Nobody likes the idea of small insects infesting their home, least of all their bed. But bed bugs are surprisingly common, even in the cleanest of homes. Did you know that one in five Americans has experienced bed bugs at some point in their lives?
We know that bed bugs feed on human blood when their victims are sleeping, but what attracts them?
The Top 5 Things That Tell Bed Bugs You’re There
- Nighttime: bed bugs know that we come and settle in bed once it gets dark, so they’re typically hidden during the day. They can’t “stick” to our bodies like other parasites, so their only choice is to feed on us when we’re down for the count.
- Carbon dioxide: bed bugs love to settle down in locations with a high carbon dioxide concentration. They usually try to bite humans when they’re asleep because it’s when they’re the most still, trapping the carbon dioxide around them.
- Warmth: rather than being attracted to dirt and dust, they are attracted to the warmth of a human body. The heat our bodies generate is how bed bugs know we’re in bed. Humans generate the most heat during bedtime, making it prime time for bed bugs to strike. This also explains why the headboard and areas surrounding beds are the most likely to be infested with bed bugs.
- Dark bed sheets: surprisingly, certain colors attract bed bugs more than others. Researchers found that bed bugs are particularly drawn to black and dark red bed sheets. This is likely because they like to be near other bed bugs, which are also dark and red in color, especially when full.
- Dirty laundry: while bed bugs aren’t drawn to actual dirt, research found that they do love a pile of dirty clothes, especially if it’s come into contact with high-traffic areas like public transport seats. A laundry basket is often the starting point of the bed bugs’ journey across the floor and into other rooms, so it’s a good idea to keep a relatively empty laundry basket.
How can I identify bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny and dark with oval-shaped bodies. They have six legs and change color depending on whether they’ve recently fed on human blood. While the bed bugs themselves might not be so easy to spot, you can identify them by looking for blood spots on your bedsheets. If you suspect that you might have bed bugs, you should also keep an eye out for itchy, red marks on your arms and legs, as bed bugs feed by biting humans.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
It’s always better to leave these issues to the professionals, and at IBBRA, we’re here to help. Whether you need large-scale extermination or heat treatment for a small room, we’ve got the right package for you.
Check out our bed bug solutions and service providers here.
Bed bugs are extremely small and can fit into spaces as narrow as a credit card. Not only does this mean they can easily get into your home if they’re attracted to the warmth, but it also means they’re difficult to find in the home.
Use this guide to learn more about identifying bed bugs and how often you should check for them at home.
Where do bed bugs usually hide?
Bed bugs are drawn to moisture and warmth. Bed bugs’ favorite hiding place is on mattresses and in beds. They like to linger where people sit or lie for extended periods, like chairs, recliners, couches and beds. You’ll want to look beneath furniture, the fabric on your sofa legs, and between seat cushions.
Bed bugs also like to hide around the edges of baseboards and carpet as they’re warm.
How can I search for bed bugs safely?
Use a flashlight and a credit card or paint scraper, check around your bed and other areas where the bed bugs might be living. Keep an eye out for the bugs themselves and look for eggs, feces, spots of dried blood, and molted skin. In most cases, you’ll find dark specks (which are dried blood) on your sheets. Make sure you look in all the crevices and folds in any upholstered furniture. For hygiene purposes, if you believe you have bed bugs, wear protective gloves as you inspect the room.
How often should I check my home for bed bugs?
It’s always a good idea to check for bed bugs after you’ve been traveling. Bed bugs are drawn to high-traffic environments like public transport, hotels and motels, and apartment complexes. If you’ve been traveling, you’ll want to wash your clothes at high heat as soon as you return to avoid spreading anything to your bedsheets and home furnishings.
You might also want to check for bed bugs if you have kids and they’ve just been away overnight for the same reasons. Look at their skin to make sure they don’t have any itchy, red bite marks, as reactions can develop a few days after the bite occurs.
Of course, if at any time you or another family member has red bites on their skin with no windows open at night, it’s a good idea to check to find out what’s been nibbling on you.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
The discovery of bed bugs can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that bed bugs don’t exclusively hide in dirty homes. As unpleasant as it sounds, they’re attracted to the smell of human blood, and they’ll follow warmth wherever they can find it. Your next step should be to contact a professional who can heat-treat your home.
Heat treatments are better than fumigation and chemical treatments because they’re better for you, and they often eradicate 100% of the infestation with the first treatment, whereas other types of treatments can take several attempts because you have to spot-treat.
At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA), we can offer you heat treatment products and services to rid you of your bed bugs in no time. Whether you’re looking to treat a small apartment or a whole hotel, we’ve got what you need. Find a professional near you here, or for DIY solutions, click here.
Bed bugs aren’t something anyone wants to deal with in their home or business, so there’s plenty of need for pest professionals. Of course, knowing there are clients out there and actually landing them are two different things. So, how can you reach your potential clients and land them? Here are 6 tips to help you do just that.
1. Be Available
If you’re thinking about how to land bed bug clients, you have one advantage: time. While your more established competitors may be busier, you can jump into action quickly. Bed bugs aren’t something your clients want to fix “at some point”; it’s something they want to fix now. If you find a business or potential customer looking for a pest professional, put yourself forward and say that you can come later today, tomorrow, or the day after.
2. Ensure You Have the Right “Trustmarks”
Your customer has to feel safe allowing you into their home or place of business, so make sure you have the right trustmarks for your area and industry. Do you have the right registrations and insurance? Do you display this on your website and on social media? Ensure you show people why they can trust you, even if you’re a brand new business.
3. Keep Your Online Presence Up-to-Date
Similarly, another sign that customers can trust you is by keeping your website and social media profiles up to date. Think about the last time you looked up a restaurant you wanted to eat at – was their information up to date? If not, did you feel happy setting off on the journey to go there? Did you call first, or did you simply find somewhere else? Simply showing that you are active and in business is hugely reassuring to your potential customers, so post to social media from time to time.
4. Return Calls and Emails Promptly
The early bird gets the worm, so do your best to return calls and emails within 24 hours. When you do, be polite and professional, and answer any questions your potential customer may have about how you work or about how pests may affect them.
5. Convey Your Value
You know your value – you help people get rid of awful bed bugs! While that is of huge value, make sure any potential customer that comes to your site, social media profiles, or who contacts you can find out more. For example, talk about the problems bed bugs can cause, how they spread, that it’s not something to be embarrassed about, and that they are easily detected and treated. Do what you can to educate your potential customers.
6. Reach Out to Local Businesses
You don’t have to wait for a customer to come to you; reach out to potential customers first. While a hotel may not need you now, it’s never a bad idea to start forming a relationship before they need you. That way, you’ll be the first business they think to call. Consider offering a free inspection if you have a surplus of time.
If you’re looking to take your bed bug business to the next level, it’s time to become a member of IBBRA. We provide our members with certified products, professional marketing, and more. Click here to become a member.
Although heat treatment is a proven safe and effective method of killing bed bugs and their eggs, how can you be certain an individual treatment has been 100% successful?
The only way to know for sure is to do another inspection and do all you can to make sure the first treatment is the last. So, how can you do that? Read on to find out.
Dogs are amazing creatures, and their sense of smell is remarkable. Dogs have been used by law enforcement agencies to track people and sniff out drugs and explosives for many years, but have now become an important part of the armory for bed bug control. They can detect up to two parts per trillion of the scent of bed bugs and alert their handlers to the presence of both adults and eggs.
There is no better or more cost-effective method of discovering whether bed bugs are present before treatment or whether any have survived after treatment. They are supremely accurate, and the legal system recognizes certified canines as a scientific instrument.
K-9 detection is efficient and precise. Even a large hotel can be completely screened in a comparatively short time, and a canine can detect even a single bed bug. It doesn’t require any disruption to the home or business, besides ensuring the dog can work in the necessary areas.
Because of the precision, K-9 detection allows early intervention, destroying the pest before it can become a severe infestation.
The Cimastat system of treatment verification is the other vital tool for checking that the heat treatment has done its job. The specially produced labels can be placed anywhere: under mattresses, in drawers, between the pages of a book, or in cupboards – anywhere you think there might be a problem area.
