- BED BUGS DESCRIPTION
- THE HISTORY OF BED BUGS
- WHERE DO BED BUGS INFEST?
- BED BUG BIOLOGY
- DO BED BUGS HAVE AN ODOR?
- DOES YOUR HOTEL HAVE A BED BUG PROBLEM?
- HOW TO TREAT BED BUG BITES
- HOW TO SPRAY YOUR BED FOR BED BUGS
- BEST BED BUG AEROSOLS FOR SPOT TREATING
- READY TO USE SPRAY BED BUG SPRAY
- LAUNDRY DETERGENT TO GET RID OF BED BUG EGGS
- THE BEST BED BUG DUST FOR LONG TERM CONTROL
- HOW TO TREAT BED BUGS IN APPLIANCES
- BEST BED BUG LIQUID SPRAY
- HOW TO TREAT CROWN MOLDING AND ABOVE DROP CEILINGS
- BED BUG MAINTENANCE AND FOLLOWUP TREATMENTS
- CONTACT US
BED BUGS DESCRIPTION *
Bed bugs are small but very much visible to the eye. They’re large enough to see without magnification; they can grow up to 1/4 inch long. Young hatch looking much like adults but smaller. Most species will appear as transparent tan or beige in color but will quickly turn dark brown, almost black, once they’ve fed. Bed bugs have almost a round body though it appears to be more oval upon closer observation. Bed bugs have six legs and are very good walkers.
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Bed bugs are in the family of cimicidae which are insects that have short forewings, oval to round body shapes and a flat profile. They are parasites of mammals and birds and though generally animal specific, bed bugs will feed on any animal that can provide a blood meal when faced with limited selections. There are over 100 species around the world with over 15 existing in the continent of North America. It is easy to identify a bed bug but very hard to determine just which species it may be.
THE HISTORY OF BED BUGS *
Of all the pests mankind has had to endure over time, bed bugs might very well be the most hated and disgusting. Unlike the flea or mosquito which feed for a short amount of time, the bed bug tends to suck blood for 3-5 minutes and in some cases over 15 minutes during it’s meals. This in of itself makes people queasy when thinking about bed bugs possibly feeding on them but when combined with the fact that bed bugs are nocturnal and only take advantage of us when we are most vulnerable – asleep – bed bugs evoke a feeling of gross hatred.
Bed bugs have been pests to man for as long as there is a recorded history but seem to have disappeared after World War II. For some reason they have been found in ever increasing numbers starting in the early 90’s and some theories suggest the increase in world travel has lead to this trend.
Regardless of why, bed bugs are still very much an active parasite to man and they show no intention of going away any time soon. This video shows a bed bug feeding and why it’s so easy to dislike this pest. The action is sped up for the purpose of showing what they look like after they feed but it’s easy to see why they’re hard to find until they feed.
WHERE DO BED BUGS INFEST? *
The most common infestation of bed bugs today originates in a hotel or motel. These establishments house world travelers which bring the bed bugs with them. Once unpacked, clothing and sleep linens shed eggs, young or adults which are always looking for a good place to live. It only takes one female which has fed to start a local infestation. Once the visitor is gone the pregnant female gets busy laying eggs and from there, an infestation will quickly established.
The second most common type of infestation occurs in homes where bats or birds have been roosting. Bats have a bed bug subspecies which are specific to them and will coexist where bats roost. Since bats have been moving into the attics of homes as well as the eaves, gable vents and behind shutters, so too have these bat “bed bugs”.
BAT BUGS ARE CLOSELY RELATED TO BED BUGS *
The bat bugs will live off the bats as long as they’re present. Since bats migrate depending on temperature and food supplies, so to must the bat bugs forage for food when the local colony of bats leave. Most species can exist several months without eating but extended periods without food will cause an exodus which may or may not be random. One thing is for sure: bat bugs will readily find their way into homes and onto people. Once in the home and having found a host on which to live, bat bugs will become established the same way as bed bugs.
