Sep 11, 2012 – One Final Challenge


I have an apartment complex that I am treating for bed bugs. I have one particular apartment that has a major problem and the tenant is now irate. I have vacuumed the baseboards, mattresses, furniture. I have treated with Phantom, Gentrol, Phantom Aerosol Crack and Crevice III, dusted voids with CimexA dust and I still have a problem. What am I missing?


If this one apartment seems to have "the" major problem then perhaps it has been the epicenter of the bed bug problem for this complex. Question is, are you getting all the cooperation you need here to eliminate these very difficult pests?

We are fully aware now, due to the great many seminars and articles and advice from experts that insecticides alone are unlikely to eliminate entrenched bed bugs. Since the female bugs can and will deposit (glue) there eggs just about anywhere within an infested room you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that even all those eggs are dead. This means in some way treating in some manner even the curtains, electronic equipment, all clothing and clothing storage areas, all furniture and every crevice in every dresser, headboard, and night stand, and every other crevice or hole in the room, including behind everything hanging on the walls. Edges of carpets and behind floor molding is very important. You also need to inspect all other rooms in the apartment, in particular living rooms where people also may fall asleep and become food for bed bugs hiding there, and now furniture like recliners becomes suspect and difficult to manage. 

You cannot expect to go into a fully furnished apartment and vacuum and then spray and expect to reach all of the places that the bed bugs hide. This becomes particularly important given the high levels of resistance exhibited by many populations of bed bugs. And, in a very recently published article in PCT some of our most respected researchers reported their findings on studies using IGRs for bed bugs and found, unfortunately, that IGRs do not appear to have any benefit in the fight against The Common Bed Bug. I'm sure more will come out on this, but that was their conclusion. Phantom, on the other hand, may still be as good an insecticide as is available, since it is non-repellent and is not a pyrethroid, which many bed bugs have developed resistance to. 

Has this tenant isolated and washed / dry cleaned / or hot dryer cycled every last bit of his clothing? Have the curtains or drapes been removed and in some manner run through a hot dryer or dry cleaned or washed in hot water? Has all electronic equipment in this apartment (TV, computer, bed side clocks or radios, etc.) been fumigated within a sealed plastic bag using Nuvan strips for the proper length of time? Have all other items - suitcases, shoes, sporting equipment, etc. - been removed, sealed in some kind of chamber, and treated with heat or fumigated? All of these items and everything else in that apartment could harbor bed bugs or their eggs and be the reason he continues to have them. Have you firmly identified that the bugs are actually there and that they ARE the Common Bed Bug and not Bat Bugs or Swallow Bugs? Has he installed mattress and box spring encasements to remove those bedding areas from bed bug harborage?

In other words, is this tenant fully aware of what is needed in order to eliminate every last bug and live egg and is he doing his part in the overall process. If you are having success in all the other apartments there must be some reason that this one stands out as unusual, and perhaps it boils down to not having all the needed steps taken care of. 

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