Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Size of infestation/ how to inspect

(10 posts)
  1. Grateful for Help

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jan 15 2011 22:02:31
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    Hello,
    I'm sorry if this question has been answered before.

    How do you determine the size of an infestation? I mean, once you have established that you already have them, is there any way to tell HOW MANY (or even something like I have a 1: small infestation, 2: medium infestation, 3: large infestation, 4: what's the point, it's never gonna be fixable HUGE infestation). I know I saw a thread with information and a 1-10 scale of infestation sizes (perhaps from David Cain?), maybe someone can link me to it? It had some pointers.

    Bites aren't supposedly reliable. (can you react to bites, but then cease reacting? I reacted very strongly several weeks ago, just two sets of bites, and nothing since, and my bed isn't isolated).

    Seeing bugs isn't supposedly reliable, because they hide, and hibernate, and etc. I crawl and wander around with a flashlight, looking for signs I've read about, but I can't help thinking I must be missing signs because I'm not trained. I searched an area one PCO said he found eggs in, and couldn't see a thing (any tips?). Of course it's possible to find the obvious signs, like fecal matter, or bugs hiding in a bed frame, but how else should I be searching? Is it true that once you even begin seeing any bugs or fecal traces, that the size of the infestation must be massive?

    Monitors seem good. I have only ever seen one small nymph bug in my sister's climbup. I'm not supposed to use a BB passive monitor until there is no pesticide sprayed recently, right? Or can I start using them? (I have them, but don't want to waste them if it's the wrong time to use them).

    So, what is reliable?

    Can K9 units tell you how big an infestation, or just THAT there is an infestation (because that we already know). Does it even tell you anything about infestation size to know how many places they are in the house?

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, or one that has been answered before, (wouldn't want to tick off all the amazing helpful people on here...) I guess I'm just looking for ways to get a progress report as we battle these hateful critters. There may be no way.

    Thanks so much.
    -grateful for help

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jan 15 2011 23:01:01
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    Hi,

    To the best of my knowledge the only scale that is out there is the one I drafted a few years ago. I had a few chats in Denver and hope that some of the academics will take the concept on board and start encouraging people to use it. The link is below:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/scalesofinfestations.html

    A good guide to start inspecting can be found here:

    http://www.bedbugbeware.com/traveltips.html

    It is basically the process I go through in checking hotel rooms which is a starting inspection.

    You can use passives although as some insecticides can have a repellant effect we have always advised that insecticides are cleaned off surfaces that they are applied to to maximize efficiency. This is not to say you must remove it all just make sure that the area you fix it to is not treated.

    K9 teams can only indicate a potential infestation, this then needs to be investigated and visually confirmed in order to grade the level although it does sound like you don't have a heavy case.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly declare that as the inventor of passive monitors I do have a financial interest in the product an its uses.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.
  3. Grateful for Help

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jan 16 2011 13:08:10
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    Dear David,
    Thanks for both those links.
    We did have more bbs before, in one bed when we first found them. What I get worried about it things like, have they dispersed, or hidden in the walls, etc. When we have seen them, they've been dead on the floor, or a couple crawling or one on a curtain, or one under a table on the floor.

    What's hard is for me to tell if that means there are many many more that I'm not seeing. I have been having trouble finding any concentrations of fecal matter, and have yet to see a cast skin since we got rid of the bed frame (wooden) that had the original bugs. We haven't seen any in the other two beds in the house, except one in the bed frame of the bed next door to the original. Nothing on the beds, nothing on sheets or pillows since the beginning. Only one in a climb up.

    Would we be seeing more signs if there was a huge infestation?
    How about if there was a medium infestation? Small? I guess that's where the passives come in, thanks for that advice about the pesticides, I thought it meant I couldn't use them until much further down the road.

    Anyhow, thanks SO much, that video was helpful. It's pretty much what I've been doing to the beds each week, plus taking apart the frames to check them.

