Recently, a visibly relieved homeowner in South Toms River, NJ, greeted me and by bed bug specialist partner. Because of the detailed nature of bed bug inspections, Cowleys generally send out a two-person bed bug team. When we arrived for treatment at her home, the homeowner was physically and mentally exhausted. She said that she had been up for 48 hours straight, afraid to sleep in her bed and suffer through another round of bits. There is a psychological component of a bed bug infestation that is often not addressed. Unlike other pests, bed bugs can get into your psyche and cause extreme anxiety. It’s bad enough having a pest infestation, but having one in which the insects feed off your blood takes it to a whole new level. I reassured her that after we were done with our treatment she would be getting a good night’s sleep.
We began be inspecting the bedroom. Between their blood meals, bed bugs prefer to hide in areas nearby their hosts, so it is common to find them in and around bedding. A standard bed bug inspection always involves checking every square inch of the mattress and box spring as well as nite stands and any bedside furnishings. We carefully turn over items so as to not dislodge the bugs and then begin vacuuming all of the cracks and crevices where bed bugs can potentially hide — and they can be hiding anywhere, even in the stitching holes of a mattress. Our HEPA vacuums are one of the most valuable tools during a bed bug treatment, sucking up the nymphs and adults, the sticky bed bug eggs, and their skins (casings) that are left behind during their growth stages.
During this treatment, we found a healthy bed bug on the bottom of the box spring. It was a big and “juicy” one, engorged with blood from the previous few nights of feeding. After vacuuming up the bug, we installed a box spring and mattress encasements to ensure that no other bed bugs can get into the bedding, and none can leave. WE then vacuumed all of the surrounding areas of the bedroom and treated the area with a light liquid application to ensure that we had a good residual barrier.
Especially with bed bug treatments, I feel it is important to explain in detail what was done so the homeowner is assured that the problem is resolved and can finally take a deep breathe, relax, and get some much needed sleep. She was relived that we located the offending pest, protected her bedding, and treated her bedroom. We will return for a follow-up but since this infestation was localized and treated in its early stages, I’m confident that the problem has been resolved.