WHAT ABOUT BIRD BUGS? *
Bird bugs become people pests in much the same way as bat bugs. Barnyard swallows seem to be the most likely bird to cause this problem. Innocent nests are formed under eaves, around soffits and down chimneys which in turn hatch young birds which bird bugs feed upon. Once the birds mature and leave the nest the bird bugs are forced to migrate in search of food. This, much like the migrating bat bugs, leads them inside bedrooms and ultimately to the people who sleep there. Once the new host is found populations are able to grow and thrive.
BED BUG BIOLOGY *
Understanding where bed bugs may have originated from will help shine some light on your problem but their biology is even more important when treating local infestations. As stated above, females are able to start the egg laying process once they have fed. From there they will generally lay 3-6 eggs a day.
Eggs are carefully placed in cracks, crevices and other well protected sites surrounding the main location of food. This is critical when dealing with local populations and will be explained why later in this article.
The female lays her eggs with a gluelike secretion which enables her to fasten them securely in concealed areas where they will remain protected and steadfast until they hatch. Females will be able to lay eggs following blood meals and with good luck will be able to lay several hundred eggs over her life.
Eggs will hatch 1-2 weeks after being laid. They hatch looking a lot like miniature versions of adults. They will want to feed immediately and every meal will enable them to shed their skin, completing an “instar” and reach reproducing adulthood after 5 such instars. Under good conditions this development, from egg to adult, will be complete in less than three months. This means 3-4 generations can develop every year so population levels can get quite high in a year.
DO BED BUGS HAVE AN ODOR? *
Large infestations of bed bugs will acquire a “buggy” smell which has been described as something obnoxiously sweet. Some people have likened it to raspberries but at this time it has not been determined if the odor is from the conditions of the home, the blood excrement from the bed bugs having fed or from scent glands on the bed bugs themselves.
Having been in many homes with active bed bug infestations, the author is able to determine when he enters a structure which has bed bug activity. However, just what causes the odor is still not clear.
DOES YOUR HOTEL HAVE A BED BUG PROBLEM? *
One of the common ways bed bugs find their way into our homes is by hitching a ride in luggage and clothing we take with us during vacations. A single female brought home is able to cause quite a problem in just a few months.
In fact many of these problems can be avoided by doing a little bed bug control when you first arrive.
So if you’re unsure about the hotel or motel you’re staying at, set out some BED BUG FIRST RESPONSE TRAPS. These work amazingly well and will catch bed bugs within hours of being deployed. Bring traps with you when traveling and set them up immediately when you check into your hotel room to see if it’s bed bug infested.
Now if you’re still unsure and feel like doing a little spraying just to be safe, bring some BED BUG RID with you during the trip.
This “ready to spray” product is an all natural product using active ingredients which are federally exempt from needing a registration number because everything it contains is very safe to use around people and pets.
Bed Bug Rid can be applied directly to mattresses, carpeting, the bed frame, sheets, etc. and it comes in a handy travel size that’s small enough for your carry on luggage when traveling by plane.
Before checkout, be sure to spray your luggage and any items you pack. Bed Bug Rid will control all stages of bed bugs so even if mistakenly carry home some eggs, the treatment will handle it.
BED BUGS SUCK BLOOD FOR FOOD AND CAN LEAVE MARKS ON YOUR SKIN! *
Since some part of any local bed bug populous will try to feed every day, infestations by these species can be quite abrupt and generally appear out of nowhere. Hosts, the people being bitten during the night, may or not have adverse reactions to the bite so in some cases the problem goes on for months until it’s identified.
The bite itself is not really a bite; it is more of a puncture. The bed bug is armed with a needle like tube which bends in a couple of places. This tube is pushed into the hosts skin and blood is extracted. During this process some saliva from the bed bug will pass into the host. The bed bug will grab the hosts skin using it front legs for leverage. All of these factors could lead to some sensation on the hosts skin.
