Bed Bug Lessons for the Newbie Landlord – Part 2
Bed Bug infestations don’t happen overnight.
The average time from “introduction” of one female that lays eggs, to an early infestation level is approximately 9-12 weeks with regular blood meals, proper temperatures and humidity.
It’s always wise to address them as early as possible to avoid a full-fledged infestation.
If a tenant has bed bugs for a period of around 6 months, they’ve had the chance to go through many breeding cycles and begin their exponential growth.
Unlike other bugs, bed bugs are cryptic in nature and don’t hang out like other bugs do.
To begin with, and as a survival mechanism, they tend to stay close to where they can get regular blood meals.
That happens to be in beds or places where they have easy access to a blood meal such as easy chairs and recliners. [or other places where people tend to spend time resting]
They don’t want to be across the room in your desk or dresser drawers or closets. [unless you move them there].
The female likes to lay her eggs so that the miniscule, vulnerable baby doesn’t have far to go to reach its first meal.
Once disturbed, they will find other places to hide. [behind baseboards, wallboards, under carpet tack strips, window edges, floor boards]
So, its important to acknowledge first signs of bed bugs [bites, stains, cast skins], and deal with them before they have the chance to grow and spread.
How to Keep the Infestations from Spreading
What You Need to Do
Whether your doing-it-yourself or not, don’t attempt it without knowing what you are doing.
These are not your average bug.
First, call one of our experienced IBBRA bed bug experts.
They should be able to provide you our Layered Defense Strategy©.
This will cover both proactive and preventative protocols.
Not all pest control companies have this information or experience.
Second, make sure you have a plan in place.
Educate your management group, maintenance team and your tenants.
Don’t avoid talking about bed bugs.
Ignoring them will only make it worse.
Next, create a hierarchy within your organization.
Who does what, when and why.
Whenever you should get a complaint, always, always, always, have surrounding units inspected. [regardless of fear, guilt, shame or embarrassment]
Get over it! I cannot stress this more.
There is nothing shameful about someone picking up a bed bug hitchhiker.
Just like fleas, flies, mosquitoes, rats and cockroaches; they are a fact of life.
And, the #1 reason bed bugs spread is, treating a single unit. [without inspecting surrounding units]
Bed Bug Lawsuit Risks Are on the Rise
America’s landlords are experiencing huge lawsuits over:
- Ignoring bed bug problems in their properties
- Neglecting to completely rid the bed bug problem
- Allowing tenants to move into already infested units
- Tenants getting sick from pesticides
And, if you’re not doing regular inspections, how would you know if your units have bed bugs?
Absentee Landlords – Out of Sight – Out of Mind
Many property owners invest in properties in other states.
They hire management groups to maintain the property and collect rents.
These management groups get paid a percentage and must follow budgets.
If they stay in budget, at the end of the year, they get a bonus.
When bed bugs get out of hand, they can cost a pretty penny and carve into that budget.
We’ve seen many of these management groups cut corners by using a band-aid approach to stay in budget.
If you have a management group without a program in place, you risk bed bugs popping up all over the building.
And without further ado, a serious drain in your budget.
Band-aids Approaches Don’t Work for Bed Bugs!
If your management group lacks bed bug education, they can cause you plenty of problems.
- Train and create a hierarchy
- Put a prevention program in place
- Have policies and procedures in place
- And have REGULAR inspections!
Your tenants are as human as you and their risk is no different than yours.
Handing a piece of paper with limited bed bug information will find its way unread, in the middle of the lease papers, tucked away in someone’s desk drawer.
Owners are not making it part of their protocols.
What smart landlords are doing is addressing bed bugs up front with their tenants.
Many landlords direct their tenants to read “Think like a Bed Bug” for bed bug awareness with their tenants. It’s FREE in Amazon Kindle.
Ask lots of questions:
- Have you ever had bed bugs before?
- How bad was the problem?
- How long ago was the problem?
- When is the last time you had your belongings checked for bed bugs?
Give all your tenant’s educational policy and procedures materials. Cover all aspects of bed bugs including risks and what NOT TO DO should they suspect them.
Take the shame and blame away from your tenants.
You will find they are more likely to not fear you and come to you with a problem before it gets out of hand.
In part 3, we will share a lesson well learned by a property owner and his bed bug experience.
We’re here to help! Bed Bug Hotline 888-966-2332
9th Annual IBBRA International Bed Bug Awareness April 2018
In March of 2009, the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA), successfully launched and celebrated their first official Bed Bug Awareness which made a difference in many people’s lives.
Raising this type of awareness is a habit for us.
And we find it important every day throughout the year.
The Bed Bug Hotline targets bed bug education to encompass a host of different living styles, settings and human behaviors habits.
The volume and intensity of bed bug infestations, accompanied by the amount of people affected worldwide, is surging by hundreds and thousands each year.
Many are still not aware that they could ever get bed bugs.
We hope that this greater awareness and knowledge will lead to earlier detection.
Doing so, results in less financial, social and emotional suffering.
As part of our combined Bed Bug Task Force we explore the various issues surrounding bed bugs.
With this, we are confident and expecting to encourage and empower the creation of new laws, policies and procedures to serve our communities.
