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Getting Rid of BB in an empty house

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  1. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 30 2012 9:32:05
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    I recently purchased a home in Detroit. Before I moved in the previous tenants (not the owner) told me that they had bed bugs. Called a couple of exterminators and decided to go with Orkin because the inspector seemed knowledgeable and was able to spot the infestation immediately. Orkin came and said that I should not move in because the infestation would be worse once I moved in couches and beds. Of course the price would more than triple if the home was full of furniture/things. They (Orkin) came and did two treatments. The second time they sprayed they gave me the "all clear". I was nervous because I read a lot of different posts and asked that the inspector come back one more time. He assured me that everything was gone but would be happy to come out and walk through the house with me again and give me some advice.

    I went to the house this weekend to begin cleaning and ripping out the carpet. This was the first time in a month that people were in the house for an extended period of time. Went to pull out the carpet in the bedroom and found a small bug crawling up the wall. Realized it was a bed bug but decided to continue to pull carpet out. I went back that evening to check everything out with a flashlight. I found another one climbing up the wall.

    I'm beginning to wonder if its possible to get rid of these guys when the house is empty. After the first two treatments I found an abundance of dead bugs. I know that they got some of them. I'm wondering if I need to move in and be bait for these guy. Any suggestions??

    Orkin has been great so far.

  2. Canuck

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 30 2012 10:34:02
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    It could be the few survivors are resistant to the chemicals used, and/or surviving on vermin. Any signs of rodents, birds, bats as trespassers? Sounds like an active monitor/trap would be useful here to draw the stragglers through the chemical/DE barriers, that would save you serving as bait.

    Sheree Swindle / certified K9-assisted bed bug inspector
  3. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 30 2012 11:14:52
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    There aren't any rodents in the house. I had heard that some were able to live through pesticides. My house is almost 100 years old and there are lots of tiny cracks and crevices. I believe the majority of them are living the molding up near my ceiling.

    Received a call from Orkin. They said that they would come out, extend my guarantee but that the earliest appointment was May 10th. I expressed my concerns that it would be almost three weeks since their last treatment by the time they reapply and that females would still be laying eggs. Orkin inspector said that there would be a few more bugs but that wouldn't hinder them from taking care of the bugs.

    Not sure if I sure continue to pushback...

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 30 2012 11:32:46
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    Hi,

    I would deploy a few bed bug beacons to actively monitor the location, set them up and run them for 7 days and then run again if needed. One per bedroom and one in the lounge should suffice.

    I will shortly be publishing some notes on the use of the beacon in empty properties as we have been conducting a lot of that type of work in London recently.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.

    "Astral Entomologist - because so many people say my ideas are out of this world"
  5. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed May 16 2012 15:59:57
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    I haven't purchased the bed bug beacon yet. I had my second treatment on May 2nd. I saw an increase of activity for a few days after the treatment. Then nothing for three of four days. I went back into the house and saw two nymphs and then an adult bed bug.

    Orkin tech said that he was surprised I still had bed bugs because they rarely have to do a third treatment. He said my infestation must have been worse than they thought. Currently waiting for the third treatment. Starting to go crazy. I can't find any information with people dealing with an empty house.

    I realize that its a benefit to not have infested furniture but its now been a month since the first treatment. I need to move into the house sometime in the beginning of June. Is there anything I could do help with this process? Does anyone have advice? At this point a bed bug beacon isn't really going to do anything because these guys are just chilling on the baseboards. They aren't really hiding.

  6. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed May 16 2012 16:27:00
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    I think David and Canuck suggested the use of an active monitor to encourage the bed bugs to forage and make contact with the pesticides... Many will also be captured in the pitfall trap.

    It can be difficult to treat an unoccupied house because the bed bugs may not leave their harborage to forage, if they do not sense the presence of a host to feed on... The Bed Bug Beacon releases CO2 which is the primary way that bed bugs locate a host... BB Beacons will simulate the presence of a live host and encourage bed bugs to forage.

    One question... Did the inspector check the attic for the presence of bats or bird nests?.

    Your comment about BBs living in the ceiling molding made me wonder about bat bugs which are often mistaken for bed bugs... It could also simply be bed bugs that are avoiding repellent chemicals that were sprayed at the baseboard level, but you might want to have your PCO take a close look with magnification at some specimens to rule out bat bugs.

  7. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed May 16 2012 16:38:04
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    I will have to order some this week. They are a little expensive. I was trying to avoid spending more money on something like that.

