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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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I am a landlord. My last tenant brought in bed bugs in May

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I am a landlord. My last tenant brought in bed bugs in May and moved out in June. House is vacant and has been treated by exterminator several times and it appears that they are all dead. The exterminator does not guarantee that there are no longer any bedbugs, they only can do a visual and say that they do not see any live bugs - which really doesn't mean much since bedbugs only come out at night. I have read that bedbugs can live without food for up to 10 months - is this true? What is the best method to get rid of bedbugs and be sure they are gone. How long should I wait to rerent the house?
Hello and welcome. They can indeed live that long, and even a bit more:

The exterminator can't guarantee 100% eradication, the insect is too pervasive to make such a statement. May to June don't allow for that many generation and it's perhaps already OK. I would live in the place for some time to see if the problem is solved. Waiting 16 month is not very economical for a landlord (but it would be the only 100% solution) .

One predator i use extensively are earwigs. Those are used to eat really small prey (aphid among other). They don't live in house for long and they will eat any eggs larvae they can find. If you drop a bunch of them in the place they should do a nice job at doing the last eradication. Ground spiders (those that run on the floor and don't climb can also be very effective). I cleaned dermestes lardarius and silver fish problem like that without any chemical.
How big of an area is the unit that was infested?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It is about 1800 sq feet, but it appears that only one upstairs bedroom was infested. It is the middle bedroom that is about 10x12 ft.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Where could I buy earwigs?

Earwigs - you could just catch them yourself - I think there aren't too many places that sell them online because to some people they are considered a pest. I have caught some using just some rolled up news paper, and I left it in the grass in the yard few a few nights.

Keep in mind, they(the bed bugs) feed on blood, and while they can survive a very long time, longer than 1 full year its important to understand they are like other animals and will move if needed(if alive as well) to try to find more food.

After the exterminator, what have your efforts been? And what kind of flooring does this room have? The reason I ask you is the effort to completely eliminate and kill all bed bugs requires that of elimination of rest and harbor sites(gaps, crevices etc..) but also the removal of carcass and egg(and egg shell) to be sure.

Obviously your best choice is to give it some time, because the last thing you want is the next tenant to move in and pick up that one last bug that wasn't killed(if he wasn't).

You need to do your diligent visual inspection, keeping in mind they can live a long time, their active periods of the day(night) as well as being cognizant that you still need to actively clean and disinfect using steam if you would like. I would imagine the property means a lot to you - just for arguments sake, see if you can get a second opinion from a different exterm company, just allow them to do an inspection to see what they see. Ask them for proof of existence, and I would not mention you had another company out as they may just try to sell you something. Use their expertise to your own advantage.
I forgot to mention, if you need additional information please hit REPLY.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for all of your suggestions. One last question: I heard that there is a way to kill them with high heat treatments. Do you know if it is effective and the approx. cost?
You are very welcome, bed bugs are absolutely awful. Yes, what you are talking about is called thermal remediation - basically heating the bugs to roughly 120-130 and keeping it there for their determined length of time. They would be heating your home to a temperature higher than eggs and adult stages can survive thus killing them.

It is effective against a myriad of pests. The issue in your case is figuring out if this is even offered locally to you.

It is effective. Do not attempt this on your own, make sure the professionals are insured.

Though its hard for me personally to give an idea of the cost as I do not to this as my profession in your area - they need to come in and inspect as well as map out the area. If you had to treat your entire unit, you could expect roughly $1500-3000 for a 1500-1800 sq ft area.

I think its worth the guarantee of killing all of them, and I can only imagine your frustration being unable to rent the unit.

Best of luck

Mike - just a reminder: please remember to rate my answers
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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