Tag Archives: bed bug spray

3 Biggest Bed Bug Myths Debunked @ BOMA

IMG_20170526_155559Red Coat attended the BOMA show for the first time last week. It was a great event and we met lots of new people!  Everyone loved meeting Sadie as she ran the bed bug carousel.  By the end of the day she was so exhausted she just laid down on top of the bugs!

Meeting new people in a new industry brought a few new questions and stories to the forefront.  There is a great deal of mis-information about bed bugs in the world today.  Here are the 3 most common myths we discussed with attendees:

1) “I don’t have BEDS on my property, so I’m good!”

Do not let the name confuse you. They will live on any surface excluding glass or porcelain.  In more “mature” bed bug markets, OFFICE infestations are the fastest growing area for bed bug finds and treatments.  They are coming to an office chair near you!  Are you ready?

2) “I thought they were microscopic!”

Oh no! The adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed.  The babies are quite small and very often overlooked.  But these bugs are messy and leave behind clear feces markings and shed skins.  Yes, one bug can be hard to find, but more often the infestation is very evident.

3) “I didn’t know dogs can find bed bugs?”

Yes, Bed Bug Detection Dogs are working animals trained on the odor of the insects. They are the fastest, most effective tool in identifying the location of the infestation. The best dogs can clear 200-300 chairs and desks in 2 hours.

Don’t be mistaken, bed bugs are everywhere we go now.  Know the signs and how to protect yourself when in public!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

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

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

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

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

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

Advantages:

  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

Disadvantages:

  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

Advantages:

  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.

Disadvantages:

  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

Advantage:

  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

Disadvantages:

  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