Do exterminators often have to exterminate for themselves?
June 10, 2012 9:15 AM   Subscribe

How common is it for exterminators to bring their work home with them and end up with bug problems themselves?

I've been around a few exterminators lately, as there have been bug problems in some of the apartment buildings that I work in, but it never seemed right to ask them the question out of the blue. So, I'm turning to you, MeFi pest control technicians and family thereof.

If it's not common at all, what steps do they take to prevent it?
posted by CKmtl to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oddly, I can answer this, since I've actually asked three different exterminators this question (along with my favorite, "Which bug makes you the most squeamish?"). According to all three, bed bugs are the only pest that really tends to follow them home. One exterminator told me that on days he'd dealt with really bad bed bug infestations (as in, walk into an apartment and see them crawling along the walls), he'd take off his clothes on his front porch and put them in a giant bag before entering his house - some kind of special bag that seals, and can be tossed directly into a dryer on high heat, where it dissolves. The other two said they laid out those bed bugs traps all around their houses and checked them regularly to make sure that if they did bring one home (had happened twice to one of the exterminators), they caught and treated it early. Treatments were free through their respective companies.

As far as which pest made them squeamish... all three agreed that rats were the grossest.
posted by artemisia at 10:44 AM on June 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

But wouldn't bedbugs roost (for lack of a better word) in their cars? I'd be interested to know how they prevent that from happening.
posted by Addlepated at 4:21 PM on June 10, 2012

I think the bedbugs won't stay in the cars because it gets so hot in cars during the summer (and cold in the winter?). When we came home from vacation, I put our suitcases in our car, opened them up, and left them for three days of 90+ degree weather, hoping the high temps in a closed up car would kill any critters that might have hitched a ride home with us.
posted by raisingsand at 4:35 PM on June 10, 2012

I used to train exterminators - it wasn't something they really worried about. We did counsel people to change clothes immediately when they got home, but that was more for avoiding tracking chemicals into their home than about preventing infestations.

Bed bugs were definitely the nastiest, though - after you go into a room where they are thick you get paranoid about every itch. They wouldn't do well in a car both because of the heat/cold and because you aren't in your car enough for them to feed.
posted by Coffeemate at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

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