Clearly the most common way people find out they have a problem is because the bite is leaving a mark or some other skin discomfort leading to further investigation. However, it is estimated that as many as 50% of people who are bit have no reaction so it would reason to say that many infestations of bed bugs are able to exist for many months if not years before someone learns of their presence. People who have reactions are generally reacting to the insects saliva. Such reactions include an itching sensation, a burning feeling, swelling, red marks much like a flea bite and described most commonly as a welt.
HOW TO TREAT BED BUG BITES *
Insect bites can be uncomfortable and though there are many over the counter remedies to be found, we have found only a few that work well. The first is easy to use and offers immediate relief. Known as BITE AND STING SWABS, this soothing highly active material takes the itch away within minutes. And within a few hours, it will both relieve burning and reduce swelling.
Now if you are experiencing a sensation that something is crawling on you, apply GENES SOOTHING CREAM to the affected areas. This cream is made with all natural ingredients and works wonders at relieving discomfort whether you have bed bugs or not. It will take away crawly, itchy sensations due to allergy, dry air, mites and insect bites so it covers most any scenario that might be the cause.
And for anyone uncertain about whether bed bugs are present but clearly have something irritating their skin, Gene’s Cream is a great way to get fast relief regardless of what’s causing the problem.
BEST BED BUG TRAPS FOR MONITORING LOCAL PROBLEMS
At this time the author believes he has done a good job explaining what you need to know about bed bugs to help determine whether or not you have an active infestation.
And no doubt some of you reading this already know you have them and are anxious to learn how to control infestations.
But if you’re someone who is not quite if you have them or not, installing some traps is always a good first step
First, get some FIRST RESPONSE BED BUG MONITOR TRAPS installed. These monitor/traps were mentioned above and are generally used by people staying in hotels who would like to know if the room in which they’re sleeping has bed bugs. Each pack comes with two glueboards, two hand warmers, two CO2 generators and bed bug pheromone lure. Use one trap per night in any room you think might have a problem. If you set out the trap by dark and let it stay in the room overnight by itself (no people present), the bugs will find it and get caught.
Traps should be placed alongside the bed’s head board once they’re set up and activated.
The CO2 generator and hand warmer attractants are only good for 24 hours so they’re not a practical way to control a current infestation. But they’ll catch bed bugs within hours and can alert you to an existing problem so you can stay clear of the infestation and initiate treatments. They’ll also catch a wide range of other “pests” so pay attention to what you find stuck in the glue.
If you need a more permanent trap, the FIRST RESPONSE BED BUG ELECTRIC TRAP will last indefinitely. This unit is powered by electricity and should be set up under beds, couches and other areas where bed bugs are thought to be nesting and/or active. Remember, bed bugs are most active at night so be sure to leave the trap alone during this time. Inspect it daily, anytime in mid to late morning, and keep a record of what you find so you can tell if you have a problem that’s almost over or one that’s developing for the worse.
HOW TO SPRAY YOUR BED FOR BED BUGS *
Now that you have concluded without a doubt that you have bed bugs, you will have to treat the problem depending on treatment sites. The first area most everyone wants to spray is the bed itself.
Thing is bed bugs usually don’t nest on beds unless they’re made of wood and have a lot of cracks and crevices for concealment. These cracks and crevices are most common where head and foot boards attach to side railings.
There could also be seams where supports for the box spring are mounted to the side railings. Head boards could have inlaid wood or moldings which are loose. Bed bugs will readily crawl into such seams. The point is just don’t spray the mattresses; be sure to inspect the bed frame too!
So to properly inspect the frame, you’ll need to remove all blankets, comforters, sheets and linens. Next, take the top mattress off inspecting it for any rips where they might be hiding. Bed bugs like to hide under the buttons which many mattresses have.
Don’t expect to find much on the top mattress; if the bed bugs have nested on either mattress it is usually the box spring which they prefer to call “home”. Turn the box spring over and look carefully for any rips in the fabric which would allow them to enter and hide amongst the frame of the box spring. This is a common hiding place and presents the most likely place you will find them on either of the mattresses.
