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  • Writer's pictureSean Long

What should you do if you have a Bed Bug infestation?

Updated: 3 days ago

Created by LongPro

The rise of bed bug infestations all over the country is nothing new. We'll go over how to identify Bed Bugs, manage and eliminate an infestation.

What should you do when you think you have Bed Bugs?

The first thing you want to avoid doing is starting to panic and throwing away your furniture or mattresses. The last thing you intend to do is make what can be a stressful situation worst. Not to mention, if you are fortunate enough to catch the Bed Bug infestation in its early stages, one good professional treatment can take care of the problem. You would like to make sure that you actually have a Bed Bug infestation by identifying the insect and locating possible nesting sites. Then you want to choose the best integrated pest management strategy for your situation and prepare for treatment.

How do I know if I have a Bed Bug infestation?

You know you have a Bed Bug infestation when you either capture and identify a Bed Bug or find sufficient evidence like eggs, fecal matter or shedding. Bites or rashes are not enough to determine if you have an infestation. Most people won't have a reaction to the Bed Bug bite. Those that do, the reaction and symptoms can vary dramatically, so not even a doctor can simply look at a reaction or bite and say yes, that a Bed Bug bite for sure. So, the best way to know for sure is to find and identify a Bed Bug or sufficient evidence.

How would I describe Bed Bugs?

The best way to describe an adult Bed Bug is it is wingless, oval-shaped, reddish-brown translucent and about 4–7 millimeters in length and 1–3 millimeters wide or about the size of a sesame seed. After the Bed Bug has fed, the body becomes charged with blood and produces a dark-red, almost black filling. However, this is not the way they start out. The Bed Bug will undergo five stages in its lifecycle, from egg to adult. The eggs look like tiny pieces of sticky rice that are usually clumped together or lined up in a crack or crevice. The 1st stage is the most difficult to detect, especially if the nymph has not managed to feed recently. Bed Bugs also move relatively slow in a zigzag like pattern, and they do not jump or fly. Moreover, it takes Bed Bugs a little while to pick up on you being in the room or using a piece of furniture as they need time to pick up on your body heat, pheromones and carbon-monoxide production.

Some people believe that all you have to do is step into a home with a Bed Bug infestation, and you are liable to walk out with an infestation of your very own, this is not true; however, I wouldn't suggest sitting or laying down for any period of time. Moreover, if you happen to be working in a field that requires you to handle people's used furniture. You need to make sure that you don't hold the piece close to your body, pick up and carry with your hands away from your body, and you should be fine. Again, they don't move very fast, fly or jump. So don't sweat it, just be aware.

Where am I likely to find Bed Bugs, when performing a professional pest inspection?

The first thing I do when walking into a room suspected of having a bed bug infestation is look up in the corners where the walls meet the ceiling. This will give me an idea of the level of infestation. If I look up and see Bed Bugs up in the corners of a room, I know I am dealing with a high-level infestation. This is a sign that the furniture is already overpopulated and some bugs have been forced to move out and up. The bugs that are forced to relocate will attempt to stay close to the areas they know they can feed. So with that being said, if I look up and see Bed Bugs in the corners of a room without some piece of furniture directly underneath. Then I know the infestation has been going on for a decent amount of time, usually over a year. Then I move to the furniture and areas that get the most usage within the rest of the home.

I can't find any Bed Bugs, where and what should I look for?

When looking for Bed Bugs and the evidence they leave behind. The first place you want to look is at the furniture that gets the most usage and, if the piece is big enough, the area that gets the most usage. For example, a couple with no kids, a couch, and recliner in the family room. Let's say that one half of the couple likes to use the recliner, while the other tends to sit on one side of the couch. These are the first places you want to look at the recliner and the specific side of the couch that gets used the most. I can't count how many times, after performing an inspection, I find all the evidence compiled on one side of the mattress or one side of the couch. This will give you an idea of how close they like to be to you, the food source.

Bed Bugs, shedded skins and fecal matter on a mattress
Bed Bugs, shedding and fecal matter on a mattress

Once you have identified the furniture and areas of high usage, you want to examine the closest crack and crevices you can find. Search under the arm-rest, and behind the head-rest. You may have to flip the furniture over. Look for eggs, which look like tiny pieces of rice, or shedding that kind of resemble popcorn husk and fecal matter, which will look like someone took a black magic marker and dotted your furniture.

I have found evidence of Bed Bugs, now what?

Now that you know you have Bed Bugs, you want to figure out a plan of attack. The best thing to do is get professional treatment. With the multiple treatment options and the average pest control company charging ridiculous prices for even the most simple Bed Bug exterminations. Choosing the right treatment and pest control co. can be one of the most stressful aspects of this process.

