Category Archives: DIY

Killing Bed Bugs with A Washer and Dryer

If you are trying to treat your home or your belongings  that are infested with bed bugs, the dryer is your new best friend.  I always recommend drying the items first to kill the bed bugs, then washing and drying them as normal to get the dead bugs off the clothes.  Here is a bit of research provided by Pest West Environmental  on the effectiveness of washing and drying.  Note: always treat your clothing at temps high enough to kill eggs

May The Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Treatment Method Temperature & Duration Control Level
Washing machine(non-biological detergent)3.2kg – 7lb Cool – 30oC / 86oF – 30 minute wash Did not kill egg stages
Hot – 60oC / 140oF – 30 minute wash Killed all life stages
Tumble Dry3.2kg – 7lb Cool dry – 30 minutes Did not kill all stages
Hot dry – 30 minutes – 40/45oC / 104/113oF Killed all stages
Cold Soak3.2kg – 7lb Cold water – 30 minutes Killed adults/nymphs only
Cold soak – 24 hours Killed adults/nymphs only
Dry cleaning (perchloroethylene) Killed all life stages
Freezing2.5kg – 5.5lb 2 hours at -17oC / -62.6oF (8 hours to get clothes and items to -17oC / -62.6oF, takes total 10 hours of treatment) Killed all life stages
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Dangerous Bed Bug Sprays

By now most of us know about the negative effects of ingesting or absorbing chemicals through our skin and the havoc it can wreck on the ecosystem. But did anyone see this coming? The residents sure didn’t.  She used a lighter after spraying the house with bed bug spray and it caught fire!

Just one more reason to call an expert at the first sign of an infestation!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

$800K Bed Bug Suit!

Attention all Managers, Landlords, and Property Owners!

If you haven’t read this article already, you need to. The jury really nailed this guy and likely set a precedent for other cases similar in nature. The situation could EASILY have been avoided had he just called a bed bug specialist to begin with. At the very least, he would have saved a ton of money and a massive headache! Not to mention the fact that he could have very easily burned the entire place down performing his own “home heat treatment.”

One of the things we at Red Coat Services constantly harp on with those who manage/own properties is liability! It is critical to educate yourself as well as your staff on bed bug biology so you at least know what you’re dealing with. Additionally, work with your local bed bug specialist to get a plan in place, so when a problem does arise (and it will eventually), they can take care of it as soon as possible. Because as we all know, the longer an infestation sits, the worse it gets and the chance of spreading grows astronomically.

However, the responsibility doesn’t sit on the shoulders of managers/owners alone. It is also crucial for tenants to learn about these vicious little blood suckers and how to look for signs of an infestation. If there is any indication whatsoever, call your local bed bug specialist K9 team to come out and take a look so they may determine the severity and extent of an infestation, or just simply give you peace of mind.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Mattress Covers for Hospitality – The True Cover Up

In theory, mattress covers sound like a good idea if you own or run a hotel.  But in practice, and without the marketing hype, the story is a bit different.
  1. The functional purpose of a mattress and box spring encasement is to keep bed bugs away from the person sleeping in the bed. The encasements for each are unique and should not be switched.
  2. If the room was previously infested it will cover up old unsightly stains (for the guest) and provide a “clean slate” for future pest control inspections.
  3. You can use them to protect your bedding investment before or after an infestation.  There is one called “protect a bed” – note, this does not mean “protect a guest”.

However:bed bug

  1. They can be a huge investment if you have lots and lots of beds.  Prices range from $20.00 for a vinyl box spring cover to $150 for really nice, fully lined mattress covers.  Inexpensive ones are not durable and once ripped they must be replaced.
  2. They do not and will not stop a bed bug infestation!  Bed bugs are brought in by your guest and can live anywhere in a room, not just the mattress.
  3. Savvy guests tend to suspect that a mattress cover means the room has been treated for bed bugs at some point in time.  It is a red flag.

I rarely recommend these products to hotel clients but there are situations that warrant them.   If you would like to explore the options for your establishment we are happy to help guide you in your purchase.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Avoid Bed Bug Hitchhikers this Spring

Adult Bed Bug

Adult Bed Bug

Spring is here and summer is soon to follow, bringing warmer weather and an increase in travel, of course resulting in a steady rise of bed bug incidents. While bed bugs remain active throughout the year, they do prefer warmer temperatures (around 78-80 degrees is preferable) and thusly become more active, meaning higher reproduction rates and shorter growth periods. This results in more bugs in a shorter period of time!When traveling on our spring and summer breaks, how can we possibly protect ourselves from bringing the little vampires home with us? Precautions can start before you make your hotel reservation. You can check travel websites to see what travelers have to say about the hotel, but even when you are satisfied that you have found a bed bug free hotel, there is no guarantee that this is actually the case. It is only a matter of time, so even hotels with shining recommendations will get them eventually.

