Preventing Holiday Bed Bug Infestations for Greater-DC Homes
Adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs will generally be found near to where humans rest or sleep. Those areas are most commonly found inside the home, but can also be found on busses, trains, inside automobiles and on airplanes. Bed bugs prefer to hide in tight spaces, such as cracks and crevices in the headboard, behind baseboards, or behind the faceplate of a switch or electrical outlet. They may be found in sofas, cribs, futons, and car seats. There are few places that a bed bug won’t hide, within proximity to its food source: human blood.
There sure is! Before you have an American Pest technician come to your home to provide a Thermal Remediation, make sure you've reviewed our preparation checklist here.
It's not abnormal to feel a little apprehensive about treating your home or business, especially when it comes to bed bugs. That's why we've compiled a helpful guide to preparing for your upcoming bed bug service in the form of a checklist to help you get ready for your treatment. Learn more by browsing our bed bug preparation checklist.
Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers, they can latch onto suitcases, backpacks, and, yes, even clothing. They will travel on most things until they can find a suitable place to hide.
If you find bed bugs on your clothing, you do not need to throw them away. Set the washer and dryer for the hottest setting that the fabric can withstand. If you need to use a dry cleaning service, mention to them that the items may have bed bugs and they can keep the articles in plastic bags until just before loading into the machines.
If you think your home may be infested because of bed bugs traveling on your clothing, contact American Pest to schedule a bed bug inspection.
The process begins with the American Pest Heat Treatment Team placing specialized mobile heating units in the unit along with high power fans, all of which connect to a portable generator that will remain outside of the unit. As the mobile heating units raise the temperature of the room to the Kill Zone, (120-135 degrees Fahrenheit) the service professionals will begin rotating items (clothes, couch cushions, etc.) throughout the unit to ensure the heat is able to spread evenly. Meanwhile, bed bugs become visibly active as they detect the increase in the unit’s temperature. But alas, the temperatures rise above what all stages of bed bugs (eggs, larvae and adults) are able to withstand, thus bringing another successful Thermal Remediation treatment to close.
Conventional liquid treatments for bed bugs have not been found to eliminate bed bugs at all stages of life in a single treatment, especially eggs. To ensure complete elimination, multiple treatments may have to be scheduled over several weeks to target the individual insects that hatch from their eggs after the initial treatment. These treatments would also require the property owner to prepare for each treatment, which could involve frequent laundering of clothing and bedding items and moving furniture. Heat treatments only require one treatment because the heat is able to permeate through the treatment area to kill all stages of bed bug life, including eggs. There may be some preparations the property owner may need to make before a Heat Treatment, which your Customer Service Representative will discuss with you, but the Heat Treatment Team will make most of the preparations. The owner should only have to put items in the property unit in their respective places, as the technicians may have to move items around during the heating process to allow the heat to distribute evenly.
Three words, “One and done.” Simply enough, only one heat treatment is required to eradicate a bed bug infestation. Other treatment options require multiple visits for several weeks or months from your technician and may require added efforts from the property owner to move furniture and other items for each treatment and keeping clothing tightly packed in sealed trash bags after frequent laundering. “One and done” sounds pretty good after hearing that, doesn’t it?
DDT (Short for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was used widely during World War II to control malaria and typhus infections amongst troops. After the war, it was made available commercially as an agricultural pesticide. It is believed that the widespread usage of DDT throughout the 1940’s through the 1960’s was responsible for virtually eradicating bed bug populations in the United States. With the reemergence of bed bugs that has occurred in the past 10-15 years, it has been found that bed bugs have developed a resistance to DDT and usage of the pesticide would not curtail their population growth. DDT has also been linked to significant damages to the environment, including nearly driving several species of birds to extinction.
It actually doesn’t. While a conventional pesticide treatment will require the property owner to move furniture away from the walls and pack clothing into sealed garbage bags, our Heat Treatment technicians can actually do most of the preparation work for the treatment. The only preparation asked of the customer is to collect household items that would be a hazard during a heat treatment (spray deodorants, candles, etc.) Your customer service representative will explain this process to you in full detail.
