Proper communication will set the tone for the correct expectations for any bed bug treatment. Customers have high expectations for bed bug professionals now more than ever. But how can you, as a pest professional, live up to those expectations. The key is effective communication between the technician and the customer before the treatment even begins.
Communicating on the Job
Each job, customer, and treatment will be different, and effective communication will be essential to making sure that the client knows what expectations are valid. Bed bugs are extremely resilient to some treatments, and depending on the size of the infestation the problem could take a few follow-up treatments and/or inspections to ensure that the problem is completely solved. How you relay this information will vary depending on what type of account you’re dealing with.
In a single-family home, the likelihood of an infestation is lower in comparison to a hotel or apartment building. This means that one heat treatment could be enough to completely eradicate the problem.
When dealing with a multi-family housing situation, you could be facing a chronic bed bug problem or an infestation that is moving from unit to unit after repeated failed treatments. This can cause the treatment process to be more difficult, and your approach with the client will be different to make sure they have a realistic and informed view of the problem.
Communicating and Dispelling Myths
One of the first things you’ll need to assess and communicate to a new customer is how to react to a bed bug sighting. Seeing a single bed bug or an unknown insect in your home does not mean that you have an infestation and doesn’t warrant an emergency.
Making a proper identification is the first step. When possible, encourage customers to place any potential bed bugs in a plastic bag labeled with where and when it was spotted. When the technician comes to do an initial inspection of this bag of “evidence” will help know where to look and ensure that you’re actually dealing with bed bugs and not another insect type.
Next, when treatment is deemed valid, make sure you are giving your customers realistic expectations for any pre-treatment prep. Take into account whether the customer is physically able to reduce clutter or move items in preparation. Also, give the customer clear instructions on what items should be moved, if any. You may need to adapt your treatment plan for any special requirements of the client or the treatment area.
Give your customers real, proven information. You would be amazed at the myths people will believe. It may be a good idea to have a hand-out ready for customers to educate them about bed bugs and the treatment you will be providing. Clearing up any false info could also help the customer realize where or when they picked up the bed bugs and how to avoid them in the future.
- Bed bug treatments can be tricky, depending on the severity of the infestation and the location. Be upfront with your clients and provide realistic expectations for your treatment.
- How you communicate this information will depend on what type of customer you’re working with. Residential and commercial clients have different needs and requirements. Be aware of these expectations and address them in your initial meeting.
- Make sure your expectations for prep and post-treatment clean-up are realistic.
- Provide quality information to your clients and dispel any myths that they may believe.
The IBBRA website is full of useful information regarding bed bugs, treatment options, and more. Check out our blog for up-to-date bed bug news and info.
If you have a bed bug problem, call one of the IBBRA certified bed bug treatment providers near you. Search here: https://ibbra.org/service-providers/
Bed bugs can be a frustrating, expensive, and potentially dangerous problem to have. There is so much false information online that many people make simple, but expensive and dangerous mistakes when treating for bed bugs. IBBRA is here to help you stay informed with scientifically proven information and access to qualified professionals that can help you through your bed bug issue.
Here are the top 5 bed bug mistakes that you could easily avoid:
- Hiding bed bugs from your friends, family, and landlord
Bed bugs can affect anyone and aren’t something to be ashamed of. If you get bed bugs, telling your family, friends, neighbors and landlord is essential to making sure the problem doesn’t spread. It also gives you the chance to educate others about how easily bed bugs can be “picked up”. Spread the word and protect yourself and those you care about by being open regarding any bed bug issues that may arise in your household.
- Sleeping in another room
Once you find out bed bugs have infested your bedroom, many people will opt to sleep on the couch or in another bedroom to avoid the bugs and potential bites. While this may keep a few bites away, this is actually one of the leading cases that bed bugs spread to multiple rooms in your home. Solve the problem quickly with heat and use caution when moving to other rooms. Take the proper sterilization steps to contain the bed bug problem.
- Forgetting to do follow-up inspections and treatments
Once a treatment is complete and you aren’t receiving nightly bed bug bites, you may tend to forget about the problem altogether. By doing this you may be allowing bed bugs to continue to infest your home undetected. Bed bugs eggs take 6-10 days to hatch, which means that your bed bug infestation could re-appear within a few weeks after a treatment. Follow up treatments and inspections are especially important if a chemical treatment was applied. The best way to kill all the bed bugs, even the eggs, is by hiring a professional to complete a heat treatment. Alternatively, you can rent bed bug heat equipment from certified providers here.
- Bring home used items without proper inspections
Bringing home bed bugs can be very easy, especially if you recently were traveling or purchased used furniture or clothing. Bed bugs like to hide in upholstered furniture, and not just bedroom furniture. You could bring home bed bugs in chairs, couches, clothing, and even books. Always inspect any used items that come into your home.
- Off-the-shelf pesticides or un-safe heating methods
There are countless pesticides out there that claim to be effective on bed bugs, but in actuality, they aren’t required to test their product on bed bugs. Likewise, news outlets are full of stories where homeowners burnt down their house while trying to heat the home using space heaters, a home furnace, the oven….ect. Heat treatments should only be performed using professionality quality heaters that are made to kill bed bugs. Chemical treatments should only be applied by professional pest control technicians that are trained to use high quality and powerful pesticides.
Don’t make these mistakes! Call in a bed bug professional, rent bed bug heat equipment or purchase professional quality DIY equipment at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/
A quick Google search will bring up hundreds, if not thousands of DIY methods to get rid of bed bugs. Many of these results haven’t been tested, and nearly all of them are unconfirmed and not backed by any science what-so-ever. These “old-wives-tale” methods could spread your bed bug problem to other rooms, making the problem much harder to treat, or they could cause major damage to you or your home due to fire, water damages or health risks.
Don’t fall for these hoax treatments!
Although there are many products on the shelf that claim to be effective against bed bugs, many are completely untested and ineffective. Foggers and bug bombs are one of those completely ineffective treatments in eliminating a bed bug infestation. In most cases where bug bombs have been used the infestation is spread out over multiple rooms or hidden inside walls and under carpeting. Bugs will try to move away from the treatment area to avoid the annoying fumes. This pushes them into places where they wouldn’t normally go, and makes future treatments much harder. Depending on what was used and when the treatments were applied, this DIY methods can also make professional heat and other treatments impossible or dangerous.
This DIY treatment is one of the top search results found online. The substance is easy to find at animal feed stores and hardware stores which makes this method a popular one for people to try. Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating the bugs, however for bed bugs to be affected they must walk through the power multiple times to cover their body with the powder. Also, nymphs and eggs are not affected by this method at all since they are usually well hidden inside furniture or your mattress. Additionally, dust pesticides like Diatomaceous earth can harm humans and animals if breathed in. This makes K-9 inspections impossible and could affect the ability to treat with heat or chemicals, especially if not cleaned properly.
Like foggers and bug bombs, off-the-shelf pesticides may claim to kill bed bugs, but in most cases they are not properly tested and could be dangerous for your health. Most people know that pesticides are not safe to breath in. However that does not stop people from dumping them all of their bed and living areas in an effort to kill bed bugs. Not only is this very dangerous to you and your families health, it can also cause the bed bug infestation to spread, making your entire home inhabitable.
So what does work?
IBBRA encourages you to never perform a DIY bed bug treatment unless the method has been tried and approved by actual pest professionals. The most effective DIY treatment is rented bed bug heat equipment. RentBedBugHeaters.com and IBBRA are dedicated to help those that want to perform DIY treatments make smarter and more effective treatment decisions. Find a bed bug heater rental provider near you by searching our provider map. IBBRA also offers other DIY options though our online store where you can find many IBBRA approved heaters and heat treatment accessories available for purchase. All products sold in the IBBRA store have been tried and tested for effectiveness and quality!
