Bed Bug Exterminator
Summary: What makes a good bed bug exterminator? Just because a company has been in business for a long time does not guarantee they know how to treat for bed bugs. Here are some good tips for finding a bed bug exterminator with the right stuff.
Bed bugs have only made a relatively recent return to the scene, so how come every pest control company in the book is advertising that they know how to treat for this pest? Fact is, every pest control company has its own way of treating and who's to say what is right? If it works, it's right. If it fails to get rid of the bed bugs, it's wrong.
So, let's say you've discovered bed bugs in your house. You look in the yellow pages or go on line and Google œexterminators or œpest control. Suddenly, you are overwhelmed with bright pest control advertisements shouting about all the experience each company has in getting rid of bed bugs for satisfied customers. œWe're members of this organization or we hold that certificate. All good and well, but it does not really tell you much about how they go about doing their treatments and since every situation is different you are going to have to spend some time asking various companies some pointed questions.
Some pest control companies use steam treatments, others use heat, and still others use devices that freeze everything or dogs that find the bed bugs. These methods all have their place, but with a bit of study you will soon discover their shortcomings, as well. Steam treatments require that the steam rests on the bed bug for an number of seconds before the bed bug is killed. Too much steam can saturate fabrics with moisture, resulting in mold or mildew. Heat treatments are expensive and require the removal of anything that might be harmed by high temperatures. Freezing is another method that requires direct contact. Bed bugs hiding under any materials are fairly safe from this method. And bed bug dogs have certainly been in the news. They can, in fact, find the most hidden bed bugs, as long as their handler leads them to where the bed bugs are hiding. If the handler does not do a good job, the dog will not find the bed bugs.
Now you're starting to get the picture. Questions like, œHow long does it take to treat a mattress with steam? will give you insight to whether the treating company knows that they are doing. If they tell you they can treat a mattress in two minutes, you know something is wrong. If they tell you their bed bug dog can find bed bugs in the ceiling, you know something is wrong unless the handler specifically mentions that he lifts his dog up in the air to inspect ceilings, which they don't. It's up to you to find the chinks in their armor.
Ask tough questions. Ask how long the company has been doing bed bug treatments. Ask for references from satisfied customers that you can call. Ask if their service technicians have attended any bed bug training classes and where you can find information about those training sessions. Ask what products they plan on using in your home and request copies of labels and material safety data sheets. Spend some time looking up the names of the products online to see what reviewers say about the product's effectiveness against bed bugs.
If the pest control company tries to sell you bed bug mattress covers and box spring covers for your bed, ask them why it is necessary. Mattresses don't need protective covers if there are no rips in the fabric. Box springs might require the covers because bed bugs can find their way inside the box spring construction by crawling under the dust cover on the bottom of the box spring unit. But, a mattress has no access to its interior unless, of course, the surface fabric is ripped.
A good sign that a pest control company knows what they are doing is that they will talk a lot about pre-treatment preparation. They will explain about where bed bugs hide and how to launder clothing, bedding and other items that may be bed bug infested. They will talk about how to vacuum and where to search for bed bugs. They will instruct you on what furniture items need to be emptied and the need to flip over certain furniture pieces to treat under the bases of the furniture where bed bugs might hide. They will also discuss removing switch plates on wall in rooms where bed bugs have been found.
After all these issues have been discussed and you have agreed to do the preparation work required, a good pest control company will give you a schedule of treatments. Yes, I said a schedule of treatments, because it will take more than a single visit even if you opt for the expensive bed bug heat treatments which are supposed to kill all the bed bugs throughout your home. Fact is, no matter how your home is treated, someone needs to return to follow up on the treatment to make sure no bed bugs have escaped. Most companies sell their bed bug treatments with an initial treatment, plus two to three follow up visits spaced about seven to ten days apart. Anything less and you better keep looking for a more experienced pest control company.
Lastly, call the Better Business Bureau. Most BBBs have an automated phone that allows you to enter the phone number of the company you are checking on. The BBB will tell you how long the company has been in business, the name of the owner or person in charge and if there are any recent complaints about the company. If you are a member of Angie's List, a consumer reporting service, you can check on a company on their website, as well.
Now you are armed with enough information to make you dangerous. Don't buy from a snake oil salesperson. Be informed so you get the best service for the best price.
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