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So Many Treatments, So Little Education

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As an owner of a pest control company, I am often asked what type of treatment is most effective in ridding a home of bedbugs. To determine how to tackle your current infestation, you need the facts. And that is where I come in. Learning your options is an important first step in eradicating your home of those little critters we have come to know all too well. There are several treatment options currently available and they all have their pros and cons.

Once you have determined that you have bedbugs, either by a canine bedbug inspection or by seeing the signs yourself, it is critical to act promptly and with a sense of urgency. The earlier you catch an infestation, the less time -- and, most importantly, money -- you'll need to spend ridding your home of those unwelcome guests.

I've outlined some of the most common bedbug eradication techniques to help you determine the best solution for your infestation:

Thermal remediation involves treating your home or office with high temperatures that reach in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit to adequately eradicate a space infested with bedbugs. Thermal remediation is typically completed in one visit, which generally takes 10 to 12 hours from start to finish. Every crack and crevice must reach the desired temperature to solve your problem completely. When choosing this treatment, it is important to partner with a company that has experience in properly executing thermal remediation. When carried out correctly, this process can quickly eradicate your space of bedbugs. But if you cut corners, you may still have bedbugs after completion. Another important tip: Thermal remediation requires the removal of items that would be affected by the heat, such as wax candles, firearms and explosives, aerosol cans, batteries and other items.

Chemical extermination of bedbugs requires a lengthy preparation. The average prep time runs between one to three days including, but not limited to, the full processing of all clothing, linens, curtains and other fabrics (done by washing and drying or dry-cleaning). Necessary preparation can also include reducing clutter, emptying drawers and much more. Many items are required to be placed in sealed bags, which must remain this way for the entire treatment.

And then there is the actual treatment process. A properly executed chemical treatment requires three treatments, spaced out evenly over a six-week period. The time involved with each chemical treatment varies from location to location, usually taking approximately one to two hours. The first treatment, however, can run anywhere from two to eight hours depending on the size of the property.

The chemical extermination process uses products that are considered residual contact sprays. This means the chemicals not only kill bedbugs and eggs on contact, but last in between treatments, giving you complete coverage even when the pest control company is not present.

Although chemical treatments are time-intensive, they are effective in eradicating an infestation once completed. Choosing a company that is not only licensed but has a track record of eradication infestation using this method is very important when making your treatment selection. You always want to know what chemicals are being used within your home or office, so don't be afraid to request labels.

Cryonite® is a non-toxic pest control treatment that kills bedbugs on contact that has been used in Europe for years. The Cryonite machine sprays CO2 snow at -110 degrees Fahrenheit. Many find this treatment to be effective in situations when your bedbug infestation has become resistant to chemical treatments. It does come at a price, but it is fast and thorough. Many companies will pair this with a chemical treatment, a combination that has proven to be an effective treatment for successfully eradicating bedbugs.

Green-certified or eco-friendly bedbug treatments are frequently requested. There are many products on the market that are considered "green." For example, you can consider heat and Cryonite a green alternative to pesticides. When speaking with pest control companies that offer environmentally safe options, ask them if they are "green certified" and what their green service menu consists of. Take into consideration that not all treatments that are considered "green" are truly eco-friendly. Make sure you ask what the treatment consists of and research the effectiveness of the products.

Once your bedbug infestation is eradicated, consider preventative treatments to keep them from coming back. A pest control company can provide preventive treatment solutions that will help you limit your exposure to having a second or third infestation.

If you are thinking about trying to tackle your bedbug infestation alone in an attempt to save time and money, keep in mind that these evasive pests are unlike any other insect we currently see. There is no easy way to rid your home of bedbugs, and 99 percent of the time a pest control professional is needed. If you try over-the-counter treatments, be sure to follow the instructions closely and use the products on the correct surfaces and objects.

Finally, the big question -- what about price? There is a pest control company out there to meet most budgets. Do your research and get estimates. Remember, when trying to identify a bedbug infestation, free isn't always the way to go.

It is important not to get caught up in the hysteria of the bedbug epidemic. Education is key to staying bedbug free, so partner with the right company and make sure you stay informed. If you should have a question, feel free to find me on Twitter @GotchaBedBugs and on Facebook.com/GotchaBedBugInspectors.

Educating yourself on the signs and using a protective barrier treatment like Pronto Plus® bedbug spray can help lower your chances of picking up a bedbug and bringing it into your home or vehicle. Spray your bed, pocketbook, briefcase, office, and car to kill bedbugs and their eggs on contact.

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Michael Colongione is a spokesperson for Pronto Plus, manufactured by Insight Pharmaceuticals. The advice and opinions he expresses in this article are his own.