Family-Friendly Ways to Fight Bed Bugs

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It was during this time that I had to service an account in Nassau County that consisted of garden-style apartments. There were two apartments per entry with one apartment above the other. In this case, the second floor apartment complained of getting bitten, but our inspection of the unit revealed a very clean apartment with very few items in it. We told management that we needed to inspect the ground-floor apartment.

Our inspection of the ground-floor apartment revealed a very serious infestation. The two-bedroom apartment had a queen-size bed in the master bedroom with an additional bunk bed setup. So in the master bedroom alone there were at least four individuals sleeping. The second bedroom had only one queen-size bed, but after interviewing the tenant I found out that four additional children slept there.

When I first entered the room, I thought I was looking at wallpaper with designs on it. Upon closer inspection, I found myself looking at squashed bed bugs or blood smears all over the wall. The children spent most of their time at night killing bed bugs by smashing them on the walls. I couldn't believe my eyes. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought I would be performing a casual inspection. Now I knew I had to look very closely at everything.

I found out that they had picked up used mattresses from the garbage, which is likely how the infestation began. I tried very hard to explain what they needed to do to get prepared for our treatment.

Within three days, we returned for the treatment. They tried their best to prepare. It wasn't good enough. They hadn't removed anything from the floors, and all of the bagged items were left on the bed. They didn't remove all the clothing from the closets. At this time, we didn't have a policy of walking away when someone wasn't ready. We just treated the best we could. The other problem was a warranty. We gave them one. What a mistake that was.

When a pest control company goes into an apartment such as this to treat for bed bugs, the technician tries to set up a safe zone. This helps in moving items around the room. There was a team of six technicians on this project. In this one building, we had both apartments to service: one team upstairs and one downstairs. One was an easy job to perform and the other a nightmare. Bed bugs were found everywhere in the first floor apartment. I would find out during treatment that this family was using the living room as a bedroom as well—that came to a total of ten individuals living in a two bedroom apartment. Wow! I felt very bad for them and the clients upstairs.

What we didn't know at this time was that one of the products we were using, Suspend SC, was no longer as effective against bed bugs. Resistance was developing. As each generation of bed bugs is born, they carry with them the genetic information from their parents. If we expose one hundred bed bugs to a product and kill 95 percent of them, those are pretty good odds. The five that are left will breed the next generation with more resistance so now you have 10 percent to 20 percent alive. The next generation after that may have up to 25 percent survivors.

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