- Raise awareness and support efforts of others to educate people about bed bugs, including risk factors, prevention and early detection
- Support, assist, provide for, and encourage better leadership on joint federal, state, and local levels
- Enhance legislative initiatives, organization and workforce strategies to best serve our communities
- Share the IBBRA proven standards, policies, procedures and unbiased bed bug addendums for low housing and multi-unit rented properties
- Help address and respond appropriately with a responsibility action, to any issue or event of bed bug infestation negligence which could cause harm to the public’s health
- Educate and inform people to ask questions, and be able to recognize proper treatment solutions vs. those that are inappropriate or dangerous
- Assist schools, churches and other organizations with the IBBRA’s “Be Aware – Not Scare” fundraiser program and “Lunch and Learns”
- Assist those who have accomplished significant and successful actions that minimize negative impacts of bed bugs throughout their community. Pay tribute to recipients that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship through outstanding leadership
- Empower everyone by uniting the caring power of people worldwide
- Support others’ awareness efforts with a unified voice
Talk about bed bugs!
Teach people what NOT TO DO and assist them towards safe, efficacious treatment options.
We can’t do this alone!
How you can help
We’re are reaching out to all that know about bed bugs, have experienced bed bugs, kill or play with bed bugs, detect bed bugs, teach about bed bugs or just plain hate bed bugs to speak up and talk about them!
Share your knowledge or come to us for help.
We invite you to help Raise Bed Bug Awareness and please Contact Us for more information about ways to get involved!
Thank you for your interest and time!
International Bed Bug Resource Authority
Bed Bug Lessons for the Newbie Landlord -Part 1
So, you’re the newbie property owner on the block.
With great interest rates, a low-down payment and occupied units, you can realize a nice income.
Yet, there are new lessons for the newbie landlord that may drain that income if you’re not cautious.
Here’s some bed bug lessons for the newbie landlord.
Creating a Safe Habitable Environment
Most seasoned landlords understand the Implied Warranty of Habitability.
In order not to breach this warranty, you as a new owner’s responsibility under this warranty is:
- Maintain the property as required by housing code
- Make necessary repairs to keep it habitable
- And make sure that it remains habitable during the term of the lease
Meaning, everything offered must be in working condition.
These things include:
- Hot and cold running water
- Working appliances
- Working electricity
- Heat in the winter
- Locking doors and windows
- Working toilets
- Smoke detectors
- And more…
Moreover, the property must be free of pests like rats, cockroaches and now, bed bugs.
Big Concerns – Bed Bugs
With tenants, aside from getting a bad one, you have big concerns –bed bugs.
Forget the blame game or trying to hold the tenant financially responsible and realize anyone can get bed bugs at any time.
Pointing the finger will ALWAYS backfire on you.
And here’s why:
- It creates great shame and embarrassment for your tenant
- Tenants feel dirty and ostracized
- Tenants hide the fact they have them and self-treat
- It’s hard to “prove” beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are responsible [of course unless you have a program in place]
We have seen this happen time and time again.
Understand that your tenants will come and go.
But, the property will remain yours to maintain with or without tenants.
How would you know if?
- A previous tenant had bed bugs and even they didn’t know it?
o Many people are not affected by their bites.
And unless you inspect the unit for bed bugs BEFORE your tenant moves out and BEFORE you rent to a new tenant, you will be responsible.
- How do you know that one of your maintenance workers didn’t bring a bed bug into a tenant’s unit?
o Maintenance may visit many units daily.
If they are not trained to look for the signs of bed bugs, they could transport them on their personal clothing.
- How do you know if an adjoining unit doesn’t have a serious infestation? And now they are moving through the structures?
o If you’re not doing at least quarterly inspections, bed bugs can build into “infestation” levels.
- What if common areas have a bed bug problem?
They are often found in laundry rooms, reading rooms, cubicles or chairs in lounging areas.
How Bed Bugs Take Over Whole Buildings
Failure to prepare your building and educate your staff and tenants for bed bugs can get you in trouble.
There are hundreds of buildings across the nation that now have serious “structural” bed bug problems.
This is because they didn’t learn how to get rid of bed bugs properly and didn’t pay attention to what they were doing.
You may even have an uneducated pest control company that treats only one unit at a time and doesn’t inspect surrounding units.
Remember, it only takes one female bed bug to begin what potentially can take over a whole building.
Things That Will Get You in Trouble
A common bed bug “knee jerk” reaction for a landlord is to spray chemicals as a solution.
After all, chemicals are the least expensive way to go and saves on your budget.
Often times, this service is provided by the owner or maintenance people and not a professional.
What happens here is this:
You go online and look up, “how to get rid of bed bugs”.
And find a multitude of how to’s and a long list of chemicals.
Tenants needs to prepare their unit before you treat.
So, you find a prep sheet and ask your tenants to “prepare” their unit for a treatment.
Now, you can’t control how your tenant lives.
What is clean to one person, isn’t clean to another.
As an aside, hopefully, they are not hoarders or have lots of clutter.
Many of these lists contain things like, remove bedding and linens from bed, separate mattress from box springs AND place mattresses up against the wall.
FACT: Bed bugs do not like to be disturbed.
Once disturbed, they tend to move to find a quiet, undisturbed place to harbor.
FACT: Bed bugs have developed resistance to most commonly used chemicals.
- You will never be able to take a census and ask the bed bugs to raise their hands if they are resistant to certain chemicals.
- It becomes a process of “let’s see what works”.
- If the bugs are not affected, or are resistant, they are forced to scatter away from the chemical.
- This is why bed bug bombs don’t work. The product can’t reach areas where bed bugs hide.
- Bed bugs are sensitive to chemicals smells, and causes them to move from the smells and hide even deeper.
FACT: Chemicals don’t kill the egg stage.
- If there are any eggs hidden, eventually, they will hatch [in approximately 7 to 10 days] forcing yet another treatment to kill the instars.
FACT: Many people overuse chemicals.
- There’s something about our human nature that thinks if “one is good – ten must be better”.
- People tend to overuse insecticides causing layers upon layers that contributes to toxic environments.
