Recently, I was called out to a home for a canine bed bug inspection. The homeowner was freaking out and truly thought they had bed bugs. Prior to my visit, a national pest control provider had also inspected the home and CONFIRMED that the family did indeed have bed bugs in 2 of the 3 bed rooms. But as part of our policy, I must personally inspect the home myself and find evidence before I move forward with a recommendation for a heat treatment for a client. Here is the reason…
My inspection did not reveal ANY bed bugs. The canine bed bug inspection did not reveal ANY bed bugs. There was NO evidence of the little pests. However, the homeowner did have bugs in their bed, just not BED BUGS . The homeowner had a healthy population of CARPET BEETLE larvae in their beds and a cockroach nymph. (See photos)
Carpet beetle larvae eat the natural fibers in our homes including woolens, wool clothing, pet hair, feathers, and other dead insects. Remember cedar closets and moth balls? They wiggle more than crawl. It appears that the buildup of static causes the micro fine hairs on the carpet beetle larvae to impale themselves in the surface of people skin. This can create a small pin prick like wound that can respond and look similar to an insect bite. Although there is little clinical data in the area, we certainly see more cases in people under high personal and environmental stress as well as those with low immune systems. They may leave you feeling like you got bit, but they are not Bed Bugs and are treated very differently.
My conclusions for the public:
- Just because there are bugs in a bed or near a bed does not make them BED BUGS. The name is specific to a specific type of insect that is a nocturnal parasitic crawling insect that drinks our blood. Not all bugs in the bed are Bed Bugs.
- The gross misidentification of the pest by the other company was either negligence or a malicious intent to sell very expensive bed bug services to a panicked client. Either way, it is an embarrassment to the industry. Homeowners should get multiple proposals for any type of specialized insect/pest treatment.
- If you think you have bed bugs, capture them so the pest control professional can see what you are seeing. The easiest way to do this is with clear tape or clear packing tape. Just touch the sticky side to the pest and then fold over the other side. It makes a nice little coffin for the bug and easy to handle without concerns of escape or attack.
May the Heat Be With You!
Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist