Trading Spaces — Bed Bug Edition

Advertorial - Bed Bug Horror Story

A kids’ race car bed uncovered the mystery of why two persistent bed bug accounts constantly required follow-ups.

June 15, 2022

There’s a large whiteboard on the office wall at Preventive Pest Control in Houston, Texas, and it lists “excessive follow-ups” for every pest category. Eventually, those accounts move off the board—but there were two particularly stubborn cases in the bed bug column. “We were going back to the homes eight, nine and ten times,” says Jeremy Logsdon, owner. “The accounts weren’t super-infested but the bugs would not go away.”

When this happens, Logsdon says the situation is usually because something or someone is bringing more bugs in. “This is a horror story from a service angle—when you know what you are doing works, but it’s not working and you have to figure out, ‘Why?’” Logsdon says.

A Proven Protocol

Preventive Pest Control has an air-tight bed bug treatment and prevention protocol that is effective when customers hold up their end of the bargain. But that doesn’t always happen.

“We tell customers we are putting on the encasement and to leave it for a year—let us know if you need to take it off,” Logsdon relates. “When a customer takes off the encasement and bugs have been trapped there for a month and haven’t fed, as soon as you remove it they are looking for a blood meal. And as you take the encasement from the room to the laundry, you are dropping bugs along the way.”

The firm uses a residual in- secticide, and there is a multi-point protocol that includes removing electrical outlet covers to dust, pulling carpet up along baseboards to treat, dusting along baseboards and treating furniture within 2 feet of beds. Furniture is steamed, and rooms are vac-uumed to remove live bugs.

During the first service visit, technicians fill out a report that includes documenting live bugs, among other factors. “When you go from the first to second to third visits, there should be a dramatic reduction,” Logsdon says.

At this horror story account, records showed 54 live bugs on the first visit, 12 live bugs two weeks later, than 16 on the third visit. “Because of their life cycle, they can’t get that big that quick, so we knew there was a reintroduction situation,” he says.

A Reintroduction ‘Aha!’

During a follow-up visit, the technician noticed there was a new children’s race car bed in the home. “Where did you get this bed?” he asked the owner, recalling that he had seen the same one at another customer’s house.

She said, “I got it from my sister-in-law the other day!”

“Both customers on the whiteboard with repeat follow-ups were related!” Logsdon says. “One of the two homes was bringing the bugs back in and they’d visit each other’s homes and share things—even their kid’s bed. So, they were constantly swapping bugs.”

Running Interference

Preventive Pest Control had a level-setting conversation with the two homeowners. “We said, ‘Here is the deal. You both have bed bugs. Stop sharing stuff for a while. If you go to each other’s homes, don’t bring bags over,’” Logsdon says.

Now that the company made the connection, it was essential to gain buy-in from both customers for the treatment protocol to work. And within weeks, it did. Logsdon says, “When we got the customers’ cooperation, the problem took care of itself.”