- There have been reports of tenants and in a couple of cases even pest control that overused a chemical and it leaked into a surrounding unit and caused harm to other occupants.
- Seniors with suppressed immune systems, COPD and especially children and pets are sensitive to any chemicals.
So, initiate some policies against the use of any chemical spray by tenants in your units!
And if you’re really smart, leave it to the pros!
In part 2 we talk about how and why bed bugs spread so easily in multi-unit properties and how to keep infestations from spreading.
We’re here to help! Bed Bug Hotline 888-966-2332
2017 Gratitude and Passion Led Us Here
We say goodbye to 2017 with gratitude and passion while we embrace yet another new year.
There have been incredible leaps forward and very frustrating setbacks this past year, but I’m always reminded of why we do what we do.
While we say goodbye to 2017, the first thing on my mind is how grateful I am for the experience.
I want to thank all of our members for their role in advancing bed bug education to all their clients. Many of these issues that were once nonexistent and rare, yet now, have become an everyday occurrence for many.
I have sincere gratitude for the opportunity to have served so many and gratitude for having made it through the challenges of 2017 stronger than the previous year.
Gratitude to those who trusted me with their embarrassment and shame when it came to their bed bug problems.
I have immense gratitude for the love and support of my amazing friends, and colleagues, family, sisters, grandchildren and my companion Kona whose unconditional love keeps me going each day.
2017 Bed Bug Recap
I’ve noticed this year, that more and more people are walking away from using chemicals. I’ve even seen pros reaching out to other pros asking what works, because what they have in their arsenal is failing.
My passion for people, has caused me to help those who cannot afford a professional treatment with sound, non-toxic methods to keep their families safe while getting rid of their bed bug problem.
Do-it-yourselfers, have ranked high in search engines this past year, all surveying affordable ways to combat their bed bug problems.
The bed bug issues in multi-unit properties are becoming much more serious. We’ve seen more problems with management and owners allowing new tenants to move into infested units and are not taking responsibility.
On the flipside, many multi-unit property owners and management are purchasing their own heat equipment and further educating their tenants in order to cut down on infestations.
Heater rentals for those who can’t afford professionals are spreading across the nation.
I believe this new year will be packed full of even more challenges with bed bugs and the people who get them.
My 2018 Intentions
My intentions for 2018 is to be there to the best of my ability for those who need help, recommendations or just a listening ear.
To help others fill the gaps, supply well-needed education and materials to my members.
To hopefully, make a difference with all I come in contact with this new year.
I am so grateful for having the opportunity to go back to complete my schooling in nutrition.
Many of you know I’ve studied health and nutrition since I was young and have always had a great passion in the field.
Eating for most is even a bigger problem worldwide than bed bugs because it can cause serious health issues.
The obesity rates and growing type 2 diabetes are significantly higher than ever and growing daily.
And not for just adults, children as well.
Having lost so many family members and friends to debilitating diseases, I only wish I knew then, what I know now.
As an Integrative Nutritional Health Coach, I work with people to help them find their way back to healthy eating. This helps them heal from years of poor eating, along with helps with weight issues, obesity and a multitude of inflammatory diseases that plagues over 50% of our nation.
Interestingly, in order to get health insurance in other countries, they measure your waistline to see if you are overweight. If you are, your insurance premiums are higher. It is anticipated that this will happen in the US.
My Wishes for You
From the bottom of my heart, I wish for all of you, emotional healing, good health, the love and respect from family, friends, co-workers and clients.
So let’s all take on this new year with a fresh start, peace in your heart and have a prosperous New Year!
Biggest Bed Bug Secret –
Anytime bed bugs enter our lives is an unlucky time, but during winter it adds even more stress.
Parts of the US experience freezing temperatures for months on end.
When temperatures plummet, bed bugs still enjoy the warm temperature of our homes.
Bed Bugs Cause Emotional and Financial Stress
It’s well known that treating for bed bugs is a chore.
Especially if you’re having a chemical treatment done.
It takes dismantling whole rooms while going through boxes of accumulated stuff to get rid of clutter. Then, washing and bagging everything in drawers and emptying whole closets.
Not to mention, this goes on for weeks while your whole life is turned topsy turvy.
And it’s not something anyone would want to do during the holidays, that’s for sure.
If you decide to do it yourself, on top of all this above, you have added challenges. You need to know how to apply all the elements of elimination properly.
You have to know the life cycle and nature of the bed bug. All of this is needed, so that you provide a good killing action for all stages of their life cycle.
If you don’t know these things, please do not attempt to do it yourself.
Living on a Shoe String
The staggering amount of families in the US that make less than 40,000 is growing, as the middle class is diminishing.
A recent caller from New York sobbed while she explained her electric bill was tripled.
However, keeping her family warm took precedence over trying to afford a professional to get rid of bed bugs. She needed help and was begging for a solution.
Getting to People BEFORE a Bed Bug Solution is Needed
If only we could reach the majority of people to teach them the secret to avoiding bed bugs in the first place. Ah, in a perfect world!
It’s no different than getting those with type 2 diabetes and obesity to watch what they’re eating.
None of this is rocket science but it does take education.
People tend to wait until they have the problem before they start paying attention.
And when speaking with many of them, they have that Aha moment only after they’ve exhausted fruitless attempts of elimination.
Biggest Bed Bug Secret
Bed bugs are easy to get rid of when they are first introduced.
So, doing regular inspections alone, is the number one biggest secret to bed bugs.
Find them early and you’ll NEVER have an infestation.
Problem: People tend not to notice bed bug problems because they don’t tend to their beds regularly.
Change your sheets often!