We apologize in advance but your home is going to fairly disorganized after a heat treatment. Throughout the heating process, our technicians need to move certain items and pieces of furniture (Rotating sofa cushions, clothing, etc.) throughout the unit to ensure heat spreads evenly throughout the unit.
There are two keys to a successful Heat Treatment. The bed bugs need to be exposed to the “Kill Zone” temperatures and their exposure needs to be sustained over several minutes to ensure complete elimination. Holding the heat treatment at your property over several hours allows the technicians to ensure that the heat is distributed to every nook and cranny in the treatment area, to target all of the possible hiding areas for bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults throughout the treatment area.
Heat Treatments are a fairly new strategy for eradicating bed bugs, but it has been found to be the most effective at eliminating bed bug populations in a single treatment. In addition, Thermal Remediation is a team effort, as several technicians are required to move and operate the heaters, prepare the unit for treatment, and rotating clothing and furniture throughout the treatment.
We do not offer Thermal Remediation as a treatment option for pests besides bed bugs. While it can be said that most pests exposed to the “Kill Zone” (120-135 degrees Fahrenheit) would probably be eliminated, Thermal Remediation is considered a treatment option uniquely effective for bed bugs because it uses their attraction to heat against them.
It can get pretty toasty! To ensure the complete elimination of bed bugs in one treatment, our American Pest Thermal Remediation team will use our portable heaters to raise the temperature of your home or property to 120-135 degrees Fahrenheit, which will ensure the elimination of bed bugs in minutes.
Thermal Remediation is the newest innovation in the war against bed bugs. Also known as “Heat Treatments,” Thermal Remediation super-heats the air in your home or business unit between 120 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. This range of temperatures has been deemed the “Kill Zone” for bed bugs by industry professionals because sustained exposure will kill them within minutes.
Thermal Remediation has been found to be the most effective bed bug treatment available because it uses their biology and behavior against them. When bed bugs are looking for a blood meal, they search for a human host by detecting body heat and carbon dioxide emitted from breath. During a heat treatment, the bed bugs sense the rising temperatures and actually leave their hiding places to move towards the source of the heat (portable heaters). As the temperatures rise into the “Kill Zone,” (120-135 degrees Fahrenheit) the bed bugs are left susceptible to the rising heat as it is distributed evenly throughout the treatment area with high-powered fans.
The red vest clearly labels our K-9s as work dogs. The K-9s also recognize that it is "work time" when they are wearing the vests, while not wearing the vests means they have "free time." The same principle applies to humans, people dress professionally when they are at their place of work and then change into comfortable clothes when they go home.
First of all, thank you! Yes, they are very adorable and they love to play. However, they have a job to do and customers attempting to play with or pet them could distract them from being focused on detecting bed bugs. We request that you ask the Handler if it is okay to touch or play with the K-9 before interacting with it.
After a K-9 inspection is conducted, our Handlers can explain treatment options available to you from American Pest and provide you the information to get in touch with our Customer Service Representatives or Account Specialists. You can always contact American Pest to ask questions or to receive more information about services by calling 301-891-2600 or filling our contact form.
American Pest K-9s are housebroken and groomed daily, so they will not shed hair or make a mess inside your property. They also experience obedience training from the moment they are brought to the team, so they will not bark. The K-9s receive regular full health screenings and are up to date on their shots. If you or someone else is allergic to dogs or afraid of the K-9s, they do not have to stay in the facility during the inspection. It’s very unlikely that the K-9s would transfer bed bugs from one property to another. Bed bugs approach bodies when they are still for long periods of time, which is why they usually attack people while they are sleeping. During the inspections, the K-9s are moving almost all of the time, which would be very difficult for a bed bug to take advantage of.
