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Bed Bug Preparation Explained

Bed Bug infestations have different levels ranging from light to heavy. We break these levels down on a scale of 1 to 10. Therefore, preparing for treatment should be based on the scale of your problem. Pest control professionals can treat your furniture and the structure itself. They should not be chemically treating your personal belongings. Typically, the more you “debug” your possessions, the faster/better the treatment results will be.

So again, the level of infestation along with your living conditions will determine the amount of preparation work needed to eradicate your bed bug problem successfully.

Have Questions? Call: 212-203-2181

Full Preparation Instructions:

You must complete all of your prep work before your scheduled appointment. Everyone (pets included) MUST be ready to leave at the time of our arrival. We are on a schedule, and we must start working as soon as we get there. We need all the time possible to help solve your problem, so help us help you!

Some older adults should remain out of the home for 24 hours for extra safety precautions. People & healthy pets can return home in 8 hours unless told otherwise.

The work outlined below is what is required for us to provide you with the most effective treatment. Please read and re-read the bed bug prep and post-treatment info before calling or emailing us. Most answers to your questions should be within the two documents. 

The Basics: Don’t leave out any pet food, water, or toys on the floor. If you have aquarium pets, please turn off air pumps and place plastic wrap over the tank’s top to seal it up. Reduce clutter as much as possible. Throw away anything you don’t want or use. It’s time for spring cleaning, so be sure to wash and vacuum the floors in every room before your treatment.

After Vacuuming:
1. Remove the bag and put it in the trash outside. If you have a canister vacuum, empty it into a trash bag and place it outside.
2. Wash out the canister with boiling water.

Furniture Removal: If you remove furniture from the house, wrap it with large plastic wrap before moving it. You can purchase plastic wrap at places such as hardware stores, moving & storage facilities, Office Max, or Staples. 

Kitchen: A good general cleaning before treatment is sufficient. Make sure the kitchen sink is empty for both the FIRST and SECOND Treatment. Do not leave food out on the kitchen counter or table. That’s all that you need to do. 

Bathroom: A general cleaning before treatment will work. Do not store clothing in hampers inside the bathroom during treatment. Minimize towels stored in the bathroom to just the necessities. You can bag extra towels and keep them where it’s most convenient. That’s all that you need to do. 

Dining Room: In most cases, there is no prep work required for the dining room. If you are using this room for anything other than eating, please inform us before your treatment.

Living Room: A general cleaning before treatment will work. Remove any unwanted clutter in this room as well. If you have storage-type furniture in the living room, you must decontaminate suspect items with heat. Use a clothes dryer or the Zapp Bug Oven II. Find more information regarding the Zapp Bug oven below. For things that can’t be heated, you can use the crevice tool attachment with your vacuum. Visually inspect for signs of Bed Bugs and clean anything that you can wash in hot water. Typically, there is not much prep work required in this room unless you have confirmed you found bugs before your first treatment. If you have any additional work, we can discuss that after your treatment. 

Closets: Closets of infested rooms should be empty unless told otherwise. Please follow the prep recommendations for clothing and shoes below. Do not store any cardboard boxes in the closets of the rooms you found bugs. Throw away cardboard or magazines.

Bedrooms: Strip all bedding before our arrival the morning of your FIRST and SECOND treatment. Bag these items. Sheets, blankets, and pillows must be run through a dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes before returning them to the bed. Do not store anything under your bed. If you have items under your bed now, they will need treatment with a Zapp Bug Oven or clothes dryer. If things can’t be heat treated, you can use the crevice tool attachment with your vacuum. Visually inspect for signs of Bed Bugs and clean anything you can wash in hot water. Remove clothing, fabric, and shoes from dressers or closets. All furniture should be empty for inspection and treatment in infested rooms. 

Non-fabric items in dresser draws should be carefully inspected and cleaned where possible. You can store small non-washable items inside a Ziploc bag. Remove curtains and run them through the dryer for 30 minutes. You can put the curtains back up after the first treatment. Stuffed animals should be run through the dryer for 30 minutes as well. Keep any stuffed animals sealed until 30 days after your first treatment. 