Two temperatures are critical in the heat treatment of bed bugs. Adult bed bugs die at 113℉/45℃, and all life stages are extinguished at 122℉/50℃. The Cimastat labels have two boxes with these figures clearly printed. Each changes from blue to orange when that temperature is reached, with the entire label turning orange at the higher temperature. This shows visible proof that the treatment has reached sufficient heat levels.
These labels are certified by the International Bed Bug Authority and offer proof that the treatment has reached the required temperature in every location they have been placed. They are economical as you can reuse them. Simply place in a freezer at -4℉/-20℃ for 30 minutes, and the labels will return to the original blue color.
Cimastat labels are the ideal way of documenting a heat treatment’s effectiveness and demonstrate to both contractor and customer that the bed bugs have been killed at all stages of their life cycle.
When used together, these two methods assure that all traces of bed bugs have been eradicated. They offer early detection of the pest that allows a swift response and evidence that the heat treatment has worked and that the bed bugs have been destroyed. This is particularly useful for professionals, as it offers clients proof that the heat treatment has been effective.
When your home is infested with bed bugs you want to do everything you can to get rid of them so that you can feel comfortable going to sleep at night. The problem is, when you use a store-bought insecticide to try and combat the problem yourself, they are rarely strong enough to kill the eggs which can be hidden deep in crevices around your home or bed.
What Do Bed Bug Eggs Look Like?
Bed bug eggs are around 1mm long and are typically white or off-white in color. When laid, bed bug eggs are attached to the surface by a very strong material which is what makes them difficult to dislodge. An adult female will lay 1-12 eggs per day, as single eggs, and the bed bug eggs take somewhere between 6 and 10 days to hatch.
As well as the bed bug eggs, which are typically laid in clusters, you will also find egg casings surrounding them as the eggs will not hatch all at one time.
Where Do Bed Bugs Lay Their Eggs?
Bed bug eggs are usually laid in the same areas where adult bed bugs inhabit along with their reddish-black fecal matter. These areas tend to be small crevices and tight spaces, such as the edge of mattresses, mattress buttons, bed frames, and box springs, especially made of wood or fabric.
If the infestation is allowed to spread, adult female bed bugs will start to lay their eggs in other locations and therefore will be more difficult to find every egg deposit.
How Do You Kill Bed Bug Eggs?
It is possible to remove bed bug eggs with a vacuum that has strong suction, however, this is not particularly effective due to their strong adherence and you need to know where each egg deposit is. Unless you are able to get every single bed bug egg, it is a relatively futile task as even one bed bug egg can mean a new or continued bed bug infestation.
Not only can bed bug eggs be difficult to locate, but they are also resistant to many pesticides available to general consumers. The best treatment for killing bed bug eggs is actually heat treatment. It is up to 100% effective for getting rid of all stages of bed bugs and there is no need for any nasty chemicals.
Bed bugs die at a temperature known as the ‘thermal death point’ which for bed bug eggs is 113˚F or 45˚C. After only one and a half hours at this temperature bed bugs of all life stages will be exterminated. Raise that to 118˚F or 48˚C and the entire infestation can be killed in only thirty minutes.
When you find a professional with IBBRA, specially trained technicians will work to heat the affected areas of your premises to this thermal death point to exterminate the bed bugs, eggs and all, in just one treatment. If you’d rather treat the bed bugs yourself, we have you covered for that too. With our range of heat treatment products, you can safely exterminate the bed bugs yourself at no risk to your health.
Bed bugs are known for many things: they’re avid breeders, they feed on the blood of humans and animals, and they invoke a lot of stress when discovered! One thing they’re not usually associated with, however, is their elusive nature.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which makes them extremely difficult to locate. It often takes someone waking up with bed bug bites for them to be discovered, and even more difficult to get rid of entirely.
It’s common for a business owner or resident to suspect an infestation, but be unable to see the bed bugs in action. Thankfully, trained dogs can sniff them out far more effectively. Here’s why scent detection canine teams are so effective:
1. They detect infestations very quickly
In a world where time is money, it’s hardly ideal for a hotel owner to have to leave a room unused for the duration of a search, so the quicker the job is done, the better. Bed bug canines are extremely fast and efficient, effectively searching entire buildings in little time.
