We've all seen this driving down the road, but, did you know, that if you have bed bugs, you don't need to throw away you mattress or furniture? It's true.
Mattresses can cost thousands of dollars. Why would you throw it away? If your exterminator tells you to throw away your mattress, couch, chair or any other furniture, you need to throw him away!
So often I hear the horror stories of people being told to throw away their belongings to help fight bed bugs. People spend hundreds if not thousands on treatment and on top of the inconvenience of having to bag up all your clothes, vacuuming everything everywhere, pulling up carpet and baseboards you're told to throw away your mattress. Why?
Let me tell you why, from an expert’s point of view:
Pest control companies that spray pesticides know that it is not effective. They know the bed bugs will be spread out from using the pesticides. To make it easier on the exterminator, they tell you to get rid of the items that have the most activity. Most of the time it's your mattress.
Did you know?
It's illegal for a very good reason. People all over have been treating their mattresses and have been poisoning themselves and their children. Hospitals have reported an 800% rise in pesticide poisoning for just this reason alone. You don't want to lay on a bed treated with chemicals that are designed to be absorb through your skin.
Related Article: Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning (From Cornell University's Pesticide Safety Education Program)
So let's look at this from a consumer’s point of view:
I have bed bugs! Yuck. A thermal treatment (heat) is on average $1800. Another pest control company says they can do it for $675 and two follow up visits for $180 each. A total of $1035. I want to save money, so I'll go with the "cheaper option". Now I have to bag up all of my clothes and take them to have them washed and dried ($25). My chosen pest company told me to throw away my mattress and box spring ($800 down the drain). I had to pull my carpet up away from the baseboard (one day of time). My first treatment was performed ($675). For the next two weeks I have no mattress, live out of trash bags where my clothes are…and, oh yeah, and I still have bed bugs. First follow-up treatment ($180). Again another two weeks of no bed, clothes are still in trash bags and I’m still seeing bed bugs. Two weeks later the last follow up treatment ($180). I tell the exterminator I'm still seeing bed bugs. He says this is normal and he tells me to throw away my couch and chair because the bed bugs have now moved into them because I sleep there since I don't have my new bed yet ($1000 in the dump). The exterminator tells me to wait another two weeks to call if I see anything. Two weeks go by and I still see bed bugs. I call and they say we can start another treatment for $675.
So from this true everyday event this consumer thought they were saving money. The total cost was $2885 for two months of treatments and living out of trash bags and still having bed bugs. They have thrown away their mattress, box spring, couch and chair. They now need to buy a new mattress, box spring, couch and chair. That's another $2000, easily. While they thought they would save $800 by using a company that was cheaper and sprayed pesticides for bed bugs, they ended up spending $4685, and you still have bed bugs.
What if I told you the first option to use heat (Thermal Remediation) for an average $1800 only took 8 hours to perform, no washing and drying of clothes, no putting clothes in bags, no throwing away of your mattress, couch or anything. No harmful pesticides sprayed. No odors. ATC Pest Control's service comes with a one year warranty.
Which treatment would you choose now?
Suggested Reading: Free Bed Bug E-Book
Today, let’s look at bed bugs from a professional’s point of view.
Everyone is trying to push their new product and sell snake oil to the masses. I thought it would be refreshing to discuss bed bugs from someone whom deals with them every day. Just like every other exterminator, I too was taken by surprise when bed bugs first appeared a few years ago. In all my training and experience of 23 years I never came across them. Well let me tell you when the first call came in we were all scratching our heads. As it turned out, not only were bed bugs back, they were back with a mission. Our first reaction was to spray what we thought would kill these little guys like we did with everything else. It didn't take long to figure out these bed bugs were a special kind of super bug and would require a different approach. Turns out bed bugs are resistant to all pesticides. Spraying can kill some but only makes that generation more resistant. Our customers became used to our great service and not being able to get rid of bed bugs wasn't an option for them. Research was limited on the bed bug and most of what was even available was from the 1940's. So our industry kicked into high gear. Unfortunately, most of the ideas were just to make a quick buck off the hysteria of the public. Our industry became divided. Spray or don't spray. Well, we knew spraying wasn't the answer so I set out to research other ground breaking treatments. I started with freezing. The idea seemed to make sense until I tried it. It just wasn't practical. You would need to freeze the entire area using a device the size of a quarter. The temperatures were not cold enough, long enough to get the job done. See with bed bug treatments 99% isn't enough. They will return. Steam was next. Made sense too. Again the issue was such a small area of actual treatment and it wasn't hot enough for enough time and was too impractical.
Heat!!! Now we started to see some results. Propane heat was the first I looked at. Forced hot air into the area of concern causing certain death. This looked promising but issues arose. Too hot too quick cause damage to the belongings. Cracks in the counter tops, walls and glass. The old saying, "Drop a frog in boiling water and it will jump out. Put a frog in water then turn the stove on and it will cook", came to mind. I discovered that when high heat was forced into a room with bed bugs they, like the frog got out. Bed bugs will move away from the forced heat to the cooler side of the room. I later discovered that using propane heats the air outside then forces it inside. Doing this produces about 8-gallons of water into the air of the area being treated. The idea of using heat is to dry out the bed bugs. Having high humidity drastically slows that process down. This is why there are a lot of re-treatments needed when using propane as a heat source.
Another type of heat system was developed about the same time. This system uses a generator to create electricity to power its heaters. These heaters slowly heat up the area where bed bugs are. (Remember the frog?) This allows the items in the area and to react to the slowly rising temperatures and adjust. No damage is caused. What I saw with this system was amazing. The bed bugs at about 110°F degrees became very active and excited. It allow me to see where the bed bugs were actually hiding. None ran away from the heat. If anything they went towards it. Once lethal temperature was reached fans are turned on. Hot air moving fast gets hotter. This process is called thermal remediation.
At 113°F degrees it takes about an hour to kill an adult bed bug and 6- hours to kill an egg. Between 118°F - 122°F it only takes 60-seconds to kill all stages of a bed bug. This was the answer to the bed bug issue. Now at first companies were only heating for a 2-3 hours. This proved to be not enough time. Yes it only takes 60-seconds but they have to be exposed to it. They still hide. Fans are the key to the success of the treatment along with rotating the items in the room to allow full thermal penetration. Maintaining the temperatures for 5-6 hours delivers 100% eradication of a bed bug population. That said keep in mind the best treatment is only as good as the people providing it and cooperation of the customer is essential to a successful treatment. Clutter is a big deterrent to positive results. One inch of clutter removes 10% effectiveness. At that point why even do it.
So from a professional who kills bed bugs every day, I hope you can find some helpful hints in this blog. It is important to also caulk any cracks and crevices in your home especially where bed bugs have been. Reducing the hiding places helps. Now you decide if you want to put all of your clothes into bags, live out of them for weeks while you have your place spayed with a material that has been proven to not work or have a thermal treatment performed using electric heaters powered by a generator for a day for 100% eradication of bed bugs in your home. Good luck!!!
Bryan Guderjohn, CEO for ATC Termite & Pest Control. This is where I will share with you my thoughts and experiences from my 25+ years of expertise in pest control.
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