Whether or not you are affected by bed bug bites, you still need to check for them on a regularly.
This is something that people need to be doing weekly, if not more.
Especially important when apartment living or a large family with lots of people coming and going.
Because bed bugs can be picked up anywhere, at any time, one or two can easily make it into your beds.
Finding Signs of Bed Bugs
Lucky you! You found early signs of bed bugs. To me, that means that you reviewed educational materials and know the signs of them.
If affordability is a problem, you do have options. But, there are a few things that you need to know before you start tearing everything apart.
Disturbing bed bugs will spread them to other places. Be very cautious not to.
Don’t Throw Away Your Furniture!
There is absolutely no reason to throw away your furniture because you saw a bug.
Everything is treatable.
Besides, while dragging your items out of the house, you may drop a bed bug in other areas of your house.
Don’t Use Bed Bug Bombs!
They don’t work and will spread them. Recently, a person used nine  of them in the attempts of getting rid of bed bugs. It caused a lethal explosion that blew out windows and killed their cat.
Don’t Use Store Bought Sprays!
Most of the sprays on the market are contact killers and unless you spray the bug direct, they are useless.
Also, bed bugs have developed a resistance to most of the commonly used pesticides and fail in killing the bed bugs. And last, these sprays do not kill the egg stage and will only leave them behind to hatch.
Learn the Professional and Safe Way of Eliminating Bed Bugs
Put together by IBBRA professionals, for $4.99 on Amazon [instant download] are all the bedbug secrets.
You’ll find all the tips and tricks of bed bugs elimination in the book, “How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on a Tight Budget”.
This book walks you through discovery through each step of careful elimination process and the tools you need.
Reach out, we are always here to help! 888-966-2332
Bed Bugs – Are They Worth Burning Down the House? Bed bugs are well-known as one of the most difficult of all pest to eradicate. And it is always best if you hire a professional, but in many cases, people can’t afford one.
Do-it-Yourself Bed Bug Treatments Growing in Importance
So, you turn to the Internet and search for “How to get rid of bed bugs, or bed bug killers.” And with one click, hundreds of do-it-yourself ideas and methods pop up.
Unfortunately, rubbing alcohol is right up there with Diatomaceous Earth and Bed Bug Bombs. Through extensive testing, even professional products are moderately effective at controlling these pests.
Alcohol and Bed Bugs
This assumption and misuse of alcohol has been the source of many house and apartment fires. From what you read, you can assume if you saturate a mattress or couch, it will kill the bed bugs. This can be no further from the truth.
Alcohol doesn’t kill the egg stage, dries quickly, leaving no residual or further control. And because it is highly flammable, it’s hardly worth burning down the house.
We’ve heard people confess they used two and sometimes three gallons of alcohol and still had bed bugs and couldn’t figure out why.
Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs Myself?
Important! “If” you see the bug, you can kill the bug. Problem with bed bugs, is that they are extremely good at hiding. Bed bugs are much easier to eliminate closest to their introduction phase. But, if you’ve had them for a while [4-5-6 months], and if you’ve been self-treating, it may be very difficult.
There are techniques that can kill bed bugs on contact, but proper application is important. You have to find and directly hit the bug in order to kill it. However, it’s those hidden in cracks and crevices, behind baseboards, or under carpet edges or behind walls that present a problem. And without knowing which products are used and the exact strategy, people often fail.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Without Burning Down the House
You do have a fighting chance of getting rid of bed bugs on your own, but it is going to take education, patience and a lot of hard work. (Especially if you’ve had bed bugs for more than a few months).
We wrote a book outlining each step of proper bed bug elimination starting with what you need to know about their nature. It’s like understanding your enemy and all their tactics before you go to war. This prepares you so you can find all their hiding places for complete elimination.
Then, it walks you into a step by step procedure so that you don’t miss a beat. It’s called, “How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on a Tight Budget”. You can even get it for FREE on Kindle.
The best part is, if you have any questions or don’t understand anything, you can reach out to the IBBRA for answers. We also encourage people to share the information they’ve learned with friends and families.
We are always here to help!
Bed Bugs – When and Why Chemical Treatments Fail
Since the mid-nineties, bed bugs have increased in the most pernicious way. This grueling pest challenges even the most experienced professional and we are understanding more about why chemical treatments fail.
With the most significant challenges coming from frequent layering of chemical treatments.
Whether you’re getting a professional treatment, or you’re attempting do-it-yourself; there are things that are necessary, no, mandatory, in order to eliminate them completely. Bed bug control requires a comprehensive treatment program and a lot of “out of the box thinking”.
Having been an “occasional” bug for many decades, few professionals understood them and education was extremely limited. They either learned about them from old timers or obtained information that trickled down through pest magazines, product manufacturers or seminars.
The reality for the general public wasn’t more than an old saying “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” from many years back. The IBBRA provides this education together with a Bed Bug Hotline to help.
Bed bugs are a unique day-to-day challenge because they are so unlike other common pests. You can’t set traps, like with rats. The only lure they’re attracted to is blood. Monitors and baits don’t work; and they’ve developed serious resistance issues to the most commonly used chemicals.
Cost of Treatments
Chemicals are the most popular treatment because of the cost. Demographics show, the median household income ranged from $40,037 to $75,675. And our call log shows the majority of those with an income of 60K or lower normally choose chemical (and DIY) because of its affordability. That’s close to 68% of the nation’s consumers.
Problems with Chemicals
Chemicals don’t kill bed bug eggs. You have to “wait” until they hatch. In the right conditions (temperature and humidity) this can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days or longer. This is why chemical treatments are normally scheduled around 12 to 15 days apart. Meanwhile, you need to remain the victim for all the newly hatched until the next treatment.
