Homeowners & Renters: How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In    

Homeowners & Renters: How to Detect Bed Bugs Before You Move In    

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.

 

How Do Bed Bugs Know You’re In Bed?   

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

How Often Should You Check for Bed Bugs at Home?

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.

6 Tips for Landing a Bed Bug Job for Pest Professionals

6 Tips for Landing a Bed Bug Job for Pest Professionals

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.

Are You SURE The Bed Bugs Are Gone?

Are You SURE The Bed Bugs Are Gone?

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.

 

K-9 Detection

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.

 

Cimastat

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.

 

All About Bed Bug Eggs & How to Get Rid of Them

All About Bed Bug Eggs & How to Get Rid of Them

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.