37 Replies Latest reply: Nov 19, 2012 11:22 AM by stjvilla RSS

    Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

    Active Contributor

      There is an infestation of these critters in New York... today it is reported they are on planes... what is the best line of defence for us owners to make sure we don't allow an infestation to take hold?


        • Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
          New Member

          Thank you for your post!!  I have been searching for any threads that bring up the topic.  First line of defense is vigilance.    I was surprised I did not see this topic raised on this site's cleaning discussion.

          We have an entire program for critter elimination in our vacation rentals in Key Largo.


          I recommend all homeowner renters to get on the sites that will inform/educate; get a good exterminator- pest control management company to come in on a regular basis and change whatever habits are needed to stay on top of any potential problems. 


          Immediately after every renter, I strip the bed, hot wash and hot dry, check the mattress for any signs and steam clean everything!   Believe me , this is not overboard. 


          This is a topic no one likes to bring up and needs to be- preventative is far easier and cheaper than correcting the problem!

          • Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

            Glad somebody brought this up! I am a semi-retired environmental health specialist with bed bug expertise. I have done lots of public speaking about this topic. This is what we do in our vacation rental.


            1.) Bed bug proof mattress and boxspring encasements. Won't prevent bugs, but it's easier to see their signs.

            2.)Train our housekeepers to look for signs (fecal stains that look like black mold) and fresh blood on sheets (from crushed, feeding bugs)

            3.) Provide all bedding and linens and wash it in hot water at 120F for 15 minutes after each renter (include blankets and bed spreads).

            4.) Provide laundry bags that dissolve in the washer for our housekeepers. (Buy them online.)

            5.) Bought an industrial vac designed for bed bug prevention and control ($500).

            6.) Provide foldable lugguge racks in each bedroom and ask our guests to use them instead of putting suitcases on the beds.

            7.) Reassure renters that no bed bugs or their sign has ever been found. Ask them to report to us immediately if they notice more than a few non-mosquito bites even a week or two after they leave (for some people, it takes that long to react)

            8.) We are considering having routine monthly or quarterly checks by a cerified canine scent detection team

            9.) Considering using one of the bed bug monitoring devices using heat and CO2 available onlin

            10) We are screening pest control professionals to find one that not only is experienced with bed bugs, but that also understands bed bug resistance, and that is willing to use an integrated pest management approach that goes beyond just throwing chemicals at the problem. Bed bugs are highly resistant to pesticides in common use!


            There are also design and legal issues which should be addressed. This would be a useful topic for HomeAway owners seminars. I might even decide to attend one!!

            • Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
              Active Contributor

              You might also find this audio podcast of interest - it's an interview of Missy Henrickson, Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She suggests several ways in which folks can prevent these pests.


              All the best,


                • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                  Hi Laura,  I finally did take time to listen to this podcast by Missy Hendrickson from the National Pest Control Association. It's excellent and I'd encourage any VR owners with bed bug concerns to listen to it.


                  My own professional and personal esperience, however, causes me to depart from Missy's perspective on one point. I would not hire a professional to do routine, visual monitoring checks. In low-level, early infestations, even a pest control professional will not be able to see bed bug signs. There were many times when I did visual bed bug inspections of motel and hotel rooms in our city (Reno) for the Health District that it was impossible to see any sign of bed bugs even though there were obvious bites on the people who had slept there.


                  I was reminded again recently of how difficult it is to see any sign of bed bugs when there are only a few.  We traveled through Idaho in November and I was bitten by bed bugs in one of the motels where we stayed. I ALWAYS do a bed bug check of the mattresses/box springs and behind the head board and even carry a small flash light  just for that purpose as I know what to look for. There was absolutely NO sign of either bugs or their black, inky fecal stains anywhere. The room was very clean.


                  It was almost 48 hours later, after we returned home, that the unbearably itchy welts--nine of them total--raised up on my arms and face. I, of course, reported it to the motel management so that they could have the room treated. However, the pest control professional who checked the room after I left also could also find no sign of bed bugs in the room.


