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How to Inspect For Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have made a comeback in the United States and if you’re not careful, these bloodsucking parasites may be in your home. It may surprise you to learn that there was a time in North America where bed bugs were not a problem at all. However, due to increased travel overseas for vacation and immigrants and tourists from abroad coming to visit our country, bed bugs have not become a major pest problem all over the country, especially in the larger cities. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bed bugs don't spread disease but they are notoriously difficult to contain and expensive to exterminate, costing upwards of $500 to $1,500 depending on what service your choose and the exterminators level of experience. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most people don’t have money set aside in their budget for big bed bug treatments so this could be a hefty bill that most cannot afford.

At Solutions Pest & Lawn, you can save a ton of money by following our helpful how-to guides and equip yourself with professional quality bed bug control products to effectively get rid of bed bugs without the need for an exterminator. However, to treat bed bugs you first have to track them down and find them, and we will show you how that’s done in this easy to follow guide.

Find Bed Bugs Early For Better Control

If you are worried that you have a bed bug infestation in your home, it is better to start looking for the bugs sooner rather than later because if bed bugs are given a chance to establish themselves, their numbers will rapidly grow and spread, you act quickly the moment you have an inkling or worry of bed bugs on the premises.

Treating a bed bug problem when it is in its starting stage may be a hassle, but if allowed to get bigger, it will be more difficult and much more expensive problem to overcome, not to mention you’ll be saving yourself from some terrible nights of bites keeping you up at night.  

While going on the offensive when bed bug numbers are low is ideal, it can also be a more difficult task compared to a big full-blown infestation because when bed bug numbers are big, it becomes more obvious where the bed bugs are and they can be more easily found because of all the signs they leave behind (blood, fecal matter, etc.). During those times when their is a minor infestation of irritating biting bugs, there's a chance that they may not be bed bugs after all.

 

 

Bed Bug Identification Can Be Tricky

 

Bed bug infestations can very easily be misidentified or misdiagnosed. Erroneously identifying a bed bug infestation as a completely different bug, gives bed bugs more time to spread and grow their numbers or even move onto other parts of the house or even outside of the house by hitching a ride in someone else's belongings.

 

So you think you have a bed bug infestation without checking around? Not so fast. If you’re adamant that you have bed bugs because you received some bites at night while you are sleeping, you have to make sure you’re certain before jumping to conclusions. Bed bug bites look very similar to bites from other biting bugs such as mosquitoes, wandering spiders or chiggers. You may have a mosquito flying around that was let into the house via a cracked door or window who just happened to be feasting on you while you were sleeping.

 

Aside from other insect bites, what you fear to be bed bug bites may just be rashes or a skin condition (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not get any reactions to bedbug bites at all and never know they have a bed bug problem until they actually see the insect. All these reasons are why a thorough inspection is vital to properly identify that you have bed bugs and to find out where they are hiding.

 

 

Warning Signs To Watch Out For If You Have Bed Bugs

If bed bugs are indeed present in your home but you haven’t been able to physically see one with your own eyes, there are a number of different signs you can look for to be able to confirm you have a bed bug infestation on your hands without seeing the bed bugs themselves. Whenever you are cleaning up the home, changing out the bed sheets or if you are traveling out of town and staying at a hotel room look for these tell-tale signs of bed bugs:

 

Blood stains on your sheets or your mattress - bed bugs primary source of nourishment is blood--our blood. If they are not sucking blood from us, then they are feeding on our pets. Bed bugs themselves are brown and flat, but when they have had a large blood meal, they can swell to a bright red color and can leave blood stains behind wherever they move or when they are crushed. These blood stains are usually not a bright red but a rusty or brownish looking red from being dried up.

Dark spots that are dot sized. - These dark colored spots are bed bug fecal matter. And may bleed onto the fabric or mattress similar to a permanent marker. In particularly bad bed bug infestations you would see the seams and folds of a mattress literally covered in blood stained and these black dotted remnants of excrement.

 

Bed bug eggs and eggshells - Bed bugs produce rapidly especially after having a satisfying blood mean and will leave behind eggs to introduce the new generation of blood sucking pests. Bed bug eggs are very tiny, about 1 mm long. When the bed bug nymphs hatch from the eggs and begin to grow into adulthood, they will shed pale yellow skins which you also may find when inspecting your home and furniture.

