The most effective way to deal with a bed bug infestation is to hire a Pest Management Professional (PMP), frequently known as an “Exterminator”. If you try to control bed bugs on your own you are likely to fail. When looking for a PMP take the time to do some research and find a good company. The cheapest may not be the best option.
Questions to Ask the Pest Management Professional
When looking for a PMP to help you, we recommend that you ask the following questions:
- Are they licensed? Ask to see the issued license before work commences.
- Does your company carry liability insurance?
- Is the company affiliated with the National Pest Management Association? (The NPMA has drafted best management practices for their members to follow).
- Check with the Better Business Bureau to learn if the company has a complaint history.
- How much experience does the company and applicator have inspecting and treating for bed bugs? What kind of training do employees receive, and how often?
- What is the company’s standard procedure for dealing with bed bug infestations?
- What is the length of the treatment?
- What are your (as the customer) responsibilities in helping control the infestation?
- Ask the PMP if follow up visits, after the initial treatment, are part of the management plan?
- If a heat treatment is planned, does the company also use a supplemental insecticide?
- What safety precautions need to be taken during a bed bug treatment?
- Effective insecticide treatments may require three types: residual chemicals that have a specific duration, immediate acting (chemicals that come in contact with bed bugs), and dust (applied to hiding areas of bed bugs away from human activity).
Reviewing the Contract
When you have selected the pest control company that you would like to hire, carefully review the contract for:
- Company name, address, contact information
- Details on work to be completed
- Insecticides or treatment methods to be applied
- Any pre-treatment instructions you will need to follow
- Start/end date and dates for follow up visits (if necessary)
- License and insurance coverage offered by the company
- Any possible exclusions, cancellation policy, and arbitration clause to settle disputes
If insecticide products are to be applied, you can request a copy of the product label and copies of the material safety data sheet (MSDS). Reputable pest control companies will provide these documents and review them with their clients as part of their service contract.
Preparation for Treatment
Prior to the treatment date follow any instructions supplied by the PMP. Following these instructions is critical for successfully controlling bed bugs and may include:
- Laundering your clothing and bedding
- Reducing clutter, picking up all objects from the floor
- Making physical repairs to your home
- Moving furniture and items so perimeter of room is accessible
- Emptying closets, bedside tables and dressers
- Encasing mattresses and box springs
After the Pest Management Professional has completed treatment, contact the company if you have concerns or questions.