Is there a way to determine age of fecal marks?(7 posts)
I know that this is probably an impossible question, but trying it anyway!
I just discovered a perfectly round black circle on a wall in our living room that is almost definitely a bed bug fecal mark. Upon further inspection, I found another one on the same wall (about four feet across from the first one I found). I also found a possible grouping of 4-5 additional marks, about halfway inbetween these two marks. The grouping of marks was very faded, though (almost not visible).
I washed all of our walls after our second chemical treatment (trying to do something positive while being required to have everything off of our walls for 2 weeks), so I know that these marks were not there before then (except perhaps the faded marks? perhaps that's why they're very faded?) After the 3 chemical treatments, we found a bug, were heat treated, and then I found another live bug on this same living room wall that I have tonight found the feces. (I won't recount what's happened since then, since it's not necessarily relevant, although you can read about it in my other posts.)
I'm hoping that these marks were from the live bug that I found a few weeks ago. But could they be new marks? Is there any way to tell how old fecal marks are?
Let's see what the experts have to say, but the lady of the K-9 team that came to my apartment was looking at fecal stains on the frame of my bed and she said that if it's brown it could be as new as 2-3 weeks. If it is black it could be as old as 3-4 months.
Recent fecal marks are dark black and shiny... olders tend to turn to dusty grey...
Beyond what EffeCi has said above about a slight colour change the next best indicator is dust deposition on the faecal trace. The problem with this is that you need some extremely good magnification to look at this level of detail.
Suffice to say if its bright and shinny its recent and the darker and dustier the older it is.
Bed Bugs Limited
Thanks everyone for your replies! So what does it mean if it's brown? I see some marks that are gray and VERY faded (probably from me washing the walls). I see another that is a pretty faded black/gray that is probably old. The one that I am worried about, though, at first glance to me looked very dark back and shiny. Upon inspection with the flashlight, though, it actually appeared more brown in color and looked much less shiny (with the flashlight, it didn't look shiny at all). I am concerned if this mark is less than 3 weeks old. If it is 3 weeks old or older, it probably came from the bug that I found on that wall 3 weeks ago, and I'm not worried. But if it's NEWER than 3 or 3.5 weeks old, we have a problem. Any way to tell? Thanks again!
In reality we could only give an accurate opinion with a high quality image to work from. This would ideally need to be 10 Mpix resolution and taken with something like a 60mm Macro lens on a DSLR. Sadly there in lies the problem as this sort of camera and lens are not cheap but are essential to get the detail when you zoom in to inspect. You may be able to do it with a USB microscope for a more reasonable budget.
You are however better off clearing away the sign or noting it down in a log and not focusing on trying to find an answer. It goes into my folder marked too much level of detail to be of practical use.
With bedbugs there is a fine line where too much information and detail can actually be counter productive to helping people resolve all of the issue around an infestation.
Hope that helps.
Thanks so much for your reply, David! My husband has a pretty expensive camera and set of lenses, so I may see how we do with getting a photo. If not, though, I will let it go and do as you suggested! All of which you've noted above is correct, although it's certainly easy to obsess over every detail while in this situation! Thanks again!
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