2. A lot of money can be saved
With such strong scent detection, these highly trained detection dogs negate the need to pull up carpet, remove the baseboards or dismantle any furniture, which can cost a lot of money. Also, a bed bug canine team can detect one-bed bug as easily as it can identify an extreme infestation. This strong potential for early detection can save you from having to undergo the extensive treatment necessary for severe infestations.
3. They can detect all life stages
Not only do properly trained canines alert when they smell live bed bugs, but they’ll also detect live bed bug eggs. This is extremely useful as the only technique that successfully detects all stages of live bed bug stages by their scents.
4. They are highly accurate
In addition to being quick and thorough, these canines are also known for being meticulous in their searches. They have even been compared to bomb-sniffing dogs. They are trained to detect bed bugs through furniture and mattresses, and even from the other side of a wall.
5. Your reputation will be protected
Due to the effectiveness of these canines and their training, they can actually be used in a court of law as a scientific instrument. Having been inspected, you’ll receive a certificate of inspection, which will greatly enhance your reputation if you’re a business owner.
If you’re concerned that your home or business may be subject to an infestation, we’re here to help you to find certified professionals in your area at the International Bed Bug Resource Authority. Whether you’re a homeowner with frequent visitors or hotel owner who wants to be sure that all rooms are free of bed bugs, we’ve got you covered. With over 50 independent service providers working with us, we’ll help you with your bed bug issues, once and for all. Click here to find a certified provider near you.
Bed bugs are, unfortunately, a common problem in the US and all over the world, no matter how clean your home or hotel is. They spread easily in fabrics, and once they take hold require heat treatments to eradicate. They also cause us all to shudder when we think about them – something unseen climbing out of the mattress to suck your blood as you sleep? It sounds like something from a horror movie.
So, it’s no surprise that they often make headlines, and 2020, despite the lack of travel, is no different! Here’s some of the most notable news stories in the first half of 2020:
Bed Bugs Aren’t Attracted to Dirt, But They Can Make Your Home Dirtier
In July an article by Robert Preidt in U.S. News shared new research from North Carolina State that showed that, while bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirty areas, they can make your home a dirtier place to be.
They found that bed bugs cause alterations in the composition of the dust within your home. The evidence showed that the microbiome of the household dust in bed bug infested homes was different to that found in non-bed bug infested homes.
Once the bed bugs had been eliminated, the household dust microbiomes started to transform back to how a microbiome would be in a non-infested home.
Baltimore and Washington D.C. are the Most Infested Cities
A January news article by USA Today reported that Baltimore, while topping the list of most-bed bug infested cities for three years, had been beaten by Washington D.C. for the duration of 2019. The other cities that took the top 5 spots were Chicago, Los Angeles, and Columbus.
Coronavirus May Have Reduced the Likelihood of Spreading Bed Bugs
A New York Times article in June reported that, if there’s one good thing to come out of coronavirus, it’s that the spread of bed bugs will have significantly reduced with the restrictions on travel. It remains to be seen if that will have an effect long term, since bed bugs can live without food for up to three months, but it’s likely the combination of empty beds and hotels using the time to improve their facilities will put at least a temporary damper on the bed bug population.
Struggling with Bed Bugs?
Getting bitten while you sleep is enough to tell you that you probably have bed bugs, but you should also look out for other signs such as fecal stains, cast skins, blood spots, and a peculiar odor. If you spot any of these indicators, don’t wait to take action.
If you are worried that you may have bed bugs, call in the professionals. We can help you to find an IBBRA-certified professional in your local area to help you to solve any bed bug problem you may be having. Visit our website to learn more about bed bugs and to find your certified pest professional who will be able to eliminate your bed bug infestation.
Choosing a pest control company, no matter what your pest problem, is critical. But when it comes to bed bugs, it’s essential to make sure that the problem is solved quickly and done right the first time. To ensure that you hire the right pest control pro, we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks, and questions to ask to make sure you end up with the best pest control professional.
- What credentials do they have? Check to make sure the company is licensed, insured. All IBRBA certified members are licensed and insured according to the laws in their state.
- Make sure the company you choose specializes in bed bug treatments and can answer all your bed bug-related questions. You want your pest control company to be knowledgeable in the pest problem that you’re having.
