PCO wants me to remove my mattress encasement(6 posts)
I've had two treatments for bedbugs, each spaced one week apart. The first one they did a steam and then sprayed. We had our second treatment last Friday, but they only did a baseboard spray. In the few days since then, we've had a couple bites and this morning we found two bugs (caught a nymph on packing tape, accidentally squashed the other before I could get it on the tape, but it was larger although not fully grown, I don't think). I'm guessing they are from eggs that survived the first treatment, since the timing is about right (just under two weeks of no bites, then bites + sightings).
We called the PCO this morning and she said they'll re-treat on Friday (steam and spray Phantom) but she wants us to take off our AllerZip mattress encasement because she thinks that's why the first treatment failed. She thinks she can't adequately steam the mattress through the encasement.
We put the mattress encasement on months ago, before we had a problem, on the recommendation of a friend. It doesn't have any rips and there shouldn't be any bugs encased in it. The only bugs I found were harboring in the wooden slats under the mattress, so I'm not sure the mattress is the problem.
The PCO is paid for by our landlord, so I can't really argue with her. I just ordered a new encasement and paid for expedited shipping so we can put it on the bed after treatment this Friday. We'll bag and warning label the old one and throw it away.
Does it make sense to remove a mattress encasement if it was put on prior to the infestation? Also, can I insist that she spray the bedframe with Phantom as well? They've been spraying the baseboards, but I don't see how the bugs will walk through it if they can live in our bed and eat in our bed.
I'm concerned because our PCO stated they will only do three treatments before giving up, so I have to make the most of this last one. They are well meaning but not very optimistic about successfully treating bedbugs and I think they mainly have experience with termites.
They cannot refuse to retreat after third treatment if there is still activity (live bed bugs) IMO. Does your apartment complex know about this PCO's procedure? Even if this PCO "gives up". The landlord has to continue with any treatment necessary. As for the mattress encasement thing, if you inspect it and there are no holes and it was installed properly she doesn't need to steam through the mattress. They are locked in...she sounds like a complete idiot to me. Do not throw your money away on a new encasement you have one that works just fine. To me opening up the mattress encasement is dangerous but as you stated you bought it pre-infestation so there should not be any bed bugs inside. Find out the laws in your state because if you are forced to use their PCO you need to make sure it is being done properly as well as efficient and haste. In my state of California for example after being cited by the health department they have 35 days to make the apartment habitable. Including getting rid of Bed Bugs. So if that were to happen to me (your situation) if the one PCO would "give up" they would be required by law to hire another one.
I'm in California too - I need to start checking on the rental laws, because I might have to argue for more treatments. I would love it if 3 were our magic number, but it sounds like a lot of people need more than that.
I will take the mattress encasement off and buy a new one, even though I think it doesn't make sense. There is definitely a clause in our lease that if we don't cooperate with all pest treatment instructions, we can be held liable for the cost of the treatment. So I think we have to do everything they recommend (which we've done!).
Here are some links that you may find useful...
You should also call the county Vector environmental health department to make a report. And fair housing department to find out your tenant rights.
Even if you needed to remove the encasement for his follow-up, I would think you could (launder it if you wish and) re-use it.
I wouldn't remove it. You COULD let out some bugs, even though you think you put it on before you had bed bugs. I don't know if encasements could even hold up in the wash cycle. My PCO sprayed the bedframe.
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