Finding and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

by Lisa
(Ohio)

Placing a Climbup Interceptor under each bed leg is an inexpensive way to check on the size of an infestation and to keep bedbugs from climbing onto a bed

Placing a Climbup Interceptor under each bed leg is an inexpensive way to check on the size of an infestation and to keep bedbugs from climbing onto a bed

Bed Bugs Handbook Reader Question


Ten days ago I was bitten by a bed bug while sleeping. I know it was a bed bug because it woke me up and I found it and flushed it. Every three nights around 2:30-3:30 since then the same thing has happened. They cause dime to nickel sized welts when they bite me; if I treat immediately with bug itch stuff they don't itch and go away.

My mattress and box springs are already in a bed bug cover so I inspected for tears and inspected all around the bed. We put white sheets on the bed to see them easier. Other than finding one every three nights plus one I found near a lap top (total of 5) there are no other signs of them. One was much smaller about the size of the * symbol on my key board the other four about the length of the I.

Now as to the cause: my mother-in-law's apartment is infested; I don't know how she can even live there. Eleven days ago we went to visit after she thought she got rid of them. I was bitten while there. I believe the one I found with the lap top was a stowaway if not more of them. We will not be going back any time soon however she comes to visit at least once a week. What do I do about that? I have inspected the couch without luck but the colors would be camo for bugs.

Can I assume that I don't have many? Base on what I've read on this site and as I write this I must conclude that other family members are being bitten they just aren't showing any signs. I thought they must be confined to my room but that may not be the case. Or am I just finding stowaways? I understand they eat about every three days but I'm catching them at it so its not the same ones.

Editor Suggestion

Hi Lisa,

I hate to be the person with bad news, but it sounds like you have the beginnings of a bed bug infestation. As you probably read, one female can lay upwards of 300
to 500 eggs, so it sounds like you are just at the beginning of a problem.

While the mattress and box spring covers are a good start, they only trap bed bugs that are inside the mattress, they do not keep bed bugs from climbing up the bed or that are hiding around a baseboard or frame from seeking a blood meal.

I'd suggest a few things:

1. Trap A Bedbug for inspection. You can purchase inexpensive climbup interceptors for each bed leg. The number of insects collected will give you an idea of how big the infestation is. Keep all blankets off the floor and keep the bed 2 to 3 inches away from the wall. Inspect the headboard and bed frame joints for insects. They like to hide in credit card width cracks and can be seen with the naked eye.

1. Confirm that the insects are bedbugs. Some other types of insects can look like bed bugs so it can't hurt. Either bring it to a local cooperative extension office that does insect inspections or a local university for identification. A local exterminator can also do it for you. (see http://extension.osu.edu/locate-an-office for Ohio Cooperative Extension). Call first.

2. Hire an exterminator to take a look. Ask the exterminator if they have experience with bed bugs and if they guarantee the work. Here is one service that provides free estimates and only has certified professionals in their network: Home Advisor.

3. If you can't hire an exterminator (many will negotiate a price if you can't afford it), then buy a bed bug kit that contains a contact spray and a longer lasting spray to kill any bed bugs you miss.

4. Regarding your mother-in-law, the odds are that she will carry bed bugs into your home. They are skilled hitchhikers and can hide on shoes, on clothing and in luggage. Exterminating a home can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. The only thing you can do is have her change in a garage before entering your home. Keep clothes for her in your home.

We had a similar situation with a friend. They were banned from the house until the infestation was officially over.

Best of Luck,

Jeff

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