We must keep in mind that the hotel wants to have bed bugs about as much as you do, so for everyone’s sake, we must educate ourselves, our family and our friends about the bed bug, signs, symptoms, and prevention techniques.

Once you (or your family) return home, check your suitcase outside if possible, or in the bathroom. Catch any bugs you see with a piece of tape then treat your items in the dryer on hot for a full cycle before washing and drying them again and call your local bed bug specialist. For larger items that cannot fit into the dryer, such as your suitcase, you can rent a steamer.

Safe travels and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Worth the Watch: Bed Bug Basics – 10 Tips to Protect Yourself

I have to say that Pest World has done a great job at this informative  video on how to protect yourself from bedbugs.  Funny and gives great information.

May the Heat be with You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Extermination and Roaches

Roaches following a bed bug heatYou’ve heard the old joke, “What are the only things that could survive a nuclear bomb?”
The answer, “Cockroaches and a fruitcake. And the cockroaches would starve.”

All jokes aside though, would cockroaches really survive a nuclear bomb?
Scientists have found that cockroaches are remarkably resistant to radiation. It takes 125 times the deadly rate for humans before you’ll see them on their backs. But what about the 10,000 degree heat from the blast?

At 120 degrees, all stages of Bed Bugs die immediately, but I have personally seen roaches crawling over their dead cousins to get across the kitchen floor in the middle of a heat. Studies on the German cockroach, the most resistant of all, show that they can survive for up to 30 minutes in constant 120 degree heat. Considering how fast they are, which anyone who has tried to kill them can tell you, 30 minutes is plenty of time for them to get a safe distance from the heat.

The picture shows a whole family of Brown-banded and German cockroaches hiding out under the kitchen countertop after spending 4 HOURS in the heat. Obviously, they found a good place to hide. It’s a good thing bed bugs aren’t so resistant or we’d all be in serious trouble!

In conclusion, all insects have a thermal death point, but their behavior during the heat treatment process varies. The sad fact is, cockroaches are simply too fast, too resistant and too smart for the heat remediation process to be used as an effective killing tool against them.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Fumigant sterilizers for bed bug control?

steridryWay back when I still made some use of my cosmetology license I remember hearing one of the girls recommend the use of a dry fumigant sterilizer to help her client treat the house for head lice. Recently, this idea has popped up again. While this product is normally used in the drawers and cabinets of salons as a means to kill the fungi and bacteria on their implements, many salons have stopped using them because their employees were getting sick from the fumes of the high levels of the well-known chemical, formaldehyde.

Now, there is plenty of great information available on the uses and dangers of formaldehyde as well as the many ways to treat for head lice so I won’t go into all that.

While this alternate use may or may not work and I can certainly imagine people eventually trying to use this product for bed bug treatment, my opinion on this is the same as that of many chemicals used for bed bugs: read the label, and do your research because with what we know and continue to learn about chemicals, overexposure to them is not the answer and may lead to health risks.  Ashley did a blog a while back that discussed foggers and thier results.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bugs on the Ceiling?

Bed Bugs on Ceiling

Bed Bugs on Ceiling

When inspecting a residence, rental or owned, and I find bed bugs on the ceiling or in the ceiling groves (the crack where the ceiling meets the wall) I can immediately assume the individual has been self treating with a bug bomb or over-the-counter pesticide.  What they may or may not realize is that they have forced the insects in to harder to reach places and made their problem worse.My next assumption is that the insects are now living in all the areas that people choose not to treat because they don’t want pesticide there.  This would include their clothes – both hanging and folded, electronics like computers, clocks, tv’s, as well as the ventilation system of their home.  I have personally seen a full harborage living vertically on a dress hung in a womans closet.  This means she was likely wearing the insects in her clothes and unknowingly transferring them to friends and family.  Most electronics in our lives are placed close to the bed on a frequent basis.  They are warm inside and offer a protective cover for the bed bugs.   If bed bugs get into a ventilation system then they can move between rooms all while hiding behind grates. These insects will live just about anywhere except on glass or porcelain.

Bed Bugs behind Window Blinds

Bed Bugs behind Window Blinds

Unfortunately for the person in this situation 100% extermination of the bed bug in their home is close to impossible without a full heat treatment or merely walking away from everything they own.  My recommendation is to make heat your first and only go-to for bed bug extermination.  It will not push bed bugs throughout your home and it will resolve the problem in one day.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Bed Bug Control Specialist

FTC Hits ‘Natural’ Bed Bug Products with False Advertising Charges

Finally consumers are getting the protection they deserve.  Not from blood sucking insects but from blood sucking marketers.

For the past several years there have been “Natural” bed bug products promising safe and effective protection & elimination.  Not only do they not work they exacerbate infestations making the final remediation more costly and difficult.

I personally like cedar oil as a bed bug repellent for my suitcase, but that is the extent of its benefit.

Here is the article from the National Pest Management Association – it is concise and well written.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Specialist