Although heat treatment is a proven safe and effective method of killing bed bugs and their eggs, how can you be certain an individual treatment has been 100% successful?
The only way to know for sure is to do another inspection and do all you can to make sure the first treatment is the last. So, how can you do that? Read on to find out.
Dogs are amazing creatures, and their sense of smell is remarkable. Dogs have been used by law enforcement agencies to track people and sniff out drugs and explosives for many years, but have now become an important part of the armory for bed bug control. They can detect up to two parts per trillion of the scent of bed bugs and alert their handlers to the presence of both adults and eggs.
There is no better or more cost-effective method of discovering whether bed bugs are present before treatment or whether any have survived after treatment. They are supremely accurate, and the legal system recognizes certified canines as a scientific instrument.
K-9 detection is efficient and precise. Even a large hotel can be completely screened in a comparatively short time, and a canine can detect even a single bed bug. It doesn’t require any disruption to the home or business, besides ensuring the dog can work in the necessary areas.
Because of the precision, K-9 detection allows early intervention, destroying the pest before it can become a severe infestation.
The Cimastat system of treatment verification is the other vital tool for checking that the heat treatment has done its job. The specially produced labels can be placed anywhere: under mattresses, in drawers, between the pages of a book, or in cupboards – anywhere you think there might be a problem area.
Two temperatures are critical in the heat treatment of bed bugs. Adult bed bugs die at 113℉/45℃, and all life stages are extinguished at 122℉/50℃. The Cimastat labels have two boxes with these figures clearly printed. Each changes from blue to orange when that temperature is reached, with the entire label turning orange at the higher temperature. This shows visible proof that the treatment has reached sufficient heat levels.
These labels are certified by the International Bed Bug Authority and offer proof that the treatment has reached the required temperature in every location they have been placed. They are economical as you can reuse them. Simply place in a freezer at -4℉/-20℃ for 30 minutes, and the labels will return to the original blue color.
Cimastat labels are the ideal way of documenting a heat treatment’s effectiveness and demonstrate to both contractor and customer that the bed bugs have been killed at all stages of their life cycle.
When used together, these two methods assure that all traces of bed bugs have been eradicated. They offer early detection of the pest that allows a swift response and evidence that the heat treatment has worked and that the bed bugs have been destroyed. This is particularly useful for professionals, as it offers clients proof that the heat treatment has been effective.
Bed bugs are known for many things: they’re avid breeders, they feed on the blood of humans and animals, and they invoke a lot of stress when discovered! One thing they’re not usually associated with, however, is their elusive nature.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which makes them extremely difficult to locate. It often takes someone waking up with bed bug bites for them to be discovered, and even more difficult to get rid of entirely.
It’s common for a business owner or resident to suspect an infestation, but be unable to see the bed bugs in action. Thankfully, trained dogs can sniff them out far more effectively. Here’s why scent detection canine teams are so effective:
1. They detect infestations very quickly
In a world where time is money, it’s hardly ideal for a hotel owner to have to leave a room unused for the duration of a search, so the quicker the job is done, the better. Bed bug canines are extremely fast and efficient, effectively searching entire buildings in little time.
2. A lot of money can be saved
With such strong scent detection, these highly trained detection dogs negate the need to pull up carpet, remove the baseboards or dismantle any furniture, which can cost a lot of money. Also, a bed bug canine team can detect one-bed bug as easily as it can identify an extreme infestation. This strong potential for early detection can save you from having to undergo the extensive treatment necessary for severe infestations.
3. They can detect all life stages
Not only do properly trained canines alert when they smell live bed bugs, but they’ll also detect live bed bug eggs. This is extremely useful as the only technique that successfully detects all stages of live bed bug stages by their scents.
4. They are highly accurate
In addition to being quick and thorough, these canines are also known for being meticulous in their searches. They have even been compared to bomb-sniffing dogs. They are trained to detect bed bugs through furniture and mattresses, and even from the other side of a wall.
5. Your reputation will be protected
Due to the effectiveness of these canines and their training, they can actually be used in a court of law as a scientific instrument. Having been inspected, you’ll receive a certificate of inspection, which will greatly enhance your reputation if you’re a business owner.
