If you think you have bed bugs, here are some dos and don’ts (Part 1 of Two Parts)

October 14, 2014 by Doug Moore

If you think you may have bed bugs, these are the essential dos and don’ts.

If you suspect there are bed bugs where you sleep, don’t begin sleeping in another bed, on the sofa. Do not go to stay with someone else. The bugs may follow you to your guest room or sofa, and then it will be much harder to get rid of them. They may hitch a ride to your relative’s home, and you can cause them to become infested.

Also, staying outside of your home means the bugs may become dormant. We’re told the hardiest one may live without feeding for up to 18 months. When you come back, they can begin biting you again. So staying in your home during treatment, and sleeping in your usual bed, is the way to kill bed bugs. Isolate your bed (using ClimbUp Interceptors) and sleep there while you’re getting a Pest Control Operator (PCO) to treat your home. Once you are being treated, you must remain in the bed–you are the bait, attracting bugs to the poison and their deaths. If you isolate the bed, they need not bite you.

Do save any bed bugs you find. Do not part with these– you may need to show them to landlords, pest control professionals, and so on. Entomologists at colleges or science museums in your town may identify these, and a pest control company can too. Pick it up with clear packing tape, and tape it to an index card. Don’t assume you’ll see lots of them, some people don’t.

Do rule out other possible conditions, like folliculitis, scabies, and bites from other insects. Suspected bed bug bites sometimes turn out to be one of these other conditions. Doctors cannot diagnose bed bug bites with any certainty. Be warned, though, that many of us are told by doctors that we do not have bed bugs, and later find they are wrong. Many of them have never seen bed bug bites, or have seen only some patients with them. Bed bug bites can range from large welts to small red bumps, to scabby pimple-type bumps. Call a canine bed bug inspection service to have your home inspected.

Don’t assume you are the only one being bitten. Remember that some people do not react to bed bug bites at all. Bed bug bites are an allergic reaction, and reactions vary from nothing to serious allergic reactions. About 30% of the population will not react to the allergens in the bed bugs’ saliva.
Don’t start throwing your bed and other furniture out. Although this is a very natural “knee-jerk” reaction, you can cover and isolate the bed. (You may wish to wait until a PCO has started treating before covering the mattress and box spring in an encasement).
Most furniture, including mattresses and sofas, can be treated by a PCO, and you can ask the PCO if throwing them out is a good idea. And he or she can help you do it safely, so as not to spread the bugs around your home or building, and so that others do not pick up infested items.

Don’t start buying a load of chemicals and treating yourself. Choose a good pest control firm. I’m a “do-it-yourself” kind of guy, but eradicating bed bugs is NOT a DIY thing. Doing your own pest control in lieu of a PCO is not a good idea. Yes, sometimes supplementing a PCO’s work makes sense, but only if you know what they’re doing, and what you should do. Remember, pesticides have different qualities (repellents, contact killers, residual killers, growth regulators, etc.) Bed bugs are probably the most complicated pests you’ve ever encountered at home. If you start spraying pesticides, you will most likely disperse the bugs, and the professionals may have trouble treating them. You may spread them around your home. Get good professional help and follow instructions. Heat treatment remains the most effective and efficient way to eliminate bed bugs.

Do not, absolutely do not release a fogger or bug bomb. Do not allow your landlord to do so. Do not allow a so-called exterminator to do so. Bug bombs / foggers do not work for bed bugs, and in fact, will spread them. Your problem will be magnified.

Lastly, contact a canine bed bug inspection service and have a dog inspect your home. Dogs don’t need to see the bed bugs, they find them by their noses.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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