Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed Bug Treatment

Thermal Updates

(14 posts)
  1. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jul 7 2008 14:31:58
    #



    Login to Send PM

    So, after an extended trip that I already had planned, and a nearly insane level of paranoia about cross contamination, I am back in my apartment post treatment.

    I was thinking about calling the PCO today, but I have to tell you, while my landlord found the PCO quite willing to chat, and while I found the technicians who were here in person willing to chat, on the phone, I've had less luck.

    First up, the aftermath of the thermal treatment. When the PCOs came by, they didn't give me any written instructions, but they did send a guy by to walk through the place and point out what needed to be done. Basically, he said that any DVDs, CDs, videotapes, and other discs needed to be removed. Given my video collection, that was the bulk of it. I also removed any aerosol sprays and/or pressurized containers.

    I left pretty much everything else where it was, although I worked on clearing out the unnecessary stuff (double bagged and sealed up, of course) before hand. However, the thermal guy came over on Wednesday, and the appointment was scheduled for Thursday morning at 8. I couldn't do as much as I wanted.

    They also sent a chemical guy over who gave me some good hands on advice about what the eggs looked like. And he gave me the full list of chemicals they were going to use (Which are in my car at the moment.)

    I came back and asked the landlord and a neighbor if they said anything else about follow up, but they both said no. I did ask the chemical guy about steam and he told me that yes, steam works, but not to use it for two weeks. (It'll be two weeks on Thursday of this week.)

    Because they moved so much around in the bedroom, it's going to take a couple of days work before there will be room in there for me to encase the mattress and box spring. It's also a more than one person job, and I live alone, so to do that, I'll have to enlist several friends, and i'm trying to minimize exposure of other people.

    I had a couple of questions that I would be terribly grateful if someone could answer.

    First, what should I be looking for in terms of knowing whether the treatment got all/some/most/only a few? Is there a FAQ o what to monitor for post treatment that I didn't manage to find?

    Secondly, if I call the PCO to ask about follow up or after care (for lack of a better term--you know, what I need to be doing now), is there anything I should keep in mind about how to get them to be more responsive?

    Third, assuming that one treatment didn't get them all, when should I expect to see what in terms of days after the thermal treatment? (I assume that the answers to chemical I can look up in the forums by chemical)

  2. bugged-out

    newbite
    Joined: Jul '07
    Posts: 20

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 2:12:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Just a thought about enlisting the help of friends.

    When I moved to my new place in March, I needed help inspecting and packing the few belongings I'd decided not to leave behind. This friend had listened to all my horror stories about what I was going through and so was terrified of hitchhikers afterwards.

    We decided that he would bring a complete change of clothes, fully bagged. Then when the job was done, he showered and changed into the fresh cloths, bagging the old and then laundering them when he got home. I'm please to say that he remains bug free to this day (touch wood).

    Perhaps this idea will put your (and your helpers) minds at rest.

    G.

  3. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 9:28:15
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Thank for the advice, buggedout. I had actually considered doing that, but I'm afraid that my paranoia level (And resumed sleep deprivation level) is high enough again that I think I just needed confirmation that it was okay to do that. Even better, the fact that I have anecdotal evidence that such procedures should work makes me feel a lot better.

  4. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,251

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 10:31:21
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi buggy,

    I am trying to understand what you've had.

    You had thermal treatment, which is supposed to completely kill every bug in one shot. Yes?

    And then they also laid some chemical down (which?) to kill any stragglers which might have been in stuff you did not treat, like discs? Is that the idea?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. lieutenantdan

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 1,222

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 11:36:11
    #



    Login to Send PM

    My two cents. Does thermal treatment really guarantee that all bugs will be killed?
    We now about packed and stored belongings. What about bugs and eggs that may be behind walls and under floors?

  6. BakedBedBugs

    member
    Joined: Dec '07
    Posts: 137

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 12:20:51
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I will echo Nobugs question: Did they apply pesticides as well as thermal? Do you live in an apartment or other multifamily dwelling? If so, I can see why they may apply a residual to prevent re-infestation.

    I know that we have a pre and post treatment protocl as well as a "Heat Treatment" notice that should define what needs to be done before hand.