 

Live bed bugs - Bed bugs themselves can be quite hard to find as they are expert hiders. Perhaps the times that they are most likely able to be seen is at night when they begin to feast on sleeping humans. Bed bugs feed on blood usually while the host is sleeping. They inject a numbing agent first so you don't feel it. After about 10 minutes the bug goes back into hiding usually somewhere nearby. By rising up and aiming a flashlight at your bed you can catch a now swollen bed bug trying to get away.

 

Where Bed Bugs Like To Hide

 

 

Now that you know what bed bugs look like and what they like to leave behind, it’s time to learn where you should look for them. When bed bugs are not feeding on our blood, they are hiding and waiting for their opportunity to feed. They like to stay in areas close to where us humans rest so the typical areas such as around the mattress, the seams and around the piping of bed bug frames are the main hot spots to look for first when trying to find bed bugs, but while they are called bed bugs, the bed is not the only place to look:

 

The mattress- of course the mattress itself is a notorious hiding place for bed bugs.They're known to nest along the seams the sides and around vents or grommets.

Don’t forget the box spring! Look carefully at and under it as bed bugs can find lots of places to hide here just out of sight.

Carefully examine the bed frame, behind the headboard, and the storage under your bed and of course everything on the floor around the bed including nearby furniture.

Bed bugs will hide on or in wood, fabric, metal, phones, electronics, ANYTHING so long as it’s close to their food source--YOU.

Don’t limit your inspection to just the bedroom. You’ll want to check the couch, easy chairs and desk areas wherever you sense significant time lying or sitting still.

You should even check wall hangings as bed bugs are known to hide under loose wall paper and wall hangings such as framed photos and artwork.

 

It’s important to go layer by layer and repeat these steps until you find the wandering bed bugs you seek.

 

What is interesting to note that while bed bugs can be found everywhere in the house, this is only during really bad infestations. Heavy infestations often take months to get really bad to where bed bugs are in every room and have gotten to out of control numbers. If you are proactive and check your home regularly, you will find bed bugs long before they’ve developed into a large infestation.

 

For example, if you may have picked two bed bugs up in your belongings and brought them into the house and they are in your bed for about 3 or 4 days, the bed bugs are going to stay there. There has to at least be a large population of about 80 to 100 bugs that has to be present for bed bugs to start moving away from the bed to other places in the home.



Learn how Bed Bugs Operate

By being informed about how bed bugs behave and their various tendencies (such as how they eat, live and reproduce) can only help make your bed bug inspection easier and will help you find bed bugs before they become established. Here is a gathering of bed bug tendencies we have gathered:

 

Bed Bug Eating Habits

Primarily feed upon humans, but bed bugs have also shown to feed on birds and animals like dogs and cats.

Bed bugs can travel between 5-20 feet from their hiding spots to go feed on a host.

Bed bugs are most active at night time, but if they are particularly hungry, it is not uncommon for a bed bug to look for hosts to feed on in broad daylight.

The timespan of a bed bug feeding lasts between 3-12 minutes.

The darkish black fecal stains that are found on bed sheets or places where bed bugs are in hiding are due to bedbugs dropping remains of earlier blood meals while feeding on new blood.

Bed Bug Reproduction

In order to reproduce and develop to the next of six life stage, bed bugs need to eat at least one blood meal.

        • Bed bugs can feed more than once at a time, (hence you will find multiple bites from the same bed bug on the body)

        • Each stage of the bed bug life cycle involves the molting of skin.

Male and female bed bugs need to feed at least once every two weeks in order to be able to mate and produce eggs.

Female bed bugs can lay between 1 to 3 eggs per day and in a single female bed bugs life span can lay 200-500 eggs per her lifetime, which is usually between 6-12 months.

Living conditions

    • Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 7°C (46°F), but they die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F).

          • To kill bed bugs with heat, the room must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding. This can be achieve via putting bed bugs in the dryer or using a steam cleaner or other heat treatment instrument.

