Stopping a Silent Scourge: Bed Bug Control in Group Housing

Stopping a Silent Scourge: Bed Bug Control in Group Housing

Bed bugs in any facility are hard to control, but group housing makes it especially challenging. Contributing factors can include building age, mental health issues of residents, rotating staff and budget restrictions, as well as the many challenges of bed bug biology. “There is no magic bullet, but you can overcome a bed bug infestation, and come out the better for it,” says Mike Deutsch, B.C.E., of Arrow Exterminating Company, Inc. in Lynbrook, New York. “You need the right pest management partner, a holistic approach and, above all, patience.” Deutsch should know; he’s a board certified entomologist and has been fighting pests in the New York area for 40 years. Recently, he and the Arrow team helped a group home of mentally challenged adults overcome a severe bed bug infestation. The facility had bed bugs in more than half its 20 rooms, plus the common areas. Here’s how they did it: Training and education “Educating staff is essential,” says Deutsch, who provides hour-long training sessions to all levels of staff, from housekeeping to management. “Not only can they be the first line of defense in terms of identification but they can help correct behaviors that might be contributing to re-infestation.” Weekly laundering of sheets on high; inspecting bags brought into the building and removing clutter around beds is helpful. Also, mattress encasements like those from Protect-a-Bed® and CleanBrands prevent bed bugs from getting deep inside mattress and box springs where they can be difficult to remove. Inspection Deutsch and his technicians start with the beds, inspecting the mattress seams, folds and grommets and inside the box springs and bed...

Step four of a total bed bug approach: Secure

You’ve found the bed bugs, made your bed bug treatment and confirmed that your treatment was a success. But the job is far from over. Why not? Because a total approach to bed bug management is never ending — as long as there is a potential for a new bed bug infestation, you and your customers need to have a proactive bed bug plan in place. As you know, there is currently no way of preventing bed bugs. Because they are not just in hotels and motels, but in offices, schools, stores and movie theaters, there is always an opportunity for new infestations to be introduced. As you know, finding a bed bug infestation in its very early stages is critical to ensuring successful and affordable treatment. Therefore, a total bed bug approach should include an ongoing monitoring capability. Because the Verifi bed bug detector attracts bed bugs for up to 90 days at a time, it is ideal for this type of ongoing use. Regularly inspecting and servicing Verifi helps professionals and their customers feel secure and find newly-introduced bed bugs sooner. Affordable, replaceable attractants make ongoing detection easier and more cost-effective than it has ever been before. Having a constant bed bug monitoring program in place not only makes your customers feel more secure, it strengthens your client relationships and provides your business with a whole new source of recurring revenue. Regularly scheduled visits give you new opportunities to offer your clients other valuable pest management services, further demonstrating your value and expertise. And while it’s technically “step four”, your customers don’t need to experience a bed...
Step three of a total bed bug approach: Confirm

Step three of a total bed bug approach: Confirm

Bed bugs often require multiple treatments to effectively control an entire population, and even then, how do you know that they are gone? A total approach to bed bug management requires confirmation after treatment that your efforts have been successful. This confirmation not only gives you confidence in your work, it helps bring your customers peace of mind, which is key to maintaining long-term client relationships. There are multiple ways that treatment success is confirmed. One of the most common is customer feedback — if the customer is still experiencing bites, it can be assumed bed bugs are still present. Many pest professionals will also conduct a visual inspection following treatment. This can be tricky, as treatment will lower populations and change bed bug behavior, which may make bed bugs hard to find. Some professionals will use canines to confirm the success of treatment. Canines are expensive to train and maintain, and are often kept out of chemically-treated areas for 30 days after application, so they aren’t ideal for this type of confirmation. If Verifi™ bed bug detectors were initially installed to determine if an infestation was present, confirmation is a very simple step. Because Verifi features cost-effective, replaceable attractants, it can be reactivated following treatment to help you feel confident that the bed bugs are gone. A 24-hour burst of carbon dioxide from the Verifi CO2 booster pack will activate any remaining bed bugs that are in hiding, while the pheromone and kairomones in the Verifi lure continue to draw bed bugs into the device for up to 90 days. Reactivation is simple and can be completed in...
Step two of a total bed bug approach: Control

Step two of a total bed bug approach: Control

Once you successfully detect bed bugs, a treatment plan must be created. Because bed bugs can and will hide throughout many locations in a room, treatment often requires all the tools in your tool box. FMC offers a variety of solutions to help professionals combat bed bugs from every angle. For baseboards and carpet edges: Bed bugs can hide in gaps between baseboards and walls, as well as in cracks and crevices along carpet edges. FMC recommends a crack and crevice treatment with Transport® Mikron™ insecticide in these areas. Featuring a combination of acetamiprid and FMC bifenthrin, Transport Mikron is proven effective against bed bugs, even pyrethroid-resistant strains. Because it is completely clear once mixed, it won’t leave a messy residue behind. Transport Mikron can also be used as a spot treatment on baseboards for residual control where bed bugs often travel. For cracks and crevices: Every room has a variety of cracks and crevices where bed bugs can hide. Even picture frames and screws in furniture provide excellent harborage for these pests. A crack and crevice treatment with Talstar® insecticide will kill bed bugs and eggs on contact while delivering up to three months of residual control to these tiny hiding places. Talstar insecticide features FMC bifenthrin in a water-based aerosol that won’t stain or produce an unpleasant odor. For sensitive areas: Some of the most common hiding places for bed bugs are sensitive areas that require a specialized solution. CB-40® insecticide is a water-based aerosol formulation that can be applied directly to mattress seams, box springs and wall voids. CB-40 delivers knockdown and rapid control like an oil-based...

Step one of a total bed bug approach: Detect.

Finding bed bugs in the early stages of infestation can make treating them less complicated and less expensive. But finding low-level infestations is a very challenging task in itself — one best left to the professionals. Bed bugs are very small, cryptic insects that can hide in spaces as small as the crevices in a screw head. Bed bug instars, or nymphs, are translucent and virtually invisible to the naked eye. In the past, visual inspections by teams of two technicians have been the most common method of bed bug detection. Usually, a room must be disassembled and reassembled in order to conduct a thorough visual inspection. This is time-consuming and labor intensive for the technicians. When many rooms require inspection (like in a hotel, residence hall or hospital), the process becomes even more cumbersome. Canine inspection is a popular option for accounts that require bed bug inspections in multiple rooms. They work quickly and don’t require the rooms to be taken apart. The cost to buy, train and maintain bed bug canines may be prohibited for many companies and customers, however. Furthermore, they create an opportunity for false positives (indicating bed bugs are present when they are not) which can lead to the expense and environmental implications of unnecessary chemical treatment. FMC Professional Solutions recommends the new Verifi™ bed bug detector for this critical step. Verifi can be installed by a single technician in just minutes without disrupting the room. The industry’s first active device to provide round-the-clock bed bug detection, Verifi can successfully confirm the presence of an infestation within 1 to 7 days after installation. Verifi...