    I can't speak to the way these fellows work, but we usually don't move the bed or the belongings much. We do "toss" the cotents of dressers, closets, clutter etc. We also will turn couches and chairs over to allow the heat to more efficiently penetrate them. We always put them back though.

    lieutenantdan: If the temperature at our probes reach thermal death point, yes we will kill all stages of bed bugs in the affected areas. We have had two failures where we didn't probe properly and there were cold zones that the bugs could flee to. Since then we haven't had any re-treatments. We probe the floors and the wall cavities on every job.

  7. lieutenantdan

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 1,222

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 13:08:46
    #



    Login to Send PM

    How does the heat effect electrical wires and appliances like ACs and freezers?
    What are probes?

  8. BakedBedBugs

    member
    Joined: Dec '07
    Posts: 137

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 13:11:29
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Almost all building materials are safe from the kind of heat we use for bed bug thermal treatments. The only exceptions to that are vinyls.

    "probes" = temperature probes, sorry.

  9. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,251

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 19:19:24
    #



    Login to Send PM

    OTOH,

    Items which are NOT treated (like disc cases) CAN harbor bed bugs. One would have to be perfect about making sure this was not so, or storing items in sealed bags for 18 months.

    Frankly, treating only one of the infested units in an attached home (multi-unit building, or attached neighbors have bed bugs) with thermal seems in my mind doomed to failure. You'd really want to be certain you were the only infested unit, wouldn't you?

  10. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 20:59:25
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I'll do my best to answer the questions you all have posted. However, since I am a tenant, and therefore not entirely in charge of the property and its treatment, I may not have full access to all the details.

    My LL called a local PCO. They came over and "inspected" for bed bugs. The initial inspection involved a guy coming in and looking at the place. He was unwiling to get to close to the bed after I handed him the two adult and one younger bug I had caught on tape, stuck to post its, and put in a ziplock bag in the freezer. He said he had other calls to go on after and couldn't risk getting any bugs/eggs on him, but that yes, the bugs in the bag were bed bugs.

    He said that the unit in question couldn't be ready soon enough for chemical treatment (in fact, part of the problem is that my apartment was still in "end of the semester" mode, which was a wreck. I am a grad student who is also teaching full time, so my work generates a lot of clutter under the best circumstances.) Part of it was also the amount of furniture in the apartment (I have, unsurprisingly a lot of bookshelves, and there isn't much floor space to relocate items to. My bedroom is roughly 8 by 10 feet, which with a queen size bed and two dressers doesn't leave me a lot of options.

    A few days later, the thermal guy came out to do a walk through and tell me what needed to be removed. He told me that CDs, DVDs, other media (VHS tapes), any wines and liquor (could go in fridge), make up, candles, etc. needed to be removed. Anything that was in that category I removed from the apartment. All of those items are stored in Rubbermaid bins that have been duct taped closed.

    The next day? A day or two later? Thursday of last week, the chemical guy (different from first inspector guy) and the thermal walk through guy and a third guy showed up. Chemical guy arrived first. He said that they would also be treating chemically. I think thermal guy had told me that, but I had assumed that the chemical treatment would happen *after* the thermal.

    The precise list of chemicals used is as follows: Onslaught, Exciter, Archier, Bedlum, CB-80.

    Chemical guy showed up maybe 20 minutes before Thermal Guys 1 and 2. He did a walkthrough and captured another bug in a ziplock.

    He went in and used some aerosols while the thermal guys were setting up. (I only know this because at the time, I was in the driveway waiting for my catsitter to come get the cat, who had to be out of the apartment during the treatment, and actually didn't come back for another day or so.) I talked to the chemical guy to get the full list of products used and some advice on what the eggs looked like.

    I do know that after they treated my apartment, the inspectors looked at the other apartments to confirm that there were no bugs there. I cannot tell you how long those inspections took, since I wasn't here. I had to leave for the airport before the treatment was done.

    My building is a four plex of one bedroom apartments. My unit is on the upper floor and is the only one with attic access. None of the other tenants in the building had any signs, nor have they had any since then.

    I did ask repeatedly about electronics, but the thermal guy said that they weren't a problem. When I got home, my entertainment center stuff wasn't working, but the cable box was completely off. I think the old power strips might have gotten fried, but I consider that a small price to pay. I went out and bought new better ones and plugged the television DVR, and stereo components back in, and everything worked as it did before. The cable modem and wireless router never went off. The strangest response was that several bottles of handsanitizer plumped right up (I kept thinking of them as like ballpark franks--they plump when you cook them.) The veneer on some ikea furniture came off, but seriously, like I even care if the bugs are gone--I can buy new furniture.

