Residents and property management staff, the latter who enter units quarterly for routine housekeeping review, were trained to inspect passive monitors and report bed bug activity. Residents were incentivized with “thank you” gifts to report bed bug issues early.
During monthly pest control service visits for other structural pests, Corbett Exterminating employees now also inspect bed bug monitors, ensure mattress liners remain installed and address resident concerns about the pests.
Any report of bed bugs triggers a full visual inspection of the unit by a Corbett technician, who grades the level of infestation to determine the best treatment approach (unit-wide or localized; heat or chemical).
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-2021 continues to pose many challenges, and routine monthly surveillance visits prescribed by the ATAHC Program were placed on hiatus from March to August of 2020 and then again, between November 2020 through February 2021. Despite these pauses, surveillance has resumed as of March 2021, and results to date indicate for the entire complex, whose tenants were initially enrolled in the ATAHC Program 16+ months ago:
ATAHC continues to provide robust bed bug prevention in year two of the program. For those few units requiring remediation, less costly and diminished disruptive localized treatments based on low-grade introductions were indicated and proved successful.
As per the program’s dynamic design and further sustainability, year one data supports that a revision in the frequency of inspections to a quarterly basis may be warranted. However, units that are remediated will be designated as “high vigilance” and remain on a monthly inspection schedule for at least three (3) months post treatment before being relegated to quarterly inspection.
Corbett reiterated a basic ATAHC tenet that regular inspection is key to catching an introduced bed bug early. “The sooner it’s found, the easier it is to eliminate; the less chance that it’s going to be transferred from unit to unit or that the bed bug is going to migrate out of this apartment into an adjacent apartment,” said Cerbini. Catching introductions early also reduces treatment expense and the disruption experienced by residents.
At the conclusion of the program’s second year, Allergy Technologies plans to develop a comprehensive report for publication in housing-specific media.