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"Herding" bed bugs

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  1. fortheloveofbugs

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sun Oct 8 2017 17:53:17
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    Hi. I've been lurking on the website for well over a year. It's been very helpful. I had a minor bb problem last year and it was quickly eradicated by a joint effort between me and my POC (? professional bug guys).

    They are back. Again, it is minor infestation. The difference is that last time I "knew" the bugs were in my bedroom and it wasn't likely they were anywhere else in the house. We inherited them when we bought the house, which had been vacant for some time. So, the few, sole survivors would have immediately rushed to our room for the banquet and I was pretty sure that would be where they would set up shop.

    This time, the bugs were reintroduced on clothes or a backpack or something. The hitchhiker could have been dropped in the entry room to our house. No one hangs out in the front room where the bug may have been deposited. The next closest space is the tv room - where we spend most of our time. Then, down the hall to my bedroom. I am the only one in the house that reacts to bites.

    My question is : if the bug was introduced in a room where no one stays for more than a couple of minutes would it drop some eggs in that room before moving on to a better feeding spot or would it just move on. And, if those eggs hatched, I am assuming they would be born hungry and would just trot on over to the food source and live there. So, my actual question is : do you think it would be reasonable (or would it be stupid) to put repellents in that front room to drive any possible bugs out of it and then, being repelled from one area, does it seem reasonable that they would move closer to the couch or bed and not try to harbor in a hallway or another vacant room?

    Do you think I can put repellents where I don't want the bugs in order to drive them to the places I want to treat? Do you think it's possible to "herd" the little bastards when the infestation is so minor?

    I ask because my house has 11 rooms - living, storage, office, bedrooms, etc - not including bathroom. I would rather have a focused treatment rather than have to pay for the whole house.

    Additional information : I don't know the brand/chemical mix that the exterminator uses - but it is residual and the bugs die by walking on it. I don't know if it has an attractant in it. I was encouraged to hang out in my room a lot last time because I was the bait to get the critters to cross the highway of poison.

    In the end, it is just a minor infestation - is attempting to herd them overkill on my part?

    If there is information on this already in the forums - my apologies - I searched and didn't find a similar question. Please direct me if this has already been covered.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Tue Oct 10 2017 0:06:06
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    Experts haven't recommended using repellents with bed bugs-- I don't think they work well.

    I'm not an expert but my understanding is that in time those bed bugs will come looking for you and not hang out indefinitely in unoccupied rooms. How long that takes, I'm not the one to ask. It is usual to treat all rooms which may have bed bugs (and usually just the whole home)..

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. fortheloveofbugs

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Wed Oct 11 2017 4:15:08
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    Hello Nobugs,
    Thank you so much for responding to my post.

    I probably wasn't clear. I used a whole lot of words and somehow still manage to not express a completely flushed out idea.

    I am in the "I'm the bait" camp. My mother attempted to repel the bugs from her bed, with moderate success, but they simply moved to the living room to nibble on her on the couch. I don't want to repel them from me. How am I to know if they are gone, if I don't let them feed on me?

    I would want to repel them from the unoccupied room and encourage them to come settle near me (bedroom, couch, these are the places we park) so I can limit the chemicals used to just one or two occupied rooms rather than a layer of chemicals throughout the house. **edit note - I have a minor infestation. I am sure none of this is relevant when overcrowding in harborages is an issue.**

    Do they tend to return to their harborage, even if it isn't conveniently located near a meal? For example, if a pregnant female from an outside source is dropped off in an unoccupied room, lays an egg or two (or twelve) and then cruises down the hall to feast in the bedroom, would she tend to go back to where the eggs are or would she just stay in the bedroom and lay more eggs. Subsequently, when the initial eggs hatch, the babes will inevitably come to me to feed. Would they then return to the place of hatching or will they just set up shop near me?

    I also ask because I would like to put something on my son's backpack (or if it's a pleasant smell maybe spritz the entire child!) to discourage them from hitching a ride from outside our home and adding to our problem.

    I realize that's a lot of "if's" and no one has actually set up a bed bug farm (like an ant farm) to observe their homemaking habits. (New use for an abandoned house perhaps? Bed bug farm for observation?? LOL)

    I'm probably overthinking it. I will probably have the pro do my bedroom and maybe the living room and see how it goes.

    Side note - as I said, I've lurked for awhile. Spent some time recently in the Beauveria bassiana threads. The back and forth wears on a person after a bit. I did observe that you are a wonderful moderator. Thank you for sticking with your website. It is a fantastic resource. I've learned a lot (both what to do and what not to do).

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Wed Oct 11 2017 22:52:06
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    Thanks for the kind words, fortheloveofbugs!

    I understand you want to use repellents to herd bed bugs from unoccupied rooms. I still think that probably won't work well.

    However, my understanding is that over time, bed bugs will relocate to be near food. They may take time before they come looking for you, and I am not sure there's a way to hasten that.

    (I'm not an expert though so hopefully one of them will see this.)

  5. fortheloveofbugs

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Wed Oct 11 2017 23:38:24
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    I agree. Really, I'm sort of being lazy because the room in question has a Lot of furniture in it and is a little cluttered. (it's a craft room and office) I didn't want to pack it all up and heat treat each of the 5 million items.

    I think I will not worry about it for now and just focus on the obvious rooms. The treatment my people use is the kind that the bugs walk across and it kills them at some point. It is also residual for a month or so. Eventually, as you said, the hungry buggers will come to me and encounter the poison.

    I have a couple of other questions, not related :

    1.) should I have a specimen before I treat? I have read that the problem shouldn't be diagnosed on bites alone, but my current bite experience is very similar to my last bed bug experience and quite different from other bite experiences (mosquitos, spiders, ants, etc). I don't want to wait for a minor infestation to get to the point where the bugs are everywhere and easily found, just so I can prove I have them. Does it seem fair enough to just treat without proof, just in case?

    2.) I have Climb ups under my couch. They have been there for 4 days and there are no bugs in any of the 8 cups. Would it be safe to say it is unlikely they are in the couch? If that seems a reasonable assumption then I can focus solely on my bedroom for now.

    3.) Is it crazy that I actually want to catch a live bug or two (at my mothers) so I can purposely have one bit my son to see if he is allergic? I am the only one in our house that has had bites. Of course, my husband is getting bitten because he sleeps next to me (he has no reaction to the bites) but my son sleeps on a different floor and I have crossed my fingers that no bite marks on him means the bugs haven't traveled downstairs to his room. But, of course, I don't know for sure that it's true because he may not react to bites. I wonder if anyone else has gone off the deep end and tested bite reactions with live subjects. LOL. I feel nuts just saying it!

    I sort of hijacked my own thread, but feedback is appreciated.

    Thank you kindly.

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Oct 12 2017 23:42:53
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    You need visual evidence before you treat. If there are bed bugs, there will be fecal stains. An experienced inspector should be able to find them. I would not treat based on bites. Even if they are bed bug bites (which you have no way of knowing), they might not be happening in your home. If bed bugs are biting, they are pooping nearby each time.

    As for the “bite test”— your family members may not react to bed bug bites, or they may not react yet. These sorts of tests may not be very reliable— people may react differently to being bitten once vs. repeatedly, etc.

  7. thirdusername

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Oct 15 2017 16:04:57
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    fortheloveofbugs - 3 days ago  » 
    2.) I have Climb ups under my couch. They have been there for 4 days and there are no bugs in any of the 8 cups. Would it be safe to say it is unlikely they are in the couch? If that seems a reasonable assumption then I can focus solely on my bedroom for now.

    They could live in the couch (mattress or frame) and not near the couch.
    Climbups in that case will not show anything.


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