Want to know how quickly a bed bug problem can escalate? EiEiHome spoke with Paolo Bossio of Advantage Pest Control who tells a horrifying story of a resort his company treated for a bed bug infestation. The story begins with one housekeeper and one bed bug. “When you see one live bedbug, you can multiply it by ten because it’s extremely unlikely that you’re going to see them crawling around during the day,” says Bossio. In an attempt to cut treatment costs, management attempted to treat the issue themselves. The result? Two months later, eight of the resorts’ 60 rooms were infested. Why?
The first problem was the way the bed bugs were found, says Bossio. “Human detection of bed bugs is really difficult. Normally you would see their feces before you see them”. A canine unit would have been Bossio’s first call. These dogs are trained to sniff out live bed bugs and would have been an effective tool to detect if the problem had already begun to spread.
The second problem was the treatment chosen. “The problem with bed bugs is that they’re the most resilient pests to treat,” says Bossio. Their unique entomology makes it very difficult for pesticides to penetrate their exo-skeletons. “They nest very deep in cracks and crevices, making it even more difficult to treat especially around places people rest” says Bossio. Furthermore the eggs are coated with a sticky wax-like substance that inhibits pesticides from permeating the shell. This also enables the eggs to stick to clothing and be transported to new areas.
The solution, says Bossio, are heat treatments. 130 degrees of heat penetrates the deep cracks and crevices bed bugs hide in, killing live bugs, along with their eggs. Although this treatment is more expensive, Bossio points back to the resort example. “Had they done the heat treatment at first sighting, they would have restricted the problem to the one room. In the end we had to heat treat eight rooms, which was much more costly.”
Although this story has a happy ending – the resort is now bed bug free – Bossio uses it as a warning to property managers, resorts and bed and breakfasts to demonstrate the speed at which a bed bug infestation can escalate. To find out more about bed bug heat treatment, visit www.heattreatmentforbedbugs.ca.