What are some helpful resources for choosing a pest management professional?
Before you hire a professional, it makes sense to consult with your local health department and do your homework on pest management professionals. A few helpful guides are:
- Choosing a Pest Management Professional to Treat Bed Bugs – Heat Treatment – Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force (COBBTF)
- Hiring Pest Control Professionals brochure; questions to ask pest management control professionals, City of Cincinnati Health Department.
- See Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Safely, A Guide for Property Owners, Managers and Tenants, New York City, Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene.
What can tenants and homeowners do to control bed bugs on their own?
If you are a tenant and the landlord won’t treat the infestation or you are a homeowner unable to afford treatment, there are effective, low-cost methods of controlling bed bugs that will keep the population down and help prevent the spread of the bugs.
Many homeowners and tenants turn to pesticides. If you decide to seek out more potent weapons against bed bugs than the low-cost, non-toxic approaches listed below, do your homework and learn about the potential risks of these products, particularly to young children and unborn babies. Your local health department can usually help out with guidance on what works, what is a waste of money and how to apply products safely. Many “natural” pesticides are not EPA certified. You can search for EPA Registered pesticide products using EPA’s search tool.
The following techniques can be used to control infestations known to be in your home as well as prevent infestations from getting started after an exposure to bed bugs.
- Place infested items in garbage bags or plastic containers and seal tightly until you are able to wash the items or dispose of them. Hefty 33 gallon heavy-duty trash bags, 40 count, are about $13 at a big box retailer or .325 per bag. An 8-pack set of 7.5 gallon clear containers goes for $45 at a large retailer.
- Wash bedding, clothing and other washable household items in hot water and drying them on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes. Clean items must go into large garbage bags or plastic containers and carefully sealed. The Simple Dollar estimates the average cost to wash and dry at a coin-operated laundry (with minimal transportation cost included) is $3.00 per load.
- The laundry cost can be reduced in the short term if seasonal clothing and other items not in daily use can be sealed in large garbage bags or sealed plastic containers until they can be laundered or the bed bugs have died (one year or more).
- Scrubbing bed bug residue, including eggs, from infested items such as bed frames, mattresses, box springs, upholstered furniture, bottom of luggage – all infested items where traces of them are visible.
- A vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool and brush attachment is essential for cleaning floors, mattresses, box springs, bed frame, furniture, picture frames, baseboards, molding, etc. A new vacuum with a HEPA filter and attachments, that uses bags, not a dirt cup, will cost over $100.
- For more cleaning techniques prior to control or treatment, see Minimizing a Bed Bug Infestation by the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force.