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Do bed bugs always return to the same spot after feeding?

(8 posts)
  1. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 11 2011 9:08:19
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    My son woke up with 3 bites, and after looking over his mattress and boxpring covers, I found two little tears. I taped over the tears, which should prevent any more bugs from coming out, but what about the bug/bugs that bit him? Did they go back inside the boxspring or could they be anywhere?

  2. Richard_Naylor

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun May 15 2011 10:12:47
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    Good question. I'm actually in the process of testing this among other things in a series of large arenas, which house lab-based infestations. No clear answer yet. We do know that bedbugs are extremely good at identifying harbourages previously occupied by other bedbugs. Their aggregation pheromones linger for a long time, so they do keep returning to the same spots in the general sense. So far it doesn't seem like they specifically go back to the exact harbourage they came from, but rather crawl into the first available space that has been previously occupied.

    In your case, if they have been prevented from returning to their old patch they will be forced to look elsewhere and will therefore have to settle in a new location. Some people caulk all around the bed frame and encase everything. I have reservations about this strategy as it can force bugs to occupy more peripheral harbourages, potentially spreading the problem around the room.

  3. loubugs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun May 15 2011 10:16:33
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    Richard,
    Isn't the lingering pheromone odor in the feces and other materials from bed bug living as opposed to a clean substrate where bugs have been, but not really left anything such as waste products, exuviae, etc.?
    Lou

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  4. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun May 15 2011 10:32:16
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    I think my question was answered a few days ago, when son woke up with three more bites. Two weeks ago, after the same thing happened, we discovered a slit in his boxspring encasement. We put tape over it. We thought he'd be fine IF the bedbug/bedbugs went back inside after feeding. But unfortunately, they/it may have found another place to hide. The bed is isolated (if you believe in climb-ups and no contact with walls, curtains, or other furniture), so my next plan of action is to steam the bed frame, headboard, and footboard and maybe add another boxspring encasement.

  5. Richard_Naylor

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 16 2011 3:53:18
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    Lou,

    Yes, I believe the pheromones are in the faeces. Straved bedbugs still form close aggregations but if all the bugs are then removed from the harbourages and re-released into the arena, they aren't nearly so good at identifying the previously occupied locations. The difference of course being that the starved bedbugs aren't producing faeces. Exuviae might also be important but for the moment I am only using adults.

  6. loubugs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 16 2011 9:26:33
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    Thx Richard. Reason I ask is that the harborage (new harborage) is attractive visually if there are no chemical scents or is it by chance, by thigmotactic sensing, etc.? That's how some of the monitors function if there are no pheromones present. I've smelled an alarm type odor on fresh exuviae from a few feet away. Also smelled one when I accidentally placed my hand on a surface that had a fresh exuviae present. I feel like a dog.

  7. beruska

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 16 2011 10:28:37
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    I have a question regarding the bb smell and K9 inspection - if bbs were previously in a wooden captain like bed frame, but recently there was no signs of them, not bites on people sleeping in that bed (some of the many holes in the bed frame were caulked), but the dog alerted the bed. Is it possible that there was a lingering smell of bb, but they were not there anymore, but the dog scented them? Another possobility could be that some bb were caulked inside - could the dog smell those?

  8. toledo

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 17 2011 7:15:10
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    I'm not sure about dogs, period. I guess I just don't trust them. The only thing I'd ask, is about the people sleeping in the bed. Are they the same people that slept there previously? If they were previously experiencing bites, and now are not experiencing bites, you may have solved your problem.


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