 

Conclusion

Bed bugs are a troubling issue to have in the home, but with the help of the tips we’ve outlined above, you can safely and easily conduct a bed bug inspection yourself without the need for shelling out big bucks for an exterminator to do an inspection.

 

To be on the safe side, we recommend checking for bed bugs around the home regularly, at least a minimum of 4 times a year. You could also stay on top of bed bug prevention by inspecting for bed bugs as part of your weekly laundry routine. If you find nothing, you’ll at least have some peace of mind and if you can catch a bed bug infestation early it will be a lot less costly and stressful to deal with.

 

For more helpful tips and information, call us at 800-479-6583 or email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com.

 

How To Conduct a Followup Bed Bug Treatment

 

Great, so you have done everything you could to make sure you are bed bug free. You followed all the steps we’ve laid out here on Solutions Pest & Lawn, equipped yourself with professional quality bed bug control products and performed a successful DIY bed bug control program which included:

 

  • A detailed inspection of your home, noting all of the bed bug hotspots, areas of high bed bug activity and their main hiding places.

  • Vacuuming up all visible bed bugs found on the bed, box spring, in the dressers, chester drawers, and in the carpeting.

  • Spraying the infested and suspected areas with high quality insecticides such as Flex 10-10 Insecticide, Gentrol IGR Insect Growth Regulator and Pyrid Aerosol.

  • Dusting your home with a quality bed bug powder such as D-Fense Dust as an added protection against bed bugs.

 

Before you go and pat yourself on the back on a job well done it’s important to note that most good bed bug control programs are not “one and done”. Bed bugs are a stubborn species of insect and they often don’t go down without a fight.

 

Reasons You Should Conduct Follow Up Applications To Kill Bed Bugs

 

Even after applying all the recommended bed bug killing insecticides, it could take weeks for bed bugs to die off, which makes it important that follow up applications be conducted and bed bug activity be monitored until you can confirm that there is no longer any bed bug activity.

 

Another reason why it’s wise to conduct retreatments of bed bug insecticides is because In recent years there have been bed bugs that have actually become resistant to some of the more popular insecticides. According to Ken Haynes, a PhD and entomologist at the University of Kentucky in Louisville. Insecticide resistance is present in 88% of bed bug populations in different parts of the country. (Source: WebMD).

 

While this bit of information may be alarming to those dealing with frustrating bed bug infestations, it is possible that despite this, bed bugs can be eliminated from the home with the correct approach and a diligent attitude.

 

You may be thinking, “Hey I applied the product and I’m not getting bitten anymore, it should be a done deal, right?” Wrong. While you may believe you have taken all the right steps, and have gone perhaps a few days or even weeks without being awaken by any bed bug bite, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the bed bugs for sure are gone and that you can declare your home to be free of bed bugs. The best way to be certain is to do follow up inspections and follow up treatments.

 

Steps To Conduct A Follow Up Bed Bug Treatment

It is important to be consistent with bed bug inspections and treatments until the entire infestation is for sure cleared out. Conducting a full treatment of your home and applying all the recommended for just one-day will not do the trick. Also you can just spray around and hope for the best without checking your progress.

 

Bed bug infestations require double checking and triple check until you yourself see a reduction of bed bugs and their traces to the point where you no longer see anything at all from them that indicates they are still around. As we have said in our other guides, it is better to control a small re-infestation that you can catch early rather than a large one that grows

 

Step 1: Conducting Bed Bug Re-Inspection Of Bedroom

 

10 to 14 days after the initial treatment of vacuuming, sprays and dusts, Solutions Pest & Lawn recommends that you go back and reinspect all of the areas you have treated and measure your progress. The inspection here should largely be the same as your initial inspection for bed bugs before implementing control products. Here are some questions you can ask yourself while checking those areas:

 

  • Do I see any straggler bed bugs traveling around or trying to hide in my (bed, cabinets, furniture etc)?

  • If I don’t see any bed bugs, do I see any tiny bed bug eggs?