Clothing & Shoes: Clothing will need to be run through a dryer for 30 minutes using the hottest setting. You don’t need to wash clothing if it’s already clean. Just use the hot dryer for 30 minutes. Once you have heat-treated the clothes, you will need to store them inside bags. You can use Ziploc or trash bags. We recommend contractor-type trash bags for long-term clothing storage. Clear bags or Ziploc bags are best for day-to-day clothing. Clothing needs to remain sealed and protected in bags for 30 days. 

Dry-Clean Only: Most dry-clean items can be run through a dryer (dry) for 20 minutes without any problems. Shoes can be placed inside a pillowcase and run through a dryer for 30 minutes.

Another great option for shoes or dry-clean only items is a Zapp Bug Oven II. The Zapp Bug is a self-contained heating unit and is excellent for any questionable items such as shoes, pocketbooks, toys, stuffed animals, books, papers, DVDs, etc. Initially intended to treat luggage after traveling, this heating unit will kill all Bed Bug life stages. Consider this an excellent investment for the frequent traveler or any items you think may be harboring Bed Bugs. Please make sure you read the directions; as with anything, it does have limitations. Purchase the Zapp Bug Oven II on our website HERE. 

Mattress Encasements: Beds in every room should have mattress encasements. Priced accordingly, so please let us know what size beds you have before treatment. Mattress encasements are sold separately.

Post Treatment Information:

You cannot return home during the treatment process, so please make sure you have everything you need before you leave. There will be no re-entry until your treatment is complete and dry time requirements have been met.

1. Everything heat-treated and bagged (clothing included) must remain sealed up and protected for 30 days. Obviously, you can go into bags to get clothes to wear but keep both dirty and clean clothes sealed up when not in use.

2. Some elderly people should remain out of the home for 24 hours to be “safe.” Healthy pets can return home with the family unless told otherwise. Your return time home depends on the amount of work needed to eradicate the problem, plus a 2-3-hour dry time before re-entry. Most products used are water-based with little to no odor, but you may open the windows if you want.

3. We do our best to eliminate your Bed Bug problem on day one; however, please understand that you may still receive bites or see bugs during your treatment process. It’s just that, a treatment process. Make a note of bite locations and any sightings of actual Bed Bugs and inform the technician on the second visit. There is no need to call or email us about possible bites during the process. If you find live evidence, save it or take a picture for us to ID on the second visit. Please do not panic; it’s part of the process and the reason we come back for a second treatment. If you continue to be “bit” or find live bugs three weeks after your second treatment, you may need a third treatment. Please call our office to schedule an appointment.

4. Inspect your sleeping and resting areas for the next 30 days. If we install Bed Bug monitors, inspect them every 3-5 days for bugs. Inspect your mattress and box spring encasements every 3-5 days for the next 45 days. Use only the pillows and blankets needed to sleep comfortably during treatment. Sleeping with less will reduce hiding spots and make your inspections easier. Do not use extra decorative pillows or items on the bed during the next 30 days.

5. Do not put clothing or other items back in the drawers, closets, shelves, etc. Everything must be kept in sealed bags for a minimum of 30 days. Keep a clutter-free environment during the treatment process. Failure to do so may result in less effective treatment results.

6. If you had professional preparation, you still need to follow the post-treatment info for the best results possible. If the prep team bagged and stored items back under your bed, closets, or dressers, you need to remove them before your second treatment. Place the bags in the center of the room away from the walls, not on furniture.

7. Strip your beds before we arrive for your second treatment. Bag your sheets and blankets before we get there. They need to be run through a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes before returning them to the bed once you return. Make sure bagged items and personal belongings are not against the wall/baseboards. Do not leave food out on your second visit. Do not leave pet or child toys on the floor or furniture before your second visit.

8. Do not wash the floors during the treatment process. If you must, please stay 6 inches away from the baseboards. You can do a full cleaning the night before your second treatment. You can vacuum at any time, but please avoid mopping against baseboards. Necessary general house cleaning is okay during the treatment process. Cleaning the surface tops of furniture is okay, but refrain from washing or polishing furniture.

9. Do not make any home improvements such as painting or refinishing for the next 60 days. You can go back to your regular cleaning regimen two weeks after your second treatment.

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