For my final stop of the day, I was dispatched to one of the commercial properties that we handle in Asbury Park, NJ for their pest control needs. This building, a senior housing facility, has had periodic bed bug problems in the past. The property manager contacted us because he was concerned that there may be an infestation in one of the units and wanted us to inspect that apartment as well as the surrounding ones. Bed bugs hitchhike on people and their belongings and jump from host to host. In high density housing, it can make all the difference in treating these infestations early before they have a chance to spread. This property manager did exactly what should be done once a bed bug infestation is suspected.
Because of the ability of bed bugs to squeeze through small openings, just like roaches and other insects, if a unit has a suspected infestation, it’s always best to inspect the units directly above, below, and to the sides of the unit where the infestation is suspected in order to make sure that it hasn’t yet spread. I first went to the unit where their was the suspected problem to inspect. I was greeted by the tenant, a very nice woman who invited me in and was quite grateful I was there. She showed me some bite marks on her arm that looked very much like typical bed bug bites. As a bed bug specialist, I’ve gained quite a bit of familiarity with the appearance of bed bug bites. It’s important to stress, however, that bed bug bites are not uniform in appearance. People has different reactions to the bites based on skin type and their own sensitivities. Some develop itchy welts, while others don’t. However, waking up with mysterious insect bites is a problem no matter what insect is doing the biting!
I started my inspection in the bedroom because bed bugs do not like to venture far from their host between their blood meals. I began by inspecting the sheets as I removed them from the bed, looking for speckled blood and fecal stains. I then carefully stood up the mattress and box spring to inspect underneath. That’s when I made the unfortunate discovery that this tenant had a bed bug problem. While it’s bad news to hear you have a bed bug infestation, it is still better than allowing the infestation to get worse. This tenant had a minimal amount of furniture, which means a minimal number of harborage areas, which makes the area easier to treat.
I helped her prep the apartment for an immediate treatment rather than returning later. My goal here was to immediately knock down the live population, especially the bed bugs I observed on the bottom of the box spring. I performed a light liquid application where the bed bugs were nesting. The formulation we use works wonders and gives an immediate knock down —killing them within seconds of coming into contact with the application. It’s gratifying to see.
While the application was drying, I inspected the living room couches. Bed bugs often hide in upholstered furniture where people nap, sleep, or rest. Some good news. There were no signs of bed bug activity and the infestation was limited to the bedroom. I returned to the bedroom and vacuumed up any bed bugs I could find, dead or alive. I put encasements on the mattress and box spring to keep any hidden bed bugs sealed inside as well as prevent bed bugs hiding elsewhere to make their way to the bedding. This will go a long way in stopping the nighttime bed bug bites.
The tenant was thrilled that I took care of the bed bug infestation then and there. I assured her that I’d be back for a follow-up visit shortly to re-inspect and do any follow-up treatments that were needed. I’ve had few customers who were as appreciative as this one. She insisted on giving me a hug and a chocolate bar for my work! It’s easy to forgot the human element of pest infestations,. At the end of the day we are not treating pests, rather, we are helping people get with a difficult problem that’s affected their lives. For me, that’s the most satisfying part of my job.