    I have checked the attic. There is nothing in there. It's a bungalow style house. There isn't really an attic, just closet type area. I believe the bugs hid up in the trim because the baseboards were painted over. There aren't any cracks for them to hide in. The trim above has a large gap in it. There are blood stains on the wall where the previous owner killed the bugs. I haven't seen any near the top trim. All have been on the baseboard or just two feet away from it.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 0:31:34
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    Doug is highlighting the key issue: traditional bed bug spray/dust treatments kill bed bugs which come out of harborages to feed, cross poison and die.

    When no one is in the home, bed bugs don't come out to feed.

    Most PCOs tell us that people should sleep in their normal beds during treatment, so the bed bugs will be attracted out to feed, and get poisoned.

    You were doing some work there and (assuming that was a bed bug you saw) one got excited. Food is here!

    The suggestion of using the active monitors is that something will be giving off C02 in your absence, and this may help catch stragglers.

    I would take what Orkin's saying with a grain of salt-- I wonder how many unoccupied dwellings they've treated, and also how they know that these problems in unoccupied units were ALMOST ALWAYS gone within two treatments. Remember, some customers get frustrated and call someone else. And it might take a while to notice a persistent small infestation.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 0:33:23
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    Oh, and if you see another bug, consider posting a photo so an expert can verify the ID.

  10. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:08:49
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    I ordered the bed bug beacons. They should arrive next week. Orkin is coming today to spray another treatment.

    I actually haven't done any work on the house in two weeks. I just occasionally go in to scope out bed bugs. I actually have video of one of the bedbugs just hanging out on the wall. No idea how to post that online. I'll try to figure it out this weekend.

    The house I purchased has three bedrooms. The room I was planning on living in has wood paneling on the wall, cedar closet and wooden shelves on one wall and then a nook with extra shelving. So far the only bed bugs we found up there were behind the light/socket covers. It appears they crawled up through the wall. There is no evidence that anywhere else. No one lived on the second floor for years. When I do move in, in a few weeks, should I sleep on the first floor bedroom for a while until I know that these guys are gone?

    Thanks everyone for the help.

  11. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:10:41
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    *There is no evidence that they lived anywhere else upstairs. I didn't find any fecal stains or sheds skins.

  12. cilecto

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:17:49
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    Other options here would include whole-house thermal, Vikane fumigation and "moving in", albeit with minimal (or sealed up) furnishings and isolated beds (perhaps throw-away mattresses).

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:25:16
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    Hi,

    If the wooden panel wall is where the bed would have been located I strongly advise you to remove it from the wall and investigate behind it before you move into the property. This type of wall covering can provide great hiding places and if the area has been mistreated they will have almost certainly retreated into that void.

    Outside of that Beacon monitor the known areas first then when you move in locate the beacons in the other rooms spreading out from the one you are sleeping in and run the beacon for 2 weeks to be certain.

    We are close to compiling data from two void properties where we have had no occupants in situ, once we are happy with the report and its recommendations it will be made available online.

    David

  14. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:44:57
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    bed-bugscouk - 15 minutes ago  » 
    Hi,
    If the wooden panel wall is where the bed would have been located I strongly advise you to remove it from the wall and investigate behind it before you move into the property. This type of wall covering can provide great hiding places and if the area has been mistreated they will have almost certainly retreated into that void.
    Outside of that Beacon monitor the known areas first then when you move in locate the beacons in the other rooms spreading out from the one you are sleeping in and run the beacon for 2 weeks to be certain.
    We are close to compiling data from two void properties where we have had no occupants in situ, once we are happy with the report and its recommendations it will be made available online.
    David

    I have no idea where the bed was located upstairs. The man who owned the house passed away a few years ago. There were various relatives living there that took care of the place. The last family to live there brought the bed bugs. I'm am 99% sure of it. They lived on the first floor. It was their furniture and mattresses that had the bed bugs. I could rip off the wood paneling. Should I put a beacon up there and then decide after I see if there is any activity?

  15. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:51:15
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    cilecto - 29 minutes ago  » 
    Other options here would include whole-house thermal, Vikane fumigation and "moving in", albeit with minimal (or sealed up) furnishings and isolated beds (perhaps throw-away mattresses).

    When I move in, i will only have the bare essential. Bed with covers and climb ups and sealed clothing. Everything else will be stored at a friends house. I do not want to bring my furniture in until I know they are gone.

