Since this type of disaster is generally NOT covered by insurance, we urge you to practice prevention in order to minimize your likelihood of an infestation. An infestation will not necessarily manifest as visible insects that you notice. In most cases, the bugs themselves will no longer be present, but you will begin to notice the results of their presence. Moths, carpet beetles, and silverfish will leave evidence in your textiles (holes, and sometimes visible remnants of cocoons or molting). Bedbugs will leave bite marks on their victims.
After an infestation is discovered, your first step will be to contact a knowledgeable exterminator (we can help you with the selection process).
An exterminator can kill the pests and their eggs, but we should warn you that the knowledge and skill of the exterminator will greatly impact the success of the extermination. And certain pests are more difficult to exterminate than others – bedbugs being particularly difficult, sometimes requiring extreme measures.
For example, you may have seen commercials showing how bedbugs can be frozen to death after being detected by a trained dog. What they fail to mention is that if any of the bedbugs are missed by the dog, they will survive. Even worse, cold freezing only kills adult bedbugs, but not bedbug eggs or bedbugs in the nymph stage. If any bedbugs survive (in any stage – egg, nymph, or adult) you will suffer a re-infestation, and it’s more common than you’d think unfortunately.
We know the processes that are most effective, and can help advise you to make the correct decisions. We’ve been professionally trained by entomologists (scientists specializing in insects) on insect behavior and methods of extermination.
Exterminators will treat your home, but generally will not treat clothing and most soft furniture (such as bedding and couches). So, once your home has been exterminated, we can then come and clean your wardrobe, bedding, draperies, and furniture coverings to remove the pests (and in many cases, the odors that attracted them in the first place).
We employ a strict procedure to ensure there is no cross-contamination, and process your items in a solvent that is proven, through actual testing, to kill insects instantly on contact (not all dry cleaning solvents do). When you get your items back, you can rest assured that they are clean and pest free. It is essential, however, that the extermination was successful. If the exterminator failed to remediate your pest problem, you will suffer a re-infestation.
Moths, carpet beetles, and silverfish are attracted to the scent of body oils, perspiration, and food stains. Dry cleaning your wardrobe before storing your garments for the season removes these scents, and significantly reduces insects’ attraction to your clothing. Once cleaned, we recommend storage in airtight containers to minimize interaction with the environment.
Yes, bedbugs are real, they do bite, and they’re making a huge comeback in recent years. In 1988 (with a full phase out by 1998), the federal government outlawed the production of the pesticide DDT, which was extremely effective in killing bedbugs. In fact it was so effective that over the years, bedbugs were no longer a common problem.
However, since DDT spraying has ceased, bedbugs have undergone a strong resurgence, and are expected to become a much bigger problem over the next 10 years. It is important to note that since bedbugs have not been a problem for decades, most exterminators are not properly trained to address bedbug outbreaks, and therefore extermination methods – and their success rates – vary greatly. Now let’s talk about bedbugs themselves, and how they make their way into your home. Bedbugs feed exclusively on blood, similar to mosquitoes. In the wild, they survive by feeding on the blood of host animals.
In bedbug infestation cases, humans are the hosts. While asleep, we exhale carbon dioxide, which attracts the bedbugs. They feed and then hide before we wake up. They typically don’t hide too far away though – the most common hiding spot is under seams at the edges of your mattress and box spring, although they are also known to hide behind headboards, carpeting, moldings, and in closets. And they can survive for more than 6 months between meals.
Generally, bedbugs don’t actually enter your home on their own. Most bedbugs are brought into the home by the homeowners, unknowingly. Major sources of bedbug infestations are from hotel rooms. Make sure that you thoroughly check the mattress, box spring, and other furniture in your hotel room with a flashlight before settling in. If you see bedbugs, inform the hotel and do not stay in the room. If the room looks clean, ensure that you store your suitcase on a suitcase holder, off the floor.
Most bedbugs are brought home by your suitcase, and they are very hard to see once they crawl deep into the seams. Additionally, on an airplane bedbugs can transfer from one passenger’s suitcase to another. We’ve also heard of cases of bedbugs being spread at movie theaters and schools. While we can’t live our lives in fear, we do recommend taking the precautions below, at least when traveling and staying in hotels. If you ever have a bedbug infestation, you will wish you took our advice, as they are very difficult to exterminate.