Northern VA, considering thermal, cannot comparison shop(5 posts)
After my husband and I began waking with bites, we finally realized we may have a bedbug issue. Our pest control company we use regularly for ants/crickets came to do an inspection. I was with the gentleman when he looked, and indeed he showed me a live bedbug, and there were eggs attached to the underside of our boxspring. We have 4 Bedrooms. 3 are used as such, and one is an office with a leather desk chair (no other furniture besides shelves and desk.
In any case, the thermal treatment he recommended as the best option is going to cost a fortune. He recommended treating the whole upstairs (no evidence in other bedrooms thus far), and I requested at least a conventional treatment in our living room, where we have a sofa bed.
I am looking at $1584 for the approx 800 sf upstairs, and another $250 for the living room. This includes encasements for all beds, including the sofabed. Also includes a K9 follow up.
In comparison, for the same areas to be treated all conventionally (crack and crevice, chemicals, etc.) it will be about $1250 total, with 3 visits over 30 days, + cost of encasements.
So the dilemma is 1) the cost, oh my, I had no idea 2) I cannot seem to find another vendor who does heat in the area to get a second quote.
I have 3 children (youngest 2, oldest and my boys have asthma, so I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible. Also, the fact that the thermal is done once, is a lot more to bear with 3 kids running around.
Thoughts on the effectiveness of thermal, and how to find another vendor. Is it just that it is new, or expensive? One company I called said they do not do thermal as they do not feel it works, but also wanted me to tell him how much it would cost me. Their cost for conventional was about equal.
I have used this company for years, and have found them to be very reliable and professional.
Not quite two years ago, I (well, okay, my landlord and I together) paid $800 to treat a small one bedroom apartment. Living in southern California, thermal treatment has been around for a while here (it's used more often for drywood termites, which is why Vikane is also pretty common here).
As far as quotes go, given the size of the place, that doesn't seem outrageous to me.
Remember that a lot of what you're paying for with thermal is the labor cost. My thermal treatment involved having two pest management professionals on my property from about 7:30 am until at least 4:00 pm. In addition, there was a chemical guy there for an hour or two at the beginning and an hour at the end--plus inspecting the adjacent units.
Then, you need to fuel to run the heaters.
A bigger house will mean more set up work (they have to run ductwork from the heaters throughout the house to assure that the temperature rises at a particular rate and rises evenly enough throughout the structure to be effective). In addition, the temperature must be monitored throughout the structure during the entire treatment.
Thermal, *when done properly*, can be a very effective way to treat bed bugs. I had an infestation that had been there fore over a month, unchecked, and one thermal treatment got rid of the thing in one go without me having to act as bait.
However, thermal is as much art as science (part of what you're paying for is the expertise of a team who has mastered that).
Also keep in mind that thermal may not require the extensive prep work that chemical treatment does. To get a real sense of how expensive any treatment is, make sure to take into account the hidden costs: like how much it's going to cost you in terms of electricity, water, and gas to have to launder and excessively heat in the dryer every single fabric item in your home and/or dry clean anything that can't be laundered that way, to say nothing of the cost in terms of the hours you'll have to put in to do all that work. Think about how much you would have to spend on the ziplocks and contractor bags to bag all those items up after they've been debugged.
The only concerns I would have about thermal would be making sure you get very clear details about exactly what prep the company wants you to do, what kind of proof would be required to retreat in case of failure, how they suggest you treat any items that cannot be in the home during treatment, and how long a warranty they will offer after treatment. If you get satisfactory answers to those questions, and you feel confident in this company's expertise, then I don't think the price you've quoted is outrageous.
(It also might help you make the decision to ask for a clear description of exactly the kind of prep work the company you're thinking about going with would require to chemical treatment.)
Thanks for all the information. I guess my biggest issue is that in our area, this does not seem to be the norm. I have yet to find another who does thermal. I might have just gotten lucky that our normal pest company is up with the latest treatments?
We are not certain how they were introduced. My husband only travels on occasion, and his last trip was in early Jan.
In any case, my biggest hesitation with both of the initial companies I called was that they only offered a 30 day warranty. The third company, who as in the second only offered conventional treatment offered a full year warranty, and was slightly cheaper. As of now, I feel like I am leaning away from the thermal due to the warranty (though the same company who can do thermal also only offers a 30 day for conventional crack and crevice. His reasoning was that it is too easy for them to be reintroduced for them to offer longer warranties. The company who offered the full year said that in their experience, with their treatment plan, they see very little recurrence in single family homes such as ours, so it is a low risk for them....
I see your point about the prep difference. This is a biggie to me as the time to prep alone is intimidating. (also where to store, etc.) Couple that with the drying/bagging of all clothing, and doing this all as a stay at home mom... Whereas the thermal would require some prep (reducing clothing to no more than 2 high (possibly hanging on racks), removing aeresols, meds, etc. it would certainly be less.
That said, it is really hard to wrap myself around paying that kind of money and only getting a 30-day. Makes me worry it is not as reliable as they say, or they are newer to it?
I am just sick of the bites, and though I had a one night respite after vaccuuming (tossing bag) and spraying the edge with alcohol, I seem to have another after last night...gotta decide quick I guess.
I can't give any answers, per se, but I feel your pain. We are in the midst of treatment just outside of Richmond, VA. I have 3 kids, oldest is 6 (with asthma) and youngest is 1 (with Down syndrome and compromised immune issues).
We believe got our bugs from a camping trip last summer. We have been fighting since February and it has been so tough.
We started with our yearly bug treatment company, and they treated two rooms individually. But then we found them elsewhere. So we knew whole-house treatment was in order. This is tough. We looked into thermal but ultimately decided that thermal would be better for commercial sites versus our home, where the antique furtniture and studs would possibly crack. We are choosing to stay in a hotel room for a few days after treatment, which will start in six days.
The hardest thing will be the kids in dealing with all of this. While I don't understand all that you are going through, I can totally relate to your feelings of frustration and other issues. We are choosing to prep one room at a time, starting with the youngest, and to keep things stacked high as heck on our dining room table and ping pong table, in clear contractor bags (with cable ties). Those things we need for the week will go in the XL or XXL Ziploc bags -- one in each bedroom will be labeled "clean" and "dirty" based on info from this site.
This is brutal. I wish we didn't have to do it. But I feel like my kids can live without crayons and things for awhile -- they can't live with bugs for who knows how long. So good luck with your packing!
I think Connor's does thermal in the area. I do not have any connection with them but a few people have spoken about them on other threads. (Click the Connor's tag above to see where.)
This thread gives links to TempAir providers and a ThermaPure thermal provider locator. (Those are two companies known for their thermal equipment, so they're directing you to PCOs who use their respective technologies.) If there is another provider in the area, you have a good chance of finding them through those sites.
Update: here are the ones using TempAir in VA:
Bed Bug Finders / Bio Remediation Services 336-870-0122 http://www.bedbugfinders.com
Connor's Pest Protection 800-716-0263 http://www.connorspest.com
Eagle Pest 703-502-0690 http://www.eaglepestservices.com
Gregory Pest Solutions 888-438-1357 http://www.gregorypestcontrol.com
McNeely Pest 336-631-9494 http://www.mcneelypest.com
You still have to go to ThermaPure's form to find the ThermaPure providers:
I have no bias either way and I have asked ThermaPure to provide a list as TempAir does, but nothing so far.
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