new developments re: treatment(20 posts)
First I'll apologize for not participating in the forums in a while. I have been reading still, but being less obsessed lately has been a nice break for my psyche.
The last time I posted was after I found the bb on my bathroom floor before Christmas. The PCO sprayed my place, I visited with family, and since my return (just before New Year's) had only one bite after which I dusted with DE. Haven't been bitten since (about 1 week now).
But here's the real story. The LL came by this week and was treating my upstairs neighbors' places and wanted to know if we wanted to be treated as well. I have opted to not let him treat because-- get this-- he is now doing the treatment HIMSELF! He got the PCO (who I was never thrilled with in the first place) to give him the chemicals so he can self treat and save $$. What the f---?!
Anyone have any thoughts on this? Did I make the right decision?
That sounds like something my LL would do! I would not agree to a treatment either unless he could show me his license that states he is qualified to use those dangerous chemicals. He sounds like an idiot and he is only asking for trouble in my opinion! I would call a licensed tech and ask them what their thoughts would be on a situation like yours cuz there could be serious consequences for him to be doing this stuff without being licensed and insured!
Not sure if the Us is the same as the Uk but the products good PCO's use are licensed for professional use only. As such anyone caught in possession of them is libable to prosecution for possession of a controlled substance.
It is an offense grave enough to have your PCO license revoked over.
That having been said I have seen a number of bad PCO's give up and supply products for people to self treat. The amusing fact is that it reinforces the fact that BB control is not all about chemicals.
I would have to say had idea on the grounds that the PCO is clearly not skilled enough in the first place so who is to say they buy, store or even apply in the correct methods.
I have known from the start that the PCO wasn't very knowledgeable or skilled in regards to BB's, but my landlord is the one paying and this is the one he chose. There never was an inspection. There never was a plan. He just came and soaked stuff on the floor and sprayed our furniture with an aerosol. He at first was of the mindset that they only are in the bedroom, and I insisted that he treat the livingroom and office because I personally found bb's there.
After our first 3 sprays, he came back again after having taken a two hour course and informed me that when washing clothes and linens, it is heat not water that kills them-- no sh*t Sherlock. I had been saying it all along. I asked the landlord about having him treat with both Suspend and Gentrol to which the PCO said, the second was not really effective since it didn't kill bb's it only was a growth inhibitor. Again, no sh*t. That's why the combination is more effective than just the one, I would assume. But what do I know, I'm no expert. I'll admit that.
Anyway, the real idiot in this is the landlord who is always trying to go on the cheap with things. I understand wanting to save money, but in the long run, I think he has caused more damage by not treating properly, making this more expensive in the end. I just can't wait until spring because I want to look to move and have all my belongings gassed.
Oy. This may be illegal in some states, bugobsessed. I'm not sure where you are but perhaps you can take that angle and discuss it with your landlord. I'm not sure you want the hassle, but although you will be moving eventually, a lot can get worse until you do. If you appeal to his self-interest, he may come around. He is a rather passive fellow from what you have posted before, I'm surprised he's even doing this!
I'm in Massachusetts, but it's my suspicion that this is not illegal. I've since done a little research and apparently any schmo can buy Suspend online. I found at least two sites where I could purchase it. It still doesn't make me feel any better about it.
Oh yeah, and my stupid, in denial, upstairs neighbor now has a woman and her two children living up there with him. They're quiet and seem nice enough, but I highly doubt he informed them of the situation-- welcome to the BB club folks!
I am now convinced that this will NEVER end.
I'm in Massachusetts and I don't think it is illegal for a landlord to self-treat his property. My management company self-treated at first. Arrgh. The problem was that it didn't work and the problem got worse. When they finally (too late, in my opinion) got a professional in to treat, the bedbugs had migrated deep into the wall voids of the building. Then the PCO's had to do things like drill into the baseboards and spray pesticide into the walls -- which must have been expensive, not to mention having those little drill holes along the baseboards -- but the building still has bedbugs. The population cycles down and then up again. I don't think it is illegal in Massachusetts to not tell tenants moving in that the building has bedbugs, either, since that goes on 100% in my building. I wish bedbugs made a noise like cicadas.
I would call a tenants' rights group in Massachusetts or your city's housing dept. and check on the laws re: pest abatement by landlords.
It is not illegal for people in the US to self-treat their own homes, and this is why you can buy the stuff online. but in many localities, it appears to be illegal for landlords to treat rental properties themselves. I would not ask the landlord, but would get an outside opinion.
In Boston, for example, the housing dept. seems to require landlords to hire licensed Pest Control Operators--I gather this from the wording on this website.
This is further emphasized by this flyer put out by Boston's housing inspection dept:
(These sources do not outright state it is illegal for the landlord to self-treat, but it's implied and I would follow up by making sure. If you are not in Boston, I would still check.)
Governments _should_ always require this, because we all know self-treatment can be disastrous where bed bugs are concerned. Remember, it's not just about killing the bed bugs (and they can be made worse), but there's a health concern where pesticides are mis- or -over applied.
Nobugs raises a good point about the potential dangers of people who are not PCOs applying pesticide. After the management company (not lic. PCOs) treated our building for bedbugs, all the parakeets in the building died. Maybe there was no connection, but we always wondered and that's why my name here is Parakeets. There's a lot of training that licensed pest control operators have to go through to ensure safe application of what are possibly dangerous chemicals.