Identifying bed bugs quickly and effectively a key aspect to a successful treatment. Every room where bed bugs are thriving will need to be treated carefully. Knowing exactly where bed bugs are hiding is very valuable knowledge and will give you or your customers peace of mind that treatments were correctly performed. The best way to achieve this is to hire a k-9 detection team to do a pre and post treatment inspections.
K-9 inspections have been performed for decades in crime investigations, drug bust, and bed bug treatment. Dogs have highly sensitive noses that can sniff out substances with high accuracy. Regardless of their tried and proven skills people still have questions and concerns about these services. Below we have shed some light on FAQs regarding bed bug K-9 inspections.
How much more effective is a k-9 team over regular pest technicians’ visual inspection?
Even the best, most highly trained technicians are only about 30% accurate while performing visual inspections. Humans can only inspect the areas they can easily see, which means that any bugs hidden inside furniture, walls, under carpets and are likely to go undetected.
K-9s, on the other hand, is up to 95% accurate. Dogs are trained to only find live bed bugs and eggs, plus they can detect bugs living even where they can’t be easily seen.
How long with the inspection take?
For a standard room, you can expect a K-9 inspection to take 3-5 minutes. For a human, that same room would take 20 minutes or more to complete. Experienced K-9s have been known to search an entire hotel (up to 200 rooms) in 1 day.
Will a K-9 inspection hold up as a scientific instrument in a legal case?
This is a widespread question from business owners and managers. Moreover, the answer is, Yes. Trained and certified bed bug detection dogs are considered a scientific instrument and their findings will hold up in a court of law. This could be the difference in owing thousands of dollars in settlements or walking away with a full wallet. Legal cases can put companies out of business but adding an extra layer of support with k-9 inspections has saved countless businesses from going under.
How do I find a K-9 Detection team in my area?
This is where IBBRA is here to help. We can help you find an experienced K-9 detection company near you. Search for “Certified K-9 Detection” near you at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/.
Above you will see pictures of what bed bugs look like, but do you know how to identify one hidden away in your home or personal belongings? As their name implies, bed bugs are commonly associated with areas where we sleep or relax. Bed bugs are not just in beds and can be found in dressers, chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, in folds of draperies, clocks, phones, shoes, cracks and crevices, under carpet tacks, around baseboards, picture frames, under the bed, in books, door hinges, light fixtures, in wheelchairs and in or under any clutter or objects near a bed or lounging area.
You must be extremely thorough during the inspection process and be sure not to rush through. BE CAREFUL NOT TO REMOVE anything from the premise you are inspecting. If anything is removed, it must be bagged and sealed correctly. During inspection avoid sitting, leaning or placing anything on beds or couches or chairs. Bed bugs may be in different stages during your investigation. Don’t be discouraged, in a short period you will be trained to look for sure telltale signs that improve your due diligence.
Tools that can make your search easier include a flashlight, a magnifying glass, a screwdriver (for disassembling items) and sealable plastics bags in several sizes.
Where to Search
Look on your bedspread, blanket, duvet, throw pillows (don’t forget teddy bears or any other stuffed animals or toys), or any other coverage you may have on your bed. Examine your sheets and pillowcases, too. Pull the bed out and away from the wall and remove the headboard. Carefully examine the headboard front and back for any signs of bed bugs.
MATTRESS AND BOX SPRINGS
Carefully examine the surfaces paying close attention to folds and depressions. Then move on to the piping (both upper and lower sides) around the edges of the mattress using the flashlight. If the mattress has buttons, examine them for any signs. Flip the mattress and examine the same on the other side. Sometimes they crawl into the mattress through grommets or tears and cuts.
Examine the box springs. On the back of the box spring is a fabric stapled in place that has to be removed. Bed bugs love to crawl inside the box spring between the staples. Carefully check for bed bugs where the material is folded under around the edges. Using a flathead screwdriver, remove the back material, then carefully examine the inside wood frame as well as outside using your flashlight.
Using the LED light and magnifying glass to look close in closets and dresser drawers, couches, loveseats, pullout beds, recliners and easy chairs, all other non-washable items, curtain, shutters and blinds, electrical items and outlets, animal bedding.
