Thermal Treatment? and some venting!(11 posts)
Ok, I've recently found these lil buggers in my place and have done a treatment with Pro Bug X on Sunday. Last night I found 2 more on the floor in my daughters room and they appeared to be dying as they were barely moving so hopefully this stuff will do the trick. I need to do another treatment this weekend for the eggs that may have hatched. However, I was wondering what is this Thermal Treatment you all are talking of? As I have a 5 month old baby and a cat and its a pain in the you know what to have to be removing us all from the house for 12 hours to do this spray with insecticide.
The fight is on!!! I'm living out of plastic bags and its such a pain with 2 children ages 4 and under! Washing bedding and worn clothing everyday. Moving all furniture and vacumming everyday! Wow...I'm paranoid to go to bed at night. I've been sleeping with a lamp on. I am up looking for bugs at all hours of the night. I'm checking my children while they sleep and I really don't know what I will do if I find one biting them! Last night, after I found the two dying on the floor, I cleaned them up then got in the shower at 2:45 am! Then I laid in bed with the light on and saw a fuzz on my bed that I thought was moving towards me and I jumped out of bed so fast! I'm freaking out. The worst part is, I can't even tell if they are biting me!! If it hadn't been for my bf getting the welts, I'd have never known before it was wayyyyy to late. Now I am experiencing eczema on my hands and arms that burns sooo bad which I have never had before and am wondering if they are related?
It's hard to believe that your life can be turned upside down by these lil bugs no bigger than a poppy seed! It's pretty sad when you sit here wishing that you had scabies instead. *sigh*
Good luck to me!
Thermal treatment involves a professional coming in and setting up very large heaters and using them to raise the temperature inside a particular structure up to about 140 degrees for several hours.
While effective when done properly, it's expensive as compared with conventional chemical treatment, and if done improperly it can cause damage to items within the home. Thermal treatment has been used for a long time in the southwestern United States to treat dry wood termites. When it comes to bed bugs, like tenting a house and pumping Vikane in, thermal can be effective. Unlike Vikane, it can be used to treat only one unit in a multi-unit structure. However, it will only be effective on a single unit or units if the whole building is inspected to make sure that all infested united are treated and/or that bugs are not harboring between units.
(In my case, the other units in my apartment were inspected twice--before treatment and after treatment. Only my unit needed to be treated.)
Because of the cost of the heaters and their fuel, as well as the labor (it usually involves having several PCOs on site for 5 or 6 hours minimum), it does cost significantly more than chemical pesticide treatment. (It would have been about $150 per unit to treat with chemical in my building; thermal, on the other hand, was $850 for a single unit.)
You would still need to be out of the residence the whole time the set up, treatment, and break down is going on, and that can be most of a day.
It sounds like you're on the right track with the treatment plan you've got going now. I would let that play out before considering thermal, since it's a very expensive alternative. Since you asked about it, however, I figured I'd outline the basics.
If you click on the tag at the upper right corner of the screen at the top of the post, the tag that says thermal treatment, you'll get a sampling of posts on the topic if you want to read more.
Thanks for your reply...I'll keep on track with this for now and cross my fingers that it does work!
buggyinsocal did pretty good job of explaining thermal treatment concepts for you.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me a PM.
Best of Luck!
By the way, I'm not convinced that thermal is that much more than traditional methods applied by experts.
Our daily minimum is $750.00 that gets you treatment up to about 750 square feet or a two bedroom apartment - ish. There are a lot of traditional companies charging around $300 per room. So if you treat a bed room and a living room thats $600.00 - ish
The guys that are around $150 per room..... it is hard for me to fathom how they can do a through job and make any profit at all at that price.
The other major advantage of using thermal is that you can sleep in the residence bite free the next night, if the treatment is successful. Chemical treatments usually take four to six weeks in many cases.
Tony, are you in Vancouver? A PCO in Philly quoted me $4 per square foot, apparently 4x as much as you charge. Is that a normal rate?
I'm a big fan of thermal, and when people first post with questions about it, I try to tone down my bias and not get too detailed.
But I do think that anyone considering multiple treatment options should think about all the hidden costs of any form of treatment.
For a lot of people, esp. in bigger living spaces, the cost of thermal up front is prohibitive--esp. if they are dealing with a landlord who is unwilling to pay for it.
And even paying for your own thermal in a multi-unit building may be a waste if adjacent apartments can't be inspected if you're just going to get reinfested.
That said, when comparing the cost of thermal to conventional, keep in mind the possibilities of prep and damage on both sides.