What happens in-between that time can make a significant difference. The bed bugs can be transferred to other parts of the dwelling. You can bring more in from work or travel, or can spread through the wall in environments like apartments or condominiums.
Growing Resistance Issues
The constant re-application of the same chemicals has caused growing concerns in resistance, so protocols need adjusting. Depending on who’s using what and how much, the scope of resistance varies from community to community.
This is not only a problem for technicians to figure out, but when left in the hands of a non-professional that has no training in the application of chemicals, proves completely futile.
Ranking high on the problem list is, improper inspections. Here’s some examples:
- Not spending enough time doing a proper inspection.
- Not identifying the insect properly.
- Not doing follow-up inspections
This process is extremely detailed in fact, you need to understand the client’s and family’s lifestyles. Things like, where they work, where they go, do they travel regularly, how many people in the home, do they have guests often, dwelling conditions and so much more. Proper inspections take time and a whole lot of effort, not fifteen minutes.
Puzzle Pieces that Don’t Fit
Finding hidden bed bugs, especially in early introduction, is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Someone might be being bitten, or breaking out with some sort of rash, yet no signs of the suspected bed bugs can be found. I often hear stories that pest control decided to “spray anyway” as a means to a prophylactic treatment.
How do you know your client might not have hives or an allergy if you can’t find evidence of any bug? It’s pretty much against the rules (for professionals) to be using any chemical without knowing the pest you’re treating for.
Inadequate Preparation for Treatment
Ranking very high on the list and of the biggest reasons so many bed bug treatments fail, is lack of, or inadequate preparation. Most people are handed a list of prep instructions that may or may not be applicable to the length of time bed bugs have been present, lifestyle or conditions of the dwelling.
Bed bugs represent something different for everyone. Knowing the “conditions” of the dwelling helps design a proper protocol.
When people have excess amounts of items, time restraints becomes an issue. We get calls from people all the time full of anxiety because they can’t possibly get everything done in time for their scheduled treatment appointment.
Excessive Personal Items or Clutter
Treating for bed bugs is a focused and targeted process. Clutter or an exceptionally large number of personal items present an even greater challenge. With stacks of boxes, piles of personal items or excessive “knick-knack” items in the way or exposed, can resolve in a total waste of time, materials and effort.
Disassembling Beds, Moving Mattresses
Bed bugs hate to be disturbed. If left up to the client to disassemble and move or stack their mattresses, scattering of bed bugs becomes a problem. Movement of anything more than sheets and soft bedding should be avoided until pest control is there to remediate the situation.
Some people are told to “bag” up whole closets, empty drawers, and linen closets. Without running them in a hot dryer or sealing them with a pest strip in a tote, can also cause a failure problem. If bed bugs were on any of those items, after treatment when bags are opened, the chance of “re-infestation” may happen. In actuality, it isn’t always a re-infestation, but possibly bed bugs on articles hidden in bags. Everything needs to be checked thoroughly, and possibly treated before placing in bags.
This talks loud. The lack of experience for some pest control and education for the client is of utmost importance. Depending upon the extent of the infestation, how long they’ve been present, clutter, possible shared walls in multi-unit properties, the game always changes.
Chemical treatment for bedbugs doesn’t stop after a couple of sprays. You can achieve a good knock down (if you don’t have resistant strains), but if any eggs are left behind to hatch after the last spraying, you now have the potential of starting all over again.
Not Inspecting Adjoining Units in Multi-unit Structures
We see and hear of this as one of the all-time high problems. Naïve, ignorant or cheap property owners respond to a tenant complaint and want only the complaining tenant’s unit treated.
Chemical treatments can drive the bed bugs further into the wall voids and move them to surrounding units. Moreover, the cause of a tenant’s problem may be coming from a surrounding unit.
Unless proper inspections are performed in surrounding units, one never knows if the incident is an isolated one.
Quick review of key reasons of failure rates using chemicals for bed bug treatments:
- Chemicals Don’t Kill Egg Stage (causing repeated treatments)
- Growing Resistance Issues (causing repeated treatments)
- Proper Inspections Required (finding all hiding spots)
- Inadequate Preparation (causing rescheduling costs or missed spots)
- Excessive Personal Items or Clutter (causing excessive treatments)
- Disassembling Beds, Moving Mattresses by Client (causing spreading)
- Re-infestations (Opening bags before bed bugs die)
- Thorough Education
- Follow-up Inspections
- Not Inspecting Adjoining Units in Multiunit Structures
This whole chemical process is a laborious task for the bed bug victim. In many cases, is literally impossible for elderly, handicap or the mentally unstable to complete what is needed to prepare for treatment. Likewise, this whole process often overwhelms them to the point of creating added anxiety for both pest control and themselves.
Changing Up Perspectives
As time passes, more resistance builds, and chemical treatments fail, we’ll will have no choice but to forget the chemical way of treating and begin a more 21st century approach like CimeXa and heat. We’ll talk more about the benefits of heat and why it may be the most innovative solution for bed bugs in our next blog.
We’re always here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
The Smoke and Mirrors of Bed Bug Products
Learn about the best home treatments for bed bugs. Just open any cabinet under the sink in a kitchen, on a shelf in a broom closet or garage, or in the bathroom and you can find an array of products for every kind of surface or need.
Savvy marketing will create a well-planned, seductive story that will entice the buyer to spend money on their product over others. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is how products are sold.
Everyone is searching for a solution to some kind of problem. People are influenced by videos, voice, music or pictures of “if you use our product” your life could be wonderful…
These aphrodisiacs are flashed across TV, Magazine pages, newspapers, web sites, labels or billboard advertisements to create the longing for such products that increase the “I want and need that!”