    I was, like you Nobugsonme, quite concerned about the prospect of the bugs migrating to another unit. I asked the PCO folks on the phone, and the thermal and chemical guys repeatedly about the prospects of either or both treatments causing the bugs to migrate, but they repeatedly assured me that they wouldn't.

    Again, if it had been a single family dwelling and I had been the owner and not a tenant, I would probably have had a lot more control. But I'm a renter, and my local municipality has been less than forthcoming about the whole who pays for it thing. The health department said that it was the responsibility of tenants since the tenants had "created the conditions" hospitable to the bugs, when I asked if I was also responsible for treating other units, she suggested I call Fair Housing, and I was unable to get a reply back from them before I had to schedule treatment/leave town. I was terribly concerned that by leaving town I would encourage the bugs to migrate to another apartment in search of a meal bigger than my cat. In the end, my LL and I agreed to split the cost of treating my unit.

    I have a window unit AC that's been installed somewhat creatively into a slider window. The AC sits on the bottom, and plexiglass (And duct tape) is above the AC unit. I was worried about the heat on that, and the Thermal Guy said it wasn't a problem. My current primary computer is a laptop which was with me at the time of treatment.

    BTW, in the meantime, I did find some good forum posts on after treatment. So no real worries on that front.

  11. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 21:01:09
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Oh, and the items. The CDs, DVDs, etc. are in bins because I was waiting for the dry steam unit to arrive. I was going to create a staging area in the driveway and pull the items out of the bins and steam each friggin' item, one item at a time, and move them to a clean ziplock bag. It will likely take the rest of the summer, but that seemed a better option than cooking them and/or putting all of them in storage for 18 months.

  12. BakedBedBugs

    member
    Joined: Dec '07
    Posts: 137

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 23:28:00
    #



    Login to Send PM

    NoBugs,
    Define "failure"?

    Taking a unit to zero bedbug count and giving the tenant the ability between DE or equivalent and sealing the wall penetrations to control "migrators" while using one non-pesticide treatment AND saving many of the clients belongings while causing them less prep work sounds like it might be okay :-).

    Buggy in SoCal, have you considered wiping with rubbing alcohol instead of the steamer? Might be faster.

  13. buggyinsocal

    oldtimer
    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jul 8 2008 23:36:38
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Would the 91% alcohol damage the discs and cases? And would it kill the eggs? My understanding was that alcohol risked not killing the eggs, and my experience with 91% alcohol is that it eats through a rather terrifying number of substances I wouldn't have expected it to damage: the keys on one handset of my cordless phone, the inner layers of a travel case to hold passports/ID/airline tickets/etc., the inserts of my gym shoes.

    I would be happy to use alcohol on the CDs and DVDs themselves, if I was sure that it wouldn't damage them. I'm not sure it would be any faster than steam on the cases for them.

  14. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,251

    offline

    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jul 9 2008 1:48:32
    #



    Login to Send PM

    BakedBedBugs,

    Sorry, by "failure" I did not mean the treatment would fail. I meant that I would be worried about reinfestation from other units if they were infested.

    It's something anyone in a building has to be concerned about. But I am more inclined to worry about it in cases where there's a one-off treatment which is more expensive than sprays AND has no residual.

    Sounds like buggy will have some residual and it also sounds like they don't think anyone else in the building has bed bugs. Hopefully that is so.

    I am not trying to be down on thermal, BakedBBs. I have said many times before that I would welcome the possibility of using it in apartments and in my geographical area (NYC) where no one seems to be doing it yet.

    I would have similar concerns about Vikane in a single apartment if it were possible (and it does not seem to be) and with Vikane or thermal in entire apartment buildings or even houses if anyone in the structure may have continued exposure to bed bugs. That last one is a pretty serious "if," and I suspect it happens, knowingly or not, a lot more often than we think.

    And yes, I realize traditional spray and dust treatments can be deployed in an ineffective manner and even if done properly, may take ages to work. I am just thinking about people who sock a lot of money into a one-off treatment and then get reinfested. Oops.

    Bed bugs seriously bite.


RSS feed for this topic


Reply

You must log in to post.

291,435 posts in 48,821 topics over 151 months by 21,437 of 21,839 members. Latest: bedbugtoronto, stinson, WendyW