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BEWARE the Unlicensed Bed Bug "Exterminator"...

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BED BUG HEAT TREATMENT: FUTURE RE-INFESTATION

A question we often get is "...what happens if I get bed bugs again after my heat treatment?..." This is a perfectly legitimate question and your bed bug pest control company should be able to give you a good answer.

Let's start off by stating categorically that when a company performs a bed bug heat treatment correctly and the customer has prepared their home sufficiently prior to the heat treatment and followed the precautions list given to them regarding how to avoid re-infesting their home immediately after the bed bug treatment is performed, the success rate of this type of bed bug pest control is extremely high.

However; rare is it indeed that the bed bug heat treatment company actually has the knowledge, experience and expertise to do the job correctly in the first place (more on this later). Even more rare is when the customer follows the instructions given to them by the company diligently. So, the question that begs to be asked is "...what happens if we see a bug after the heat treatment..."

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A BED BUG HEAT TREATMENT COMPANY

The need to choose carefully when selecting a company to exterminate your bed bug problem can not be overstated!

Bet you didn't know this!... Due to a loophole in the legislation in Ontario, ANYONE can call them self an 'exterminator' so long as they do not use a Class 3 pesticide.

As a result many entrepreneurial people have started businesses (particularly in the Toronto area) killing bed bugs using heat. They are NOT required to obtain ANY training in entomology (for bed bugs or anything else for that matter), nor are they required to pass any safety or proper procedures testing. All they need is a down payment for some equipment, a pickup truck to pull it with and a snazzy website and they're in business!

Although different companies use various methods to generate the heat, as long as they don't use a pesticide they do not require any licensing or certification. Why is this a problem? Read on...

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment issues a very specific license to those that have passed stringent examinations in the field of pest control. In addition to having to pass these exams, the Ontario Government will also issue an 'Operator' license to a company that it deems worthy to have one. They require a minimum of insurance to be in place and regularly audit those licensed companies to ensure compliance with a multitude of regulations. Companies engaged in pest control that are licensed by the M.O.E. are also required to be WSIB insured and compliant. In a word, when you hire a company that is NOT licensed by the Ministry you run the very real risk that the people in your home have no idea what they are doing and may not even be insured.

In a word, it is ALWAYS best to engage a company that is licensed by the Government. Simply ask the company representative if they are and, under law, if they say they are they are required to furnish you with their 'Operator' number.

Why are we talking about this? Let's get back to our original question...

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SEE A BED BUG AFTER YOUR HEAT TREATMENT

If, after your bed bug heat treatment you find another bed bug in your home the company you hired in the first place must have some standardized process by which to address your situation. Most unlicensed companies will say that they will come back and do another heat treatment for free. Sounds great but we see regularly that this simply does not happen and the original company simply does not return the customer's calls. Clearly, after spending thousands of dollars this is NOT what you want to happen.

A company that stands by their work should do so IN WRITING! Whether they offer a 30, 60 or 90 day service guarantee it is imperative that you be given something that clearly states what the guarantee entails and what, if any, limitations are placed on that guarantee.

Some legitimate bed bug extermination companies will simply not guarantee any job done in a multi-residential setting (read apartments) and for good reason. Bed bugs often infest multiple units in an apartment building and guaranteeing the work could prove disastrous for the company. Others do guarantee the work but with limitations.

The more tools that your bed bug exterminator has available to them to address a re-infestation the better. Even applying D.E. to a home when done without a license by the M.O.E. is against the law! Those companies that are licensed often offer a mix of solutions to a recurring bed bug problem. Some offer a discounted rate on a follow-up heat treatment, some offer traditional methods as follow-up and some offer both.

What I'm getting at here is that when it comes to searching for a bed bug heat treatment company it is imperative to be a good consumer. As if the company is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask specifically if the crew is covered under the WSIB. This is crucial because if they are not, you could by sued personally in the event of an accident during the job.

Did you know that if you have uninsured workers in your home and something goes wrong that your own home insurance WILL NOT cover you? Something to be aware of.

Being members of pest control organizations as well as the BBB also adds to credibility and goes a long way to establishing trust. After all, you're letting a crew into your most valuable asset - it's always best to be diligent in who you choose.

Beware of those companies that take advantage of the loophole in the legislation and call themselves exterminators.

We regularly help people who have made this mistake and it is disheartening every time I meet someone who has had a bad experience with a company like that. Do yourself a favour and do your homework BEFORE making this mistake.

If you find yourself facing a bed bug issue in your home, do your homework, ask questions and seek out a professional, qualified, licensed and accredited bed bug exterminator to do the work for you.

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