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Thermal Chamber Treatment

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  1. mnbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 11:36:22
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    We found bed bugs in our apartment on Dec. 9 after my wife had been getting mysterious bites on her legs, shoulders, and neck for a few weeks. PCO inspected (not sure how much) adjoining apartments and didn't find anything, so not sure where they have come from (we've not been anywhere recently with luggage - at least since the summer). It's possible a visitor could have brought them over, but we're not sure. ANYWAY...

    Our PCO is coming once per week for (at least) 4 weeks (we just had our 2nd treatment yesterday). The landlord is paying for this (although all the laundry, garbage bags, mattress bags, sticky tape, etc. is adding up from our own pockets). However, the landlord will not pay for a thermal treatment of our belongings. The PCO says that for $1200, they'll take all of our belongings in a truck to their facility where they heat treat them at 135 degrees for 3 hours.

    The problem? It's expensive, firstly. Second, we'd like to move in to a single-family home in 6 months, at which point we'd like to do the thermal treatment before bringing stuff into the new house.

    We've not seen any evidence of bugs outside of our bedroom (we have a 1 br apt), but have had the entire apt. treated (baseboards, pulling up carpet edges, etc.) I'm not sure it's worth it to heat treat at this point, especially because I'm not convinced that the bugs are limited to only our apt. I know if we do it and then bring the stuff back into the same apartment, I'll be just sitting there with that "big money! big money! no whammies! no whammies!" mindset, waiting for them to return...

    What would you do? Do it now and when we move (ouch $$$), one or the other, or both? Or something completely different???

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 11:46:50
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    If your neighbors may have bed bugs, I'd personally wait. Take precautions not to spread them to work or others, since you can only treat your own stuff when you move.

    Can you name the company that does thermal decontamination of stuff, and your geographical area? That way in 6 months when you are bed bug free and not around, we can point people there. Thanks!

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

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 11:50:38
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    mnbugs,

    I'm of a similar mindset. I know these things are in other apartments, and I really want to move at some point, so I decided to wait until I move to do a vikane (or thermal) treatment. I figure, it's pointless to do it now because I can just get reinfested from others. (I can't do vikane anyway cause it's too cold, but you get the point.)

    If it was me, I would wait until I was moving to a bug free environment and have everything treated in transit.

  4. bugobsessed

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 11:51:28
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    Oh, and btw, LOVE the Press Your Luck reference! '80's gameshows rocked!

  5. mnbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 12:06:08
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    Nobugsonme, I'll PM you the name and link. You can decide how much of it can be posted on the website (don't know the rules about promoting particular companies/products/etc.).

  6. BakedBedBugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 12:54:51
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    $1200 for heating the contents of a one bedroom apartment?
    Man, I just quoted someone a similar amount to treat the whole apartment without having to move anything. (well much of anything)

    The thermal treatment will absolutley work for you. In my opinion it is a bit high but a lot depends on location. I would suggest waiting until just before the move. Or, if this is truly a trailer situation then have the company bring the trailer to your new home and set up the treatment for right after the contents leave the movers and right before the contents come into your new home.

    Good luck!

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 14:21:03
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    Thanks mnbugs!

    For future reference, it is
    Plunkett's out of Fridley, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Minnesotans can google this: "Plunkett's Fridley, Minnesota" and they will get it on the screen. I just did.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 14:48:15
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    Not to go too far off topic, but I am interested, BakedBedBugs, to hear about thermal as applied to single units in apartment buildings. Your post implies it works.

    Whether it is a good idea is another story. Unless you are certain you brought bed bugs into your own apartment, it's highly likely neighbors are infested too. Landlords often have a hard time determining which other units are infested even if they WANT to. Even if they ask PCOs to inspect. And so it would be easy to have a treated unit next to an infested unit where the tenant does not react to bed bug bites and has no idea they have them.

    Interested in your thoughts.

  9. mnbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 15:05:47
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    As am I

  10. BakedBedBugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 16:57:13
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    Successfully treating one afected apratment is completely feasible. You just can't guarantee there will be no further infestation from outside sources.

    I ususally suggest or work with a traditional PCO to supply some form of residual treatment in conjuction with the thermal. Actually our normal protocl is to treat the adjacent suites at a minimum, so above, below, and on either side. Unforunatley this is not always possible due to landlord issues, tenant issues, budget issues etc. If the client want a chemical free one shot treatment we can do it, we just can't provide our normal guarantee.

    The key to success in thermal treatment for one unit is to heat the perimeter of the building uniformly then when your wall cavity temperatures achieve thermal death point you can heat the center of the building.

    The traditional thoughts are that bed bugs flee heat. We have seen some recent tests where they behaved differently. They almost seemed to go into a "mating" frenzy. Hopping on top of each other and staying in relatively the same spot until they were overcome by the heat. This is purely anecdotal at this point but it was observed by Dr. Michael Linford who was the first person to commercialize thermal treatment for termites and grew up breathing DDT as a kid in his Dad's pest control company so I usually listen when he talks. We still need to assume they will try and flee and set up our heat appropriatley.

    *whew* sorry for the long winded response and the typos. I really don't have time to do this properly right now

    Merry Xmas everyone!

