Got bed bugs? Don’t fear! These irksome pests are more common than you might realize.
In fact, research shows that one in five Americans has personally experienced a bed bug infestation, or they know someone who has.
That said, the first thing to do is take a deep breath. Yes, they’re icky and you want them gone right away, but that’s why our team is here! Together, we can help rid your home of these unwanted bugs, but there are a few steps you need to take, first.
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the bed bug treatment preparation process. By taking care of these precautions first, you can help ensure that our approach is as effective as possible.
Read on to learn the 10 steps you can take to put your home one step closer to peaceful, pest-free bliss.
Understanding Our Bed Bug Treatment Process
Upon first noticing bed bugs, you likely headed straight to the internet and started researching ways to get rid of them. Along the way, you probably encountered various DIY methods, ranging from store-bought sticky traps to homemade powders.
The bottom line: Spending your dollars and spinning your wheels on anything less than a professional bed bug treatment is a waste of time and money. In the end, you’ll sacrifice your time, resources and sanity for a half-baked treatment that isn’t completely successful.
At Custom Bed Bug, we only use one method to get rid of these disturbing house guests: integrated heat treatment.
In years past, experts in this realm leaned on chemical pesticides to do the job, but the reality is that modern bed bugs are becoming increasingly resilient to this approach. As such, most companies that rely on sprays will need to visit your home multiple times to ensure successful treatment. Even then, there’s no way to be 100% sure that you killed all of the bed bugs.
Heat treatment, on the other hand, kills bed bugs at every stage of life, including eggs. In addition, you’re not depending on the pest control technician to spray every square inch where they might be hiding.
With heat treatment, you can rest assured that the pests will die no matter where they’re seeking refuge. Whether they’re hiding out on your bed, inside your dresser, behind your picture frames or even nestled into your wall voids, they won’t survive.
Not only is this approach effective, but it’s also quick. If you’re in the throes of an infestation, you want those bugs gone immediately, and heat treatment can get you there.
Why is Bed Bug Treatment Preparation Important?
If you’re dealing with bed bugs, chances are you already know how tricky and elusive they can be. There’s a reason these pests are so notoriously difficult to eradicate: They’re excellent at hide-and-seek!
In most cases, you won’t even realize you have an infestation until you wake up with itchy, red welts in clusters on your body. Upon further examination, you may also find black or dark brown spots on your bedding and along the seams of your mattress. You might even see a few of the creepy crawlies yourself.
However, bed bugs don’t stay visible for long. They mostly do their hunting at night, when you’re fast asleep and unconscious. During the day, they slip into any nook, cranny or crevice to stay out of sight.
As you can imagine, this makes traditional pest control treatments a little challenging.
With so many places in your home for them to hide, it can be impossible for us to make sure we’ve fully eliminated your pest problem if you leave your property as-is. From stacks of books to racks of clothes, bed bugs love clutter and will move to any source of it to remain hidden.
That’s why we ask that you complete a fairly lengthy checklist of pre-treatment activities to get your home treatment-ready.
When we arrive at your home, we will come equipped with special heating equipment, thermostats and sensors required for the full treatment. From there, we’ll strategically place this gear to ensure that the heat can penetrate every surface in your home, including all of your furniture, mattresses, carpets and crevices.
Then, once treatment begins, we take great care to make sure that not a single bug makes it out alive. Our pest control technicians are experienced at adjusting furniture, removing cushions, opening drawers and taking other precautions to ensure the heat fully penetrates each space.
If there’s clutter in the way, it can make these steps more difficult. That’s why we ask that you follow a checklist to get your home as ready as possible for our visit.
You can print off an abbreviated copy of this checklist by visiting our website, but today, we’re going to explain each step in greater detail so you know exactly what to do and what to expect.
1. Remove Certain Household Items
There’s a reason the heat we use in our thermal bed bug treatment process is so effective: It’s really hot!
That said, there are certain items in your household that may not be able to stand up against these temperatures. Specifically, these include:
- Wax products (such as crayons, lipsticks, and candles)
- House plants
- Household pets (including all fish, reptiles, mammals and birds)
- Fire extinguishers
- Printer cartridges
- Pressurized cans (such as hairspray, spray paint, soda cans or cleaners)
- Heat-sensitive media (including vinyl records, Polaroid photos, cassette tapes, DVDs, and photo negatives)
- Other flammable materials (such as butane lighters, solvents, and lamp fuel)
We understand that taking the time to safely remove all of these items can be a little laborious. However, our request is made with your best interest at heart. We’re also looking out for the safety of our team.
