Making use of bed bug dogs or a well designed bed bug monitor can alert you to a bed bug problem quickly and effectively. Bug or insect problems are very similar to human diseases. Prevention of course is always the best course of action. However despite your best intentions and caution disease and bed bugs may still become a problem.
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs problems were virtually eliminated in the United States fifty years ago with the use of DDT. Shoddy house keeping has long been thought to be the main cause of bed bug intrusions. While poor housekeeping can be a factor, bed bugs today can find their way into your home despite your best efforts.
Since DDT was banned and global travel has increased, these pests cqan be imported into the U.S. in passenger baggage from other parts of the world. World travelers spend time in hotels and motels where bed bugs are transferred from their baggage to their rooms.
If the hotel and motel housekeeping is not properly performed those bugs will happily enter the luggage of the next guests to those rooms and travel with them back to their homes where they hide and reproduce.
Your children can unwittingly carry the pests into your home inside their backpacks and clothing after spending time in another home where bed bugs are present. Purchasing used furniture and appliances that are not properly treated can bring the pests into your home very quickly.
Apartments and more recently condominiums which consist of a number of units sharing a common structure are easily infected. Bed bugs are very small, about 3/6 inches long and very flat until they eat and can crawl through any tiny opening.
How Do You Find Bed Bugs?
Concerned home owners and apartment dwellers often ask, "Can you see Bed bugs". The answer is yes they can be seen although they tend to be active at night when you may not be alert. Their eggs, casings, feces and other residue will also be visible if you have a large infestaton. The trick is to catch them early and eradicate them before they have a chance to cause a serious problem.
Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs
A remarkable new tool used to detect these pests are bed bug dogs. These remarkable animals are trained in the same schools that train narcotics and bomb sniffing dogs.Their handlers claim that when properly trained they can detect live bugs and eggs with near 100% accuracy. Home owners, condominium associations, large apartment management companies and others are beginning to make more use of these remarkable dogs.
Some pest control companies that specialize in bed bug removal use them to insure that the treatment they have used on a particular area has been completely effective.
Training and maintaining these dogs is expensive and ongoing. To keep the animals up to snuff their trainers keep live bed bugs to test and maintain the dogs effectiveness. These bed bugs used for training need to be fed and the
preferred food of course is human blood. So the some handlers offer themselves as meals for their test bugs. Every few months the test bugs are allowed to feast on the handlers arms to keep them happy and healthy.
(There is a video below showing bed bug sniffing dogs at work.)
Of course all this training and upkeep is labor intensive and expensive. Those costs must be covered through the fees which they charge their customers. Obviously these fees are high. In New Your it is not unusual to pay $350 for an inspection.
If the budget allows these dogs are probably one of the most effective methods for early detection. Fortunately there is another method that is effective and affordable. Using a bed bug monitor can be an inexpensive tool for early detection. There are a number of these monitors available and I am describing a few of them below.
Bed Bug Monitor
Inexpensive monitors detect bed bugs using a number of different techniques including passive, active, and CO2. More complex units are available but because of their cost they are probably used by professional exterminators rather than home owners.
Passive Bed Bug Monitor.
As the name implies these units do not use any attraction methods such as heat or CO2. These units are effective because they are designed to offer the ideal hiding place thaCredit: Bed Bug Supplyt bed bugs favor. Bed bugs are patient and will wait for days for a meal, which is any human or pet they can come in contact with, and while waiting they find suitable hiding spots.
These passive monitors provide the ideal residence for the pests. There are a large number of small crevices around the base of the trap which lures the bugs inside. Once inside the bugs are captured with a sticky substance which prevents them from escaping.
In addition there is a white band around the exterior of the monitor which will display any fecal staining left by the bugs when present. Bed bugs are very flat when hungry and they swell after feeding. This swelling prevents them from returning to their favorite tiny cracks so they expel excess water from their systems which will leave traces that can be seen on the band of these monitors.
(There is a video below which demonstrates the use of one such passive bed bug monitor.)
Active Bed Bug Monitor
Some active monitors use heat to actively attract bed bugs. These pesCredit: Bed Bug Supplyts are attracted to heat and the body heat of humans and animals they feed on attracts them to a potential blood meal. This type of monitor has a built in heat source. They are meant to be used over a 24 hour period. Simply place the monitor in a room, plug the cord into an electrical outlet and leave it for 24 hours.
Any bugs present are attracted and once they enter the unit they are captured with a sticky substance which prevents their escape. At the end of the monitoring period unplug the unit and remove the top to reveal any bed bugs. The number of bugs captured is an indication of the severity of any bed bug infestation.
(There is a video below which demonstrates the use of one such active bed bug monitor.)
Active CO2 Monitor
Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans. If the bugCredit: Bed Bug Supplys do not detect body heat or exhaled CO2 they will wait patiently for days and may not be active. This inactivity can make detection difficult. If you are not sure that you have a bed bug problem you won't know if you should use expensive powders and other methods to eradicate them.
The active CO2 monitor can solve this detection problem. These active units emit small amounts of carbon dioxide for up to two weeks which will attract the bugs into the unit where they are captured. As with other monitors you count any bugs found to determine if you have an infestation and how severe it may be.
These monitors are complete except for a small amount of warm water which you add to active the carbon dioxide emissions.
There is a video below which demonstrates the use of one such carbon dioxide bed bug monitor.)
I hope that this information will help you to decide which is the best method to answer the question, “How Do You Find Bed Bugs?” Whether the bed bug dogs or a bed bug monitor is best for your situation only you can tell. Due to the rapid increase of bed bug infestations nationwide, monitoring is a must to stop problems before a serious infestation causes an extremely expensive professional treatment or as has happened in a number of cases you actually have to move out of your home while it is treated.