Our Sentricon Termite Services

What does Clegg’s and the White House have in common? The Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System.

This system uses the environmentally responsible Always Active Technology to eliminate termite colonies. Many of our nation’s precious landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall have adopted this technology to eradicate termite infestations.

How Sentricon Works

The Sentricon System contains Recruit HD Termite bait which works immediately once deployed. Once termites find these bait stations, they’ll begin feeding on it. In fact studies show that the termites prefer the bait over wood. The active ingredient in the bait, noviflumuron, prevents the worker termites from molting subsequently leading to their death. Termites also can’t detect noviflumuron so they keep feeding on the bait and distributing it to the colony.

Our Installation Process

  1. As an Authorized Operator, we first inspect the property for signs of termites.
  2. Sentricon Stations are placed strategically in the soil around the home. The simple installation requires no trenching or extensive digging.
  3. The bait is immediately available to termites upon entering the station.
  4. We return on a regular basis to monitor and re-bait the stations as needed.

Environmentally Responsible

The bait is used in limited amounts so that there is no threat to local underwater supplies. Sentricon also contains no label restrictions for use around wells or cisterns. This is the only termite control product awarded with the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

For more information regarding our termite control solution, visit the termite section of our website. You can also reach us 888 MR-CLEGG (888-672-5344) or request service online.

Home Remedy Fact or Myth: Does Chalk Actually Deter Ants?

Chalks and AntsMost people have witnessed a skillfully-executed home invasion conducted by ants. The small, yet intelligent creatures may be found in the kitchen near trash cans, sugar, and any other potential food source. Though it seems like ants can invade overnight, many people struggle much longer to get rid of the insects. One common remedy that is often used to deter ants is drawing a line around entry points using chalk. While many have successfully prevented ants from returning to their homes by using chalk, there is much debate regarding the reason this remedy actually works.

Some people argue that it is the talcum powder content of regular classroom or sidewalk chalk that keeps ants at bay by interfering with the insects’ sense of touch. Based on this reasoning, a line of baby powder can be substituted for chalk if chalk is unavailable. Others suggest that chalk or any sort of powdery line interferes with the chemical trails ants leave behind. According to this theory, ants that encounter a chalky, powdery line while following the chemical trail become confused and no longer have a clear path to follow into a person’s home. Still others argue that chalk that is made of the crushed shells of marine animals. The crushed shells contain calcium carbonate, which is believed by some to be a natural ant repellent.

It is important that consumers not confuse the classroom or sidewalk chalk remedy with ant chalk, also known as “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk” or Chinese chalk. Unlike common chalk that is used by teachers and children, ant chalk is a chemical insecticide that simply resembles classroom or sidewalk chalk. Consumers should avoid purchasing this product as it has been found that the product’s labels often do not comply with lead content regulations, and ant chalk has been alleged in cases of child poisoning.

While the exact reasoning may still be unclear, many people find drawing a chalk line to be an effective, natural way to deter ants. Chalk offers the benefit of being safe for animals and small children, and it is easy to clean up. However, if repeated attempts to use chalk as a barrier against ants fail, it is best to enlist the services of a qualified pest control company to assess the situation and deliver an effective solution.

When using any type of at home remedy such as chalk, keep in mind any pets and small children that you may have. Either keep the pets and children away from the chalk or take precautions to make sure they cannot be within reach of it around the house.

For professional help with your ant infestation calls Clegg’s today at 1-888-MR-CLEGG or contact us online.

Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lone_Chalk_Stick.JPG

The Firewood You’re Storing is Infested

Infested FirewoodAs it seems that the winter months will never end, many people are continuing to make preparations to help keep their homes warm. For many people, this involves gathering firewood for their fireplaces. It is important to remember that firewood can often house lots of insects, and when the firewood enters the home, the insects will enter as well. It is important that people are able to check their firewood for insects before bringing the wood into the home.

Types of Insects

One type of insect that can be found in firewood is beetles. Even if the person can no longer see a live beetle, the firewood can still contain beetle larvae. If beetle larvae are in the firewood, then it is possible for beetles to still surface several years later.

A second insect that can be found is carpenter bees. Firewood is a place that these insects love to build their nests. Similar to beetles, carpenter bees can also leave their larvae inside of the firewood, and even if the bees are no longer present, the larvae will still cause these insects to emerge.

