Fumigation with a product like Vikane definitely is a good way to ensure that all bugs and their eggs are dead and done for. However, the drawback to a whole-structure fumigation is going to be cost, as the process requires a lot of people and time and an expensive product, and some customers may balk at this and prefer to go with the standard methods of treating each room with chemical or non-chemical techniques. For a multi-unit complex this cost could be even higher depending on who has to pay for lodging for all of the tenants who are displaced during the fumigation process, which could be 2 days or longer.
To me, the benefit of fumigation, if it is done properly, is that the whole process is over with in just a couple of days with the complete confidence that there are NO live bugs or eggs remaining in that entire structure. With standard treatments of insecticides, steaming, local heat treatment, freezing, etc., most companies plan on making at least one or two return trips to monitor, perhaps re-treat, etc., as there is no 100% assurance that all bugs and eggs were contacted and killed on the first effort. This also requires a lot of cooperation from the diverse kinds of tenants, and this becomes difficult.
Dealing with bed bugs in apartments is a huge challenge, and apartment complex management should have a policy and protocol in place for monitoring for them and for preventing them from getting into their apartments in the first place. All tenants need to buy into this program and be educated on these parasites, on how they manage to move from place to place, and the steps that each of them can take to prevent bringing bed bugs home with them and into their own unit. This kind of training might be one add-on service a PMP can bring to an apartment customer, whether it is an evening session where tenants attend and learn or at the minimum some fact sheets and lists of preventive steps that a tenant can follow. One interesting idea that some apartments have implemented is FREE clothes dryers in the laundry facility, and letting all tenants know that anything taken on a vacation or business trip that can be run through a hot dryer cycle immediately upon return should be handled in that way. Making the dryers free encourages the tenants to take advantage of this means for killing hitchhiking bugs.
Mr. Pest Control
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Please note, Mr. Pest Control is answering questions supplied by PMP customers across North America. His answers are generated from industry and manufacturer-provided information. The answer may not be specific to the laws and regulations for your State, Province, Territory or Country. In addition, products mentioned may not be registered and or available in all areas. Always check with your local Univar office for specific information to your area. Always read and follow label directions.