We had a great weekend. On Friday, I packed up all the dogs and kids and headed out of town.
When I’m inspecting my clients apartment properties, their residents are often shocked to find out I’m bringing a dog into their home, especially at properties that don’t allow pets.
My dog isn’t a pet. She is a professional working dog, trained to detect the odor of bed bugs. She is an essential tool I use to find bed bugs in your home because she can smell bed bugs hiding in places where I can’t see them.
My bed bug dog Maggie is trained just like a police dog is trained to find explosives or drugs, the difference is we train for a different target odor – Bed Bugs.
My dog will search all over your home, and if she encounters the odor of bed bugs, she will display a trained behavior, alerting me to the presence of the odor. If that happens, I’ll begin searching that area for bed bugs. If I don’t find any bugs or evidence of bed bugs, I’ll recommend continued monitoring of your home until I eventually find bed bugs, or until my suspicions end. If I find bed bugs, I’ll recommend treatment options for your home to resolve the problem.
If you have any questions about how the inspection works, or if you need an inspection of your home, please contact me.
This short article should help you prepare for your four day or three day structural fumigation bed bug treatment. The fumigation crew will be checking for these items, and if they decide you aren’t prepared completely, they may postpone your bed bug treatment.
Immediately after you receive confirmation of the fumigation schedule, you’ll want to do two things right away:
- Call my office at 408-292-5330 and provide payment for your treatment – If we don’t receive payment, we can’t do the treatment.
- Call PGE at 1-800-743-5000 to schedule them to come out and turn your gas on after 5 pm on the last day of your fumigation.
Preparing the outside:
- All trees and shrubs must be trimmed 12 inches away from your home so the tarp can come straight down and make contact with dirt or cement, without being touched by any trees or shrubs.
- Check around the outside of your home for birds nests. If empty, remove the nest. If it’s not empty, please call me to let me know right away. We may have to postpone your fumigation.
Preparing the inside:
- Remove all the food, beverages, and medicine from your home EXCEPT anything that is factory sealed in a glass jar or can. Everything else must go. This includes wine bottles sealed by cork. If there is room in your yard that will be outside the tarp, you can pack the food in rodent safe boxes/containers and put them in the back yard (try to put them in the shade) or at a friends house.
- Bag any food that will remain in the refrigerator/freezer. I’ll provide you a few bags to use to bag these items. Make sure you double bag them in accordance with the instructions that came with your disclosures.
- If you have any aquariums, terrariums, or house plants, you’ll want to relocate them to a friends house during the treatment.
Preparing to Leave:
- If you have a vehicle you want treated, you can leave it inside your garage during the treatment – just roll down all the windows and open the trunk. Make sure you leave the keys on the kitchen table/counter for the crew.
- Each person in your home should have two large plastic bags for clothes. The clothes you intend to wear as you leave for your fumigation should be run through the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes and packed in one plastic bag. Seal this bag and keep it in the kitchen or garage until you need it. The rest of the clothes you will wear during your treatment should be run through the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes, packed into the other plastic bag, and stored outside your home (maybe in the vehicle you’ll be driving while you’re gone).
- Plan to be out of your home by 7 am the day of the treatment. You should receive a phone call the day before your treatment advising you of the 2 hour arrival window of the fumigation crew, but if you plan to be out by 7 am, this call wont affect your plans.
- Plan to take as little with you as possible. This is critically important: Everything you take out of your home is an opportunity for a bed bug to survive the treatment. Take as little with you as possible, so that you decrease of carrying a bed bug out of the house before the treatment. That being said, do plan to remove any property that has high monetary value, or high sentimental value.
- Do not forget to put a copy of your house key in the lock box I’ve left for you. The combination to open the keybox is in the disclosures you’ve received. If you can’t find it, just give me a call. Any other keys the crew needs should be left on your kitchen table or kitchen counter.
Before the crew arrives:
- If any outdoor plants are going to end up on the inside of the tarp, make sure you water them heavily before the morning of the fumigation, before the crew arrives. The water should stop any of the material from being taken in by the roots, and may help your plants survive the treatment. If this isn’t done the plants will likely die as a result of the treatment.
As you leave:
- Inside the entry way of your home, remove your clothes and put on the clothes from the plastic bag. Take care not to set those clothes down while they are outside the plastic bag. Leave the clothes you’ve removed inside your home to be treated.
- Once your safe clothes are on, leave your home directly. Do not sit down or lie down inside your home.
When you return home:
- Use Bed Bug Safe Entry procedures to re-enter your home, to reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home after your treatment.
I hope this article helps you prepare for your bed bug treatment. If you have any questions, just call or email me so I can get you the information you need.
If you’ve had a bed bug treatment in or near San Jose, CA, or if you’d like to prevent the need for a bed bug treatment, then this advice is for you!
I get this questions from my customers a lot: I travel a lot, or I watch a lot of movies at the cinema, or I volunteer at a homeless shelter, how can I prevent bringing bed bugs home?
My answer is always as follows: Bed bugs can be everywhere. Anytime you leave your home to move through public places where you could be sitting or lying down, or coming in contact with others, you could be exposed to bed bugs without knowing it.
Control what you can, forget the rest.
Instead of worrying about whether or not you might be exposed to bed bugs (eventually, you will), control what you have control over, and forget the rest. You can not control whether or not you are exposed to bed bugs in public. You can control whether or not you bring those bed bugs into your home. Control what you can, forget the rest.
Control what you can, forget the rest.