                  As Missy said, a well-trained scent detection canine can be a valuable tool in identifying bed bugs, especially when it is an early infestation and the bugs and their sign can't be easily seen by humans. However, hiring a pest control professional to come in monthly to check for bed bugs would be an unmanageable, additional expense for me. Instead I am considering hiring a canine team once a year after our peak season, just to make sure no bugs snuck in.


                  I have, however, lined up several canine bed bug scent detection teams who work in our area who are willing to come in on short notice to do an inspection. These trainers do not do bed bug eradication work themselves but simply are involved with the identification part of the process. They will get paid $250 to complete their investigation, and I will be reassured if their dog identifies sign of bed bugs, it will not be just so the owners can also get paid for treatment work. I would prefer to hire a pest control company separately to get rid of the bugs.

                • Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                  New Member

                  Recently, we had a problem with bed bugs at a relative's home.  I've learned a lot since then:

                  • Don't use bug bombs they could make matters worse by spreading them around further as they scatter.
                  • Hygiene isn't the issue, bed bugs can infest any home or business because they are usually transported there.
                  • Check suitcases, furniture, clothing, during and after traveling.
                  • Isolate areas where bed bugs appear.
                  • Chemical sprays will kill them but the reaction to the chemicals can be harmful (especially to children and others with less resistance).
                  • Steam heat will kill them but make sure you have a steamer for that purpose.
                  • Vaccuum, vaccuum, vaccuum and steam some more.
                  • These bugs are persistent and can go for a year before "feeding" again.
                  • Use caution when buying furniture especially used. 
                  • Have a routine to check for and eliminate them if necessary.


                  Here's a place where they have only natural products to eliminate bed bugs. 


                  It should be a good resource if the problem ever arises.  Consider how much better it would be to control this problem with natural products that are safer for guests than using harsh chemicals.   Anyway, good luck and I hope this information helps.

                    • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                      These are excellent bullet points, Meicall!  However, I would be cautious about relying on natural products to erradicate bed bugs. I did go to the website you posted and there are some great reviews. However, I would want to see some science and would ask the manufacturer/supplier for some studies supporting their claims. 


                      There is another natural product being discussed in bed bug prevention circles that I've been hearing about. It's a "cedar oil" and after researching it found that a study has been done.  Apparantly, it is effective if applied directly to the bugs, but less so when the bugs walk into it ( what we call residual effect). Here's the link :  http://www.bedbugcentral.com/research-and-development/topic.cfm/a-review-of-best-yet-cedar-oil-product


                      Also, just because something is labeled "natural" doesn't necessarily make it less toxic. And some people are very allergic or chemically sensitive to so-called "natural" products.


                      GmaJay (Cape Cod VR owner and Registered Environmental Health Specialist)



                        • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                          New Member

                          Thanks for the complimentary comments about my article and the information

                          about cedar oil.  I had come across this method while researching this

                          subject however, I haven't tried it.


                          There are many suggestions being offered online about eradicating bedbugs "

                          naturally" I even saw where someone mentioned using **** roaches because

                          they eat bedbugs!


                          Here's something to try that works...Isoprophyl alcohol.  This will kill

                          bed bugs on contact.  I tried to kill a bed bug by dousing it with one of

                          the recommended commercial bed bug sprays.  I drenched  the bug and it

                          stopped moving.  The next thing, this bug got up and moved on like nothing

                          had happened!  That's when I got the Isoprophyl alcohol.   A quick shot

                          and that did him in.


                          Now this may not be a "natural' solution but it doesn't have the side

                          effects that some of these harsh chemicals warn against.   And we must

                          remember that anyone can become allergic to just about anything.   But it

                          is good to have an arsenal of products that can be effective in fighting

                          these pests.


                          Caution, Isoprophyl alcohol is flammable  and can be dangerous if not used

                          according to directions.


                          Thanks again (happy hunting

                            • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                              Again, a good call.  I've heard that Isopropyl alcohol applied directly to the bugs will make them keel over. Another component of some bed bug treatments which is also "natural" that wouldn't cause allergic/chemical response in people is diatamaceous earth. These products can be put in cracks around base boards, carpets, furniture, etc. and have some residual (long-term) effect. It actually dries up their bodies and caused them to die--not immediately, but in a few days.


