3 skills for better bed bug treatments


July 21, 2019


Do you have the skills needed to expertly pull up and tack down carpet? It could make a positive difference in your bed bug callback rate. PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/FEVERPITCHED

  • A skilled technician gets better results in less time.
  • Time spent practicing skills involving furniture and carpet manipulation can improve performance.

Preparing a new bed bug technician requires both education and training. Education is what you need to know, but training is the acquisition of skills by demonstration and practice. There are certain skills beyond inspection and application that will help everyone treating bed bugs, such as these three:

1. Furniture manipulation. Manipulating furniture is a big part of bed bug treatments. Recliners, sofa beds and other furniture must be turned over, manipulated and replaced without damage. A new technician may spend a lot of valuable time trying to figure out how put a piece of furniture back together. Don’t assume that just because a person has reached the age of majority that he or she knows how to operate a sofa bed. I’m sure there is a dresser somewhere whose drawers cannot be removed, but I haven’t found it. Getting drawers out and back in can be tricky, however, and a little time spent showing a new tech the various catches and drawer releases can save a lot of time on the job.

2. Underside fabric removal and reattachment. Sofas and foundations (box springs) usually have fabric on the bottom known as a dust cover. Some techs rip it to allow application and/or inspection, but neither can be done well through a rip. Frequently, crews will remove the dust cover altogether and throw it away, assuming it has no purpose. But the dust cover does have a purpose, and it is easily removed with a staple puller and replaced quickly using a staple gun. A small investment in a little training in this area can pay big dividends for most bed bug jobs.

3. Carpet removal and reattachment. A bed bug population may spread to areas behind wall-to-wall carpeting, so learning how to pull up carpet and replace it properly is important. Wall-to-wall carpet is held in place by being stretched between “tack strips” that are nailed to the floor along the wall. While there are a number of professional tools that make the job even easier, such as a “knee-kicker,” it can also be done using an awl, or even a pair of sturdy needle-nosed pliers. If you know any carpet installers, they may be able to provide a training session for your team.

Use your judgement

Early on in this business, we learn the first and great commandment of service: Thou shalt not disassemble that which thou cannot re-assemble. Even if you know how something is supposed to come apart, use your own best judgment as to whether you should. And it is always best to have a damage waiver in your service agreement, as life is full of surprises.

You can reach Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, vice president of technical services, Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., at shep@rosepest.com.

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