Bed bugs from furniture rentals? Fox 41 in Louisville investigates

by nobugsonme on May 24, 2010 · 1 comment

in bed bugs, kentucky, louisville

Fox 41 News in Louisville, Kentucky spoke with a man claiming to be a Rent-A-Center employee, who says that the company’s bed bug policy is not followed.

(If video player does not load above, you can view it on the Fox site.)

Fox 41 reports,

“The bug problem in Louisville is pretty bad,” said “Jeff” who claims to be a Rent-A-Center employee.

“It was maybe one place a year, but now we’re getting this one a week. There’s no bleach spray, there’s absolutely nothing done for bed bugs I took over a location and my first two days on the job was fighting bed bugs,” said Jeff.

His job is not in pest control, “Jeff” says he is a manager of Rent-A-Centers in Louisville.

“Personally I wouldn’t rent furniture,” said “Jeff”.

Jeff also tells Fox 41 that when mattresses are brought in or moved, new and old are placed site by side.

If I were going to rent or purchase used items (or new items from a store that sells used items), I would want to be certain that they were thermally treated (in order to completely eliminate bed bugs).  I would want to be sure that items so treated were not stored or shipped alongside infested items, and that trucks were also thermally treated after used items were hauled.

While it’s always possible that “Jeff'” doesn’t really work for Rent-A-Center, Fox also got input from the company itself:

As part of the Fox 41 investigation, Jennifer Baileys contacted Rent-A-Center’s corporate office in Texas. Company Spokesperson Xavier Dominicis said no one at any of the stores in Louisville would be available to talk on camera and that Fox 41 would not be permitted inside any of the stores.

Dominicis did offer information about Rent-A-Centers bed bug policy. He said all stores use a product called Steri-Fab to fight bed bugs.

“This Steri-Fab do you feel that this really does work and knock out any potential problems,” asked Baileys. “It’s the best product on the market right now,” said Dominicis.

OPC Pest Control in Louisville backs up that claim. Manager Kevin Mills said Steri-Fab will kill bed bugs when sprayed directly on the bug, but like all products on the market it will not fix the problem.

As I understand it, Steri-Fab is a contact kill spray with some residual effect.

It would be very difficult — if not impossible — to kill all bed bugs in a sofa, mattress and box spring, or other items by spraying them directly, because of the difficulty of reaching bed bugs inside items, where they hide easily.

Also, the Fox reporter’s advice that used furniture shoppers inspect a sofa on the outside and in the creases with a good flashlight is not bad, but is hardly sufficient to ensure people don’t purchase furniture with bed bugs harboring inside.

It is theoretically possible to treat items and trucks in order to remove bed bugs.  Thermal methods, done properly, work well.  They would be a possibility for many of the items rental firms carry.

In order to protect their business interests, it’s important that furniture rental (and sales) firms take methods to properly prevent bed bugs from being transmitted from the firm to customers, or from one customer to the next.

(Note: did you watch the video? I don’t think I have ever before seen footage of bed bugs with eggs attached to their bodies, flailing around.)

1 JP McHale Pest Management May 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Interesting article. Up here in New Jersey we just saw an incident where the landlord is willing to reimburse tenants with a motel, food, and transportation for three days while the apartment building gets rid of bed bugs.

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