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Bedbugs: How to Win the War!

By Chris Williams on February 6, 2014.

Bed bug warBedbugs are not going away anytime soon it would seem.  I’ve been involved with treating some really heavily infested apartments lately.

Can Bedbugs Be Eliminated from a Dwelling?

Absolutely yes!  With an extremely disciplined approach by all partners involved, bedbugs can successfully eliminated from an apartment dwelling or home.

What Does It Mean to Have a Disciplined Approach?

First off, the resident must prepare the dwelling properly.  Partially emptying out closets or dressers is not acceptable.  Bedbugs can just hang out in and around garments, so laundering these is a first step. Excessive amounts of clutter can also be a huge hindrance to a successful treatment. At the dwelling I treated the other day, a simple nightstand combined with the contents resting on it (lots of paperback books, stacks of framed pictures leaning behind, electronics, little decorations etc.  Many of these items had bedbugs living in them.  Perhaps this was not unexpected given the heavily infested bedding.

If one were to use the analogy of the mattress/box spring as the bedbug ‘city’ then the nightstand, dresser are like the ‘suburbs’ for the bed bugs. It is still close to all the amenities, but a bit less crowded!  Seriously, though I can’t stress enough the problems caused by residents hoarding items in a small efficiency apartment. Sometimes, there is barely enough room to turn around, and that is BEFORE we start flipping over furnishings to inspect and treat.

Shuttling items from an infested home to a storage facility and then back again after treatment could also be a recipe for failure.  I know this happens because property managers have witnessed this and shared that information. Now, your vehicle could be infested with bed bugs.

Another problem of having too much ‘stuff’ for your living quarters would be haphazardly moving items from an infested room into a room that ‘does not have bugs.’ In all likelihood, the resident has just introduced them to what may actually have been an un-infested room. Enough said here, you get the idea.

Another incredibly important tool to help win the war with bedbugs is the use of mattress and box spring encasements.  A good intact zippered casement will deny a tremendous amount of surface area for bedbugs to inhabit (especially the box spring with its wood frame) and starve out the ones that may have escaped the initial treatment on the mattress, and yet so many times when we come back for a follow-up visit, the resident has either not purchased them or if they have, they’ve not used them.

Okay, enough ranting from me today!  One thing  I won’t rant about today is the snow falling outside my window right now because I love that!

photo credit: TomSpinker via photopin cc

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