    I don't know about Vikane Fumigation. I doubt I could afford that as I've heard its expensive.

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 10:56:16
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    Hi,

    Often there are very subtle signs you can look such such a dust build up on skirting boards, depression marks from bed wheels, oil/human grease marks on walls or just build up of hair follicles.

    Sometimes you have to be as much CSI as PCO and oddly enough there is not that much variation in how people set out the configuration of rooms but I dare say I have been in more bedrooms than your average person.

    In fact that has got me thinking of any other professions who spend as much time in people's bedrooms as we do without being illegal as it were, polite suggestion in a new thread (rude ones via PM).

    Hope that helps you work it out.

    David

  17. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu May 17 2012 11:04:41
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    Actually I ripped the carpet out upstairs. I wouldn't be able to tell if there were any marks. The second floor is relatively clean. There is dust but you can tell a difference in smell and visually. The second floor smells terrible and its hard to tell what is bed bug remains and what is just dirt and dust. The second floor just has dust. I walked through the house several times before I purchased it. There were two chairs on the second floor but not any other furniture. It was always cold up there because they only turned the registers on the first floor.

    I see about pulling the wood paneling off. I just hate to pull something off that doesn't need to be repaired. I'm running out of money fast and I haven't even moved into the house or fixed any of the repairs that I will make the house liveable.

  18. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Jun 18 2012 11:47:57
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    UPDATE: I moved into the house at the beginning of June. I slept there one night and found a bed bug in the climb ups. I freaked out and stayed at my friends house. Orkin came out again a few days later. They said that it appeared that the person who lived in the home previously tried to take care of the problem themselves. They suggested that they used a bug bomb. I told him that I didn't think they did but after talking to the neighbors, I realize that they probably did try to take care of themselves. Orkin said that they thought that the bugs were at the top of the walls and that there could be thousands. I had to move into the house right away. In fact, they said that I needed to have someone sleeping upstairs and another on the first floor because of the size of the home. My friend moved in. We saw one or two the first 2-3 days after treatment. One day four I killed several. They were literally coming out of the walls in the middle of the day. I've gotten used to keeping a razor blade nearby. If I slice them in half, I feel better about their deaths. Maybe thats weird... Day 5 I found two more that were sluggish hanging out on the stairs near the cracks. Since then, I haven't seen any. It's been 6 days without a sighting. I'm trying not to get too excited but it does make me feel hopeful. Two months and 4-5 treatments later and it seems like these guys are gone.

    House is still "empty". Two of use are living there but just with beds that have climb ups and clothes in sealed tubs. Does anyone have suggestions of what we could do to make sure these guys are really gone? I didn't want to move my furniture in for at least another month.

  19. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jun 19 2012 1:16:10
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    Dear detroit,

    I've read your post and what I get is that you have an empty house which should have been relatively easy to treat yet a number of bed bugs were left behind.

    Perhaps as a bed bug professional I sometimes march to a different drummer than others but we should be able to render a vacant unit or home bed bug free with a decent effort IF we know what we're doing. And, I don't give a flip if someone sleeps in the house to be the bait as in your case that's nonsense.

    Some comments & suggestions:

    If the house was still vacant the following methodologies could have been used to remediate the existing problem:
    > Vacuum and remove/clean all physical signs of bed bugs present.
    > If wall to wall carpet present use dry steam application to the tack strip areaa followed by residual treatment.
    > Treat all utility penetrations with a suitable dust product.
    > Treat all wall to floor, wall to wall and wal to ceiling junctures with suitable residual.
    > Treat the entire home using a suitable quantity of pest strips.

    However, now that you're apparently living within the home the work will be somewhat tougher because you now have furniture and other items within the home to deal with:

    > Install bed bug tested proof, high quality, mattress and box spring encasements.
    > Utilize your bed bug blocking devices under your bed and uphulstered furniture legs.
    > Treat the areas missed in the other treatments.
    > As bed bugs continue to be present since the initial treatment then your warranty should still be in effect. have them come back to re-treat ina thorough fashion such that all areas of concern and harborage are treated. if the treatments are being done sufficiently there should be no bed bugs remaining.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

