Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs are two words that no one wants to hear, particularly the board of a house corporation! They can cause a variety of serious concerns. They create an unbearable living environment which could result in lease defaults and the related drop in rental income. Bed bug infestations are becoming more and more common so it’s best to be prepared and to react quickly.
How do they get in?
• They hitchhike on clothes, luggage, boxes or furniture.
• They are about 1/4 inch long so can hide many places, like inside stereo speakers, the paper tube of a
hanger, behind a shirt button or inside a screw hole or split in the wood of a bunk bed frame.
What do they do?
• They are parasites that feed on blood and are most active at night.
• Their bite has an anesthetic component so the host can’t feel it when bitten.
• They’re attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide that we exhale.
• They multiply very rapidly and can spread from room to room under walls and even crawl through electrical outlets.
• They can become dormant for up to a year giving the impression that they are gone when they are not.
• While a bed bug bite is irritating, bed bugs do not carry or transfer diseases.
What do we do to kill them?
The method that delivers immediate and lasting results is a high heat treatment to the entire room. The room is heated to 140 degrees for 3-4 hours. It’s best to hire a pest control company that specializes in this service.
A large diesel or gas industrial heater is located outside of the house with flexible duct work running through the bedroom window to deliver super heated air. A roll of coated insulation is taped to the inside of the bedroom door and an oven thermometer is placed inside the room to monitor the heat.
Remove any material from the room that could melt or warp from heat such as soft plastics like vinyl blinds. Food and aerosols or solid deodorants should also be removed. Leave all clothes, sheets and mattresses in the room.
Put the fire alarm system in test mode, shut it off or temporarily disable the fire alarm smoke/heat detectors in the room since the heat will cause them to activate.
Turn on fans inside the room to circulate the heat in the room and around furniture. To ensure even heat exposure set mattress or couches on end. Begin heating the room and check the thermometer every half hour to make sure it is consistently rising. Heat the room at 140 degrees for at least 3 hours. It could take 8 hours or more for the room to cool down and the heat to dissipate from the furniture in the room to a comfortable level again. It would be advisable to have the residents plan to be away from the house for that night. The key to control is quick remediation. The residents won’t tolerate them long and will move out, possibly permanently, if the problem is not addressed. Take a big bite out of the bed bug problem if it appears in your chapter house.
By Grand Trustee Chad Ward