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 19:31:00
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    That is helpful, Baked. If you have a link to Dr. Linford's paper, we'd love to read it.

    Believe me, I am positive about the possibilities with thermal.

    It's important that everyone in a multi-unit understands the limitations, though. Adding a residual is good, but if the cost is higher than traditional treatment and repeated infestation from neighbors is inevitable, then I would not advise it in those cases. Which, unfortunately, we see way too often.

  12. BakedBedBugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 19:51:37
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    Please call me Tony.

    Dr Linford will not be releasing a paper on that subject (I think...) this was purely observational and anecdotal so take it for what it is worth. there are conflicting anecdotal stories out there to be sure.

    I think the differentiation point for the consumer comes down to a couple of factors:
    Chemical or no chemicals
    One treatment or many
    Almost zero residul cost to consumer i.e. Less laundry, less replacement of goods, no relocation costs etc. I think you and I are are both in agreement that the net costs to the consumer will be quite close in many cases.
    Less work for the tenant/homeowner.

    If you are a landlord and want to get your building to zero bed bugs thermal does that in the most cost effective manner. coupled with a dilligent and aggressive re-inspection protocol, secondary treatment methods (DE, proper mattress covers, residual product applications etc) thermal can be a very effective way to help minimize the extent and impact of any re-infestation.

    As with anything in this field, there are no silver bullets and thermal treatments do have a downsides. I personally believe the downsides are less than the upsides, but then I am biased.
    Merry Xmas!
    Tony Canevaro

  13. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 20:10:27
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    I understand all that, Tony. We have to be really clear about the downsides here because otherwise people who are desperate to be rid of bed bugs sidestep their landlords and hire you themselves, their problems come right back, and then they are saying "thermal doesn't work" (which isn't good for people in your line of work, or for the customer).

    People in buildings must work with landlords, and landlords need to discover and remediate all infested units. It becomes tricky when up to 70% of people may not react to bites. The typical situation we see is landlords telling people neighbors don't have bed bugs. Some tenants insist not. Some PCOS don't know how to inspect for them, and some landlords won't let the PCOS inspect adjoining units. And on and on.

    So we're real cautious about this situation.

    And it happens even moreso with traditional sprays, so I am not suggesting thermal is not a better option. Just that infested neighbors' units must be found and must be treated.

  14. BakedBedBugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 20:30:58
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    Agreed!
    Full disclosure is vital.

  15. goawaybugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Dec 21 2007 20:32:16
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    Tony, you had me at no chemicals. I really wish this was available where I live. Even if there was a premium compared to traditional PCO treatment, I might be willing to pay the difference (i.e., have the landlord pay up to the cost for traditional treatment and I would pay the difference) just to have the choice. Given how much I've already spent on bags, drawers and the like, I take your point that any additional premium might not be that sizable in the end. I like the hand in glove partnership with traditional methods--some residual seems wise, but anything that reduces the liquid coating I imagine most apartments get sounds good to me. I also agree all surrounding apartments (and any other infested units in the building) need to be treated or there's no point--however, I assume that treatment could be either traditional or thermal. In any case, it's another option, which can only be a good thing, and from my perspective, a particularly appealing one.

  16. mnbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jan 3 2008 12:42:13
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    An update: apparently the quote that he gave us included using their truck and services to move our stuff. It will be cheaper if we do it ourselves, but I'm not sure how much. My landlord said "significantly" on the voicemail, but I'll update later with the actual quote.

  17. GregSarmasCleanAirSystems

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jan 3 2008 20:31:48
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    All of that work seems unnecessary if you ask me. New capabilities in ozone generation are now just coming on the market. I am in this business, and I will tell you that this is the most non-invasive method of insect eradication available to the consumer. All you realy have to do with this type of treatment leave your home for an extended time so that the concentrations of the gas build up high enough to kill anything breathing Oxygen. This includes everything living in the walls, mattresses, and just about everywhere else traditional cleaning can't touch. If you would like more information I'd be happy to provide it. I hope I've stayed within the rules outlined for posting. I'm also interested in getting some feedback from people about this type of approach. It's very new, has several other applications, so I'm wondering if anyone's heard of using this for a bed bug infestation

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jan 3 2008 23:35:32
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    Greg, please private message me about the rules for posting, before posting further.

    You can click PMThisUser under my message. Then click "private messages" (the green button at bottom) later to read your messages. Or email me: nobugs a t bedbugger.com.

  19. mnbugs

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Apr 10 2008 10:40:32
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    An update long time in coming:

    In January, after a number of traditional treatments (and we didn't see any more bugs after the second one), we convinced our landlord to pay for the thermal treatment in order to make sure that it didn't spread to other units (it actually came from a previous tenant - the landlord admitted, but that's another story).

    So, we spent the day packing our things, having them baked for a few hours, and then unpacking. While we still have our bed pulled from the wall and in plastic containers of mineral oil, we've not once been bit or seen a single bug in our entire apartment.

    The cost, with renting a truck, etc. was nearly $1100, but the landlord was able to charge that back to the previous tenant (because they didn't report they had a problem - they just moved out instead - again, another story). Steep price to pay, and it's hard to tell if it was that beneficial (we hadn't seen bugs since the second chemical treatment), but i can say that it is a very busy service up here in Minnesota!


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