I have some bites. Is this Bed Bug bites ?
My main advice I try to communicate is "don't get locked in on bed bugs" because it could be many different things. Maybe it is bed bugs. Maybe not.
What could it be ? There is the possibility of a skin condition. Don't discount that possibility. Fleas, mosquitoes, and many other insects bite humans. But lets try to whittle it down.
Think about where you were and other possibilities that it could be. Animals ?
Fleas are heavier late summer and early fall.
Mosquito population builds. People go hiking or do things outside where exterior insects could be it.
So lets inspect and see what we can find.
This is what bed bugs and excrement (poop) looks like. Black Sharpie marker type marks. They Won't rub off because its dried blood somewhat like ink. If they are present you should be able to find either the bugs themselves or excrement marks showing they have been there.
Get a good flashlight. have some alcohol-water 50-50 mix in a mist bottle just in case you find activity. This is flammable and is only to be used if you find live bugs. Its not going to control bed bugs. Its to keep the activity from scattering to another location.
Bed Bugs are like some little robber dudes in their little hideout cave. When they are discovered and exposed, they run and will find another spot. This is a problem because normally bed bugs will hide close to the host in predictable spots. Containing them to their normal harborage will help in their remediation efforts. I can tell by the way people talk that they think bed bugs are brilliant and have some kind of great devised scheme. They're bugs that do what they do.
We should always be smarter than a bug.
Bed Bugs like cloth and wood. The thicker the cloth and the grainier the wood, the better they like it.
They will hangout close to a host. (food)
Bed Bugs are usually brought into a living area on people or items. Furniture ,beds, etc.
I see people try to evaluate where they could have picked them up from.
Good Idea, because you don't want a re entry scene. However, they don't come from outside and walk across yards to get into your home. In multi-unit complexes people will say "I think I got them from someone next to me." Most of the time when we check the adjoining units, that's not the case.
Have you brought in any used furniture ? Have you had any visitors ? Have you visited somewhere that was infested ?
I had a young lady that lived alone in a very small condo. 450 sq ft. no pets. Taught school 2 miles from her condo. Never goes anywhere. Somewhat of a hermit. She found 3-4 bed bugs. When I inspected it I found a few more. So, nothing made sense.
She had not gone anywhere visiting. No used furniture, nada ! I told her they were brought in somehow. think about it. What have you brought in, in the last few months. She turned and looked at a painting on her wall. "I bought that painting 2 months ago on ebay from a guy in Canada." I went over and took it off and looked behind it. BINGO !
20-30-bugs but excrement all along the inside. She bought the bed bugs and even paid for shipping.
So, it is somewhat important to try to find out how you received bed bugs.
Inspect, but if you find activity - Stop - We are not doing a head count. (just determine bed bugs activity or not)
Inspect your bedding and pillowcases as you remove them. (wash and dry)
check the ceiling and wall above the bed and corners.
check the mattress seams for excrement and bugs.
take mattress off and check box springs closely
get trash bag and razor knife and cut bottom screen of box springs. throw in trash and take outside - now
Flip up cloth and check all around the box spring frame cloth stapled areas
Check the frame and headboard. Back and front of headboard.
Check Couches closely. Bottom also.
If you do not find any evidence and you have received numerous bites at one time, that's a clue it is most likely NOT bed bugs. Many bugs make many marks.
If the bites continue you can always hire a Sensor Bed Bug Dog to at least get bed bugs off the list. (avg home cost $200-250)
If you find evidence and want to hire a pro please consider our company.
If you can't afford a treatment and have no choice but to handle it on your own I understand.
How difficult it is - Depends on how many bugs you have, how long they've been there, and how much stuff you have.
If you decide to hire someone. Things to look for:
Heat is the best method but be careful there are imposters out there. They buy a $2,000 propane heater and now they are in the Bed Bug Heat Business. These heaters do produce heat. But it all comes out in one spot in most cases. and if they run vents piping , those vents get very hot and can damage things inside. Almost all of the Insurance claims for damage or fires caused by bed bug heat treatments are from these type units. Look for Electric heat with no flames.
Our Heaters are placed strategically in the structure so the temperatures never vary more than 2-3 degrees from room to room. We never go over 135 degrees. Hard coat surfaces take longer to heat than drywall and carpet. Fans are critical to the air movement and makes the inside similar to a convection oven. These Units are engineered for Bed Bug Treatments.
We also use some Pesticides and other products with the treatment so we do have some residual in host and harborage areas.
I will get to some treatment techniques next post. First things first.
Find out what it is first !