Category Archives: Pesticides

The 3 Biggest Bed Bug Mistakes Made by Property Managers Today!

If you work in multifamily housing bed bugs are an old subject by now.  But as we have all come to realize, there are ways to win this war and then there is the slow financial drain that seems never ending.  I frequently get the question…”how do we stop this!?!”  So without pointing fingers or naming names I will give you the top three reasons your bed bug problem is never-ending:

1. You did not hit it hard enough and fast enough at its on-set

Do you remember the first time you got that bed bug call?  You did not know what they were, maybe even your pest guy couldn’t identify them.  So he “put something down to kill them” and went about his merry way.  Then a month later, you got the second call and then the rest is history.

Bed bugs require an expert that fully understands the insect and is dedicated to extermination, not just control.  An expert will not be inexpensive, but they will get the job done correctly the first time and will take every precaution to prevent spreading.  Think of it like your car, if you invest in a reliable car, you save money in the long run on maintenance.  If you go with the cheap option on the front end, you will pay much more in the long run to fix it.

Time is your enemy with bed bugs.  They reproduce exponentially and they love to travel for a good meal.  A fertilized female can create a 700 bug and 1000+ egg colony in under 90 days.  You have to be looking for bed bugs to catch them early enough to protect your other units.  Frequent bed bug K9 inspections are essential to staying in-front of the issue.  Then once you find it, treat the unit ASAP.

2. You are letting your pest control provider spread the insects with pesticide

EVERY pest control provider knows that bed bugs run from pesticides.  It is not a disputed fact anymore, it is common knowledge (that is why they recommend treating surrounding units that are not infested).  This is especially important in multifamily when every unit adjoins with others on either side or above and below.  If you want to stop the spreading find a provider that treats with heat and ONLY heat.

3. You are assuming your residents will comply with their part of the bargain.

Every resident must have a vested interest in the success of their bed bug treatment.  It is critical that they understand that an active infestation in their unit will cause others to suffer.  We always recommend the following:

  1. Have the resident physically SIGN OFF stating that they have received their treatment preparation sheet, they understand what to do, and that they agree to do it by the stated treatment date. Have financial penalties for non-compliance.
  2. Always include a bed bug addendum in your lease outlining penalties for lack of notification or self-treatment of bed bugs.

So what to do now?  You may be thinking…”I do some of these, but not all”.  Then get on it!  Hit it hard and fast with an expert who won’t spread bed bugs with pesticide and institute methods with your residents to ensure the success of the treatments.  It will cost you more up front, but not in the long run.  Think about it this way: If you won’t spend the funds to do it right the first time, what makes you think you will want to spend them for the second and a third time, and a fourth, (you get the picture).


May the Heat be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist


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

Scientist tell us again that pesticides are not effective on bed bugs

Scientific Reports recently (3/14/13) published a new study on how bed bugs resist pesticides.  It is true scientific work, so it is not an easy read for those that want the bullets.  Here is what I can tell you…

  1. The study revealed that resistance-associated genes in the bed bug contribute to the slowing down of a toxin from reaching its target sites
  2. Most of this process occurs in the outer covering of the insect
  3. This process is unique to bed bugs
  4. Baits laced with insecticide are ineffective in bed bugs
  5. Contact to insecticides is the primary option of  exposure and the above facts tell us that it is ineffective

Therefore, the scientist have told us, once again, that pesticides are not effective against bed bugs.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, 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

A Bed Bug killing pill?

I love this bed bug article and the optimism that it brings.  Many people need hope when these insects invade their lives.  So here is the quick summary:

A test was run on 4 volunteers to take a common canine de-worming medicine and then allow bed bugs to bite them.  The result, was that 60% of the bed bugs died!  This is a huge learning but can we put it to practice today?  No.  The good news for your canine pets is that they are protected.  Responsible pet owners give this drug to their dogs monthly to prevent parasites.

The problems are as follows:

  1. No dosing recommendations or FDA approval for use in humans.  No safety studies.
  2. The human is still the bait.  So death to the bed bug requires you to get bit.
  3. As I always remind you, if you are not killing 100% then the result is a band-aid (control measure) not a solution (extermination).

May the Heat Be With You!

Best, Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Why are there bed bugs in my clothes?!?

This question has come across my desk multiple times this past year.  A client either finds bugs on their person during the day or they find bed bugs in their closet among their clothes.

Typically bed bugs don’t like to live in the clothes you are wearing.  They don’t like a great deal of movement on a day-to-day basis.  They will hitchhike when hungry or looking for a new home, but they generally prefer dark cryptic stable locations for their harborage.

In all of these situations the client had previously treated their home with pesticide or with dust.  The chemical became a massive repellant to the bed bug and they merely found a new place to live that was not contaminated.  The closet is often close by to the bedroom and bed and the clothes are rarely treated with chemicals.  This creates a perfect scenario for the bed bug.  They get an occasional meal and transportation out of the poison that you laid for them.

This means you are likely taking the bugs to work with you as well as your friend’s house etc.  So what to do?  Stop spraying bed bugs!  The clothes can be run through the dryer on high for about 45 minutes.  Then wash and dry them again to remove the dead bugs.  However, if they have found your closet they have also found all the other hiding places that chemicals did not reach the first time.  A whole room heat treatment is really the only option to stop them completely.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed bug treatments for electronics

One of my former posts about bed bugs in a laptop has drawn a lot of attention.  It has occurred to me that there is not a great deal of information on treating electronic items.  So if you have bed bugs in electronic items you have a couple of options…(in my order of preference)

1) Whole Room Heat – if you are having your home heat-treated by a bed bug specialist, then leave everything behind.  The TV, clocks, computers, laptops etc can be effectively treated with properly executed electric heat. Most devices are vetted for 150 degrees, but don’t take my word for it, check out your owner’s manual.  Please note, it is highly likely that you will have dead bugs remaining in your device.  It will need to be cleaned properly following a treatment.

