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MM Novato FAQ

Too many of us have been in this situation: you wake up one morning to find itchy bite marks on your arm or leg. You panic, remembering about that news story you saw on TV or that horror story your neighbor told you. The first question might be, “is this a bed bug bite?” Since […]

FAQ: How Do I Know if I Have Bed Bugs?

Do I Have Bed Bugs?

Too many of us have been in this situation: you wake up one morning to find itchy bite marks on your arm or leg. You panic, remembering about that news story you saw on TV or that horror story your neighbor told you. The first question might be, “is this a bed bug bite?” Since you can’t be sure, that’s likely followed immediately by, “how do I know if I have bed bugs?”

Before dousing your home with gasoline and lighting a match, you’ll want to confirm whether your suspicions are related to bed bugs or not. The most common sign of a bed bug infestation – those itchy red bites on your skin – are easily confused with mosquito bites, spider bites, or an allergic reaction. Many other warning signs can be false alarms as well. Let’s talk about identifying signs of bed bugs and confirming a bed bug infestation.

Bed Bugs and Their Signs

The first step in determining whether or not you have bed bugs is to inspect your home for signs of the critters. While bed bugs can be spotted with the naked eye, you’re probably not going to find one out and about while you’re awake. Instead, you’re more likely to come across something they’ve left behind while moving between their meal host (you) and their hiding place.

Bed bugs on mattress seamBed bugs often leave blood stains on sheets, pillows, and furniture. These small red spots are caused by bed bugs spitting up some of the blood they were drinking. Blood stains can also occur when a bug gets crushed by their host rolling over in bed.

Thin black streaks can occur where bed bugs have been active. These are bed bug feces, made up of digested blood and excreted by bed bugs on their way to their hideout. To confirm that a streak is from a bed bug, try dabbing it with a damp cloth or paper towel. It should leave a red smudge.

Bed bugs reach adulthood by progressing through five infant stages of development. Each stage is entered by digesting a blood meal and shedding their skin. These bed bug skins are transparent, golden-tinted, and resemble the bed bug that discarded them.

Adult bed bug

An adult bed bug. Photo credit: Gilles San Martin.

Bed bugs themselves are tan or brown in color, though they can appear more red after they’ve had a meal. They’re usually about 5 millimeters long as an adult, or roughly the size of an apple seed. They have flat bodies and can’t jump or fly – instead, they scurry along the floor at about the speed of a common ant.

 Confirming an Infestation

To begin your confirmation process, start searching for the previously discussed signs of bed bugs somewhere in your room. The natural hot spot for bed bugs would be on or around your bed, but don’t ignore other parts of the room that they may be hiding in.

Inspecting a mattress for bed bugs

Begin by carefully inspecting your sheets on both sides. Lift the sheets off the mattress to check its seams, and turn the seams up to look under where they tend to fold over. Remove the mattress from the box spring and check its underside, then search along the seams and underside of the box spring. Remove everything from your bed frame so you can check its joints and edges.

If the inspection of your bed left you empty-handed, start searching elsewhere in the room. Check along the baseboards where the floor meets the walls, and search around dressers, nightstands, and other low-standing furniture. Shine a flashlight into any cracks or spaces in your flooring. A bed bug can hide anywhere a credit card can fit, so be careful not to pass by any thin hiding spaces.

If you’re still suspicious after your inspection, you should begin monitoring for bed bug activity over the next few weeks. The best tools for that job are a set of bed bug proof encasements paired with ClimbUp Insect Interceptors. The encasements will keep bed bugs from entering or escaping your mattress and box spring, and the ClimbUps will trap any bed bugs that try to climb up the legs of your bed to feed on you. If you find bed bugs in your interceptors, you’ll know to start treatment right away.

Next Steps if You Have Bed Bugs

If you found any convincing signs of bed bug activity, the time to act is now! You’ll want to start treatment ASAP so that you hit the bed bugs in the room before they’ve had time to feed and reproduce even more than they have already. Our 4-step solution is a professional-strength treatment process that can stop the biting from the very first night. It’s been proven over years of use by thousands of customers, and it all costs less than hiring a pest control professional to perform the treatments.

