When is a heat treatment not enough to solve a bed bug problem?
When the problem is greater than just eliminating the bugs in a particular room or building, once.
If the other aspects of a proper integrated pest management plan for bed bug control are not in place, then the room or building will eventually get re-infested, and require re-heating or re-treating.
Heat will eliminate all of the bugs in the area it is applied to. But how did the bed bugs get there in the first place? And what steps are being taken to ensure that bed bugs are not re-introduced?
Residents must be aware of how and possibly where they got the bugs - from their work or friends or family that they visited, or perhaps from someone who visited them? Perhaps the bugs came from a different place in their apartment building.
In order to successfully manage and prevent this bug:
- Get educated - know what the bugs look like (eggs, nymphal instars, adults, fecal deposits, cast skins), where and how you can pick them up, and what not to do (don't spray with a can of "the good stuff")!
- Talk about it - discuss with and educate your co-workers, employer, friends and family - make sure they know what the bug looks like, the fact is that bed bugs can be picked up by almost anyone these days, epecially if they live in an apartment or travel.
- De-clutter your home - bed bugs love to hide in clutter.
- Seal gaps and cracks in baseboards, floor/wall joints, door casings and window frames; do the area around beds and couches first, then move out from there.
- Vacuum regularly - weekly please, and make sure you get the cracks at the floor edges, plus under the couch cushions.
- Launder your clothes, bedding and drapes regularly.
Has anyone seen a pesticide on the list yet? Or any "stuff" you can buy to make it all better?
All of the above will help with many pests - roaches, silverfish, mice, mites, fabric beetles and moths, fleas, and will definitley help to eliminate newly introduced bed bugs, reduce the chances that they will get established, and reduce the likelihood that they will go un-noticed. Some additional useful practises and some products will be discussed in a future post.
This isn't rocket science, but it does require hard work, and diligence. The bed bug is here to stay, so if we have had a recurring problem with bed bugs, our efforts and habits need to change in order to ensure we stay bed bug free!