Choosing a Pest Management Professional for Bed Bug Control
If you think you may have bed bugs, the first step to manage them is accurate identification. The most important thing to do is make sure the bug in your home is actually a bed bug (Figure 1). There are several other insects that are commonly mistaken for bed bugs. Just because you have skin irritation or bites does not mean bed bugs are the cause. Many insects can bite and cause skin welts and skin irritation.
Do not feel bad if you have bed bugs in your home. Bed bugs can infest any type of house: large or small, neat or messy. They do not discriminate. They affect poor, rich and everyone equally.
If renting, once the bugs have been identified as bed bugs, report it to your landlord immediately. If they are responsible for pest control in the building, they will hire a pest control company to treat the property. If you own a home, the next step is to contact a pest control company.
Some pest control companies have more experience with bed bugs than others. It is important that you interview a few different ones to determine the best. Ask for references and then call them to ask about their experience with the company. See if there are any online reviews (such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List) of the company before you make a final decision.
Use the Following list of questions when calling a pest control company.
Is this business licensed and insured?
The business must be licensed and have insurance.
Are you a member of any professional associations?
Pest control companies that are members of professional associations such as the Oklahoma Pest Control Association or National Pest Management Association are more likely to be better trained.
Has this company provided bed bug treatments in the past?
Make sure that the company has treated for bed bugs successfully in the past and that their pesticide applicators are certified. This is where calling references is helpful.
What methods do you offer for bed bug control?
Likely, the company will offer different treatment methods based on the severity of infestation.
What is your procedure for bed bug jobs?
The procedure will differ with the type of treatment and company chosen. In general, the company will send a pest management professional to do an inspection. After the inspection, they will go through the different treatment options. You will be given a checklist to prepare for the treatment. They will conduct the treatment and should come back two to three weeks later for a follow-up visit and inspection.
Do you have any references I could call?
You can ask for references, but many clients may want to remain anonymous. If they do not have a reference list, look for reviews online.
Tips For Choosing A Bed Bug Exterminator
Bed bug infestations are becoming a real concern for many homeowners, landlords and tenants across the city. They are well known for sneaking into homes unnoticed and spreading like wildfire once they have made themselves comfortable near your bed.
Female bedbugs can lay upwards of 6 eggs per day allowing them to reproduce at alarming rates. Considering how difficult they are to detect and kill, it is a no-brainer that any level of bed bug infestation should only be handled by a professional bed bug exterminator or you risk the chance of making the infestation much more difficult, and expensive, to eradicate.
Choosing a good bed bug extermination company is not as easy as it may seem. Not only do you have to trust them to be in your home alone, you must also confide in their ability to completely exterminate the bed bugs from your home while also keeping your family and pets safe from any dangerous chemicals. To make things easier for you, we have put together some tips on what to look for when hiring a bed bug exterminator
This one seems like common sense but is a very important step in finding the right pest management company to take care of your bed bug problem. Even if a pest management company has a great track record of eliminating other common pests from residential and commercial properties, it does not mean that they will have the same success rate with bed bugs which tend to be the most difficult pest to exterminate
Too many pest control companies claim that they can exterminate bed bugs but in fact do not have the necessary experience with bed bugs to give you the guaranteed results you need. If the bed bug exterminator you choose does not completely eradicate them from your home the problem will become more difficult to solve in the future costing you much more than you had initially planned for
CHOOSING AN INSECTICIDE FOR BED BUGS
Bed bugs are very tough! Most insecticides that are available to the public WILL NOT kill bed bugs. Often the bugs just hide until the insecticide dries up and is no longer effective. Sometimes bed bugs move to avoid insecticides and end up in nearby rooms or apartments.
There are no magic sprays that will get rid of a bed bug infestation. Using a chemical to get rid of bed bugs WILL NOT WORK unless you also remove clutter, clean and launder everything, seal off hiding places, and follow other, non-chemical steps to control bed bugs. Without special training about how and where to apply chemicals, which depends on the specific circumstances, consumers are not likely to effectively control bed bugs with chemicals.
CALL THE PROS!
If chemical controls are going to be used for bed bugs, consumers are strongly encouraged to work with a certified pest control professional.