    As a consulting entomologist I provide services for entities such as property managers, health/housing/emergency depts, schools, hospitality/resort/cruise industry, homeowners, food service, retail, pest professionals & product manufacturers. I recommend only efficacious methodologies, products and equipment. Professional relations have included Actisol, AMVAC, Atrix, BASF, Bayer, Catchmaster, FMC, GMT, Eaton, MattressSafe, Nisus, ProTeam, Rockwell, Syngenta & Woodstream. No compensation for product sales occurs. As inventor of Knight Safe bed bug sleep tent provides a royalty.
  20. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Jun 19 2012 2:50:35
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    P Bello - 1 hour ago  » 
    I've read your post and what I get is that you have an empty house which should have been relatively easy to treat yet a number of bed bugs were left behind.
    Perhaps as a bed bug professional I sometimes march to a different drummer than others but we should be able to render a vacant unit or home bed bug free with a decent effort IF we know what we're doing. And, I don't give a flip if someone sleeps in the house to be the bait as in your case that's nonsense.

    Correct me if I am wrong Paul, but the key here seems to be, "IF the PCO kows what they're doing." And IF they're using an appropriate protocol.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but a lot of PCOs seem to be using a protocol which does require people to sleep in the home.

    I wouldn't want others reading this to assume that because treating an unoccupied home is possible, that they should feel free to vacate their homes and assume their PCO's protocol will work fine in their absence.

  21. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jun 19 2012 9:52:58
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    Hi nobugs,

    The word "requires" may not be as practically applicable as it is that people simply can't leave the place where they live.

    If it were absolutely necessary that people needed to be present in order to be successful against bed bugs then we'd never be able to remediate a vacant hotel room.

    In THIS scenario we had an ideal situation in that we had a vacant home with no contents to deal with. As such, there was no "stuff" to move, run through the dryer, etc. and there was 100% access to treat all areas necessary to achieve control. Under such circumstances my expectation is that control would have been attained.

    Overall, this is not rocket science and all we need to is inspect and treat all the places where bed bugs are. With no interior contents present there are not many situations/parameters that would have been easier in which to conduct the bed bug work.

    Questions to consider:

    > What products applied?
    > How applied?
    > Where applied?
    > What non-chemical controls were used?
    > What monitoring methods were used?
    > What follow up inspections were conducted?

    The answers to the questions above are where you will find the reasons there are still bed bugs at this location and it has nothing to do with the fact that a person slept here during the treatment work or not.

    If the work is thorough and all harborage and travel route sites are treated then there is simply no way that bed bugs should remain at such a location. However, if some areas and/or bed bugs are missed well, that's why were having this chat isn't it?

    I hope our detroit friend is able to be bed bug free very soon but it's going to take successful bed bug work to accomplish this which is independent of where he sleeps.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  22. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jun 19 2012 10:02:49
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    And, in additiona to the above; after all the remediation work was completed, Nuvan pest strips could have been applied in the vacant house resulting in zero bed bugs remaining. Zero !

    In any case, it seems we're past the vacant house situation and the work remaining to remediate the bed bug situation still needs to be done.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  23. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Tue Jun 19 2012 11:35:39
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    P Bello - 1 hour ago  » 
    Hi nobugs,
    The word "requires" may not be as practically applicable as it is that people simply can't leave the place where they live.
    If it were absolutely necessary that people needed to be present in order to be successful against bed bugs then we'd never be able to remediate a vacant hotel room.
    In THIS scenario we had an ideal situation in that we had a vacant home with no contents to deal with. As such, there was no "stuff" to move, run through the dryer, etc. and there was 100% access to treat all areas necessary to achieve control. Under such circumstances my expectation is that control would have been attained.
    Overall, this is not rocket science and all we need to is inspect and treat all the places where bed bugs are. With no interior contents present there are not many situations/parameters that would have been easier in which to conduct the bed bug work.
    Questions to consider:
    > What products applied?
    > How applied?
    > Where applied?
    > What non-chemical controls were used?
    > What monitoring methods were used?
    > What follow up inspections were conducted?
    The answers to the questions above are where you will find the reasons there are still bed bugs at this location and it has nothing to do with the fact that a person slept here during the treatment work or not.
    If the work is thorough and all harborage and travel route sites are treated then there is simply no way that bed bugs should remain at such a location. However, if some areas and/or bed bugs are missed well, that's why were having this chat isn't it?
    I hope our detroit friend is able to be bed bug free very soon but it's going to take successful bed bug work to accomplish this which is independent of where he sleeps.
    Hope this helps ! paul b.