                              For VR owners, prevention through use of bed bug proof mattress/box spring covers and other methods like providing luggage racks and asking renters not to put suitcases on beds are critical. Also early identification of bugs or their sign by housekeepers if the bugs do show up is important. It's much easier to treat and get rid of  a low-level infestation than one that is full-blown!


                              PS: I think I would pass on the ****-roach treatment for bed bugs, wouldn't you?!!

                                • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                  New Member

                                  Thanks again Gmagjay.


                                  Yep, as I recall diatamaceous earth is the result of the skeletal remains

                                  of  microscopic sized organisms built up over millions of years which is

                                  mined and used as is for, of all things, improving digestion.  And it was

                                  found to have this other beneficial use for knocking off bed bugs.  I

                                  believe that one of the products used with Bed Bug Patrol Natural


                                  made of this.


                                  Have you found any traps that can be used?  I have came up with a concept

                                  and found someone had created a simple device that uses dry ice (for the

                                  carbon dioxide) as bait and a method of trapping the critters.  Here again

                                  dry ice can be dangerous if not handled properly especially around children.


                                  Some passive system is probably just waiting for someone to develop it.


                                  Mel Hughes

                                    • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                      Hi Mel,  I perused the info about the product at the link you posted and could only find 3 active ingreditents that are plant extracts-no diatamaceous earth that I can see. If you found it, please enlighten me. I DID notice under the advertising blurb statements claimining that pyrethrin and permethrins are carcinogenic. I don't believe this to be true and find this type of scare tactic markteting offensive!! I have researched credible sources about these products extensively and there is nothing that suggests carcinogenic properties. Unfortunately the problem is that many populations of bed bugs are resistant to them, so they are not effective in combating bed bugs.


                                      As far as using CO2 monitors goes, my training is that heat and pheromones are better attractants than CO2 (unlike mosquitoes for which dry ice is an ideal attractant). While I've noticed there are a number of CO2 monitors out there on reputable marketing websites, as a VR owner I have decided not to invest in them at this time as they are a bit pricey and I'm not sure they work. Plus the attractant would have to be replaced constantly--not something I want to burden my staff with doing. I also noted some glue board type monitors and am thinking of trying them. However, I suspect these would only work in a moderate to heavy infestation and not be useful for early detection. And early detection is key to effective control!

                            • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                              Hi, I just received email notice of a future training by Bed Bug Central in New England and thought I would post the link in case any VR owners would be interested in attending.  Anyone with multiple properties or property managers might find it especially helpful.




                              I  took a 1 day training about 4 years ago in Las Vegas in which Bed Bug Central owner Rick Cooper was one of the presenters. I found it to be excellent training.


                              Judith Saum  REHS


                              • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                New Member

                                Does anyone know what *valid* claims for damages can be brought by renters that have discovered bed bugs?


                                I understand that insurance companies don't provide any cover for property owners for this issue. Is there any wording you can put into rental agreements to limit the claims that renters can make?


                                I am very worried about this increasing rental 'hazard' and want to make sure that I am protected.

                                  • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                    Active Contributor

                                    I'm struggling with my memory from law school here...As an owner who invites guests to make use of your home, you have an extra duty of care to make sure it's inhabitable.  I'm thinking that if they have to leave due to bed bugs, you would have to return any portion of the rental that is unused.  If they required medical care, you might be on the hook for that.  Certainly you'd have to remedy the problem - this could be expensive - fumigating, new mattresses and bedding?  And a bad review could really be damaging to future rentals....would love to hear thoughts of other owners and any other expertise!!

                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                        At a bed bug Summit that I attended years ago, I  heard a presentation by Christian Hardigree, an attoney who was employed by the hospitality industry in Las Vegas. Her talk focused on legal liability and litigation around bed bugs. http://www.bedbugcentral.com/summit/index.php/christian-e-hardigree/


                                        One of the things that Ms. Hardigree discussed was that hotels/motels in Vegas were starting to include a disclaimer in the small print information on the inside of the room door stating that the facility will not reimburse guests for bed bug claims.