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MM Novato Reviews

A few years back, Vapamore stepped into the commercial bed bug arena with their MR-1000 Forza. The Forza is a high-power, high-capacity, high-durability steamer that leaves no professional wanting for more. However, its heft and price tag gives pause to those that may not need the dual-tank continuous flow design it offers. For those looking […]

Vapamore MR-750 Ottimo Commercial Bed Bug Steamer Review

Vapamore MR-750 Ottimo

A few years back, Vapamore stepped into the commercial bed bug arena with their MR-1000 Forza. The Forza is a high-power, high-capacity, high-durability steamer that leaves no professional wanting for more. However, its heft and price tag gives pause to those that may not need the dual-tank continuous flow design it offers. For those looking for the power and toughness of a Forza in a lighter and budget-friendly package, Vapamore now has the answer: the all-new MR-750 Ottimo.

Unboxing and first look

Like the Forza before it, the MR-750 Ottimo comes in a plain and unassuming box. It’s only when you open it up that you realize how generous a package you’re dealing with. Included with the steamer is a steam gun and lengthy hose, two extension tubes, a bunch of floor and joint attachments, and more brushes and tip tools than I would know what to do with. All of the attachments you aren’t using can be easily stowed in the included storage basket.

MR-750 Ottimo body

Despite being shrunken down from its older brother, the Ottimo is still an intimidating machine. Its powder-coated metal body panels and reinforced corners shows that it means business. The true nature of Italian engineering shines in the MR-750’s physique: it’s elegant but purpose-driven, made to look the part and act it too. Since it’s noticeably smaller and lighter than the MR-1000 Forza, the MR-750 Ottimo skips the second carry handle on the front of its body. The casters are also much smaller since they don’t need to bear as much of a load.

MR-750 Ottimo storage

While the MR-750 Ottimo comes with a storage basket (albeit without the Forza’s stroller handles and cup holder), I opted to go without it for most of my testing. I did the same when I reviewed the Forza, and it was personal preference that’s driven the decision both times. While the basket will be essential for those using the Ottimo for cleaning duty, I was primarily reviewing it as a bed bug killer. When steaming for bed bugs, you only need to use a couple of the included attachments – the ones you’re not using can go in a pocket rather than a basket.

MR-750 Ottimo trigger

The Ottimo’s gun is very well suited for the job — it features a spacious trigger guard and a locking switch beneath the trigger itself. When engaged, that switch locks the trigger in whichever state it’s in: if you’re not steaming, it acts as a safety, but if you are, it’ll act as cruise control. Missing from the MR-750 Ottimo is the Forza’s ultra-premium hose braiding, but for the price difference I can do without.

Setup and Use

MR-750 Ottimo pressure heatup

Despite its reduced footprint, the Ottimo still carries over from its big brother an enormous water capacity. Even without the continuous fill feature that the bigger Forza provides, the Ottimo can still steam non-stop for up to three hours. Thanks to its high-powered heating element, this huge tank is brought to a boil in just about 8-9 minutes. This is noticeably faster than the 15-20 minutes that a less powerful boiler would need to heat up that amount of water.

MR-750 Ottimo Steaming

When you pull the trigger on the Ottimo’s steam gun, the first thing you’ll hear is the distinctive click of the CEME solenoid. The Italian-made solenoid regulates steam flow into the hose, reducing moisture and condensation buildup and ensuring a consistently hot and dry steam. Thanks to its incredibly powerful boiler, the MR-750 Ottimo is capable of a whopping 75-PSI steam output. This super high pressure is at the very top of the Ottimo’s class, and will ensure that the steam vapor penetrates deep into cracks and crevices to hit hiding bed bugs.

MR-750 Ottimo steam adjustment

Like most commercial-grade bed bug steamers, the MR-750 Ottimo offers adjustable steam control. By turning a knob on the control panel, you can adjust how high or low the pressure coming out of the gun will be. At max pressure, the Ottimo offers unmatched penetration but at a tradeoff of a lower tip temperature, since the rush of steam flow reduces the ability for the heat to stay in place. By turning the dial down, you can better focus the heat near the tip of the nozzle, which is ideal for attachments such as the flat fabric tool.

MR-750 Ottimo vs Bed Bugs

While the MR-750 Ottimo comes with a variety of attachments for various cleaning duties, you’ll only need a couple for an effective bed bug treatment. To kill bed bugs with steam, you’ll want to narrow your arsenal down to the small flat fabric tool (paired with the included cotton cover) and the detail jet tool (with a microfiber towel wrapped and secured).

MR-750 Ottimo fabric tool

Use the fabric tool on low steam pressure to cover soft surfaces such as mattresses, box springs, sofa cushions, and more. For cracks and crevices such as baseboards, floorboards, and the edges of the carpet, switch to the detail jet tool and high pressure for maximum penetration. Remember to move the steam nozzle slowly, no more than about one inch per second, to ensure that the treated area is properly exposed to the heat.

Treating a room for bed bugs is a breeze with the MR-750 Ottimo. After a short fillup and heatup time, the spacious double-walled boiler is primed and ready to deliver class-leading 280-degree steam. This can reliably kill bed bugs and their eggs instantly, even if they’re hiding several inches from where you point the steam nozzle.

Wrapping Up

Vapamore MR-750 Ottimo

Homeowners, property managers, and pest control professionals have asked for a durable, powerful steamer that offers more than the typical consumer models but aren’t as large and feature-packed as the top-of-the-line commercial steamers. With the MR-750 Ottimo, Vapamore has answered that call.

Vapamore MR-750 Ottimo Heavy Duty Bed Bug Steamer (75 PSI)

The MR-750 Ottimo is the ultimate in steam cleaning for heavy-duty home use or light-duty commercial use. Years of development and customer feedback went into the development of the Ottimo to bring commercial power to a machine in a small light package.
Our Price:

$799.00
Vapamore MR-750 Ottimo
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MM Novato Treatments

Got a sneaking suspicion that bed bugs are sneaking around your bedroom? Perhaps you’re waking up to find itchy red welts on your skin and you’re concerned about what might be causing them. Whatever the reason you suspect bed bugs, you’ll first need to check the room for bed bugs and confirm an infestation before […]

How to Check a Room for Bed Bugs

How to check a room for bed bugs

Got a sneaking suspicion that bed bugs are sneaking around your bedroom? Perhaps you’re waking up to find itchy red welts on your skin and you’re concerned about what might be causing them. Whatever the reason you suspect bed bugs, you’ll first need to check the room for bed bugs and confirm an infestation before starting treatment.

Early detection is key in an effective treatment – the sooner you hit an infestation, the sooner you can cut off their food supply and their ability to reproduce. You’ll also be dealing with a smaller population than if you wait until weeks or months later to start treating. With that in mind, let’s jump right into how to inspect a room for bed bugs:

What Signs to Look For

Bed Bug Eggs

While bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, it’s not likely that you’ll find any running around in the open. If you do, that’s a bad sign – it suggests that you have a high active population nearby. In most cases, you’re more likely to find inanimate signs of bed bugs than you are to find the bugs themselves. Here are some examples:

Blood spots:

They’re dark, they’re red, they’re round. This is arguably the most common sign of a recent bed bug feeding. However, they’re not the most convincing indicator of bed bug activity, since there are other bloodsuckers that could leave these spots behind.

Fecal droppings:

These thin, dark streaks are left behind as bed bugs digest their latest blood meal. These droppings are made by heavily digested blood; they’ll smear red if you dab them with a wet cloth. Bed bug feces are usually smeared in thin streaks since they poop while walking. Gross.

Shed skins:

Like other invertebrates, bed bugs need to shed their exoskeletons as they grow. When one shell gets too cramped, they shed it and grow a new, roomier shell in its place. Since bed bugs need a blood meal to grow to their next stage, finding these skins means that bed bugs have been feeding on somebody nearby.

Bed bugs:

If you do find a live bug, pay close attention to its shape, size, and color. Bed bugs are mostly round with a pointed posterior. Their shell is a dark reddish brown, and they’ll grow up to be about the size of an apple seed. They have six legs, short antennae, and no visible (or functional) wings. Make sure the bug you find matches this description before jumping to conclusions.

Inspecting the Bed for Bed Bugs

Inspecting a mattress for bed bugs

Since bed bugs feed on you while you sleep, the bed is naturally the primary “hot spot” for bed bug activity. You can start to inspect a room for bed bugs by inspecting the sheets, pillows, mattress, box spring, headboard, footboard, and frame. Make sure to perform your search slowly and thoroughly so you don’t miss anything.

There are a couple of handy tools to have with you during your search: at the very least, you’ll want a flashlight and a stiff card like a bank card to help scrape stuff out of tight spaces. A magnifying glass also helps, as most signs of bed bugs are very small and hard to see clearly. If you need help moving your mattress or other furniture, have a friend or neighbor on hand.

Start by inspecting your sheets on all sides of the mattress, both the surface and the underside. Check the seams of the mattress and lift the seams to look under where they tend to fold over. Lift the mattress off of the box spring and check underneath, then check the seams and underside of the box spring.

Remove both the mattress and box spring from your bed frame so you can inspect the joints and edges of the frame. If you have a headboard or footboard, check both sides of them and pay close attention to any wooden seams where pieces connect. Once you’re sure you’ve checked everything, you can put the bed back together.