Thanks, Nobugs and parakeets. I am actually in Boston. I'm going out of town for a week, but I will call and inquire about details for proper procedure when I get back. I think you're right, though, Nobugs; it seems like a landlord is supposed to only use a professional in Boston. And it says that all units adjacent to those infested need to be thoroughly inspected and treated. I think the other two (not the upstairs neighbor) have been sprayed once each (if that), but not inspected.
In many ways, I feel badly for my landlord. He's a very nice person but a pushover and just not well informed. He doesn't use the computer, so he has information that is only secondhand from me and the 'PCO' he hired. Neither of us are experts as far as I'm concerned. I think I will print the information from the Boston site and give that to him. Maybe it will make him shape up his act a little because there's a good chance that he's not aware of the correct procedure. If that doesn't work, then I'll have to file a complaint, I guess.
Regardless, I don't want him treating my apartment himself. And I'm going to make a point of telling him not to take it upon himself to do so while I'm gone. Otherwise, I could wind up with a situation like 'keets but with dead cats instead. I get queasy just thinking about it.
Boston seems to have it's inspection procedures down, so if anything is not going right, I'd consider calling them in for enforcement.
I live outside of Boston and the PCOs I called when I was trying to hire my own PCO since the ones my landlord was using were so ineffective, always asked me if I lived in Boston or not, so there probably are Boston-related regulations they follow.
Yes--I linked to some of them above.
I hate to say this but it does a body good to know I am not the only one with a jerk of a landlord. I wish I could post more but it looks like it may be going legal. Let's just say my landlord came into my place while I was away took off my matress and boxspring encasements threw them on my living room furniture (so much for not getting bitten on the futon) spread some type of powder on the box and mattress and left them stack along 2 seperate bedroom walls without putting the encasements on (he left them on the living room furniture). I'm not sure what he used but even after vacumming and putting the encasements back on (after washing and drying thoroughly) I still start coughing and wheezing if I stay in the bedroom to long.
That's how I returned from my bite free trip.
After the management company (not lic. PCOs) treated our building for bedbugs, all the parakeets in the building died. Maybe there was no connection, but we always wondered and that's why my name here is Parakeets.
I'd bet my life it is not just a connection, but the direct cause. My sister has scientific experience with birds, and they are very sensitive to chemicals.
From the AVMA: ...birds have unique respiratory tracts that are especially vulnerable to inhaled particles and fumes from aerosol products, tobacco products, certain glues, paints, air fresheners and any other aerosolized matter.
From the ASPCA: Birds are highly sensitive to inhalant fumes, so please avoid exposing yours to fumes from self-cleaning ovens and overheated cookware, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke, glues and paints, insecticidal fumigants, perfume and hair spray.
From the National Zoological Park site, Migratory Bird Center: So far, about 40 active ingredients in pesticides have been found to be lethal to birds, even when used according to the instructions on the label.
Let your neighbors know, file a lawsuit for negligence. Who's to say their practices did not put their tenants in harms way?
Yes, definitely illegal in Massachusetts. Exception is if there are only three units or less in the building.
The Pesticide Bureau: http://www.mass.gov/agr/pesticides/index.htm
The relevant law: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/132b-10.htm
Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau (617) 626-1781
(I imagine just informing your landlord of these issues should get him to shape up.)
Wow! What a great resource! I searched the database for Suspend and lo and behold! I will let my landlord know.
Thank you, thank you, everyone! I am out of town for a week starting tomorrow, but will give updates (if there are any) when I get back.
I really don't want to create animosity between my landlord and myself. Does anyone have any advice on how to broach this subject in a non-threatening way? My landlord is a really good guy, and I understand why he wants to save money. Seriously, I'm not good at this sort of finesse.
As someone who worked at an apartment complex for my entire college career, I can say that most landlords have experience dealing with super jerk tenants and aren't fazed by much. I don't get the impression that you're a super jerk at all so I'm sure however you put it won't cause animosity.
I think as long as you are nice about it, he should be fine. Let him know that you LIKE having him as a landlord and it isn't worth it to him to get penalized by the city or state for treating the building when the law seems to say that's not kosher. Don't make it seem like a threat, like you'll turn him in for it, obviously.
Like others have mentioned, suggest that it will likely save him money in the long run to have a professional come in. Him doing the treatment himself probably seems like a good idea to save money but if he does it incorrectly it could possibly just exacerbate the situation which would make professionals necessary in the long run.
His interests should be not just turning a profit, but also keeping good tenants and not having to fill a bunch of apartments because of people moving (the cost of turning over an apartment is fairly significant). It's really in his best interests to keep you all happy and in-place, and if the best way to do that is to get a PCO, make sure you let him know.
Trust me, I'm as non-confrontational as they come, but just stating your wishes shouldn't cause any problems unless he's hyper-sensitive -- and most landlords aren't.
My trained professional PCO in my area of Canada, an employee of a high profile, reputable North American PCO company, ignored his own company policy, treating only once, wore tennis shoes and no safety clothing at all, and conspired with the manager to lie about inspecting adjacent suites. Lay people can't get any worse, in my mind.
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