One of the most destructive insects that can be found inside of firewood is termites. Termites will only nest in wood; although termites prefer to house in wet wood, they can also be found in dry wood. When firewood that contains termites is brought indoors, the termites can move their location from the wood into the structure of the home.

How to Inspect the Wood

There are several ways to determine if insects are housed in the firewood. First, a visual inspection of the wood can help to determine this. If there are insects crawling on the top of the firewood or underneath the firewood, then the individual should note that the wood contains insects. Second, if the wood is beginning to rot quickly, then it is a good possibility that termites or carpenter ants are housed inside of it.

Best Ways to Prevent Insects

One of the best ways to prevent insects from entering firewood is to raise the firewood off the ground. If the firewood is not on the ground, the insects will be least likely to find it and house within it. The second way to prevent insects is to make sure the firewood is stored in a cool and dry place. Most insects prefer wet wood, so if the wood is dry and healthy, the insects will look for somewhere else to live.

If you’ve just discovered an infestation brought into your home, call Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control at 1-888-MR-CLEGG or reach us online.

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asian_longhorned_beetle.jpg

Mouse Sighting in the Office: What Should You Do?

MouseA mouse sighting in your office can be stressful, creating problems not only for you but also for your employees and clients. Because mice can spread diseases like Hantavirus or carry ticks and lice that spread other diseases, there is a significant health concern at the point a mouse is identified in your facility. Additionally, employees may react fearfully, an issue that can prove counterproductive for your business. Sanitation issues can be especially serious if your facility handles consumable goods, but it’s important to deal with the problem quickly and efficiently no matter what your business focus may be. Working with a pest control company that uses a comprehensive approach to managing issues with mice is an important first step.

Rodent Access

As your pest control professional deals with ridding your office of mice, you will need to consider some steps to avoid attracting the creatures in the future. In some cases, activity in your district may lead to the increased activity of rodents in the area. Construction is an example. In other cases, structural deterioration may have created a point of access. Mice can make their way through very small holes, and they can do a lot of damage once they are able to nest in your facility. Your pest professional will investigate for signs of additional critters, and will attempt to identify the presence of nests. You may want to engage in a comprehensive sealing effort to ensure that access is eradicated. Consider using steel wool in conjunction with sealing materials to limit the ability of mice to chew back into an area.

Attractions for Pests

Another major concern may be food policies in your office setting. It’s important to restrict consumption of food to designated kitchen and break areas so that crumbs aren’t easily found by hungry mice. A thorough cleaning routine should be instituted for your dedicated eating areas. Additionally, it’s important to encourage responsible food management on the job as your employees can make a major difference in the success of your efforts.

Professional Support

Limiting the access rodents have to your facility can be important for protecting your office equipment and important systems. Rodents can chew through wiring, affecting your phone system, electricity or Internet connections. In addition to adapting office policies to avoid attracting pests, it’s wise to work with your pest control expert from Clegg’s to monitor for additional pests or recurring breaches of your facility over a period of time. You can call Clegg’s at 1.888.MR.CLEGG to get help today contact us online.

Image via: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/House_mouse.jpg

Bring the Heat to Remove Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Heat Treatment MachineBed bugs are at an all-time high as of late. They’ve been popping up all over the place including motels, resorts, luggage, and unfortunately your home.

The silver lining in all of this is that, contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not carry any diseases. They are just a nuisance and cause mild to severe skin irritation when bitten.

If you believe your home is infested with bed bugs, Clegg’s will provide a FREE inspection. Our detection methods are extremely effective and adorable. We currently have two trained bed bug detection dogs, Smoke and Rambo. K9 inspections may require fees for commercial sites. We can go on about them all day but we already have in a previous post.

Once bed bugs have been detected, it is on to the treatment phase. Lucky for you our treatment processes are just as effective as our bed bug detection dogs. If there are no extenuating circumstances, our team can be in and out of a standard size home within 12 hours including prep and treatment time.

Our team uses and has been trained by Pest Heat. This heat treatment system delivers controlled, high volumes of heat to targeted areas. We blast infested areas with heat ranging from 120 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours.

This type of treatment effectively kills bed bugs in all forms of their life cycle from eggs to adults. This approach is chemical free and environmentally friendly.

If you happen to notice bed bugs or any signs of bed bugs, contact Clegg’s at 1-888-672-5344. You can also contact us online or request service.

January 2014 News: It’s Cold Outside!

In this issue of our newsletter: Brrr…It’s Cold Outside; Bed Bugs: Fact or Fiction; and Termites and New Construction.

