I was trying to be witty with the title, but then figured I’d be informational and direct. Hi, my name is brightersideoflife and I had bedbugs earlier this spring. Turns out some neighbors a few units down in my building have had them since last summer and didn’t tell anyone. FUN! Also, my complex association has never had to deal with bedbugs before, and our bylaws have nothing specific about them, so it’s been a lot of “you’re fucked.”
Anyhoo, the only effective ways to kill those motherfuckers are heat treatment or freeze treatment. The company I chose uses heat treatment. This involves using heaters and giant ducts to melt your home. Bedbugs die at like 120 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s like 49 degrees Celcius for anyone not using F), regardless of what life stage they are at (even kills eggs). So they get your home really fucking hot for like 6 hours to kill them all.
While you will get instructions on what to remove prior to the heat treatment, a whole bunch of shit (NOT included in the list) in my place was still damaged. In the effort to educate others (since bedbugs are an increasing problem), I thought I’d discuss these.
Now, we had an overzealous technician who really wanted to get my place up to around 140 degrees, so perhaps not everyone would have these problems.
1) The wax rings at the base of our toilets melted. Luckily we figured this out at the first flush post-treatment, prior to major water damage in the basement.
2) The rubber weatherstripping at the base of our front door warped (the hot ductwork sat on it all day.
3) The shower is one of those where there is a removeable showerhead. The seals on both ends of the flexible tubing melted.
4) Panelling near the front door warped and separated slightly from the wall.
5) Antique cedar furniture no longer smells like cedar.
6) Those convenient particle-board bookshelves from places like Target? Yeah, the glue or something melted and all of mine collapsed.
7) Miniblinds melted across the valance part.
8) Photo albums melted. Like, the photos weren’t themselves the problem (loose photos were fine), but the archive sheets melted and stuck together. Lots of fun with x-acto knives removing photos.
9) Several purses now are kinda weird in their texture. Like the leather kinda melted.
10) Several dress shoes had the soles pop off.
11) The contact paper in our cabinets is now permanently melted to the wood. I had been planning on removing that this summer and updated it, looks like that won’t be happening anytime soon.
12) Gaskets (like up near where the bulb screws into the base) in several lamps melted and they no longer work.
13) If there are things they can’t heat treat, generally they are bagged up with little strips that put off a pesticide gas. Or there is this chemical powder that kills bedbugs as they crawl through it. Unfortunately the 9mm family video reels from the 1950s-1960s were treated by opening the metal casements and dumping in that chemical powder. We haven’t had the heart to try to run the film and see if it caused chemical damage prior to us doing our best to shake it out.
That’s all I can remember for now. We did have several discussions with the pest management company and we have been reimbursed for the plumbing and weatherstripping. There are more conversations forthcoming as they agree that there shouldn’t have been damage to this scale. The technician is no longer with the company.
If you or anyone you know has to have the heat treatment, good luck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the bugs are gone. But this has definitely been an experience that I wish on no one.