Bed Bug Extermination
St. Catharines Pest Control Services specializes in bed bug extermination and there is good news. Recently, chemical application methods have improved significantly to the point where heat treatment is no longer the application of choice. New chemical applications are safer, less invasive, more effective and less expensive. St. Catharines Pest Control Services no longer offers or recommends heat treatment for bed bug remediation.
To treat for bed bugs we do a spraying and a dusting and it requires two treatments to be done approximately 14 days apart. There is preparation work involved before we do both treatments. A list of what preparation work needs to be done is shown in the "How should I prepare my property for a treatment" section of this article.
How should I prepare my property for a treatment?
Before the treatment begins, all occupants of the units being treated are to leave and not enter for at least 4 hours after the technician arrives. Pets such as dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, etc. should be removed from the suite before treatment begins and kept out for minimum of 4 hours. Aquariums can remain in place as long as the filtration and aeration systems are tuned off and the tank is adequately covered. Filtration and aeration equipment should be turned back on 6 hours after treatment. Treatments consist of dust and liquid spray applications and also use mechanical traps where possible. Please note, it may take several treatments to eradicate the bed bugs. Results may vary by the degree of how the preparation work is followed and severity of the infestation.
TENANT/HOME OWNER PREPARATION:
The tenants should:
- Vacuum all carpets, vacuum and sweep all floors in bedrooms and anywhere else you suspect bed bugs may be present.
- All clutter must be removed from the floor of the bedroom and especially from under beds. Clutter must be put in green garbage bags before it is removed from the bedroom and immediately taken outside. It cannot be returned to the house or apt. for at least 4 months.
- Return all furniture to usual place if you have moved it while vacuuming the baseboards except the bed. The beds must be moved 12 inches from the wall and must remain there for at least 30 DAYS.
- Also vacuum bed frame.
- Discard the vacuum bag (place in tightly/sealed garbage bag before disposal)
- Occupants should bag up all clothing that is in contact with the floor. This DOES include clothes in dressers or cupboards but not clothes hanging in closets.
- This clothing should be run through the dryer for 25 minutes on the hottest setting. Clothes may be washed however is not necessary to wash clothes for this application.
- When the drying cycles are complete, the clothes should be bagged and kept out of bedroom until after the initial treatment.
- Leave all items on bookshelves, nightstands or other furniture in the immediate area.
SOFAS & CHAIRS
- Beds must be bare and moved 12" from the wall when the technician arrives. All bedding, slip covers, pillow cases, box spring skirts etc. Must be removed and cycled through the dryer for min 25 minutes prior to the tech arriving.
- Pillows should also be placed in the drier on high heat for 25 minutes.
Prevention and early detection
- All chair covers, throws and pillows must be cycled through the dryer prior to treatment.
Bed bugs almost never feed on us when we are awake and can wait for weeks or even months if necessary to feed on us while we are asleep. How do bed bugs know when you are in your bed? They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale while we are asleep. That's what draws them to our beds. After they're done feeding, (which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes) they retreat back to their hiding spaces.
More often than not, bed bugs will enter your property by hitchhiking on your clothing or items brought into your home such as furniture or luggage. After they're in your home, the bed bug must crawl across the floor and up the leg of your bed in order to feed on you. This is one of the best places to break the cycle, or prevent bed bugs from infesting your bed in the first place. Leg traps – a small device that you put under each leg of your bed – can give early warning and can even prevent a new infestation from forming. This is the key to early detection.
Another tool that is commonly used to help control the problem is bed bug proof mattress and box spring covers. Your mattress and/or box spring is essentially zipped inside an encasement that bed bugs cannot bite through nor escape from. They will eventually starve to death. Unfortunately mattress covers are quite expensive. The latest chemicals registered for use with bed bugs have such a low level of toxicity that it is recommended to treat directly on the mattress and boxspring reducing the value of mattress and boxspring covers. These chemicals also have an excellent residual which means they will continue to work for months after the initial application.
Where did bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. Bed bugs have reemerged after being absent for approximately 60 years in most of the developed world. Hopefully extermination techniques will advance and we may be rid of them once again but their numbers have increased dramatically over the past 15 years. Why? There are many factors that have caused bed bugs to reemerge, however; the single most important reason is pesticide resistance. Pyrethroid-based pesticides which initially almost wiped them out are no longer effective treatments, because bed bugs have become resistant to them. Although bed bugs were almost unheard of in Canada and the U.S. in many countries they never left. These populations mutated and evolved significantly over the past 60 years. The latest pesticides have a completely different approach. They are a family of desiccants that cause the bed bugs to become dehydrated. They are extremely low in toxicity and constantly improving in their effectiveness.
Another reason bed bugs have reemerged is because of increased travel. As we know, bed bugs are hitchhikers, and what better way to travel than in the nooks and crannies of our luggage? Also there is the problem of awareness. Identifying an infestation may take months. By that time, the bed bugs will have multiplied and spread. With bed bugs comes social stigma. Sometimes people are so embarrassed that they won't talk about it even after identifying the problem. It's important to keep in mind that bed bugs are not a sign of uncleanliness. Even the most prestigious five star hotels have had problems with bed bugs.
Another place you can find bed bugs are in densely populated high-rise apartment buildings. Often times a tenant will not even know they have an infestation. An entire apartment building can become infested by a single or very small number of fertile female bed bugs.
Over the past 60 years we have become increasingly urban (rather than country) dwellers, and as a result, it has become easier and easier for bed bugs to spread because of our close proximity to one another.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are typically small and have flat oval-shaped bodies. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in colour and can be 4-5mm in length. After feeding, they can swell up and its colour changes from brown to a dull red. Young bed bugs, or instars, vary in size from 1-4mm depending on their stage of development. They can appear almost translucent from birth, to a reddish-brown colour that is similar to adult bed bugs. Bed bug eggs are around 1mm and white, making it very difficult to detect through the naked eye.
How can I inspect my bedroom?
The first and perhaps most obvious place you are going to look for signs of bed bugs will be your bed. Seventy-five per cent of all the bed bugs in a moderately infested bedroom can be found on the bed and bed frame. What you want to be looking for are adult bed bugs. Eggs and molted shell casing or feces may be confused with lint or other tiny objects but a live adult is absolute evidence of an infestation. A flashlight is recommended, as bed bugs may be tucked into tight cracks. Pull your sheets back and be sure to check along the piping that runs around the mattress. Be sure to check all of the seams of the mattress and box spring as well. Pull the mattress away from the headboard and check all of the crevices and corners on the head board. You will also want to take the mattress off the bed, lift the box spring, and look along the bed frame where the box spring typically sits. Pull back the plastic corner guards on the bottom corners of the box spring, as that is a favourite hiding place for bed bugs. You can also tear off the webbing from the bottom of the box spring and inspect the inside of it if you want to. They may also be hiding along the baseboard at the head of the bed. Its fairly simple to inspect your own bed.
What do I do if I find bed bugs in my room?
If you find any signs of bed bugs please do not hesitate to call your pest control specialist at 1-888-390-PEST (7378). Our licensed and friendly exterminators will be happy to inspect your home and give you a free quote
. Remember, minor infestations can grow very rapidly, and turn a small problem into a big one.