Found out I have Bed Bugs, which Pest Control Company should I use? (Minnesota)(7 posts)
I have been worried about having bed bugs for almost two months now. I live in Minnesota and had a specialist from the company Plunkett's come out and do a visual inspection. This was about a month and a half ago and the inspection turned up nothing. That put my mind at ease for only a few weeks until I noticed bloodstains on my futon and what I expected were cast skins on my sheets. I then had someone from plunkett's come back and do a canine investigation. At first the specialist looked at some samples of bugs I had collected over the past few days, and he told me they weren't bed bugs (later found out they were book lice I believe). He then did the canine inspection with two different dogs and both dogs identified my mattress and futon as having bed bugs. I scheduled a heat treatment with Plunkett's but the soonest they can come do it is a week away. The company Guardian Pest Control said they could come look at the house this coming monday and do the heat treatment as soon as Tuesday.
I'm indecisive as to which one to go with. I would love to get this nightmare over with as soon as possible but two specialists from plunkett's have already been out to the house and they seem like a very knowledgeable company. (It sounds like remaining with one company throughout the whole process is often the most effective as well.)
If anybody has had experience with either company, it would be greatly appreciated. Or if you can shed any light on the situation, that would help so much. Both I think are Temp-Air certified, so that is comforting.
I'm sure there are answers in other forum posts, but I am also wondering about general issues like what do I do with my laundry? (should I do it outside of the home?) Should I try and remain sleeping in my own room to keep these pests from spreading?
As I'm sure many of you can relate with, I'm freaking out at the moment, so any input you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
I totally appreciate the stress that you are feeling as well as the desire to move quickly to resolve a potential situation, but unless I am misreading your post, you have not seen any live bugs (or dead ones) or any confirmed cast skins. Is that accurate? Were the blood stains confirmed fecal matter? Sometimes blood can be from a cut or other skin condition.
I think I speak for a lot of us on these forums when I say that you don't want to treat without physical evidence. There are plenty of competent and accurate dogs and dog handlers out there and you may have worked with such a pair, but you really want to make sure that the handler does a visual inspection to confirm the presence of bugs before you go ahead and treat.
There are lots of threads on the forum in which people discuss their experiences with dogs. Some of us (myself and my sister in another state included) have had positive "hits" with no visual confirmation only to subsequently find out we did not have a bb situation.
Heat treatment can be very expensive and you want to make sure that you are treating a real problem. Many people here use a monitoring system (I use the BB Alert Passive made by David Cain, a forum frequenter, but there are others) and you may want to start with something like that to get confirmation.
Another idea is to post a link to a picture of the blood spots you found and/or the possible cast skins to get an expert to give an honest opinion.
I understand the urgent feeling of wanting to get it over with and get them boogers the H out! I first got bed bugs in April. I knew I was being bitten but just could never find a bug or any signs of a bug. Not one! Finally 2 months later I caught 2 babies. Did they do any kind of visual when the dogs alerted? Two dogs alerting to the same areas is probably a good indicator that something is there. (Bugfreak was your experience and your sister's with a single or double dog alert?)
How much clutter do you have? Can you prepare your home for treatment in 1 day or would you need a week? Just make sure the one you choose has a guarantee. Plunkett's is 30 days, I'm not sure about Guardian. I think they are both pretty good companies so I would go with the one with the longest guarantee.
Seriously if you are already committed to doing the heat treatment then I wouldn't worry about spreading any bugs around the house by sleeping in another room. If you were only chemically treating it would be different. But with heat treatment that heat will be in every room whether there were bugs in them or not. You just inform them of all the locations that you've been sleeping in and they will know to concentrate harder on those areas.
The only thing I suggest is to maybe put some ClimbUp Interceptors under the legs of your couch/futon/bed immediately after the heat treatment. And I would hire a canine to come in before that guarantee is up. Heat is just too expensive to not make every effort possible to be sure they are gone after that first treatment.
Thanks both of you for the information. The bed bug dog handler from Plunkett's never did a visual inspection after the canine inspection, although I now wish he would have. So far nothing that I have collected has been confirmed as being bed bug related. It's been really hard for me to tell if I have bites because I have a lot of acne on my back/arms with itching already. I do have a few of the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" looking dots and blemishes which made me and the guy from Plunkett's concerned.
Here are pictures of the bloodstains-
A specialist from Guardian is coming today to inspect. They will do the heat treatment tomorrow if they think I have bed bugs. It will be great to get a second opinion either way I think. My bed doesn't have a frame and just has thick box springs that sit directly on the floor (probably a big no-no, i know), but the futon in my room is where I saw the bloodstains and I could probably get interceptors on that and sleep there for a while again.
See if you can get a visual this time. But so many times it is almost impossible to see one if the infestation is light.
I just heard a not so good review on Plunkett's guarantee system from a friend of mine, so for now I think I'd lean more towards the other company.
So the company Guardian came out to do a canine and visual inspection. The visual inspection turned up nothing obvious but I feel like a more thorough investigation could have been done. Then the operator took a dog through the whole house. Apparently the dog "showed an interest" in my bed, meaning that he kept returning to it and sniffing it. That said, he told me that the dog made no "alerts." He seemed to believe that the lack of visual evidence paired of with the lack of any alerts in my house was proof enough that I didn't have an infestation. At this point, I am completely unsure, I have one company (Plunkett's) that believes I definitely have bed bugs, and another that says there's a good chance that I don't. HOW CAN THE SCIENCE BE SO FAR BEHIND THIS PROBLEM!? It's frusterating because both companies seem very knowledgeable and very reputable.
Futurebbmom- what was her problem with Plunkett's? Mostly I've heard good reviews of them so far but it would be good to hear all sides.
Thank you so much.
I’m glad you didn't get a definite yes on the second try but at the same time getting a maybe or maybe not is almost just as bad.
I am reluctant to say too much since I don't know every detail yet and I think she is going to take legal action. But basically if you still see bugs after the treatment but you can't actually catch and turn over a live bug then they will not honor the warranty on the heat treatment. LOL yeah it took me 2 months before I was able to catch one the first time around, so good luck on that!
I will see if I can get her to come here to tell her story. I do know that from the beginning she complained constantly to them that she was still getting bit and seeing baby bed bugs. They told her she had to produce a live bug but she couldn't catch them. So she took my advice and hired a dog to come before her 30 day warranty was up. The dog made 2 hits on her couch and found some eggs but Plunkett's said that was not enough evidence to prove she still had them, they still insisted on a live bug. So now they won't honor that warranty.
That's all fine and well but she checked with them before she hired the dog and they didn't tell her ahead of time that just a hit from the dog wouldn't be good enough. I find it really funny that Plunkett's told you that the dogs making hits in your house, even without a visual, meant you definitely have live bed bugs but yet told her that a hit without a visual means nothing.
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