BC Housing’s battle with bed bugs is a familiar story, (3 Years Living With Bed Bugs;
Losing Bed Bug Battle; Bed Bug Problems Continue) with little of the coverage on the positive side. A recent article, direct from the BC Housing website, may portray good news to follow – or at least, recovering some lost ground from the battle.
Infestations Tackled Head-On
Apparently BC Housing is taking a more 'hands-on' approach. In February, BC Housing added two ‘thermal remediation trailers’ to travel the lower mainland and tackle bed bug infestations head-on. A pest that presents formidable challenges to even experienced pest control professionals.
Convection Heat Gold Standard
Convection heat is widely regarded as the gold standard to control bed bugs as it is a one-time application, while pesticides generally require a minimum of two applications – as current pesticides do not stop the development of bed bug eggs.
Right Tool Right Technique
Heat, like other methods of integrated bed bug management practices, is as much about the correct tool for the job as it is about the correct technique to achieve success. Heat Treatment Foreman, Sergio Velez explains:
“Effective heat treatment requires a team approach…We work closely with a site’s property manager and building manager as well as with the tenants. Many are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start when it comes to preparing their units. We’re there to help them move things around and do whatever we have too.”
The article explained concrete structures present different challenges than wood-frame structures, e.g. wood achieves the lethal temperature of 120oF/49oCfaster than concrete which does not retain heat efficiently. The heat application continues for four hours to ensure all areas of the structure and its contents reach the lethal kill temperature. During this time, staff monitor the temperatures to ensure accuracy.
BC Housing plans to evaluate the treatment success and disclose their findings with its housing associates. The detection of bed bugs is one of the most difficult challenges and one reason bed bug infestations develop resulting in remediation costs that may have been avoided or significantly reduced.
The assessment tools and methods BC Housing employs to evaluate the effect of their thermal heat remediation controls are critical.
Hopefully, it will not be the same tools and methods under which the building-wide bed bug infestations grew.
Hopefully, BC Housing have protocols in place to ensure improved detection tools and the teams detecting, treating and evaluating are not one and the same.