Who can help me?

The three basic steps involved with bed bug infestations are:

  1. Inspection and identification

  2. Treatment and elimination

  3. Final inspection and clearance


Inspection and Identification

If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation it is always recommended a licensed professional conduct the inspection. Inspections can be conducted by pest control specialists and/or specially trained dogs. The accuracy difference is incredible. The accuracy rate for a trained pest control specialist ranges between 30% and 70%. The accuracy rate of a specially trained dog is 97.5% and is documented by the University of Florida (see Continued Learning) provide link to study.

Scent Tek is an independent canine inspection service. Simply, we have no interest in treating for bed bugs. We will perform the initial inspection and the final clearance inspection without bias.

Pest Control Companies

There are many varied treatments being used today to eliminate bed bugs. They range from using pesticides to super heating a room. These services are offered by licensed pest control operators. We do not recommend a specific pest control operator nor do we recommend a specific treatment.

National Commercial Pest Control Companies

These businesses operate across the country and should have the experience necessary to treat for bed bugs. They serve commercial entities and may have a residential division. Always ask for references and check status for the license. Some of the companies that fall into this category are Steritech Group, Orkin, and Terminix.

Regional Pest Control Companies

These companies operate in a region such as Northern California and should have the experience necessary to treat for bed bugs. They serve commercial entities and may have a residential division. Always ask for references and check status for the license. Some of the companies that fall into this category are Crane, Western and Clark.

Local Pest Control Companies

These companies are smaller (sometimes one or two employees) and may not have the same resources as a national or regional company. That does not mean they do not have the ability. It is always recommended that you check references and license status. You will find many listed in the yellow pages

Treatments

The following treatments and analysis are part of a study conducted by the University of Florida. The most common strategy employed today is to use a pesticide application. Some companies offering multiple strategies.

Heat

Since the early 1900s, bed bugs have been controlled by heating infested rooms or whole buildings to temperatures of at least 45°C; the thermal death point for these pests. For heat treatment to be effective, it is critical that high temperature and low relative humidity be attained for a minimum length of time. Heat treatment provides no residual effect, and bed bugs can re-occupy any site so treated immediately after temperatures return to suitable levels. Potential physical distortion of structures or their contents, as well as flammability risks associated with some kinds of heat sources, may be a concern in particular situations (Usinger 1966). Laundering infested linens or cloth items in hot water with detergent, followed by at least 20 minutes in a clothes dryer on low heat, should kill all life stages of bed bugs but would not prevent their reinfestation.

Cold

Exposure to low temperatures can kill bed bugs if they are kept cold enough long enough. Bed bugs can tolerate -15°C (5°F) for short periods and, if acclimated, they can survive at or below 0°C (32°F) continuously for several days (Usinger 1966). Cold treatments of rooms or buildings to control bed bugs have not been well studied or often employed, but freezing furniture or other items within containers or chambers [e.g., below 0°F (-19°C) for at least four days] may be a practical alternative for limited infestations or to augment other control measures. A new commercial technology uses CO2 from cylinders deposited as a “snow” to kill bed bugs and a variety of pests by rapid freezing.

Controlled Atmospheres

In preliminary laboratory tests by the German Federal Environmental Agency, all life stages of common bed bugs were reportedly killed by constant exposure to very high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), at ambient atmospheric pressure, within 24 hours or less; however, high concentrations of nitrogen gas (N2) were not very effective under the same conditions (Herrmann et al. 2001).

Steam

Steam treatments have been used effectively by some PMPs to quickly eliminate live bugs and their eggs from the seams of mattresses and other cloth items. However, this technique requires practice and care. Manufacturer's instructions must be followed concerning the steam generating devices' operation, maintenance and safety precautions. The steam emission tip must usually be about 2.5-3.8 cm from the surface being steamed. If the tip is too far away, the steam may not be hot enough to kill all the bed bugs and eggs that it contacts. If the tip is too close, excess moisture may be injected into the treated material, which may lead to other problems (e.g., facilitating dust mite population survival and increase; growth of surface molds).

