Does bed bug fumigation work? This guide discusses preparation steps, chemical fumigants, safety tips, and side effects resulting from exposure.
If you have a bed bug problem, no one needs to tell you how urgent you need a solution.
However, completely exterminating these bugs depends on what methods you use. In other words, specific control strategies are considered more effective than others.
Fumigation is one of the most reliable ways to tackle bed bug infestation, hence our focus on this extermination strategy.
Another suitable control method is bug heat treatment.
As you read through, you’d find comprehensive coverage on everything ‘fumigation’. We will guide you on what to expect and provide safety measures you must adopt.
Understanding the process is equally vital to having a bug-free home.
Bed Bug Fumigation Process for Apartments
The word fumigation may sound very simple, but it includes many procedures.
These include the
- inspection phase
- preparation for fumigation
- the fumigation itself as well as
- the need to adopt safety measures.
These steps and additional areas will be discussed here.
So, without delay, let’s begin our quest to find out what fumigating for bed bugs entails.
Do You Have a Bed Bug Problem?
Before fumigation is chosen as a control option for a home, property, or structure, the bed bug problem must be confirmed. More frequently than not, these insects are confused with other look-alikes.
However, bed bugs are not the only insect pests that feed on blood, as do fleas and ticks. You’ll need to capture one for identification.
Bed bugs are tiny oval-shaped, and flat creatures. Adult bed bugs should be about the size of apple seeds.
One of the things these pesky bugs have going for them is their ability to move quickly. Bed bugs do not fly; their bodies swell and turn reddish after a feeding session.
These are the essential characteristics to look out for when inspecting bed bugs. Cracks, crevices, and tight spots provide ample hiding spots too.
Calling a licensed bug control service is another alternative to inspecting for bed bugs yourself. This is a more thorough process that identifies the problem but finds a lasting solution by locating nesting or hiding spots.
A warranty usually backs bed bug fumigation by a licensed fumigation company.
Bed Bug Fumigation Preparation
Fumigation doesn’t begin and end with a pest management service. There are responsibilities already cut out for you.
These are essential measures and are always required by pest control services. Having said that, what are your responsibilities before fumigating for bugs? Several but are divided into two major categories: pre and post-fumigation preparations.
Lots of arrangements need to be put in place some days prior. Here is how to prepare for bed bug fumigation.
- First, you’d need to make plans for a lodging place. Your pest service should inform you of the number of days the job will last. This piece of information will help make your lodging preparations. You’d have to stay away for a few days for safety and to ensure a thorough job is done.
- Your family members and pets will all have to be moved out.
- Next is the blocking of all areas where pets could hide under structures. This helps prevent your pet or a stray animal from getting access.
- Vehicles and cars may need to be moved too. It depends on whether bed bugs haven’t infested them. Such vehicles won’t need to be moved if infested, as fumigation will include them.
- Your mail and gas services must be held off until treatment is entirely administered. It’s best to ask for a turn-off of your gas at least two days prior.
- Food storage is a vital step when preparing for bed bug fumigation. Fumigants are toxic and could easily poison exposed food. So, these would need to be taken out of the way. Foods and consumables you must remove include sauces, beverages, snacks, medicines, and drugs.
- Others include ingestible medications, supplements, animal feed, pet food, bread, chips, pasta, and cereal products. Of course, you won’t need to remove those in airtight metal, glass, plastic, or glass containers whose manufacturer’s seal hasn’t been tampered with.
- Vegetables, fruits, and all fresh food products should be removed. If you must bag them, seal them tightly in nylofume bags. Your fridge or freezer can be used to store these. Consider removing some partitions in your freezer or refrigerator to stack more of them in. However, the temperature tolerance for specific food items must be considered before putting them into your refrigerator.
- Check your pantry, cabinets, drawers, dressers, and cupboards for anything you need to move or store properly.
- Consider double bagging when using nylofume bags for double protection.
