Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fighting Bed Bugs In A Do-It-Yourself Market

After several months of preparation, I was fortunate this February to attend the Bed Bug Central bootcamp in hosted in New Jersey.  There, we were versed in what does and doesn't work long-term, in the latest efforts of bed bug control.  Also, what is coming up in the courts and measures to protect one's company and employees in the event of a lawsuit.  We participated in hands-on bed bug measures that were implemented in several high-rise apartments where infestations exceeded levels I never thought I would ever see in my lifetime.  As a result of passing the final tests they administered and agreeing to continue to implement these same processes within our own company, we passed and became certified as a "Bed Bug Free Company".  This was important to us in that it provides credibility with our customers, who like everyone else, are turning to the internet to find solutions to their own bed bug infestations.

There are problems with internet solutions in that the countless blogs and articles tend to either oversimplify or else scare the crap out of the reader!  In fact, we're finding that most of our customers are already throwing out their mattresses and furniture in their efforts to rid their homes from these blood-sucking parasites.  They're buying bug bombs (which have been proven not to work), consumer available sprays and traps, washing their bedding continuously, etc.  After several months of failure and many bites later, they're deciding that they've had enough of failure and they're going to need an expert.  This term "expert" is also subjective as we'll discuss next.

Many companies are sending their poorly trained "experts", aka, their technicians, to customers and all they're able to accomplish is a lot of spraying, a lot of bed moving, and driving the little blood suckers all over the place.  After leaving a very expensive bill, they're also leaving a large amount of bed bugs still plaguing the customer.  This frail attempt to solve such a difficult problem of bed bugs by employing the same pest control efforts used in other targeted pest procedures is a sure way to fail.  Not only is the customer still being bitten but they're more the poorer for it now and skeptical that some other "expert company" is going to get any better results.  And who could blame them?

In fact, I just had a conversation with a customer who had one of the big national companies attempt to rid her house and failed.  During my conversation, she knew enough information with the previous practice that she continued to conflict with what I was trying to explain.  I finally interrupted her and asked her to "please just forget everything they told you and asked you to do.  We are going to approach this completely different and we'll instruct you in what to do and what to expect once we get there and assess the severity."

What's most important to understand with bed bugs is that they are NOT after your bed, your sofa, or any other furniture.  They are after YOU!  You are the bait.  They will follow you where ever you go throughout your house.  They will feed on you where ever you spend your time sitting or sleeping, be it your desk chair you use working on your computer or your bed where you sleep.  So throwing out mattresses may temporarily reduce their population for a short time, it is not a solution to the problem.  And if you live in apartments, there are other adjoining units that may indeed be the source of your woes.  Unless the source is identified and treated, you will NEVER have any relief.

Imagine spending your hard earned money month after month on chemicals only to be continually bitten because the source was on the other side of the wall or one floor above you.  You'll NEVER WIN! 

People aren't expecting that the solution to winning a bed bug war is expensive anyway.  Costs can run from $800 to several thousand dollars, depending on whether the costly heat treatments are being used.  By the time the DIY'ers spend money on materials that don't work or aren't properly applied, the cost of these feeble attempts make an already costly problem so much worse!

Message to Bed Bug Victims:  Don't Try This At Home!  DO check out and verify the credentials and the successes of the company you are thinking about doing business with.  And the warranty information will tell you a lot about what the company thinks about their own track record.  If they're asking you to throw out everything BEFORE they'll treat and THEN offer you a warranty, well DUH!  Who could fail at that?!

My advice:  Hang up the phone and try someone else.  It's not only about the money.  It's about your peace of mind too.