Table of Contents
- Bed Bug Detector
- Bed Bug Detection
- 1. Detecting Bed Bugs Yourself
- 2. Getting to Know the Enemy
- 3. Actual Signs and Symptoms of An Infestation
- 4. Detection Devices
- 5. Interceptors
- 6. Monitor
- 7. Detection by an Exterminator
- 8. Detection Dogs
- 9. Detection Strategies
- 10. Visual Inspection
- 11. Mattress Encasements
- 12. Changing Your Mattress Every 2 Years
Bed Bug Detector
Bed bugs are tiny, parasitic insects that feed on your blood. While these little insects generally do not transmit any pathogenic microorganism of some sort, they can indeed cause some health-related problems, including rashes and even allergic reactions.
Fortunately, there are different ways to get rid of them. However, before you go and decide on what method to use to rid yourself of these little parasites, it is best to first make sure whether you do have an infestation on your hands.
Thankfully, there are several ways to actually detect the presence of these little pests.
Bed Bug Detection
Before you go searching the internet for ways on ridding yourself of these bed bugs, you must first confirm their presence through bed bug detection. Detection is important for several reasons.
First, bed bug detection can nip the problem in the bud and prevent an all-out infestation on your hands. Bed bug detection can also be important if you are an avid traveler, as you would often find yourself sleeping in unfamiliar locations such as guest houses and hotels.
While there are different methods and devices one can use to determine the presence of bed bugs, you can learn how to find the signs and see the proof for yourself as to whether there are bed bugs in the area or not.
1. Detecting Bed Bugs Yourself
Before going off and getting devices or calling the professionals for help, you can give it a go and see for yourself if you might have bed bugs in the area. This can be done with ease using a few steps.
2. Getting to Know the Enemy
First and foremost, it is imperative that you put your clothes or luggage away from the room when you are in a hotel or other unfamiliar places if you are going to begin a search for bed bugs. Now, to begin your search, you have to know what they actually look like.
Go online and look at pictures of them if you don’t know what they look like already. Familiarize yourself with the different life stages of the bed bug: egg, nymph and adult.
Seeing as these creatures are incredibly miniscule, a magnifying glass can be of great help. However, believe it or not, these creatures are still visible to the naked eye. Starting with the eggs, they are tiny, elongated shapes that are usually white to even a translucent color.
They may resemble tiny bits of rice or even grains of salt. It doesn’t take long before the eggs hatch and after they do, they will look like balloons that have run out of air.
After hatching, the baby bed bugs (called nymphs) will simply resemble their adult forms, but only smaller and lighter in color.
The typical appearance of these insects would be a wide abdomen that tapers to a smaller head. In addition, you can expect the usual three pairs of legs that are commonly associated with insects.
Approximately a millimeter long, their light complexion gets noticeably darker when they have had their fill of blood.
After molting several stages of development, the adult bed bug basically resembles its nymph stage, except for its larger size and darker appearance.
3. Actual Signs and Symptoms of An Infestation
There are several signs to look out for if you think you have a bad case of bed bugs, so keep a look out for these following signs. First of all, a case of bed bugs will leave signs of their growth and development.
Finding eggs in the nooks and crannies of your bed can surely signify a case of bed bugs. Another sign of their presence and development would be finding their dry skins that have been left behind after several molting events.
A nymph molts about five times before it reaches adulthood, so you should be seeing plenty of dried husks of skin if you have bed bugs in the premises. Other signs of bed bugs are literally from their presence on your bed.
Little dark stains resembling felt tip marks are often associated with bed bugs, as these dark stains are actually their fecal droppings.
Due to an incredibly fast gastrointestinal process, bed bugs are said to defecate almost immediately after feeding, which will leave these unsightly dark stains in the fabric of the bed sheet and mattress.
Another sign of their presence would be blood stains and smears on the bed when you wake up. This is often the result of feeding bed bugs being crushed when you roll and move about in your sleep.
If you are brave enough and your heart can take it, then you can also try and see underneath your mattress. Bed bugs are most active during the night, which means they hide during the day.
