Things most people ask us about bed bugs
All stages (adult, 5 nymphal instars, and the eggs) can be seen with the naked eye, especially if a bight flashlight is used. They look like this…
The answer is yes, they can be in all of these things and places, we have seen this many many times, and in the vast majority of cases they are not in all of these places. It takes many many many months for bed bugs to spread out from the bed and couch into all these other areas.
Bed bugs are introduced by people- they do not come in from outside, they can’t jump and they can’t fly. There are a few common ways bed bugs are introduced:
- Traveling – bringing home a “hitchhiker” in your baggage or clothes
- Bed bugs traveling between units in multi-unit complexes
- Used furniture and clothing
- Visitors staying at your home bringing infested items with them
Maybe, but maybe not. Most people don’t react to bites, most reactions are delayed, and reactions change over time in the same person. Itchy skin and marks and rashes can be caused by other insects (spiders, mosquito’s, ticks, mites, fleas), or by reactions to a change in soaps or shampoo’s used in the home, new vitamins or medications being taken, minor viral infections, and a variety of different skin conditions. Another cause of marks may be from the hairs of a carpet beetle larvae aggravating your skin – carpet beetles live in almost every home we have ever inspected, and are mostly harmless to people.
No – bed bugs do not bite in three’s, nor do they bite in a straight line and if we ever find who started that myth we will infest their house with bed bugs (just kidding). Groups of bed bugs sometimes line up along an edge of a person’s sheets or pajamas to feed on exposed skin, and individual bugs sometimes feed multiple times in a night if they didn’t fill up, so there are sometimes clusters of bite marks. Many people do not react to the bite at all.
It may be bed bugs and unfortunately it can be difficult to determine if a “bite mark” is caused by a bed bug or another insect or even something else entirely. Bed bugs will bite all types of people. There does not seem to be a preference based on a person’s sex, age, gender, or ethnic background. Studies suggest between 60% and 70% of people do not react to bed bug bites. It is similar to mosquito bites – some people react and some people do not.
Nope, it just means you aren’t reacting to the bites (sorry).
Maybe, but probably not. Most people don’t react to bed bug bites, reactions to confirmed bed bug bites vary widely, and there is a very good chance your doctor didn’t inspect your home. The absence of “bed bug bites” does not mean no bed bugs, and the presence of “bed bug bites” also does not mean you have bed bugs. Bed bug infestations leave evidence (cast skins, droppings, eggs, the bugs themselves) and in the absence of evidence of bed bugs, you should not conclude you have a problem. What you should do is arrange an inspection, do some laundry and vacuuming and possibly de-clutter a bit.
Unfortunately you just can’t control whether or not a neighboring unit has bed bugs or not. The easiest way to protect yourself is to install mattress and box spring encasements and ClimbUp interceptor traps. The ClimbUp interceptor traps are great for early and easy detection of bed bugs. They catch the bed bugs travelling from other parts of the room to your bed to feed and they will also trap any bugs travelling from the bed to other harbourage sites. The encasements will protect your mattress and box spring from being used as a harbourage spot. Keep clutter to an absolute minimum. This reduces the number of potential harbourage sites. Vacuum regularly.
One of the most important steps you can take while traveling is to inspect the hotel room before staying in it. Inspect the headboard first, then the box spring and then the mattress. The other thing you can do is to “heat treat” your clothes when you return home. Place your clothes in the dryer on the heat setting for 20 to 30 minutes (do not over stuff the dryer!). Your bags and shoes and laptop and other items can be placed in the Zapp Bug Oven and heat treated safely – we rent or sell these and they are a great way to safely dis-infest your belongings.
No – Studies have shown that bed bugs can carry a variety of diseases, including MRSA. However, there has been no evidence in the lab or in the field of bed bugs passing on any diseases. They may not spread disease but they are certainly more than a nuisance pest. Bed bugs can have a significant psychological impact on those dealing with infestations.
Of course, but it is not recommended. All it takes is one female bed bug in another area to start the infestation process over again. Bed bugs are commonly found in couches and other areas of the home where people are stationary for extended periods of time. We have seen a great many infestations continue when people just try to treat one area. We feel it is just not worth the risk.
No! Infested beds do not need to be disposed of. Mattresses and box springs can be heat treated to kill any live bed bugs or eggs inside them. Bed bug proof encasements can also be used to trap and kill any bed bugs in the mattress and box spring. Encasements will also prevent other bed bugs from using those areas. Some people dispose of their beds in the hopes of eliminating their bed bugs. Unfortunately, while it may reduce the level of bed bugs, it will likely not completely eliminate the problem.
If you do choose to discard your bed, consider encasements to protect your new bed from becoming infested. You may also want to consider ClimbUp interceptor traps to stop bed bugs from accessing your bed. Also, if you discard your mattress or box spring, consider how you will move and transport the items out of your home to avoid having bed bugs fall off and being spread to other areas.
There can be a variety of reasons why a pesticide treatment hasn’t eliminated the problem. These reasons can include:
- Incomplete preparation (there is a ton of work to do to prepare for a pesticide application, and if not fully prepared, there are areas that cannot be treated and bugs that will survive)
- Lots of clutter (this provides untreatable hiding places for the bugs)
- Pesticides don’t kill the eggs, the new bugs will continue to hatch out walk around and feed
- Poor treatment techniques
- Bed bug pesticide resisitance (even if everything is done properly, studies show that many bed bugs populations cannot be killed with currently registered pesticides)