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Swallow Bugs (Bat Bugs)

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  1. Yomama

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 1 2012 23:19:35
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    Hi there. I can't believe how comforting this site is to find out we are not alone in our war here! So in September 2011, we moved into a rental home that had been abandoned for several years (the owner died and the lady who inherited it left it unoccupied). When we moved in I swept up tons of tiny little black specks that had clustered on the floor along two of the walls that face the outside of the house - upstairs and downstairs, directly above/below one another. I didn't pay much mind to the specks until now. As soon as it started warming up I started finding bites all over my body, every couple weeks. Comparing the bites to those online I was convinced we had bed bugs. I had several clusters of the "breakfast, lunch, dinner" pattern and naturally I freaked out. For 2 months, I couldn't pinpoint any bedbugs anywhere and out of 5 of us living in the house I was the only one with bites! Finally the other day I found a dead one on the couch. I compared it to pictures and it did indeed look identical to a bedbug (cue insane freakout and tearing apart of the entire house). After finding several more and bagging them (including a few live ones bleh), I spent a sleepless night flicking on the lights with any itch I felt. Finally in the wee hours of the morning I stumbled on an article about swallow bugs in the remote area that I live (in a cold region of northern Canada).

    Long story short, I cried with relief because we do indeed have cliff swallows nesting under our porch that runs parallel to the wall where the bugs were found. I realize now that those were the black specks I swept up in the fall.

    Anyway we had the orkin man in today. He put down dust inside behind the baseboards and sprayed insecticide of some sort outside the house. He can't do anything about the birds until they leave the nest which the department of environment here said will be a couple weeks.

    So here are my questions: Once the birds and their nest is gone, will the bugs try harder to invade our house desperate to feed on anything? Clearly I don't want them noshing on me anymore an heaven help me if I find any bites on my kids!! If we are at risk of the swallow bugs looking for us, is there anything we can do to stop them so they will just die off? Also I have found a few stragglers in the house, far away from the infestation site. If I don't find all the stragglers, will they reproduce in the house or do they prefer to live in bird nests? And finally, the orkin man essentially put up a barrier to stop new ones from coming in. What can I do to ensure I get all the stragglers that have already made their way inside? It's a fairly large house and I shudder to think of all the hiding spots. Any info would be great but lord please don't freak me out! Lol I haven't properly slept in months and I finally feel somewhat protected...I would hate for that bubble to be burst

    Thank you so much for any info you can add!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jun 2 2012 19:31:02
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    Hi-- I am not an expert on swallow bugs. However, I think that once the swallows are gone, you need to get the pest control company back in to get rid of the nestt and make sure they get rid of any bugs. Perhaps one of the pros can confirm this. It sounds like you've had multiple bugs in the house also. Has anyone verified the samples were swallow bugs and not bed bugs?

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

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jun 2 2012 21:28:38
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    It is critical to treat the roosting areas after the birds are eradicated from the building... Your suspicions that they will be attracted to the occupied areas of the house are well founded.

    Did Orkin identify the specimens as swallow bugs or bat bugs?... They are closely related, but different bugs... Both are a problem..Caulking and sealing may useful depending on the construction design of your house and your furnishings..

    There is information in the FAQs and archived threads about isolation methods to try to reduce your bite exposure... Vacuuming can be a good tool for physical removal (with a crevice tool attached to a hose), but you need to coordinate any actions that you take with your Orkin folks to ensure that you do not interfere with the treatment plan... like disturbing the dust agents... for example.

    DDVP strips (No Pest strips) may very useful for treating the attic areas or sheds, but I am not sure if they are labeled and available for use in Canada... They are best used during the warm months in a space that is not heated.

  4. Yomama

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jun 3 2012 1:53:37
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    Thank you for your replies! I realize this is a forum for bedbugs but I did post because swallow bugs are so closely related. Also hopefully other people can be helped to see there are other bugs out there that look identical to and cause similar reactions as bedbugs!

    So the orkin man did confirm my samples were swallow bugs. He called them bat bugs, and said they're basically the same thing, but really that makes no sense to have bat bugs coming out of the obvious cliff swallow nests we have under our porch. Potato, potahto? Anyway, he saw lots of the bugs on the outside of the house too where he sprayed...directly across from the bird nests. I will follow up with the suggestions thank you! And I read that it's not a good idea to spray down the nests after they are abandoned without first taking care of the bugs inhabiting them. Apparently this will just blast the bugs all over the place allowing them to scatter and possibly find their way into the house? Diatomaceous Earth is my new best friend...should I throw some of that in the empty nests and leave it for a few days before I blast them down??

    Thanks!

  5. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jun 3 2012 9:12:11
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    Swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius) and Bat bugs (Cimex pilosellus)(Cimex adjunctus) are different bugs, they don't look too similar... so I assume we are talking about swallow bugs... Fig 6 in the article shows a swallow bug.

    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05574.html

    Do some research or consult with a professional before "blasting any nests"... Animal exclusion protocols should be followed to perform the job correctly.

    Don't do anything that might make matters worse or more expensive... You need to be informed or hire a pro... There are statues that regulate animal removal in some states and federal laws that apply for protected species.

  6. Yomama

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jun 3 2012 10:53:07
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    Thank you. I didn't want to pay another 400 bucks to bring the orkin man back out so I was hoping I could do it myself. But at this point I want it done right, not cheap! I did talk to department of environment and those were his exact words to me "blast those nests away as soon as possible". He said the swallows are protected, but as soon as the babies fledge I can wash the nests down with a hose. When I told him they were infested with swallow bugs he said I may need to get mr orkin back in. Thanks, checking out the link right now!


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