Canadian Rental Service

Editorial: October 2010

By Mike Davey   

Features Business Intelligence

You’ve probably already heard that bedbugs are making a big comeback. But what you may not have heard is that this could mean more dollars in your pocket.

Bedbugs were a fairly common pest in the years before World War II. Since then, many of us have only thought of them in connection with cramped and unsanitary conditions. It’s time to change our thinking.

There’s been a big resurgence in bedbugs in the last few years, and they don’t play favourites when it comes to choosing victims. Hotels and motels are particularly at risk, since they have a high rate of occupant turnover. But it isn’t just the cheap places beside the highway that are having this problem. Even five-star hotels are experiencing bedbug issues.

Bedbugs are very difficult to kill, even using banned pesticides. It’s just really hard to make sure you get them all, and if the destruction is less than total, you’re doing no more than fighting a holding action. That’s where the rental industry comes in.

It turns out that one of the most effective ways to deal with a bedbug infestation is through a method known as heat remediation. If you get a room hot enough and keep it that hot for long enough, you will kill every bedbug, every nymph and every egg.


Luckily for the rental business, this isn’t as simple as turning up the thermostat. You’ve got to get the heat up to about 55 C, and keep it there for at least three hours. The average home furnace just isn’t up to the job, but it’s a good bet that you have access to equipment that is.

Able Equipment Rental serves cus-tomers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In recent years they’ve found success with renting high-powered portable heaters to exterminators who use heat remediation techniques.

Joseph McCaffrey is the business development manager for Able Equipment Rental. He spoke to Canadian Rental Service about how the company discovered this potentially lucrative market.

“A colleague of mine, Dave Mansbart, is very resourceful and effective when it comes to equipment applications,” says McCaffrey. “He had been speaking to pest control companies that used heat remediation, and he deduced that larger-scale heating equipment would really penetrate all of the surfaces and sub-surfaces in the house. It’s had amazing results.”

The company has been renting 60-kilowatt electric heaters to exterminators for the last couple of years. But there’s more to it than simply renting a heater.

“You need to bring in power distribution, cabling and generators,” says McCaffrey. “They’re not the sort of heaters that you can load onto a home electrical system.”

In other words, there’s more rental income to be made from this than just renting out the heaters. It might be time to start calling some pest control companies and working towards a partnership. n

– Editor, Mike Davey

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