Bed Bug Treatment Methods

Many people want to know how the best treatment methods for bed bugs. There are several different treatment methods for bed bugs all with their pros and cons. The bedbug treatment Bible can be found here. This is presented by the National Pest Management Association and is widely accepted as the best method and protocols on how to treat bed bugs. It has been widely adopted throughout the world and we have used these treatment methods to kill bed bugs successfully since 2000. In fact these treatment methods are put together from ongoing surveys and analysis of the best methods that pest control operators were using in urban environments to eliminate bed bugs. We find when it comes to learning on how to treat bed bugs that education on the insects habits come first. Know thy enemy is a cardinal rule. There are three effective methods used to treat bed bugs: Chemical, Heat and fumigation. Cryonite has been used but without residual pesticide products it typically fails so it is not being mentioned here.

How to treat bedbugs using chemical programs:

A chemical program should be employed that uses a variety of different insecticides including liquid, dusts, and aerosols. This treatment program should be coupled with physical removal methods such as vacuuming using a HEPA VAC and also steam treating to help eliminate and reduce eggs. Treatments are typically applied 10 to 14 days apart to coincide with egg Hatch due to the poor kill rate that the pesticides have on eggs. This will ensure that newly hatched nymphs which are most susceptible are available for the uptake of the pesticide products. Mattresses and box springs should be encapsulated and once treatment has been completed and there are no further bites the boxspring should be eliminated because if the cover rips bedbugs will emerge and will start the cycle again. Dusts should be used within wall voids and should be dusted behind outlets, switch plates, pipe chases and any other areas that we have intrusions into the unit. This would also include areas such as subfloor cracks that lead into voids below. It is best to check the efficacy of the pesticides being used by researching with the latest reports are online with the likes of some of the major universities that are studying bed bugs. As more and more resistance encountered this is going to be critical in ensuring the proper products are being used.

How to treat bed bugs using Fumigation:

A Fumigation program can be used in a stand-alone home or a very large building that is not attached when problems are widespread.  Fumigation uses varying toxic gases although the main one in use today is Vikane or Sulfuryl Flouride to bring about the death of the insect. The gas molecules is so small that will penetrate pores of wood, sheet rock, plaster etc. being impeded only by glass, steel, and plastic. This allows it to penetrate throughout all items were bedbugs can hide. In large buildings where control has not been achieved us of chemical programs and the use of heat is not economical a fumigation program makes great sense. It does have some drawbacks as it is very toxic so it is dangerous to work with, it can be very costly usually 2 to 3 times that of thermal remediation or heat treatment and many many times greater than the cost of chemical program. It also leaves no residual so if a bedbug is brought back in the next day there is nothing left behind to help impede it’s growth or eliminate it. The process generally takes several days so occupants of the home or building must find alternative areas to stay while the process is ongoing. The biggest plus about this program is that it is usually very effective in bringing about 98%- 100% kill of all organisms living within the building or home. Also it becomes much more affordable when looking at large multi family units.

How to treat bed bugs using Heat:

Heat treatment or thermal remediation involves the use of heaters and fans to bring the ambient temperature of a dwelling up to a temperature of between 135° and 145°. This is typically achieved with the use of an exterior generator or propane fuel with heaters either inside the building or as in the case of propane being fed through duct work into the home or building. He is the Achilles’ heel of bed bugs as they start to die at 117° and eggs are killed within 10 minutes at 130°. With heat very little has to be thrown away as it can all be safely treated using heat and fans to direct flow of hot air. Once you take into account the cost of preparation, dry cleaning, the discarding of badly infested furniture, the cost  to do the preparation by Prep Companies, your personal time to get ready for treatment, boxspring replacement etc. Thermal remediation becomes much more cost-effective. Like fumigation it does not leave a residual product available so if another insect is reintroduced reinfestation can occur. In a lot of cases thermal treatment companies also do a pretreatment where pipe chases, outlets, switch plates etc. are pretty dusted and treated to help eliminate further incursion from surrounding units and in some cases as with diatomaceous earth will works synergistically with the heat to eliminate bed bug populations. Typically temperatures are maintained between three and six hours depending on the level of clutter, configuration of the home, and construction characteristics. We find that heat does not spread bedbugs out from the source but actually draws them in as they believe that there is a food source present as the temperatures climb towards 100°. Typically by the time they realize that this is not a food source and that this temperature may be detrimental to their health it is usually too late.

With any treatment method to kill bed bugs that you decide to utilize it is important that you get direct information from the company providing treatment on their exact methods on how to treat bedbugs. As with any program a warrantee is paramount to ensure that the company that you are using stands behind their work. We recommend that you get a written proposal and agreement outlining will be done, what the responsibilities will be for both the tenant or homeowner and the treating company, late of warranty, what voids that warranty, and what steps will be taken if the treatment is deemed a failure and how failure is defined. This will ensure that you will have a satisfactory experience and that everything is spelled out so there is no confusion later on down the road.

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