Tag Archives: bed bug pesticide

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kudzu Bug, kin to Bed Bugs?

We addressed a number of complaints this fall about bugs in hotel rooms, none of which turned out to be bed bugs.  So what happened and what are these little pests and why are they coming in trough the windows?  Enter The Kudzu Bug.  These are Asian beetles that feed on the kudzu plant and soybean plants.  They swarm out of the kudzu plants in the fall looking for a safe place to winter.  As they are attracted to light colored surfaces, some of our Atlanta hotels were a perfect target, no matter the height.

The Department of Agriculture released a good video on the subject and the news media got in on the fun too.  Currently the treatment is to remove them physically or to set up exclusion methods in your structure.  This means that a vacuum and a caulk gun are your best tools, not chemicals.  If you kill them with a spray, the next wave will just take their place.  But don’t kill them indoors, like their friend the stink bug, they will release a nasty odor when threatened or killed.  The smell can stain indoor surfaces and linger in your environment for a while.

The good news is that the swarm is temporary, they will leave in the spring to find their kudzu meal and begin breeding.  If you have a crop of kudzu near your property, I recommend removing it this winter before the bugs come back.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist