Detecting bed bug infestations can be difficult. For one, they are very small bugs, usually growing only to a few millimeters in length and width. This turns a simple home pest inspection for bed bugs into an often laborious task. Secondly, bed bugs are experts at being stealthy and quiet; you will not even realize they are there until you start waking up with small bites. Finally, bed bug pest control is made even more challenging by the fact that bed bugs generally come out at night – during the wee hours.
Because bed bug pest control is such a tricky feat, your local pest control company more than likely uses multiple detection methods to ensure an accurate home pest inspection. The following is a look at five popular options for finding – and thus, eliminating – bed bugs.
1. Visual Inspection
Despite the fact that bed bugs are hard to see with the naked eye, your local pest control company can find evidence of them by looking very closely at your bed, nearby furniture and the surrounding area. Common tactics during a home pest inspection include using a bright flashlight to check for bed bugs in the cracks and seams of your bed and upholstery. They also leave small droppings, which look like pepper and give off a noticeable smell. Tiny brown dots on the sheets or nearby wall are another giveaway. It’s important to check all crevices where bed bugs can hide, as well as under cushions, mattresses and box springs.
The downside of the visual detection method is that it’s labor-intensive. It takes a lot of time and focus to comb over your living area for signs of bed bugs, and even then there’s no guarantee the inspection will result in accurate findings. This is why alternative bed bug pest control and detection methods have been devised.
2. Passive devices
One popular approach to bed bug pest control is to use passive devices, which are devices you set up in areas where you think bed bugs might be hiding. The term “passive” refers to the fact that these devices do not attempt to attract bed bugs; rather, the hope is that a bed bug will wander into the device. Once a bed bug encounters a passive device, it will be either trapped or killed.
Traditional glue traps and other popular market devices usually do not kill the bed bugs; these are simply detector devices. There are more advanced dry ice and sticky trap devices, but these require more skill to set up and maintain, and they can be costly. There are many passive devices available at hardware stores; however, you will usually find a better selection of bed bug traps if you visit your local pest control company. Keep in mind, however, that even traps that kill bed bugs are not sufficient for eliminating an infestation. At best, they can be used to complement other treatments.
3. Active Devices
Unlike passive devices, active bed bug pest control devices lure in bed bugs either for monitoring and tracking purposes or for elimination. Generally CO2, heat and other chemicals are used to attract bed bugs. While it is possible to purchase your own active devices, again they shouldn’t be solely relied upon to get rid of the problem completely. However, they can be useful if you want to confirm an infestation before scheduling a home pest inspection with a local pest control company.
4. DIY tricks.
Some homeowners also turn to homemade traps and detectors. For instance, you can make your own mattress guards and sticky traps. These DIY options should be seen as preventative, however, rather than as a reliable pest control method. If you do have a bed bug infestation, you will need to seek assistance from a local pest control company before things get out of hand.
5. Canine scent detection.
Last, but not least by any means, is the use of dogs to detect the presence of bed bugs. Highly trained bed bug detecting dogs can sniff out an infestation with much more accuracy than a human conducting a visual home pest inspection. Of course, this method is not without its share of controversy. Many recent studies have argued that the level and skill of canine scent detection varies greatly. Proper training is usually not the issue; rather, studies done in controlled labs often do not reflect many of the environmental conditions canines will face in the field. So there has been some discrepancy between lab results and field studies. But the good news is that there are plenty of successful, effective canines out there who can help you with your bed bug pest control efforts.
Your local pest control company will offer some if not all of these bed bug detection options. To be sure, no option is a perfect solution for every scenario. Thus, it’s helpful to do a little research first, contact a bed bug pest control company and schedule a home pest inspection before you make any final decisions.