2) Container Heat – if you have access to a PackTite® heating device this is very effective too.  You may not be able to fit the TV inside it, but most other small devices will fit.  Proper cleaning following the heat will be required here too.

3) Chemical – do not spray your device with liquid or dust pesticide!  Find an air tight bag that will fit the item.  Most home improvement stores or Bed, Bath & Beyond will have massive zip bags that you can use.  Then find Nuvan® strips and place them in the bag with the electronic item.  Follow the directions on the label for length of time and amount etc.  These strips release a vapor that will permeate the cracks and crevices of the item.  But these strips are not for use in open air spaces or around people – ineffective and dangerous.  Depending on your state laws, you may have to purchase these from a licensed pest control professional.

4) Trash it – if you have tried these three methods without success then you can toss it.  But know that the prior three options are all very good ones.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Do’s and Don’ts of Dusts and Bed Bugs

As a bed bug specialist I see all sorts of botched DIY bed bug treatments.  I am usually called in when the individual has finally had enough.  I have seen homes covered in INCHES of DE, wall to wall DE, bugs on ceiling due to bombs.  Then when the process is done wrong, I see bed bugs exhibiting strange behavior such as living in air vents,  living in hanging clothes, etc.

I cannot say it enough, if you are going to use DIY methods to kill bed bugs, follow the instructions on the products.  That does not mean they will stop your bed bug problem, but at least you won’t hurt yourself.  The CDC released a report last month on how people have accidentally killed themselves from pesticide poisoning attempting to treat their own bed bugs.  Chemicals can hurt us if they are not used appropriately.

I think dusts are a great way to kill bed bugs, but only if they are used the right way.  Unfortunately dusts have a difficult time killing ALL the bed bugs in an environment. So if you are going to use them I recommend dusts in conjunction with steam, vacuuming, and your dryer.

A few notes on the proper use of dusts…

  1. They should be used in the cracks and crevices only.  The term “crack and crevice” is a specific application method in the pest control industry, it is not a suggestion, but an approved method for your safety.
  2. Do not spread a layer throughout the house. A bulb duster is the best tool.  More is not better.
  3. Dusts will ruin computer and electronic equipment.
  4. Breathing these dusts is not good for your health.  They may be natural products but that does not mean they are not poisonous to humans. Boric acid is a dust commonly utilized, but in high concentrations will be dangerous to us.  There is no antidote for boric acid poisoning. DE slices bed bugs and then dehydrates them.  I can only imagine what it does to human lungs.

Please, please, lookout for your health first.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Heat Benefits Large Multifamily Bed Bug Problems

Just imagine, you own a large apartment complex that is infested with bed bugs.  No matter the reason for the infestation, and for arguments sake, lets assume that you were surprised by this new development.  What should you do, how and why???  Here are some advantages and disadvantages of your possible options.  You know me, I recommend the heat – more bang for your buck and it solves the problem, it is not just a band-aid.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Option 1: Chemical Treatment


  1. Less expensive than other treatments
  2. Any licensed pest control provider can do it
  3. Shows that you are attempting to treat the problem


  1. Less effective than other treatments, will require multiple applications per unit infested.
  2. No guarantee of extermination. It will control the population but it will not stop it.
  3. Spraying causes bed bugs to migrate, expanding your population and your clean up costs.  For any hope of decreasing populations all surrounding units must be treated as well as the infested one. Therefore more costly than anticipated.
  4. Will cause bed bug hibernation and dormancy, they will hide till the chemicals have dissipated and then return.  This can occur many months later.
  5. Requires large effort on part of resident to treat personal belongings appropriately. Surprisingly some people don’t care that they are living with bed bugs.  Therefore they wont be as diligent in their unit preparation and may not even do it at all.  This will increase your failure rate.
  6. Chemical applications typically miss eggs and nymphs.  This requires frequent re-treats which will nullify the economic value of the less expensive option.
  7. Even low toxicity chemicals can be harmful to “at risk” populations like the elderly and infants. You may need to provide alternate locations for families to stay while the chemical treatment is taking place.

Option 2: Whole Room Heat Treatment


  1. More effective than chemical, can usually be effectively completed in one treatment
  2. Does not scatter bugs or send them into hibernation
  3. Heat permeates all furniture so there are no escapees and you don’t have to replace the furniture
  4. Treatment is safe to all walks of life (except the bed bug and other insects caught in the heat)
  5. Requires less resident preparation of the unit than chemical treatments.  They need to remove aerosols and firearms but the list is short.


  1. More expensive than chemical
  2. Requires a licensed pest control professional that specializes in bed bug extermination with safe and approved equipment, so not everyone can do it.

Option 3: Fumigation


  1. Fumigation chemical (vikane) is very effective against all stages of bed bugs (typically used against termites)
  2. Can complete large units in single treatment


  1. Expensive! (Usually over 10K)
  2. Requires full tenting of home or apartment building
  3. Requires a specially licensed pest control professional to perform work