If you have a bed bug infestation, then lifting your mattress will give you a horrible view of scurrying bed bugs.
4. Detection Devices
If searching for these elusive parasites on your own isn’t for you, then there are other methods that you can use. More specifically, there are devices that serve for the detection and monitoring of bed bugs.
Having these detection devices on hand will also help prevent a case of bed bugs to escalate into a serious infestation.
Interceptors get their name from the way they function, since they literally “intercept” bed bugs from climbing up the bed and other pieces of furniture. The premise behind this device lies in the bed bug’s inability to climb slippery, vertical surfaces.
Essentially, interceptors are like dishes that you put underneath each leg of furniture such as a bed or a couch. The dish will have an outer moat that is coated with talcum powder.
Bed bugs that decide to go and climb up a leg would fall into this moat and be trapped, due to the slippery talcum powder. Aside from preventing bed bugs from climbing on top of the bed, this device also serves to retain these parasites for easy disposal.
To ensure the effectivity of the device, the talcum powder has to be regularly changed to make sure that bed bugs that fall into the crevice of the interceptor will be unable to climb out.
Here, we have prepared a handy list of bed bug monitors that will help you determine if any bed bugs are present in your home. As a result, this will allow you to take any action (if needed) to curb the presence of bed bugs in your household.
There are 2 types of monitors that can be used to help you determine whether you have a bed bug problem or not.
The first type are passive monitors or an interceptor, which was previously discussed. On the other hand, the second type is known as active monitors.
In direct contrast to passive monitors, active monitors make use of a combination of carbon dioxide, chemicals and heat in order to lure bed bugs – hence, the term active monitor. There is actually a large variety of active monitors on the market that you can choose from.
Active monitors should be placed next to furniture that you suspect to be infested with bed bugs. The bed bugs will be attracted and trapped by the active monitor, allowing you to detect whether you have a bed bug infestation.
However, do note that since active monitors make use of chemicals to lure bed bugs, they may not be suitable for homes where pets and small children reside. Also, some active monitors require you to replace their carbon dioxide tanks regularly.
While all of the devices mentioned above are effective in their own ways, some users may not feel the need to purchase a dedicated monitor. Some folks may feel that their bed bug infestation is not very serious, which precludes the need for a monitor of some kind.
On the other hand, some people may be put off by the cost of purchasing a monitor. That is why if you fall into that aforementioned category, you can always choose to construct your own trap in order to monitor your local bed bug population.
This can be done with a dry ice trap i.e. a solid form of carbon dioxide that can be constructed easily with minimal investment.
While you may feel that a dry ice trap may not be effective, studies have shown that dry ice traps are as effective as compared to their counterparts. As a matter of fact, dry ice traps work wonders, especially in apartments.
Before constructing your own dry ice trap, you have to be careful. This is because dry ice is extremely cold and can result in you burning your hands by accident i.e. frostbite.
Before embarking on this project, do ensure that you have the necessary equipment available to protect both your eyes and your hands.
Along with this, also be on the lookout if you have pets or small children in your residence, as dry ice is capable of causing injuries if touched with an unprotected hand or paw.
To learn how you can use and create your very own dry ice trap, it is very easy to find instructions online. Just simply search for special instructions on the safe construction and usage of a dry ice trap and follow it thoroughly.
7. Detection by an Exterminator
While you may have taken all the required steps to ensure that your home is free of bed bugs, these little pests can sometimes still get the better of you and hide away from your investigatory eyes.
In this situation, these little mites will be free to feast on your blood and reproduce in relative safety.
This is why even if you are convinced that your home is free from bed bugs, it may be better to enlist the services of a professional exterminator or pest controller who is familiar with such matters.
Not only do professional exterminators possess the necessary skills and knowledge to deal with a bed bug infestation, but they are also experienced and will be able to advise you on how best to cope with such a situation.