Brrr…What a Cold Snap!

Clegg's Pest Control | Nuisance Wildlife | Deer MouseJust a reminder: when it gets really cold outside, mice and rats may decide your home looks like a great place to hang out. They may get into your house through small holes and cracks and make nests in the walls or your attic. Some signs that you have these furry visitors may include scratching noises in the walls, droppings, or urine stains soaking through the drywall. You may also see small bits of chewed materials like paper, drywall or insulation, or notice electrical problems if they happen to chew through wires! If you believe you have a problem with mice or rats (or any other nuisance wildlife), give Clegg’s a call before they do more damage.

Bed Bugs: Fact or Fiction?

adult female bed bug

Adult female bed bug (enlarged).

When it comes to identifying and treating bed bugs, there is a lot of incorrect information out there. Since we deal with bed bugs every day, the team at Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control wanted to provide some answers to frequently asked questions (a bed bugs FAQ) on what works and what doesn’t. Learn how to identify these annoying insects, which home detection products work, and why cold doesn’t always kill bed bugs in this new article on bed bugs.

Read more…

Termites and New Construction

Call Clegg's Termite and Pest Control to prevent termite damageNorth Carolina law requires that new home builders provide termite treatment for the homes they build. These treatments must be on the approved list maintained by the NC Department of Agriculture – Structural Pest Control and Pesticide Division. Most builders use a soil applied liquid termiticide that is effective for around five years. It is important that homeowners be proactive and have their homes retreated after five years (or install a termite baiting system like Sentricon®) and inspected annually to keep termites from causing property damage. Learn more about termites…

 

 

 

Common Pest Control Questions Our Techs Are Asked

Our pest control technicians hear some great questions from customers. From termites to roaches to spiders, people want to understand the pests that get into their homes and know what to do about them. We want to share some of these common pest control questions and hope you find the answers helpful.

Why should I use a pest control company when I could do it myself?

In some cases homeowners can successfully treat pest problems, however it is important to note that many over-the-counter products are not always as strong or effective as professional products. This can lead to the insects building up resistance to the products and making the problem worse. We have also seen instances where homeowners have not followed the label directions and ended up creating dangerous conditions in their homes by applying home-remedy pesticides incorrectly.Some pesticides are intended for outdoor use only. If “outdoor use only” products are applied indoors it can be dangerous for the health of the occupants. Pest control professionals have knowledge of the insect’s behavior patterns, allowing them to find and treat the pest problem more effectively. Finally, certain types of infestations (bed bugs and termites are good examples) are very difficult to treat and are best handled by a professional.

Are the products you use dangerous to my family?

It is important to know that no pesticide is 100% safe, simply because all pesticides are designed to eliminate insects. Clegg’s however, uses the most current methods and products for the safest pest management possible. Pesticides applied by our technicians are targeted where the insects hide, reducing the risks to your family. Your family’s safety is our first priority.

How are these pests getting into my house?

Practically speaking, homes cannot be 100% airtight. Pests come in through cracks and crevices, or doors and windows. Understanding each type of insect and its normal behavior pattern can help determine how it is coming into your home. As an example, the most commontype of termites in North Carolina are subterranean termites. These insects can invade your home at or below ground level through cracks in the foundation, pipes entering the home, high moisture areas, or untreated wood that is touching the soil. If your home has not had a preventive termite treatment, your chances for having termites are high. Subterranean termites are cryptic in nature. You may not even know they are there until significant damage has occurred. On the other hand, fleas and ticks are more likely to come in through the front door by hitching a ride on you, rodents,or Fido.

Is it better to use termite bait stations (like Sentricon) vs. do periodic treatments?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both treatment methods. Most builders in North Carolina use a liquid termiticide to treat the foundation area of all new homes (a preventative termite treatment is required by law). Because the treatment is done before the house is completely built, the termite treatment company is easily able to apply the termiticide to all areas. This treatment lasts around 5 years. When it’s time to retreat the property, some homeowners – especially those with slab construction—are uncomfortable with having holes drilled around the foundation and/or trenches dug outside and inside crawl spaces for the treatment. Some homeowners may have high moisture areas or they may be concerned with the impact of some types of liquid termiticides on the environment.  It is important to note that there is a new liquid termiticide that only affects termites- Altriset® (Syngenta). Altriset specifically paralyzes the jaw muscles of termites, and therefore will not harm beneficial insects like honey bees. Altriset is termed a “reduced risk” insecticide by the Environmental Protection Agency, and therefore has no signal word like other EPA pesticides require.

