07 Jul Field testing the Collectabed and Collectabed Econo
We began testing the Collectabed in the field several years ago in public housing where the infestations were intractable. The following are examples of their use:
A “pocket suite” (tiny room with integrated bathroom and “kitchenette” designed to replace rooming house suites) had been treated for many years unsuccessfully by others with chemicals with the assistance of the local “Bug n Scrub” team. When I started the project there was evidence of bed bugs in the kitchen cabinets and light fixtures suggesting a very difficult case.
We started with modified glue boards under the bed legs and standard chemical treatments. The glue boards did remove a significant number of bugs but the tenant refused to keep his bed isolated which negated their use significantly. So we added the collectabed and it caught large numbers of bugs. I noted during treatments that the bugs were harbouring on surfaces repeatedly treated with Tempo (Cyfluthrin) mixed at maximum label rate so I gave up on the chemical treatments entirely. Over a period of several months we changed the cardboard every 2 weeks (and laundered his bedding) and the bugs disappeared. Suite is now bug free.
A tenant in a suite had significant mental health problems resulting in zero cooperation with bed bug protocols. Glue boards were added to the standard chemical program and progress was initially good but stalled in getting the last few bugs due to failure to do laundry, draping blankets on the floor, and sleeping on the couch sporadically. So we added a glue boarded collectacouch (collectabed technology on the couch) and a collectabed. Tenant never did laundry, I gave up on chemical treatments, and we replaced the cardboard and glue boards regularly. Bugs disappeared and suite is now bug free.
A tenant with significant mobility and mental health issues refused to cooperate with bed bug protocols. We initially replicated Bug n Scrub laundry protocols but noted the sterilized clothing was just strewn about the suite haphazardly negating its usefulness. We again gave up on chemicals due to ineffectiveness and installed a full fledged hotel collectabed with glue boards. We replaced glue boards and cardboard regularly and the bugs disappeared. Suite is now bug free.
A tenant had a high risk lifestyle so we installed a full fledged hotel collectabed preemptively. On one occasion we noted a bed bug in the cardboard so we replaced the cardboard and did no other work. Tenant refused to do laundry or any other protocol related work. We continued monitoring and suite remained at zero bugs. This was very interesting for me as it demonstrated that a proactive approach worked in a very high risk setting.
I was asked to help a public housing suite that had been treated for 2.5 years chemically unsuccessfully. Bug n Scrub was initially involved but was cancelled when the program failed. When I inspected the suite there was live activity everywhere – even in the kitchen. The tenant’s shoes that she wore daily were filled with bed bug excrement. When the tenant played solitaire at the kitchen table the bugs would feed on her and defecate on the exposed face cards. The back side of the cards had very few defecation marks as they were not exposed during play. We had Bug N Scrub do a one time all day preparation / steaming to at least get the ball rolling.
We set up a Collectabed with glue boards, a collectacouch with glue boards, and were also forced to put a platform under the kitchen table with glueboards underneath to collect the bugs as the tenant sat at the table. We started, despite Bug n Scrub’s efforts, to catch 400 bugs every single day in the glue boards. These numbers tapered off slowly and over the period of 1 year we collected 14,400 bugs. Tenant had refused to keep blankets off the floor so the collectabed collected several thousand bugs out of the total.
IPMG, the government exterminator, after the first few months, noticed there were “no bugs” despite numerous samples in the glue board traps and gave up treating. The last 6 months or so there were no chemical treatments and only mechanical removal methods (collectabed / glue board) were used. Suite is now bug free.
I have just started a new project in another public housing building. IPMG (Integrated Pest Management Group) treats chemically every month (for the last several years) and Bug n Scrub vacuums / steams the suite monthly as well. Bug n Scrub’s records show that they “find” about 70 bugs every time they go there. I installed a Collectabed Econo and Bug n Scrub showed up about a week later. They were shocked as they documented “800” bugs in the cardboard which they dutifully vacuumed up. I then replaced the Collectabed Econo and it remained in place for about 3 weeks. Upon inspection I could not count all the bugs but I estimate there must have been about 5000. I find it interesting that my technology appears to be about 71 times more effective than vacuuming and steaming horribly infested suites.
A friend of mine owns some inner city rental and has a great heart for the tenants that can not cooperate. He installed collectabeds in a number of his suites proactively and has had numerous examples where discarding the cardboard would fix the problem with zero exterminator input. In some other cases the number of bugs would drop off to close to zero but absolute zero was not possible. I looked at one of these cases and it appeared people periodically sleeping off the bed in other areas of the suite was the problem. A collectabed will not collect all the bugs if someone sleeps on an unprotected couch.
The above experience with ridiculous infestations and the collectabed got me thinking about how the technology would fare in average infestations. The last 3 single family home jobs I got we did experimentally using just the Collectabed Econo and standard bed bug preparation protocols (laundry). The first home used only the Collectabed Econo as a control measure and is now bug free. The second home added steaming to the Collectabed protocol. The steaming, while helpful, did not do the complete job and the Collectabed continued attracting bugs. The home is now bug free. The third home is still too early for proper evaluation.
Overall I have been very impressed with the Collectabed. They proved very effective despite a host of tenant non compliance issues stacked against them. When used in normal infestations with proper home owner compliance the results were even better. And interestingly it appeared the Collectabed was 70x more effective than steaming and vacuuming in terrible cases! I think the Collectabed will revolutionize the bed bug industry. In time when all the regulatory hurdles are passed these devices will come to market.