Create a system of quarantine OUTSIDE YOUR HOME so that everything you bring with you from a public place goes into a plastic bin, before you enter your home. All clothing items come off, everything being carried, goes into the plastic bin. You enter your home with nothing on, dress in safe clothes, and then you can return to deal with the contents of that bin. Anything that can be sent through the dryer should be dried on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Then it can be presumed safe.
Anything that cannot be sent through the dryer, should remain in that bin until it’s been completely inspected. If you have something that is diffult to inspect completely, like a purse, it stays in the bin until you go out again, and goes back into the bin when you return. These items never come inside your home, outside that bin.
If you do this reliably, you will see the bugs caught in the bin the next time you a dispersing bed bug tries to hitch hike into your home. Every time you see this you can pop yourself on the forehead and declare “I just saved myself $2000”.
Important note: do not fill the bin so much that a bed bug can climb over the side. The reason this bin works well is because bed bugs cannot fly or jump, and cannot climb the smooth sides of the bin. Providing them a path over the side of the bin will defeat this system.
Control what you can, forget the rest.
Bed bugs can make you crazy, can cause neurosis, and can decrease your quality of life. Don’t let them make you crazy. Take reasonable precautions (use bed bug safe entry procedures when entering your home, force all house members and guests to do the same, inspect your bedding and bed every time you change your bed linens, use bed bug encasement on your mattress and box spring), and stop worrying about anything else regarding bed bugs until you see one of the red flags of a bed bug infestation. Don’t let this tiny bug decrease your quality of life. Control what you can, forget the rest.
Lately, our Saturdays have been spent in libraries around the Silicon Valley, trying to make sure no one who takes a book home takes any bed bugs home with them. If you see us, or any other bed bug dog team in your library, it’s a good thing, not a reason to panic. If your library is having proactive bed bug inspections performed, that means they are taking care of you. If your library, or movie theater, or hotel, or apartment property isn’t having proactive bed bug inspections conducted, they are not doing what is necessary to protect you from exposure to bed bugs.
A bed bug dog team is necessary for these inspections. Bed bugs are really good at hiding in places where they are extremely difficult to find. Dispersing bed bugs can be very difficult to find visually, especially in a place like a library. Bed bug dogs can smell bed bugs hiding in places where we can’t easily see them, and they narrow down the areas that needs to be visually inspected down to an area that is possible to inspect. Trying to find one bed bug in a library would be almost impossible for a person to do visually, but for a dog, it’s much easier, and much more likely to be successful.
The next time you visit your library, ask them if they are using bed bug dogs to inspect for bed bugs on a regular basis, and if not, why not.
Certifications: What’s the big deal??
Being certified is a big deal. While it’s not the whole story on whether a particular dog team is effective or not, it is the necessary starting point. It’s why pilots are certified and re-certified, it’s why doctors and police officers and real estate agents all get certified. Having a drivers license doesn’t ensure you’re a great driver, but what does it tell you when you find out the person driving your car around town does not have a drivers license?
Your dog team should be certified too.
Certified by who?
Being certified by the dogs trainer doesn’t count. Sure, all trainers certify their dogs before telling their customer they are ready to start working in the field with their dog, but that’s information for the dog team, not for you. What you want is to see that a third party organization, that specializes not in training dogs, but in certifying them, and has no financial ties to the dog team being certified.
There are two main certification organizations you should be looking for. WDDO and NESDCA. Certification through either organization is what you should be looking for when it comes to ensuring your dog team is certified. These organizations aren’t perfect, but they are great, and getting better. And they will get even better if consumers insist on only working with dog teams that are certified by at least one of them.
Dog teams that are certified invest hundreds to thousands of dollars obtaining that certification ever year. When you insist on only using a team that is certified, you will force uncertified teams to become certified, and take away the financial advantage they have over teams that spend all that money on certification instead of marketing every year. Reward certified teams for doing the right thing by insisting the team you work with is certified.
Ok, they say are certified, have you checked?
I wrote an article last year where I talked about dog teams I knew of that were claiming to be certified, but actually were not. Whether they never were, or they were but never renewed it, there are teams out there that claim to be certified and are not.
It’s so easy to confirm whether they are certified or not. The certification organizations list right on their websites all the teams currently certified by them.
WDDO posts their list here
NESDCA posts their list here
If there you see a benefit to using a team that isn’t certified, or if you know of a certification organization that is not listed here, but should be, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!
Surface 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, CA died on June 28, 2005 in Afghanistan, fighting beside Navy Seal and Medal of Honor Winner Lt Michael Murphy.
My love and deep appreciation goes out to his family. My thoughts are with them today.
Our nation owes those service members and their families much more than we could ever repay them.
Maggie and I recently obtained NESDCA certification for the third time. We work very hard and spend quite alot of money on training and certifications every year to ensure we’re providing our customers the best service possible.
Beware of working with dog teams that aren’t certified. If the team you’re working with claims to be certified, check the website to make sure. Some teams claim they are certified when they are not.
If you need help with a pest problem, let me know. I’ll do everything I can to help.
Over the weekend, Maggie and I tested for and earned the WDDO certification for another year. This will be the second year we’ve earned that certification, and I’m proud to have earned it again. It’s a “double blind” test that, in my opinion, best simulates an actual inspection in the field.
In addition to the test Maggie and I attended 3 days of intense training provided by Master Trainer David Latimer, and we spent time networking and training with other dog handlers who came from all over California and Canada.
This test and training seminar his a huge commitment of time and money that Maggie and I are committed to doing every year to ensure we provide you with the best inspections possible.
If you are currently working with a bed bug dog team, please make sure they are certified by a 3rd party certification organization.
If you are not already working with a bed bug dog team, or if the team you are working for refuses to be certified, contact me about how Maggie and I can help you.