These homeowners may be happier with a termite bait system like the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System®. Bait systems do not require an initial chemical treatment, but instead involve setting bait stations at specified distances around the perimeter of the home. Pieces of wood are left in the stations and monitored for termite activity. If activity is seen, termiticide baits are placed in the stations for the termites to take back to the colony. Termiticide baiting methods are constantly improving. As a result we have access to newer technologies like the Always Active® Sentricon system. The Always Active baiting system has the active ingredient present year round, reducing the need for us to check throughout the year. We come out once a year to check for activity and to replace any bait necessary. Regardless of which termite system you choose, we recommend homeowners have an annual termite inspection to monitor their homes.

How long will a termite treatment last?

Liquid termite treatments typically last for 5 years, though our termite and pest control professionals suggest you have your home inspected annually in order to maintain your warranty. Bait systems are monitored on a quarterly basis, or yearly if you have the Sentricon Always Active system.

Will Clegg’scome back if the bugs do?

Yes. With Clegg’s quarterly pest control service, we will come back out if you experience any bug issues. Note that it sometimes takes up to two weeks for treatments to work (our technician will let you know the expected time frame), but if the problem recurs we’ll be there.

How long does it take the pest treatment to work?

This depends on the type of treatment and type of pest problem. In most cases, insecticides applied directly to the insects work immediately. In other cases (like when using liquid termiticides or insecticidal baits), the insect carries the poison back to the colony without even knowing and control takes days to weeks. Our pest technicians will give you an idea of how long to wait to allow the treatment to work before asking for a callback.

Why can’t I get rid of the spiders?

Spiders can be a challenge in that any pest control treatment must be sprayed on them directly to be effective. Walking through a trail of pesticide will not kill them. On a positive note, most spiders in North Carolina are not poisonous.

What steps can I take to help keep the pests out of my house?

There are a variety of things you can do to make your house less attractive to the pests. Like humans, most pests are looking for water, food and shelter. You have to make it hard for them to get these necessities at your house! We recommend several steps:

  • Starting at the foundation level, seal cracks and crevices;
  • Make sure your soffit and fascia are secure and any air vents leading into the attic are small enough to prevent bats or other animals from getting in (you may need to line the inside with a breathable mesh;
  • In your crawl space (or bathrooms if you have a slab foundation) seal around all water pipes going into the house;
  • Trim all bushes and tree branches away from your house;
  • Clean your house’s gutters regularly to help prevent ants and roaches;
  • Store wood piles away from the house, and pull wood mulch back from the foundation;
  • Inside, check for cracks in the caulk around your windows and repair, as needed;
  • Keep your kitchen clean and carefully wipe up food spills;
  • If you have pets, ask your veterinarian about flea and tick preventatives;

If you see signs of an infestation, treating sooner rather than later will make it easier to get rid of your pest problem.

Do you treat my lawn for insects, too?

Clegg’s standard pest prevention treatment includes treatment of the interior of your home and the perimeter of your home. In some case we will recommend treating the lawn as well if, for example, there are areas where fleas and ticks are found abundantly in your lawn.

How can I avoid bringing bed bugs into my house?

Bed bugs are notorious for hitching rides on luggage, bags, briefcases, purses and clothing. Once in your home, they can quickly begin to infest your living space. If you are traveling, make certain to check the room where you’ll be staying (read our article on how to avoid bed bugs while traveling) for signs of the bugs. In your daily activities, avoid placing your handbag or briefcase on the floor and just be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to completely avoid these nuisance bugs. The best thing you can do is to contact a pest professional immediately if you see signs (like fecal staining on mattresses, or insect skins) you might have bed bugs in your house.

All of a sudden I am seeing silverfish all over the upstairs. Where did they come from?

Silverfish are crawling insects (silver or light brown in color and up to ¾” long) that prefer warmer environments (70-80 degrees) and humidity. They live quite a while—usually from 2-8 years—and will eat paper (watch those valuable books), paste, flour and grains, and sometimes cloth or dried meats. While some have suggested a dirty house draws silverfish, this is not necessarily true. They prefer dark, damp spaces (basements, bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas) and can survive for long periods of time without food. They are considered nuisances, but do not cause disease. You may have silverfish in your home and not know it. Over the counter traps may attract individual insects but are not very effective in getting rid of an infestation. Professional pest control services are usually required.

