The name “bed” bug for these biting insects is somewhat of a misnomer. Since bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed off human hosts, they do often hide in and around mattresses, box springs, and headboards while waiting for their next blood meal. That does not mean, wherever, that bed bug infestations are limited to beds. For from it! While treating any bed bug infestation, we assume that bed bugs could be congregating anywhere and everywhere in a home, especially with heavier infestations where the bed bugs have spread.
Here, I was contacted by property management for an apartment building that we service in Beachwood, NJ for suspected bed bug activity in one of the units. The tenant had reported to the building manager that she was getting bitten while watching TV at night in her recliner, where she often fell asleep before going to bed. She would wake up with 3 itchy bites in close proximity to each other. Mysterious bites are often the first sign of bed bug activity, especially if there is a series of three bites in a row. often, with bed bugs at least, bad things often come in threes! Pest control technicians sometimes informally refer to this common three-bite pattern as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here, the bed bugs “knew” that their host returned to the same recliner night after night and were content to wait for her there.
Upon arrival, I immediately inspected the recliner. I immediately knew there was a problem. There were bed bugs skins left behind where the bed bugs had molted in many of the cracks and crevices, or tufts, on the upholstered chair. I carefully turned the chair over to inspect its underside. Sure enough, there were additional skins and even some adult bed bugs nesting in the seams. Bed bugs prefer to nest in tight areas where they have contact on multiple sides of their body simultaneously. As with many animals and insects, tight enclosed spaces provides a sense of safety and security.
I showed the tenant my findings. When I arrived she was worried that she was wasting my time and was imagining things. I told her that was far from the case and a pest control service should be contacted whenever someone is waking up with unexplained bites. Just because you have not yet seen the insects doesn’t mean they are not there, especially with low-level infestations in their early stages. She was also relieved to know that I could begin treatment immediately to get rid of this infestation. I can’t stress this enough — a pest control professional should be contacted even if you just THINK you have bed bugs, especially if mysterious bites start soon after returning from a vacation or after having visitors or returning family members in your home.