I think we’ve all been there: that head-scratcher job where bed bugs just seem to keep reappearing despite our best efforts. It’s not necessarily one of the most infested places we have treated, or even a multi-family dwelling where bed bug incursions might be blamed on neighboring units. It may even be a clean home, where the clients assure us they washed and dried all their bedding on high heat after each service. Yet every time we go back, there’s live bed bug activity in the bed.
The truth is that all service protocols are vulnerable to re-infestations if bed bugs are re-introduced into the bed, where they can feed and harbor without encountering a residual insecticide. If this situation occurs, you must become a detective. Here is a list of items that have been discovered to be responsible for the reintroduction of bed bugs after service. How many do you recognize?
- Stuffed animals and baby dolls.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
- Purses, handbags and backpacks.
- Boxes of “stuff.”
- Client’s vacuum cleaner.
- Wheelchairs, walkers and prosthetics.
- Client’s vehicle.
- And my favorite: a firearm that spends the night at-the-ready under the client’s pillow.
There are specific remediation strategies for these items, but we must first identify the source and educate our clients. Bed bugs are predictable; people are less so.