Sometimes your enemy is so terrible that you have to hire a hitman to take care of the problem. Richard Tyree is a mercenary who handles some of the nastiest and smallest characters you’ll encounter: Tyree kills bed bugs with heat.
Tyree has worked as a contractor for years, but that market hasn’t been so good during these recessionary times. But bed bugs are everywhere and Tyree’s gotten the hang of killing them without using pesticides. He says he found the pests in his family’s home a year-and-a-half ago and it cost him thousands to deal with the problem.
“We used sprays and got rid of our furniture and everything and then I read somewhere after getting rid of my furniture that the heat treatment worked,” he says.
“Once we got rid of them at our own house I realized we could do the same for other people.”
Tyree uses portable propane furnaces to heat homes up to 150 degrees for nine hours. Bed bugs can’t survive at temperatures higher than 125 degrees. A day-long exposure to these temperatures penetrates every corner of the house and into all of the furniture, killing the bugs but leaving the contents of the home intact. If your possessions can survive being in your trunk on a hot day, they can survive this. Tyree does all this inconspicuously, using a truck that only identifies him as a general contractor, not as an exterminator.
“It’s always a hush hush affair,” he says. “A lot of people are embarrassed to mention it and if you don’t advertise on your truck when you go to their houses, you’re doing them a favor.”
Exterminating these bugs using heat has a number of advantages: It’s cheaper — Tyree says $300-$500 is his average fee; it’s guaranteed to kill every bug in the house, which chemical exterminators can’t claim; and it kills the bugs without the health concerns of chemical pesticides.
“My way doesn’t have any negative health effects once the house has cooled back down,” Tyree says.
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