    I almost had six days of no bed bugs but found a live one in the bathroom. I am living in the house but the only furniture present are two beds with climb ups and a few sealed tubs of clothing. I spoke with a couple PCO's before I started treatment both were recommended by other people with the same problem. The first PCO said that I had to move in before the last treatment to make sure to draw the remaining few out of the walls. The second said that they would be able to get rid of them and I shouldn't move in. I went with them because of their "knowledge" and their ability to spot them right away. The first PCO was crawling on the ground and it took him a while to fine a live one. Orkin came in and I didn't even say anything and walked right over and showed me where they all were.

    They have done 4/5 treatments so far. The products they have used are Tempo 1% Dust, Gentrol IGR Concentrate, Phantom (used on casings), Phantom Pressurized Insectide. After I saw a few in the cracks of the living room they drilled holes into the wall and sprayed Phantom Pressurized Insectide inside. I haven't seen anymore in the living room. I haven't seen any in the usual places for a week. Last night I was getting ready to take a shower and saw one on its back. It was going crazy trying to flip itself over. Haven't seen anymore.

    Most of the treatment was spraying of the baseboards. I have vacuumed several times. The house is still basically empty. They came back and reapplied about every two weeks. Last time they came with their tech manager. He was the one that said that I needed to move in to draw out the remaining.

    I have only found one bed bug in the climb ups and that was two weeks ago. I don't know what else to do. I don't have money to have a dog come sniff things out. I just figured that it would take a while to get rid of all these guys. My house is approx 2500 square feet. There are about 11 different rooms/large closets. I would say that these bb's have been in the house for at least 6-7 months before a PCO came in. The previous tenants tried to take care of things themselves. Of course they spread the bugs all over because they moved without protecting their beds or furniture.

  24. detroitnewhomeowner

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jun 19 2012 11:40:18
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    The entire house was carpeted at one point but after the second treatment, I had it ripped up. Fortuntely its hard wood floors through out but it does make it more difficult to spot them.

  25. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue Jun 19 2012 12:39:21
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    Dear detroit,

    OK. Sounds like you're on the way to being bed bug free. Based upon your information here's some comments/suggestions for your consideration:

    > Treat all utility penetrations with a suitable dust product such as Tempo Dust, Drione Dust or DE. Utility penetrations include electric, plumbing, cable tv, telephone, HVAC, etc. You need to remove the outlet covers, plumbing cowlings, etc. You're needing to get the dust into the wall void areas arond the utility penetration.

    > Spraying an aerosol into a drilled hole as you described above is inferior to a dust application into the same area. This is so because the dust provides a more thorough treatment.

    > There is virtually no published data indicating efficacy of an IGR against bed bugs.

    > While there are a number of products that are being used successfully for bed bug control my clients are successful using Temprid SC, Tempo Dust, Drione Dust, Bedlam, Prelude, Suspend SC, and Nuvan ProStrips.

    > Use a sufficient number of active monitors, strategically placed, to detect the presence of bed bugs. There are a number of active monitors commercially available as well as those you may construct yourself to attract detect bed bugs.

    The simple fact is that you need to assure that all areas where bed bugs harbor (hide) are suitably treated which will end your problem successfully. There is no mystery or magic to it.

    Let me know if any remaining questions or concerns.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  26. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Jun 19 2012 21:32:29
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    P Bello - 11 hours ago  » 
    Hi nobugs,
    The word "requires" may not be as practically applicable as it is that people simply can't leave the place where they live.
    If it were absolutely necessary that people needed to be present in order to be successful against bed bugs then we'd never be able to remediate a vacant hotel room.

    I get that, but as I said, my point was that if a PCO tells people they're using a protocol which "requires" the people be present as bait, or expects they will be (perhaps a better way of phrasing it) then I think people should not assume leaving indefinitely is fine.

    Would you agree with that?

    Again, I am not applying this to the situation of the person who started this thread.

    I am simply trying to clarify for others reading this that their PCO's chosen protocols may not work well with no one present, and it's worth being aware of this.

    As for hotel rooms, my sense is that many PMPs are treating rooms still in active use, whether by their choice or the hotelier's, rather than the rooms being shut off until they're known to be 100% bed bug free. I would like that not to be the case, but I think most firms aren't there yet. Or even trying.

  27. blurghblurgh

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    P Bello - you mention using nuvan strips in a vacant building resulting in zero bedbugs. I am soon to have a vacant building with a large infestation. Are you suggesting that one could treat the entire space with nuvan strips (and perhaps be beacons?) to get rid of all the bugs?


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