We want to make sure you can enjoy these items for years to come, so relocating them to a is well worth it. WIth the exception of your pets (who must leave your home), put these items in boxes labeled “Do Not Heat” and notify us of their location.
The good news? You don’t have to remove any furniture from your home, even if you’ve spotted bed bugs in your couch or bed.
In terms of everything else, you do not want to take these items out of your home or give them to someone else to hold for you, as there’s the chance that they could contain bed bugs. Concerning pets, they will need to leave the premises, but be sure to keep their bedding, kennels and toys at home to receive the treatment.
At the end of the day, you are the one responsible for making sure that you properly sort through the items that you do not want to risk melting. From flammables to family heirlooms, these items are likely located all around your home. Anhy pest control team you choose would not be liable for damages that occur to them, given that a pre-planning checklist like this one is provided before the time of your service.
2. Notify Us About Instruments
Do you have musical instruments in your home? If so, just let us know ahead of time so we can prepare.
From pianos to guitars, these are highly valuable items and we want to ensure they’re fully protected from our heat treatment. While you may not need to remove them, our technicians should be aware of their presence so they can safely adjust their position if required.
Be sure to leave the instruments in their cases, as these areas will also need to be inspected for the presence of bed bugs.
3. Remove Paintings and Picture Frames
Unfortunately, you might not be the only one who enjoys that framed family portrait. The same goes for the painting your child drew that’s hanging in the hallway.
Picture frames offer an excellent and inconspicuous spot for bed bugs to hide! They’re full of crevices, edges and holes that they love to slip into.
While you don’t need to remove all of the artwork from your home, we do ask that you take all of your paintings and picture frames off of the wall and place them on the floor. This way, the heat can penetrate all the way around them.
In fact, it’s best to remove everything from your walls, including mirrors, wooden signs, quilt hangings, and more. Not only does this provide our team with full access to such surfaces, but it also exposes the backs of your wall hangings so the heat can penetrate them as required.
4. Unplug All Electronics
Another aspect of thermal treatment that you might not realize? These high temperatures can affect the operation of your small household electronics, from your phone charger and plasma TV to your laptop and desk lamp.
Before we arrive, go around in each room and unplug all of the electronics in that space. Don’t worry: You can leave your appliances plugged in!
While you’re making a list of your household electronics and appliances, include a note on the location of all of the fire sprinklers or heat sensors located on your property. Our team will need to know these details, so let us know beforehand if and where they are installed.
5. Relocate Certain Items to the Refrigerator
If you’re used to storing your medicine and vitamin bottles under the bathroom sink or in your medicine cabinet, you’ll need to relocate them. Why? There’s a chance they could become damaged by the high heat used in the thermal treatment.
Before our visit, simply move them temporarily to your refrigerator. This way, they will stay fresh and their efficacy will not be affected. As you re-organize your bathroom, you can also move all of your toiletry items, such as lotions and soaps, out of your drawers and into your sink or bathtub.
Then, while you’re rearranging things in the kitchen, go ahead and place all of your perishable foods in the refrigerator, too. This includes all of your wine and liquor.
6. Clean Up Clutter and Vacuum
Are there areas of clutter in your home? If so, take the time to clean them up before our team arrives.
This includes organizing all of your piles of papers, books and magazines, cleaning the piles of clothes in your hamper, and making sure everything is put in its proper spot. We’ll be using some of the most high-volume fans on the market, and if you leave these loose-leaf items lying around, they could become damaged and easily moved.
Remember: You want to make sure that the heat we emit is able to penetrate everywhere it needs to go. In addition making an enticing home for bed bugs, clutter makes this task more difficult to achieve.
Finally, once all of your clutter is put away, we also ask that you vacuum your house. This can help rid your hardwood floors, area rugs and carpet of any debris and ensure we have a clean slate to work with as we heat treat your home.
7. Leave Personal Items Behind
We’ll ask that you leave the house during our heat treatment. While it’s tempting to take a ton of personal gear with you as you leave, try to leave as much of it behind as possible.
This means you can take your wallet with you of course, but leave your purse or pocketbook at home. The same goes for your suitcase, backpack, computer bag and diaper bag! In lieu of a shoulder bag or briefcase, you can use a plastic shopping bag to contain all of the items you absolutely require for the day.
