Treatment - Pre-treatment Preparation
Proper preparation is a mandatory requirement for control to be effective. Dial-A-BedBug has a preparation sheet that will detail everything that will need to be done before our technician services your house. If a home is not properly prepared, the likelihood of successful control is not high. Although preparation may be difficult for some people (for example, seniors or handicapped individuals), it is essential for effective treatment, and thus in such cases family members, friends or social or charitable agencies may need to provide assistance.
All furniture and appliances in the area to be treated need to be pulled away from the baseboards, and it is commonly asked that all furniture containing potential hiding crevices, such as bookshelves and desks, be emptied and left open for the exterminator to spray. Items in tightly sealed containers are usually safe from bedbug infestation and need not be emptied.
Laundry / Steam Cleaning
Everything that can be laundered should be laundered, and laundered in advance of the treatment, then placed in plastic garbage bags or rubbermaid containers. This would include stuffed animals, drapes and so on.
The items should be securely tied into plastic bags, and emptied directly from the bags into the machines. (The bags should then be immediately disposed of.) It is heat, not water that kills any bedbugs residing within the laundered items; so the items should be washed in hot water, regardless of normal washing directions, and should be dried with medium heat (preferably high heat) for 20 minutes or more. (For those who have the ability to measure the temperature of the water in their washing machine, or of the hot air in their dryer, the target heat range is 120°F (49°C).)
For items that require dry cleaning, the dry cleaners should be informed that the items in question are potentially infested, and the items should be bagged.
Steam cleaning of carpets can be helpful; although bedbugs will not be in the middle of the floor, they may be under the carpets at the edges of rooms. Vacuuming is especially important, however. Pesticide is applied at perimeters and is effective, but the more steps are taken to assist removal, the more thorough the elimination will be.
The mechanical removal of bedbugs by vacuuming is a most important part of preparing for control. Vacuuming alone will not solve the problem, but it can substantially reduce bedbugs' numbers and thus help reduce the population as part of preparing for treatment. An attachment should be used on the seams of mattresses, on box springs, on bed legs, within furniture interiors, behind pictures, on curtains, and anywhere there is a possibility of the insects hiding (e.g. inside dresser drawers, dresser cases, under chairs, etc.). Carpets should also be vacuumed throughout the home, preferably with a power-head. Baseboards should also be vacuumed using the crevice tool—not swept—prior to the exterminator's arrival. Vacuum filters and bags should then immediately be removed and discarded outdoors.
There are differing opinions as to whether it is necessary to dispose of mattress, boxsprings, futons, pillows, and other bedding. There is of course often a heavy cost involved in the complete replacement of such bedding. It is clear however, that getting rid of infested bedding does not solve the problem. The decision to replace bedding or not depends on the condition of and often related level of infestation within the items, the comfort level of the owner, whether the owner can afford replacement, and aesthetics. A reasonable rule of thumb is that new bedding does not need to be replaced but if bedding is older and replacement may have been done soon in any case, then of course, replacing it AFTER control is a welcome clean start. Boxsprings are more difficult to treat as there are more places for the insects to hide. The notion that getting rid of bedding helps solve the problem is misguided. Infestation must be handled first and then if new bedding is desired, the old bedding can be disposed of. Spread of infestation in apartment buildings is increased by tenants decided to throw away old bedding. An infested mattress or box spring dragged in a hallway to an elevator will cause bedbugs to fall off or even run off the item, and these may then find their way into other units. As noted here, the use of plastic bags to protect bedding after treatment or to enclose bedbugs when the items are being thrown away are invaluable in preventing spread of infestation. It is also suggested to slash or mark up infested items so that others do not take them back into the building.
After the mattress and/or box spring or futon has been treated, placing these inside a cotton, polyvinyl or polyethylene mattress cover is a good idea as a secondary means of defense. Bedbugs like to hide near the victim and are commonly found on seams of mattresses, or within the structure of box springs. The mattress cover serves to reduce this likelihood and in the case of box springs, it seals any remaining insects inside the bag. The mattress cover also protects the mattress from the mess of staining caused when bedbugs aggregate on seams. The cover is a good idea either until the infestation has been totally eliminated or in the case of good quality cotton cover, useful as a permanent protection for the mattress—and also to enable easier control if infestation recurs.
Those who end up disposing of suspect items should enclose them in plastic mattress bags, or large garbage bags, to prevent shedding bugs and eggs on their way to the disposal site. Care should also be taken to label throwaway items with a warning about the suspected bedbug infestation, as furniture is often reclaimed by dumpster divers.
New items should not be purchased until after the infestation has been thoroughly eliminated. Also, many retailers offer disposal of old mattresses. This can pose obvious problems if new and old mattresses are carried together on the same truck without the proper precautions taken.
Successful treatment of a bedbug infestation is often highly dependent on how thorough the pest control professional is. Although the assessment and judgment of the pest control professional should be respected, most treatments cover such areas within homes as closets, curtains, outside and inside furniture crevices (dresser and desk drawers, night tables, etc.), as well as the interior of electrical outlets and behind pictures hangings on walls. If the choice was made to retain bedding, professionals will often either treat or steam-clean bedframes and the undersurface of solid beds.
Dial-a-BedBug Pest Control is on the cutting edge of Bedbug treatment. Our practical knowledge and hands on intensive approach is unmatched in the Pest Control Industry.
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