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Bed bugs in southern california

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  1. bugbite

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 18 2009 16:01:50
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    Can anyone recommend a pco in southern california?

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 18 2009 17:39:50
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    I don't know about recommend since your circumstances may be very different, but I'll tell you about the experiences I had with mine.

    I rent a small-ish one bedroom apartment. I have a lot of books. When the PCO came out to inspect, he basically said that there was no way for me to prep the apartment to be treated with chemical means and instead suggested thermal. That was fine with me since the idea of having to be bait for vermin to feast on me for weeks did not do wonders for my pre-existing insomnia.

    The PCOs that Hydrex Pest Control sent out were all as compassionate, helpful, informative, informed, and professional as could be desired.

    I did not have that same experience when talking to Hydrex on the phone. The people whom I dealt with over the phone were short-tempered, dismissive, and condescending. Amazingly, that attitude disappeared when I would call and let them assume that I was my landlord instead of the renter.

    That said, if I had bed bugs again, I would not hesitate to call them again for treatment.

    Because Hydrex has been doing thermal remediation for termites for years, they came out and treated by one bedroom apartment about a year ago, and my bed bug problem was solved with one treatment. Have not seen hide nor hair of bed bugs since then.

    The cost for thermal upfront, frankly, is steeper than the up front apparent cost of chemical. No two ways about it. However, they also did not tell me that I had to do all laundry and bagging before treatment. I didn't have to move furniture away from walls, which as a single person is hard to do with heavy pieces of furniture. When you factor in the time, labor, and costs of items like laundry for all fabric items in a home, to say nothing of the anxiety and sleeplessness that can come with being bed bug food for weeks while being treated, the price difference isn't really as big as it seems. I mention it mostly because it is a lot more money up front than might be the case with spreading the cost of chemical out over several months.

    They charged $850 to treat my one bedroom apartment. My landlord and I split the cost.

    I hope that information is helpful to you in making your choice. Do not forget to ask any PCO exactly what you can and cannot do to support whatever treatment you ultimately choose to go with.

  3. bedbugsbad

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 18 2009 19:22:08
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    Buggyinsocal,

    A person we were both PM'ing about PCO's in SoCal last month called her local Hydrex branch and they told her they don't use thermal for bedbugs only for termites. Weird but maybe each branch is a franchise and they all don't offer the same services...

    Bugbite,

    I looked at your previous posts where you indicated you were talking to a company that has detection dogs and does both chemical and thermal. Precision Environmental or Isotech? Isotech (company on the Discovery Channnel show Verminators) has the only bedbug detection dogs (Erik, the handler and both dogs are great) I am aware of in the Southern California and is a licensed PCO. Precision Environmental is one of the leading thermapure contractors in the area. As I understand they sometimes work together for bedbug jobs (though Isotech is becoming a thermapure contracter). All this being said, in my year to year and a half following of the bedbug issue they are two of the companies at the forefront in the SoCal area.

    Sorry but we don't have a KillerQueen.

    As Buggyinsocal mentioned try your local Hydrex office and Lloyds out of San Diego is also a thermapure contractor.

    One other company that was on the news here last year was Borite pest control out of BevHills. The owner was in a news piece on Fox 11.

    Good luck!

    BBbad

  4. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jul 8 2009 17:15:36
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    bedbugsbad - 2 weeks ago  » 
    Buggyinsocal,
    A person we were both PM'ing about PCO's in SoCal last month called her local Hydrex branch and they told her they don't use thermal for bedbugs only for termites. Weird but maybe each branch is a franchise and they all don't offer the same services...
    Bugbite,
    I looked at your previous posts where you indicated you were talking to a company that has detection dogs and does both chemical and thermal. Precision Environmental or Isotech? Isotech (company on the Discovery Channnel show Verminators) has the only bedbug detection dogs (Erik, the handler and both dogs are great) I am aware of in the Southern California and is a licensed PCO. Precision Environmental is one of the leading thermapure contractors in the area. As I understand they sometimes work together for bedbug jobs (though Isotech is becoming a thermapure contracter). All this being said, in my year to year and a half following of the bedbug issue they are two of the companies at the forefront in the SoCal area.
    Sorry but we don't have a KillerQueen.
    As Buggyinsocal mentioned try your local Hydrex office and Lloyds out of San Diego is also a thermapure contractor.
    One other company that was on the news here last year was Borite pest control out of BevHills. The owner was in a news piece on Fox 11.
    Good luck!
    BBbad