Of course there is always a fine line between reality and the gray line of marketing of how every product really works. However, people are easily seduced if the clever marketer can tap into dreams and aspirations of the buyer to induce the sale.
The words “may and can” are often used to hide the fact that if they were to say “will “or “guaranteed to” will get them in trouble with the FTC if they can’t substantiate or back up their claim. Many half-truths are found on labels, advertising and marketing materials.
Here’s an example from my past as a nutritional supplement manufacturer. There is so much deception in that field and you must be careful what you purchase.
Anyone can put a product on the market by going to a contract manufacturer. Matter of fact, most of them already has pre-designed products for private labeling. All you have to do is create your labels, purchase a minimum and start marketing.
Let’s say you put Vitamin E in the product that is fat-soluble and plays an important role as an antioxidant that protects the heart. Since Vitamin E is a big seller, you create an advertising and marketing campaign around all the benefits of Vitamin E. You put PROTECTS HEART on the front of your label and that is what people see that entices them to buy your product to “protect” their heart.
Now, you’re not exactly lying because there is a scant amount of Vitamin E in the product BUT you never tested your own particular product (not required by law) but now you are now selling snake oil to the masses that doesn’t know any better. All people can go by is what is on the label and if you bend the truth a little, they will never know.
You just created a false sense of security for anyone who purchases your product with the dream of protecting their heart by taking it. After all, you told them the Vitamin E on your label will. That is how easy people are sucked into buying products.
Each year, our consumer division reviews bed bug products and gives them either a thumbs up or down depending upon the efficacy, testing, need and value, and rates them from one to five stars. So keep your hands on your pocketbook for now and learn what does and doesn’t work and why.
We are here to help you make informed decisions and to determine the safest and lowest-impact control methods for bed bug problems.
Out of total desperation, people today will literally buy anything that has BED BUGS in big bold letters on the label.
You’ll read the words KILLS BED BUGS and grab it up. Yep that’s what you want, to kill bed bugs! Without restraint you hand over your hard earned money and head home in the attempt to eliminate all the bed bugs from your life.
Learning How to Read a Label is Really Important
There are around 32,800,000 results online for learning how to read food labels yet every product that the consumer uses has a label that needs to be understood.
If you were to continue to read the label on most of the bed bug products, the words “on contact” are slipped in! Just spend time in a hardware store one day reading labels and you will see all the tricky words and expressions used to entice your buying.
So in the mind of the unsuspecting buyer, he or she is assuming that if they buy the product and spray it, it will kill all the bed bugs on contact!
And in most cases it will, (so will drowning it with just about any liquid), but what they don’t tell you is, you have to (find every bed bug) spray it directly on the bug (making CONTACT) or you will be wasting the contents and the cost of it by arbitrarily spraying it all over surfaces.
You have to understand – you must find every bed bugs hiding spot
I recently heard from a young woman that read alcohol kills bed bugs, so she purchased four quarts (a full gallon) worth of 91% alcohol and sprayed it everywhere! She couldn’t understand why she still had bed bugs.
Sure, if she saw a bed bug and sprayed it directly, it would die, (in most cases), BUT spraying a full gallon of alcohol on all her furniture or belongings will only dissipate over time and does not leave any active residual.
KNOW THIS: Bed bugs are cryptic (hidden) by nature and normally won’t be hanging out on surfaces where people spray insecticides. So the importance of using any type of spray whether it is natural or chemical is – getting the product into all areas where the bugs are hiding.
Let’s suppose you spray all the baseboards behind your bed (upper and lower) and carpet edges. When you were spraying, you didn’t see any bed bugs, but sprayed it anyway with the thought that you were killing all the bed bugs.
“If” the product contained an ingredient that acts as a residual and leaves a lasting film or substance on the surface. Then, if it crosses over that barrier picks up the residual it may work on killing it. That is how most synthetic chemicals work that contains residuals (unfortunately there are proven resistance issues with them).
Whether it is a synthetic chemical or non-toxic, look for both field and clinical or University studies and most importantly consumer reviews that prove efficacy of the product so you don’t waste your money. And remember, these sprays don’t kill the eggs so within time, the eggs will hatch and the baby nymphs will be hungry.
Also, know that any product can show a positive result from a test because it was PAID for, so look for products that have positive reviews from either lots of consumers or pest professionals that are actually using it successfully with their clients.
As always, no matter what product you use, (cleaners, cosmetics, or pest products) look at it with a “Buyer Beware” attitude. Look at warranties – will you get your money back if the product doesn’t work as stated?
Bed Bug Bombs
Another product that has very poor results is BED BUG BOMBS. You can find plenty of BEWARE of BED BUG BOMBS all over the Internet. It is well known that these can spread the bed bugs further and are known as a complete waste of money.
Even the EPA warns against the use of these.
Effectiveness of Foggers
Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of total release foggers against bed bugs. Bed bugs often hide, especially during the day. The pesticides used in total release foggers must contact the pest to kill it, so if the material does not reach where the bed bug is hiding, the bed bug will not be killed.
Mattress encasements: Here’s a product that you can find all over the Internet, and at just about any store you could shop at today. Are they any good you ask? Sure, when I purchased my new mattress, the first thing I did was get a mattress encasement to protect it against sweat, dust mites, spills (my grandchildren, pets) allergens and more.
Mattress encasements were designed to protect mattresses and box springs and in the last decade have become very popular for the use in bed bug control. The encasement doesn’t control or get rid of bed bugs, nor does it protect against you introducing bed bugs. It really hasn’t anything to do with bed bugs, but does protect your investment.
