Monthly Archives: January 2012

What are bed bug droppings?

Bed bugs eat mammal blood, bed bugs digest blood, bed bugs poop blood.  The black spots that are associated with bed bugs are literally their feces, which is blood.

Now to get into the details…

Their feces leaves their body as a liquid, it drops on to the surface that they are standing on and it then permeates that surface.  If the surface is a mattress then the mark will often create a spot or a  star shape in the fabric.  The liquid is moving along the threads creating the star.  On a hard surface it will adhere and create a slight raised surface once dry.  These black specks are not granular and loose. (Granular and loose is more likely flea dirt, yes also blood.)

If you suspect bed bug feces a few important steps should occur next.

  1. Take a wet paper towel and drag it across the spot.  If it is old blood it will create a bloody mark on the surface or the towel.
  2. Look around for live bed bugs, if they are living in a space long enough to poop there, it is highly likely you will find them close by.  In order to poop they must have fed recently.
  3. Catch one with a piece of clear tape and then fold over the tape over the bug.  This will create a nice coffin for the bug and will give you the ability to photograph it, show it to your pest professional, and then deal with the problem appropriately.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

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Why are there bed bugs in my clothes?!?

This question has come across my desk multiple times this past year.  A client either finds bugs on their person during the day or they find bed bugs in their closet among their clothes.

Typically bed bugs don’t like to live in the clothes you are wearing.  They don’t like a great deal of movement on a day-to-day basis.  They will hitchhike when hungry or looking for a new home, but they generally prefer dark cryptic stable locations for their harborage.

In all of these situations the client had previously treated their home with pesticide or with dust.  The chemical became a massive repellant to the bed bug and they merely found a new place to live that was not contaminated.  The closet is often close by to the bedroom and bed and the clothes are rarely treated with chemicals.  This creates a perfect scenario for the bed bug.  They get an occasional meal and transportation out of the poison that you laid for them.

This means you are likely taking the bugs to work with you as well as your friend’s house etc.  So what to do?  Stop spraying bed bugs!  The clothes can be run through the dryer on high for about 45 minutes.  Then wash and dry them again to remove the dead bugs.  However, if they have found your closet they have also found all the other hiding places that chemicals did not reach the first time.  A whole room heat treatment is really the only option to stop them completely.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed bug treatments for electronics

One of my former posts about bed bugs in a laptop has drawn a lot of attention.  It has occurred to me that there is not a great deal of information on treating electronic items.  So if you have bed bugs in electronic items you have a couple of options…(in my order of preference)

1) Whole Room Heat – if you are having your home heat-treated by a bed bug specialist, then leave everything behind.  The TV, clocks, computers, laptops etc can be effectively treated with properly executed electric heat. Most devices are vetted for 150 degrees, but don’t take my word for it, check out your owner’s manual.  Please note, it is highly likely that you will have dead bugs remaining in your device.  It will need to be cleaned properly following a treatment.

2) Container Heat – if you have access to a PackTite® heating device this is very effective too.  You may not be able to fit the TV inside it, but most other small devices will fit.  Proper cleaning following the heat will be required here too.

3) Chemical – do not spray your device with liquid or dust pesticide!  Find an air tight bag that will fit the item.  Most home improvement stores or Bed, Bath & Beyond will have massive zip bags that you can use.  Then find Nuvan® strips and place them in the bag with the electronic item.  Follow the directions on the label for length of time and amount etc.  These strips release a vapor that will permeate the cracks and crevices of the item.  But these strips are not for use in open air spaces or around people – ineffective and dangerous.  Depending on your state laws, you may have to purchase these from a licensed pest control professional.

4) Trash it – if you have tried these three methods without success then you can toss it.  But know that the prior three options are all very good ones.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

What is a bed bug skin or shell?

In order for a young bed bug to grow into a sexually mature reproducing bed bug they must eat.  And when I say eat, that is, eat mammal blood.  When they eat they grow and exceed the capacity of their own exoskeleton.   This process causes the bed bug to literally shed its skin (molt) and move to the next level of life.  The bed bug will molt five times before it is sexually mature.  Prior to maturity the young females (instars or nymphs) release a chemical which repels the adult males.  But once that chemical is gone, the process begins again.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Caste Skins (Great photo bed bug central!)

Bed Bug Life Stages

Will Bed Bugs Infest my Dog and Cat?

Bed bugs will feed off of any warm blooded mammal.  That goes for humans, cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, bats etc.  However, they do not tend to like to LIVE on any of us.  They do not live on their food source like a tick or lice.  They will visit the creature while it is still or sleeping and feed until it is full.

I have seen situations where the bed bugs were feeding on a family dog that frequently slept on the couch.  The first bugs were found when the owner picked up the dog to move it and a bed bug ran out from under the dogs spot.

There are some bed bug colony providers (breed, raise and sell bed bugs for research or dog training) that will allow bugs to feed on small animals.  Not me, my bugs starve to death.

Lastly, and this is my opinion only, I am concerned about the bed bug problems in poultry houses. Given the worldwide concerns with disease transferring from birds to people, I think this should be researched more carefully.  The CDC says bed bugs are not vectors of disease, I hope it stays that way.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist