PCOC - Fall 2015 - (Page 14)
Is Bed Bug Heat
By Dini Miller Ph.D. and Molly Stedfast,
Department of Entomology, Dodson
Urban Pest Management Laboratory,
Multi-unit housing is a trillion dollar industry in the United States, and this industry suffers the greatest
financial impact from bed bug infestations. While media outlets like to focus on bed bugs in hotels and movie
theaters, they are strangely silent about the hundreds of thousands of bed bugs living and breeding in apartment
communities. Yet, it is from these housing facilities that bed bugs are brought into hotels, schools, theaters,
taxi cabs, gyms, spas and retail outlets.
There is a long list of the reasons why
apartments are particularly plagued with
bed bugs. But the major contributing factors
include: Residents not reporting bed bugs
until the infestation has grown and spread;
managers being grossed out by bed bugs
and ignoring them as long as possible; managers being eager to pass their bed bug problems off to any pest management company,
experienced or not; and apartment managers having very little bed bug knowledge,
so they accept any treatment that is offered
and provide no oversight to determine if
the treatment worked. Typically, multi-unit
housing managers do not even ask their pest
management company what is being used
to kill the bed bugs. Bed bug ignorance is
largely the reason why multi-unit housing
has paid, and continues to pay, astounding
amounts of money for bed bug remediation.
Apartment communities that paid little or
nothing for bed bug control in 2002, now
pay $100,000-$500,000 a year for bed bug
In 2011, the National Apartment
Association surveyed its members and found
bed bugs to be the single greatest topic of
concern. This concern is due to the costs and,
both in reputation and financial, associated
with bed bugs. At Virginia Tech, we began
delivering bed bug training programs to the
apartment management industry in 2008.
Local and regional apartment management
associations have become our regular client groups, requesting bed bug training for
housing and facilities managers.
www.pcoc.org / Fall 2015
One of the most commonly asked questions we hear from apartment managers is
"Which is better, chemical treatment or
heat? This sounds like an easy question,
but it is not. The question tells us that these
managers have bed bug experience, but they
are still looking for the "one size fits all"
answer. So let's quickly dispense with the
chemical question and focus on the "can of
worms" that is "heat."
Bed bugs are highly resistant to essentially all of the insecticides used for their
control. That being said, if we spray a liquid
formulation directly on the bed bug, we
can still get good kill. But can we expect
to kill a resistant bed bug that walks across
the residues of a liquid product applied last
week? No. Yet, even without any residual
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PCOC - Fall 2015
PCOC 2015 Pictorial Highlights
German Cockroach Control: Are Baits the Silver Bullet?
Is Bed Bug Heat Treatment Hot Enough for Multi-Unit Housing?
Insurance : Get the Facts Before They Get You: Accident Investigations & Employee Safety
State Capitol Report Do You Feel the Sunshine?
Firm Profile North American Home Services
Index to Advertisers
PCOC - Fall 2015