Sticky Monitors

Sticky traps are a simple way to monitor many crawling insects, and have been used to augment other techniques for control of spiders and cockroaches. Although bed bugs will often get caught on such monitors, many recent reports from PMPs in North America have indicated that they are not very effective at detecting small to moderate populations of bed bugs, even when infestation signs are obvious, bugs are easily observed, and people are being bitten routinely.

Pesticide Applications

Residual applications

Currently, non-chemical products and techniques are incapable of efficiently or quickly controlling or eliminating established bed bug populations. Precise placement of a suitably labeled, registered and formulated residual chemical insecticide is still the most practically effective bed bug control. Effective control consists of applying interior sprays or dusts to surfaces that the bed bugs contact and to cracks and crevices where they rest and hide. When using residual insecticides, care should be taken to select the least-toxic active ingredients and formulations, following an IPM approach. Microencapsulated and dust formulations will have a longer residual effect than others. Synergized pyrethrins are often highly lethal and produce a flushing effect, allowing faster analysis of the infested area. If the label permits, addition of pyrethrins at 0.1-0.2% to organophosphate, or carbamate (where these active ingredients are legal and labeled for this use), or other microencapsulated insecticide formulations may increase efficacy by irritating the bugs, initiating an excitatory effect, and causing them to leave their hiding places, thus increasing their exposure to the fresh insecticide layer. Modified diatomaceous earths with hydrophobic surfaces can also be used to treat cracks and crevices. Retreatment, when needed, should be carried out after the shortest interval permitted by the label until the pest bug population has been eliminated. The choice of chemical products and specific application techniques can depend on many factors, including the physical location and structural details of the bugs' harborages, the product's labels (which can vary by political jurisdiction), the immediate environment, and local or national laws.

Crack-and-crevice applications

Because of their habit of hiding clustered together in cracks and narrow harborages, precisely applied crack-and-crevice treatments are among the most effective control techniques against bed bugs. Active ingredients change over time, and several are currently available, as well as some products that contain multiple ingredients labeled for use against bed bugs. Various formulations and devices are also available for applying insecticides to bed bug-infested areas. For example, dust formulations should be used in electrical outlet boxes and in other places where it is desirable to employ low-risk (low volatility and toxicity), long-lasting insecticides.

IGRs

When properly applied, insect growth regulators (IGRs) have essentially no effect on vertebrate metabolism because of their mode of action and low application rates, but they can have a significant impact on bed bug fertility and egg hatching success (Takahashi and Ohtaki 1975).

Fumigation

Fumigation of furniture, clothing, or other personal items can kill all bed bug stages present. However, such treatments will not prevent reinfestation immediately after the fumigant dissipates. Fumigation of an entire building would be equally effective but, again, would not prevent reinfestation, and would seldom be necessary, practical, or affordable (WHO 1982, Snetsinger 1997, Gooch 2005).

Impregnated fabrics and bednets

Fabrics and bednets, factory- or self-impregnated with formulations of residual chemical insecticides, can help deny bed bugs access to hosts, and may kill some of the bugs that crawl on them. This can be economical because spray, dipping or coating formulations of products containing permethrin will often remain effective through many launderings, some for the life of the fabric (Lindsay et al.1989). However, one West African population of tropical bed bugs was recently reported to be resistant to a particular pyrethroid used to impregnate bednets (Myamba et al. 2002).

ULV, aerosols, and foggers

Insecticides currently labeled for ULV, aerosols and foggers have little or no residual effects on bed bugs. Most will seldom penetrate cryptic bed bug harborages. If directly injected into harborages, these products may stimulate some of the bed bugs to become active and move out into the open, allowing them to be seen by inspectors. Otherwise, bed bugs are seldom killed, even by prolonged or repeated exposure to such products.

Follow-up

At least one follow-up inspection of infested sites should be conducted at a suitable interval (e.g., 10-21 days) after each control effort or treatment in order to detect any of the typical signs of continued infestation, such as live bugs, cast skins (after those present earlier had been removed), fecal spots on bed linens or harborages, and unhatched eggs.