While you have all of the bed taken apart, its important you give it a good vacuum before you treat and put it back together. Remember, the eggs are usually well hidden and even a strong vacuum is not likely to dislodge them from their grip. If you find any evidence of bed bugs in the mattress or the bed frame, you should resign yourself to treating it at least three times over the next month. There are two reasons for this.
First, there is no product which can kill every egg that might be hiding. This means eggs which are missed during the treatment will probably hatch in 1-2 weeks. Followup treatments insures these new young are not able to establish themselves.
Secondly, even if you do a great job both treating and vacuuming, it is very likely more eggs will be laid in the week following your initial treatment by females that are missed during the rest of the treatment in the home. There are several products that can be used on beds, mattresses and furniture quite effectively but we’ve narrowed the list to the most effective. Though similar, there are some differences which may make the use of one better suited for your application.
BEST BED BUG AEROSOLS FOR SPOT TREATING *
PT565XLO is a pyrethrin based product which is very safe for use around people and pets making it ideal for spot treating when needed. It can be sprayed over the surfaces of the bed and mattresses as well as into cracks and crevices where the young and adults are hiding. This product is derived from the chrysanthemum plant and is very safe but provides no residual. This means its active when you spray and will kill on contact but within 30-60 minutes its gone and no longer doing anything. But because its so safe, its good to have around for spot treating when needed.
A stronger aerosol that provides both quick killing for adults and a growth regulator to prevent their young from maturing is BEDLAM PLUS. Bedlam Plus is odorless, fast acting and can be sprayed anywhere. Its well suited for mattresses, bedding, carpets and furniture. Treatments will last 3-4 weeks and one can can treat up to 1500 sq/ft so for small apartments, Bedlam Plus may be all you need to solve your problem.
READY TO USE SPRAY BED BUG SPRAY *
Ready to use sprays are considered to be a step up from an aerosol and generally will be the better option for larger areas. They’ll generally kill bed bugs faster and last longer.
One that’s been around a long time is STERIFAB. This has long been a staple bed bug and germ product used by hospitals and institutions where a product is needed to work fast but not leave a hazardous residual. Like PT565, Sterifab won’t provide any lasting killing action. However, it’s quick drying and treated surfaces are safe to the touch as soon as the treatment dries. This makes Sterifab an excellent choice for sensitive areas. And it’s ready to spray; no mixing involved.
It comes in both pints and gallons; the pint can cover up to 125 sq/ft and the gallon will treat 1000 sq/ft. Pints come in a spray bottle; gallons come with a 3 foot trigger sprayer so it can be sprayed right out of the jug.
For travel, bring along the small sized BED BUG RID (its packed in a 3 oz spray bottle ideal for carrying abroad). As explained above, Bed Bug Rid works incredibly well on bed bugs and yet very safe to use making it ideal for travel during a business trip or vacation.
It even works on german roaches so it’s versatile. Since hotels and motels are known to have bed bug issues, you may opt to treat your room when first arriving just to be sure. Obviously treat the mattress but don’t forget the bed frame.
A quart will treat up to 250 sq/ft; the 3 oz is good for 25 sq/ft.
Another ready to use spray that’s slightly stronger than Bed Bug Rid is BEDBUG KILLER RTS It comes in a 6 oz spray bottle, is ready to spray but uses an active known as Deltamethrin. That means it has a residual action which might last 2 or more weeks. So compared to Bed Bug Rid, it will last a lot longer and therefore less frequent spraying will be needed in case you come upon an active problem.
Each 6 oz spray bottle can cover up to 50 sq/ft which is enough to treat a king size bed at least once.
LAUNDRY DETERGENT TO GET RID OF BED BUG EGGS *
For clothing and linens suspected of harboring bed bug eggs, use KLEEN FREE laundry detergent the next time you do the wash. Kleen Free is specifically designed to take care of lice and bed bugs. This enzyme based detergent does a great job of removing insects and their sheddings. Since sheddings can cause allergic reactions, keeping your linens, sheets and clothing clean can be helpful when trying to avoid bring home any unwanted guests.
