how stealthy bed bugs can be

by nobugsonme on July 22, 2007 · 3 comments

in bed bug epidemic, bed bug treatment, bed bugs, best practices, furniture, spread of bed bugs, washington

This Associated Press story from last week, from in Clark County, Washington, is in many ways a typical “now we have bed bugs here” story, found in all regional papers.

But it ends with a PCO’s anecdote about the difficulty of discovering where bed bugs were hiding in a hotel room:

“Finding them is usually the biggest issue,” [Cindy] Mannes [of the National Pest Manegement Association] said.

For example, bedbugs often are found on luggage racks in hotel rooms but can crawl as far as 100 feet in search of food.

Eradication includes professional laundering of linen and drapery, thorough inspection for eggs and bugs under carpets and in bed and picture frames, and application of steam to kill the critters.

“We treated this room and treated it very well. We even pulled the headboard off the bed. We were sure we got rid of the infestation,” Warneke said.

Even so, the customers called back to complain of bites within three weeks.

On returning, Warneke dismantled the expensive headboard, removing the outer cloth and the inner foam, then prying apart the pieces of plywood on the inside.

“It was like a sandwich of plywood,” he said. “I pried the glue apart. Inside, there were bedbugs. There was no way materials or steam could have gotten to them.”

While we’re usually told most items can be treated, and that it is not a good idea to just throw your furniture away (it’s usually unnecessary and it also spreads bed bugs to others), this is an example of a case where a PCO might recommend destroying and tossing something–even without dismantling it. A cloth-covered headboard sounds like a nightmare, and I know several people have written “cloth-covered headboard” stories here on

Consider also that if they can hide that well inside a piece of furniture, a home with lots of cracks is equally suitable for hiding your bed bugs from sight.

1 James Buggles July 22, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Has anyone ever found them inside a mattress such that they found them only by cutting open the mattress?

2 hopelessnomo July 23, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Hey James, I once saw a TV news story on the web that I can’t find anymore about someone who found bedbugs inside the mattress, after tearing it apart and discovering it was actually an old mattress wrapped in new fabric.

Also, Bugged Out had a particularly faint-inducing mattress story that involves a crowbar and which you may choose to skip if you have a healthy imagination.

3 James Buggles July 24, 2007 at 2:32 am

Thank you Hopelessnomo. I’ve seen that blog before. So hard to believe they stayed in that star-crossed apartment. If they’re inside a mattress, what hope do you have of finding out since a mattress could hold a lot of bugs before it became too crowded? I suppose some of them would poop and shed on the surface before returning to the interior? All the more reason to get a cover I guess.

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