All of the residents of Kansas City, Missouri’s Plaza Towers apartments are being evacuated for two nights so that the entire 81-unit high-rise can be treated using ThermaPureHeat’s thermal methods.
Residents told KMBC reporters they had as little as six days’ notice before evacuating and they were understandably frustrated by this.
On the other hand, many tenants with bed bugs would give anything to have their landlords treat the entire building using thermal methods –which, done properly, solve the bed bug problem in one treatment.
The building has had bed bugs for “about 18 months.”
Tenants were given free hotel rooms with breakfast and drink vouchers for the two nights they had to evacuate their homes.
Thermal treatment can get rid of bed bugs in one go, but what thermal methods can’t do is prevent bed bugs from being reintroduced into the structure — the day tenants return, or weeks or months later.
Everyone who has contact with the building must be educated and take steps to avoid such a scenario. And it isn’t easy.
We can only hope tenants and employees were thoroughly educated about:
- what they should take with them (if anything) while the building is being treated, and how these items should be treated to be ensured to be free of bed bugs;
- how to avoid bringing bed bugs to a hotel (or any other place they would be staying — relative’s home, friend’s home, employee’s home), and how to avoid picking bed bugs up from those same places;
- the possibility that bed bugs came to the building via a tenant’s or employee’s friend’s or relative’s home, or a school or workplace — even if no one else was aware of a problem there;
- the dangers of taking in secondhand items, which may also have brought the problem in.
In the KMBC video linked above, it was disturbing to see a tenant load an open cloth bag of clothing and a computer into his car, as he prepared to evacuate for treatment. Bed bugs could potentially be carried in these items — not just to a car or hotel, but back into the building after treatment.
Ultimately, a building like this needs an education program (starting with the above information), as well as an ongoing plan for inspections and prevention.
Dusting and sealing cracks and crevices between units and regular professional inspections may go some way towards preventing future bed bug problems.
Prompt, aggressive treatment (and extensive inspections) at the first sign of future bed bug bites or bed bug sightings may help avoid the need to treat the whole building again.
And at $65,000, that would be a worthwhile goal.