Tag Archives: bed bug Packtite

Why Are Bed Bugs in Our Libraries?

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Growing up in a very rural town in upstate New York, one of the things I looked forward to the most were my almost weekly trips to the public library to pick up one or two new books, usually on animal training. Needless to say our family pets learned some nifty tricks along the way and even as I wrote this article, it made me laugh to think where my animal fascination has led me today.

It isn’t news to most of us by now that bed bugs have been showing up in our public and school libraries. It really is no surprise considering where most people choose to read, myself included, in bed or a nice cozy chair! This gives the little buggers the perfect opportunity to not only feed while you are sitting still but also to crawl off into their favorite hiding places.

But does this mean we need to steer clear? Of course not! Bed bug infestations are usually a matter of bad luck but there are plenty of things we can do to prevent the spread. More and more libraries are taking initiative by training their employees about bed bugs and taking steps to both prevent and treat for them when necessary. Next time you go, you can call ahead and ask them about their policy, then once there, put on your inspectors cap and take a peek at the spine (especially with hard covers) and between the pages of the books you plan to borrow for feces spots, skins and of course bugs. If there’s any question, bring it to the staff’s attention.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist


The Reality of Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Remedies

I read an article recently highlighting the steps to DIY bed bug control. The title claimed the steps were easy. I agree the concepts are not complex, but the effort required from the homeowner is SIGNIFICANT. Here are their steps to success:

* Step 1: Find bugs, eliminate clutter, bag everything in plastic sealed bags,
* Step 2: Kill bugs with alcohol/bleach
* Step 3: Launder everything (that you can fit in your W/D) in hot water and hot dryer
* Step 4: Vacuum everything (walls, furniture, curtains, rugs, books)
* Step 5: Steam clean everything
* Step 6: Wrap upholstered furniture in plastic and seal with tape
* Step 7: Repeat vacuum and steam cleaning daily for a few weeks
* Step 8: Contact exterminator when this does not work

As a homeowner, mother of two, animal owner of 7, business owner and a bed bug specialist here are my thoughts on their strategy…I do not want my family to live with a growing population of bed bugs eating them. I do not want chemicals (pesticides or bleach) covering my home impacting my children and pets. I do not have time to do this every day with no guarantee that the bugs will go away. But knowing that not everyone can afford a heat treatment that will solve the problem in one day, here are my recommendations. Most DIY efforts take from 2 to 6 months to resolve, plan accordingly.

* Step 0: Do not spray pesticides, it will scatter the bugs and make your job harder
* Step 1: Find bed bugs – look everywhere around where you sleep, this includes the couch
* Step 2: In the affected room, bag all linens from the bed, seal the bag, and put all linens in the DRYER for an hour on high heat. Then wash them and dry them again on the hottest settings. Throw bag in outside garbage. Do the same with all your clothes.
* Step 3: Buy the best HEPA vacuum cleaner you can afford and at least 30 filters (1 per day of cleaning). Vacuum up everything you can see including bugs, eggs etc. Vacuum every last inch of your mattress, box spring, front and back of head board, mattress frame, frame wheels. Yes I mean EVERYTHING. Then vacuum your side tables and anything around your bed the same way. Vacuum the walls, the base boards, the rug, When you have finished throw the filter out in the outside garbage.
* Step 4: Rent or buy a steam cleaner and utilize it on every square inch of space in your room, just as you have done with the vac. Obviously avoid utilizing steam with electronics.
* Step 5: Repeat the vac/steam process DAILY to ensure that new babies are caught before they feed and before they start laying more eggs.
* Step 6: Optional, but effective. Purchase a PackTite personal heater that you can use for larger items and items that cannot be put in the dryer.
* Step 7: Call me when you are exhausted, we can be there quickly

Please note, if you do purchase a HEPA vac., rent a steamer for a month, and purchase a PackTite you could have paid for the heat treatment to start with. My philosophy, if you don’t have the money to do it right the first time, then what makes you think you will have the money to do it the second time.

-Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug 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

Protect yourself from the summer camp bed bug

Summer is upon is upon us which means suitcases, travel and summer fun.  But you should realize that next to eating, travel is the bed bugs favorite thing to do.  If little Jane or Johnny are headed to summer sleep-over camp there are a few things you should think about when they return.  Most importantly, are they bringing anyone else home from camp that is unwelcome?

