Bed bugs are a real problem in Wichita, KS, especially for people who travel, have kids in school, stay in hotels, buy second-hand furniture, or just interact with other people in general. In essence, all of us can be affected by bed bugs.
Let’s start out with an important fact: the only way to be 100% sure of a bed bug infestation is to collect a live sample of the bug for testing. We will talk more about this in just a bit, but first let’s cover the telltale signs that bed bugs may be in your home.
Usually the first signs of a bed beg infestation is bug bites on your body. Now, not all bite-like marks are indications that you have bed bugs. Furthermore, doctors cannot just look at the bites and give you a definite answer of whether it is definitely bed bugs that bit you– bed bugs will just be a possible explanation they provide.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that the bites won’t always itch, nor do they always appear in threes like some people say. But for most cases, they suggest bed bugs cause:
- Several welts, often appearing in a line that zigzags.
- Welts that itch intensely.
If you think the bites are from bed bugs, you might want to consider when you first noticed the bites. If it was in the morning, or you notice more bites appear in the morning, there is a greater chance that you have bed bugs.
Bed bugs will often leave fecal stains in the areas they live. The EPA stresses that while these stains are actually blood that has been partially digested, the stains won’t be red. Instead, the marks will look like black dots. Usually there will be a collection of these dots in one area.
Check for staining around the seams of your mattress or box spring, as this is where they are most likely going to congregate.
To test these spots, try to rub them with a wet rag – if they smear, you might have a bed bug problem.
Producing a Live Sample
Earlier, we mentioned that you need to produce a live sample so it can be tested. Getting a live sample is a little harder than you may think, especially since bed bugs are often confused with other bugs found in the home. The University of Minnesota describes bed bugs with the following characteristics: “Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color and approximately 1/4 to 3/8 inch-long; they are nearly as wide as they are long. They are about the size of an apple seed. Juvenile bed bugs can be very small and very hard to see.”
Here are four different ways to identify a bed bug problem, and in some instances, collect a live sample for testing:
Visually Inspect Beds and Upholstered Furniture
Examine the areas that we’ve already talked about: along the seams of your mattress, beneath fitted sheets, and anywhere with tight threads, like around piping. Be careful not to move things too much because you don’t want to spread the infestation if you can avoid it.
Also keep in mind that visually inspecting your furniture is the method least likely to produce a live sample.
Install Interception Devices or Active Monitors
You can install interception devices under the legs of your beds and/or couches to detect low level bed bug infestations. This is an efficient way to go about checking if you have a problem.
Bed bugs naturally move around these types of environments and the devices trap them as they travel. With this method, it can take up to 4 weeks to get a live sample. Still, the device has to be inspected every few days for activity.
Active monitors use attractants (chemicals) to detect the bed bugs. These are costly and aren’t always safe around children or animals.
Installation of Encasements
Generally more expensive, mattress and box spring encasements are another invaluable tool for someone who is concerned about bed bugs. Encasements aid in early detection and protect your bed.
Encasements don’t allow the bugs to get back into your mattress, restricting them to the exterior of the encasements.
At the end of the day, the most economical and effective method to find out if you have bed bugs is to contact a pest control company. A qualified pest management professional knows where to look, what to look for, and what treatments will work after a brief inspection of the infected area.
Professionals are also far more likely to discover an infestation versus someone who only looks at pictures on the internet before searching.
For more information about bed bugs, check out this video from National Geographic:
If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, don’t let it go unchecked. Save money and time by contacting a professional exterminator right away. Patton Termite and Pest provides solutions to quickly and effectively treat bed bugs in your home. Call us today at (316) 773-3825 to set up an appointment.