes into the leasing office to sign her paperwork. As she is sitting at the desk, a Bed Bug Addendum is slid across the desk with a few paragraphs about bed bugs on another sheet of paper. The leasing agent did not take the time to explain that with bed bugs on the rise, it was an important document to read.
Since the stack of papers is reasonably thick and her moving van is showing up any moment, she feels pressured and signs it along with the stack of other documents that no one ever reads. Eighteen pages of size 9 fonts written in legal terms that unless you’re an attorney you wouldn’t understand – she is thinking to herself, I never had bed bugs; don’t have bed bugs, so it is not applicable to me.
She moves into the apartment. Boxes are stacked high as she unpacks a couple of boxes with her clothing for work the next day. Her mattress and box springs are neatly stacked on the frame with no sheets as she crawls into bed with only a pillow and single blanket to cover her.
8 hours later
The following morning she wakes exhausted from the previous days move and stumbles to the bathroom scratching her neck and upper arm. She jumps into a hot shower and prepares herself for work. All during the day, she is scratching herself assuming that with her sensitive skin and often acquired allergies that she had hives from the stress of the move.
She returns home from work and proceeds to unpack boxes and arrange her apartment. Late that night she jumps into a hot bath and retires for the evening.
Another 8 hours later
The following morning she wakes again with more red itchy marks on her body. She goes to work and two other employees notice the marks on her neck. Blowing it off she remarks, I’ve been a nervous wreck with the move and all, I think I have hives.
Several more days pass and she is seriously looking forward to finishing her unpacking and getting her apartment settled over the weekend.
Day 6 residing in apartment
Saturday morning she woke once again with even more red itchy marks on her body. This time, they were on the side of her face and along her side all the way down to her waist. Since the real stress of the move was behind her, she couldn’t understand why she would still be getting hives.
With the majority of her apartment put together, she decided to go and lay out at the pool to relax. While lying there, a woman from the next building introduced herself to Ms. Williams. “Hi, I’m Suzy and live in building 3 are you new here?”
“Yes, I moved in last Sunday. How long have you lived here?”
“I’ve been here for three months but am getting ready to move the hell out of here!”
“The place is full of bed bugs everywhere”, she exclaimed. “By the looks of your skin they’ve already gotten to you too!”
“I thought it was hives from me stressing so much over the move!”
“Well, if you go to the office, be prepared. They will say you should have notified them within 48 hours or you get to pay to get rid of them! Like we even know what the stupid things are.”
“What?” “Ya, didn’t you read the addendum?”
“No, I thought it didn’t pertain to me, I’ve never had bed bugs”.
“Well sweetie, you basically agreed that if you didn’t find bed bugs within 48 hours of you moving in and you should discover them any time after that, you get to flip the bill to get rid of them. AND, if a unit surrounding you complains after you do, you get to flip the bill for them too!”
“Don’t beat yourself up girl, I fell for it to!”
Consider this a lesson learned. However, it gets worse.
Being handed an addendum stating you (a layperson who is not trained in insects) have to do an inspection for insects that you have no clue what they are or look like, or signs of and advise management of any bed bugs in the unit within 48 hours is not even possible for a tenant and here’s why:
The owner is asking a tenant (layperson) to do an inspection that in most states requires a license to do so. In many states, a home inspector can’t perform an inspection for termites and other pests unless he or she has a license to do so.
In states that don’t require inspectors to be licensed, you still need to make certain that the inspector you choose has some education, training, or experience in dealing with insects and pests in multi-unit properties.
Yes, you heard it right. A tenant (layperson) is not qualified to inspect, so how would they expect or hold a tenant responsible to inspect when anyone that does inspections requires either an education or a professional license?
Second, the unit (in most situations) has been cleaned, painted or new carpet installed. Any leftover signs of bed bugs have been scrubbed or painted over and “if” there were bed bugs in the unit, they now have hidden themselves in, behind or in inaccessible areas where even a professional could not find signs of them.
These types of cases are hitting the courts and unfortunately for owners, they are losing and the tenants are winning.
I just received another call from a woman who resides in an apartment complex who just discovered bed bugs. She refuses to tell the landlord she has seen bed bugs because she signed a Bed Bug Addendum and is fully aware that will hold her responsible to pay for treatment. I asked her how she knew the bed bugs weren’t coming in from a surrounding unit and she replied, “I don’t care where they are coming from, I just want them gone!”
Even after me advising her to contact her landlord or property management group immediately because they may be coming in from a surrounding unit; she stated, “I’m not playing that game with them, I am going to the store and is doing it myself. All she wanted to know from me was what worked and what didn’t when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs. I basically told her to get out her steamer and go to work.
This type of situation is so much more common than not. Hundreds of tenants across the nation are self-treating with the thought in mind, that a spray here and there is going to get rid of bed bugs. AGAIN – non educated laypersons DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. The very same people that the landlord is holding responsible for “inspecting” for bed bugs when they move in.
Yet another backfire for the landlord. Bed bugs will threaten the structural integrity of the whole building not by “eating their way through like other insects like Termites”, but by filling the wall voids, cracks and crevices with hundreds and thousands of eggs (which eventually hatch and seek out a blood meal).
She will continue to force them into the wall voids and further spread them throughout the building. When others complain, the owner will run around trying to hold someone else responsible when in essence, the “building” will have a problem which is ultimately the owner responsibility with or without tenants.
You can see why it is ridicules to hold a tenant responsible; it will always backfire. So property owners, what are you doing out there? Without doing your due diligence of regular professional inspections using scent detection dog teams and educating your tenants, you lose every time.
I know because it is YOUR TENANTS that are calling me.
I’ve even received calls from landlords that literally walked away from their buildings because the cost for remediation of structural bed bug problems were greater than they could afford and the bank took it back.
Even though there is no law requiring you to get an insect inspection, it’s just the smart thing to do, considering the investment in the building. I believe in the future, banks and mortgage lenders will require regular bed bug inspections to protect its interest.
Reach out – we are here to help!
www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332 888-9NOBEDBUGS
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136462 M-r-r technique and the use of pitfall-style interceptors are effective methods for studying bed bug movement under field conditions and to estimate bed bug populations. Nymphs and adult bed bugs of both sexes are very mobile and travel extensively throughout apartments. Bed bugs have the ability to disperse from occupied and vacant apartments to neighboring apartments. Bed bugs can survive at least 4.5 months of starvation at field conditions. These findings have important implications on bed bug management and eradication programs. Movement of bed bugs away from predictable locations such as beds and upholstered furniture within apartments may complicate control efforts, making it more difficult to eradicate bed bugs and determine when infestations have been eliminated. The active dispersal of bed bugs between apartments suggests inspecting surrounding units, including apartments across the hallway from known infestations, is necessary.