Family-Friendly Ways to Fight Bed Bugs

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A footnote to the meeting we had with Dr. Harlan. Several days later, Pat developed a circular rash on his forearm. He said to me, "Ralph I was taking a shower when I noticed this rash, but I don't know what it's from?" I said, "Pat, don't you remember, that's the spot you put the jar of bed bugs on." It was a perfect circle—and yet he hadn't felt any of the bed bugs bite.

As we continue with these stories, you will see that not everyone reacts to bed bugs in the same way. Pat's rash lasted well over a week.

Third Encounter

My third encounter took place in and around 2002. Both Pat Corallo and I serviced this client in Long Island City, Queens. By this time, we were becoming aware that bed bugs were on the rise. We never met the tenant since they had left for work. The superintendant let us in. Both Pat and I had asked the client to prepare for treatment by laundering their clothing. We asked that the linen on the bed not be moved so as to let us find the bed bugs and eliminate them. We spent a minimum of four hours in this apartment. It was a one bedroom. We vacuumed everything, the bed, baseboards, furniture, etc. We used a product called Suspend SC, a liquid suspended concentrate, according to the label. It was the only product that had a residual, which allowed us to treat both the mattress and furniture at the same time. We also used Gentrol IGR since it now had the label for bed bug use. In New York State, we need to have the pest approved for treatment on the label before it can be used. It was tedious.

This apartment had several pockets of bed bugs. Most were found along the bed frame. We had to use a screw-driver to disassemble the captain's bed, also known as a platform bed with drawers under it. It was in the corners of this platform bed that most of the bed bugs would hide. We found eggs, nymphs, and adults. Other areas that contained bed bugs were behind the floorboards or baseboard moldings. Several bed bugs would emerge once the treatment was performed.

Since we were so thorough in performing this job, we both felt confident that a follow-up treatment would not be necessary. As it turned out, it wasn't.

The lessons I learned during this job were how important it is to inspect carefully, have the client be prepared, be able to work with the client while they were out of our work zone, and to have the time to treat properly. All of these factors existed on this job and allowed us the comfort of knowing that an excellent job was done. Fourth Case Study

Within a year, everything was changing. The company I was working for was in transition from a small family business to a medium-sized company with individuals receiving job titles and specific duties. I was still in the field but trying to convince the owners that I should have a manager's position while continuing to work in the field. Hal Byer, the owner of Magic Exterminators, has been in the pest control business since 1960. He understood that for his company to reach the next level of service, professional individuals would need to take control and lead the company in a new direction. New technicians meant lots of training. It would take two full years before the technicians would be experienced enough to treat without assistance or guidance. Now the team is strong and experienced.

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