June 5th, 2012

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Bad Pest Control

This all started last week when I found a bug that might be a bed bug crawling on my couch. However, it could be a bat bug or swallow bug as well. I trapped the bug and placed it in a ziploc bag. No traces found of anything bed bug related. So they're either hiding damned well, or it's something else. I haven't gotten but one bite over the weekend, and one bite doesn't mean bed bug. I also may not react yet to any bites from them. Not everyone does. I rent, and issues with the landlord aside, the service I received from a PCO today for inspection was subpar.

Landlord decided to talk to someone who used to be in the pest control business and they told him to try this company nearby- Professional Termite and Pest. He didn't get that taken care of until yesterday. So that company calls me and sets up an appointment for today "before 10". It was 11 before he got here, which is fine. I know with stuff like this, lateness is expected. That wasn't my issue. 

The guy was an utter hack. Even if I didn't know the things that make a good PCO for bed bugs, this guy would have still sent up red flags. He basically looked at the bug in my bag and was all "bed bug". It was a quick glance, nothing more. I told him that swallow bugs and bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs unless analyzed closely and urged him to do so. Both can look like a bed bug in different stages. He was all "lol nope. not likely here." I even pointed to the birds nesting outside of the house and mentioned there might be bats in the attic. Wouldn't listen to me.

He didn't do any kind of visual inspection at all. He did not leave the living room at all. Did not check around the baseboards. He didn't look for signs of casings, fecal matter, blood stains, or bugs. He didn't even check the bed. Uhhh.. correct me if I'm wrong but... bed bugs kinda says... check the bed first and then other areas. He looked at the couch somewhat... closely with his flashlight. Then goes "Yep, look here." And so I do. And ask what I'm looking at. He points to casings on the fabric. Only problem? They're carpet beetle casings. I knew this from looking it up because I'd found a whole bunch already in various areas around the apartment from my own brief searches. Carpet beetle casings look nothing like bed bug casings and are very distinct when you know what you're looking for. I would expect a PCO to know one easily from a bed bug casing. He looks at me like I'm spouting nonsense and then pulls one off the couch. "Oh yeah." is all he can say. By this point I'm very, very angry at this man's incompetence, and trying to be calm about it.

At this point, I keep pushing for him to do a visual inspection, asking if he'll check through the rooms. He says no, because I have furniture against the wall and unless I moved some of it, he wouldn't. He still wouldn't check the spaces where there was nothing. Protocol for bed bug inspection is to not disturb much of anything because you might disturb hiding bugs and cause them to hide deeper or find new places. One is to wait for the inspector.

I had purchased food grade diatomaceous earth over the weekend, which is a physical killer. Gets on the bugs and tears at their outsides, which causes them to dehydrate and die. It was placed around the bed in my room (which he never set foot in), and around the legs of the couch and along the baseboards behind. He had no idea what the stuff was or what it did.

He was gone within 20 minutes of arriving. His conclusion? You have bed bugs, but you're not getting bitten, so don't worry about it. Nope, buddy, don't think so. I finally convinced the landlord to contact the company I had wanted in the first place. He hadn't because they're an hour and a half away, and he didn't think they did free inspections if they had to travel that far, even though they serve our area. -_- I'm hoping for a lot more thorough PCO this time around.