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

The time it might take ... to find them

(8 posts)
  1. Kater

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 4:06:17
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    Hi!
    I answered this to another's post, but, being relatively new (almost 10 months) to dealing with bed bugs, I got scared I might be giving false information, so I would like to ask the experts here what they think about my math:

    After my first, ultimately failed, heat treatment, I did a bit of research to find out how long I would have to wait to be absolutely sure. I do not know how reliable the information is that I found, and I am not an expert, so I would like an expert to read this and say his/piece about it. But I looked at many different websites, then I read a few academically published papers that were accessible over my university's library. What I found is this: Under ideal conditions, the time that it takes for a freshly laid egg to develop into a fuly grown bed bug that can itself have children is in the IDEAL case roughly 37 days. Ideal means, from what I get, around 32/33 degree Celsius. If it gets colder, or too dry, then the process takes longer. One paper stated that at 18 degree Celsius it can take up to 6 months. In the winter, we keep our houses at about 20-21 degrees Fahrenheit. So it will not take six months, but I think four is hopeful and five perhabs realistic.
    Now take the worst case. In the worst case, you import a few eggs (or, as in my case, they survive the heat treatment) and you dont react very much to bites or you do not react at all. If you don't susbect bedbugs, and even if you do and they found a hiding place you don't think of, you will not find them until the population get bigger. But for that, the bugs have to become adult, that takes 3-5 months, depending on termperature, and lay eggs (about five a day per female) and these eggs have to hatch and the baby bugs have to beome big enough to be relatively easily detectable. That probably takes another months. So, in the worst case, you have to wait four to six months before you have a good chance at finding out how unbelievably unlucky you were. And if you are not very diligent, as we all are when we feel safe and nice in our home, then you might overlook the signs for a while, and you might find that you have an infestation 8 months or longer after you were doomed.
    For me, it took four months of searching and not knowing before I found out that we still had bedbugs, a fear that I had developed one months after the treatment when I started to get weird marks again every 7-10 days. We moved, and now, in the winter, I think that if we accedentally took a bed bug with us that was able to lay eggs, and because I only have small reactions, I figure that I will have to wait at least another four months before I can declare myself clear... and even then I might be wrong. (I am searching a lot, but there are always places were you just do not think of looking)

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 8:10:06
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    Hi,

    The maths of finding bedbugs are more related to the skills of the person doing the searching rather than the time that the infestation has been developing.

    The skills of detection are ones that develop with time and unless you are working in different homes and settings on a regular basis you are not likley to get the level of exposure that you need to develop these skills.

    This is why monitoring or well training K9's are a more recommended option as the skill gap is removed.

    However reading through what you have written there is another clear hypothesis that you do not appear to be investigating. Simply put the bedbugs got in there somehow in the first place and may be coming back from that or an alternative source of recent. This can appear as treatment failure when it is in fact a reintroduction event.

    The only way around this is to monitor the property post treatment as a QC and early warning of a subsequent exposure.

    I appreciate the apparent logic in trying to mathematically model things but the reality is that attempting to apply pure maths to this problem often ends up with people becoming frustrated when the data does not fit what they expect.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC 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 bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  3. Kater

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 8:35:17
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    Hi,
    yes, of course that helps, and what you say makes very much sense. What I was trying to point out was this: If you detect your first bed bug, or find your first signs, that does not mean that the infestation is new, it might have been there for half a year, especially when you did not suspect anything.
    Also: what you said about developing the skills does in fact support my point: People always say wait two months and the you can relax. But accordingt to my thinking, that is just not entirely true. If you are unlucky, you might wait four months, five months without a sign and you are still not clear, not even from your own infestation (not even considering the possibility of re-infestations from neighbours). In a mild worst case scenario, it might take eight months to detect that you have bed bugs.

    The reason why I almost do not want to write this is because of what it means. It means that the hell of having bed bugs is worse than most people think. For assume you are an ethical person who cares much about what they do to other people and does not want to infest others. Usually people tell you, you have to be careful for two months. But if I am right, and if it might take this much longer, then what kind of a life does that force you to live? For half a year, or even 8 months, you cannot have friends over without telling them to take extra precautions. Not your friends and not your childrens friends. You will have to take precautions for going to friends houses. You will not dare to buy new furniture, hang new pictures, etc. because you are afraid that it might get infested or give them new harbouring space and because - if you live in an appartment and have a problem that spreads over several apartments - you might be thinking about moving if they come back, because your landlord has had enoug etc. etc. If you did indeed move and throw a lot of things out, like I did in the end because opur landlord did not want to handle the situation again, then you do not dare to build a new home. You will feel bad if you travel, because it is hard to be absolutely diligent and because you are never absolutely sure whether you made a mistake. For possibly 8 months. If you find them again, the whole thing starts over. And this is not even considering you friends and family. Did you infest them before you found your bed bugs? You do not know, and will not know for possibly 8 months. Should you stop visiting them now, because you might bring bedbugs back with you that you put there in the first place? That is not right - but the fear stays.

