Condo Media - April 2018 - 30

When BedTurn
Bugs
Bite
up the Heat
B

ed bugs surfaced as a major concern (maybe it
would be more accurate to say they crawled or
crept into the news) several years ago, with reports
of infestations in major hotels and multi-family
dwellings, including condominiums. Though the pests
haven't garnered many headlines of late, they do pop up
occasionally-most recently in reports that Baltimore, for
the second consecutive year, has won the dubious distinction of "bed bug capital" in the U.S., based on the number
of requests for remediation services.
Those requests are typically triggered when the occupants of a home see evidence of the bugs or suffer from
the bites they inflict. As with mold, the remediation process
begins with a visual inspection: "If it's a serious infestation,
you can see the bugs," or at least see the brownish spots
on a mattress, for example, that indicate their presence,
Paula Solemina, director of marketing for Pro-Care, Inc.,
says. Technicians check where the heat-seeking bugs are
most likely to gather-in mattresses, behind picture frames,
in the screw-holes of furniture, in couches, and behind
electrical outlets.

ELIMINATING OR TREATING
There are two options for dealing with a bed bug infestation, Paula explains: High-heat technology and chemicals.
Heat is the preferred approach, Paula says, if you have
identified the source of the infestation and eliminated it.
A common example: An employee transports bugs from an
infested workplace. Treating the problem in the workplace
and in the home should eliminate it.
When you can't identify or eliminate the source of the
bed bugs, regular chemical applications can control the
problem, Paula explains. Because high heat works quickly,
she notes, it can provide immediate relief from an infestation in situations when ongoing chemical treatments will
be required.
Eliminating bed bugs from a dwelling requires dry
cleaning and/or exposing everything in it to high heat.
"Preparation is the most important part of the process,"
Paula emphasizes. Any items that might melt must be
removed or stored where heat won't reach them. Candles,
for example, might be placed in a refrigerator, she suggests. Clothing, bed clothes, towels, and sheets-any objects in the infected area where bugs might hide-must be
pulled out of drawers and cabinets and either laid loosely
over furniture, where heat can reach them, or bagged,
sealed tightly, and transported carefully to a dry-cleaner
specializing in bed bug remediation.

BAG, SEAL, AND CLEAN
"You don't want to throw possibly infected clothing in a
laundry bag and carry it into an elevator and through the
lobby," Paula notes. The dry-cleaning service uses ultra-high
heat on the infected items and re-bags them in clean bags
for return once the unit has been treated.
Once prepped, the infested area is ready for heat, which
is pumped from a high-heat drying trailer. "It's a huge
furnace on wheels," Paula explains. If the trailer equipment
can't reach the unit, companies use portable, high-heat
electrical units placed in targeted areas instead.
The heat is cranked up to 120 degrees and is held there
for about two hours. The bed bugs are drawn to heat, Paula
explains. As the area begins to warm, they emerge from
their hiding places; exposure to the intense heat dehydrates
and kills them.
Post-testing by an independent service, using dogs
trained to smell the bugs, should confirm that the infestation has been eliminated. The dogs "are pretty accurate,"
Paula says. They are also the only viable testing option, she
notes. "No one has come up with anything better."

30

CONDOMEDIA



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - April 2018

Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB1
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - 2
Condo Media - April 2018 - 3
Condo Media - April 2018 - 4
Condo Media - April 2018 - 5
Condo Media - April 2018 - 6
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Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover4
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