They do protect bed bugs from getting into the seams, piping, grommets, pillow tops and any other comfortable hidden areas of the mattress and box springs. That’s all for protection folks! Do they have a value for that? You bet ya, which adds up to one less thing to have to treat and/or possibly replace somewhere down the line should you get bed bugs.
Get What you Pay For
Another reason they are used in bed bug control is after treatment they are applied just in case there are a few stragglers left. Many professionals will insists you get an encasement as part of their service. If any live bed bugs or eggs are left behind, they will keep them from coming out to bite and will eventually cause them to die.
Some people when having to dress several beds in a home go for the cheap versions of these. Beware of thin plastic materials that tear easily and protect edges that meet with the frame with soft cloths or tape to resist tears. Always check for tears on corners where they meet up with the metal or wood frames because bed bugs can take up harborage inside.
So if anyone tells you that they are a must – think again. But in my professional opinion, a must have for anyone that has a bed for more than just bed bugs.
Chemically Impregnated Sheets or Liners
Another form of a good sales pitch is Impregnated sheets or liners. Just because impregnated clothing and fabrics were used in the military for years, who says they were safe? Many of our military men suffer from horrible diseases and medical conditions and no one knows why. Could it have been what they were exposed to on their clothing and environment while in the military?
Today, people are much more aware of what they subject their bodies and environment to. A conscientious effort is being made in the manufacturing of furniture and bedding, the foods we eat and products we use. Face it, the GREEN movement is growing by leaps and bounds and for good reasons.
These are some questions and thoughts from callers regarding impregnated sheets and liners.
- If these sheets or liners are impregnated with a chemical (pyrethrins) which bed bugs are known to be resistant to, then why should I spend my money on them?
- Whether or not a sheet or blanket is covered over the impregnated sheet or liner, can the chemical be transferred or absorbed by the human laying in it?
- I want to get into my bed knowing I am not going to be bitten. Why apply something that has an 80% kill ratio over time, or may cut down their egg laying ability, when you can use heat or a steamer and kill them all on contact?
Read this from the Pesticide Research Institute
There are more than 300 pesticide products approved for use against bed bugs; most of these contain compounds called pyrethroids as the active ingredient. Many bed bug populations have developed resistance to pyrethroids and their botanically derived cousins, pyrethrins. Some bed bug pesticides are restricted for use only by licensed pest-control professionals. In general, professionals have the resources and experience to apply pesticides more effectively than residents can do on their own.
Pyrethroids are toxic to the nervous systems of people and pets (especially cats). They can also act as sensitizers, causing allergic reactions and asthma in some people. Some chemicals in this group show potential for long-term reproductive impacts through endocrine disruption. US EPA has classified permethrin as a probable carcinogen, and bioallethrin and bifenthrin as possible carcinogens. Bifenthrin is also a reproductive and developmental toxin. Most products containing pyrethroids also contain a synergist that increases the insecticidal activity of the pyrethroid. Typical synergists include piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and N-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide. US EPA considers both of these synergists’ possible carcinogens. In some areas resistance is an issue for treatment effectiveness.
Learn and Choose Carefully
This complete exhaustion of buying up non-performing bed bug products extracts a serious amount of cash from unsuspecting buyers each day. Remember, risk assessments for any pesticide use are important for you and your family’s environment. Leave chemicals to those who understand how to mix and use them properly!
When and how you spend you money it totally up to you, but always evaluate the extent of your infestation first. Make the choice of whether you are going to attempt a do it yourself approach or hire the services of a professional.
Hiring a Professional
If you hire a pro, make sure they are qualified by experience and ask lots of questions. Your choices are chemical or heat or physical labor of vacuuming, steaming and dusts. It all depends upon what they offer, how bad your infestation is and of course, cost.
If you decide to do it yourself, STOP and learn what you’re doing first! This is not a bug that is easily eliminated by a squirt here and there. Heavy infestations are better suited for a professional.
Now you know what products to avoid. If you want to know which products work best, give us a call or check out our bed bug product page for the number one winning products that have been tested for many years. Although we don’t sell these products, we can direct you to a product company or manufacturer that does.
We are here to help! www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
If you think you have bed bugs you can
There is nothing worse than having bed bugs spread throughout a multi-unit property because of lazy, inconsiderate tenants.
Just ask Jordan and her landlord.
The early July heat wave was hard enough, but when bed bugs were discovered it made things ten times worse.
Jordan and her cat Whiskers live in a three story upper unit of a twelve unit apartment building on the west side of LA. Beyond swaying queen palms is a peek-a-boo of the ocean from her very expensive “little piece of paradise” view as she explained to me.
Being a project manager for a large International Corporation, her last project had been extremely stressful and was looking forward to completing it. Jordan had been breaking out with little bumps that itched and she thought it was stress related to her job.
She had been looking forward to her two week vacation this year and planned not to travel too far and spend it relaxing around her home and on the beach with friends and family. She told me all she wanted to do is just chill and couldn’t wait to sleep in, get up whenever she wanted, and stroll down for a bite to eat at one of the famous restaurants on the boardwalk or maybe run up the mountain to visit friends for the day if she wanted to.
Well, her vacation didn’t start out as she envisioned. Instead of sleeping in, she woke early gouging at her neck again. She rose and went to the bathroom to see what was up. Her neck and half way down her shoulder had small red marks, again. She rubbed a little steroid lotion on them and didn’t give it another thought.
She cleaned her apartment as she normally does on Saturday mornings and by one o’clock took a quick shower and headed out for a bite to eat for lunch. She ran into a few friends that invited her over to sip a Bloody Mary or two (3 she said). A bit dizzy from her liquid lunch she decided to go back up and take a nap. Without hesitation, she crawled on top of her bed and fell fast asleep.
