Getting or performing a bed bug treatment comes with a host of worries – you’ve got the concern of having the infestation in the first place, getting rid of it, and concerns about the treatment damaging your home.
To help put your mind at rest, we’re going to guide you through what you do and don’t need to be concerned about when it comes to bed bug treatments.
DO: Avoid DIY Treatments
If you’re heading to Pinterest for good DIY solutions to a bed bug infestation, pump the breaks. While some of these natural “wives tale” solutions will offer a temporary solution, many leave your home at risk of damage.
For example, one suggested solution is steam. While steam may be an effective spot treatment, and a good solution for soft furnishings, it’s not a suitable option for eradicating an infestation in a home. At best, it will leave you with live bed bugs ready to reinfest the home, and at worst, you may risk damaging walls and furniture.
Another suggested option is using turmeric. While turmeric is a very healthy spice to add to your meals, it’s not an effective way to kill bed bugs. Not only do some sites suggest you encase your mattress in it to “starve them of oxygen” which is certainly not guaranteed to work, but you’ll end up with a home that’s stained orange-yellow.
DO: Pick the Right Type of Treatment
Now you know the average DIY option isn’t a good one, let’s look at some of the professional options.
Does a chemical bed bug treatment damage the house?
A chemical bed bug treatment (sometimes called fumigation, depending on the method used) shouldn’t leave any permanent damage, but it’s not a particularly healthy option, either. What you’re essentially doing is covering every inch of your home in a toxic substance designed to kill. Many chemical treatments are also not 100% effective and many bed bugs are developing a resistance to these chemicals, so they’re becoming even less effective over time.
Does a bed bug heat treatment damage the house?
No – a bed bug heat treatment is one of the only form of bed bug treatment that will leave your home damage-free. All a heat treatment is doing is raising the heat level in your home to around 120F – that’s hot enough to start killing any living thing in the home, but not hot enough to damage electronics or furnishings. You may need to remove perishables before treatment since most need to be stored at less than 90F, and of course any pets, but otherwise your home will be left unchanged by the treatment – sans bed bugs, of course!
While some DIY and chemical bed bug treatments may damage your property, professional heat treatments will never do so. Your pest control company will guide you through any precautions you need to take before the treatment, ensuring your home is left in the condition you left it in. If you’re ready to find a bed bug professional near you, click here.
A potential customer has just discovered what they think are bed bugs in their home and wants them gone now. They are likely very upset by the discovery and will probably be difficult to reassure, but it is important that you manage their expectations for how you can help them before you do anything. This will ensure that the customer knows exactly what the process will be so they don’t expect more than you can deliver.
What Your Customers Need to Know
Before you make the journey to their home to start the bed bug eradication process, there are some things your customers need to know.
Firstly, you need to be sure that what they have is in fact bed bugs as they can be confused with other bugs. You should provide them with information on how to identify bed bugs whether that be through your website, an external source, or a guide booklet emailed to them.
They also need to be informed that the infestation may be more widespread than they think as visual inspections are not always sufficient to determine the actual extent.
You should then go through your treatment procedures and the terms within your service agreement so that they know exactly what will be happening and when, and how they can get ready for your arrival.
It is also important that you be ready to answer any questions on your specific eradication methods as they may have already been in contact with other pest management companies that use different products or do things a little differently.
Give Them the Whole Truth
If you give your customers a treatment warranty of any kind, you need to tell your customers from the start that this does not guarantee that all bed bugs will be eradicated after only one treatment.
You need to make known that bed bugs are particularly hard to get rid of and explain why: they can hide in even the smallest of spaces, one female bed bug can carry hundreds of babies, they can survive for over a year without food, and they easily adapt to their environment.
You should inform your customer that they should be wary of any pest management company that claims to eliminate bed bugs in only one treatment as this promise cannot be made…by anyone.
Finally, make sure that the customer does not move anything from room to room or throw anything out. Both actions will basically guarantee the spread of bed bugs throughout the home when they otherwise might have been contained to one or two rooms. Also, make clear not to try and get rid of the bed bugs themselves as many products such as pesticides or rubbing alcohol can make both humans and pets very sick and/or be highly flammable.
Taking the time to manage your customers’ expectations for bed bug eradication is a very important step to ensure that you cover yourselves and that the customer will be happy with your treatment process.
Becoming an IBBRA Member will take your business to the next level and ensure you have the best resources at your disposal. To learn more, click here.
When we think about bed bugs, we usually think about creepy crawly things in our beds when we stay in hotels, but that’s not the only place that suffers from them. Bed bugs go anywhere people go, and unsurprisingly, that can also mean prisons and jails.
While we can leave our hotels and homes for them to be treated, people in jails and prisons are often stuck with the situation they’re in. That means if they’re suffering from bed bugs, they have to suffer until they’re released or until those running the jail or prison choose to do something about it.
Just as there are news items about hotels and motels getting complaints (or even sued) by customers who experienced bed bugs, there are also numerous reports of inmates having to endure bed bug-infested conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent news stories.
