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A hostel approached us to tackle their bed bug issue. The hostel had been struggling to control a bed bug infestation and were of the opinion that the existing programme was not working. Due to continued complaints the hostel had lost a lucrative contract and was facing action from the local environmental health department. We were engaged to clear the site of bed bugs and monitor for re-emergence and re-infestation.
Over a two year period they had engaged a succession of pest control companies, starting with local companies, moving to national service providers then seeking our help.
During the first year three local companies were used relying on chemical treatment. The first two companies sprayed only rooms with complaints, the third sprayed source and surrounding rooms.
During the second year two national companies were used. The first sprayed all rooms 3 times over a six week period and required all furniture in the rooms to be destroyed. When this failed, a full building thermal remediation was carried out by the same company. After approximately 3 months the bed bugs were back.
At this stage they engaged a national facilities management company, who undertook an intensive programme of spraying and cleaning.
It became clear that successive treatment failure had dispersed the infestation from the source rooms into service runs and floor cavities. The initial enquiry was to treat 5 rooms for bed bugs, but following a canine screening of the hostel 45 rooms were found to be infested with bed bugs.
Due to the nature and extent of the chemical contamination we undertook a decontamination clean of the affected rooms. This was predominantly to make it safe to continue with the proposed treatment strategy but also the sporadic nature of the previous treatment had caused widespread chemical avoidance, this had spread the bed bugs into unusual and diverse harbourages.
We followed a true integrated pest management programme using all appropriate techniques. Heat treatment to the entire site.
A period of intensive monitoring was entered into for the next 8 weeks. Housekeeping staff were trained in the detection of bedbugs and monitoring devices were installed in all rooms. All rooms were inspected daily by hotel staff and weekly by our bed bug specialists.
As an on-going bed bug monitoring system the hostel commenced a programme of education and inspection. We provided monitoring devices, training and awareness material to support their in-house bed bug monitoring as well as quarterly canine inspections of the site.
The end result was that the hostel was bed bug free for the first time for two years.
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