                                        Based on what she said, I have included a statement in our VR contract. In other words, the contract states that we, the OWNERS, are renting this property free of pests, including bed bugs, to the best of our knowledge, and that we have exercised due diligence by having a proactive, bed bug prevention program in place; RENTERS will hold us, the OWNERS harmless for bed bugs or other pests encountered during their stay.


                                        With that said, if guest had to leave early because of bed bugs, I would probably offer refund the unused days if bed bugs were identified after they left. I emphasize this because I am well aware that tenants may complain about bed bugs if they simply decide they want to leave early for some reason and get their money back.


                                        To my knowledge there are not many medical issues associated with bed bugs--infected bites are rare and the nasty itching lasts only for a few days.  So I doubt that covering medical care would be an issue for VR owners. However, what if guests took the bugs home with them from my VR which led to costly treatment of their home? Would I be liable?


                                        I, too, still have lots of questions about this topic and would like to have a better understanding especially regarding the application to vacation home rentals.


                                        This would be a useful topic for another podcast and  also for a  guest speaker at the HomeAway Summit. A presentation by an attorney experienced in bed bug litigation and the legal implications for VR owners would be something from which all of us could benefit.


                                        How about it HomeAway staff?


                                        Judith Saum  REHS  


                                        Here's a link describing a presentation I gave on bed bugs to public health nurses:  http://aphaannualmeeting.blogspot.com/2008/10/strange-bedfellowsliterally_28.html



                                          • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                            Active Contributor

                                            Thank you, gmajay! I'm running your idea of a bed bug guest speaker by HomeAway's 2012 Summit organizers. If it's too late to get that set up, I love your idea of creating a bed bug podcast or webinar that includes an attorney experienced in bed bug litigation.

                                            Let me see what we can do on our end!


                                            Thanks again,

                                            • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                              New Member

                                              We are in the unfortunate position of having had a guest introduce bedbugs to our vacation home. We have no idea who it was.

                                              When a later guest reported the issue my heart sank. I gave them an immediate refund of their all rental, not just the unused days. They were bitten pretty badly.

                                              We got a professional pest company in right away. The sprayed over several days & declared the home bug-free.

                                              A few weeks later a different set of guests reported bugs.

                                              We have the pest control back several times but these things seem to be really hard to exterminate completely.

                                              I have had to refund several bookings & provide alternative accomodation for some who were part way through their stay.

                                              The pest control, laundry & cleaning, & lost rentals has cost $1000s and I am not convinced it is resolved yet. I may have to replace all the soft furnishings and carpets.


                                              To cap it all, the first family that reported the problem are now taking legal action for almost $100k! Clearly they are claiming for more than just their medical expenses.

                                              Thankfully our insurers are handling the case.


                                              My cautionary tale - you can't take the bedbug problem too seriously. It will be expensive. Fit mattress covers BEFORE you have a problem otherwise you may have to replace mattresses. And make sure that your insurance covers you for liability. (Note - our rental agreement states that we will not be held liable, but that does not seem to stop people claiming).

                                                • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                  On no!  How devastating! I am so terribly sorry you are faced with this! Yet both from professional and personal experience, I expect I will have to face this problem at our vacation rental at some point in the future.


                                                  The whole legal aspect of this is something we ALL need to have a better understanding about. Meredith from HA contacted me awhile ago about doing some type of podcast. As I explained to her,  I do not have expertise in the legal issues around bed bugs. I referred her to an attorney for the hospitality industry in our State (NV) who is experienced in bed bug liabilitiy and litigation, but have not heard if there was any follow-up.


                                                  Judith Saum,  BS, REHS


                                                  Message was edited by: gmajay__Cmarch, pehaps you wouldn't mind sharing the outcome of the $100 k law suit. It would be helpful to all of us to know what happens.  Thanks.

                                                    • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                      Active Contributor

                                                      Dreadful news... hope it gets sorted out really quickly... my sympathies it must be very stressful cmarch.