Don’t stop there; bed bugs can be found in nightstands, dressers, pictures on the wall, hanging lamps, bed trunks, bookcases, easy chairs, and clocks. You get the picture.
Once a person has to do a thorough inspection for bed bugs they soon realize that cleaning up clutter BEFORE you get bed bugs is the smart thing to do!
If you should discover bed bugs; plan on spending a lot of time doing laundry for all clothing and fabrics. You must be careful while transporting anything out from the infected room(s). Wash and dry these items on HOT and place them into sealed bags or sealed storage bins and set aside. Do not bring these back into the room you are treating. (You can use a garage, porch or basement). It isn’t necessary to wash all items. Items that are clean can be placed directly into a hot dryer for 40-55 minutes, bagged and set aside.
DON’T OVER PACK CLOTHING IN TUB OR DRYER – LOOSELY FIT SO ALL ITEMS GET HOT
In most cases, it is not necessary to dispose of furniture, before treatment. Depending on the size of the infestation, the condition, and age of the furniture, most infested furniture can be cleaned and treated. If you must discard anything, don’t do it without wrapping and marking it. In many cases, the money spent on replacing furniture might be better spent on professional treatment.
Whenever discarding items are sure to wrap, seal and mark items (Bed Bug Infested), before disposal. Someone’s trash is another’s treasure and can fall into the hands of someone who now brings bed bugs into their home spreading the infestation throughout the community.
ADDING NEW FURNITURE
If you decided to discard any furniture items and need replacement – do not replace anything until your treatment is 100% successful. You risk infesting your new furniture and having to start treatment all over again.
So you’re pretty sure you’ve got bed bugs? Why not kill those bugs yourself? Shop our DIY store or rent bed bug heaters from one of our certified bed bug heater rental professionals!
As you may be aware, bed bugs can affect anyone. Although they may not be picky insects, there are a few ways that you can prevent them from coming home with you. The experts at IBBRA have compiled the list below to help you prevent a bed bug infestation.
Bed Bug Prevention Tips
CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER!
Bed bugs are experts at hiding and finding them can present quite a challenge. Heavily cluttered dwellings create a million and one places for bed bugs to hide. If you have piles of boxes, newspapers, magazines, clothes, or just “stuff,” it’s time you clean it up. Doing this will make it easier to find them if you should ever get them.
BEDS AND LOUNGING AREAS
Change your bed linens regularly; check piping on mattresses and box springs for early signs. Vacuum couches, chairs and carpets regularly.
MAKING HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS
Take away as many possible harborages for bed bugs; Separations between baseboards, grout, seams of wallpaper, crown molding, door jams. Clear silicone fills these areas so bed bugs cannot enter. Consider replacing worn carpeting with tile; and because bed bugs travel along routes created by pipes, cables and electrical conduits, seal any openings where pipes, wires or other utilities come into your home.
BEST FURNITURE DESIGNS FOR BED BUGS
Consider modern clean-lined furniture which is less hospitable to bed bugs. The smoother and harder the furniture, the less likely that a bed bug would find a place to hide. Take into consideration the ease of decontamination should you get bed bugs. Would the finish stand up to treatments like hot steaming or scrubbing? Can cushions be removed or put through the dryer? This step is especially important for the hospitality industry.
MISCELLANEOUS PREVENTION POINTERS
- Avoid shopping at thrift stores, pawn shops, and Craig’s list. Be mindful of anything borrowed or given to you or discarded furniture or mattresses found at the curbside. Any of these items should be thoroughly inspected for bed bugs before bringing them into your home.
- Use a large plastic self-locking bag to contain items like computer bags, purses, jackets, backpacks, and lunch boxes when transporting them back and forth from work, school or places visited.
- Be sure to inspect all items a visitor may bring into your home or workplace. These include any out of town guest, maintenance and service people, delivery people, salesman, and social workers.
Need help getting rid of bed bugs? Contact one of our certified providers today!