    I'll keep looking.
    -grateful for help

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jan 16 2011 13:25:15
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    Hi,

    This brings up a few interesting points.

    When bedbugs first get into a location they will occupy either the sleeping or long term sitting locations or the infected items if the infestation is brought in that way.

    Therefore if you search and find little activity before treatment then it is likely that you caught the matter quickly. For example I have NEVER found bedbugs in outlets and sockets in anything other than very heavy infestations. To the extent that i find it odd that so many "experts" say you "must" dust these locations.

    The reality of bedbugs is that if caught quickly the impact is low and they are concentrated and will aggregate in limited locations (another reason why passives work the way they do, aggregation due to faecal trace deposition).

    They will simply not invade an area and move straight into places like smoke detectors and wall fixings unless the bed is isolated and they have no choice other than to be in those locations.

    From what you have described you have caught things quickly and part of that is keeping things into perspective, as long as you are not coming into contact with a source of bedbugs this may be the end of your infestation. If you don't know how you got exposed then check with all adjoining neighbours to be certain, check with work locations and keep an eye out during your normal daily life.

    Bedbugs do not need to devastate your life unless you let them and although its easier to say than to do part of dealing with bedbugs is trying not to get overly stressed and focusing on sensible control steps without fueling hysteria and frenzy.

    Hope that helps.

    David

  5. bonillav

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jan 16 2011 15:33:48
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    I recently was given bunk beds with matresses from a family member and began to notice bites on my children. I looked them up online and found out it was bed bugs. After convincing my husband and several days of inspecting with a flashlight, we found them. They were actually fairly large and near the top bunk where my oldest son slept. He also was getting bitten the most. We found bed bug foggers and used them, it didnt work. We purchased mattress covers, pillow covers, washed everything in hot water and purchased bed bug spray. Nothing was working. Finally we have thrown the entire bed and mattresses in the garbage. I have washed all of the linens in hot water. Thrown away all of the large blankets and feather pillows. They are actually in my alleyway and I am wondering if they can crawl into the yard and back into the house or get on our feet when we throw away the garbage and come back in?

    Also, the infestation seemed like it was only in the bed itself and the mattresses. Since we have thrown this out and scrubbed the bedroom, is it likely our problems are over? I am extremely paranoid and can not stop inspecting every area of the house.

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jan 16 2011 17:19:03
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    Hi bonillav,

    Sadly the use of foggers and bombs is known to diffuse infestations so those steps may have actually made the matter worse and spread them away from the bed.

    I would advise you to try and find an experienced professional in your area or to spend time reading the FAQ's and information so you are capable of doing an efficient self treatment program.

    David

  7. Grateful for Help

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jan 16 2011 17:53:54
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    Thanks so much, David. I appreciate your advice.

    I guess it's a waiting and inspecting game for me.
    (Hoping I'm not trespassing on your good will)I have a question about levels of infestation on your (very helpful) chart. On the high end of the list of infestations levels, it mentions 'sporadic' activity in other rooms.

    I think the original bed where we found them may have been maybe a level 6? I didn't know how to examine them then..I just madly vacuumed, but there were adults and I assume nymphs. We cleaned them, and disposed of the mattress, boxspring, and 2 weeks later, when we found hatchlings, the bedframe (we didn't really know how to inspect it at that point...oops)
    Since then,
    We've had a total of 6 bugs in maybe 4 weeks in the downstairs of our house (the original bugs were upstairs).We did have my sisters sleeping in the living room for a week, before we knew not to do that, but we were in process of replacing the carpets upstairs with hardwood, so maybe the downstairs ones moved down with them? Is that considered 'sporadic'?

