11 pro tips from the bed bug trenches

By |  June 6, 2018
bed bugs, Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White

Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White, pmimages@earthlink.net

A severe bed bug infestation can be the stuff from which horror movies can be made. But most pest management professionals (PMPs) are made of harder stuff: They push forward, making decisions on the fly for the best ways to treat a specific situation, and monitor and re-evaluate after each step they make.

Need proof? Look no further than these men and women who responded to our call for tips, tricks and firsthand accounts regarding Cimex lectularius:

Lisa Beadle, Owner, Beadle Bug Patrol, Chandler, Ariz.: “Do not trust a visual inspection only. Always use a canine service to help determine where the problem is.”

Stuart Flynn, General Manager, Bug-N-A-Rug Exterminators, Wilmington, N.C.: “Inspect thoroughly, enforce pre- and post-treatment instructions, and use multiple methods of eradication. Don’t think you can salvage every piece of furniture in a heavy infestation — and don’t start a job until you have received payment.”

Brandan Petti, Owner, Barrett Pest & Termite Services, Winchester, Va.: “Be detailed, price competitively, and hold the occupant responsible for their end. Don’t ignore your follow-up services, and don’t assume an infestation is localized.”

Bo Johnson, ACE, Technical Director, Bama Pest Control, Mobile, Ala.: “Provide encasements, monitors and cooperation.”

Sue Rebori, Manager, Campbell Pest Control, Springfield, Mo.: “Strip all beds.
Dry all bedding in a hot dryer. Discard heavily infested furniture or beds. Make sure your technicians are thorough, and train them to instruct customers to not put any bags or suitcases on the floor or up against walls. Home care workers should not lean against bedding during their visits. My biggest obstacles include customers calling back for follow-ups when there isn’t any more bed bug activity,
and customers not vacating the home for the designated length of time.”

Derby Schafer, Owner, A Access Denied Pest Control, Las Vegas, Nev.: “Be honest, no matter what. Walk away when a customer does not do what is required prior to treatment. Stick to your pricing: When they want a better price, they often have expectations that cannot be met.”

Michael Listopad, Owner, AAA Pest Pros, West Middlesex, Pa.: “Always explain exactly what will be done during treatment. Review pricing, and have the customer sign off on the program. Give the customer realistic expectations, and don’t be vague about pricing or treatment. You must focus on the details.”

Jeff Hudson, Owner, Perdue Exterminators, Roanoake, Va.: “Make sure all your prep work is done before starting. Review with your client your protocol for service. Do not start treatment with the clients present, and they must be out until three to four hours following treatment. Do not start treatment if all the prep work is not done.”

Jerry Vance Sr., Owner, Discreet Pest Control, Mesa, Ariz.: “Educate and comfort the clients, keeping them focused. Schedule and allow extra time for the unexpected. Review the premises again prior to beginning service and client departure from the premises. Plan the eradication room-by-room, starting with the worst first.”

Tarry Howard, Termite and Technical Manager, Hydrex, Van Nuys, Calif.: “When fumigating, make sure customers understand the instructions. Interview them to try to find out how the infestation made it to their home; this way you may eliminate re-infestation. Make sure they also understand you do not offer guarantees for bed bug jobs.”

Michael Patton, Owner, Patton Termite & Pest Control, Wichita, Kan.: “Provide interceptors for assessing infestation and reinfestation. Don’t rush, and don’t underestimate the importance of clutter.”

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