Why do the ants keep coming back?

Ants can get into your house through very tiny openings, and it’s sometimes hard to identify exactly how they are getting in. Even if the initial problem is treated and resolved, other ant colonies may find their way into your home looking for moisture or food, especially if outside conditions are extreme (too dry, too wet, etc.).

I just moved and discovered there are Smoky Brown roaches in my new house. How can I get rid of them?

There are several types of roaches common to North Carolina and they have different food and nesting preferences. The Smoky Brown cockroach can fly and may come into your home through the attic, especially when it gets cold. The Smoky Brown requires easy access to water so you may see these roaches in the bathrooms or kitchen area. They will eat many things but seem to prefer decaying vegetation. Limiting access to your home by sealing entry points and removing vegetation close to the house will help keep these pests out. We recommend calling a pest control professional to treat the existing infestation.

Sometimes I see weird bugs. Why?

We call many of these insects “occasional invaders.” Some examples are insects like springtails and earwigs that enter your home during times of high rainfall, or randomly enter through gaps and cracks in your home. The easiest way to reduce their entry is to weather-seal your doors and caulk any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior. We also recommend treating the perimeter of your home to reduce their population (treating mulched areas and planting beds is essential).

If you have pest control questions or need help identifying an insect, our experts are ready to help. Email your pest questions to us, send a photo to our Certified Entomologist, or post your question/photo on our Facebook page.

Commercial Pest Control Issues: Rats

Clegg's Pest Control | Nuisance Wildlife | Roof Rats

If you have a commercial business, you will likely have an issue at some point with rats. Our commercial pest control team is seeing an increasing number of calls for help removing rats, with a large number of these calls involving roof rats. Certain types of businesses are more prone to rat infestations. These include farms, feed mills, produce warehouses, and restaurants, among others, though all businesses and residences may have problems with rats.

How do I know if I have rats?

Until you have a full blown infestation, you may not see any rats. They are usually nocturnal and prefer to hide from people. They will, however, leave evidence of their presence. Things to look for:

  1. Rat droppings
  2. Chewed wood, walls and baseboards
  3. Dirt or grease marks along their commonly traveled paths
  4. A musky odor (sometimes difficult to detect in larger or more open buildings)
  5. Small footprints along their traveled paths (when dirty or dusty)
  6. Smashed or damaged vegetation around their point of entry and egress
  7. Live or dead rats

As one of our team members says, “If you are seeing rat activity, you may have a bigger problem than you think!”

Are they Norway rats or roof rats?

Roof rats are a non-native species brought into the US through shipping and found most commonly in coastal areas of North Carolina (and the southeast), though they are moving inland. We are such a mobile society that many non-native species can easily “hitch a ride” on ships, trains and trucks as goods are transported from place to place. Roof rats are around 10-18” including their tails. They prefer warmer climates, and like to nest up high near the roof, hence the name.

Norway rats are very common in North Carolina. They are slightly larger than roof rats and are the more aggressive species – out-competing the roof rats at ground level. Norway rats do not occupy the same space as roof rats. Norway rats construct burrows. Often times the nests are made in crawlspaces, or near planting beds outdoors near buildings. Food preferences are different, as well, with Norway rats preferring meats and roof rats preferring fruits. But they will feed on whatever the environment has to offer.

How do I keep rats out of my business?

There are several things you can do to make your building less attractive to rats. First, focus on sanitation. Make sure the property is clean, debris is removed promptly, and no food is left out. Empty trash early and often and, if possible, keep your exterior dumpster away from the building. The second thing you should do is look at ways the rats might enter your building and eliminate their access (we call this “exclusion”). Ensure that doors and windows are sealed and holes and cracks patched. It doesn’t take a very large crack for rats to get in. Rats are also good climbers, so look for any easy paths they may take up to your roof. Keep landscaping trimmed away from the building and look for openings at the roofline where they may access the structure.

How do you get rid of rats?

Just like people, rats need water, food and shelter to survive. If you eliminate their access to these things in your building, they won’t want to move in. In addition to making your business less accessible through exclusion methods, you must remove the existing population. We typically use a combination of baits and traps. Each situation is different, so we create a customized treatment plan that takes into account the type(s) and number of rats, location of the infestation, access points we can identify, and even the type of business.

Do rats carry diseases?

