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Ask the Orkin Man

How do you treat bed bug infestations?

Question: Can you tell me how you treat a bed bug problem? Is it safe and effective? I have children and pets. I’ve been treating my bedroom for the infestation and thought I had it under control for about a week now, but it seems they’re back. What do you charge for this service?  I’m shocked, as we keep our house so clean. Thanks.

Bed Bug on Mattress
Bed Bug on Mattress

ANSWER: Control of bed bugs begins with making sure no one is bringing them into the house from schools or the gym. Treating the infestation involves several steps. Treating for bed bugs is often difficult, and it has become increasingly so as they have developed resistance to some pesticides. The treatment is best left to a professional Orkin Pest Specialist who has been certified as a Bed Bug Specialist after studying and passing stringent requirements in bed bug control science.

These insects can travel far to find a blood meal, so don’t fail to clean and treat the room. They can live long without food, so even old beds (not used in while) can have them. The inspection will include not just an infested room but rooms adjacent in all directions to the focal point of the infestation. These comprehensive inspections take time, but all it takes is to miss one bed bug, and control is not achieved.

It may seem to be an easy task to provide an estimate for the cost of service via e-mail. However, insect problems and infestations are different, each house is different, and the conditions of each property are different. Thus quotes and estimates for the cost of control are best done locally and after your Certified Orkin Bed Bug Specialist has completed a comprehensive inspection of the home.

You should contact the local Orkin Branch office to set up this inspection and a customized solution backed by science for your bed bug issues.

Question: Thanks for your prompt response. I have clean and rest mattress covers on the mattress and box springs of the bed. These covers are guaranteed to trap bed bugs and dust mites. I have been using an aerosol called Pronto (it kills bedbugs and dust mites) all over the box springs where the infestation was, and then I covered the box spring with the box spring cover. I then sprayed the frame, mattresses, walls, floor boards, around the window frames, took down pictures, washed the curtains and have completely taken off the fancy bedspread and pillows that were once on my bed. These have been wrapped in plastic now for about two weeks and sitting in the hot sun every day.

I have been washing my bedding daily for about 11 days, hanging pillows on the clothes line daily in the sun AND STILL there is at least one bed bug in our bed. I saw one black dropping this morning. I’m being persistent, even though my husband thinks I’ve gone crazy (actually he is pretty pissed off). The pillows go out on the clothesline, (these also have the clean and rest covers on them). I spray them with the aerosol as well and wipe down them down several times with very hot water.

I”m not sure where they are hiding—I have a king size brass bed. I heard they cannot climb up smooth surfaces. Would this include brass? This whole clean up has taken up most of my free time, but it was worth it. Last night I actually slept and had one bite. I think I will try the hair dryer idea on the bed posts and bed frame of the brass bed and do the crevices on the floor. The only thing left is to tear down the walls.

How long should I continue this process?  It sounds like these bugs can hide out and starve for months and then return. Is there any way to get completely rid of them?

Thanks.

 

ANSWER: Most bed bug control treatments by professionals in the U.S. and Europe take 3-4 treatments. It does take time. Keep in mind that some bed bugs are resistant to some insecticides. My initial suggestion still applies, bed bug control is best left to professionals like a Certified Orkin Bed Bug Specialist who has the necessary training and experience to resolve the issue. Over-the-counter insecticides normally do not work and, as mentioned before, bed bugs are increasingly developing resistance to certain chemical formulations.

 

Question: Maybe I should check out the Raid brand of products and see if they have something—what ingredients should I look for that would be safe for kids/pets? Not that they are in the room, but just to be cautious. I’ve been looking for the big black pool of crap and haven’t really found one. Just on the bed frame of my brass bed, which was hard to get off. I think they were harboring in one of the twin box springs. I’m not giving up – my room currently mimics a hospital room. Nothing fancy, just purely clean.

Yes I feel like I’m winning the battle and have become obsessed with this whole thing. Anyway, I really do appreciate your advise and time.

I will go after the bed frame and box springs again. I heard they cannot climb up smooth surfaces. Would this include brass? Is this true?

 

ANSWER: Aerosol insecticides use one of the pyrethroids that are among those showing increased resistance in bed bugs. Again, I understand and admire your tenacity, but bed bug treatments are not an easy do-it-yourself project. If you miss one, they will be back. Seek the help of a professional, call your local Orkin Branch Office for more details.

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