  5. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jul 8 2009 17:53:27
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    I contracted two of the companies mentioned here (they are not Hydrex). The heat treatment did not work. Had to work very hard to get them to send the bed bug sniffing dogs to see how effective the treatment had been (which i had paid for as part of the heating contract). It took several weeks to get them to send the dogs to check out my apartment. They made it very difficult to get what I had already paid for. I called them two days after the heat treatment to let them know that the 1st treatment had not worked, but they totally ignored my calls until I started calling them several times a day to get them to respond to me. They are always polite but don't follow through on getting in touch with you once you've paid for the treatment and are requesting follow up. After many calls they did agree to come back and they reheated for an hour or two. Was bitten the night after second treatment as well. Still have bed bugs though and it seems to be getting worse. I'm a newbie with bed bugs. I called the dog place after the second treatment and they called back and told me they would call back the same day, to schedule a second appt with the dog to confirm whether the 2nd treatment worked or not (which I'll gladly pay $300 for). Still haven't heard from them and am giving up. I noticed, in hindsight that when i requested the heat treatment service no one came to look at what kind of job they were going to do (I had just moved into this apartment a week earlier). They just came in and blasted some heat into the apartment and that was that. I don't even care that when they leave your apartment looks like some very angry cops with a search warrant have gone through the place. I was told it was ok to leave everything in the bags and boxes that i had moved in with. I undestand that they have to move things around so that all items get heated. The night after the first treatment I was kept up all night by bed bugs. To make a long story short i'm out of $1300 and still have the bedbugs. Have washed and dried my clothes many times so you can ad that to the bill as well. I understand that bed bug exterminators are in a business, but the more I read and after my first experience with the exterminators, I'm beginning to believe that a lot of the bed bug business is a racket. So on to the next PCO. So while I wait for the next exterminator to check out my apartment next week i'm going to start throwing away more stuff I don't really need. I think in the end i'll be like the guy in NY who left everything behind and just walked away from it all.

  6. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jul 8 2009 18:34:54
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    I contracted two of the companies mentioned here (they are not Hydrex). The heat treatment did not work. Had to work very hard to get them to send the bed bug sniffing dogs to see how effective the treatment had been (which i had paid for as part of the heating contract). It took several weeks to get them to send the dogs to check out my apartment. They made it very difficult to get what I had already paid for. I called them two days after the heat treatment to let them know that the 1st treatment had not worked, but they totally ignored my calls until I started calling them several times a day to get them to respond to me. They are always polite but don't follow through on getting in touch with you once you've paid for the treatment and are requesting follow up. After many calls they did agree to come back and they reheated for an hour or two. Was bitten the night after second treatment as well. Still have bed bugs though and it seems to be getting worse. I'm a newbie with bed bugs. I called the dog place after the second treatment and they called back and told me they would call back the same day, to schedule a second appt with the dog to confirm whether the 2nd treatment worked or not (which I'll gladly pay $300 for). Still haven't heard from them and am giving up. I noticed, in hindsight that when i requested the heat treatment service no one came to look at what kind of job they were going to do (I had just moved into this apartment a week earlier). They just came in and blasted some heat into the apartment and that was that. I don't even care that when they leave your apartment looks like some very angry cops with a search warrant have gone through the place. I was told it was ok to leave everything in the bags and boxes that i had moved in with. I undestand that they have to move things around so that all items get heated. The night after the first treatment I was kept up all night by bed bugs. To make a long story short i'm out of $1300 and still have the bedbugs. Have washed and dried my clothes many times so you can ad that to the bill as well. I understand that bed bug exterminators are in a business, but the more I read and after my first experience with the exterminators, I'm beginning to believe that a lot of the bed bug business is a racket. So on to the next PCO. So while I wait for the next exterminator to check out my apartment next week i'm going to start throwing away more stuff I don't really need. I think in the end i'll be like the guy in NY who left everything behind and just walked away from it all.