    We found about 9 (young-ish, 2 tiny, 2 adult) upstairs in the same 4 weeks. Several of these were dead. All were on the floor except one in a bed frame, one on a curtain, one in a climbup. So, I guess, it sounds like 'sporadic in another room', to me, but it doesn't sound like the intensity of a level 8 or 9.
    Anyhow, I'm sure it's impossible to diagnose without seeing, I'm just trying to think it out. I know that what we've found is just the ones we've seen...obviously we are probably missing some. I just hope we haven't spread them around the house.

    We haven't seen anymore for about 9 days downstairs or upstairs since last spraying, the beds and frames look clean. Nothing in the climbups except for a carpet beetle, larval stage. No one's been bit, but there are climbups upstairs (not on downstairs bed). Maybe it's time to remove the climbups and put BB alert passives.

    Thanks again for all your help.
    -Grateful

  8. jjakk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Jan 17 2011 0:18:59
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    To 'Grateful For Help' .... This is a very good question and very helpful thread for those of us who are still looking for a bug specimen as evidence other than bites and bloodstains. on clothing.

    On Monday Jan.17 at 9pm Eastern time, the program on 'Animal Planet' called 'Infested' will be repeated again, as well as on other nights this week. This segment includes the real story of a family who moved into a beautiful new home only to find it had an incredibly heavy infestation of BB's . I saw it when it aired last week. The infestation was so heavy from the start that after the first sign of bites, when the woman put her kids to bed she would go back up shortly after and simply find the BB's crawling right in the bed on her kids. This was not a hit and run bugs, they made themselves very visible. Repeated attempts of extermination failed. They took over the home. The final resolution was heat treatment. If you want to see what a heavy infestation looks like watch it but be prepared for what you will see, it can creep you out, no pun intended. The program actually deals with 3 different families infested with different types of pests: bedbugs, rats and scorpians. It's a bit frustrating since it keeps bouncing back and forth after all the commercials between each family and their particular problem rather than showing and finishing each separate case and moving on to the next one. It also did not get into enough detail and would have been better to devote an entire show to each particular infestation.

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Jan 17 2011 4:28:39
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    Hi,

    It sounds like what you have is light but diffused, possibly as a result of disposing of the bed, if they are not wrapped and isolated they can drop bedbugs off in transit. Its certainly not an 8 or 9, I can show you pictures of those although I have always said the images are too shocking to post the link in public and those who have seen this hidden part of my site agree.

    Your rooms sounds like they are all low level and certainly what you are finding seems to confirm this. In such situations a "true" bedbug expert may be able to hand hunt samples and thus remove what remains without excessive chemical use. The trouble is that true experts are about as rare as hens teeth and I can only think of a handful of PCO's that deserve that title.

    If you still have activity after say another 10 days of observation you might be best to conduct a thorough and systematic cleanse of the property, working room by room without moving anything out of the rooms.

    The FAQ's will tell you best ways to deal with most items but a PackTite would help your greatly. With the level of dispersal a heat treatment should be an instant fix unless you are still in contact with a source although they are rather costly.

    Sadly I cant offer more specific advise without inspecting myself which is just not feasible unless you are close to NY and available later today.

    Regards,

    David

  10. Grateful for Help

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Jan 18 2011 1:39:02
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    Dear David,
    Thanks yet again.

    I knew I had some diffusion/dispersal, but it looks so much worse when it's actually written by an expert!

    I wish I had been in New York and available yesterday, but wasn't. I'm having trouble finding a 'true' bed bug expert. As you point out, they are few and far between, and not in my area!

    I guess I will keep monitoring for the next 10 days, and go from there. I have a PackTite and washer/dryer, so an in depth cleanse could be the next step if I see any signs in that time (There are so many things that seem difficult or impossible to clean like couches, fabric collection, studio storage shelves, furniture, books).

    As many people have expressed on this forum, it is hard to believe I will ever know when/if they are gone. (Yes, discouraged today)

    Thanks, I so much appreciate your help. I know it means a lot to many of us on this forum that people are willing to answer our (repetitive) posts.

    Happy travels home to UK.
    -grateful for help


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