Saturday October 1, 2011
Do you feel the following company protocol for bed bug inspection and treatment is appropriate? Rooms have to be treated 3 times (our standard requirement) on the First day, Second day and after a week. If our specialists do not find out any evidence of bed bugs after this period the room may be rented and occupied again. From our experience, over 90% of infested rooms can be occupied after 7 days. If bed bugs and evidence of their presence are still found a fourth treatment will be required, with no extra charge as we have a 3 months onward guarantee. We suggest the rooms be held empty for another 3 days for the fourth treatment in this case.
It is difficult to say that any single protocol is the proper one for bed bug management. I would say that if this procedure is working for your company then it probably is a good protocol to have in place. The only way to ensure that ALL bed bugs and their eggs are dead after a single treatment would be to perform a full-structure fumigation or heat treatment, and these would have to be done properly as well. Heat treatments done incorrectly may even spread the bed bugs to other areas of a structure. Even the use of freezing is done spot by spot and needs to be extremely thorough, so even that technique lends itself to bugs or eggs being missed on the first visit and treatment.
With "standard" treatments using insecticides and perhaps steam and other tools it should be accepted that some number of bed bugs and their eggs will survive the first treatment. Most companies do seem to plan at least a second treatment, and at the very least MONITOR the treated rooms and return a third time to evaluate the success. I don't know that automatically treating a third time with insecticides is always warranted, if no evidence of bed bugs can be found on that third visit, but definitely a look at the infested rooms after one week is important. Some of the best companies in business with tremendous experience in bed bug removal will not declare a room "free and clear" of bed bugs until at least 60 days have gone by with no evidence of bed bug activity. This means no more bites and no more sightings of bed bugs or new evidence of them. This relies somewhat on the occupants of those rooms being aware of their own symptoms and doing visual checks themselves, but after 60 days in a room where there is human activity it would be assumed that all eggs would have hatched and any bed bugs present would have resumed feeding.
I know this is a HUGE burden on hotels and motels, to remove a room or even 6 or 7 rooms (those rooms next to the infested one and above and below it) from service, as this costs them a great deal of money. However, the cost of lawsuits from hotel guests who claim they brought home bed bugs from that hotel or were fed upon while in the hotel far outweighs the lost revenue from rooms not being rented for a few days. Most hotel management people know the implications of having bed bugs in their hotels, and have their own protocols in place for their housekeeping staff.
The process you have outlined for your own company seems reasonable to me. Certainly a second treatment is proper, and a third treatment if you find any evidence that bed bug activity is continuing. The use of some of the inexpensive bed bug monitors placed in the rooms would be very helpful in alerting you to continued bed bug activity.
Mr. Pest Control
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