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Bed Bug Barbeque company helps Vietnam veteran in Parma battling infestation and months of isolation

February 4, 2019

Bed Bug Barbeque company helps Vietnam veteran in Parma battling infestation and months of isolation

PARMA, Ohio – Bed bugs are ruthless. An infestation can mean thousands of dollars in treatment, painful bites on the body and the inability to spend time outside of your home.

Vietnam veteran Gary Muetzel of Parma has been battling the pesky creatures for a year.

He’s not alone. A 2018 list by pest control company Terminix ranked Cleveland as the top city for bed bug infestations in the United States.

About three months ago Muetzel was at a Department of Veteran’s Affairs medical facility seeking treatment when someone spotted a bed bug on him. He had noticed marks and itching before, but thought they were a reaction to medication he was on. Bed bugs didn’t cross his mind.

“In 72 years I had never even heard of them,” said Muetzel. “I thought they were a myth.”

He tried do-it-yourself treatments but nothing worked, so he decided to call a professional and discovered Bed Bug Barbeque, which offered him 100 percent extermination in less than 24 hours.

Bed Bug Barbeque is a local company operating out of Lakewood. When co-founders Chris Gonda and Laura Steelman heard about Muetzel’s plight, they knew they could help.

See Facebook Live video from the Bed Bug Barbeque treatment performed Monday at his home:

The company’s method uses no chemicals, instead heating the home to 120-150 degrees to kill the bugs. The process in Muetzel’s home is estimated to take upwards of nine hours. The cost is $1 per square foot.

The house will be heated all day, using fans to move the heat. It’s important not to have cold pockets, which allow the bed bugs to live, so all furniture will be moved to hit every spot of the home.

Bed bugs are attracted to the heat on humans as well as carbon dioxide. They also like material, which draws them to curtains, upholstered furniture and carpeting. Some of Muetzel’s furniture will be thrown out, but much of it will just need to be washed.

Muetzel’s car also was heated, which made it safe for him to use during the day while he’s out during the process.

“He has not been able to go anywhere for months and months,” said Gonda. “So he’s going to get a haircut and a shave.”

In Muetzel’s home, evidence of bed bugs can be found nearly everywhere. Bugs, fecal matter and eggs are on the floors, furniture and even his body.

Flipping over his couch, the scene is alarming.

“This couch, including dead ones, probably has well over 10,000 bed bugs in it,” said Gonda.

Where do bed bugs come from?

“The number one place they come from, sorry, is friends, family and loved ones,” said Gonda. “They’re also very prevalent in health care.”

To prevent an occurrence, it’s important for those who have them to be honest about it and keep people out of their homes until they’re eradicated.

“Vacuuming is huge,” said Steelman. “If you vacuum regularly and thoroughly you will cut down on the potential of infecting your home substantially.”

For Muetzel, the nightmare is almost over.

“He’s excited about his new opportunity,” said Steelman. “It’s life-changing for him.”

“These guys are miracle workers,” said Muetzel. “They’re going to set me free.”