Questions to ask when choosing a (good) PCO(3 posts)
I have scoured these boards for recommendations on good PCOs in NYC, including the thread about NYC PCO recommendations, but haven't been able to come up with very many. I find more information about PCOs to avoid. I understand that a lot of people don't post their success stories or recommendations because they are thrilled to be done with the whole ordeal. I also understand that Killer Queen is only one man who is besieged by clients and probably costs more than my landlord would be willing to spend.
When I google PCOs in NYC I find a lot of ads for dogs. I don't want to use a dog, because I have a read a lot about how inaccurate they are, how handlers do not confirm with visual inspection, how people have paid small fortunes to get rid of bed bugs they never had.
So my question is, what questions should I ask when calling PCOs to make sure they are going to do a thorough job and not make the issue worse. These questions would be useful for people all over, so after developing a comprehensive list, could we maybe make it a sticky? (Just a thought.)
Forgive me if there is a thread like this, I've have looked and haven't been able to find one. Of course I could just be blind from lack of sleep.
1. How thoroughly do you inspect? (Ask for specifics to see if they know what they are talking about?)
2. How long does a thorough inspection take? (If they give a short estimate, is that a warning sign?)
3. What chemicals do you use? (Are they required to give you a list in every state? Or just NY?)
4. What non-chemical treatments do you use, (DE, steam cleaning, etc) and why?
5. How many follow up visits do you make?
Is it smart to ask some basic questions about bed bugs habits and life cycles so that I know whether or not the PCOs really understand what they are up against? I would very much like to avoid someone who'd come in and do a spray and pray, because I know that only makes it worse. My landlord is a sweetheart, but I am sure she doesn't know that much about how horrible bed bugs are, and she would probably just want to go for a PCO who is affordable. I need to be able to justify the substantial cost of proper treatment.)
I feel like there are more questions I should ask. Feedback of any kind is greatly appreciated.
Good questions and good luck because the sad fact is that most of the PCO's I talked to either do not inspect or only inspect using dogs and without visual verification.
What you will hear over and over again is that it's next to impossible to find bed bugs in a low infestation scenario except with a dog. And then you will hear that it's next to impossible for a human to verify a positive hit by a dog because the bugs can be hiding in an inaccessible place. Once I heard, "Oh, if you think you have them then you probably have them, they are all over town" LOL
From what I've learned here, I realize this is a lot of bullsh*t, or simply a lazy approach to exterminating at best and at worst a rip off of consumers as PCO firms ride the profitable wave of bed bug fever. Bottom line is that most PCO's I've talked to will treat simply based on the fact that you tell him you've been getting bites or have seen fresh blood -- both which are inconclusive evidence.
That said, maybe there are some PCO's out there (KK is one but maybe you can find another) who will spend the time and energy to do a thorough inspection before treating. So that would be my first and most important question -- "How thoroughly do you inspect the premises before treating and after the inspection how confident are you that you will not be treating a residence that does not have bed bugs." If the answer doesn't instill confidence, I'd move on.
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