Bed Bug Blue Fecal Spot Detection consumer kit now available!

by nobugsonme on May 18, 2012 · 7 comments

in bed bug detection, bed bug products, bed bugs

A few weeks back, we told you about Bed Bug Blue, the new detection kit for identifying fecal stains left by bed bugs. It comes from David James (inventor of the Packtite and Bed Bug Beacon) and has been tested and cheered by a number of well-known experts on bed bugs (per our earlier post).

photo of Bed Bug Blue consumer version

 

Bed Bug Blue can be used to test for the presence of blood in fecal matter, and it should detect fecal spots up to two years old, if they haven’t been wiped away by a cleaning agent or other chemicals.

Some commenters on our forum and previous blog entry have asked why this product is necessary. One commenter asked why not swab the fecal stain with a wet q-tip?

As David Cain points out, many substances can produce similar results as bed bug fecal matter when smeared with saliva or water.

Some ask why not use standard presumptive blood tests on fecal stains, like Hemastix or Kastle-Meyer?

David Cain notes here that blood tests like Hemastix will also react to fly feces, metal filings, and other substances, making them much less precise than Bed Bug Blue.

Lou Sorkin notes that it’s possible that cockroach feces might test positive with Bed Bug Blue; note that the cases he’s thinking of are ones where the cockroaches had fed on human blood at a crime scene:

In certain forensic investigations that I’ve consulted on, cockroaches (and also adult muscoid flies) have fed on blood at the crime scene and their droppings would, indeed, react positively in his test system, since I suspect it is a presumptive blood test rather than a specific bed bug fecal test.

In other words, if your cockroaches are testing positive as blood-feeders, you may have more serious issues to deal with at the moment than bed bugs. 

(Lou, we love your stories, as gross and creepy as they can be!)

Beyond that rather special set of circumstances, Bed Bug Blue should indicate feces of a blood-feeding insect.  And so that you know you are detecting the feces of bed bugs, familiarizing yourself with what their fecal stains look like is an important part of using this product.

You want to avoid testing the fecal matter of other blood-feeding insects by mistake — and these other blood-feeders’ fecal matter — that of fleas, for example — should look quite different.

Here are some fecal spots from bed bugs on a non-porous white-painted hinge, where they look like drops or dabs of black paint:

bed bugs on hinge

Photo credit: bed bugs on hinge by Louis Sorkin/louento.pix, used under a Creative Commons Attribution/No-Derivatives license.

This image shows fecal stains on a loose-weave fabric (mattress cover):

Bed bugs in a group

Photo credit: Bed bugs in a group also by Louis Sorkin/louento.pix, used under a Creative Commons Attribution/No-Derivatives license.

See also the first four images on Franco Casini’s “Sintomi di Infestazione”, which shows the variety of forms bed bugs’ fecal stains can take on porous vs. non-porous surfaces of various types, including a comforter (duvet) which will be even more tightly woven material than the mattress fabric shown above in Lou’s photo.

It’s easy to see this product having value not just for people who suspect bed bugs at home or work, but also those who travel and want to have an easy way to test suspicious stains in hotel rooms before settling in.

As of today, the Bed Bug Blue Home Fecal Spot Detection kit is now available at US Bed Bugs ($28.95 as of this writing) and other retailers. Unlike the pro kit, the consumer version of the product has enough material for nine fecal tests.

Here’s the new Bed Bug Blue Home product information video from the manufacturer:

If you expect to need more than nine tests, you can also find the Bed Bug Blue Professional Fecal Spot Detection kit at US Bed Bugs, which has enough materials for 100 tests (currently $99.95).

Here’s the video for the Professional Kit again:

Purchasing via our affiliate links to US Bed Bugs (such as those above) helps support the running of this site at no additional cost to you. 

However, be assured that if our customers did not love US Bed Bugs for their great prices and service, we would not recommend them to you!  Please see our disclosure policy for more.

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1 sam bryks May 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I wasn’t aware of this new product. Kudoes to David James for his usual excellence in bringing and marketing of new products.
I am familiar with Hemastix as I used the product years ago in a job in a pathology laboratory. It has also been used in forensic investigations so I am really amazed at all those false positives that David found. The chemistry of a number of products used to detect blood is well known, but if David has come up with a new formulation or even used an older chemistry that is reliable, good for him….
I am astounded at the extent of failure of hemastix in the field with false positives.
these products are fairly non specific and are based on the chemistry of hemoglobin and the Fe iron in hemoglobin so false positives can happen when tested on iron containing things.. This extent of error would make one think that the strips are useless in forensics, but I gather they are used for spot tests, with luminol being the more popular dramatic product..
I have not encountered that much need for use of this kind of test, but every tool helps in specific situations…
If David has actual field test results, those would certainly be useful to see.
I plan to try the hemastix to see the extent of false positives myself. Of course the strips were not designed for forensics but for detection of occult blood in urine and in stools, quite a different application.
Well done David James.
Sam
Sam

2 nobugsonme May 20, 2012 at 12:28 am

Thanks for your comment, Sam! I hope you’ll share any informal data you get on Hemastix or other options.

3 bed-bugscouk May 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I am not surprised in the slightest that Hemastix failed. Hemastix are in essence used to detect extremely low levels of haemoglobin in fluid, i.e. the urine dip stick test. As such they have to be low sensitivity and fast reacting. As such they can easily be fooled by excesses of Fe ions such as you could get with a variety of false positives.

Again Mr James has illustrated that developing a good product takes months of testing and development including all manner or potential false positives. Only when he is happy with a product does it then get tested and validated by someone independent in the field, after which it is converted into the most user friendly product prior to sale. A simple principle of making sure it works before putting it on sale which so many seem to have lost the ability to do. It seems the latest way is to sell something and attempt to building months down the line.

As a long term advocate of the principles of confirmation of an infestation prior to any treatment we can now have a 100% certain test for potential faecal traces to match what I would expect is now a 100% confirmation of live samples or cast skins visually. Given that it is possible to get false positive visual confirmation of faecal stains I would have thought that anyone seeking 100% confirmation of an infestation prior to treatment would see the logic of using such a kit. Our field research with consumers indicated that they had a 100% positive feedback when the kit was used in their homes and 98% said they would want to use a consumer version of the kit when it was available, especially when traveling.

I am so impressed with this technology that we have integrated it into our hotel procedural systems for confirming faecal traces on Passive Monitors and hope to see the consumer version on sale to Europe in a few weeks, certainly in time for the peak travel season.

I would be interested to hear of other options but having researched and tested bedbug blue extensively it would certainly be a tough product to match let alone exceed.

David Cain
Bed Bugs Limited

4 bed-bugscouk May 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I just thought we should put him forward for a popular science award but I think that one has lost its tarnish a little with regards bedbug related items.

David

5 djames1921 May 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Sam,

email me direct and I can send you photos of hemastix false positives. i got false positives off sharpie spots, stains on walls, around screw heads etc. it was more like where didn’t i get a color change after a while. no chance that it was a bad batch either as I repeated it with products bought at later times. For hemastix it really is because it is meant for urine, that is why it is overly sensitive, fecal ones fail as well too frequently but not as bad as hemastix

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