One morning you wake up with itchy red spots on your ankles – you think nothing of it, or maybe you wonder if your pet has fleas. The next morning, the same happens again, and you check your pet for fleas – nothing. Then you see it… a bed bug. Yikes! Only, you’re not sure what to do because you rent your home – is it your responsibility to get the home treated, or not? Read on to find out.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small insects that come out at night and feed on your blood. They have been around for thousands of years, and cheap, easy travel has been largely responsible for their prevalence in the United States today.
They live in cracks and creases, particularly in and around beds so that their food source (you!) is not far away. Generally, their bite is not dangerous and they are not known to transmit any disease to their human host. The bottom line is don’t panic.
What do you do if you find bed bugs in your apartment?
- You should notify the building manager or your landlord immediately. If you have them it is likely you are not the only one affected and a strategy to eradicate the pest and prevent its recurrence has to be planned.
- Choose a pest control company that is trustworthy and uses up-to-date methods. Although DIY solutions are available they are not practical for an entire apartment block. Heat treatments are the most effective choice.
It is easy to compare pest companies on the internet, but take your time to pick one that is reliable and experienced and uses the latest equipment. Bed bugs multiply quickly but not significantly in the time it takes to be thorough. Click here to find a professional near you.
- Get cleaning. Hygiene won’t eliminate bed bugs but it will help to reduce numbers and keep the situation stable until the experts arrive. Your best friend is your dryer – 30 minutes in a hot dryer will kill bed bugs and their eggs. When the treatment has been done, do a deep clean so you feel happy in your home once more.
Is your landlord responsible for bed bug control?
What is and is not a landlord’s responsibility when it comes to pest control varies from state to state. Generally speaking, because a bed bug infestation makes an apartment or home uninhabitable it is up to the landlord to deal with it and cover the costs involved.
But you need to check your lease and the local laws pertaining to the area where you live. Usually, the responsibility lies with the landlord but not in every case. Also, look at your renter’s insurance policy. It may have provision to pay for alternative accommodation until the situation is sorted out.
If you live in a single-family home, you may find that you are responsible for the costs.
No one welcomes a bed bug infestation, but it is not the end of the world and won’t cost a huge amount to put right. Bed bugs are endemic in the US and there should be no stigma attached to becoming the victim of an infestation. It is not your fault and has nothing to do with the way you live – in fact, it just shows that you get out and about in the world and/or have a social life!
Fortunately, a calm approach to the problem and a good pest control company can rectify the problem and eradicate the parasite quickly, leaving your apartment or house habitable and pest-free. To find a DIY kit or to find a professional near you, click here.
Bed bugs are a common problem in the United States and no one is immune from an infestation. If you travel a lot and stay in hotels (yes, even luxury and clean ones!), there is always a chance that you will return home accompanied by a few uninvited guests. And a few will soon turn into a lot!
First of all, don’t panic. Yes, bed bugs do feed on human blood and the bites can be itchy but they do not transmit disease. If you do discover you have bed bugs you should contact a reliable pest control company or consider doing a DIY heat treatment.
Avoid chemical treatments where possible; those insecticides are often damaging to the environment and carry the risk of making the bed bugs resistant. The more resistant they become, the more they will spread. Chemicals are also not often effective on eggs, and 0% effective on the bugs, larvae and eggs the chemicals don’t reach (which can be a lot). So, what should you do if you have bed bugs before, during, and after a heat treatment?
What should I do before a heat treatment?
Once you have hired a pest control company it is likely they will give you guidance about what to do before they arrive, or before you collect your DIY heat treatment package. This will include:
- Collecting together things that may be damaged by heat treatment so that they can be inspected and removed before the procedure begins. This should include plants, fresh fruit and vegetables, foodstuffs that would melt (chocolate, for instance), pet fish, wooden instruments, flammables, firearms and ammunition, alcohol, pressurized containers, and so on. Don’t just store them elsewhere – the operatives need to make sure none of them harbor bed bugs.
- You can leave clothes in closets and drawers, and bed linens on beds but remove any plastic covers.
- Fans are often used in heat treatment so make certain nothing is left that could be blown about.
- Loose papers, items routinely stored under beds, toys, shoes, etc., need to be placed in open weave baskets and left in the rooms to be treated.
- All electrical goods must be turned off and unplugged. The screens of computers and TVs need to be covered with cloth.