There are several integrated pest management solutions. Which include some good contact killers like steam. Furthermore, a home remedy solution you can make by pouring half vinegar/half water and a couple of drops of dish soap into a spray bottle, which is also great for killing insects on plants. However, I would like to focus on the main two Bed Bug treatments, heat and eco-friendly pesticide.

Bed Bug treatments, heat vs. pesticide.

When it comes to deciding on which is better, heat and pesticide both have their place in Bed Bug extermination. With that being said, in my eleven plus years of eradicating Bed Bugs, I have seen maybe 3–4 cases that were severe enough to warrant a Bed Bug heat treatment. For example, a few years after starting up LongPro Pest Control LLC, Cleveland's premier Bed Bug extermination co. I received a call from a young woman who had become concerned about her parents. She began to explain that she lived out of state. Neither she nor any of her siblings had stepped foot in their parent's home ever since they discovered mom and dad had a Bed Bug infestation, and it had been over a decade. She wanted me to do an inspection and write up an estimate. So, the next day I made my way to a quiet little suburb just south of Cleveland, Oh. Once inside, I quickly realized that this elderly couple, in their late 80s, were living a nightmare. There were Bed Bugs everywhere, even in rooms they shouldn't be in like the kitchen, bathroom and hallways, not to mention a basement that was just being used for storage. Threw out the entire house, there were dead Bed Bugs, shedding piled 3/4 of an inch off the surface of which they lie. So, when I say nightmare, it's an understatement, this was a living Hell. In a situation of this dire magnitude. You are going to want to start with a heat treatment, clean and remove as many of the Bed Bugs as you can. Then follow up with a pesticide treatment for added protection against bugs that may have been insulated from heat treatment or the possibility of bringing in another bug.

Why choose eco-friendly pesticides?

Thanks to relentless research being done within the pest control industry, pesticides used properly are fast, effective, and long-lasting. They are also safe for children, pets, and the environment. However, if you or someone you love is dealing with an extremely high bed bug infestation, something that has been going on for multiple years, then you may be in need of a heat treatment. Just keep in mind that the heat treatment process is time-consuming and can be expensive. Furthermore, heat treatments don't offer any residual protection, so I would always back them up with an eco-friendly pesticide solution, many of which keep killing a variety of different pests for 3–6 months. Otherwise, you may find yourself fighting a brand new Bed Bug infestation, shortly after the first one.

"Therefore, the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying seige to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field." –Sun Tzu, The Art of War

How do you prepare for a Bed Bug treatment?

No matter what plan of attack you choose to solve your Bed Bug problem, there is one important thing to keep in mind and that's clutter kills and I don't mean bugs. How clean you keep your home will have nothing to do with how you get a Bed Bug infestation, but it will have everything to do with how fast you get rid of them. So, the first thing is to remove clutter from the areas that will be treated. Which will include any areas within the home that humans spend a great deal of time, like watching T.V. or sleeping. You want to remove all belongings from under and around the beds and furniture in the other living areas. You may also want to empty dressers or closets in rooms that are highly used. Clothes can be run through a cycle in the dryer, to kill any bugs or eggs that may be attached. Any professional should be able to tell exactly what needs to be done in your home to prepare for treatment after preforming a pest inspection.

What can I do after a Bed Bug treatment to help it work?

After a Bed Bug treatment, the most important thing is to keep your main living areas of the home clear of clutter. No shoes or boxes under the bed, wash and dry your bed linens weekly and make sure nothing is behind or underneath your couches and chairs. The last thing you want to do is create a place of refuge for Bed Bugs to continue to attack you or make it easier to start up a new infestation, if you happen to bring in another bug. Which brings us to the next phase of after treatment, you want to try to investigate all the possible ways the Bed bugs gained entry to begin with. Keeping in mind they could have come from anywhere, work, school, friend of the family or your favorite restaurant. The truth is, you may never find out how Bed Bugs got into your home, but you can stay vigilant, searching for new evidence to keep your home bed bug free.

Knowledge and a plan is all you need to succeed.

If you are fortunate enough to reside in the Cleveland Oh, Cuyahoga County area, then just call LongPro Pest Control co. and save yourself some time and money. If not, we hope that this information is all you need to assess your situation, come up with a plan and find the right Pro for you, even if that Pro is yourself. Just remember, the more a company spends on an expensive warehouse, logo wrapped vehicles, T.V. ads and other forms of expensive marketing, the more they have to charge for their service. Please support your local small-business, thanks for reading and good luck.

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