IF YOU DECIDE TO USE AN INSECTICIDE
Make sure you select an insecticide that is labeled for indoor use. There are very few insecticides that can safely be used indoors, where there is a greater risk of exposure, especially for children and pets. If you use an insecticide that is labeled for garden, outdoor, or agricultural use, you could cause serious health problems for people and pets in your home.
Make sure the insecticide specifically says that it is effective against bed bugs. Most insecticides don’t work at all on bed bugs.
Follow all directions on the insecticide label carefully.
NEVER apply more than the listed amount. If it doesn’t work the first time, applying more will not solve the problem.
Don’t use any insecticide on a mattress or bedding unless the product label specifically says it can be applied there.
There are many different types of liquids, sprays, and aerosols that claim to kill bed bugs. Most state that they “kill on contact.” This sounds good, but it actually means that you have to spray it directly ON the bed bug for it to work. It will not be effective on bugs that are hiding, and it won’t kill eggs either. For most sprays, once it dries it will no longer work.
How to get rid of bed bugs
Once a bed bug problem is discovered, you should contact a professional bed bug exterminator for a complete peace of mind. DIY solutions are unlikely to be effective with bed bugs due to the resilience and resistance these blood-sucking pests have built up against conventional treatment methods.
There are however, some out there who may want to attempt it on their own. And for those brave DIYers, while the following tips will not help you fully remove bed bugs from your home, we hope they help reduce the infestation.
Fully inspect the below areas – Bed bugs earned their name for their fondness of beds and bed time. They however, infest many other areas too. These opportunistic insects hide in close proximity to their human hosts so they can sneak out to draw a blood meal without being noticed
Fully inspect the below areas:
Mattress – Be it your bedroom or hotel room, the first thing you should check is the mattress. Apart from live insects found along mattress seams and tags, you may also notice red marks from where bed bugs have been accidentally crushed.
Bed frame – Bed bugs are often found in crevices in between bed frames and mattresses. Look out for small cracks in the frame that bed bugs could live in.
Bedding – Closely inspect the bedding for signs of bed bugs, including pillows, sheets, duvets, etc.
Bedside cabinets – The items closest to the bed are most likely to be infested.
Wardrobes & dressers – Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers and known to be found on clothes.
Pictures – Live bed bug insects have been found on picture frames and other wall adornments.
Furniture – All furniture in the room should be inspected. When inspecting, remove any furniture covers and pay particular attention to the seams and cushions of couches, sofas and chairs.
Wash infested bedding – If your manufacturer’s instructions allow, wash infested bedding at a temperature of at least 140°F for 90 minutes. A typical household washing machine and dryer settings should manage this. Bed bugs cannot survive in a hot dryer longer than 20 to 30 minutes, so dry all bedding on your dryer’s highest heat setting.
Battling Bed Bugs
The resurgence of bed bugs has caused more than the creepy little blood suckers to come out of the woodwork. Some self-proclaimed pest control professionals and marketers are trying to take a bite out of your wallet by peddling products that claim to prevent or remedy bed bug infestations. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – one of the federal agencies responsible for managing the bed bug problem – reports an increase in the number of individuals and companies making unrealistic claims about their abilities to control or eradicate the pests.
Bed Bug Basics
Bed bugs are good hitchhikers, riding into homes in and on luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Once inside, the pests like to hide in small cracks and crevices – behind your bed’s headboard, in the seams and tufts of your mattress and inside the box spring, along baseboard cracks, and behind wallpaper. The presence of bed bugs has little to do with cleanliness, although clutter can provide good hiding places and make them difficult to treat.
The Tell Tale Signs of Bed Bugs
Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless and have a rusty red color. They have flat bodies, antennae and small eyes. Check out these photos. They are visible to the naked eye, but often hide in cracks and crevices
Treating Bed Bug Infestations
Experts agree: Bed bug infestations are difficult to control, and no one treatment or technique has been found to be effective in all cases. Still, bed bugs can be controlled through a combination of techniques known as integrated pest management (IPM) – an environmentally sensitive approach that includes prevention, monitoring, and limited use of chemical pesticides. In fact, some populations of bed bugs have developed resistance to common pesticides, making some sprays ineffective. Alternative treatments include heat and steam. Bedding, clothing, and electronic items shouldn’t ever be treated with pesticides, but can be treated with heat.
If you try to control bed bugs on your own with pesticides, choose products that are intended for that purpose. The EPA has a bed bug product search tool that can help you choose a product that meets your needs.