- Fish tanks larger than 10 gallons have to be removed. If smaller, they can remain but need to be moved into an approved area – normally a basement or bathroom.
- Vacuum the property and dispose of the bag outside your home at once.
What should I do during a heat treatment?
Prepare one set of clothing for each member of the household, dry at high heat for at least 30 minutes, and then place in a Ziploc bag and store outside your home. Don’t take anything else with you that cannot be treated in the same way on return. There is always the danger of reintroducing bed bugs if you don’t take care.
Spend the time away from your home in what is known to be a bed bug-free environment, and ideally, change into fresh clothes the moment you get there, securely storing the clothes you wore out of the house in plastic bags.
What should I do after a heat treatment?
Your home may still be warm when you return, depending on how long ago the treatment was completed, and you can accelerate cooling by opening some windows. Don’t try and use air conditioning until the temperature drops below 80℉ and the same rule applies to your washer and dryer.
When you can, wash the clothes you wore out of the home and vacuum to collect any dead insects that were present during the heat treatment.
The result of your preparations and the heat treatment will be a bed bug-free home where you can once again relax and sleep soundly. To find bed bug professionals or a DIY heat treatment kit near you, click here.
We all know where we most commonly find bed bugs – in beds! But of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t get around, too. Bed bugs can find their way onto airplanes, buses, cars, ambulances, and just about anywhere humans like to be – so naturally, that includes schools.
Most schools have a headlice policy, but few know how to move forward when bed bugs have taken hold. If you suspect bed bugs have found their way into your school, here’s what you need to know to move forward.
Identify: Are you dealing with bed bugs?
Bed bug infestations in schools are fairly uncommon, but of course, if a student has bed bugs at home, they can hitchhike to school with them. Bed bugs are shy creatures that will usually only be visible when we’re still and it’s dark, such as at night. They’re usually very small and can’t jump (like fleas). If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, it’s important to get professionals in to examine and treat them as soon as possible.
Dealing with the Social Stigma
Despite common belief, bed bugs do not come from dirty homes – bed bugs only like one thing, and that’s human blood. They aren’t interested in how clean or unclean something is, and no amount of cleanliness will make them go away. However, while we know this and you now know this, it’s important not to point the finger at any student or teacher who may have brought bed bugs to school with them. They likely caught them while on vacation or from another family member who travels often. It will also be extremely difficult to know for sure if they brought the bed bugs with them or simply caught them while they were at school.
Here are some guidelines for what you should do if you suspect a teacher or student of having bed bugs:
- Don’t single out any one student or teacher. Instead, send educational materials home with all children/teachers affected with advice on how to identify bed bugs and next steps to take to avoid transferring bed bugs to and from school.
- If you find a particular person has bed bugs on their possessions, deal with it as discreetly as possible. Ideally, talk to the parent or guardian to let them know that bed bugs have been found on their possessions and what next steps to take to ensure that an infestation is not transferred to or from school – make sure you do not point the finger. Make sure they have the same educational materials as everyone else.
How to Avoid Spreading Bed Bugs in a Classroom
To avoid spreading bed bugs in a classroom:
- Regularly wash down hard surfaces with hot soapy water
- Don’t pile clothes and shoes together
- Have designated plastic totes or similar for each child’s belongings
- Keep the classroom uncluttered and avoid large piles of communal cushions, bean bags, and soft toys
These tips are ideal if you suspect bed bugs, but are also good practice for avoiding spreading any parasite, bacteria, or virus.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your school, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified bed bug professional as soon as possible. They will be able to accurately detect infestations and treat the area quickly, and the classroom will be inhabitable again within hours of a heat treatment. Chemical treatments are not recommended for schools and aren’t 100% effective. To find someone to help you or for more information on identifying and treating bed bugs, click here.
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped, wingless insects. They can be found around the world anywhere humans are, usually within a few feet of a bed or sofa.
Bed bugs feed on blood and can cause itchy, red sores when they bite into human skin. These small creatures hide in sheets, piles of laundry, mattress seams, bed frames, and cracks in walls during the day, coming out at night to feed. While it’s somewhat uncommon, some bed bugs may even find their way into your car, latching onto your clothing every time you sit down to drive.
The discovery of bed bugs in your home or even in your car is always a distressing one, so it’s good to know what to look out for.