Yes. Rats urinate constantly as they go through their environment, possibly spreading disease. Salmonella may be transmitted through urine and feces. Some rats may carry Hantaviruses that can cause serious complications and death in humans. This is more commonly seen in drier climates like the southwestern U.S. Rats may also carry leptospirosis or cause rat bite fever. In addition, they may carry fleas and ticks (which carry even more diseases) into your environment. Learn more about these diseases on the Centers for Disease Control website.

Are mice infestations treated the same way?

Some techniques are the same, but mice and rats are different animals with different behavior and activity patterns. We do tend to rely on more trapping methods with mice and bait methods with rats.

What else do I need to know about rats?

If you see any signs of rat activity, you should have a pest control professional check it out. The longer the rats are there, the more damage they will do. Rats also breed quickly, so a small infestation can rapidly turn into a large one.

A special note for food-related businesses

We often hear farmers and packers say that rats have always been around their business and always will be. Times are changing, and with an increased industry and consumer awareness of food safety, accepting rat infestations as status quo is no longer acceptable. Food industry businesses should be more aware of potential rat infestations and be proactive in eliminating them.

If you suspect you may have a rodent problem, contact Clegg’s today to schedule an appointment to have your premises checked. Waiting will only allow an existing rat infestation to get worse. If you have questions about rat issues, feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MR-CLEGG.

Bed Bugs FAQ: Fact and Fiction

When it comes to identifying and treating bed bugs, there is a lot of incorrect information out there. Since we deal with bed bugs every day, the team at Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control wanted to provide some answers to frequently asked questions (a bed bugs FAQ) on what works and what doesn’t.

Identifying Bed Bugs

adult female bed bug

Adult female bed bug (enlarged).

You may be able to identify bed bugs yourself by looking for the signs, including live bugs, exoskeletons along the edges of your mattress and box spring, blood spots on the mattress or linens, or evidence of bug bites. There are home kits that you can purchase to test for bugs. The most effective of these is a saucer that contains a powder. Once they crawl into the saucer, they cannot get out. You can check the saucer daily to see if you catch any bed bugs. Alternately, most pest control companies (Clegg’s included) offer free residential bed bug inspections. If bed bugs are found, the pest technician can then provide a treatment plan for your review.

Treating Bed Bugs

Pesticides

Bed bugs are notoriously resistant to pesticides, and many pesticides are dangerous, especially when sprayed in a sleeping area or around children and pets. Most safe pesticides do not leave residuals, meaning the bugs must come in contact with the pesticide before it dries. Bed bugs are good at hiding in cracks and crevices, so it can be hard to spray them all. In addition, the insecticide levels in most over-the-counter pesticides are low. This can result in the bed bugs building up immunity to the pesticide, making it even harder to get rid of them for good. For fact sheets on specific pesticides, check the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Alcohol

Some folks recommend using alcohol as a temporary measure. The alcohol can kill the bed bugs if you spray them directly, and it can help to dehydrate any eggs you spray; however, in our experience, alcohol is not very effective and only delays resolving the problem.

Treating with cold

According to recent research, in order to consistently kill bed bugs in a cold environment, they must be exposed to temperatures of 3 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 80 hours. If you do have a freezer that enables you to maintain these low temperatures, you can treat smaller items like kids stuffed toys or non-washable items by sealing them in plastic bags in the infected room (you don’t want to spread the bed bugs as you move through your house) and putting them in the freezer for a week or two.

Steam treatments

Some companies treat infestations with steam. This will kill bed bugs, however the steam comes from hot water and can cause damage to wallpaper, some paints and some furnishings.

Treating with heat

Currently the most effective way to treat bed bug infestations is using dry heat. Thermal heat treatments use equipment to bring the infected area up to a minimum temperature between 130 and 150 degrees and maintain the heat at that level for a period of time. This ensures that both live bugs and eggs are killed. A surface temperature of 120 degrees is lethal to the bugs, but the treatment temperature must be higher than that to ensure all areas (including between walls) are hot enough.

We have heard of companies that use electric heaters and go room to room to treat the house. Unfortunately, electric heaters generally cannot reach and sustain sufficiently high temperatures over a large enough area to effectively remove an infestation. Commercial LP gas heaters can achieve the necessary temperatures.

Microwaving

We have read stories of individuals trying to microwave library books to ensure they don’t have bed bugs. This can create a fire hazard and ruin the books (replacing library books can be expensive!). We don’t recommend it.