- Find out what treatments they offer. Heat treatments are the most effective way to kill bed bugs, but there are several different ways that heat can be applied. Make sure you’re comfortable with the methods used by the company. Follow up inspections and treatments may be necessary; make sure the company has a plan in place to ensure that the bugs are gone.
- Make sure that the pre and post requirements for prep and clean up are well outlined. A good pest control company should give you tasks to help make sure the treatments are successful and to help with the proper clean up of the area. Make sure to ask questions if you don’t know or understand something.
- Check the cost. Obviously, the cost of the treatment is significant too. Don’t forget to ask the price and go over what services will be performed for the agreed-upon price point. Don’t hire anyone until the price and services are well outlined!
- Get evidence of bed bug activity. A good pest control company should be able to show you proof of the bugs. Whether that is a positive sign from a K-9 or live insects, you should also be shown evidence of where the bugs are active.
- Your pest control pro should ask you lots of questions. Make sure to answer truthfully and completely. This will help them develop a treatment plan and know where to look for the bugs.
How IBBRA is helping:
The IBBRA is dedicated to eliminating bed bugs by providing the most accurate educational materials, recognized product approval platform, and a network of trusted pest professionals. All of the pest professionals featured on the IBBRA website are required to uphold the most ethical business practices, remain current with all laws and regulations in their area, and be licensed and insured. Use our provider map to find a professional near you. You can navigate directly to their website for more info, or get their contact info right from their IBBRA listing.
Here at IBBRA we highly recommend heat treatments to end your bed bug problem. Heat works quickly and effectively, which allows your home or business to be operational in no time; But what happens after the heat treatment is done? There are still some cleanup procedures that you should follow before the bugs will be gone for good.
Bed Bug Clean-Up Tips
The first step in cleaning up after a bed bug infestation is to wipe down everything. This tip is one of the more apparent tasks, so we won’t spend too much time here. If you can wipe it down, do it! Make sure you get front, back, inside, under, and anywhere you can reach.
Next, you should spend some time vacuuming everything. This should be done carefully, and the vacuum bag or container should be emptied regularly and into separate garbage bags than your other trash.
Tips for Vacuuming the Treated Areas:
- Floors – Vacuum the whole room thoroughly.
- Carpet Edges – carefully lift carpet off the tack strips if possible. Using the nozzle or brush tool, slowly vacuum the perimeter of the room.
- Mattress – using the nozzle attachment, run the vacuum along the upper and lower sides of the piping (seam) that surrounds the mattress using a slow back and forth systematic movements. Start at one end and work your way around the bed, making sure not to miss any area. Next, using the flat attachment, vacuum the sides of the mattress, including any possible grommets and stitching throughout. Flip the mattress and repeat on the other side.
- Box springs – repeat all steps for cleaning your mattress. If your box springs have a dust cover, you may consider removing it and vacuuming inside the frame of the box spring.
- Upholstered furniture – sweep all parts of the chair inside and out just like you did with the mattress and box spring. Remove each cushion and vacuum thoroughly.
- Hard furniture – vacuum all areas inside and out.
If you have any items that you’d instead discard, it’s best to do this after the heat treatment, that way, the bugs have died before you discard the item. This prevents further spread of your bed bug problem. It’s still a good idea to use proper steps to discard items, though, even after the heat treatments.
The best way to discard these items is to wrap it completely. Most hardware stores carry plastic tarps used for painting. These can work well if you secure it properly, but you’ll need to use tape to secure it. We have also found that Shrink Wrap often used by the furniture and moving industry works well for both coverage and ease of movement and handling. It has a particular “stretch” quality so that you can easily cover any exposed area of the item you are wrapping. After complete and careful wrapping of each item you are discarding, attach a sign or mark with BIG BOLD LETTERS – BED BUG INFESTED – BEFORE taking it to the dumpster or the curb. If you are calling in a disposal company to pick up the infested items, make sure to tell them what it is that they are picking up and that it is infested with bed bugs, and it is wrapped for safety.
Lastly, if you hired a professional to perform your heat treatment, then you should ask them for a recommendation for further cleanup. Always follow your pest professional’s procedures and best practices to ensure that your treatment is successful and any warranties or guarantees stay in effect.
Need a professional? Check out our provider list at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/.