References

1. Blow, J., M. Turell, A. Silverman, and E. Walker. 2001. Stercorarial shedding and transstadial transmission of hepatitis B virus by common bed bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 38 (5): 694-700.
2. Cooper, R., and H. Harlan. 2004. Chap. 8. Ectoparasites, Part three: Bed bugs & kissing bugs. pp. 494-529, In 9th ed. (S. Hedges, ed. dir.), Mallis' Handbook of Pest Control. GIE Publ., Inc., Cleveland, OH.
3. Doggett, S.L. 2006. A Code of Practice for the control of bed bug infestations in Australia. Bed Bug Code of Practice Working Group, Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association, New South Wales, Australia. 54 pp. ISBN: 1-74080-082-6. Latest version available on-line at: www.bedbug.org.au
4. Doggett, S., M. Geary, and R. Russell. 2004. The resurgence of bed bugs in Australia: with notes on their ecology and control. Environmental Health 4(2): 30-38.
5. Feingold, B., E. Benjamini, and D. Michaeli. 1968. The allergic responses to insect bites. Ann. Rev. of Entomol. Vol. 13: 137-158.
6. Gold, R., and S. Jones (eds). 2000. Handbook of Household and Structural Insect Pests. Entomol. Soc. of Amer., Lanham, MD. 154 pp.
7. Gooch, H. 2005. Hidden profits, there's money to be made from bed bugs – if you know where to look. Pest Control 73(3): 26-32.
8. Herrmann, J., C. Adler, G. Hoffmann, and C. Reichmuth. 2001. Efficacy of controlled atmospheres on Cimex lectularius (L.) (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) and Argas reflexus Fab. (Acari: Argasidae). Proceedings of the International Pest Control Conference, Prague. p. 637 (abstracted from a poster presentation).
9. Hwang, S., T. Svoboda, I. DeJong, K. Kabasele, and E. Gogosis. 2005. Bed bug infestation in an urban environment. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 11(4): 533-538.
10. Johnson, A. 2005. The hotel industry is beginning to wake up to bedbug problem. The Wall Street Journal, Vol. CCXLV (No. 78): A-1, Column 4; A-12, columns 5-6 (April 21).
11. Jupp, P., R. Purcell, M. Shapiro, and J. Gerin. 1991. Attempts to transmit hepatitis B virus to chimpanzees by arthropods. South African Medical Journal 79: 320-322.
12. Lindsay, S., R. Snow, J. Armstrong, and B. Greenwood. 1989. Permethrinimpregnated bednets reduce nuisance arthropods in Gambian houses. Med. Vet. Entomol. 3(4): 377-383.
13. Myamba, J., C. Maxwell, A. Asidi, and C. Curtis. 2002. Pyrethroid resistance in tropical bedbugs, C. hemipterus associated with use of treated bednets. Med. Vet. Entomol. 16(4): 448-451.
14. Potter, M. 2004. Your guide to bed bugs. Pest Control Technology Vol. 32 (8): [A special 6-page "pull out" section between pages 12 and 13 of the August 2004 issue].
15. Snetsinger, R. 1997. Chapter 9. Bed Bugs & Other Bugs. pp. 392-424, In 8th ed. (S. Hedges, ed.), Mallis' Handbook of Pest Control., GIE Publ., Inc., Cleveland, OH.
16. Takahashi, M., and T. Ohtaki. 1975. Ovicidal effects of two juvenile hormone analogs, methoprene and hydroprene, on the human body louse and the bed bug. Jap. J. Sanit. Zool. 26 (4): 237-239.
17. Usinger, R. 1966. Monograph of Cimicidae. Thos. Say Foundation Vol. VII, Entomol. Soc. Amer., Lanham, MD.
18. WHO. 1982. Vector Control Series. VI. Bed bugs. World Health Organization. WHO/VBC/82.857. 9 pp.


We Have 100 5-Star Reviews
"Scent Tek people are very professional. I left a message on a Sunday morning, and I got a call back in 4 hours. They were on time and always very courteous during house visits."
Betti S., Belmont CA

"A week after the second treatment, Brent and Curly came back and gave us the all-clear that our home was bug free. Both times they were at our home exactly when they said they would be."
Kimberly B., Half Moon Bay, CA

"The guys of Scent Tek were very professional, friendly, and helpful!"
Kyle T., San Francisco, CA

"After the visit, the brothers followed up with an email and an invoice for the services right away. Recommended if you have any doubts about bed bugs - the peace of mind is priceless!"
Lisa K., San Francisco, CA