THE BEST BED BUG DUST FOR LONG TERM CONTROL *
For bed bug problems in small apartments, the aerosol and ready to spray options listed above can handle most infestations. But if you have a home, hotel or other building 2000 sq/ft or larger, you’ll need to use some dust and liquid concentrates to get efficient treatments in place.
The first place to focus is in voids, cracks and crevices up “high”. In other words, you’ll need to treat more than just the mattresses and bed frames.
So once the bed is treated, the next place to inspect and treat will be the floor moldings around the room. Bed bugs love to crawl under the moldings living between the carpet and the wood. They will also get into electric outlets, under switch plate covers and behind both paneling and wall paper.
Treat all of these areas with DRIONE DUST. Drione is odorless, kills quickly and will last a year or more. This is very important when treating bed bugs and one thorough treatment of these areas will usually knock out most of the population. And once an area is properly dusted, you won’t have to treat it again. At least not for a year.
1 lb of Drione can cover up to 1600 sq/ft and will provide quick control to nesting bedbugs.
Use a HAND DUSTER to apply the Drione.
Be sure to take all dressers and night tables apart. And don’t forget to treat behind hanging pictures, mirrors, lamps and basically anything on the wall or ceiling. For dressers and night tables, remove each drawer, empty the drawers contents and then inspect all sides paying particular attention to seams and cracks. Lightly dust these parts before putting them back.
HOW TO TREAT BED BUGS IN APPLIANCES *
Since bed bugs love tight spaces, they have been known to nest inside appliances like coffee machines, microwave ovens, dvd players, TV’s, light fixtures sewing machines and alarm clocks. Basically they will target anything which has small openings, hidden dark spaces void of light and small gaps large enough to fit their body.
So if you have any kind of appliance close to rooms where they’re active, they could very well be using the appliance as a nest site. Unfortunately many of these appliances cannot be treated using an aerosol or dust. But a proven method that will get them and not damage the appliance involves an approach we call “fumigation”.
This approach can be accomplished by taking the appliance and setting it inside a large plastic garbage bag along with a NUVAN PEST STRIP. These strips contain an active ingredient which will slowly release into the air and this active is toxic to bed bugs but won’t impact the appliance. More importantly, this active ingredient has no residual life. This means once you remove the appliance from the treatment bag, the active will dissipate within a few minutes and the appliance can then be set out and used without any safety concerns or worries.
Now to treat any small appliance using this method, simply place the appliance inside a heavy duty plastic garbage bag along with a Nuvan Pest Strip. If possible, place the bag in direct sunlight (room temperature or above) so it will “heat up” inside. This will cause the fumigant to release quickly enabling it to work within 2-3 days.
But if you’re not able to set it in direct sunlight and instead will have it in your basement or garage, plan on letting it sit for 2 weeks to ensure it has time to work.
Lastly, be sure to keep the bag away from young children or pets (we don’t want them tearing open the bag and getting into the bed bugs or the Nuvan Strip).
BEST BED BUG LIQUID SPRAY *
For a bad bed bug infestation or for large homes, hotels and motels, aerosols won’t be cost efficient to use. They’re effective but because of their convenient packaging, they’ll prove pricey when having to treat several thousand sq/ft. So if you’re treating a large home or commercial establishment, you’ll be better served by employing a good concentrate with growth regulator.
One of the better products on the market for bed bugs is MIKRON. This odorless product is fast acting, long lasting and safe enough to be used on mattresses. Mix 1.25 oz per gallon of water per 1000 sq/ft and retreat monthly until the problem is gone.
You’ll see instant results using Mikron but for even better results, add GENTROL to the tank mix. Gentrol will stop juvenile bed bugs from being able to mature to reproducing adults which will effectively end the cycle. And since Gentrol “translocates” naturally, you get far better coverage so your effective spray range is enhanced when its used in the tank mix.
Add 2 oz of Gentrol per gallon of water and like the Mikron, distribute this over 1000 sq/ft.