Checking the Rest of the Room

Inspecting for Bed Bugs
While their names may imply that bed bugs can only be found on your bed, that simply isn’t the case. You can find bed bugs anywhere in the room where their host sleeps. They like to tuck away in places out of sight and out of reach, such as between baseboards, floorboards, and the edge of the carpet. It’s also common to find bed bugs tucked away in nearby furniture like nightstands and dressers.

If the room has hardwood or tile floors, shine a flashlight along any cracks or spaces between floor panels. Remember, a bed bug has a very flat body that can hide anywhere a credit card can fit. Use a bank card or something similar to scrape along cracks and crevices to try and dig out anything that might be hiding in them.

As a last measure, check any hanging picture frames or other wall decorations. Pull the cushions off any sofas or love seats in the area and check their seams for warning signs. Remove the drawers from dressers and nighstands and look inside the emptied cabinets.

If you found any convincing signs of bed bug activity, the time to act is now! You’ll want to start treatment ASAP so that you hit the bed bugs in the room before they’ve had time to feed and reproduce even more than they have already. You can start by treating and isolating the bed, then move on to nearby furniture and other cracks and crevices in the room. Our 4-step solution describes how you can hit every potential hiding place with effective chemical and nonchemical methods.

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MM Novato FAQ

One of the most common first steps that our customers take after they discover bed bugs is dispose of their mattress, sofa, or other furniture. The premise behind that action is simple: they found bed bugs on the bed, so throwing away the bed gets rid of them. Even if more are hiding somewhere else, getting […]

FAQ: Why You Shouldn’t Get Rid of Your Mattress

One of the most common first steps that our customers take after they discover bed bugs is dispose of their mattress, sofa, or other furniture. The premise behind that action is simple: they found bed bugs on the bed, so throwing away the bed gets rid of them. Even if more are hiding somewhere else, getting rid of a lot of the population will help, right?

But people who throw out their mattress aren’t going to get the results that they expect. No matter where they sleep now, they are still likely to get bitten. If they purchase a replacement bed, that bed will likely be infested in a short period of time. There are a couple of reasons for this that should illustrate why disposing of your bed is never a good idea during a bed bug treatment:

Bed bugs aren’t just on your bed.

Bed Bug Hiding Places

 

A common misconception about bed bugs (probably due to their name) is that they are exclusively or almost exclusively found on beds. That’s why so many amateur inspection and treatment attempts are limited to the mattress. Unfortunately, bed bug infestations are almost never going to be limited to your bed.

While they are often found in large numbers in the seams and folds of your mattress and box spring, they can also be found in the bed frame, headboard, footboard, nightstands, dressers, and even the walls or floors. Bed bugs can hide in any crack or crevice you can fit a credit card into, and as long as they are still within a short trip to their nearest food source (hint: you), they don’t really care where they hide in between meals.

Because of this likely distribution of an infestation, disposing of the mattress or other furniture has a very low chance of removing the infestation from your home. If you don’t address the bed bugs hiding elsewhere in the bedroom, they’ll still be addressing you in the coming nights.

Bed bugs repopulate and spread really quickly.

Bed Bug Eggs

Let’s assume that you still want to throw out your bed. You know that bed bugs are likely to be elsewhere in your room, but you want to at least cut down on the population. If half of the bugs are on your bed, then removing the bed removes half of the infestation. Sound logic, right?

Sorry, but no. That might be half of the infestation gone today, but that won’t last long. Pregnant females with enough food lay three or four eggs every day until they die. That could be up to 500 eggs in a matter of months. Those freshly laid eggs will hatch within about two weeks, and the newly emerged nymphs will start seeking a blood meal right away.

In any bed bug treatment, you need to aim to eliminate all of the bed bugs entirely. They repopulate so quickly that any losses incurred can be recovered in just weeks. Large treatment steps that only cut down the population are steps wasted unless you follow up with more thorough measures.

You still need a bed to sleep on.

Crashing on couch

The bed you’re thinking of throwing out was probably in use pretty recently. Last night, perhaps. Most likely by a person you know. Where is that person going to sleep after their bed goes missing?

One of the worst things you can do during a bed bug infestation is sleep on the floor. Bed bugs now have an all-access pass to your sleeping body, with no bed legs or frames to make the travel difficult. Worse yet, you have no options to block their travel with ClimbUp Interceptors or similar traps.