Camps face an unusual challenge when it comes to bed bugs.  First, everyone that is coming is from somewhere else.  The camp has very little control on what is brought into their environment.  Surprisingly there are families who consider living with bed bugs as “ok”, some just don’t know they have them yet and some have them but can’t get rid of them.  So the likelihood of a camp growing a summer bed bug infestation is pretty good.  In addition, many campers and counselors are not familiar with the sign of bed bugs.  Bites can be chalked up to mosquitoes and frankly bugs are expected at camp. So a bed bug infestation may be inadvertently allowed to grow.  Lastly, camps often have open buildings for cabins making the bed bug extermination effort very challenging.

That being said, protecting your home when Jane and Johnny come home is critical. Here is what I would do to protect my  home…

  1. Educate your child on the signs, symptoms and the look of a bed bug.  Education is the first tool.
  2. I very rarely endorse bed bug sprays, but cedar oil is a great repellent for bugs.  I would spray the outside of my suitcase or camp trunk with cedar oil.  Not sure how long it lasts so send it with them to camp for repeat applications.
  3. When the kids arrive home unpack the trunk in the garage.  Separate laundry into garbage bags by color for heating.  Fully close bags for transport into the laundry room.  Move them one at a time as you do each load.  Point is, don’t drag an open bag through your house that can drop bugs along the way.
  4. DRY the clothes on high heat first for an hour.  Then wash and dry as normal.
  5. Dispose of the garbage bag OUTSIDE.
  6. If you are not in the mood to go through all this, pack your child in smaller suitcases and then get a hold of a PackTite.  Then when they return home you can just put the whole thing in the PackTite for heating.  Once the suitcase has been heated, it can be safely brought into the home.

Happy camp!  And may the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control

Never try DIY Heat for Bed Bugs

There are a few outcomes from an individual attempting to “heat” their environment for bed bug remediation on their own.  None of them are pretty or successful.

  1. You heat your home with your home heater system – won’t reach the correct temps to kill bed bugs
  2. You heat your home with kerosene or propane heater – HUGE fire risk, will likely violate your homeowners insurance so if you happen to burn the house down it is unlikely you will have money to re-build.  Secondly there is no way for you to determine if you have the right temp in every corner of your house, which defeats the whole purpose of the heat.  It is critical that a home is heated evenly and in every nook and cranny that a bug might hide.  Otherwise you have risked your greatest asset for poor results.
  3. Gasoline – enough said. Each year there are multiple reports of people smoking while working with gasoline and causing a huge explosion.  I don’t know of any professional system that utilizes gas.
  4. Hair Dryer – will kill the ones you aim it at, but so will pesticide.  It is the eggs that keep you coming back for more.
  5. Physical Heat Exhaustion – very easy to achieve when working at these temperatures, you will pass out.  It is impossible to monitor heat progress without remote sensors.

The reason the heat is successful is due to a few factors:

  1. It reaches every nook and cranny and your professional heat exterminator knows how to make that happen.
  2. It kills all stages of bed bug effectively, even the eggs that no one can see.
  3. It is safe.  The Temp-Air (electric) system alone has over 100 customers across the United States doing this daily.
  4. We stage a room in a way to ensure the isolation, capture, and swift kill of a bed bug.  Yes there are a host of tricks that make it successful and you learn those through training and experience, not the internet.
  5. The system has a monitoring computer and sensors that provide up to the minute data on what is happening in the space that is being treated.  This insures success and the health of the exterminator.

If you need a home heating device, pick up a PackTite and use your dryer.  If you need to cook the whole house, call a professional!

Not all Bed Bug heat is created equal

Heat treatments are very effective at treating bed bugs.  At the Bed Bug Answer we have over a 98% success rate the first time with Heat Treatments.  However, all heat is not created equal.  Here are a few options and considerations when selecting a method for your business or residence.

1) Propane Heat – gets VERY hot VERY fast, it is hard to control temperature variances and balance the heated environment, the location can have very high extremes (over 150 degrees) which will damage electronics and potentially set of fire sprinklers.  Buyer beware.