Bed Bugs in Jails & Prisons
Bed Bugs in Oklahoma
In May 2021, a pregnant woman detained in Oklahoma County Jail spoke to News 4 about the terrible conditions she faced, that left her concerned for the wellbeing of her unborn child. She reported being held in a cell full of black mold, feces, and bed bugs.
In July 2021, a man leaving the Oklahoma County Jail told News 4 he’d left covered in bed bugs, just a day after the OSDH sent jail administrators a letter removing their right to hold juveniles. Michael Stange, the man in question, told News 4 the bed bugs were huge, “about the size of a dime.” He didn’t want to spread the bed bugs around, so he had to walk to a truck stop and shower off to remove them from his body. This was, unfortunately, just one of the terrible conditions he endured and saw at the jail.
Just four months later, Oklahoma County Jail appeared in the news again for bed bug problems and other related issues. In November 2021, a woman also reported being covered in bed bug bites after being released on bond from the jail. Again, the bed bugs were not the worst of the problems – she was even denied water.
Bed Bugs in South Dakota
Fortunately, things are not as bleak at all county jails as they are in Oklahoma. At Minnehaha County Jail in South Dakota, the wardens acted quickly upon being alerted to the presence of bed bugs in August 2021. Two incarcerated men woke up with bed bugs and Warden Mike Mattson acted as soon as he was told upon arriving to work. “We immediately checked the unit and came up with a plan to have everybody shower, get them new clothes, move them to a new unit and treat the blocks that those gentlemen were in.” A pest control company treated the jail blocks and the men involved were checked over by medical staff.
Jails are an environment in which bed bugs thrive – people are constantly coming and going, and those people are often living transient lifestyles, which means there are plenty of opportunities for the bed bugs to transfer there and away. The good news is that bed bugs can be treated quickly and easily by a professional pest control company, and frequent visits by a professional or K9 unit can ensure that any space, be it public, residential, or commercial, is kept free of bed bugs. To find a bed bug professional near you, click here.
No one wants to share their home with a parasite. Pests are bad enough, but parasites actually feed on you and you need to get rid of them – fast! Bed bugs and scabies are, unfortunately, relatively common invaders of our space. Though equally unwelcome, you need to be able to tell them apart if you are going to eliminate them. The symptoms of bites and itchiness may be in common, but that’s where the similarities end.
What are bed bugs?
Adult bed bugs are small apple seed-shaped and colored insects that love to hide in nooks and crannies and come out at night to feed on your blood. Although they feed on you, they don’t live on you, preferring to find dark dry spaces where they can breed in peace. These include the seams of your mattress, bed linen, clothing, and any crevices they can find.
You’ll know if you have an infestation by these signs:
- Small raised reddish bites on your skin that itch (though a few people do not react to being bitten), often in groups of three to five.
- Small specks of blood on your sheets.
- Bed bug excrement which looks like tiny black specks.
- Some people notice a musty smell, usually in the bedroom.
- Presence of the adults – adult bed bugs can be up to 7 mm long so are perfectly visible if you can find them.
It is important to note that while a small minority of people are hypersensitive to the bites of bed bugs these insects do not transmit disease to their human hosts. Adult bed bugs vary in size but are usually 5-7mm in length.
What is scabies?
Scabies mites are also small critters, but are arthropods, related to ticks and spiders, and have eight legs rather than six. This is rather academic as they are microscopic and can’t be seen by the naked eye. The mites live and feed on you and in you. The pregnant females burrow under your skin to lay their eggs and the larvae make their way back to the surface to grow and spread. Scabies is the term used for an infestation of the scabies mite.
How To Tell If You’ve Got Bed Bugs or Scabies
The bites are the easiest way to differentiate these two parasites:
- Though both bites will usually get red, scabies bites are usually accompanied by pale grayish or skin-colored lines – made by the burrows.
- Bed bug bites are usually in small clusters while scabies bites usually appear as patches, rather like a rash.
- A bed bug bite is raised like a mosquito bite while those of scabies are more like raised lines, blisters, or scales. In fact, scabies can be confused with eczema.
- The bites of scabies usually cause more extreme itchiness than bed bug bites, particularly at night.
- Bed bugs can bite you anywhere on your body and while that is also true of scabies the mites tend to favor folds in the skin – like elbows, armpits, between the fingers, and the waist, for example.
Treatment for Bed Bugs vs Scabies
It is important to know which you are dealing with as the treatments are so different. While a bed bug professional will be able to help rid your home of bed bugs with a heat treatment, the same cannot be said of scabies.
If you suspect you’re dealing with scabies, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. They will prescribe one of a number of proven topical medications that will get rid of the problem quickly. Often, anyone who has been in close contact with the sufferer will also need treatment.
If you aren’t sure but worry it is scabies, ask your doctor to take a look for you. They’ll be able to help you know whether you need medication or to contact a bed bug professional. If you need the latter, click here to find a bed bug specialist near you.
The bed bug population has long been on the rise – with the ease and cheapness of travel domestically and internationally, bed bugs have also been hitching a ride on our coattails whenever they can, whether it’s to travel from one city to the next or fly across the Atlantic.
This rapid spread was certainly concerning, but then COVID-19 hit us, and the world ground to a stop.
