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Found a bed bug but K-9 didn't find anything? [a: bed bug or bat bug]

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  1. miller

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 9:27:33
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    1 week ago I found a live bed bug on my bed. I had my normal exterminator and then a bed bug specialist come to try to find where they were to decide how to treat. They confirmed the original bug was a bed bug but found no evidence of any infestation. The specialist brought in a K-9 and it did not alert anywhere in the house. To my untrained eyes, their inspection was incredibly thorough. We chose not to perform any treatment yet since my wife is pregnant and nervous of pesticide exposure and there was no evidence of any (more) bugs.

    The K-9 inspection was 3 days ago. This morning I woke up and noticed three small insect bites on my forearm. We had previously not experienced any bites, the only sign was that single bug I found crawling on my bed. I did another inspection trying to use the same techniques the specialist showed us and found nothing. So now I'm just confused. Do we have bed bugs? If we keep waiting to find visual evidence are we going to end up with a much bigger problem on our hands or is waiting a reasonable approach?

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 9:45:23
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    Three bites could be from something other than bed bugs. Do you have attached neighbors? Any bats or birds nests in/on the house?

  3. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 9:52:18
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    Well, it could be just that one, or there may be others the inspection and dog missed. You should continue your inspections. Monitoring would also be a good idea -- see "Useful Tools Section" for Interceptor and Passive type monitors. If you still have the bug, posting a picture might let one of our experts give more information. Treatment at this point is not advised for numerous reasons.

    Richard

  4. miller

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 9:59:59
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    Ok, thanks. I did add monitors to my bed and they haven't caught anything. If I hadn't seen that one 100% confirmed bed bug then I'd say of course we don't have them, but these mixed signals are driving me nuts. Maybe we got 'lucky' with just one bug somehow but it seems so unlikely that I'm becoming paranoid. I will continue to hold off on additional treatment until we have more info and add some monitors to the other bedrooms.

  5. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 10:09:47
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    After thinking it over, I am going to modify my advice a little. The rule of thumb is do not treat without evidence. However, you did have evidence a week ago with a live bed bug on your bed. The fact that you have found no additional evidence (other than the three bites) puts you in a gray area. I'm not saying you should or shouldn't treat at this point, but I certainly can understand your concerns. And again, posting a pic of the bug might be helpful. For example, if it was a female or male, or possibly even a bat bug which looks similar.

    Richard

  6. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 10:12:38
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    miller - 13 minutes ago  » 
    1 week ago I found a live bed bug on my bed. I had my normal exterminator and then a bed bug specialist come to try to find where they were to decide how to treat. They confirmed the original bug was a bed bug but found no evidence of any infestation. The specialist brought in a K-9 and it did not alert anywhere in the house. To my untrained eyes, their inspection was incredibly thorough. We chose not to perform any treatment yet since my wife is pregnant and nervous of pesticide exposure and there was no evidence of any (more) bugs.
    The K-9 inspection was 3 days ago. This morning I woke up and noticed three small insect bites on my forearm. We had previously not experienced any bites, the only sign was that single bug I found crawling on my bed. I did another inspection trying to use the same techniques the specialist showed us and found nothing. So now I'm just confused. Do we have bed bugs? If we keep waiting to find visual evidence are we going to end up with a much bigger problem on our hands or is waiting a reasonable approach?

    This is a tough situation, you found a bed bug that was confirmed by a bed bug specialist, yet after a thorough k9 and human inspection, nothing else was found? Well the good news is that you don't have a major issue if you do have one at all.

    Do you live in a stand alone home or an apartment with attached neighbors?

    As far as what you should do I'd first ask what did your bed bug specialist suggest?

    I imagine they would treat since you had a specimen, but is it necessary... honestly, if I found a bed bug in my bed, especially in a stand alone home, it'd be treated one way or another. But that's not what I'm suggesting, its just what id do and some experts on here probably will disagree with me. Finding one bed bug, in my eyes, would merit a round of treatments to nip any possible issue before it has a chance to take hold. If that happened to be the only bug and the treatments were unnecessary then so be it, but no one would ever know that for sure unless of course the treatments didn't work and more came back, then you'd know the treatments were necessary.

    You could continue to monitor with very thorough inspections once or twice a week and maybe even use some sort of monitoring device to aid in detection.

    If your skin reactions worsen over the next few weeks, I'd call in the k9 and bed bug specialist again considering you have already found one sample so more is a high probability.

