Choosing a Pest Management Professional to Treat Bed Bugs

Questions to Ask:

Why Ask?

Does your company treat for bed bugs?
Bed bug eradication requires considerable experience and knowledge, and some pest management professionals do not treat bed bugs.
How long have you been doing bed bug extermination?
The longer a company has been in the business of killing bed bugs, the more expert they typically become.
Are you licensed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture?
Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) MUST carry a valid pesticide applicator’s license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. You can check the status of their license by calling 1-800-282-1955, extension 31, or you can find them online at: www.agri.ohio.gov. Never use an unlicensed applicator!
Can you provide references?
They should answer “Yes.” Don’t hesitate to contact two or three of the references.
How much will the treatment cost?
Some companies charge an inspection fee, but others do not. The cost of the first treatment and follow-up treatments may vary, but are likely to be in the $200 – $500 range.
Will you provide an estimate?
Most companies will provide you with an estimate.
How long will it take to get rid of the bugs?
A single treatment is rarely enough to eliminate all bed bugs. A follow-up treatment should be done if there is continuing evidence of live bed bugs. Most homes require three or four treatments to eliminate the bed bug infestation.
How will you treat my home?
The first step is an in-depth inspection to determine where the bed bugs are hiding. Treatment will involve using various chemicals on the bed, baseboards, light switches, etc to kill the bugs. The technician should be able to explain exactly how your home will be treated, and what chemicals will be used.
What will you use to treat my home?
There are many different chemicals that are used for bed bug treatment. Some of the common ones are: Suspend SC, Bedlam, Phantom, Steri-fab, Deltadust, Gentrol, and diatomaceous earth. PMPs usually use several different insecticides and formulations when treating for bed bugs.
Do you rotate the chemicals?
Bed bugs are becoming resistant to some of the commonly used chemicals. It is best not to continue to use the same insecticide(s) but to rotate the chemicals that are used.
Will you treat my whole house (or business?)
The extent of the treatment will depend on the severity of the infestation. If the bed bugs are confined to one or two rooms, it may not be necessary to treat the whole house.
What about my neighbor’s apartment?
It is always important to inspect any adjoining units in a multi-family dwelling since bed bugs are active insects that can move through cracks and gaps in the walls. The tenants and the property manager have to cooperate with the pest management professional to accomplish this.
How do I prepare for treatment?
The Pest Management Professional should give you a detailed list of things to do to prepare your home for treatment. (See tips below as well.)
Should I throw away my furniture?
The Pest Management Professional should tell you NOT to throw out your furniture until they have inspected it and determined whether or not they can treat it. If the PMP cannot treat a piece of furniture, do NOT remove it unless it is sealed in plastic to keep the bugs from being spread. Anything that you throw away must be completely destroyed so that someone doesn’t take it.

Tips to Minimize Infestations/Prepare for Treatment

  • Minimize clutter.
  • Vigorously vacuum carpets, drapes, furniture and all cracks and crevices daily. After vacuuming, vacuum up talcum powder, then put the vacuum bag in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside your home after each use.
  • Wash all fabric items on the hottest recommended setting, dry on high for an additional 30 minutes after the items are dry, and then seal them tightly in clear plastic bags labeled “Clean”. (Well-labeled and sealed garbage bags or rubber tubs with lids work also.)
  • If you acquire any new or used furniture, inspect it carefully before bringing it into your home to make sure it is bug free.
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