                                                      My husband is telling me he saw a programme about the problem in London...there is a new way of dealing with it a specialist company in London wraps everything under plastic and then super cools it -100 with CO2 - I'll try to find out more.


                                                      Apparently bed bugs are being reported on airplane seats now...

                                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                        Active Contributor

                                                        I have contacted the expert you suggested, hope to do a webinar with her this summer.




                                                        • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                          New Member

                                                          Nothing to report so far on the law suit. I am told it could take a couple of years!


                                                          Having believed that we had rid our vacation home of bedbugs we clearly have not. We have now hired a different pest exterminator and they seem to be taking a more thorough approach. They will spray a minimum of three times, 7 days apart. On the 21st day they will check again for signs of bugs. If they are still there they will continue the treatment & repeat until the bugs are eradicated. They have asked for the home to be quaratined completely during the treatment.


                                                          Whilst it is costing me lost rentals I have hope that this will enable us to finally get rid of the bugs. My worry is that they could be gaining entry from an adjoining property (it is a block of condos). Apparently the most effective treatment is fumigation but that can't be used where there are multiple connected properties such as a condo.


                                                          Treatment is underway. I'll post an update when complete.


                                                          BTW - in an effort to protect against bedbugs I am considering not renting to people that have stayed at another hotel or lodging directly before coming to our home (two-center vacations are poplular in our area). That does not seem unreasonable does it?

                                                            • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                              Hi cmarch,  Thanks for the update. It sounds like your new pest control company is much more proficient  with getting rid of bed bugs than the first one was.


                                                              Also wondering if they use any other means for treatment. I have heard that some pest control companies will use an industrial steamer to activate bugs in cracks before doing chemical treatment, for example. Also wondering if they recommend any changes in your furnishings. Sealing cracks around base boards, replacing wall-to-wall carpets with solid flooring, using metal bed frames, taking head boards off walls, etc. can also help in eliminating a bed bug problem.


                                                              My training is that fumigation of a whole unit is not necessarily effective, though very expensive. The fact that your VR is a condo makes it more difficult to treat and more vulnerable also.  Jeff Knight, our Nevada State Entomologist, once told me that he has personally witnessed bed bugs crawling from one room to another in Las Vegas hotels!


                                                              That;s why in doing bed bug work in our State in hotels, apartments, condos, etc., Health District staff always recommend that the surrounding units, next to and above and below also get treated. If one unit is treated, the bugs can then move into the one next door and move back again after treatment is completed. But I don't know if that would be possible in your situation as you would have to contact all the surrounding owners.


                                                              Regarding refusing rent to those who had stayed in public lodging just prior to coming to your VR--I don't think that would eliminate the problem. Sometimes it takes months for people to become aware that they have bed bugs after staying in a hotel/motel-especially if they are the kind that don't develop an allergic reaction to the bites (about 1 in 3 people don't!) So really you would need to elimate renters who had rented a motel in the prevous 4 months to eliminate risk of reintroduction.


                                                              The other possibility is that since your VR is in a multiple unit condo, the bugs might even have come through the walls to your unit initially as you suggest!


                                                              Based on your experience, I am meeting with my insurance agent when I get back to our VR in a couple of weeks to find out what coverage we have.


                                                              Truly hoping by now that your problem has been resolved.


                                                              Judith Saum  REHS for Washoe County, NV

                                                                • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                  New Member

                                                                  Hi Judith,


                                                                  From what I understand most (all?) insurance policies do not cover bed bugs. It would not surprise me though if companies started to see a lucrative market for "add-on" policies as this is becoming such a problem. When the bedding & towels were taken from our unti to be professionally cleaned, the cleaning company said that they were getting at least two batches a week & it was increasing (Orlando area)!


                                                                  My point about guests staying in public lodging before coming to stay in our home, was because our home is in a popular area for 2-center stays. So a guest could unknowingly stay in an infested hotel. The bugs could find their way into their clothing or luggage and be transferred with the guests to our home. The guest would probably be completely unaware that it had happened. I suspect that this is the most common way that the pests are transmitted, not from guests bringing the bugs from home


                                                                  Anyway - the pest company have finished & cannot find any bugs now, so we will hope that this time they are gone.


                                                                  I know that I am now paranoid about any hotel I stay in - I will check the beds & cupboards and store my clothes in sealed plastic bags! There's no way I will risk infecting my own home with these critters

                                                                    • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                                      Hi cmarch,  Thanks for the update. Indeed. I have an appoiontment with my insurance agent when I get back to Cape Cod in a couple of weeks to find out about coverage. But I believe your are right. There is exculsionary language that propably applies to bed bugs in my extra liability coverage. We have an additional liability rider under our primary residence home-owners poliucy and will have to check that, too.


                                                                      Because of your shared experience, I have appointments with several pest control companies when I get back to my VR next week. I want to interview them ahead of time to find out if I feel they have adequate experience and make sure they can respond quickly and thoroughly should I need them. I want to have a good relationship with a pest control company before I face a crisis.


                                                                      Yes, you are probably right about people not bringing bugs from home. Most would know that they have them. But anyone staying some place else before they arrive could unknowingly transport them if they aren't careful.


                                                                      As far as traveling goes, it's tough. I always check mattresses/box springs  for sign before I get into a motel bed. Yet we stayed in a motel in Idaho last fall and in spite of my bed check, I broke out with 9 bites after we got home. Typical bed bug bites with 2 or 3 lined up in a row on hand and arm. We could vaguely see the my husband had gotten bitten, too, although he didn't have the same allergic, itchy bumps that I had. So I had to relearn the lesson--it is impossible to see the sign on the mattress when the infestation is light in the early stages.


                                                                      Since that incident, I only leave my clothes in my suitcase or hang them up so bugs can't access them. I either use the luggage rack (hot the bed) when getting in and out of the suitcase and leave it overnight in the bath tub. Also, I take as little as possible into the room wiht me. Much safer eto leave things in the car.

                                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                        New Member

                                                        I spent the major bucks and put these on all mattresses and pillows.  It cost me thousands of dollars but I think worth the peace of mind.  http://www.protectabed.com/Mattress_Protectors/subgrouping.htm?cat=30607 


                                                        Big hint you can become a "distributor" pretty easily and save some major bucks which is what I did.   They do require some minimum purchases based on carton sizes.   I feel better having these on all the mattreses.  It was a workout to get them on all the beds for sure as you also put them on the box springs.  Make sure you have two people doing this as getting them on the box springs is harder than you think.





                                                          • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                            The ProtectABed mattress and box spring covers are helpful for early detection as they make the bugs and their sign visible while protecting the mattress and boxsprings. This is the brand we use in our VR becasue they have a special backed zipper feature that won't allow the early stage, tiny bed bugs to get through.  Studies have been done to show that they work I'm told. Ordinarily, young, immature bed bugs can move through zippers without such special backing.


                                                            While the Protect-A-Bed covers are pricey, investing in them is definitely cheaper than having to repace unprotected mattresses and boxsprings which is often what must be done when bed bugs move in.


                                                            Didn't know about the "distributor" option. That's a good tip.

                                                          • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                            New Member

                                                            In reading, I found that steam is an effective method for killing all developmental phases of bedbugs.  I use this to clean the floors, mattresses and fabric between each guest.  It also does a dynamite job in the bathroom.  http://www.daimer.com/steam-cleaners/kleenjet-200s.htm

                                                              • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                carol Premier Contributor

                                                                I confess I've never heard of a steam cleaner.  Does it leave your mattresses damp?  It seems steam would damage wood floors or paint on the baseboards -- have you had any problems with that?


                                                                How long does it take you do do a single room with this cleaner?

                                                                  • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                    New Member

                                                                    There is an initial slight dampness but it quickly evaporates and dries.  I've been using this for over a year with no problems.  It has the added benefit of reducing my cleaning chemical usage down to basically nothing.  My place is all tile and hard floor surfaces and this particular model is not a steamer extractor so it's not a carpet cleaner.   It takes about 10 minutes to go over the mattress then use it to mop the floor.  Very few things have made such a positive impact on a task than this steamer.  I'm an advocate.