    If you go the monitoring route, I'd take some simple precautions to keep any potential issue in that bedroom and not chance spreading anything to other rooms of the house. I'd just simply change out of my bedtime clothes in that room, bag them up, take a shower and then change into clean clothes. Try not to move thing in and out of that room as well. Just some simple precautions that may be unnecessary but better safe than sorry with bed bugs.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  7. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 10:20:31
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    Mp: I imagine they would treat since you had a specimen, but is it necessary... honestly, if I found a bed bug in my bed, especially in a stand alone home, it'd be treated one way or another. But that's not what I'm suggesting, its just what id do and some experts on here probably will disagree with me.
    --------
    Well said. This is also sort of my current thinking after putting myself in the OP's position.

    That said, first try and quickly rule out the bed bug/bat bug thing if the specimen is still available and also look into neighbor issues if in an apartment building. You do not want to start treating alone if the problem is in an adjoining apartment.

    Richard

  8. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 10:30:38
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    Richard56 - 7 minutes ago  » 
    Mp: I imagine they would treat since you had a specimen, but is it necessary... honestly, if I found a bed bug in my bed, especially in a stand alone home, it'd be treated one way or another. But that's not what I'm suggesting, its just what id do and some experts on here probably will disagree with me.
    --------
    Well said. This is also sort of my current thinking after putting myself in the OP's position.
    That said, first try and quickly rule out the bed bug/bat bug thing if the specimen is still available and also look into neighbor issues if in an apartment building. You do not want to start treating alone if the problem is in an adjoining apartment.
    Richard

    Agree 100%, that's why I stated, "especially in a stand alone home," cause in an apartment with attached neighbors, if your source is from one of them, it doesn't matter how many times you get treated the problem will eventually come back. Good point on the bat and bird bug, cause when one bug is found with no other evidence, that is a real possibility.

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 11:19:05
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    Remember that there is DE in use, not sure if the chemicals used have a residual, but a live bed bug may not be grounds to retreat if the PCO is relying on residuals.

  10. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 11:42:10
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    Maybe I missed it but I didn't see anything about the OP being treated.

    Richard

  11. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 11:47:15
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    "We chose not to perform any treatment yet since my wife is pregnant and nervous of pesticide exposure and there was no evidence of any (more) bugs."

    ----------------------

    Bigdummy, I think you got this thread confused with one of the other recently posted threads.

  12. miller

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 12:23:30
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    It is a single family home. We have had no treatments nor have we had any bug trouble other than this one lone bug. I don't have it, but I did take a picture (don't have account to post it online). The inspector wasn't sure if it was male or female (I only showed him the picture), also said you can't distinguish between bat/bed bug without a microscope but the home is only 10 years old with no suspected bat or rodent infestation. We have had a little poison ivy exposure in the back yard recently so its *possible* the suspected bug bites from this morning are actually a little poison ivy but only time will tell. I am definitely still on the fence between treating anyway just from seeing one bug or vigilantly waiting for more so as to avoid unnecessary pesticide exposure for pregnant mom and soon to be baby. The bed bug specialist recommended much the same you guys did, which is he thinks we should probably do a chemical treatment to prevent a future infestation, but totally understands if we choose to wait. I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that the wait and see approach isn't really foolish. How rare or unlikely is finding a single bug?

  13. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 12:50:17
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    I would strongly recommend you open a free account on one of the online picture hosting sites and post a picture of the bug. While most PCO's cannot tell bat bugs from bed bugs, Lou Sorkin has done so here from pictures, as well as telling if it's male/female/pregnant, etc. There are instructions on how to do this in either the FAQ's or Useful Tools Section on this website. You might also want to invest in one of these to get a better picture:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CAHCQS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    If it turns out that it's a bed bug, treating now is reasonable option. However you should know that there are a number of treatment options and not all of them involve toxic pesticides, or at least minimal use. If your current PCO does not offer these options, you can speak to another PCO.

    Richard

  14. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 13:31:00
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    miller - 51 minutes ago  » 
    It is a single family home. We have had no treatments nor have we had any bug trouble other than this one lone bug. I don't have it, but I did take a picture (don't have account to post it online). The inspector wasn't sure if it was male or female (I only showed him the picture), also said you can't distinguish between bat/bed bug without a microscope but the home is only 10 years old with no suspected bat or rodent infestation. We have had a little poison ivy exposure in the back yard recently so its *possible* the suspected bug bites from this morning are actually a little poison ivy but only time will tell. I am definitely still on the fence between treating anyway just from seeing one bug or vigilantly waiting for more so as to avoid unnecessary pesticide exposure for pregnant mom and soon to be baby. The bed bug specialist recommended much the same you guys did, which is he thinks we should probably do a chemical treatment to prevent a future infestation, but totally understands if we choose to wait. I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that the wait and see approach isn't really foolish. How rare or unlikely is finding a single bug?