Inspections are conducted off-lead (without a leash) to allow the K-9 to search the entire facility as they search for the scent. When the scent is detected, the dog signals the Handler with an Alert, which is to either sit or lie down. The K-9 is trained to Alert with a passive behavior (Either sitting or lying down, as opposed to barking) to keep disruptions in your facility down to a minimum. The Handler confirms the Alert with a visual inspection of the suspected area and allows the K-9 to play with its favorite toy ball as a reward for a confirmed Alert.
Toy rewards have been found to be the most effective means for motivating a K-9 to work. They encourage the K-9 to think of the inspections as a game that keeps them consistently engaged in their assignments. Food reward K-9s are only interested in completing their work as long as they are hungry. They are also more likely to view the inspections as work rather than play, which will generally have a detrimental impact on their detection accuracy.
The K-9s are owned by American Pest, but they live with their Handlers, who care for them around the clock. Expenses for food and care are financed by the company. It is important to note that American Pest K-9s are very different from pets. They are selected at a young age for this position after very careful consideration by our Master Trainer and enter obedience and detection training immediately. Even after they are deemed ready to conduct inspections, they still complete daily training drills to maintain their skills.
Our K-9s are registered with the American Kennel Club and selected by our Master Trainer from the finest canine breeders based on their aptitude, temperament, drive, health and obedience. These breeds are commonly utilized by government agencies and law enforcement officials for search & rescue missions and scent detection for drugs and explosives.
Our K-9 Handlers are hired with verifiable K-9 handling skills. Several of them also have backgrounds in K-9 scent detection for areas including narcotics, explosives and search & rescue operations. Upon being hired, Handlers are put through additional handling and scent detection training by our Master Handler. They also experience entomology training and learn proper inspection protocols.
Bite marks are not an accurate indicator because not everyone shows signs of biting and the range of reactions vary greatly from person to person. The best strategy is to inspect your sleeping linens for dark spotting, cast skins that are light in color or eggs.
There are many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) products that promise to eliminate bed bugs, each with their own levels of success. The problem is that these products often focus on controlling the populations of bed bugs, not necessarily eradicating the infestation. A professional pest control technician can develop an integrated pest management plan that will attack the infestation on more than one front and will be able to completely rid your home of bed bugs.
We can conduct a K-9 Inspection of your property to and can provide mattress and box spring encasements. After confirming the presence of bed bugs on your property, American Pest can offer heat treatments, conventional pesticide treatments or Cryonite®
You probably picked them up! Bed bugs are hitchhiking insects. They move quickly and can easily attach themselves to your shoes, clothes, purse or luggage. Once you make it home, they can crawl off and settle into your home.
A bed bug infestation is not indicative of a person’s hygiene or cleaning habits. The pests can be picked up anywhere, from luxury hotels to the office chair you sit in every day. They are nocturnal insects and are incredibly adept at hiding, so the likelihood of confirming their presence without a pest management professional is small. There is no need to take the news of bed bugs personally; the important thing is to take the proper steps to eliminate the invasive population from your home.
Bed bugs tend to be most active between the hours of midnight and 5 am and like the old nursery rhyme warns, they will bite their human host to intake a blood meal. Upon awakening, a bed bug victim may find numerous small bite marks, which can vary in appearance. Some people may show no signs of biting, but that does not rule out the possibility of the presence of bed bugs. At this time, bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases through their bites. However, the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency have identified bed bugs as “pests of some public health significance,” due to psychological effects that bed bugs have on their hosts. These can include paranoia, anxiety and depression. In rare instances, some victims may exhibit an allergic reaction to some of the bed bug’s salivary proteins and victims experiencing severe infestations may become anemic because of how many bites they have suffered from.
All American Pest K-9s achieve the same degree of specialized training. You can anticipate equal levels of accuracy from each and every dog on our bed bug detection team.
American Pest believes that K-9s are more skilled than humans at detecting bed bugs. Specially trained K-9s are able to detect the presence of live bed bugs within minutes, whereas humans are simply not as accurate or efficient. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to locate during the first stages, when only a few bugs may be present. But it is by odor, not by sight, that bed bug dogs are able to inspect and detect bed bugs in hotel rooms, apartment homes, and townhouses.
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