                                                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                                        Glad to know  how this is working for you, cayowest.  That's a great idea to use the steamer in the bedroom after every party of guests leave!


                                                                        I am also planning to use a steamer for our Cape Cod VR, although I was thinking of using it only if I suspected we had bugs.


                                                                        The unit I decided to purchase is this one recommended by the professionals at Bed Bug Central at the training I took a few years back. It is: http://store.bedbugcentral.com/Vapamore?ext=F://  This particular steamer is offered as an effective alternative to the more expensive commercial models and at $299 is significantly less pricey.


                                                                        I've been told that the important thing in choosing a steamer for bed bug work is that the temperature of the steam emitting from the nozzle must be at least 120 degrees F or above. At that temperature bugs and eggs will be destroyed. Also the nozzles should emit a strong, narrow stream of steam for getting into cracks and crevices in furntiture and baseboards.


                                                                        Thanks again for sharing your experience.

                                                                        • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                          anja Senior Contributor

                                                                          As 'cayowest' does, I too use the steamer to combat bed bugs {thankfully, I haven't experienced them...but I know that they have arrived here on the Hawaiian Islands....I've read that Honolulu has them}. I'm inspecting all the time in between guests...just about anywhere they could be hiding....upholstery, hems of curtains, carpeting, etc..  I'm using the bed bug mattress and pillow covers, as well..but I'm still steaming the bedding.  And, the steamer does double duty as it's good for sanitizing the bathroom and kitchen areas.


                                                                          The bugs seem to be making their way around the world as the airlines are "carrying" them, too, both in the passenger cabins and in the luggage areas.

                                                                    • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                      New Member

                                                                      We invested in the complete bedbug proof mattress and pillow covers for our 6  bed and 5 bed VRs. My first thoughts were for my mattresses because I bought top of the line and could not afford to replace them at the same quality if they were damaged. Then I saw what could happen to an entire home on a television show. They showed homes infested where the bugs are living inside the sofas and chairs. The families spent thousands to try to rid their homes, their furniture was burned and they still found bugs later. It was very sobering. It would be great to be kept informed of any new, successful protection, screening and treatments. I appreciate this discussion.

                                                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                                        Ive dealt with them a few years ago, luckily going into the offseason and my son was the one who discovered them. 


                                                                        Im putting covers on all my beds this year.  I jsut ordered 10 of these the other day, on sale at TRU. 




                                                                        they seem pretty nice.  Unfortunately, only the twin size are on sale.  Im picking up some full and queen from Walmart.

                                                                          • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
                                                                            Active Contributor

                                                                            So glad to find this thread, we haven't had to deal with bed bugs yet, thank goodness !  I hope they don't make it out here to California.  But now I have some idea of signs, etc, just in case.  We do have the special encasements for the mattress, and we do wash all the sheets and duvet cover between every set of guests.  So far that seems to be working.  But next up I will watch the video that Laura suggested.  I think it's best to take every precaution to prevent something like this.

                                                                              • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                                                Hi sfvacation hut,  The  prevention steps you are taking are really important. Making sure the water is hot--about 120 F. is important when washing the bedding, even though your bedding  probably won't last as long as a result. Replacing bedding is still much cheaper than having to hire a pest control professional to treat for bed bugs!


                                                                                Even though I have done bed bug work for Reno Health Dept. in the past, I still find I have to fight my own personal denial about bed bugs. On a recent road trip through Idaho, we stayed in a motel where I was bitten (even though I checked the beds before we slept, and the motel had the Protect-a-Bed covers. I could find no sign of them!)  I couldn't believe it would happen to me!


                                                                                I notice that most people are in denial when it comes to bed bugs. They tend to think that bed bugs are a big problem elsewhere--in some other part of the country--but not in my back  yard. There are plenty of reports of bed bugs in California as this study done last year by the CA State Dept. of Health indicates. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/BedBugSurveyReport10-11.pdf  What I'm hearing is that California, just like Nevada, has plenty of the little blood-suckers!

                                                                                  • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...

                                                                                    Just an update to this thread about "what I am doing to be prepared for bed bugs"--


                                                                                    I just met with reps from two, professional, pest control  companies who claim to be experienced in bed bug work at my Cape Cod VR and talked to a third over the phone (who didn't want to come out) when I was back there from this month.


                                                                                    My plan was to have a pest control company lined up in case I need someone to respond quickly to a possible bed bug problem. The company had to be one I could trust who works according to my understanding of best practices for bed bug work.


                                                                                    In addition to getting price quotes from both, I asked lots of questions about how and when they make a decision to treat, what specific kind of treatments they use (chemical? non-chemical?), what would be required of my staff to prepare the room for treatment, what kind of pesticide resistance they are seeing, type of follow-up treatment, etc. Each one spent about 1/2 hour looking at my property and answering my questions.


                                                                                    Both companies agreed that they would only do pesticide treatments if they found bed bugs or their sign upon inspection. (Good! That's what they should be doing! And by just getting a qualified professional out to inspect immediately if renters claim getting bitten, I woud be showing responsibility as an owner and covering my potential liability.)


                                                                                    However, one company rep told me that if bugs or their sign are found, they will routinely "fog" the whole room with pesticide. ("Fogging" means spraying a fine, aerosol mist of chemical.) From my own training, I KNOW that fogging is not a recommended and effective treatment for bed bugs which typically hide out deep in cracks in furniture or base boards.


                                                                                    So it was an easy decision for me to go with the second company even though their price quote came in higher. The second clearly had a better grasp about how to treat for bedbugs than the first did.


                                                                                    Even though I may never need to call them, it now gives me peace of mind to know that I have a company I trust onboard if I ever do get that dreaded call from renters that they are getting bitten or if my housekeeper (who I have trained to look for bed bug sign) finds anything that causes her concern when she changes bed linens.


                                                                                    It am also relieved to know that company I chose will be able to go in within hours if needed or during the 4 hour Saturday changeover between renters to complete their work.


                                                                                    Because I manage my VR from almost 3,000 miles away, I have to be proactive about anticipating problems and establishing relationships with qualified service providers that I trust to complete work in my absence.






                                                                                      • Re: Bedbugs - what are you doing?...
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                                                                                        Gate House Furniture




                                                                                             Reports of bed bugs in public locations are on the rise in the U.S. These pests are popping up in places such as hotels, rental properties, stores, any means of transportation including subways, planes, and buses, movie theatres and even office buildings and striking fear in travelers. They are in the cleanest of environments and cannot be avoided if you come in contact. Though you can't prevent it 100%, there are ways to ensure that these little creatures dont reak havoc on your vacations or trips.


                                                                                             Bed bugs are infamously known for living in the creases and crevices of mattresses and box springs, closest to their prey, to feed while they sleep at night. They travel from place to place on clothing of an individual and come inside of luggage as an extra unwanted guest. One way to prevent this is to ensure that your luggage stays away from the bed, creating a much further distance for them to travel and harder for them to create a new home in your beautiful rental property.


                                                                                                  Gate House Furniture is a leading wholesale manufacturer of premium quality folding luggage racks. We are a third generation, family-owned wholesale manufacturer committed to maintaining a legacy and brand that has always stood for matchless product quality and superior customer service. We are proud to claim many of the finest hotel chains and retailers throughout the world as our partners and long-standing customers. Our wooden luggage racks are sourced from domestic hardwoods and assembled in our New England factory by employees with 20 years of experience. We use rigorous standards to carefully match the finish and grain of every wood component to ensure consistent quality. Our products, designed to be attractive and durable, utilize our signature luggage rack spindle which eliminates the need for visible hardware and provides added stability.


                                                                                             Please visit our website www.gatehousefurniture.com to view all of our options. We may also be contacted at (781) 726-6100. We look forward to be the added amenity to your room to ensure customer safety and satisfaction.