    It is unlikely although it has happened. In december, I had a pretty heavy infestation that went unnoticed without a single bug sighting. Not until the bites got out of control did we realize we had an issue and started investigating. So if you found one, unless it was a loner male and you were lucky enough to find it, I'd assume there are more.

    My mother's friend had a certified k9 inspection twice followed by thorough visual inspections and they turned up nothing. It wasn't until the third inspection, where the k9 came up clear, that a lone nymph and some eggs were found in a couch by the visual inspector. So they can be missed no doubt.

    Have you talked to your pco about green options?

    -Steam
    -Desiccant dusts (cimexa)
    -Natural, plant oil based insecticides (Ecoraider, Cirkil are two of the best)

    Also, heat treatment or fumigation are two other options but both are expensive and may not be warranted unless more evidence is found.

    There is also a newer pesticide that isn't as toxic as the usual stuff called Crossfire. It's still a pesticide but the epa found it and labeled it as one of the safer ones out. I used it since I have kids and was happy with the results even though I'm not in the clear.

  15. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 13:47:51
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    mp7ski - 1 hour ago  » 
    "We chose not to perform any treatment yet since my wife is pregnant and nervous of pesticide exposure and there was no evidence of any (more) bugs."
    ----------------------
    Bigdummy, I think you got this thread confused with one of the other recently posted threads.

    Ugggg....

    Sorry for the confusion.

  16. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 14:19:30
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    -Natural, plant oil based insecticides (Ecoraider, Cirkil are two of the best)
    ----------------
    Cirkil has a strong odor that can linger for weeks. If you're thinking of going this way for a broad treatment, do a trial smell test to see if you and the rest of the family can tolerate it.

    As to heat and fumigation, those would be my choice if money isn't an object. But as stated, both are expensive and fumigation may not be locally available. If you did go with heat, I would still combine it with a less toxic dust like Cimexa to pick up any stragglers. Economy wise, I would think vacuuming, steam, cimexa and optionally a very judicious use of spray pesticides might make the most sense and it shouldn't be to hard to find a PCO who uses that approach.

    Richard

  17. miller

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 14:36:27
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    My PCO does have cimexa and crossfire on his list of products. There is a heat option but he said its pretty extreme to do that without any signs of infestation and he recommends laying down pesticides afterwards anyway to prevent re-infestation so in our case he'd just go straight to pesticides. Here is the bug I found last week: https://flic.kr/p/Uwetve

  18. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 14:44:42
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    As stated above the Cirkil has a STRONG odor, even for those of us who aren't currently pregnant; I fear your wife could murder you if spray Cirkil.

    Cimexa may be the route you want to go, but it is possible that a hitchhiker came home with you and that was the only one. Stay vigilant and look for confirming signs.

  19. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 14:48:26
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    miller - 9 minutes ago  » 
    . Here is the bug I found last week: https://flic.kr/p/Uwetve

    Recently fed adult. Not hairy enough to be a bird bug, but to rule out bat bug you'd have to look closely at the hairs just before the eyes, it's a bit too technical to explain in text to guarantee a good ID.

  20. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri May 5 2017 14:56:29
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    (The PCO) recommends laying down pesticides afterwards anyway to prevent re-infestation so in our case he'd just go straight to pesticides.
    ------------------------------------

    Cimexa by itself can prevent re-infestation in a less toxic manner.

    However, if you use both, and the pros will correct me if I'm wrong, I thought in general that first you spray, let it dry and then put down the Cimexa. Your pro seems to have said the opposite. Also, don't forget vacuuming and steam, both non toxic and both can be effective.

    Richard

  21. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat May 6 2017 3:50:01
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    BigDummy - 13 hours ago  » 

    miller - 9 minutes ago  » 
    . Here is the bug I found last week: https://flic.kr/p/Uwetve

    Recently fed adult. Not hairy enough to be a bird bug, but to rule out bat bug you'd have to look closely at the hairs just before the eyes, it's a bit too technical to explain in text to guarantee a good ID.

    The image is low resolution and small picture size. I can't go further than already described by BD.

    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.
  22. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat May 6 2017 15:53:44
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    Thanks, Lou!

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

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