Thermal does run the risk of damaging items in the home if the thermal provider is inexperienced and/or your pre treatment walkthrough isn't really thorough. (I should note, the only damage I had was cheap IKEA furniture, which I was totally fine with since it's not valuable, and electronics which were not unplugged before treatment. Everything else was cosmetic or cheap --i.e. a few old cheap surge protectors which were plugged in. If you go with thermal, unplug everything electronic before you go. Everything. Even if your provider doesn't mention that.)
On the other hand, my PCO didn't require me to do laundry of every single fabric item in the home. Since I live in an apartment that doesn't have (or have room for) a washer and dryer, the cost of that added to the cost of chemical treatment? ESp. when you add in the amount of moving of furniture and ditching of crap I can't ditch (I have a lot of books)? The cost wasn't really that much more.
For people who can't get that much money all at once, or for people who are at the mercy of landlords, or who can't get adjacent apartments inspected? Yeah, it seems like a lot.
And there's also a general suspicion around here that there are some regional variations in cost of treatments. So, for example, Vikane appears to be cheaper out here where it's more common than in other parts of the country where it's more rare.
If there's only one thermal provider in your area, you may have a harder time getting comparable estimates. I know there's a thermal provider in the Boston area, based down at Cape Cod, I believe.
You could call the Boston one to ask what they charge per square foot to see if that's closer to the costs out your way. Bakedbedbugs is in Vancouver, so more west coast (albeit a different country). He'd probably know better than I do if the costs do vary by region since he's a thermal provider.
My case was unusual in that my landlord started saying that I was responsible for treating the whole property since I'd brought them in, and I got no support from my local health department, who also blamed me. In addition, I couldn't get in touch with my local tenants' right organization in a timely fashion, so I had to make a time-pressured decision to either split the cost of thermal with my landlord on my unit, or pay to treat all four units in the building. In addition, the PCO kept saying that there was no way my unit could be prepped for conventional treatment because of how much stuff I have.
I'm still not sure, actually, whether my LL was just pressuring me to go with what the LL wanted to do, but since it corresponded with what I wanted (thermal), and since I was paying half thermal or all for 4 units, it was the cheaper option for me.
Now that I'm less sleep deprived, if I had it to do over again? I would still go with thermal. Being able to come home to a bug free apartment and sleep there the night after treatment? Totally worth any slight increase in price over all the associated costs of chemical treatment, all the prep for chemical, and so on.
That said, if you've already sunk a lot of money into prep for chemical, I would probably give it two treatments before I bailed on that.
Does that make any sense?
A quick question about thermal - why don't the bugs just run for cooler pastures when they feel the house heat up? Wouldn't it make sense for them to crawl to the (cooler) adjacent units? and then come back to torture me later on?
kellyanne I know from experiance the eczema is somtimes brought on by stress!! Use rubbing alchol wow that helps with th e BB too then hydrocortisone with aleovera!!
That's the part of thermal that is as much art as science. As a thermal PCO once explained to me, it works this way. With thermal treatment, remember, the pros bring in massive heaters. Some are electric, some are propane. The fuel varies. But the use of an artificial heating source is consistent.
In my case, they set up propane heaters outside the building and used ducts to pipe hot air into my apartment.
Professional pest controllers have perfected the speed at which they raise the temperature inside a structure. They increase the temp at a specific rate that will cause the bugs to scurry into cooler hiding spots, and then they carefully circulate the hot air in the structure so that the temp continues to rise inside, even in those cooler spots. The bugs, which had found cooler hiding places, are forced to leave the cooler spots when even those spots get to warm, and then they jump from the frying pan into the fire, since the temp in the less cool spots is now at a point that the bugs die very quickly.
That's part of the reason that thermal is only reliably doable by pros. It's a very long, very labor intensive process. I had three PCOs on site at 8 am for treatment. Chemical guy came in first and did something (not sure what) and then the thermal folks set up next. The two person thermal team (for my small one bedroom apartment) were there until late afternoon--because they had to set up ducts and then heat the apartment. During the heating process, they had to monitor the temp throughout the apartment since cooler spots would run the risk of causing a treatment that didn't work.
If done by a thermal PCO who knows what he or she is doing, thermal can be used to treat only one unit (or a handful of units) in a multi-unit building. My apartment is one unit in a four plex. The other units were inspected before and after thermal treatment. They always were bug free and remained that way after treatment.
Thermal, if done properly, can work on units in multi-unit building, but as your questions rightly imply, it will only be effective if all adjacent units are inspected and declared bed bug free. Otherwise, even if the thermal works in your unit, reinfestation from an adjacent unit's infestation is always possible.
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