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MM Novato News

If you purchased a ThermalStrike Expedition bed bug heater before June 2014, your heater may be affected by this month’s recall by the manufacturer. If that’s the case, you should immediately stop using and unplug your Expedition and follow the recall instructions below. Read on to learn more about the recall and how it might […]

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ThermalStrike Recalls Expedition Bed Bug Heater: What owners need to know

ThermalStrike Expedition RecallIf you purchased a ThermalStrike Expedition bed bug heater before June 2014, your heater may be affected by this month’s recall by the manufacturer. If that’s the case, you should immediately stop using and unplug your Expedition and follow the recall instructions below. Read on to learn more about the recall and how it might affect you:

The ThermalStrike Expedition uses a white, flexible electrical conducting strip to transfer heat to the heating film on the inside of the walls. This unique design allows the Expedition to quickly heat up its contents without using a large external heating block, and without any risk of cold spots or escape points.

Unfortunately, ThermalStrike has received four reports of the flexible conducting strip breaking. This has caused sparking in three units, and a fire in the fourth. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported, but this is still an issue that mandates a recall on all Expedition heaters sold with this design.

So how can you participate in the recall? Fortunately, the steps to protect your heater from damage are very simple:

  1. First, stop using and unplug your Expedition right away! You don’t want to risk damage while waiting for the next steps.
  2. Head to http://www.thermalstrike.com/product/asc_unit.asp to receive your free ASC Diagnostic Unit. Add one unit to your cart, proceed to the checkout area, and enter the coupon code which referes to your Expedition (FreeASC1 if purchased before September 2012, or FreeASC2 if purchased after). When you complete the “purchase”, ThermalStrike will ship out your free ASC unit.
  3. When you receive your ASC unit, install it by following the instructions in this image:
    ThermalStrike Expedition ASC Installation

Now you will be able to safely resume operating your Expedition. The ASC Diagnostic Unit will continually monitor the health of the heater, and will immediately shut off power if it detects a break in the conducting strip.

ThermalStrike Expedition ASC Diagnostic Unit

If you have any other questions regarding this recall, please contact ThermalStrike directly at (866) 470-1755 or email upgrade@thermalstrike.com. Please remember that Bed Bug Supply is not involved in this recall in any way.

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MM Novato FAQ

Want to take out bed bugs without harming your family? You’re not alone. Moms all over the country are fighting bed bugs with one hand while minding the kids and home with the other. Fortunately, there are tons of bed bug products that are safe for use around kids and pets, and a few easy […]

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Mothers Against Bed Bugs: What makes products safe for kids and pets?

Mothers Against Bed Bugs

Want to take out bed bugs without harming your family? You’re not alone. Moms all over the country are fighting bed bugs with one hand while minding the kids and home with the other. Fortunately, there are tons of bed bug products that are safe for use around kids and pets, and a few easy ways to check that they are safe for your home:

A common misconception is that pesticides are toxic to humans, and everyone who comes in contact with the chemicals will get sick. However, this simply isn’t true. Pesticide development is a very detailed and precise scientific field, with a lot of time and money invested into creating the right formula for the job. Chemical manufacturers are constantly producing new compounds that are lethal to invertebrates (like bed bugs) and relatively harmless for mammals (like your family).

There are a couple of reasons why these insecticides can be so effective against insects without harming humans. First, the sheer difference in size and weight between a human and a bed bug drastically affects the toxic effect of the chemical. Humans are tens of thousands of times heavier than bed bugs, and have a lot more blood and water in their body. That means that you would need a lot more of a poison to affect a human like it affects a bed bug, since toxicity depends on how much poison is in a certain amount of blood.

Even if you did somehow get exposed to a highly concentrated version of an insecticide, it simply wouldn’t work the same way on you as it does on a bed bug. This is because the insecticide specifically targets the bug’s unique anatomy. Most modern bed bug sprays act similarly to pyrethrins; they affect the flow of sodium transported through the nerve cells in insects, causing those nerves to fire off rapidly and repeatedly until the insect dies. Since mammals have more complex nervous and immune systems than insects, the insecticide is broken down before this effect can occur.

So what does all of this mean? Generally speaking, any insecticide that you find that is registered for indoor use against bed bugs will be safe, as long as you use it correctly. The only real threat to anyone’s health in a bed bug treatment (besides the bed bugs, obviously) is misuse of insecticide products. It’s vitally important that you read and follow the product label and MSDS for safe and effective usage. These documents come with every registered insecticide product, and explain everything you need to know about safe handling of the product. Here are a few key things to look for in these labels:

  1. The most important part of the product label is where and how to apply the product. The vast majority of pesticide-related poisonings are caused by over-applying a chemical or applying it where it’s not meant to be used. That’s why it is against federal law to use an insecticide in any way that it is not specifically labelled for.
  2. Most insecticides will advise that you remove children and pets from the room that you’re treating before you begin the treatment. This is due to varied immune system effectiveness among infants and different types of pets (i.e. cats may have more difficulty breaking down a certain insecticide than dogs).
  3. The MSDS will outline what protective safety gear is required. This could range from long sleeves and gloves to a dust mask and a specific type of gloves. It’s very important that you follow the safety guidelines to prevent any unsafe contact with the chemicals.
  4. Most product labels will advise that you not allow anyone to come in contact with a treated surface until that surface is fully dry. This is usually to eliminate any chance of excessive air or skin exposure to the product’s active ingredients.

