Now that spring is beginning to feel like spring, you’re planning to visit beautiful Ocean City, Rehoboth Beach, or one of the many other beach towns on the East Coast. Or, it’s time to open up the beach house and prepare for the two dozen families who will enjoy it this summer. Or, your college student has just returned to school after spring break, once again leaving an empty bedroom. Or…
Whatever the circumstances, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself wondering about bed bugs as the weather warms up and travel increases. The bad news: Bed bugs are alive and well, and infesting every human environment imaginable, from homes to libraries to theaters to taxis. The good news: Both the general public and the pest control industry know a lot more about the tiny bloodsuckers than they did just five years ago; infestations are being discovered and correctly identified sooner, and treatments, while still pricy, are becoming more affordable.
This isn’t our first post about bed bugs, and it certainly won’t be the last. (Here’s one with answers to a few basic questions, from 2010.) Today, I’m simply going to explain how to inspect a typical bedroom, whether in a residence or hotel.
First, you need a flashlight. The brighter the better. It’s almost impossible to inspect without one, as the flat, apple-seed-sized bugs often rest in cracks and crevices.
Start with the bed. Carefully remove the blankets and sheets, while looking for live or dead bugs, bloodstains, or fecal matter (tiny black spots, usually in a cluster). If the headboard hangs on the wall, remove it and check the back. This is a hot spot for bed bugs in hotels. Next, check around the edge of the mattress, stand it up, and repeat with the box-spring. Sometimes an otherwise clean bed conceals numerous bugs under the box-spring; along the edge, or under a tag, or inside one of the plastic corners. Next, inspect the frame, and the baseboard behind it, paying special attention to any cracks or holes.
When finished with the bed, move on to the closest furniture. Bed bugs are usually found within a few feet of the host (you), and it’s possible for them to infest a nightstand but not the bed. Turn it upside down, if possible, and check the bottom. If there’s a chair nearby, check under and around any cushions, and in any creases. If there’s a sofa bed, don’t forget to open it and inspect the mattress.
At what point is an inspection complete? When can you be certain that there are no bed bugs?
That’s a tricky question. If you’ve checked all of the areas mentioned and haven’t found any evidence of bugs, then there probably aren’t any. But a new, low-level infestation in an unusual spot is easy to miss, which is why it’s important to schedule a professional inspection if you have reason to believe there could be bugs (i.e., bites, bloodstains, unusual spots, complaints, etc.).
For more information about our bed bug services, visit our website or call our office at 302-436-8140 or 800-908-1000.