Not All Bed Bug Exterminators are Created Equal

In past posts we’ve talked about different questions to ask and ways to find a bed bug exterminator.  We’ve also talked about free inspections and why you should always back up bed bug heat treatments with chemical treatments.

These are only just a few select points to consider when you have to start the process of treating a bed bug infestation. Whether the problem is large or small, you are likely stressed out and scrambling to find a service provider to get the process going ASAP.

Consider a few of these common sales tactics and tricks of the trade, before you select a service provider!

Spot Treating a room or area.

This simply doesn’t work. Bed bugs will move throughout your home, and if you do not treat the entire space they have somewhere to safely hide and proliferate. Many exterminators will sell this service because it’s quick and easy and since there is no true guarantee, it’s going to be a vicious cycle of cat and mouse. You also have to pay for additional rooms, on top of the high cost you are initially quoted.

Your Contract is Furniture Specific

Check the fine print or ask the tech / sales person. Today, a caller said that they threw an infested couch away, and replaced it with a new couch. As a result, the service provider wouldn’t treat the new couch on the second visit, because it wasn’t the initial item. Huh?

As Many Treatments as you need in XX Months

Another common tactic is to offer unlimited treatments for a certain amount of time. This sounds great during the sales process, when you are overwhelmed and just want the problem gone – for good.

Unfortunately, the reality is that if they are only spot treating, and only coming out when you prove it (see below) this is relatively useless to you. A treatment process should be structured. We are telling the bugs what to do, not the other way around.

A treatment process should be outlined from start to finish with the type and number of treatments you need. This should be outlined for you up front.. not a guessing, wait and watch game. 

Prove it.

Unfortunately, getting those additional promised treatments can become a bit like pulling teeth. You are responsible for producing evidence of a live bed bug, in order to get another treatment. This is more difficult than it sounds!

Plus, if you find them in an area previously untreated (see spot treatments above) it doesn’t count and isn’t covered in your contract.

No K9

A canine inspection can be a great tool to identifying bed bug problems, but more importantly we use it to confirm treatment SUCCESS. Finding the bugs isn’t the hard part (for a licensed exterminator) but ensuring every single trace has been eliminated certainly benefits for a keen K9.

Careful what you pay for

Often, these issues and common practices highlighted above can cost up to THREE times the cost of what a bed bug treatment should entail. A spot treatment is a great way to up charge, because if you need other rooms treated, you have to pay extra for it.

Heat treatments without chemical applications can also be substantially more expensive (and in many cases, completely unnecessary). Bed bugs can survive heat treatments.


It is a very scary, stressful and frustrating process – But educating yourself for the sales portion of things is critical. Find a service provider that is informed, and do some homework ahead of time!