How To Deal With A Hoarder Who Gets Bed Bugs

As any well seasoned PCO will attest to, as Pest control pros we run into a very eclectic bunch of personalities when servicing homes for pest control. Different languages, different customs, as well as people who may have psychological handicaps are just some of the clientele we may have. The duty of the professional PCO is to do the job and do it the legal way, despite the personality of the customer. Here at Northeastern Exterminating we never judge the customers but certain clientele who may be dealing with “Compulsive Hoarding” are one of the most difficult clients to rid of pests most importantly, bed bugs. In todays blog we will speak about how we are currently dealing with one of these situations. Check out some photos we took during the inspection here. (For privacy reasons we did not include the room where the mother was sleeping)

Earlier this month we received a call from a daughter (Mary) whom found out her 91 year old mother has bed bugs. Long story short is that the Mother has been living at this property since she was 18 and inherited the house. The mother is now infirm and in poor health and in a hospital type bed and has been so for a number of years. Since this is a common issue with us we told Mary not to worry we would send James by to do an inspection of the property. The daughter also added that her mother and brother who live at the property are compulsive hoarders. Sadly, we too deal with this more often then people realize. We reassured Mary that James would be by to assess the situation and give an estimate.
James arrived to the property and sadly was not astonished at what he saw because unfortunately he runs into a lot of compulsive hoarding in this city.  He inspected only areas he could access. It took him only 5 seconds into his inspection to find evidence of bed bugs. As he was introduced to the lovely elderly lady he witnessed live bed bugs crawling all over her while she was in the bed. Fecal stains covered the sheets –James said he thought the sheets were polka dot designed. She peered over the sheets in fear knowing that this will be a long uphill battle for everyone involved.
As James walked around this 4 bedroom house, swatting bed bugs off his legs he saw that he could not access many rooms. All rooms were filled with years and years of compulsive hoarding. He also concluded a large german cock roach infestation in the kitchen and a very bad mouse problem. James was also convinced that the tentants upstairs may be dealing with a similar issue (Which we later found out to be true). James spoke with Mary’s mother for a few minutes on the phone and explained that this job is possible and nothing is out of our scope of work. The only problem is that everyone must be in understanding that much of the stuff in the home has to be thrown out, which we all know isn’t easy for compulsive hoarders.  James discussed with Mary that a prep company we usually recommend will call her to schedule an appointment. We advised the prep company that under conditions of our contract the only way we will treat is if all items are thrown out. We will always keep our prep to a minimum for normal bed bug treatments but in  an account with 50+ years of compulsive hoarding we feel as if they needed to toss it all and start a new.
The Prep company called Mary and told her that it would take 6-8 employees and about a week to prep. Since then that date has been scheduled and we will hope to update this blog post after our treatments have been performed. We hope to add a happy ending to this story. The purpose of this was to show the extent of how compulsive hoarding can really turn someones life upside down and how with great communication, honesty and hard work. The main thing is you must be compassionate and patient which is not always easy!
The question we pose to other PCO’s is this “Would you take a job like this?/ Have you taken a job like this?” This is only one of few we have done but we like the difficult stuff :).

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