What are the signs of bed bugs so you can identify an infestation?
I received a call the other day from a woman who was concerned she had bedbugs. About a week after returning home from vacation she awoke with welts all over her body. She examined her mattress and found one small red insect. She called the management company who sent in a tech who promptly identified it as a bed bug, stated his office would run some tests on it, and left with the insect. No further inspection was done. She then received a call from the pest control company telling her she had bed bugs, to prepare for treatment and sent her a detailed prep sheet that included removing outlet covers, getting all her rugs professionally cleaned, washing and drying all her clothes, etc. etc. The woman called us because she was looking for heat treatment as an alternative to chemical treatment and a process that was less intrusive. After speaking with her for several minutes it became clear that there was the possibility this was not Cimex Lectulurius.
Bed Bug Evidence
We dispatched a canine who ran the unit which had no scent detected, was followed by a detailed inspection with no evidence or signs of Bed Bugs and we concluded there were no bed bugs in the unit. We did find spider beetles. Why our suspicions? First-bed bug infestations usually start out gradually. A few bites followed by a lapse of several days that slowly increases in intensity. Eggs take 10-14 days to hatch, males and females usually feed 4-5 days apart, nymphs take a week to morph into a later stage so unless you bring back a large number of insects it (the infestation) will start slowly. So waking up with bites all over doesn’t make sense. Also, bed bugs are easily identifiable to the trained eye. A tech that states it’s a bed bug and that it has to go to the office for “further testing” is immediately suspicious. I don’t know what kind of testing was done but it was obviously incorrect. So what can you learn from this case? First, not all skin reactions or “bites” are bed bugs. There are many causes of skin irritations, not just insects. Second SAVE YOUR BUG. This way you can get a second opinion and check yourself using the internet by looking at insect pictures. Most companies are ethical and honest but there are some that are cashing in on the panic and hype of bed bugs. It’s always prudent to verify. So if you suspect you have Bedbugs inspect, verify, and above all don’t panic.