Another travel item you’ll absolutely need to leave behind? Your luggage! Suitcases are infamous for picking up hitchhiking bed bugs and giving them a free ride from your hotel to your home. Especially if you’ve traveled recently, let us know and make sure your suitcases are accessible for our team to treat.
We even request that you leave your wheelchair or walker behind, as these can also be excellent hiding spots for bed bugs and we will need to include them in our thermal treatment. If you require these mobility devices to be active, we suggest planning ahead to secure a rental.
8. Launder All Clothing and Linens
Clothing is one of the most common places we usually find bed bugs. That said, we ask that all of your clothing be freshly laundered, with no piles of clothes left in the hampers.
If your clothes are in drawers or hanging up in your closet, they can stay there unless they are very densely packed. In that case, carefully remove them and place them in open-weave baskets to allow the heat to successfully penetrate them.
The key is to make sure that the heat has enough room to distribute around your clothing. They can remain folded or hanging on the rack, but separate the items enough that air can get in between them. Despite what you may have read, it is not wise to place your clothing in a plastic bag during treatment.
To make sure that you aren’t walking out the door and bringing bed bugs with you, make sure to wear freshly laundered clothes when you leave your home on the day of the treatment.
When preparing your bed linens, do not wash your sheets, blankets, pillows or comforters before our team’s arrival. Stripping these linens from your bed could transport the bed bugs into other areas of your home. Instead, leave those items alone and place all loose blankets, pillows and other linens in an open-weave basket.
9. Remove Window and Floor Coverings
Another spot bed bugs love to hide out? Your blinds and curtains! In addition, they’re also especially partial to your area rugs.
These cloth items have fibers that they can hold onto, which is also why bed bugs are so prevalent in hotel rooms. While bed linens might be changed on a regular basis, window furnishings are usually not deep cleaned as often.
Knowing this, if you have any kind of drapes, go ahead and remove them and launder them. When it comes to blinds or plantation shutters, you should also remove these to the greatest extent possible. Simply place them in a secure, flat location where the heat can distribute around them, but do not place them on top of your bed.
For your area rugs, simply roll each one up and stand it on its end to make sure the floor is clear for treatment. This includes any rugs you might use on your vinyl, tile, hardwood or carpeted floors. The heat will penetrate the rolled-up rug and you’ll also make sure there aren’t any lingering bed bugs hiding under your rug pad.
10. Prepare Your Schedule
On the day of your thermal treatment, we require that no pets or people be present in your home. Moreover, you must remain outside of the structure for one to two hours after the service is complete.
That said, make sure to schedule your thermal bed bug treatment on a day that you know that you and your family can adhere to such plans.
When you get back, you might notice that things aren’t exactly the way you left them, and here’s why: We may need to move some items to get around them and ensure the heat can penetrate to the places we need it to go. We will take all measures possible to avoid disturbing your things, but especially if the aforementioned steps are not followed, we may need to rearrange a little to make sure our treatment is successful.
Additionally, once you are permitted to return home, keep in mind that many treatment areas will still remain hot even several hours after the treatment is over. This includes glass, plastic or metallic surfaces, such as your door knobs, toilet seats and appliances.
Keep children and pets away from these surfaces to avoid accidental burns. Of course, you can also open your windows or turn on the air conditioning to speed the cooling process along!
Ultimately, it’s worth taking the time to prepare for our team’s arrival. If we schedule a thermal treatment and arrive at your property on the scheduled day to find that it has not been prepared according to the standards listed above, we will not perform the services required. Instead, we’ll enforce an inconvenience fee and reschedule the service for another day.
A Bed Bug Treatment Approach That Works
When you choose your home, you did not anticipate dealing with the stress that bed bugs can bring. If you’re in the middle of infestation, it might feel like the most isolating incident in the world, though that’s far from the case.
Our team is ready to help you get rid of every bed bug in your home, once and for all. We’re local experts at bed bug prevention and treatment methods and we’re here to extend this knowledge to you.
As long as you follow the above 10 steps and adhere closely to our Thermal Preparation Checklist, you will have done your part to get your home treatment-ready. From there, the rest is up to us.
It’s time to live confidently in your home and put an end to the cycle of questioning, itching, and wondering why. We’ve got you covered, every step of the way so get in touch with us today to learn more about the service we offer and get a free quote!