2) Steam Heat – great for small jobs but not an effective tool for a full room.  Technician must be extraordinarily detailed and that is tough to find in a hourly wage employee.  Takes a really long time to cover everything, wicker is a huge pain.

3) Chamber or Box Heat – great for the items that go into the chamber, but it misses all the bugs in the rug, baseboards, walls, etc.  First time success rate is high, over 75% but not typically effective for infestations that have been around for an extended period of time or that have been previously treated with chemicals.  Also, tight packing of the chamber creates cold pockets where bugs can survive.

4) DIY Heat – NEVER a good idea.  Cold air pockets and inexperience make this a true waste of time and VERY dangerous.  Insurance likely won’t reimburse you for a home fire cause by DIY heat either.

5) Electric Heat – can be harder to power if the location has old wiring, but VERY effective in killing bed bugs SAFELY.  Power issues easily overcome by a generator.   Easy to manage heat temperature maximums and maintain for extended periods of time.  Safe for everything in the environment excluding pets, plants, plasma TVs, and a few other small items. PackTite is also electric heat.

The Bed Bug Answer specializes in Heat Treatments for Bed Bugs.  We use Electric heat and Steam Heat to very successfully eradicate bed bugs the first time.  Our room preparation methods and after treatment techniques are trade secrets.  We will get rid of your bed bugs the first time!

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control

The Bed Bug PackTite = Peace of Mind

Are you concerned about bringing bed bugs home? Do you or your spouse travel for work or pleasure?   If you answered yes, then are you being vigilant in checking your hotel rooms?

The fact of the matter is that bed bugs are here to stay and they will get worse as time goes by.  They do not have any predators and they have humans everywhere to feed on.  So if you have not come across them yet, you will.  And yes, they have made it to GA already!  So it is best to be prepared.

For the elite who live in NYC their best method to keep bed bugs out is to utilize a home heating device.  Many New Yorkers have purchased a PackTite™ for their homes/apartments.  Everyone who comes to stay must place their belongings in it to “cook out the bed bugs” before they can stay.  It works great and it stores up flat when not in use.

But the PackTite™is not just for NYC.  Our hotel and apartment clients are buying them to help out guests and residents.  They can be used for fighting a current infestation (for those items that cannot go in the dryer) or to prevent one from starting.  I use mine when I come home from a particularly nasty bed bug job.

Trust me, it is worth the investment for peace of mind.  I would much rather buy a PackTite™ than have to exterminate my whole home!

This is what it looks like, more info can be found here…

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs in my laptop! NOW WHAT?!?

Many people are surprised that bed bugs will harbor in an electrical device. But if you think about it, electronics are typically warm, cozy spaces with lots of nooks and crannies that are not frequently disturbed. It is a perfect spot for a bed bug home. Think about your alarm clock. It is right next to your bed, it is only touched twice a day (setting & snoozing) and it is likely slightly warm from the electricity. (Warmth usually means food to them.)

So what happens when they decide to find other electronics to hide in? What do you do? I was recently brought in to heat a hotel room with this exact problem. The hotel guest had been in the northeast and admittedly stayed in a not-so-nice hotel. After two days at her conference here in Atlanta she opened her laptop to a horrible surprise – bed bugs were pouring out of her laptop keyboard! What happened?!?! My educated guess is that the bugs made their way into her laptop case at the prior hotel. Since it was cold outside, they found the warmest spot in her bag – the laptop – when she left the hotel. A few days later they were hungry again and came out when they smelled food. Gross!!!

To treat electronics you need heat. Liquid pesticides cannot be sprayed onto electronics and dusts will just muck up the systems. Check your user manual first, but most electronics are fine up to 150 degrees. If you are not doing a bed bug thermal heat treatment on your whole space, then I recommend a PackTite™. All your items can be placed inside it and cooked for the appropriate amount of time for proper bed bug extermination. But remember, just because they are dead, does not mean they are gone. Dead bed bugs inside an electronic device can cause problems. So I recommend that you find a good electronics “disaster recovery” company. If it is an infested computer they may be able to clean it for you or at a minimum pull off your data for your new one. They worked miracles on a Katrina flooded desk top that I had.

Ashley, www.bedbuganswer.com