Some very worried homeowners residing in Perth Amboy, NJ contacted Cowleys to request a bed bug inspection and to schedule a treatment if necessary. The couple became quite concerned when they both started waking up in the morning with a substantial number of bites that weren’t there previously. Often, unexplained bites (sometimes accompanied by itchy welts) are the earliest sign of possible bed bug activity. Their initial thought was bed bugs, and they did the right thing by having it checked out even if they weren’t sure. It’s far better to have a couple of bed bug specialists conduct an inspection and find out what’s going on than to wait until you actually see the bugs or determine what’s causing the bites. Bed bugs stay out of sight, and in an early infestation finding a live bed bug or other signs of an infestation can be challenging for the untrained eye.
During the inspection, I asked the homeowners if they had been anywhere recently since bed bugs hitchhike their way inside, usually in the personal belongings of their new hosts. These bugs don’t arrive on their own. Sure enough, they had just returned from a vacation only to find out that the hotel they were staying at had bed bugs. They were not alerted to the problem until after they had already left. As the saying goes, a day late and a dollar short. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. With hotels and motels (even five-star ones), you don’t know who was staying in the room before you, and more importantly, what unwanted surprises they may be bringing with them. Over the course of a year, hotel and motel mattresses are used by many occupants. You may not be sleeping with them, but you may well be sleeping with bugs they have brought with them!
As I began inspecting the top of the mattress, I did not detect any signs of bed bug activity. From my experience with these infestations, and I’ve handled many of them, bed bugs do not stay in plain view on the top of the mattress. Instead, they seek out-of-the-way locations like the underside of the mattress or the box spring below. Sure enough, as I stood the king-sized mattress up on its side, I found a pocket of bed bugs. Needless to say, the homeowners were horrified! All this time there were biting bugs hiding nearby waiting for their next blood meal.
They wanted the infestation handled immediately and I explained to them the treatment process. They gave me the go-ahead to start then and there. I plugged in my HEPA vacuum and went to work removing all live bed bug activity and any lingering casings (skins) and eggs. Vacuuming is a very effective tool for starting treatment once bed bugs are identified. Once the mattress and box spring were methodically vacuumed, I encased them in highly durable rip-resistant encasement that seals any hiding bed bugs inside and prevents other bed bugs from accessing the bedding. I then began a liquid application to all of the cracks and crevices in the bedroom.
I scheduled a two-week follow-up to re-inspect and apply additional treatment as needed. I informed the homeowners that they should still be prepared for residual bed bug activity. Knocking their population down to zero is not immediate. Any live activity needs to come into contact with the application, and there is a winding down time. The homeowners understood and were thankful that the problem was identified and that we could treat the infestation so quickly.