As if having bed bugs on its own wasn’t bad enough they also carry with them some very real costs. Bed bugs can be expensive but not all of the costs are monetary, there are social, psychological, and physiological costs that accompany that monetary impact of bed bugs.
We’ll be discussing those costs here as well as the best ways to mitigate or prepare for the buggers and the toll they take on both you and your wallet.
Let’s start with the (tiny) elephant in the room: Hiring a pest management professional (PMP) to treat bed bugs can cost a lot of money. For residential services in an apartment your choices range from chemical spray treatments to heat treatments or in rare cases fumigation.
Chemical treatments are the cheapest, but cheapest doesn’t mean cheap. According to the National Pest Management Association the average cost in the US for a chemical treatment from a PMP is $741.
Worse than that, chemical treatments take the longest out of all the options with most treatments taking several weeks to be effective.
Heat treatments are a more immediate solution, but also more expensive. Heat treatments can range around $1,500 and scale with the size of the area being treated.
Additional rooms in a house can add up quickly. Finally, in the case of an extreme infestation, you may have to fumigate. Fumigation is prohibitively expensive generally beginning at $5,000.
Choosing from which of the above options is a daunting and difficult task, but knowing the pros and cons of each type of treatment and which is best suited for your living situation can certainly make it easier.
If you’re someone who lives in the home that’s being treated chemical treatments are going to leave you wanting for relief during the course of treatment. While chemical treatments do deal with a significant number of bugs in the first stage of remediation there are always going to be stragglers pestering you at night.
So when dealing with remediation of bed bugs we highly recommend that you establish a refuge for yourself and others in your home so you can be safe from bed bugs during the course of treatment. One other common problem is that PMPs are swamped by the number of bed bug jobs they have to deal with.
This can mean that an inspection by a PMP confirming bed bugs can still be a week or more away from whenever they actually begin treatment, regardless of the kind of remediation you pay for. That’s seven to ten days you’re still having to deal with the bugs without any form of relief!
When it comes to short term rental (STR) bed bugs can represent a death knell for hosts as well as travelers. If you’re a host a bad bed bug review will not only drive away potential future customers, but it forces you to go through expensive remediation costs simply to even get listed again.
For most STR platforms the companies require you to provide proof from a pest management professional of a bed bug free residence in order to be able to list your property again. Not only does this mean that you have to spend money on a professional extermination and examination, but it also means that you’re going to be losing out on revenue from the time it takes for extermination.
Speaking to a couple of national pest management companies it is not uncommon for an inspection to happen confirming the presence of bed bugs and then a week to ten days to pass before they can start treatment.
All of that time adds up before being able to list your property again, and even then you’re still having to deal with the stigma of having bed bugs.
Not only are their direct costs to your bottom line and reputation, there can also be some physical and psychological tolls coming from the pests.
According to medical research conducted at the University of Montreal in Toronto, the common reaction to bed bugs is elevated levels of stress, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety levels similar to those of PTSD.
If you’re someone who has to sleep in a bed infested by the bugs the problems are obvious, but even if you’re a short term rental host these issues can still have an effect on you. Imagine getting a phone called from a panicked guest undergoing high levels of stress and anxiety in the middle of the night because they discovered bed bugs.
This is an immediate problem in need of an immediate solution. Except, as we just discussed, there are no immediate solutions for bed bugs. As a host you’re now expected to make your guest feel comfortable when they’re sleeping and you can’t provide that sense of security easily, much less quickly!
If you’re a traveler imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to encounter bed bugs, especially when you’re not in the safety of your own home!
Luckily there are a few steps you can take to have an immediate impact against bed bugs. The first thing you should after you find out about the pests is to make a refuge.
Creating a refuge can immediately reduce the trauma and stress associated with the bugs as well as helps to limit their population growth; and as you can imagine treating a small infestation is substantially cheaper than treating a large one.
We have a guide on the first six things you should do if you realize you have bed bugs that can help you gain some sanity back and help keep money in your wallet. But treating the problem isn’t always the best solution.
The best treatment for bed bugs is to stop them before they start. Prevention isn’t easy in the bed bug world, but there are a few things you can do to help minimize their impact if not eliminate it entirely.
Creating a refuge not only works to help mitigate the pests, but can also stop the population before it gets started. Since bed bugs have to feed to start their reproduction cycle limiting the bugs access to humans can stop them in their tracks.
Bite barriers like the OnGuard and OnGuard Professional can keep the bugs from ever getting off the ground, or mattress.
Taking precautionary measures when traveling like those outlined in our travel resources can work to prevent you from ever letting the buggers into your home in the first place.
And as always, the best defense is a good offense. Being proactive with bed bugs and utilizing the resources here at The Bed Bug Adviser can give you the peace of mind needed to sleep tight tonight!