Need more info about bed bugs? Learn more at https://ibbra.org/faq/
It’s been established that heat treatments are the most effective and fastest way to kill bed bugs. Scientists and pest professionals agree that heat treatments should be the preferred initial treatment in most bed bug cases. Chemical treatment follow-ups or pre-treatments are also an option if performed by trained professionals. Additionally, K-9 inspections are an effective pre and post-inspection technique to ensure that your heat treatments are successful. But before you jump to perform a heat treatment, there are things that you can do to help make the process go a bit smoother and add to the success rate of your treatments. These tips and tricks are perfect for DIY heat treatments or before your pest technician come to perform a professional treatment.
Always discuss pre and post-treatment preparation with your pest professional before you start your prep work!
Proper preparation is a mandatory requirement for your heat treatment to be effective. If you’ve hired a service technician, they should outline this in detail and provide instructions on what to do. Preparation is generally done by the resident, although in some cases, companies will offer preparation for an additional charge, or in some cases, the resident may be charged a penalty for not completing the preparation list. Be sure to speak to your service technician beforehand if you cannot complete the list.
Preparation involves providing access for pest control treatment as well as taking measures to ensure that bed bugs are destroyed or contained.
If a home is not properly prepared, successful elimination may be practically impossible.
SAMPLE PREPARATION LIST FOR HEAT TREATMENTS
______Items stored under the bed provide an infinite amount of bed bug hiding places. Be very careful and open all containers and slightly pull the bins from under the bed. Air should be able to move inside and around the bins easily.
______ All furniture in the dwelling usually need to be pulled away from the baseboards and walls, and it is commonly asked that all furniture containing potential hiding crevices, such as bookshelves and desks, be opened or even emptied and left open for the exterminator to treat. Ask your technician what is necessary.
_____ Open all the drawers in any dressers, side tables, cabinets, or shelving. Make sure the items inside are loosely packed, and heat can permeate the items.
_____ Remove and properly discard cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, paper, and plastic bags, old newspapers, stacks of magazines, and similar items in all potentially infested rooms. Be sure to seal and mark them in plastic bags before removal. (Remember, bed bugs love clutter, it provides an infinite number of places for them, and those “cluttered” items might be where they are hiding)
_____ Unplug all electronics except major appliances. Usually, it will be safe for electronics to remain in the treatment area but always check with your pest professional.
_____ Remove framed pictures and posters from the walls to avoid damages. Lay them flat in the room.
_____ Vinyl or faux wood blinds may have a low heat tolerance; they may need removed and placed in a pile of other heat-sensitive items on a table.
_____ Remove items that may melt, like candles, deodorant, chocolate, and lipstick.
_____ Remove medications and perishable foods.
_____ Collect all aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, lighters, soda cans, and pressurized containers and remove them from the treatment area.
_____ Don’t bag up too many items! Items in bags can be hard to treat. Do not over-prepare!
____ Alert your pest professional of any sprinklers. Heat can set off the sprinkler system, so the sprinkler heads need to be caped and protected.
For items and areas that cannot be treated, or may have been challenging to treat, there are several steps you can take to ensure that bed bugs aren’t hiding in those items.
- Always inspect heat-sensitive items carefully. Small things that show signs of bed bug activity can be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, or sprayed with professional chemicals to kill and bugs.
- Make sure you launder all bedding, stuffed animals, drapes, clothing, and other washable items to ensure that bed bugs aren’t still hiding there. Items should be dried on the hottest setting possible on your dryer. Items should be secured in a plastic bag and tied in-order to transport to your laundry area. This helps to avoid the spread of bed bugs to other areas of your home.
- After treatment, you should vacuum all areas around the bed and other furniture. Empty the vacuum bag or container into a trash bag that is tightly sealed.
- Make sure any discarded items are sealed in plastic and labeled as “Bed Bug Infested” before dropping in the garbage.
Always follow professional advice for ways you can prepare your room for a heat treatment or inspection. Some professionals may have different requirements depending on the equipment used.
Want to perform your own heat treatment? Check out our heat equipment rental providers at https://ibbra.org/service-providers/. You can find a professional rental location near you that offers equipment, professional add-on services and tutorials on how to perform your own heat treatments!