If you’re concerned that your home or business may be subject to an infestation, we’re here to help you to find certified professionals in your area at the International Bed Bug Resource Authority. Whether you’re a homeowner with frequent visitors or hotel owner who wants to be sure that all rooms are free of bed bugs, we’ve got you covered. With over 50 independent service providers working with us, we’ll help you with your bed bug issues, once and for all. Click here to find a certified provider near you.
Here at IBBRA we highly recommend heat treatments to end your bed bug problem. Heat works quickly and effectively, which allows your home or business to be operational in no time; But what happens after the heat treatment is done? There are still some cleanup procedures that you should follow before the bugs will be gone for good.
Bed Bug Clean-Up Tips
The first step in cleaning up after a bed bug infestation is to wipe down everything. This tip is one of the more apparent tasks, so we won’t spend too much time here. If you can wipe it down, do it! Make sure you get front, back, inside, under, and anywhere you can reach.
Next, you should spend some time vacuuming everything. This should be done carefully, and the vacuum bag or container should be emptied regularly and into separate garbage bags than your other trash.
Tips for Vacuuming the Treated Areas:
- Floors – Vacuum the whole room thoroughly.
- Carpet Edges – carefully lift carpet off the tack strips if possible. Using the nozzle or brush tool, slowly vacuum the perimeter of the room.
- Mattress – using the nozzle attachment, run the vacuum along the upper and lower sides of the piping (seam) that surrounds the mattress using a slow back and forth systematic movements. Start at one end and work your way around the bed, making sure not to miss any area. Next, using the flat attachment, vacuum the sides of the mattress, including any possible grommets and stitching throughout. Flip the mattress and repeat on the other side.
- Box springs – repeat all steps for cleaning your mattress. If your box springs have a dust cover, you may consider removing it and vacuuming inside the frame of the box spring.
- Upholstered furniture – sweep all parts of the chair inside and out just like you did with the mattress and box spring. Remove each cushion and vacuum thoroughly.
- Hard furniture – vacuum all areas inside and out.
If you have any items that you’d instead discard, it’s best to do this after the heat treatment, that way, the bugs have died before you discard the item. This prevents further spread of your bed bug problem. It’s still a good idea to use proper steps to discard items, though, even after the heat treatments.
The best way to discard these items is to wrap it completely. Most hardware stores carry plastic tarps used for painting. These can work well if you secure it properly, but you’ll need to use tape to secure it. We have also found that Shrink Wrap often used by the furniture and moving industry works well for both coverage and ease of movement and handling. It has a particular “stretch” quality so that you can easily cover any exposed area of the item you are wrapping. After complete and careful wrapping of each item you are discarding, attach a sign or mark with BIG BOLD LETTERS – BED BUG INFESTED – BEFORE taking it to the dumpster or the curb. If you are calling in a disposal company to pick up the infested items, make sure to tell them what it is that they are picking up and that it is infested with bed bugs, and it is wrapped for safety.
Lastly, if you hired a professional to perform your heat treatment, then you should ask them for a recommendation for further cleanup. Always follow your pest professional’s procedures and best practices to ensure that your treatment is successful and any warranties or guarantees stay in effect.
Need a professional? Check out our provider list at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/.
Need more info about bed bugs? Learn more at https://ibbra.org/faq/
It’s been established that heat treatments are the most effective and fastest way to kill bed bugs. Scientists and pest professionals agree that heat treatments should be the preferred initial treatment in most bed bug cases. Chemical treatment follow-ups or pre-treatments are also an option if performed by trained professionals. Additionally, K-9 inspections are an effective pre and post-inspection technique to ensure that your heat treatments are successful. But before you jump to perform a heat treatment, there are things that you can do to help make the process go a bit smoother and add to the success rate of your treatments. These tips and tricks are perfect for DIY heat treatments or before your pest technician come to perform a professional treatment.
Always discuss pre and post-treatment preparation with your pest professional before you start your prep work!
Proper preparation is a mandatory requirement for your heat treatment to be effective. If you’ve hired a service technician, they should outline this in detail and provide instructions on what to do. Preparation is generally done by the resident, although in some cases, companies will offer preparation for an additional charge, or in some cases, the resident may be charged a penalty for not completing the preparation list. Be sure to speak to your service technician beforehand if you cannot complete the list.
