New York Shitty Day Ender: Bedbug Blues
Filed under: 11101, 11206, 11211, 11222, 11237, Bed-Stuy, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, Bushwick, Bushwick Brooklyn, East Williamsburg, East Williamsburg Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Hi Miss Heather,
We’re having a problem: we were exposed to bed bugs on a recent trip and despite doing everything in our power to avoid bringing them home, we’re concerned that we did nonetheless.
Since then I’ve been scratching non-existent welts and searching the web for information on how to eradicate them in case we do discover them. Problem is: we have pets. Do you know of anyone who successfully used an extermination service that was safe for animals? Any information would be enormously appreciated.
As it would happen I do know someone who has pets and has successfully fought the battle against these vermin from hell. We’ll call her J. I asked her for her take. Here it is:
If you did everything in your power to not bring the bugs home, then you can relax. From personal experience and from talking to others in these situations, it is really common to get itchy due to anxiety. Some of us even get anxiety-induced hives and that makes us even more anxious because it brings up the question—OMG, what if they’re bites? The best thing you can do right now is relax.
However, to answer the question—my animals were FINE. These are the guidelines I would recommend:
- Natural remedies don’t’ work. Don’t even bother researching neem or lavender. If there were a natural remedy that really worked, it would be easy to get and well advertised.
- Steaming is a lot of work and doesn’t get bugs that hide in the walls, so steaming the mattress once a week will help but it won’t take care of the whole problem. If you get bugs, you WILL need to use chemicals.
- Don’t hire a pco who wants to spray your entire floor boards. It doesn’t work anyway, and you and your pets will be exposed to unnecessary chemicals.
- Phantom is the chemical of choice these days. The PCO should spray it around the baseboards and maybe on the walls where they meet the ceiling.
- Your animals will need to be boarded during the treatment for usually about 5 hours, but ask your PCO what they think.
- I was instructed to mop up any excess before bringing the animals back in.
- My cat, upon returning from the catsitter’s, immediately ran and hid—right on top of a poison-treated area. For hours. And he was fine. No illness whatsoever. Not even any skin or eye irritation.
- I used UMG Pest Control and they were very good. I didn’t let them spray my mattress. I steamed it myself once a week and the chemicals did the rest.
- Go to bedbugger.com for more information about preparation, washing, bagging, etc.
I also, as my friend suggested, asked my buddy “nobugs” from Bedbugger for her take. Here it is:
Licensed pest control firms will know how to treat safely with pets in the home. We have heard cases where people were asked to remove the pet for several hours or even a day during treatment. Birds are especially sensitive. But people with pets get traditional pest control all the time. It’s important to discuss the treatment with the pest firm, and ask what is done differently due to the presence of pets, or whether they need to be out for a period of time.
If you get an idiot treating your home, there is some danger. One woman lost her dear parakeets. Cats are very sensitive to pyrethrins.
If someone is particularly worried about pesticides, some firms use a combination of steam and dusts.
A really effective and chemical-free treatment (and one of the only one-shot options) is thermal treatment. It can be costly but in the long run can work out the same as a prolonged battle with traditional sprays. Pets and humans have to leave for less than a day only because the temps go up to 140 F.
One caveat: in an apartment or other multi-unit building, getting treatment without telling the landlord/building manager may backfire if the pests have spread to others in the building.
Hope this helps!
I want to thank my buddy J and Nobugs for taking the time to tender advice to PI. If you have advice to share please do so via comments or send them to me via email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire. Thanks!
And if you’re reading this, PI, it is my sincerest hope you do not have to use the information contained in this post.