If you or anyone in your home have underlying health conditions, it would be wise to consult with your doctor before beginning any insecticide treatments. Your doctor may advise for or against certain chemical ingredients, or may suggest additional precautions that are specific to the medical condition in question.

Don’t be fooled by advertisements claiming that their pest control solution is non-toxic and safe for the family. There are several products that claim to be natural, chemical-free, and non-toxic, but are still able to kill bed bugs. They often use one or more essential oils, which are believed by some to be effective against bed bugs. However, these products are simply not capable of eliminating your bed bug infestation. By using the right products, and following their instructions carefully, you can kill bed bugs while still keeping your family safe and healthy.

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MM Novato Reviews

No bed bug treatment is complete without a bed bug steamer. While your powders and sprays might do a great job on the surfaces that they’re applied to, only a steamer can effectively penetrate soft materials like mattresses and upholstered furniture. They can also push steam into cracks and crevices, like windowsills and door frames, […]

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Haan HS-22 Bed Bug Steamer Review: Bed Bug Killer on a Budget

No bed bug treatment is complete without a bed bug steamer. While your powders and sprays might do a great job on the surfaces that they’re applied to, only a steamer can effectively penetrate soft materials like mattresses and upholstered furniture. They can also push steam into cracks and crevices, like windowsills and door frames, more effectively than anything else out there. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the hundreds of dollars that a high-pressure, high-capacity dry vapor steamer can cost. Is the affordable handheld Haan HS-22 the right choice for you, or are you better off saving up for a steamer like the MR-100 Primo?

Haan HS-22 handheld bed bug steamer

The HS-22 is one of the smallest and lightest steamers we have to offer, weighing in at just under three pounds on an empty stomach (and just under 3.5 pounds full). It was designed and constructed with household cleaning in mind: for a low price, you can sanitize virtually every surface in your home with one hand and no harsh chemicals.

It just so happens that the HS-22’s pressure rating and max tip temperature hit the minimum requirements to effectively kill bed bugs. Bed bugs are highly susceptible to heat, and can be killed at any age when exposed to at least 180 degrees of direct heat. The small but powerful HS-22 can deliver this heat by pushing steam into a mattress, bed frame, windowsill, or almost anywhere else that bed bugs could be hiding.

Unboxing and First Look

Like most budget steamer offerings, the HS-22 comes in minimal, no-frills packaging. It doesn’t come with the arsenal of accessories that a larger steamer, like the MR-100 Primo or the BRIO EB250 come with. However, for most home cleaning purposes, and certainly for bed bug treatments, the attachments included with the HS-22 will work.

Haan HS-22 with accessories

Inside the box, you’ll find a cone-shaped concentrator nozzle, a flexible extension hose, an angled nozzle for cracks and joints, a brass detail brush, a wire bristle brush, a flat upholstery attachment, a fabric cleaning sock, a steel wool bundle to assist with scrubbing, a measuring cup and funnel, and the steamer itself. The accessories all fit in the included bag, and the manual is a must-read to ensure safe operation.

Haan HS-22 design

The steamer itself is surprisingly well-made for its price range. The thumb-operated trigger is generous to the touch, and the lack of extra dials and switches make learning to use the device a piece of cake. While you can’t expect top-tier aluminum or steel, found on commercial steamers that cost dozens of times more than the HS-22, the matte polymer reduces the weight of the machine while still feeling grippy and sturdy in the hand. You also won’t find any bonus features like steam adjustment, continuous fill, or CEME solenoids, that you might find on a higher-priced steamer.

Using the Haan HS-22

So far, it seems like the Haan is a pretty sweet deal. You get the right size and the right attachments for the right price. But does this killer value hold up as a bed bug killer?

The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is “yes, but you might be a bit annoyed along the way.”

The problem with this budget handheld steamer isn’t the “budget” part; it’s the “handheld” part. When you’re just cleaning up the grill after a weekend barbecue or getting some grime out of your ceramic tile grout, this little guy gets the job done right. Unfortunately, the low capacity offered by this form factor doesn’t lend itself well to a bed bug treatment.

