Today, I was dispatched to a beautiful apartment in Asbury Park, NJ to inspect for a possible bed bug infestation, and possibly start treatment.
As often happens with bed bugs, the resident did not see any live bugs, but she did see a common sign of bed bugs: several little blood stains on her bedsheets. She had a “bad feeling” that there was a bed bug infestation, but wanted a professional inspection confirm an infestation and institute a treatment plan if needed. This homeowner did exactly the right thing. With bed bugs, never use a “wait and see” approach. All you are doing is giving time for the bed bug infestation to become more entrenched over a larger area. Also, the resident mentioned that just the uncertainty of having bed bugs was making it hard for her to sleep. As a bed bug technician, I’ve seen that the psychological impact of a bed bug infestation on homeowners and tenants can be devastating.
I started my inspection of the bedroom, first scanning all of the wall junctures with the floor and ceiling to look for live bed bugs or signs of bed bug activity. After not finding anything, I slowly pulled back the sheets from the bed and placed them in a large plastic bag. It is important to remove the sheets slowly and carefully so that no bed bugs are “catapulted” to other areas of the room. The name of the game with bed bug infestations is to be slow, methodical, and thorough. I advised the resident to immediately wash and heat dry the sheets and blankets immediately to kill any bed bugs that may be attached.
When I lifted up the mattress there was no sign of bed bug activity. The resident was observing me and thought that she may have overreacted or saw something that wasn’t there. I reassured her that she made the right decision by calling us and the inspection wasn’t over. I lifted the boxspring to examine the underside. At this point, I wished the resident wasn’t there. On the underside, there were several clusters of bed bugs. The resident literally shrieked. I told her that it was good news we found the bugs.
I quickly grabbed my vacuum that was already plugged in and ready to go. I vacuumed up all of the bed bugs instantly removing them from the infestation. I carefully vacuumed all of the seams and cracks and crevices of the boxspring to move any live bed bug activity. Knowing that there were bed bugs, I also vacuumed the mattress, bed frame, headboard, and nearby nightstands. Bed bugs do not like to venture far from their human host between their blood meals.
I then performed a light liquid application to all the potentially bed bug-infested areas. This application provides a residual protection barrier that will eliminate any bed bugs that manage to avoid my vacuum. Bed bugs are resilient insects. With these infestations, we always schedule a two-week follow-up to re-inspect and apply additional treatments as needed.
Although the resident was upset she had bed bugs, she was grateful that the problem was identified and that I took immediate action to start treatment. We will work with this resident until the infestation is completely resolved and there are no more signs of bed bugs and there are no more mysterious bites.