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3 viable-looking PCOs, 3 approaches, how to choose?

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  1. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 3 2009 11:54:21
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    Hello all,
    I have interviewed 3 PCOs and gotten three possible scenarios for my half-treated infestation (first sweeps by LL's "roach guy" did not do the trick, but I threw out my couch & plywood bedframe during that time and reduced bites to almost zero but still found one on air mattress this week).
    One company will come in and thoroughly spray, caulk and dust, etc., guaranteeing their work for 3 months if I agree to throw out my pillows, etc., even though they carry no sign of bugs or eggs or blood or fecal matter; another is two brothers who will come in and nuke the place twice, with the same chemicals as the first company, and guarantee their work for 30 days, but no inspection (because I have samples so they don't have to determine infestation) and no caulking, etc.; and the third is a solo practitioner (who participates on these boards), is fantastic but not available for two weeks, and I hesitate to wait that long since I was last sprayed in mid-June and do not know how "safe" it is to wait before the next treatment.
    Any advice? I am also tempted to research a bunch more companies, but I need to get crackin'. I guess my overall question is, all things being equal, how is one supposed to know what company to choose? Between that and not being sure I'm doing all of the prep "correctly," I am feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of how to proceed.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice! This is NYC, btw.
    Apologies if this is the wrong part of the forum; I didn't post in the "treatment" section because I'm not mentioning specific PCO names. I'll repost there if that is the better venue.
    Thank you!!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 3 2009 15:15:51
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    1-- sounds good because they use the same treatment as 2 but also caulk. It suggests they care about really getting rid of the problem. My only question: you have to discard pillows, etc. What is the etc.? Just bedding? Or more? If just bedding, well, it may not be a big deal, and 3 mo is a GOOD guarantee, as is using spray and dust AND caulking.

    2-- They don't want to know where bed bugs are nesting? That's not a great sign. I'd skip them (throw in the shorter guarantee, no caulking, etc.)

    3-- You say is fantastic, but how do you know? Do you know their protocol? If it sounds better to you than #1, then I would wait two weeks. Now, I say this not knowing how badly you're suffering.

    It is fine to name names if you want to. Others will have used them and may comment more extensively.

    Oh, and I moved this to the treatment section, because it's about choosing a treatment style.

    (Actually, the section for reviewing PCOs if you were doing that is "Bed Bug Pest Control Firms..." but there's a lot of overlap between forums, not a big deal.)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 3 2009 15:49:17
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    Thank you so much, Nobugsonme! I was hoping you'd respond.

    I was feeling shy about naming names, but #1 is M&M Pest Control, #2 is a firm called Absolute Death (I'm tempted to hire them based on name alone), and #3 is our own beloved KQ.

    I found M&M through the Better Business Bureau site, where they have an A+ rating; Absolute Death I came across during a Web search when this first happened (I was never sure of my LL's roach guy), and KQ I found on here. All three have spent generous time on the phone with me and know their stuff.

    M&M's throw-everything-out approach I think applies to some things I've thrown out already. But the woman said I need to throw out all my pillows, even though they look fine to me and were in encasements (though I don't know if they were bb proof), and don't have blood/fecal stains, and I've got a down comforter that I didn't mention to them but would rather try & wash.

    Absolute Death's treatment consists of, paraphrasing their description over the phone: spraying with a residual insecticide that crystallizes like salt when it dries, it attacks the bugs' central nervous system when they walk on it. Then the brothers spray everywhere with another insecticide, ADR - insect growth regulator - which prevents breeding. They will also put out strips that the bugs walk on at night (en route to my bed, I guess), and inject the walls with powder that kills ants, centipedes, silverfish and roaches in addition to bedbugs, they said.

    The first sweep by the exterminator, and getting rid of those two items, does seem to have gotten most of it. The question for me is how many escaped, and how long will it take for them to build up again and infest the other wood in my bedroom, now that I'm sleeping on an air mattress (which is where I found the bug this past Monday night at 3a.m.)?

    I'm suffering much less than before, so I think I can take it. I was covered in welts before the first sprayings (was treated for hives for 2 months by 2 docs, one an allergist), and now I'm barely getting bitten. But given that I found that one bug this week, I suspect the leftovers are still out there, multiplying.

    Thanks again - I'll move repost in the PCO section if necessary now that I've used actual company names. (That's what I meant before too, thought it was a subset of the "treatment" section.)

    I feel like Goldilocks over here - which bed?

  4. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 3 2009 23:32:06
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    Thanks KillerQueen! I PM'd you. I am spending too much time on these forums (what a way to procrastinate from going through my stuff) and starting to freak out about carrying invisible eggs around and whatnot.

  5. cilecto

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 4 2009 0:23:19
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    I know that you've advanced beyond your original question, but wanted to weigh in. #1 sounds like the typical "high-end" PCO, the ones that make you prep to the death, so that they can cover their a## on the guarantee (or so the LL can evict you for lack of co-operation). #2 is using other words for what #1 does. Most chems that we know of attack BBs' nervous systems. Plus they expect you to toss out your "etc." Glue traps are cheap and may help you detect some bugs, but are not very reliable. I'd say that waiting 2 weeks for the thorough professional who's approach is minimally invasive to your life (if he's all they say he is) is the better way, plus you're helping to advance the state of the art by not subsidizing blow-hards. Meanwhile, you can protect your friends by wearing fresh clothes out of the house and traveling light.

    Frankly, I'd like to see the "standard prep" approach go the way of the buggy whip. It will only guarantee that BBs keep spreading. And I wonder to what extent our trouble is due to our desires for instant solutions.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  6. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 4 2009 2:32:11
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    Thank you Cilecto, that helps!
    I'm almost done with the laundry, and I've already dropped more than $300 at the dry cleaner, and thrown out my sofa and bed frame and futon, now just going through voluminous files and boxes....
    As for instant solutions, yes, stay tuned for the post titled, "the bozos who chucked my plywood platform bed frame leaned the dismantled pieces in the building hallway before bringing them downstairs to the curb, and in my get-it-outta-here hysteria I didn't notice for at least 15 minutes!" Waaaaahhhhh.

  7. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 4 2009 2:35:20
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    PS I also wonder to what extent our troubles are caused by the increased amount of possessions we've acquired in our consumer society. The bugs probably have so much more clutter available to hide in these days!

  8. cilecto

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 4 2009 6:50:56
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    stricken - 4 hours ago  » 
    Thank you Cilecto, that helps!
    I'm almost done with the laundry, and I've already dropped more than $300 at the dry cleaner, and thrown out my sofa and bed frame and futon, now just going through voluminous files and boxes...

    I thought KQ's approach was "don't touch anything"?

  9. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 4 2009 8:15:48
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    I'm not sure what KQ's protocol is, I had already started this process with someone else who (after spraying) told me vaguely to "go through everything" and wash all my clothes, as well as throw out my couch and bedframe (where it was clear they were harboring), which I did in mid-June. So I am in the middle of that process.

    I don't think the first guy exterminated thoroughly though, as I saw another bug on my air mattress this past Monday, which makes me think there are a bunch out there somewhere and that I need to start from scratch. I killed 3 or 4 bedbugs after that first guy sprayed, then none for two weeks until Monday's. I don't trust the first guy's instincts, partly because he was going to fog for other stuff and then spray again for bedbugs - no DE or anything mentioned - and partly because he sounded surprised about the 3-4 I killed right after he sprayed. He called them "stragglers." I haven't told him about the latest one.

    It's so hard to know what to do, this process is so confusing!

    Thanks again for your input Cilecto.


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