Early Detection

The detection of bed bugs can be very difficult and bed bugs can easily go undetected during an inspection particularly during the early stages of an infestation when only a few bugs or eggs are present.

Even the most qualified inspector will be challenged when the entire infestation consists of only one or two bed bugs or eggs that are present on a piece of luggage that hitch hiked a ride back to your house after a recent stay at a hotel.

Two eggs along the zipper can be difficult to find (click to enlarge image to see eggs)

Shed skins & eggs on the shoulder of a sofa can be difficult to see (click to enlarge image to see eggs)

Shed skin live nymph and egg on suitcase (click to enlarge )

Insect sticky traps/glue boards are often placed out in an effort to catch bed bugs and while these traps may capture some, they are not reliable monitoring devices since any bugs caught on them were by chance. For this reason, the use of glue board type traps is not recommended as a method for concluding that an area is free of bed bugs. Several devices have been specifically developed for the monitoring and/or detection of bed bugs. Devices that are currently available include bed bug interception devices that are placed under the legs of beds and sofas and traps that use attractants such as  carbon dioxide and/or chemical lures(see also section on Early Detection Devices).

Research has indicated that one of the most effective tools for detecting low level bed bug infestations may be interception devices.  These devices are designed to catch bugs as they travel to and from a bed by trapping them as they naturally more around the environment.  Preliminary indications that the best interception devices on the market can detect 80% or more of low level bed bug infestations within 1-2 weeks of being placed under the legs of beds and couches.

The use of mattress and box spring encasements that have been specifically designed and tested for bed bugs is another tool that can be used to help detect the presence of bed bugs. The reason that encasements are so helpful is because your mattress and box spring have many hiding places for bed bugs that make  inspection time consuming and difficult. Without an encasement, evidence of bed bugs is often buried deep inside your mattress and box spring, and can be almost impossible to find. However by encasing the mattress and box spring the bug’s access is restricted to the smooth exterior of the encasement where signs of bed bugs, such as spotting and shed skins or the bugs themselves, are readily detected during an inspection. However by encasing the mattress and box spring the bug’s access is restricted to the smooth exterior of the encasement where they are much more readily detected during an inspection. An additional benefit is realized as the encasements prevent the subsequent infestation of the mattress and box spring. (See Also - Mattress and Box Spring Encasements)

Inspections to find bugs on mattresses and box springs can be very difficult and time consuming

Inspection of encased beds can be done easily, as bugs are restricted to the exterior of the encasement where they can be quickly spotted and dealt with.

For information on the use of bed bug sniffing dogs as a detection method please refer to the following sections Canine Scent Detection for Bed Bugs or Early Detection Tools and Methods

For a more thorough discussion of methods discussed above please refer to Early Detection Tools and Methods.




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