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