The HS-22 has a 10-ounce tank that offers over seven minutes of steam time. That means that after about seven minutes of steaming, you’ll need to unplug the steamer, let it cool down, then refill it and wait for it to heat up again. Fortunately, the unit heats up quickly – just a little under three minutes in our testing. However, this made for a rather tiring and inefficient process when we had a whole bedroom full of little cracks and crevices to cover. When you’re trying to steam your bed, windows, door frames, baseboards, and more, having to take a break every seven minutes or so gets old quickly.

To add to the frustration, the HS-22’s heating element simply isn’t powerful enough to maintain a strong pressure for long. When holding down the trigger, the pressure of the steam output drops significantly in under a minute. This is to be expected of a steamer this size, but it’s still annoying when you’re trying to penetrate soft materials like carpet and upholstered furniture. Add that to a handheld design that lacks the versatility of a canister steamer with a longer hose and extendible handle, and you end up with a lot of work on your hands when using the HS-22 instead.

There’s a reason that the ~$300 Vapamore Primo is our top-selling steamer: being able to steam for up to an hour without refilling, and maintaining a strong pressure for the whole operation, is more than worth the added cost to most buyers. Throw in solenoid control and adjustable steam pressure, and the Primo is the real value to beat.

Wrapping Up

Haan HS-22 with extended hose

All in all, the Haan HS-22 is the great value that we had hoped it would be. It’s a great value with its sub-$100 price tag, and the lightweight handheld profile serves very well as a household disinfectant.

Our gripes about its limitations as an effective bed bug killer are limited only to how it compares to larger and more expensive steamers on the market. As with most things in life, you really do get what you pay for. If you can afford it, the MR-100 Primo is by far the more convenient bed bug steamer to use. This great value does come with limitations, but if you’re on a tight budget, have a lot of time on your hands, and don’t mind working on your hands and knees, the HS-22 can fill the steamer role as part of your bed bug treatment process.

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MM Novato News

Are bed bugs catching the train, or is the train catching the bed bugs? Today’s philosophical question is brought to you by a flurry of reports of bed bug sightings in several New York City subway trains over the last week. While tourists might be shying away from the summer heat, bed bugs think the […]

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Bed Bugs Riding the Rail in New York City

Bed Bugs on NYC Subway
Are bed bugs catching the train, or is the train catching the bed bugs? Today’s philosophical question is brought to you by a flurry of reports of bed bug sightings in several New York City subway trains over the last week. While tourists might be shying away from the summer heat, bed bugs think the August weather is a great time to hit the scenes in the Big Apple, and there’s no more convenient way to travel the town than the underground rails.

At least five subway cars have been taken out of service to be inspected and treated after bed bug activity was reported on them, usually by riders. So far, the outbreak seems to be limited to the “N” and “5” lines; however, this is only based on reports that are accessible to the press. The cars in question were inspected by bed bug-sniffing dogs, then fumigated.

Perhaps more troubling was the discovery of bed bugs in the lockers of two “N” train workers. This is clear evidence that bed bugs are thriving in the subway system, and are easily able to travel out of the train and into someone’s personal belongings. The news has prompted the Transport Workers Union Local 100, the union representing the “N” train workers in question, to call for fumigation of the entire “N” line.

“This is a very annoying and possibly costly infestation if it gets back to fellow employees’ homes, cars, and possessions,” says Kevin Harrington, a vice president with the union. “Some of our fellow employees are experiencing great trepidation concerning possible infestation.”

In response to the locker room findings, crew rooms for the “N” and “Q” line workers were cleared out for fumigation later in the week. The crew rooms were in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Astoria, and are used by motormen, conductors, signal maintainers, and other workers.

Joseph Costales of the TWU Local 100 isn’t convinced that treating those cars and lockers is enough. He told Daily News that the MTA should also fumigate the homes of all workers on the affected lines. “Otherwise, you’re not resolving the issue,” Costales explained. “You’re just doing the quick fix. It will be like a ping-pong match with workers bringing the bugs home and then back to work.”

Adam Lisberg, a spokesperson for the MTA, feels differently about the severity of the case. “With 6,300 subway cars, this is a minor incident,” Lisberg said. “The subway system has 5.5 million riders every single day, and we can’t check all of them for bedbugs before letting them on the train. That said, when we get reports of bedbug sightings, we investigate — and exterminate. This is an interesting story, but not a big problem.”

If you’re a New Yorker and/or are feeling a little itchy right now, fear not — there are a couple of easy ways to keep these hitchhikers from following you home. For starters, give the subway seat a quick glance before sitting down on it; if you spot signs of bed bugs, like thin black fecal marks or small red blood spots (or even living or dead bugs), it’s best to remain standing. This is by no means a guarantee, but visible signs make it much more likely that bed bugs are hiding nearby.