  7. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jul 9 2009 13:01:26
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    I was so tired yesterday. I forgot to mention that the bed bug dog providers who worked with me are alright. I was concerned that my son who had helped me move to So Cal may have gotten BBs in his home as well. The bed bug dog people went to his house a couple of days later and found none. The bed bug dog handler was very helpful in answering all the questions we had. He had a way of making you feel less anxious about the whole issue as well.

  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jul 9 2009 13:13:05
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    Madone,

    The rules on the boards here do not prevent private citizens like you and me who are not PCOs from giving reviews of the companies we've used with names. For a long time I didn't want to mention the company I used by name because I'm strangely twitchy about anyone being able to know exactly where in Southern California I live, and I didn't realize that Hydrex had many branches, which seems to be why some people can't use them for bed bugs.

    A few other pieces of information might help people here give you more specific advice, even if you don't want to post the names of the company you used. (If you don't mind, doing so might be helpful as most people aren't weird like me and decide to stick around for over a year after our bugs are gone. As you can see from the original date of this thread, people still use threads long after the posters who contributed to them are gone.)

    Is the place you're living a stand-alone, single family home? If not, have all adjacent apartments/units been inspected and deemed bug free?

    Did the PCO who came to inspect the place confirm by visual inspection that you have bed bugs and not another pest? (I only ask because you're mentioned bites, but you haven't mentioned blood stains, fecal matter, or bug sightings. Many of the PCOs here suggest that even with a detection dog, any hits the dog makes need to be confirmed.

    How many techs did the company send out for the thermal treatment? How long were they there?

    Is there any possibility of reinfestation from a source other than neighbors (like you have bugs at work and don't realize it or in the car?)

    I'm not doubting that you're suffering, and if an unethical PCO has taken your money just to take advantage of that, I, for one, would like to know what company did that so we can warn others away from them.

    However, we've had people on the boards before who thought they had bed bugs and paid for expensive treatment only to later come back and tell us that they didn't have bed bugs at all in the first place.

  9. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 10 2009 13:01:36
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    I look for them all the time. Have only seen one which was dead and looked like a flat apple seed. I believe I brought them from the building I was living in in San Francisco. A month before I moved I noticed that it was very itchy in my bed (left the bed in SF). I told the building manager that I thought the building might have BBs. She said she did not think so. A few days before i left SF she told me that another apartment did have them. I took precautions like washing all my clothes, sheets etc. I'm living in an apartment in SoCal. for a month now. There are two adjacent apartments. I informed the manager of this building that I thought my apartment here may have bed bugs and I'm considering going to my two adjacent neighbors and asking them if I can have a bed bug dog check out their apartment as well. If not bed bugs, then what can it be? I wish it wasn't the case, but it is very likely. I'm trying to take care of this a.s.a.p. so it doesn't spread around this place. Next wed the bed bug dog guy is coming back to see whether there are still bed bugs here and on Thursday a lady is going to do an inspection (no dogs). As to how many technicians with the heat treatment. The first time it was only one guy and when they came back the second time, I left to do the laundry. A technician with a supervisor and someone else. The work order for the second time said re-heat for one or two hours and I'm not so sure that is enough. I don't know how many of them stayed and did the actual treatment the second time. When I returned from the laundry (I was there for 4 hours) they were gone. I made sure to wash/dry the clothes and shoes I was wearing before I left the laundromat before coming back (folded and bagged (new bags) the clothes with different, recently washed clothes and not the ones I had been wearing). So i returned with clean clothes and shoes. Could not have re-infested the place, I think. Even if I had I would not have felt a lot of bugs the same night. Would you have the name of a company in SoCal (LA county) that has successfully heat treated apartments or homes. That has a good track record. Also, how often do people imagine that they have bed bugs and then it turns out to be something else, or nothing at all or it is a mental health issue or something of the sort? I really wish these were actually imaginary bugs, but I am sure they are very real. There is quite the crawl space under this apartment and I think that if they don't heat the crawl space the bugs just go there and come back later. I know for sure that they did not heat the crawl space the first time.

  10. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 10 2009 18:07:40
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    Okay, I'll try to tackle the questions that you raise in your post. But I'm going to take them one at a time because when I see giant paragraphs, I tend to get confused.