What do I need to know about bed bugs?
One bed bug can lay up to 250 eggs in her lifetime. Under normal circumstances, bed bugs usually have a lifespan of around 10 months.
Aside from how they breed, it’s helpful to know the temperatures in which they thrive. These little critters can only live in temperatures of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and above, so they probably wouldn’t survive in your car during the winter if you’re living somewhere cold.
The same goes for higher temperatures; most bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
How can I tell if there’s a bed bug infestation in my car?
You’ll be able to determine if you have a bed bug infestation in your car pretty easily. Look for things like:
- Reddish or brown stains (these bed bugs that have been sat on and crushed, or their waste)
- Tiny yellow eggshells or eggs
- Skins that the bed bugs have shed during growth
- Bed bugs themselves
The most likely way you’ll discover bed bugs is you start noticing bed bug bites. These are little, red marks that may appear and cause itching, so check your home and car for bed bugs if you start finding little red bite marks, especially on areas of skin that aren’t covered by your pajamas while you sleep or clothes while you drive (such as ankles).
How can I stop bed bugs from getting into my car?
Here are some effective ways to prevent bed bugs from getting into your car:
- Wear fresh clothes when traveling before getting into your car, especially if you’ve been on a plane or sitting in a hotel restaurant.
- Have your car’s interior professionally steam cleaned after traveling.
- If you use a shared laundry facility, carry them to and from the laundromat in plastic bags.
- Check any second-hand furniture you buy before putting it into your car.
- Keep clutter to a minimum to avoid giving the bed bugs anywhere to hide.
- Keep your luggage in your suitcase while traveling, don’t leave it on beds, armchairs, or in provided storage.
If you’ve already discovered an infestation, you’ll need to speak to a professional. Don’t risk trying to fumigate or use chemical pesticides by yourself – they’re toxic and they rarely fully treat the infestation, leaving some alive to repopulate your home.
At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority, we can put you in touch with trusted, trained professionals to remedy your bed bug problem with effective heat treatments as soon as possible. Click here to find a service provider near you.
Moving home is both stressful and exciting; it’s a new start, after all! But one thing that’s guaranteed to make it more stressful and less exciting is discovering your new space has bed bugs – yuck!
But this can and does happen quite often. Over the last 20 years, the bed bug problem has multiplied and the number of cases of infestation isn’t dropping. Your new apartment or house probably doesn’t have bed bugs, but you do need to try and make sure – your first night there is not the time to find out!
So what steps should you take to find out if these unwelcome visitors are already inhabiting your new home?
How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In
- Renting: find out your legal position. It is nearly always illegal to rent out a home with a known infestation and many local laws also require a landlord to give full details of previous occurrences of bed bugs, sometimes whether the prospective tenant has asked or not. But this is not universal. Some states have no requirement for a landlord to disclose past bed bugs, so feel free to ask and if there has been an occurrence of bed bugs in the home or apartment building, ask them to treat the home before you move in.
- When you view the property do your own inspection. Bed bugs love nooks and crannies so that’s where to search. You’re not just looking for adults – think the size and color of an apple seed – but eggs (white specks) and feces too. Remember these bugs aren’t put off by cleanliness or attracted by dirt; whatever the apartment or house looks like, however well presented and maintained, that’s no guarantee there are no bed bugs.
- Consider having a pest professional inspect the home before purchase. If you’re buying, consider having a pest professional come to inspect the home when you have other home inspections. You are within your right to ask for treatment before you get the keys. If you can’t do this, the best thing to do is have a cautionary treatment before you start moving your things in – heat treatments typically only take a few hours so you won’t have to wait long!
- Consider a canine inspection before you move in. By far the best way to find out if there are bed bugs in your new property is to get a canine inspection carried out by a trustworthy pest control company. Dogs have humans beat hands down (or should that be paws down?) when it comes to detecting the presence of bed bugs.
Not so long ago most of us were only worried about termites in our homes but times change. Bed bugs may not be as damaging to your home or wallet, but they certainly aren’t something you want to live with!
It is sensible to make every effort to ensure your new house or apartment is pest-free before you move in. It is not just the bites either. Psychologically, knowing you have bed bugs can be devastating. While cures are available, prevention is better every time. To find a suitable pest professional or canine unit near you, click here.
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.