Bed bugs are those nasty little critters that you find in your bed, car, and home. They cause irritating bites on your skin, and can possibly be a real problem. With spring time here and warmer months on the way, you could see a rise of them in your home. But how do you recognize the signs of bed bugs? Here are a few tips.
- Visual inspection of sleeping and resting areas such as beds and upholstered furniture.
Carefully examine the areas beneath fitted sheets, along the edges of mattress piping, if no bugs or evidence of bugs are found, remove the mattress and continue with inspection of the box spring paying close attention to the four corners under the plastic corner guards and the on the underside of the box spring where the dust cover is stapled into the frame. Keep in mind that bed bugs can easily be missed during a visual inspection so using one or more of the other methods below is recommended if no bugs are found during a visual inspection.
- Installation of interception devices or active monitors.
Installing interception devices under the legs of beds and couches is one of the most effective and economical methods to detect low level bed bug infestations that are missed during a visual inspection. Interception devices can be placed directly under or immediately adjacent to the legs of sleeping and resting areas such as beds and sofas. Bed bugs will naturally move around in an infested environment and these devices will trap them as they travel to and from beds and furniture. It is best to leave interceptors in place for up to 2-4 weeks inspecting them once every few days to once per week for activity. University based research has demonstrated this method to be a highly effective method for the detection of bed bug activity.
Active monitors are traps that use attractants (usually CO2 and/or chemical lures) to detect the presence of bed bugs. These types of monitors can be effective but tend to be more costly than the interception devices.
- Installation of mattress and box spring encasements
Mattress and box spring encasements are more expensive but are an invaluable tool for anyone who is concerned about bed bugs. Encasements not only aid in the early detection of bed bugs but they also protect the bed and are an important part of bed bug management. Encasements aid in early detection by restricting them to the exterior of the encasement where they are easily detected through visual inspection. Use of encasements coupled with the use of interception devices is a very effective combination.
- Contracting a pest management professional to conduct a thorough inspection.
While you can certainly conduct you own inspection, qualified pest management professional know exactly where to look and what to look for and thus are more likely to discover a low level infestation compared to an individual who lacks such training. Still, low level bed bug infestations can be difficult to detect and no matter how good the visual inspection performed is, bed bug infestations can remain undetected even though bugs may be present so it is wise to monitor for activity over a period of time to identify very low level infestations.