Preparation involves providing access for pest control treatment as well as taking measures to ensure that bed bugs are destroyed or contained.
If a home is not properly prepared, successful elimination may be practically impossible.
SAMPLE PREPARATION LIST FOR HEAT TREATMENTS
______Items stored under the bed provide an infinite amount of bed bug hiding places. Be very careful and open all containers and slightly pull the bins from under the bed. Air should be able to move inside and around the bins easily.
______ All furniture in the dwelling usually need to be pulled away from the baseboards and walls, and it is commonly asked that all furniture containing potential hiding crevices, such as bookshelves and desks, be opened or even emptied and left open for the exterminator to treat. Ask your technician what is necessary.
_____ Open all the drawers in any dressers, side tables, cabinets, or shelving. Make sure the items inside are loosely packed, and heat can permeate the items.
_____ Remove and properly discard cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, paper, and plastic bags, old newspapers, stacks of magazines, and similar items in all potentially infested rooms. Be sure to seal and mark them in plastic bags before removal. (Remember, bed bugs love clutter, it provides an infinite number of places for them, and those “cluttered” items might be where they are hiding)
_____ Unplug all electronics except major appliances. Usually, it will be safe for electronics to remain in the treatment area but always check with your pest professional.
_____ Remove framed pictures and posters from the walls to avoid damages. Lay them flat in the room.
_____ Vinyl or faux wood blinds may have a low heat tolerance; they may need removed and placed in a pile of other heat-sensitive items on a table.
_____ Remove items that may melt, like candles, deodorant, chocolate, and lipstick.
_____ Remove medications and perishable foods.
_____ Collect all aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, lighters, soda cans, and pressurized containers and remove them from the treatment area.
_____ Don’t bag up too many items! Items in bags can be hard to treat. Do not over-prepare!
____ Alert your pest professional of any sprinklers. Heat can set off the sprinkler system, so the sprinkler heads need to be caped and protected.
For items and areas that cannot be treated, or may have been challenging to treat, there are several steps you can take to ensure that bed bugs aren’t hiding in those items.
- Always inspect heat-sensitive items carefully. Small things that show signs of bed bug activity can be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, or sprayed with professional chemicals to kill and bugs.
- Make sure you launder all bedding, stuffed animals, drapes, clothing, and other washable items to ensure that bed bugs aren’t still hiding there. Items should be dried on the hottest setting possible on your dryer. Items should be secured in a plastic bag and tied in-order to transport to your laundry area. This helps to avoid the spread of bed bugs to other areas of your home.
- After treatment, you should vacuum all areas around the bed and other furniture. Empty the vacuum bag or container into a trash bag that is tightly sealed.
- Make sure any discarded items are sealed in plastic and labeled as “Bed Bug Infested” before dropping in the garbage.
Always follow professional advice for ways you can prepare your room for a heat treatment or inspection. Some professionals may have different requirements depending on the equipment used.
Want to perform your own heat treatment? Check out our heat equipment rental providers at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/. You can find a professional rental location near you that offers equipment, professional add-on services and tutorials on how to perform your own heat treatments!
Proper communication will set the tone for the correct expectations for any bed bug treatment. Customers have high expectations for bed bug professionals now more than ever. But how can you, as a pest professional, live up to those expectations. The key is effective communication between the technician and the customer before the treatment even begins.
Communicating on the Job
Each job, customer, and treatment will be different, and effective communication will be essential to making sure that the client knows what expectations are valid. Bed bugs are extremely resilient to some treatments, and depending on the size of the infestation the problem could take a few follow-up treatments and/or inspections to ensure that the problem is completely solved. How you relay this information will vary depending on what type of account you’re dealing with.
In a single-family home, the likelihood of an infestation is lower in comparison to a hotel or apartment building. This means that one heat treatment could be enough to completely eradicate the problem.
When dealing with a multi-family housing situation, you could be facing a chronic bed bug problem or an infestation that is moving from unit to unit after repeated failed treatments. This can cause the treatment process to be more difficult, and your approach with the client will be different to make sure they have a realistic and informed view of the problem.
Communicating and Dispelling Myths
One of the first things you’ll need to assess and communicate to a new customer is how to react to a bed bug sighting. Seeing a single bed bug or an unknown insect in your home does not mean that you have an infestation and doesn’t warrant an emergency.
