Speak with your PCO to see if it is fine for you to stay in your home during treatment. This will ensure that your PCO is actually doing their job in a professional manner, as well as safeguard you from any foul play. Openly communicate your concerns before and during treatment, such as “trouble spots” in your home or what pesticides and chemicals they happen to be using. Often, PCOs will make recommendations for treatment options based on the type of home you live in.
Traditional Chemicals and Pesticides:
The traditional method for bed bug extermination involves using a liquid pesticide that is applied throughout your home. The pesticide is usually applied in the following places in your home: baseboards, bed frames, headboards, tables, chairs, cabinets and other surfaces or hiding spots (behind objects). The liquid pesticide is meant to kill on contact with live bed bugs (adults and nymphs), however it has no effect on eggs. The liquid pesticide will dry in roughly one to two hours, leaving a residue that is effective for only 1 or 2 more days at most for killing live bed bugs.
Traditional pesticide and chemical treatment is done in repeating cycles, usually every 2 weeks, with a minimum of 3 total treatments. 3 to 6 total treatments would be ideal. Treatment is staggered every two weeks to compensate for eggs and their unpredictable hatching times. Eggs typically hatch in between a 10 to 14 day window and thus, PCOs return every 14 days to treat your home for newly hatched bed bugs or some they may have missed in prior treatments. Redundancy is crucial in chemical and pesticide treatments.
How do I know I should use a chemical treatment?
Your PCO is an expert at this, but from our experience, older buildings can really benefit from chemical treatments. Older buildings provide ample traveling for bed bugs to move from room to room or unit to unit, due to general wear and tear of the building and older building material compounded with deterioration over time. Therefore, a longer lasting treatment (one that provides continuous protection) will better safeguard you and in the long term, be a better solution for your infestation.
What do I do in between chemical treatment cycles?
Play as “bait” for the bed bugs. This is especially important the first two nights following treatment, when the pesticide is still potent and active in killing bed bugs. Playing bait gives the bed bugs a reason to come out of hiding, crossing the lethal pesticides in the process to meet their demise. Keep your belongings in tight and secure bags or boxes for the duration of treatment.
Alternatively, there is an innovative CO2 bed bug monitor by the makers of PackTite, which acts as a trap by first emitting CO2, the key component in attracting bed bugs. You can read more about it and buy it here: Link. This will help if you are truly disgusted by the idea of playing bait (we don’t blame you) and would like a monitor to do the work for you. Inexpensive and agreat tool for bed bug monitoring.
In addition to liquid pesticides, your PCO may also vie for using diatomaceous earth (DE) to apply inside your electrical sockets (a prime hiding spot) or to secure a perimeter around your furniture or bed. Diatomaceous earth is effective for approximately 1 to 2 months but does not kill on contact. It generally takes a day or two for the bed bugs to die of dehydration from coming into contact with DE.
How does heat treatment work, is it for me?
ThermaPure, the company that pioneered the use of heat for treating bed bugs and other pests – has become increasingly popular as of late for its patented “green” approach (non-toxic, non-chemical) for exterminating bed bugs and other pests.
Heat treatment is a rather simple yet labor intensive technique that requires patience. Unlike chemical treatments, heat treatment usually requires more than one pest control operator and is a one-shot treatment to kill all living bed bugs and eggs. Heat treatment involves the use of heat generators and/or ducts to funnel or emit hot air into your home, raising the temperature to well around 115 degrees Fahrenheit, for which it is sustained for at least one hour or more. Your PCO will monitor the distribution of heat throughout your home to ensure every crack and crevice is being penetrated with equal heat. Your PCO will also be moving furniture round and even applying heat directly to trouble areas for effectiveness.
Heat treatment is not cheap, pricing usually ranges around $1000 or more (any cheaper, consider yourself lucky!). Speak with your PCO about whether they provide a free, repeat heat treatment in the event that bed bugs are still visible in your home. Some PCOs will run their bed bug sniffing dog through your home to ensure the quality of their service. Heat treatment would be ideal for very cluttered homes or homes with tight spacing, i.e. having lots of clustered furniture and goods. Tight spacing also makes for faster heating of the room, making it a strong method to consider. Heat treatment would also work well in newer, modern buildings where travel through hidden spaces or walls is difficult or impossible for bed bugs. Be aware that heat treatment is a one time shot, there are not lasting effects after PCOs have left.
As always, discuss treatment options thoroughly with your PCO to make sure you are receiving the best service.