Kerosene, Diesel and Gasoline

All we can say is, DON’T DO IT! While these liquids will kill bed bugs, they are flammable and are all health hazards. We have seen several news stories over the past few years where people have tried to treat bed bugs themselves using these substances and ended up burning down their homes. Stay away from these fuels.

Boric acid or similar powders

Others have tried treating bed bugs on their own using boric acid or other powders. In one case, there was so much powder laying on the surfaces of a home we were called to inspect, we would not take our bed bug dog inside due to the risk he would inhale the powder. We don’t recommend using these products.

Hard to treat items

Some items that are attractive to bed bugs – like Hoverounds®, wheelchairs and cars – are hard to treat. There are products that are effective in using an aroma to kill the bugs. These strips are placed in a sealed area (for example, we would place a Hoveround in a large bag with the strips and seal it or place inside the car and leave it closed) and left for 72 hours. These aroma strips are very effective when directions are followed.

Cleaning and de-cluttering

Removing clutter from your home is a good start to getting rid of bed bugs. They prefer to live in dark, enclosed spaces like behind headboards, under baseboards, and in cracks and crevices. It will help to remove items you don’t use (seal them in plastic before you remove them) and thoroughly clean and vacuum your home, sealing and tossing the vacuum cleaner bag. This will not remove all the bed bugs, but will give the ones that remain fewer places to hide and make it easier for a pest professional to treat the area. You should also wash bed linens regularly in hot water (at least 120 degrees) and dry them on high heat. When you remove linens to wash them, do place them in a plastic bag to transport to the laundry room and seal and dispose of the plastic bag afterwards.

Do I have to throw out my furniture?

Not usually. In most cases, when bed bugs are professionally treated your furnishings will also be effectively treated. The exception would be mattresses or upholstered pieces that were already damaged, allowing bed bugs deep into the upholstery. In such cases, treatments may not be effective in killing bugs that are protected by layers of padding. If you have expensive mattresses you believe are infested, you may wish to use high quality mattress encasements to suffocate the existing bugs and prevent new ones from moving in. Damaged upholstered furniture may not be treatable. Also note that some inexpensive furniture that is made from particleboard with a plastic or vinyl coating may not hold up through a heat treatment.

Should I move?

No! The bed bugs will just move with you. Even if you leave the house with the clothes on your back, you run the risk of taking along a hitchhiker and starting the cycle all over again. It’s best to treat the bugs in your home and inspect on a regular basis after treatment. Once the bed bugs have been gone for at least two months, you should be okay to move without risking contaminating your new living space. If you are planning on moving into a new home, you may wish to have a pest professional do a pre-move-in inspection.

Do bed bug encasements work?

A high quality bed bug encasement used on your mattress and box spring will suffocate any bugs still in the mattress and prevent more bed bugs from accessing the mattress. This is not a solution to the overall problem, but does make it easier to identify and deal with future problems. We recommend that anyone who has their home treated for bed bugs use encasements on all mattresses and box springs in the house and leave them in place for a minimum of 24 months.

How can I make sure bed bugs don’t come back?

Having your house professionally treated will go a long way toward ensuring the infestation is eradicated. It’s also important to watch closely for signs of new bugs. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method to keep bed bugs out of your house. If you are exposed to bed bugs that someone else has brought to a public location (or brought into your home), you may transport these bugs home with you. It is important to be vigilant!

A special note: we have recently heard of companies saying they will treat infestations on a room by room basis. This is not effective! You must treat the entire living area to ensure the infestation is removed. Even one bed bug in a second room in the house can begin the cycle all over again.

Not sure if you have bed bugs? Call Clegg’s today and schedule a free residential bed bug inspection. If you do have bed bugs, our team will put together a treatment plan to resolve your bed bug problem.

Clegg’s “12 Pests Of Christmas” Infographic

What would Christmas be without some caroling?

Here at Clegg’s we like to get into the holiday spirit in our own way. So this year we decided to add a twist to the always delightful, “12 Days of Christmas”. We took a heaping of holiday spirit, a pinch of pests, and a dash of interesting facts to create the “12 Pests of Christmas”.

From our families to yours, have a wonderful holiday season!

Now join us as we spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear, the “12 Pests of Christmas”!

Click on the graphic to enlarge.12 Pests Of Christmas Infographic

To share this graphic directly on your own site, feel free to use the embed code below!

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