Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Bed Bug infestation in Atlantic Highlands

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 by Scott Dellett

Challenge

Bedbugs are often called “the masters of stealth” and “the world’s best hitchhikers.”  Bed bugs have extremely poor mobility, yet they have managed to spread at exponential rates in various areas of the county. Those places hardest hit by bed bugs usually have high population densities and crowded, congested areas where people congregate. Also, multi-person residences such as apartments, college dormitories, motels/hotels, and nursing homes are notorious trouble spots for bed bug infestations. When bed bugs are not feeding on our blood, they keep a low profile, hiding in all sorts of places, including our personal belongings. Damp, moist shoes are a favorite. Think about it: How many people kick off their shoes next to the bed? It’s a safe bet to say that most of us keep our shoes close to our bed. Let’s be honest. We don’t keep our house according to Martha Stewart. On many days, we are so tired that our shoes don’t even make it to the closet. We just sit on the bed, take off our shoes, and leave them right there, giving bed bugs are wonderful hiding spot.

 

The next morning we put on our shoes. Except this time, our shoes are transporting one or more bed bugs. And there are pretty good odds that it’s a pregnant female. Then we go on our merry way. We stop off at Starbucks for coffee, maybe use public transportation, or go to work or go to the gym. At any of these places, the bed bugs can “jump ship” and reattach to someone else’s belongings. Its the cycle of life for bed bugs that has lead to rising infestation rates. Like a childhood game of tag, the bed bugs are transported to someone else’s residence, and now “you’re it!”  In many respects, the explosion of bed bug infestations is no different than the spread of a virus where a contagious person infects those around him.

 

This photo shows a shoe that is worn regularly by a person being treated for a bed bug infestation. When this person leaves the house, for the bedbugs, it’s the equivalent of a train conductor yelling “All aboard!” These hitchhiking, carefree bedbugs are all primed and ready for a new adventure — maybe this time, your house! And its not just the live bed bugs in the shoe, those white eggs can be easily dislodged elsewhere, and once they hatch, an infestation begins anew. 

Can you see the difference between viable and already hatched eggs? Check out the photo. #1 is a hatched egg, which has obvious void at the tip of the egg. #2 has not hatched yet, and still had white film at the tip.

Solution

We advised the customer to prepare their home for bed bug treatment. We first vacuum and scrub areas areas that bed bugs have visibly infested including bedrooms, sleeping areas and any other areas of visible infestation. This step, which dramatically improves the effectiveness of the chemical or heat treatments, involves removing the large population of adult bed bugs, their eggs, droppings and other bed bud remnants. During the clean out, cracks and crevices in walls and molding where bed bugs may be hiding are filled and repaired. It is critical to permanently close these potential harborage sites.

We then follow with chemical treatments, involving multiple, carefully targeted applications to knockdown active adult bed bug populations in bedroom and sleeping areas. Follow-up treatments are often necessary to treat resilient bed bugs eggs that have hatched since the last chemical treatment.