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Stern Environmental Group vs Action Pest Control

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  1. jerseycity

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Jan 31 2010 21:22:49
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    We wanted to share our recent experience with Stern Environmental Group and Action Pest Control - both PCOs in Northern Jersey. We are fairly certain that a suitcase brought bed bugs into our home when our nanny moved in with us. After a few nights of bites, we finally figured out what we had and of course freaked out. Googling got us to Stern Environmental Group - we called and they recommended a dog inspection which was done by Advanced K9 from CT. Stern kept saying that it was best to not have the dogs be owned and handled by the PCO. The dog came and marked the suitcase and both of our beds and then they left - no visual inspection. It cost us $350+tax. ($375). Afterwards, we got an estimate of $2000 for a cryonite treatment of both bedrooms and the living room. We called Stern and only after asking did they recommend getting rid of the suitcase (which we promptly did!) and they suggested mattress and box spring encasements (which we also did). When we pressed Stern about whether we needed this massive treatment given that we knew it was only 2-3 weeks, they kept insisting that we did and the prep they wanted was massive - something that we kept saying was very difficult for us to do b/c we have 2 small children (a baby and a toddler). We then found this website (thank goodness) and after reading it for a good part of the day and night we decide to call Action Pest (which has gotten several good reviews). Todd at Action Pest was amazing when I called him and explained to him what our situation was. He at least was willing to customize our treatment based on our circumstances and not try to put us in a one size fits all bucket. We had to pay for another dog inspection ($300 + tax) but Mike, Joshua and Cassie (the dog) came and told us that our house was clean! We were in shock and disbelief but they told us that there were no bed bugs. We still encased all our mattresses and box springs and are just waiting. Its been a few days and no bites since we finished everything but we know it will take some time to really feel that the coast is all clear. Stern called us and I told them that I was getting a 2nd opinion b/c they did not do a visual inspection after the dog tagged the items and she insisted that "no one" does a visual inspection.

    Bottom line: don't go with Stern unless you have a massive problem and budget. Action Pest is awesome!

    Final note re encasements: Johsua from Action said that the Allergy Luxe encasements that you get at Bed Bath and Beyond work just fine...we needed one right away and were going to switch it out but after his comments are planning on keeping it

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 2:34:29
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    Hi jerseycity,

    It's worth noting that even the best dogs can have false positive or false negative reports. Most experts here seem to agree that dog handlers should visually confirm any alerts.

    Re: Allergy Luxe encasements: I have tried and tried to find data showing independent entomologist's tests of this product. I cannot find any. I would recommend an encasement which has been tested and proven to keep bed bugs from biting through the cloth (1), escaping through the cloth (2), and (most importantly) escaping through the zipper or end stop (3).

    The end stop is the most vulnerable point on most encasements from what I can gather. Protect-a-bed and Mattress Safe have mechanisms designed to keep bed bugs from getting out that end stop. Lots of PCOs and entomologists think that's important. (And yes we do carry ads at this site for Protect-a-bed, but none I am aware of for MattressSafe at this time.)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 8:31:34
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    As a precaution you might try duct or good surgical tape on the end stop.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 10:30:33
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    Winston O. Buggy - 1 hour ago  » 
    As a precaution you might try duct or good surgical tape on the end stop.

    Yes, that is one solution for an insecure end stop. It should be checked regularly and replaced when needed.

  5. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 10:40:41
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    At times one has to wonder what makes end stops insecure? Were they pulled up to fast with not enough time in the package or perhaps the stress of successfully sealing away cimex is just too much for them. Can we deal with their insecurity issues by simply gaging them with duct tape or reject them as bastard encasements andsimply replace them with the name brands on which human scientific research has been done ? Some days you just want to go back to bed, but then the whole encasement issue comes up again. Curse these creatures of the night will their reign of blood letting never end.

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 12:22:34
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    jerseycity - 14 hours ago  » 
    ......... she insisted that "no one" does a visual inspection.........

    Most odd I could have sworn I saw Mr Stern int he audience when Prof Potter declared "show me the bed bugs". Maybe that diamond in the rough of PestWorld Vegas did not make it back to the office but I have a feeling it will soon.

    Without confirming signs by locating:

    • Live samples
    • Cast skins
    • Faecal traces

    You cant be certain its bed bugs and unless you confirm you may never get to the bottom of the cause of the issue.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  7. jerseycity

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 20:39:51
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    Hi Nobugsonme

    Since I already have the Allergy Luxe encasement on - what do you suggest - when I asked Action Pest they said to just leave it on. But I do have a Protect-a-Bed (I ordered it after reading this site but needed something on my bed until it came) -do I swap it out? Would appreciate your advice

    Thanks
    Jerseycity

    ps: on the visual inspection - I completely agree - the fact that the woman from Stern was so adamant that visual inspection was not needed made me realize that they were just trying to put a cookie cutter approach. Another thing to note was that Advance k9 brought a vial of bedbugs as a tracer - but I didn't see the Action folks doing this. We are pretty sure we had them - probably they just were on the suitcase and even if one or 2 made it into our beds -they are now trapped in the encasements (we did the hot wash and hot dry for all our linens etc)

  8. paulaw0919

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 1 2010 21:58:01
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    If you think there is a chance that you actually had them...I would not take off the encasement you have on right now. (No way!)

    The way I see it you have two options. 1) Leave the encasement on the mattress and duct tape the zipper end. Or 2) put the Protect-a-Bed encasement right over the existing cover.

    I don't think it matters much which you choose really. Personally, I have the Protect-a-Bed Mattress cover on both my mattress and box and love them.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 2 2010 0:27:50
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    jerseycity - 3 hours ago  » 
    Hi Nobugsonme
    Since I already have the Allergy Luxe encasement on - what do you suggest - when I asked Action Pest they said to just leave it on. But I do have a Protect-a-Bed (I ordered it after reading this site but needed something on my bed until it came) -do I swap it out? Would appreciate your advice

    Hi jerseycity,

    My response was not aimed at encouraging you to get a second encasement, but rather to let others know that the AllergyLuxe may or may not keep bed bugs entirely out.

    If you're very concerned, you can put the other one (e.g. Protect-a-bed, MattressSafe) over it, or you can tape the zipper end stop as Winston notes.

    If you do the tape-the-endstop method, check it regularly to make sure it is still covered. (Note: even the encasements proven in independent tests to keep bed bugs out will fail if torn, so any encasement needs to be treated gently and checked regularly. And yes, not removed.)

    If you were sure your mattress was infested, or if in time the problem persists, you might want to go with the second encasement over the top, but you may choose to wait and see (with the tape method) for now.

  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 2 2010 0:31:30
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    By the way, the Bed Bath and Beyond website claims the Allergy Luxe has "scientifically-tested and patent pending security zipper closures." It would be nice to see the data but they may be alright.

  11. loubugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun May 2 2010 2:12:14
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    Regarding Bed, Bath & Beyond, London Luxury Allery Luxe line (it could have been one of their other lines -- don't remember offhand), I reviewed their mattress encasements and the pillow encasements. I have video of the bugs crawling over the fabric and probing about, probing the zippers, pulls and the small bed bugs hiding in the pull of the pillowcase encasement. I think Gail Getty also looked at their products and Dini Miller noted in one lecture that small nymphs (first, I guess/hope, and not larger!) crawled through the zipper to feed on her husband (he is somewhat non-reactive). I think they included a quote from Gail on the packaging, but I don't know how much research she did on their products.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  12. loubugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun May 2 2010 2:14:03
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    In my opinion, you have to check with any K9 team or company & ask if they perform a visual verification when the dog alerts. If not, call someone else.


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