Callback Cures: Bed Bugs

By |  June 4, 2015
Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White, pmimages@earthlink.net

An adult Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug. Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White, pmimages@earthlink.net

Bed bug populations are usually largest near places where humans sleep or rest because they feed solely on blood and require a bloodmeal for egg production. Inspecting and treating cracks and crevices in bed frames, headboards, dressers and nightstands is standard procedure for most technicians. But when a client calls back with a persistent infestation, it pays to consider other locations as potential bed bug harborage areas.

Despite their lack of wings, bed bugs are mobile pests and can be found in unconventional areas. Infestations have been reported everywhere from kitchens, to bathrooms, to home offices. Even a relatively small breeding population has the potential to re-infest successfully treated bedrooms. Thus, it’s important to leave no stone unturned during an inspection.

Thanks to their ability to hitchhike, it’s common for bed bugs to be rapidly reintroduced into a property. It takes time for populations to grow, but if furniture or other stored goods have been recently introduced to a property, it pays to take a closer look at it as a potential bed bug source.

Finally, don’t rule out the possibility the bed bugs at your client’s property are feeding on alternative hosts. Bat bugs in attics might migrate into structures following a successful bat eviction and exclusion program. Interview your client to determine whether this is a scenario that fits the situation.

During the past 15 years, the industry has learned the most efficient ways to control bed bugs — but don’t let efficiency be a substitute for a thorough inspection and client interview. They could save you a callback and earn you a client for life.

You can reach Dr. Jim Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), at jfredericks@pestworld.org.

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