Cowleys handles all of the pest control needs for an apartment complex in Normandy Beach. The property manager contacted Cowleys after a tenant had notified him that he was having a problem with bed bugs. Two bed bug specialists were immediately dispatched. Bed bug infestations in high density living arrangements like apartments, dormitories, and nursing homes are a top priority for us because of the potential of the infestation spreading to other units. The sooner we can address the problem, the higher the likelihood the infestation will stay localized. Bed bugs, parasites that feed off human blood, are stealth hitchhikers and move around on people and their belongings, easily crawling to new hosts. For example, in an apartment, that friendly tenant standing next to you in the elevator or laundry room may be carrying bed bugs.
Whenever we arrive at a bed bug job, we hope for the best, but are always prepared for the worst. Unfortunately, upon arrival, this particular job was the worst — a “code red” — a HIGH level bed bug infestation. Even for technicians who deal with these particular infestations daily and have seen at all, this particular infestation was extreme. You don’t see such heavy infestations unless its been going on for quite some time. For reasons undisclosed to us at the time of service, the tenant did not immediately report the problem to management. Unfortunately, with bed bug and roach infestations, this is an all-too-common problem. Sometimes, its not reported out of embarrassment. Sometimes, its fear of getting in trouble or getting evicted. Sometimes the tenant tries DIY methods that inevitably fail. And, sometimes tenants, especially those who are the elderly or have visual or mental impairments, aren’t aware of the severity of infestation and tolerates living with it.
We needed to deal with this infestation without delay. The heavily infested mattress and box spring was not salvageable, so the first order of business was to vacuum and encase these furnishing, and then immediately removed from the premises. We encase them to ensure that no bed bugs fall off while moving these infested materials through the halls and out of the building. The last thing we want to do in treating an infestation is to trigger an infestation elsewhere in the building.
After removing the mattress and box spring, we vacuumed every crack and crevice of the apartment. Once completed, we began a very thorough chemical application to all crack and crevice areas, which included all baseboards, trim work and pipe chases. Dusting the wall voids came next. We do this to ensure that bed bugs won't travel through the walls to adjoining apartments. Containment of the infestation is critical. Finally, we scheduled a two-week follow up to reinspect and perform any additional treatments as necessary.
Pest control technicians who deal with bed bugs are a pretty special group. Many techs want nothing to do with these particular infestations. Bed bugs are a particularly challenging infestation, and getting rid of them requires a meticulous attention to detail, a lot of patience and perseverance, and encouraging cooperation of certain tasks, such as removing clutter, in order to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. A bed bug specialist is one of those jobs that is not appreciated by the general public until we are needed. Once needed, we become indispensable lifesavers who can’t be thanked enough for removing these nightmarish biting bugs from homes and apartments.