Bed Bugs and Me

    How do I know if I have bed bugs?

    I see a bug

    If possible, capture the insect. Take a piece of scotch tape and gentle place on top of the insect. Then place the scotch tape with insect onto a piece of paper. You can then put this in a envelope and give to your Pest Management Professional when they arrive for an inspection.

    Bite marks on body

    Some people are allergic to the salivary gland injection made by a bed bug and thus show “mosquito” like welts on their body where the insect has fed. 

    No visible bite marks on body

    Not everyone is allergic to the bed bug salivary gland excretion, therefore, one person may show signs while a partner sleeping in the same bed at the same time shows no signs on their body, when in fact the bug has fed on them too.

    Spotting on bed linens and mattress/box spring, etc

    Bed bugs many times will defecate while feeding and thus leave dark fecal spots, (which is partially digested blood) on their host, mattresses, clothing, bedding, walls, ceiling and every place you can imagine in a room. Watch a video showing you what to look for!

    Odor in room

    When an infestation is particularly large, the scent glands on the insect emit a “sickly sweet” odor. Do not use this as the only means of determining if bed bugs exist. The absence of this odor does not indicate there is no infestation.

    Where do bed bugs come from?
    • In temperate zones on the planet
    • Bed bugs have always been with us. However, their populations have been so small since the late 1950’s due to the powerful pesticides used during that time. Those insects that survived the onslaught of these control measures have slowly rebuilt their populations. In addition, the world has become a more accessible place for travelers and goods, making it easier for the insect to find new hosts.
    • Bed bugs usually hide during the day. If you see them frequently during the day, this is usually an indication that an infestation is quite severe.
    • They will usually hide near sleeping areas due to the host being available for longer periods of uninterrupted time in order for them to feed.
    • They will hide behind the headboard, in the box spring, in furniture, behind wall hangings and baseboards, under wallpaper and rugs, in drapes and bed skirts. In other words, there are few places they will not hide in.
    • Most common way bed bugs are transported to a new location is in infested items such as luggage, used furniture, beds or bedding and/or clothing.
    • Prevent bug bugs while traveling today!
    • They will migrate through a building using the wiring and pipe runs in the wall voids.
    • Most often found in hotels, apartments, rooming houses, schools, private homes, homeless shelters, hostels. Also found in hospitals, nursing homes, trains, planes, buses, cruise ships, theaters, and moving vans.
    • Read more!
    Why should I be concerned about bed bugs?
    • Bed bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of certain animals and people.
    • Bed bugs typically bite people on the head and neck, but will also bite bare arms, torso, hands and legs.
    • If you have as few as 40 bed bugs in your home, it is possible for them to reproduce to about 6,000 bugs in six months if there is sufficient food….you.
    • The insect is easily spread and as such control becomes more difficult or sometimes impossible if left unchecked.
    • Bed bugs have been discovered to harbor 28 different human pathogens, but fortunately, the transmission of these diseases to people has not been demonstrated.
    How should I control bed bugs in my home?

    Not a do-it-yourself job

    • First and foremost, call your Pest Management Professional (PMP)
    • Do not choose a PMP based solely on price.
      • It is time consuming and expensive to successfully rid a structure of bed bugs. This is not the time to scrimp.
      • Make sure your PMP is experienced in managing this pest. Check references.
      • Only use a licensed and insured PMP
      • Have your PMP explain in detail how they are attacking the problem, including what is expected of you and what you can expect from the Company you are considering hiring.
      • Ask the Company if they belong to any professional associations such as their state pest management association and/or the National Pest Management Association.

    Be proactive

    • Do not scavenge mattresses, beds, or any furniture that has been discarded
    • Carefully inspect “reconditioned” items, such as mattresses and box springs.
      • You may even want these items treated by your Pest Management Professional before you bring them into your home the first time
      • Second hand fabrics such as drapes, blankets, sheets, etc. should be washed and dried on hot cycle before bringing into your home
    • Returning home after traveling
      • Do not unpack when you first enter your hotel room. Thoroughly inspect room for bed bugs first.
      • Prior to departure, carefully inspect your belongings, including suitcase for hitchhiking bed bugs
      • Wash your clothes immediately upon your return home.
      • Inspect your luggage again once at home.

    You’ve called your Pest Management Professional: now what?

    • Do not remove anything from the infested room unless specifically instructed to by your Pest Management Professional.
    • If instructed to do so, remove all sheets, blankets, pillowcases, mattress covers from beds, towels, and other linens and clothing and place them in a tied off plastic bag and wash and dry ALL items on hot cycles.
    • If clothes are dry clean only, bag the items in tied off plastic bags and inform the dry cleaners that they may be infested
    • If instructed to do so, remove as much clutter as possible. These are hiding places for the bed bugs.
    • Remember, to adequately seal all items in plastic or plastic bags before removing from the room.
      Make sure your Pest Management Professional can get into all drawers, closets, under bed, etc.

    I’ve gotten rid of the bugs, what can I do now?

    • Seal or caulk cracks and crevices such as baseboards, moldings, around air conditioning and heating units. Seal all conduits and/or openings that would allow the insect to hide.
    • Repair holes and damaged walls. Re-glue damaged or peeling wallpaper, repair peeling paint and repair anyplace where you suspect the bed bug can hide.
    • Bed skirts - These are notorious hiding places for the bugs. If you must have a bed skirt, purchase one without pleats or ruffles. A flat surface is easier to inspect.
    • Encasements - Purchase a quality, scientifically tested mattress and box spring encasements for every bed in your home. When purchasing new mattresses and box springs, have encasements ready upon delivery. Encase these products BEFORE they enter the home. If you should have an infestation at a later date, the mattress and box spring are now protected and do not provide harborage for the insect.