She slept until 5:30 PM when her phone rang to wake her up. It was her landlord. It wasn’t strange that he called because he really takes care of the building and counts on her to keep her in the loop when he’s out of town. But this time he said, he needed to warn her about something that he thought he had handled but doesn’t.
Not wanting to scare her but he had to be honest about the fact that he’s been paying his pest guy to take care of what he thought was a small bed bug introduction on the first floor, but turns out that the guy which lives right above (and right below her) refuses to cooperate for an inspection of his unit.
He went on to explain that his pest control guy told him that unless he inspected and treated all surrounding units, that he could potentially have a problem in other units as well.
Low and behold, he was right!
Jordan told him that she had woken this morning with itchy marks on her neck and shoulders but assumed it was caused from stress at her work. Her landlord immediately apologized and said he’d have his guy come over right away to see if bed bugs made it up into her unit.
Unwillingly a few days later, the guy finally answered the door for pest control to come into the unit below her. The man was a hoarder that had a very serious bed bug infestation throughout the whole apartment that caused bed bugs to move below and up into her unit. It all made perfect sense now.
She spent the remainder of her vacation, drying and bagging her clothing and soft goods, disrupting her life and living with new bites every few days until they are able to get it under better control.
This could have been a simple process had all the tenants cooperated and worked with pest control but because of one selfish and inconsiderate tenant; it has already taken several treatments and more than two months and they still are not sure they got them all. (The renter’s lease is up at the end of this month and was NOT renewed). Once he moves, they can get in there and do a thorough cleaning and extermination.
Jordan told me that this had been the worse vacation she ever had, thanks to the guy downstairs.
One Bad Apple can spoil the Whole Bunch
If anyone reading this is a renter – know that you can be the bad apple that causes others to go through needless anguish and costs because of your behavior.
Don’t be a bad apple. www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332
People Do – By Not Checking for Bed Bugs!
Infestations don’t have to happen. Matter of fact, infestations take time to build. (Unless, you purchased something that is already infested and introduced it of course).
Then, there are bugs that look like bed bugs but aren’t. Know what bed bugs look like.
Suppose you brought a single female bed bug back to your home and you didn’t know it. First, it would take up harborage in an area closest to you so it can reach a blood meal easily. It might be in your bed, couch or an easy chair that you frequent.
Soon it will start to lay eggs which will sit glued in a well-hidden, undisturbed surface for 7 to 10 days or more depending upon temperatures and moisture before they begin to hatch. The female may lay a dozen eggs one day or only a small amount every few days or so.
When the eggs hatch, the new baby bed bugs are hungry and need to feed in order to grow to the next stage of development. This is repeated 5 times with each growth spurt within approximately 21 to 39 days when they become breeding adults. Now you have new breeding grounds happening every few days or so. This whole process takes approximately 6 weeks with regular blood meals and proper temperatures.
Many times, people will show signs of something biting them but assume the bites are from other types of insects like fleas or a mosquito. And then, there are those who are not affected by the bites at all.
Meanwhile, weeks pass, more eggs are laid and more bed bugs hatch. New breeding grounds are growing all the time taking up residence somewhere in your home. If you don’t recognize their presence or at least check for them, within 6 months, with regular blood meals will reach exponential growth which now creates a financial problem and challenge for getting rid of them.
Usually at this point, they’ve moved outside the immediate area into cracks and crevices behind the bed, in nightstands, under carpet tacks, inside electrical outlets and into the wall voids. You may have also moved a few clinging on a blanket or pillow to the living room to take up residence in your couch or another bedroom. An “infestation” is now building, all because you didn’t check for bed bugs regularly.
Are Bed Bug Infestations Avoidable?
Sure they are, but you have to be hands-on in order to find them early enough. Check for them weekly as you change your sheets. Learn and look for their signs. (Blood stains on bedding, cast skins, fecal marks, and clusters of eggs)
Think about where you go and where you’ve been. Think about visitors and sleep overs. Take precautions when returning home from visits and discuss bed bugs with your friends, family and co-workers. Doing all this will certainly help find them earlier which can mean all the difference in whether an infestation has time to build up.
Having regular inspections for bed bugs will become the norm for most households in the future as well as sleeping institutions likes hotels, care facilities and hospitals. Problem is, when first introduced or in the early stages they are very difficult for us humans to find. Even the most well trained and experienced professional may miss finding them when first introduced.
Bring in the Dogs!
Dogs find bed bugs that humans can’t! They are trained for it just like bomb dogs are. A Bed Bug Detection Dog Team will help prevent “infestations”, help prevent from having to throw items away, will target and pinpoint the areas that require treatment, and if you chose to use chemicals, will limit the use of them. You can find some of the best dog teams in the US here.
Thermal Death and Steam
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll do much better using steam instead of reaching for a can of spray!
Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive the heat of a steamer. (Not a handheld one for steaming clothing – a canister type). A good steamer will kill other insects and dust mites while cleaning and sanitizing your environment from bacteria and viruses at the same time!
Always suspect a bed bug if someone is being bitten; and conquer it quickly with immediate action. Having a good steamer available in your cleaning closet can make all the difference in whether they get out of hand and grow to infestation levels. Don’t wait until you get bed bugs to buy a good steamer.
Don’t know how to do it? Get “How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on a Tight Budget” will walk you through the process step-by-step so you don’t miss a beat!
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or you want a professional, reach out to us for help! As always we’re here to answer your questions, help with solutions and education so you can make informed decisions and so you don’t waste your money, tested bed bug products.