Making a proper identification is the first step. When possible, encourage customers to place any potential bed bugs in a plastic bag labeled with where and when it was spotted. When the technician comes to do an initial inspection of this bag of “evidence” will help know where to look and ensure that you’re actually dealing with bed bugs and not another insect type.
Next, when treatment is deemed valid, make sure you are giving your customers realistic expectations for any pre-treatment prep. Take into account whether the customer is physically able to reduce clutter or move items in preparation. Also, give the customer clear instructions on what items should be moved, if any. You may need to adapt your treatment plan for any special requirements of the client or the treatment area.
Give your customers real, proven information. You would be amazed at the myths people will believe. It may be a good idea to have a hand-out ready for customers to educate them about bed bugs and the treatment you will be providing. Clearing up any false info could also help the customer realize where or when they picked up the bed bugs and how to avoid them in the future.
- Bed bug treatments can be tricky, depending on the severity of the infestation and the location. Be upfront with your clients and provide realistic expectations for your treatment.
- How you communicate this information will depend on what type of customer you’re working with. Residential and commercial clients have different needs and requirements. Be aware of these expectations and address them in your initial meeting.
- Make sure your expectations for prep and post-treatment clean-up are realistic.
- Provide quality information to your clients and dispel any myths that they may believe.
The IBBRA website is full of useful information regarding bed bugs, treatment options, and more. Check out our blog for up-to-date bed bug news and info.
If you have a bed bug problem, call one of the IBBRA certified bed bug treatment providers near you. Search here: https://ibbra.org/service-providers/
Bed bugs can be a frustrating, expensive, and potentially dangerous problem to have. There is so much false information online that many people make simple, but expensive and dangerous mistakes when treating for bed bugs. IBBRA is here to help you stay informed with scientifically proven information and access to qualified professionals that can help you through your bed bug issue.
Here are the top 5 bed bug mistakes that you could easily avoid:
- Hiding bed bugs from your friends, family, and landlord
Bed bugs can affect anyone and aren’t something to be ashamed of. If you get bed bugs, telling your family, friends, neighbors and landlord is essential to making sure the problem doesn’t spread. It also gives you the chance to educate others about how easily bed bugs can be “picked up”. Spread the word and protect yourself and those you care about by being open regarding any bed bug issues that may arise in your household.
- Sleeping in another room
Once you find out bed bugs have infested your bedroom, many people will opt to sleep on the couch or in another bedroom to avoid the bugs and potential bites. While this may keep a few bites away, this is actually one of the leading cases that bed bugs spread to multiple rooms in your home. Solve the problem quickly with heat and use caution when moving to other rooms. Take the proper sterilization steps to contain the bed bug problem.
- Forgetting to do follow-up inspections and treatments
Once a treatment is complete and you aren’t receiving nightly bed bug bites, you may tend to forget about the problem altogether. By doing this you may be allowing bed bugs to continue to infest your home undetected. Bed bugs eggs take 6-10 days to hatch, which means that your bed bug infestation could re-appear within a few weeks after a treatment. Follow up treatments and inspections are especially important if a chemical treatment was applied. The best way to kill all the bed bugs, even the eggs, is by hiring a professional to complete a heat treatment. Alternatively, you can rent bed bug heat equipment from certified providers here.
- Bring home used items without proper inspections
Bringing home bed bugs can be very easy, especially if you recently were traveling or purchased used furniture or clothing. Bed bugs like to hide in upholstered furniture, and not just bedroom furniture. You could bring home bed bugs in chairs, couches, clothing, and even books. Always inspect any used items that come into your home.
- Off-the-shelf pesticides or un-safe heating methods
There are countless pesticides out there that claim to be effective on bed bugs, but in actuality, they aren’t required to test their product on bed bugs. Likewise, news outlets are full of stories where homeowners burnt down their house while trying to heat the home using space heaters, a home furnace, the oven….ect. Heat treatments should only be performed using professionality quality heaters that are made to kill bed bugs. Chemical treatments should only be applied by professional pest control technicians that are trained to use high quality and powerful pesticides.
Don’t make these mistakes! Call in a bed bug professional, rent bed bug heat equipment or purchase professional quality DIY equipment at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/