An equally unwise, but still very common, choice to make during an infestation is to sleep somewhere else. Many bed bug victims move to another room in their home, or even leave the home completely to stay with a friend or family member. While this might grant some relief from the biting (and even that isn’t guaranteed), it can also cause bed bugs to spread from the original room elsewhere in search of food. This dispersal makes treatment a lot harder, as you now have more hiding places full of bed bugs that could be feeding and breeding.

Replacing a bed is expensive.

Throwing Away Money

How much did you spend on the mattress you want to throw out? What about the box spring, bed frame, headboard, and/or footboard? The average for a queen bed set is over $1,000, and can often go way over that. Do you really want to just throw that kind of money away?

As stated above, you will still need to sleep on a bed, and you will likely still have bed bugs after you dispose of your bed. That means two things:

  1. You’ll need to pay to replace the bed you got rid of.
  2. You’ll still need to spend money treating the remaining infestation.

While the $1,000 average cost for a replacement bed might not cover a professional bed bug treatment (depending on your home size and location), that budget can fund a heck of a do-it-yourself treatment. For less than the price of the average mattress alone, you can buy everything you need to treat the mattress, box spring, bed frame, and all of the cracks and crevices around your room that bed bugs are likely to be hiding in. Throw the average mattress away and you roughly double the cost of a do-it-yourself treatment.

What to do instead:

The issue at hand is not that bed bugs got into the bed, but how they got into the bed. Bed bugs don’t get their name by spawning or manifesting in the bed – they get it by frequently feeding and breeding there. Cutting off their access routes to your bed will stop the biting and block their ability to reproduce, since they need blood meals to become sexually mature or to lay eggs.

Bed bugs can’t jump or fly. They have to crawl up something to reach you. That means their travel routes into the bed are pretty limited: the legs of the bed frame are the most common, followed by the headboard, footboard, and any walls or furniture that might be touching the bed.

To cut off these access points, move your bed away from any points of contact like walls or furniture (even an inch of space is plenty to stop bed bugs) and use ClimbUp Interceptors to elevate the legs of your bed. The ClimbUps are especially important: they can trap any bed bugs that try to sneak onto your bed in a talcum-lined pitfall, allowing you to monitor the population over time to see how your treatment progresses.

Isolating your bed is only part of the equation. If you have bed bugs in your bed, isolation efforts won’t stop them from doing what they do best. Fortunately, treating your bed and killing all of its bugs and eggs is simple with the right products. Step 1 of our 4-step solution is dedicated to this process, which involves a set of mattress and box spring encasements, contact and residual sprays, and a vacuum and steamer for quick killing and cleaning.

Once you’re done with the treatment and isolation steps, your bed will be bed bug free and bed bug proof. You’ll now be able to sleep in the bed without fear of bites, giving you time to focus your treatment efforts on the rest of your bedroom. Take the money you saved by keeping your bed and load up on professional-strength treatment gear with our new 4-step package builder.

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MM Novato News

Officials had to close the Augusta City Center in Maine last week for inspection after an angry man unleashed about 100 bed bugs. After being informed by staff that his bed bug infestation didn’t qualify him for assistance, the man emptied a container full of bed bugs on the counter in front of him while […]

Bed bugs weaponized in dispute over Maine treatment assistance

Weaponized bed bugs in Maine

Officials had to close the Augusta City Center in Maine last week for inspection after an angry man unleashed about 100 bed bugs. After being informed by staff that his bed bug infestation didn’t qualify him for assistance, the man emptied a container full of bed bugs on the counter in front of him while yelling “they’re your problem, now!”

The main had applied for Maine’s “general assistance” program after being rejected from a new apartment rental due to his former apartment’s reported infestation. Employees immediately called the police, who located the man. A pest management contractor arrived later that day to begin treatment, but the entire facility remained closed all day as a precaution.

"They're your problem now!"


“He whipped out a cup (full of live bedbugs) and slammed it on the counter, and bam, off they flew, maybe 100 of them,” said City Manager William Bridgeo. After taking action to try and contain the weaponized bed bugs, Bridgeo called the police and signed a criminal complaint and trespass orders against the disgruntled man.

As with the rest of the nation, bed bugs have been a frequent visitor to Augusta’s government building. They’ve recently been found in local libraries and even the same General Assistance office where this unusual attack occurred.

“It made sense at that point to close the building to make sure the public or employees don’t get exposed and take (bedbugs) home with them,” Bridgeo said. “They’re nasty little buggers when they take hold somewhere.”

Bridgeo said the man apparently showed the cup of bed bugs to his new prospective apartment’s manager, who told him he couldn’t live there and he had to leave. That’s when the man returned to the General Assistance office to seek help.

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