The most effective prevention method available to commuters is a small bed bug heater, like the ThermalStrike Ranger. This device costs less than two months of rail commuting, and can safely heat your briefcase and other personal belongings to lethal temperatures, killing any bed bugs and eggs hiding inside in a matter of hours. Use it to treat your briefcase, suitcase, clothes, shoes, books, and work papers as soon as you get home from work.

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MM Novato Reviews

A common and effective way to treat clothes and bedding for any possible hiding bed bugs or eggs. On high heat settings, a single laundry cycle can effectively kill bed bugs due to their susceptibility to heat. Unfortunately, not everything in life belongs in a washing machine – your shoes, books, DVDs, and dry-clean only […]

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ZappBug Oven 2 Bed Bug Heater Review

A common and effective way to treat clothes and bedding for any possible hiding bed bugs or eggs. On high heat settings, a single laundry cycle can effectively kill bed bugs due to their susceptibility to heat. Unfortunately, not everything in life belongs in a washing machine – your shoes, books, DVDs, and dry-clean only clothing might not survive even the gentle cycle. To safely treat these items for bed bugs, you’ll need a portable bed bug heater. That’s where the new and improved ZappBug Oven 2 comes in.

ZappBug Oven 2 assembled

This isn’t the first ZappBug we’ve reviewed here at Bed Bug Supply: we’ve looked over the gigantic ZappBug Room, as well as the compact and budget-friendly ZappBug Heater. The ZappBug Oven lies somewhere in the middle – it has about twice as much usable space as the ZappBug Heater without costing twice as much. Like all ZappBug heaters, the Oven features insulated walls, automatic shut-off timers, and a wireless thermometer.

As you might have guessed, the ZappBug Oven 2 is the replacement for the ZappBug Oven. The new and improved Oven 2 now features dual heating units, one on each side of the tent. Now with two heaters, this unique design more evenly heats the items inside while eliminating the risk of any cold spots.

Unboxing and First Look

Unboxing the ZappBug Oven 2

Unboxing the unassuming brown box that the ZappBug comes reveals the necessities to a successful bed bug heat treatment: the two heater units, temperature gauge and wireless probes, auto shut-off timers, foam support blocks and support net, an extension cord, and an instruction manual. The upgrade from the smaller ZappBug Heater means that instead of a carrying bag, you’ll get twice as many foam support blocks as well as a heavy-duty extension cord.

The extension cord isn’t just for convenience: due to the amount of power that each heater unit draws, it’s important that you plug each heater into separate circuits. Most buildings have a different circuit in each room, so use the extension cord to reach another room, like a bathroom or kitchen.

ZappBug Oven 2 heater unit

As always, the construction and design of this ZappBug is superb. The double-layered, insulated walls are just as impressive as ever, and the fold-out design makes assembly ridiculously easy. The heater units have the same Scandinavian design qualities to them, and feel like they can hold up to years of use.

Using the Oven 2

Setting up the Oven 2 for treatment is easy, and should only take a couple of minutes. The tent unfolds in seconds in your hands, and doesn’t need a separate frame. Once unfolded, the tent reveals its two elastic ventilation tubes, which is where the heater units are to be installed.

Inside the ZappBug Oven 2

If you plan to treat heavy, rigid items, like furniture or luggage, put the foam support blocks on the bottom of the tent before putting those items in. For loose items like books and clothes, use the support blocks followed by the support net, which hooks into place at six points.

Once assembled, the Oven 2 is ready to be filled with whatever you suspect may have bed bugs. The generous space of the Oven 2 is suitable for a full-sized suitcase (or two), a closet full of clothes, or even some furniture like chairs or night stands. Just make sure that you don’t pack anything in too close to the walls, as airflow is needed to ensure everything heats up thoroughly.

Electronics included with the ZappBug Oven 2

Once everything we want to treat is packed in, it’s time to zip the Oven shut and plug the heaters in. The included timers shut off automatically when the timed treatment is done; simply plug the heaters into their timers, and the timers into the wall. Since it’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take to heat everything inside the Oven to at least 120° F, we advise setting the timers to their maximum setting to be on the safe side.

Without the noisy ventilation fan that the larger Room uses, the Oven 2 operates quietly and politely. In our testing, everything hit 120 ° after a little over three hours, but that was on a fairly light load. In the case of a bed bug infestation, we would run the heaters for an additional hour just to be safe.

Wrapping Up

ZappBug Oven 2 bed bug heater

There’s really nothing to compare to the Oven 2. It’s larger than every other heater on the market except for the enormous ZappBug Room (which is really in its own class), yet its low price per cubic foot also makes it a great deal. This makes the Oven 2 a sure bet for any homeowners or pest control professionals looking to treat large items (or a bunch of little items) safely and easily. There’s a reason that the ZappBug Oven 2 is such a hot seller; it’s a no-brainer.

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