Bed bugs are notorious for being survivors. In the 1940s DDT was released to kill mosquitoes to prevent the worldwide spread of malaria. The pesticide was so effective that households started to use it to kill roaches. By the 1950s they discovered that it also worked to eradicate bed bugs. Soon, bed bugs became a thing of the past. However, DDT was outlawed around the world because it was shown to have detrimental effects on both the environment and humans. Bed bugs quickly started to reemerge and are now more resistant to standard pesticides.
How to Tell if the Bed Bugs are Back
After suffering from a bed bug infestation, you are likely holding your breath and remaining vigilant. Here are a few ways to tell if the bed bugs are back:
- Bites: Are you waking up in the morning with red, itchy welts?
- Excrement: Do you notice flecks of reddish excrement on your bedding?
- Blood: Are their spots of blood on your sheets from the feeding frenzy?
- Exoskeletons: Do you see exoskeletons in your bed, on the carpet, upholstery, or your clothing?
- Living Bugs: Have you discovered living bugs in your home?
All of these are sure signs that the bed bugs have reinfested your home and it is time to snap back into action. To confirm your suspicions, you can set bed bug traps under the legs of your bed to catch the bugs, so you know for sure if you have an active infestation before you spend money on costly treatment sprays or have an exterminator visit your home. You can also hire a canine detection team to visit. The specially trained dogs can sniff out the musky odor of the bed bugs and alert you to an infestation, even pinpointing the exact location.
What to Do If You Suspect a Bed Bug Reinfestation
If you have suffered from a bed bug infestation, you may be susceptible to a reinfestation if the pests were not successfully removed. Once you confirm the infestation there are several steps you can take:
- Call the Exterminator: If you had your home professionally treated for bed bugs find out if the exterminator offers a guarantee. Some companies will re-treat the premises within a certain amount of time if they failed to kill the whole colony on first attempt. If the company does not offer retreatment then you should consider using a different exterminator because evidently the method they used was ineffective. Be sure to do your research and find a company with a five-star rating on Google, Yelp or a similar service.
- DIY Treatments: If you undertook the task of treating your home with DIY products then you might want to explore their effectiveness as some are more effective than others. Perhaps you will want to go with another brand or method to treat the new infestation. Remember, whatever product you choose to use must not only kill adults and nymphs but also the eggs.
- Apartment and Duplex Problems: Sadly, if you had your home treated for an infestation but you live in an apartment or duplex it is not uncommon for the bed bugs to return because they can jump from unit to unit. The initial treatment might have been very effective but unless the whole building was treated the neighboring bed bugs can find their way back in through plumbing, HVAC systems or cracks. All access points to other units in your building will need to be sealed up for treatment to be effective. You can speak with other tenants and the landlord to try to undertake an entire building treatment to successfully eradicate all the bugs.
Locating the Origin of the Bed Bugs
If you are positive that all the bed bugs were killed during the first treatment and you do not live in shared housing, then you should look into how you might be bringing the bed bugs into your home. Do you travel often? Use public transit? Visit the library? Have children in daycare? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be carrying bed bugs home from these locations. Even your office building can be infested with bed bugs. If the areas that you frequent have bed bugs, you will continue to bring the bugs home. Get to the bottom of where the bugs are originating from to rid yourself of them one and for all.
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