  • Do I see any blood stains or fecal matter? (you ideally should have cleaned away any of these bed bug droppings from your mattress during the sanitation and treatment process)

 

We recommend, just like during the initial inspection, to use a flashlight to help you while looking through cracks and crevices and checking for bed bugs. The bed bug re-inspection process should be a lot easier than the initial inspection because you already know all the main areas because you have treated them before and if you implemented our recommended bed bug cover and encasement for both your mattress( with Clean Brands Pro Mattress Bed Bug Cover) and boxspring (with CleanRest PRO Boxspring Encasement) that will make spotting bed bugs easier since there are no places for the bed bugs to hide.

 

Step 2: Measure Your Progress With a Bed Bug Monitor

 

A supplementary tool that can help you to monitor progress with your bed bug control program and how well it went and to see if bed bugs are gone or are just greatly reduced is to use Climbup Insect Bed Bug Interceptors. These simple to use monitoring tools can be placed under the legs of your bed or other furniture items like dressers.

For Climbup to work best, it’s important to first eliminate all other pathways for bugs to access furniture. There can be items around the room that you might not think much about but bed bugs can use these items as bridges or freeways for them to get on your bed and other hotspots.

 

For instance, if you’re going to use Climbup on the legs of your bed, you need to make sure the bed is not against the wall as it can be an alternate route (aside from the bed bug legs) for bed bugs to get onto the bed. Also anything hanging off to the floor or adjacent to the bed should be tucked away such as bed skirts and extension cords or electrical wiring such as your cell phone charger which may be dangling against the bed and can provide a pathway that bed bugs can climb to avoid the interceptor.

 

Once the alternate pathways have been taken away, the Climbup Interceptor can really do it’s job intercepting bed bugs. Have several of these interceptors handy and you will notice that if no bed bugs are stuck in them your bed bug issue has been mostly resolved. If not, then keep using the interceptor until the number of bed bug captured reduces to none.

 

Step 3: Check Adjacent Rooms

There is a chance that after you treated your bedroom, the surviving bed bug population may have escaped to one of your adjacent rooms and before long they will return back to the bedroom to continue feeding back on you. This is why you should inspect your other rooms where you wouldn’t normally expect bed bugs to be. If you hadn’t already, we’d recommend applying a lot of the same sprays and dusts to these adjacent rooms as well so the bed bugs will have nowhere safe to hide.




DIY aerosol spraying for bed bugsStep 4: Retreat Infested Areas

After checking the mattress, boxspring, furniture, drawers, chairs and cushions, if you happen to find any new or existing signs of bed bugs or even the bed bugs themselves, we recommend a total retreatment of the area with the Flex 10-10 Insecticide and Gentrol IGR combo or with Pyrid Aerosol. The treatment should mimic the treatment you did the first time around. You may have to go through this retreatment again after another 10 to 14 days until you no longer see bed bugs.

 

Step 5: Apply a Bed Bug Barrier around your home

We always recommend spraying around all openings to your home. This means the windows, doors, or any other opening which bed bugs can come into. This step is especially useful if you live in close quarters with other neighbors like in an apartment complex. You will want a invisible barrier to prevent outside intruders into your home. Use a combination of Flex 10-10 insecticide and spray around your homes perimeter as well as dusts like D-Fense dust to successfully keep any intruding bed bugs away. They will drop dead before they ever get to you.

 

Conclusion

Your initial bed bug treatment may have killed a whole lot of bed bugs, but one treatment alone is usually not enough to make your home completely bed bug free. You’re going to need to at least repeat the contact and residual spray applications to finish off the infestation. To recap, wait at least 10 to 14 days after the first treatment to reapply all the recommend bed bug control products (which can be purchased in our Guaranteed Bed Bug Control Kit), then repeat once more after another 10 to 14 days. These follow-up bed bug treatments will attack any recently hatched bed bugs as well as any lingering bed bug adults that may have avoided your initial treatments.

 

Once these follow up control treatments are complete, you’ll notice pretty quickly the impact of your diligent repeated applications. Bed bugs like to feast every 5 to 10 days so any lucky survivors will be hungry and will get stuck in those interceptor traps you have set up. Soon enough you won’t see bed bugs at all and can consider yourself triumphant against your bed bug infestation.

 

Please check out our other bed bug guides as well as our prevention guide to make sure bed bugs don’t return here! If you have any other questions, please contact us at 800-479-6583 or reach out to us online via our live chat support or email at askapro@solutionsstores.com.



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