It would make sense that travel restrictions would stem or even stop the spread of bed bugs, especially as so many hotels and other communal spaces were either empty or hyper-vigilant when it came to cleanliness. But did we really see a drop?
COVID-19 and Bed Bugs
COVID-19 forced many of us to stay largely at home, travel plans were canceled, and we stopped meeting up with family and friends. But perhaps one silver lining is that numbers of this pest have reportedly fallen. New York City’s bed bug ranking fell, and entomologists believe that until humans start moving freely again, the numbers will stay low.
Bed bug companies also reported their revenue falling, as people and businesses had less cause to contact them. This wasn’t necessarily entirely due to a lack of bed bugs – many bed bug professionals believe that the desire to continue social distancing was stronger than the need to have an effective bed bug treatment, and so many homes (especially in multifamily units) have repeatedly relied on DIY treatments they could find at local stores. These treatments aren’t completely effective and are often bad for you.
Could we be seeing the back of bed bugs?
While it would be nice to think so, the reality is that they are relatively undetectable, and so they can spread easily from one person to the next before they are detected and killed. They can also live for an entire year without blood, and even the most infrequently visited office likely had one or two people pass through its doors within 2020 and 2021.
In the 1940s bed bugs were almost eradicated by pesticides, but they developed a resistance and people began to realize that spraying such potent pesticides in your residence wasn’t such a good idea.
Bed bugs rose again in the early 2000s when it became easy and cheap to travel almost anywhere. It’s likely that this same resurgence will happen again over the coming years, as we hopefully see international travel open up and become as free as it was just a few years ago.
Are we destined to be stuck with bed bugs?
Yes and no – it’s unlikely we’ll ever completely eradicate bed bugs. They are in the same category as fleas and lice, and they are just so transmittable that it is difficult to imagine there will be a time in the near future when they just don’t exist. That’s not to say we can’t keep the numbers low, however.
If businesses in transport and hospitality keep to a strict bed bug treatment and/or detection regime, they’ll be able to keep bed bug numbers down and stop the spread. If the general population becomes more aware of how to detect bed bugs and how easily they can be treated with heat treatments, we may be able to see numbers stop growing and stay under control.
If you’re interested in learning more about bed bugs, DIY bed bug solutions, or how to find a bed bug professional near you, our site provides a wealth of information on all three. Click here to learn more.
There are a lot of myths surrounding bed bugs such as they like dirt, dampness, the smell of sweat, or urine. None of these are true, but it is true that there are some things that do attract bed bugs.
First, let’s make it clear that anyone can get an infestation of these irritating insects. The most upscale apartment block or most expensive hotel is just as susceptible as more modest accommodation to an invasion of bed bugs. But there are certain things that make this parasite want to share your living space.
5 Things Bed Bugs LOVE About Your Home
1) Carbon dioxide
Bed bugs get their nutrients from blood, preferably human blood, and are naturally attracted to the carbon dioxide that is produced by respiration. One of the reasons they like to feed at night may be because your lack of activity means the carbon dioxide you breathe out has a higher concentration than normal.
2) Unwashed laundry
Laundry that hasn’t been through the washer is liked by bed bugs because it smells of human beings – their source of food. So don’t leave dirty laundry lying around when you travel, or if you share a laundry room in your complex. The good news is that high-temperature washing and drying does usually kill these little beasts, so putting any laundry in a high-heat wash when you get home from vacation may help kill off a hitchhiker or two.
Bed bugs enjoy warmth, and the fact that we heat our homes makes them welcoming habitats. They also associate warmth with living creatures and are drawn towards humans and other animals by the heat they emit. Although bed bugs will bite animals, they far prefer human blood to that of your pets.
4) Dark-colored bed linen
Far from being afraid of the dark, bed bugs like darkness; it makes them feel safe because it provides camouflage. So dark bed sheets might be a mistake and it is probably better to stick to white or light colors if you travel frequently (that includes using public transport or working in different indoor spaces), since they’ll allow you to detect the presence of a bed bug much faster.
5) Nooks and crannies
Bed bugs love the cover provided by nooks and crannies, creases, cracks, and anywhere they can live out of sight. They don’t have to be dirty areas either, just places that keep them from danger. Not only do these locations provide living space, but they also make detection and eradication harder.
Can you prevent bed bugs in the first place?
Sadly, apart from making sure you do the laundry promptly, clearing up, and having light bed sheets there is little you can do to make your home less attractive to this nasty insect. As a living human being, you naturally produce carbon dioxide and warmth and no one wants their home to be cold either.
All you can do is be observant and notice the evidence of the presence of bed bugs as soon as possible. And if you do suspect you have a problem, get it checked out and dealt with ASAP. Bed bugs don’t pack their bags and move on.
Find a bed bug professional to help
If bed bugs have found their way into your home, it’s time to take action. Contact your landlord if you need to, but if you own your home it’s time to take action. The most effective way to get rid of bed bugs is with a heat treatment because it irradicates all pests – eggs and all. To hire professional near you, click here. If you’d prefer DIY, click here to learn more about your options.