    First up: determining that you have bed bugs vs. some other pest.

    I only brought that up because several of the people here who had heat treatment done thought they had bed bugs. In the end, after they paid lots of money for thermal, sometimes more than once and sometimes at high enough temps that they sustained damage to personal belongings, they discovered that they had never had bed bugs. There are beetles that look a bit like bed bugs to the untrained eye. And there are some species of beetles (carpet beetles in particular, who, despite their name, don't necessarily live in carpet) that produce bite-like skin responses in people. That is to say, many people have skin that if it comes into contact with a beetle larva develop large, itchy red welts.

    So I asked about whether you were sure that you had bed bugs because some of the people who continued to get bitten after thermal treatment didn't even have bed bugs in the first place.

    Secondly, from your description of the thermal treatment you had done, my opinion as a bed bugs sufferer, not a professional pest controller, is that the company didn't do a great job. I live in a fairly small one bedroom apartment, and the company I used sent out a bug inspector to confirm bed bugs on one day. Later, they sent out a thermal guy to walk through my place and give me instructions on exactly which items needed to be removed in preparation for treatment. Then on the day of treatment, they sent three techs out (one of whom was the thermal guy who'd done the walkthrough with me before). One of the techs was a chemical guy who, in addition to doing whatever he did with chemicals that day, also inspected the other units in my building. The two thermal guys arrived at 8 am and weren't done until late afternoon.

    My sense from the thermal PCOs here is that part of what you're paying for with the cost of thermal is labor. I suppose if your apartment had a lot less stuff than mine (and most peoples' would) they wouldn't need to heat it as long. But from watching the two thermal techs set up for my place, it really seemed like it would be hard to do alone. Maybe different companies have different methods, and I only have your description to go off of, but your description raised a flag to me that says that I would be personally hesitant to recommend them to someone based on that description.

    I used Hydrex to treat my apartment. As you can see from earlier messages on this thread, at least one other person has contacted their local Hydrex office only to learn that they did not do thermal treatment. There are a lot of Hydrex offices in the greater LA area, so I can't tell you whether your local one will do thermal or won't.

    If you can catch any samples of bugs now, you might also see if there's an entomologist at a local university who can conclusively identify them as bed bugs and not a beetle causing bite like responses. I believe UCI (University of California at Irvine) has entomologists on staff as their website has a number of pages devoted specifically to insect pests in southern California. I'm sure plenty of other UC and CSU campuses have them too, but UCI is one whose pages seem geared toward community outreach. My guess would be campuses with that emphasis would be easier to find someone to talk to.

    Do keep us updated as things go on. If you find a good PCO, please pass that info on so I'll have other PCOs in the area to direct other southern Californians to.

    I wish I could give you more specifics as help. Hang in there.

  11. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 10 2009 19:29:41
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    Thanks for the feedback buggyinsocal, it was helpful. I'll let you know if i ever get out of this mess.

  12. bedbugsbad

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sun Jul 12 2009 21:11:20
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    Madone,

    Sorry that your treatment didn't work. If it was a thermapure contractor that you used and you want i have contact info for a VP in their corp offices. It is unaceptable for them to take your money and fail miserably.

    BBbad

  13. madone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jul 15 2009 7:46:27
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    ok if you would give me the info, I would like to talk to someone at thermapure so they can give me advice on who to contact and what to look for in a PCO. Hopefully next time I hire a PCO the treatment will be successful.

  14. BuggyinLA

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Nov 26 2009 0:06:12
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    Hey Madone,

    A few quick questions after reading a post of yours about a miserably unsuccessful heat treatment. Who did you use? Isotech? Precision Environmental? Did you ever get rid of the bugs, and who did you use to do that?

    I ask because we're in our own nightmare with Precision. They've botched our apartment the first time as well as our cars. I'm hopeful still, slightly, that we're clear in the apartment after a second heat treatment, despite continued mystery bites that only occur at the kitchen table.

    We're looking at using Isotech or Lloyd's for vikane fumigation next, if we have to. But since you mentioned bed bug dogs and you're in SoCal (right?), I wanted to make sure the company that screwed up your thermal wasn't Isotech before we go with them...

    You're welcome to PM me if you'd prefer not speak publicly on the boards.


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