Mover marketing itself as “Certified Bed Bug Free”

by nobugsonme on September 29, 2010 · 10 comments

in bed bugs, moving

iMoveGreen, an agent for Bekins Van Lines is now advertising itself as “Certified Bed Bug Free,” according to a press release Monday.

The press release states,

Despite popular assumption, bedbugs are not caused by lack of cleanliness, and can be transported easily and unknowingly by nesting in furniture and clothing. As traveling is one of the most common ways bedbugs are spread, using bedbug free movers is one of the easiest ways to ensure they don’t come along for the ride during your inter-borough, cross-country, or over-seas move. By employing thorough cleaning techniques and bi-monthly certified inspections, iMoveGREEN is taking action to prevent these pests from making your mattress, sofa, or carpet their new home.

[Emphasis added.]

Being aware that this is an issue is a huge step — I have not recalled other moving companies making any sort of claims yet about being bed bug free (or even trying to be). But let’s take a look at what’s being described here.

“Thorough cleaning techniques” sound promising; however, I’d like to know more about this.

“Bi-monthly certified inspections,” are not as helpful as they sound. If bed bugs can be introduced to these vehicles, then a bi-monthly inspection is not going to help keep every single client bed bug-free.

iMoveGreen’s website offers a sample “Bed Bug Certificate” (download PDF), dated September 8th, which reads,

On August 19, 2010, a certified NESDCA Canine Detection Team from Abalon Exterminating Company, Inc., performed a complete detailed canine inspection for the moving trucks and office of I-Move Green located at 370 Concord Ave, Bronx, NY 10454.

This means the premises and trucks are being screened by canine scent detection teams at intervals (the “bi-monthly inspections” mentioned in the press release above).

Unless extreme measures are taken, such as heat treatment of the truck before every job is done, consumers can’t be 100% sure there won’t be bed bugs in their moving truck.

Keep in mind that there are various ways bed bugs can get into your stuff if you hire a mover:

  • They can be in the truck, moving blankets, or other materials,
  • They can be on the clothing of employees (for example, if the movers just lifted a shipment containing bed bugs),
  • They can be in the belongings of another family, if the truck is shared, as I’ve heard is common in a long-distance moving situation.

There is certainly a need for moving companies to take the problem of bed bugs seriously, and to prevent their spread.

Thanks to Richard56 for directing me to the PDF!

1 J October 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Well, at least it’s a start. Kind of overdoing it to call themselves certified bed bug free, but if you could find out their inspection dates, and can get in just after an inspection, then you are in a better position to remain bed bug free than just playing russian roulette w/ the other companies.

2 Joy Yoffey (iMoveGREEN employee) November 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

While I cannot say we are perfect, we are constantly perfecting our Bed Bug protocol, currently we are heating the trucks to 120 degrees for one hour with the blankets inside in between our inspections. We spray our dollies and other equipment with a Safeguard Bed Bug Killer and Repellent (keep in mind we are green and are still trying to avoid the use of toxic chemicals as much as possible, this product is made with natural essential oils and while it smells like cinnamon it is quite effective & no we are not endorsing their product even though it has been effective as far as we can see). Our main objective is to continue to perfect the protocol as there are efficient and effective ways to do so. We cannot make guarantees, but we are taking this epidemic seriously and are continuing to explore the available avenues that can help our cause. The truth is we do not think the solution is going to come in a one stop shop format, this is a long term fight and will require diligence on the part of the whole transportation industry, we hope we can be the trailblazers that inspire that change (seems lofty but anyone who has had an infestation knows how serious this really is). In the meantime we are doing all we can and will continue to do so in order to protect our clientele and more importantly to ebb the spread if these creatures. As a green company we use reusable plastic bins that are cleaned in between moves, although it is legal to do so, we no longer reuse Wardrobe boxes, instead we have resigned to recycling them. We are open minded and will entertain the suggestions of the experts as we have done thus far.

3 nobugsonme November 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Hi Joy,

Thanks for your message.

You said,

While I cannot say we are perfect, we are constantly perfecting our Bed Bug protocol, currently we are heating the trucks to 120 degrees for one hour with the blankets inside in between our inspections.

I believe this was not listed as part of the protocol which we read about in your press release.

I have been saying for years that moving companies should be using heat to treat both trucks and blankets in-between clients, and so I am glad to hear about this.

4 Joy Yoffey (iMoveGREEN employee) November 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

Thank you for your reply, we will be sure to update this post if we come up with new steps for our protocol, it is very much a living thing (our protocol) so when the press release was written it was much simpler then it is now, it will continue to evolve, as we do.

5 nobugsonme November 4, 2010 at 12:40 am

Thanks, Joy!

6 Joy Yoffey (iMoveGREEN employee) November 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

By the way we were on the CBS Evening News yesterday, video of our heating process and treating the dollies. Check out the link:

7 Joy Yoffey (iMoveGREEN employee) November 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

Another news story, Local ABC News in NY (channel 7) is running teasers all day about us, check it out:

8 Jean November 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

I saw your company on eyewitness news on 11/15/10. Do you sell the organic bug killer or can you tell me the name of the product and where I can purchase it? Thank you

9 nobugsonme November 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hi Jean,

I believe you’re referring to a spray the movers use on their gloves. I do not know the name off-hand, but would not rely on sprays like this to get rid of your bed bug problems (and iMoveGreen isn’t, apparently, either). Lots of substances work as contact killers (which kill bed bugs sprayed directly) but that’s usually the tip of the iceberg. Please come to the forums if you’d like to discuss this further or get suggestions from others:

10 Joy Yoffey (iMoveGREEN employee) December 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

We have added a new protocol, clients can now order a heat treated truck that was treated specifically for their move. The rate is quite nominal for the work it entails.

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