- When planning for bed bug fumigation, see that you don’t embark on significant grocery shopping. This should help reduce the risk that comes with exposure to toxic fumigants.
- Your personal effects and valuables must be removed before fumigation. Most insurance provided by pest management services does not cover thefts. You’d need to have all these taken care of before the pest control service arrives. Another way is to be present when safes are opened and inspected.
Setting Up a Controlled Environment
A controlled environment must be put in place for fumigation to be successful. So, how can one set up a controlled environment? Through the use of tarps.
Your entire home is enclosed in a tarp to concentrate the fumigant for maximum effect. Bed bugs are unable to survive this ordeal.
Bed Bug Fumigation Procedure
Fumigating for bed bugs is done using Vikane gas. This gas is colorless and odorless and permeates all areas of your home when released.
Pest management services will release this fumigant through pre-installed vents on tarps. These same vents are used to release the gas after treatment.
As mentioned earlier, a warning agent will need to be released first. This is done for the sole purpose of irritating, thereby driving away any person or pet that is still within the structure. The process takes 5 to 10 minutes before Vikane is released.
You don’t need to be around when the actual fumigation occurs. This is because pest technicians wear protective equipment such as gas masks which prevents them from inhaling the gas.
You should stay away altogether.
You shouldn’t handle bed bug fumigation due to the toxic chemicals used. Plus, you may not have the equipment to get the job done.
Even if you have such equipment, the required skill may still be lacking. So, allow experts to handle the task.
How long does bed bug fumigation take? The whole process will take 24 – 48 hours, depending on the size and nature of the structure being treated.
Bed Bug Fumigation Health Risks and Safety Tips
Is bed bug fumigation harmful? No, if you take the necessary precautions.
When fumigating for bed bugs, it’s a known fact that health risks are pretty high. However, such risks can be significantly minimized when precautionary tips are observed, which is why you must work closely with your bed bug fumigator.
They are there to offer you the best service possible. As such, they should be able to provide satisfactory answers to all pressing questions regarding risks and exposure to fumigants.
One of the ways pest fumigators enhance safety is through the use of a warning agent. This gas, used in small amounts, has a very irritating feel which should drive out anyone within the structure. Chloropicrin is most commonly used to achieve this objective.
A warning agent is a standard practice among pest control services. It is also a requirement of the EPA to limit the chances of persons getting exposed to toxic fumigants.
Another safety tip is the use of secondary locks. Remember to give the fumigation company unfettered access to your entire home. This is the only way to wipe out bed bugs altogether.
Pest control services use secondary locks as a precautionary measure to restrict entry into treated areas. At least until after such areas are considered safe enough.
After fumigation is completed, harmful gases may linger around cupboards, drawers, etc. To dissipate them easily and quickly, such areas are opened for air to flow through. Doing this will significantly reduce the waiting time for homes to be safe enough for re-entry.
Licensed fumigators also use specialized equipment for air testing. This device is meant to establish if the air is safe enough for people to move in. You must wait for your pest technician to give you the go-ahead to move in.
Some people will hold on for an extra day before moving into the treated property.
What to Do After Bed Bug Fumigation
Consider aerating your home when you get back. Put on the fans and open all windows. Also, consider calling a cleaning service to clean up after fumigation.
We recommend you ask for the opinion of your pest fumigation company before calling for a cleanup.
Bed Bug Fumigation Side Effects
Pesticide exposure is real and happens when utmost caution is not observed.
You’ll require urgent medical attention if exposed during or after a bed bug fumigation exercise. Additionally, you must move out of the contaminated (or fumigated) area fast enough.
Common side effects include nausea, dizziness, and lung, throat, and nose irritation. In severe cases, other symptoms include body weakness, vomiting, stinging eyes, and slurred speech.
These conditions may worsen if urgent medical help isn’t sought.
These are the basics of bed bug fumigation you must know. The knowledge of this procedure helps in no small measure to adequately prepare for the exercise.
We advise you to work closely with your fumigator to get the best result possible.