Gentrol has been available for roach control more than 20 years and just recently had bed bugs added to it’s labeling. When used in the tank with Mikron, you’ll be killing adult bed bugs which contact the spray but even the ones you miss will be impacted as the Gentrol spreads.
The other advantage of Gentrol is its longevity. Unlike the Mikron which will break down in a month or so, Gentrol will remain active for many months thereafter.
Lastly, make sure you have a good PUMP SPRAYER for applying the solution. Our sprayer has a unique set of nozzles making it ideally suited for both pin stream but more important, fan spray patterns.
HOW TO TREAT CROWN MOLDING AND ABOVE DROP CEILINGS *
For sensitive areas you cannot spray with a liquid, spot treat with BEDLAM PLUS. Lightly misting these areas won’t cause a mess but are vital for this pest since they’ll readily move up high in any room – especially if you have been spraying low using some kind of repellent spray.
Another aerosol good to use for areas that may not be harboring activity but you want to make sure don’t become a problem is GENTROL AEROSOL. This formulation won’t kill any bugs that might be in the area. But the active will remain for many months so if by chance some bugs migrate to this area, they won’t be able to start nesting. Use Gentrol Aerosol twice a year for maintenance to insure they don’t return.
HOW TO TREAT OUTSIDE FOR BAT OR BIRD BUGS *
Now that the living area of the home has been thoroughly treated, you may need to turn your attention to other parts of the home. If the infestation has been determined to have come from someone traveling and bringing the bugs home, then the treatment suggestions listed above should handle your problem. But if you had a bat infestation or some bird nests on your structure in the past year, your home could require further treatments.
So if even if the inside populations came from migrating bed bugs moving in from outside, it is not likely all of them moved into your home. There are always some which will lay dormant waiting for the bats to return or new birds to move into vacated nests.
Any such areas you know about must be treated. If these areas are outside the home under soffits, spray the Mikron and Gentrol mix onto the home focusing on the homes siding, soffits, gutters, around windows and chimneys too.
Now if you can reach the exact location where the bats or birds were roosting, you can get longer lasting protection using dust like DELTA DUST. This formulation is moisture tolerant so it will do well outside. Treatments will last 3-6 months so you don’t have to keep retreating once a thorough application is applied.
Use a good CENTRO BULB DUSTER WITH EXTENTION to apply the dust up under siding, around gutters, behind window shutters and basically any crack or crevice you can find.
HOW TO TREAT THE ATTIC FOR BED BUGS *
Once the outside has been properly dusted and/or sprayed, consider treating the attic. In most cases, bat or bird bugs which forage inside pass through attics.
Though many of them find their way into living areas, others will stay in the attic and wall spaces where they can lay dormant. This is particularly true in attics where bats have been roosting or when the infested rooms are located upstairs just below the attic.
Treating the attic is both easy to do and long lasting so don’t ignore it hoping nothing is there. Use the Delta Dust and apply it over the insulation with a DUSTIN MIZER. This device will effectively “blow” the dust over 20 feet so you can treat quickly and completely without much effort.
Most attics can be dusted in 5-10 minutes so its a real time saver. Delta Dust is the best material for the job since it will hold up to moisture and works well on bed bugs. Use 1 lb of the Delta Dust for every 1500 sq/ft of area when treating for bat, bed or bird bugs.
BED BUG MAINTENANCE AND FOLLOWUP TREATMENTS *
Now that you have properly treated the rooms where you’ve identified the main activity, the next thing to do is to observe and inspect the results of your treatment.
There should be a marked decrease in night time foraging by the bed bugs. And within a week or two there should be no activity.
Now don’t be surprised if you have to treat a few times if you employ just aerosols; these products have a short residual and need to be applied several times to get the best results.
The dust and liquid treatments will last the longest and if you are thorough with your coverage, you should expect to keep treated areas bedbug free for a month or more at a time.
Don’t stop inspecting for the first few months since this is the most likely time for them to return. And if you keep the electric bed bug trap running for a few months after the initial treatments are employed, you should be able to measure the results of your effort to insure they’re gone.
CONTACT US *
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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