Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Reader questions (do not fit into other categories)

can one bed bug really be the only one?

(5 posts)


  1. bedbugconfused

    Joined: Jul '10
    Posts: 1


    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 29 2010 23:31:05

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    I found 2 unusual bugs, one on the bed sheet crawling the other on the carpet, also crawling. They did not look the same and we thought maybe they were different life stages of a bed bug after looking on this site. We sent them off to an entomologist for identification (have not heard back yet). We started seeing many more bugs, at different times of the day and taped them to paper.

    By chance while my husband was carrying laundry down to the basement in his arms, I saw movement on a skirt that had been at the bottom of our laundry for 7-8 weeks after we came back from a trip where we did stay in a hotel. This one looked like a nymph stage bed bug. We called in a pest control company.

    After inspecting our bedroom, our mattresses, our closet, our couch, behind radiator covers and in the bathroom, he found NO evidence of bed bugs. Most of the "bugs" we found were Pennsylvania Wood Roaches at young stages and in fact an adult went crawling up the bedroom wall behind the bed when he pulled the mattress away---YUCK!

    The one sample of the little "nymph bed bug", he was not sure about being a roach, but felt probably it was a roach. To be sure he brought all the samples back to the office for the owner/entomologist and technicians to see. He left us saying that he did not think we have an infestation.

    Well, 3 other people in the company (President, VP and a technician) all said that it WAS in fact a nymph bed bug. So this in addition to 1 of the 2 samples that I sent off to the university entomologist (the other sample I can confidently say was another wood roach) are my only 2 bits of evidence of bed bugs existing in our home.

    The PCO that came to our house also mis-identified some other bugs I happened to catch and it did make me wonder if he knew his stuff, but he did identify the wood roaches. This company has been in business for 70 years and I liked that they offered steam and not just chemicals and were very nice. Most of the other companies either did not answer the phone or did not call back when someone said they would right away or ONLY used chemicals. So, I felt that this company was a good choice.

    Sorry this is so long, I am getting to the point though.

    What I am so confused about is what to do next. The PCO wanted to have one more entomologist in the office look at it to confirm. He also said that treatment would of course be up to me but that he just didn't see enough to make him think we should treat. One, MAYBE two bugs (he did not see the other sample that went off to the university) just didn't seem like enough to spend the money to treat.

    He also said that truly they stick to where the food is and that usually you find the evidence within a 3 foot radius around the bed. (mattress, walls, baseboards, etc.) Many posts here say they get into the whole structure---another PCO wrote that! What should I believe?

    We have been washing and bagging for 2 days and the amount of things that I keep looking at that can't be washed or dryed and should we clean this? or can we leave that? Should we get a pack-tite, and a steamer and do it ourselves or should we let them steam only (PCO told me they use Shark steamers)---that's wet steam right? I am reading that we really shouldn't use that, possible mold, mildew risks. We have a young child and hate the use of the dust idea. All of this is making me quite crazy, especially when a PCO is not convinced we have anything here. And then if we don't treat, do we keep our things in bags---forever??

    Any thoughts/advice on our next step would be greatly, GREATLY appreciated. Also, do you think we should get our bug samples back and send the "bed bug nymph" to another entomologist?

  2. Bed Bug Epidemic

    senior member
    Joined: Jun '10
    Posts: 437


    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 2 2010 12:47:59

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    Wow, responding now hoping it gets bumped up to the top to get you some sound advice.

    If you had a skirt in your hamper from a vacation 7-8 weeks ago and the bug on your skirt was a nymph, that would mean that the nymph was recently an egg..which wouldn't make sense to me that there was an egg on your skirt or in your hamper for that long of a period of time, since eggs hatch within 10 or so days. So, with that, I realize I am not helping much....just blasting your theory at this point.

    Is it possible to have just one? Sure. If you come in contact with one, somewhere, and bring it back to your house. But the one can possibly turn into many. (Not sure how that works, like would it have to be a pregnant female that you bring into your house in order to start an infestation etc)

    That all being said, I'd seriously consider some type of monitor or more thorough inspection of your home for evidence.

  3. buggyinsocal

    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431


    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 2 2010 13:19:37

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    A couple of things in your post are things I do feel like I can comment on in ways that might give you more information to make an informed decision with.

    First, while you will read all kinds of stories on these boards about infestations scattering and spreading to multiple rooms in homes, be aware that that's not always the case.

    There are things that we do that make infestations more likely to spread--like moving to sleep in another room, self-treating using chemicals that repel the bugs, and possibly being infested from multiple adjacent apartments. (Okay, that last one isn't one we do, but I hope you get what I mean.)

    Despite the fact that I slept in two places (maybe the fact that I almost always returned to the bed in the wee hours), traveled frequently (leaving the bugs no one to feed on), and generally didn't know they were there, so took blankets from bed to couch and back again, my infestation was largely contained to the bedroom. I suspect it's a combination of factors that kept it that way--my bed was relatively undisturbed during the infestation, my cat slept on my bed when I didn't, and it took me a while to figure out that they were there, so things like frantically cleaning in advance of the PCO or trying to self-treat didn't disturb the little critters.

    Remember that most PCOs are not folks who get special professional development on perfectly clear communication, and most people--PCOs or not--are never quite as clear and precise in terms of what they say when they're talking off the cuff as they are in writing.

    It's entirely possible that this PCO said that the bugs generally didn't spread much might have meant that if undisturbed, the bugs generally don't spread much early on in an infestation. I'm not saying that that's definitely what he meant, and I definitely think you should listen to your gut in terms of whether you like this company or not, but I am saying that I wouldn't discount the company only because of what one tech said off the cuff in the field.

    Reading these boards, you get a sample selection bias--the people with the worst, most stubborn, most intense, hardest to get rid of infestations are overrepresented here. I suspect it's true that some infestations do scatter; but I also suspect it's true that others really don't. There are a lot of variables that go into determining how yours will go.

    Also keep in mind that many pest management companies structure themselves in such a way that particular techs inside the company may specialize in certain pests or treatments. You could always ask if they have a bed bug specialist who could come out to your home now that you have confirmation that that's the pest in question.

    Again, I'm not trying to talk you into or out of hiring this particular company. How much you trust them is going to depend in part on your evaluation of a lot of variables that it's impossible for people sitting at computer screens to measure. But I do think that keeping those factors in mind as you decide may help. I vividly remember just how overwhelmed I was trying to choose my PCO. Hang in there.

  4. 123bugs

    junior member
    Joined: Sep '10
    Posts: 97


    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Sep 30 2010 18:34:53

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    How about trying some passive and/or alert monitors for a bit to see if they indicate anything?

  5. Richard56

    Joined: Jul '10
    Posts: 2,223


    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Sep 30 2010 20:32:43

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    Sounds like you have a confused PCO team which is not unusual. I wouldn't do anything until you have the specimens identified by a qualified entomologist. Once you start looking for bugs they are all over the place. It does not mean they are bed bugs. In fact, the vast majority of bug pictures posted on this site turn out not to be bed bugs.

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