    People keep telling others that they should relax or not fall into paranoia. But I am not sure that the human psyche is especially well equipped to handle limbo for this long. Waiting, and especially waiting in fear, is, as we all know, very hard. And if I am right, having bed bugs, no matter what one does against them, condems one to waiting - and not just for two months.

    I know that there are good detection methods out there. But frankly: For every good K9 team, there is a bad K9 team and a non-expert needs a K9 team because he is a non-expert, so he cannot distinguish the two.

    A good passive monitor is still a passive monitor, and in my case the crevices in my bed seem to have been too nice for the bugs to leave them, so it never showed anything until a I found the bug.

    In the end, every detection method can fail, and an non-expert is never sure that he installed things correctly. So it comes down to waiting. And waiting is hard.
    Its hard for two months,
    but its very hard for four,
    and eight is even more.
    (Because rhymes make it easier to deal with things.:-))

  4. Kater

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 8:49:17
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    So - given all of the above (this can only be answered if the post directly above this is being referred to): when should you go back to living as normal (I just assume that it is not a reasonable suggestion to stop having a social live forever)?

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 9:03:46
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    Hi,

    Actually on the finer detail level and taking into account all the confirming signs of bedbugs and not just live samples your assumption of only just finding them is wrong.

    If bedbugs are present at all life stage they will leave faecal traces, if they are present as nymphs they will always leave cast skins in the presence of food.

    Any model which focuses on only live samples misses the most important aspect. I work out the duration of an infestation through faecal analysis not the age, shape or size of the bug.

    This is why post treatment monitoring is so essential because it gives you the proof to illustrate if its a long term infestation or a recent introduction. I hear what you are saying about worrying how and where to install but given that we have shown relocation from the other side a room into them your fears and assumptions are not founded based on our field observations. So long as a monitor works as a true monitor and not a trap bedbugs will use the device for exactly the same reasons that they seek crevices and the most optimal harbourage is the first to be occupied and exploited.

    Yes I fully agree that people are not best equipped to deal with long term stress which is why I focus on making the stress as short as technically possible rather than encouraging people to assume the worst and restructure their lives for ever and ever.

    However the flaw in your logic as I have pointed out is your continual assumption that the bug you recently found has been in your home all the way along rather than having just come in recently. I see this a lot with people being treated and frankly most commonly with the ones who have prolonged or protracted treatment processes.

    Failure to understand that bedbugs are brought into your home in the first place and could be again by the same or similar method will always end up frustrating you and lead to wild assumptions that we need 8+ month quarantines which would not be healthy.

    I would say normal life after 2 months no activity and between 14 - 30 days of a clear monitor. Now normal life in my case does include avoidance of common sources of bedbugs as an on-going process but that is simply good practice to avoid reintroduction.

    David

  6. Kater

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 9:11:17
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    Dear David,
    thank you, that makes me feel better. I have one more question, though. We all get all kinds of skin reaction normally, wihtout bed bugs. And as we know from the bite primer that you wrote, the reactions to bed bug bites can change within one person and look virtually like everything. Should getting strange skin reactions count as a precauting sign at all - given that they all COULD be bed bug related? I am asking because I used to get mosquito like reactions from the bed bugs. Since I moved, I have been slightly paranoid with checking my skin - certainly much more paranoid then I was ever before. Now I find a zit-like skin reaction on my skin where I usually have clear skin every 7-14 days. They do not itch and they do not have that bite-look, but I am not entirely sure what they are either. Maybe I always got this and didnt realize it becaue I did not use to check every inch of skin before. Maybe not. Does that still count as no activity? Or does that mean I have to keep waiting?

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 9:14:53
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    Hi,

    Skin reactions effectively tell you there is an issue but not what that issue is.

    If they occur and concern you then go through your BB check list and if there are no confirming signs move on to other possible causes.

    They are simply not a good enough indicator of anything to feature in a bedbug diagnosis other than as a trigger to seek actual confirming signs.

    David

  8. Kater

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Dec 18 2013 9:18:59
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    Dear David,
    as always, you have been extremely kind and patient, and you have effectively made me feel a bit better. Thank you for that.


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