Professional exterminators use a wide variety of tools to track down and eliminate bed bugs that you may not even be aware of. Fortunately, some pest controllers offer inspection services free of charge. However, they usually require that you present them with proof of an infestation.
One of the benefits of employing a professional is the fact that you will not have to break your back lifting and inspecting every inch of your home. Not only that, but professionals also possess the required knowledge to identify bed bugs and their eggs.
8. Detection Dogs
The introduction of green pest control methods means that our canine friends are now playing a larger role in pest control.
Where dogs previously hunted rodents and other pests, specially-trained bed bug detection dogs are now being employed by an increasing number of pest control agencies.
Bed bug detection dogs are one of the most effective bed bug detection methods. Their extremely sensitive noses allow them to “sniff” out bed bugs that would normally not be detectable by human sight alone.
Along with this, detection dogs are usually small in size and compact, which allow them to poke their noses into a variety of hard to reach spots.
Usually, you can expect a professional exterminator to bring along a detection dog to aid in the process of finding bed bugs. These well-trained canines will go over every inch of your home, sniffing out any bed bugs.
9. Detection Strategies
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” is especially important when dealing with bed bugs. In order to prevent bed bugs from getting a foothold in your home, the early detection and termination of these bugs is especially crucial.
10. Visual Inspection
One of the most straightforward ways to spot bed bugs is by conducting regular visual inspections of your sleeping area. Keep an eye on your mattress, pieces of paper, or the legs of furniture where bed bugs are likely to lay their eggs.
Also, let’s not forget that itching on your face, neck and hands is the first sign that you may have a bed bug problem.
You have to remember that bed bugs are brownish-red in color and are oval in shape. As mentioned before, another sign of bed bugs can be rust-colored blood spots that appear on your mattress, pillow and also blankets, which is caused by the blood-filled excretions of bed bugs.
Unfortunately, given that bed bugs have a tendency to hide in difficult-to-reach areas, you will most likely need to make use of a flashlight and magnifying glass to accurately seek out and identify whether you have a bed bug problem.
Along with this, visual inspection is also labor intensive, time-consuming and tedious, which is what makes it so unreliable.
11. Mattress Encasements
Mattress encasements are an excellent way of detecting and stopping a bed bug problem early on. This is because encasements cover your mattress entirely and make it basically impossible for bed bugs to lay eggs and reside within your mattress.
By eliminating the primary hiding spot for bed bugs, encasements force them to travel along on the outside of the encasement. As a result, this makes spotting and detecting bed bugs early on that much easier.
However, take care to ensure that you have purchased a bed bug certified mattress encasement that gives you an added element of protection from bed bug bites as well as isolating any infested mattress from the surrounding area.
Without a doubt, this will significantly curb the spread of bed bugs. Another added advantage of mattress encasements is that they eliminate the need for you to use chemicals of any kind on your mattress in your attempts to get rid of a bed bug infestation.
Rather unfortunately, there have been incidences where homeowners have applied pesticides directly to their mattresses, which undoubtedly will have led to health problems on the long term.
12. Changing Your Mattress Every 2 Years
This method of bed bug detection is more of a proactive measure to eliminate bed bugs entirely, rather than a detection strategy. However, as mentioned, prevention is better than cure after all.
While this may sound drastic, regularly changing your mattress every 2 to 4 years is a great way to eliminate a bed bug infestation. This is because mattresses are a favorite nesting place for bed bugs and constantly changing your mattress derives these pests of a suitable habitat.
From a financial standpoint, this measure seems to be rather harsh. However, the benefits of throwing out a bed bug infested mattress often outweighs the cost of purchasing a new mattress.
This is because low level bed bug infestations are usually undetectable via conventional methods i.e. visual inspections and passive monitors and action is usually taken after the situation has gone out of control.
There is no doubt that bed bugs are an irritating and itchy problem that can be a time-consuming affair, given the nature of these little critters. However, there’s no need to fret, as bed bug infestations can be detected and then dealt with easily.
By following the tips given above, you should have no problem identifying whether your home has a bed bug problem and how you can best deal with it.