Do I have bed bugs?

amyfiddlerMarch 21, 2012

Daughter found two tiny round dark bugs in her bed. We washed EVERYTHIGN in her room, every article of clothing, and put a plastic barrier around the mattress. No other signs of bugs.

Then, today , I found one on my decorative pillow in my room. She found one in the tub. Then one jumped on her while she was sitting on her bedroom floor.

What do I do? bug bomb the house?

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I don't think bedbugs can "jump". Could they possibly be fleas? For your sake, I hope so. Fleas are easier to eradicate.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I'm also thinking fleas. I would set off a couple bug bombs.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 6:59AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Do you have cats or dogs in the house? Outside? Live in a wooded area?

Fleas aren't round, but they do jump. I'm thinking they 'could' be a tick of some sort, but ticks don't jump. Before setting off bug bombs, I would identify just what it is that you have. If you have pets, I'd look them over really well. Bombing would be my last resort.

Bugbombs are ineffective in controlling bedbugs and cover everything in your home with a toxic oily residue.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:33AM
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If you do set off bombs, make sure you and all living creatures are out of the house for at least four hours.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:02AM
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If you see anymore put them in a baggie and take them to an exterminator or the extension office in your area. Correct identification is important, fleas are one thing, bed bugs are a whole different matter and usually a home owner can not get rid of bed bugs on their own. Bed bugs don't jump, so hopefully it is just fleas.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Google fleas, bedbugs, and any other bug you think it might've been and see if the bug looks like any of those. I agree that it doesn't sound like bedbugs.

I'm not sure it's fleas, either, because those buggers are fast. Did she catch the bugs or just see them?

No bites on anyone yet?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:44AM
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If you do set off a bug-bomb, be prepared to have to clean absolutely everything in the house. Hubby set one off in our house years ago, and it left an oily coating on everything. Ugh.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Amy, collecting an example bug is a good suggestion. If you don't have a county extension office located conveniently, take - or have someone take - a photo of it, perhaps post on the GW garden clinic forum, there are several people very good with bugs/insects participating there.

Identifying your guests will go a long way in knowing how to deal with them (you really don't want to go overboard with an insecticide indoors when there might be an alternative plan), where their source might be, why they are in your house.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Thanks all, I will take a pic and collect a bug in a bag.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Great! If you are getting really creative, include something for size reference in the pic, like a penney, or tip of a pencil, something anyone would recognize and relate to.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

If it is fleas, you may have a very hard time catching one or even a pic of one. They are quick and when they jump, they seem to just disappear.

If you have a hard time getting a pic or capturing one, you might get a couple of mouse glue boards and place them on the floor in an area where they have been seen. you have pets or family members who have been around pets? If so, did you check the pets?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:26PM
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    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:30PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

if you can just squash them between your fingers it likely is not a flea they are hard to smash usually have to use two fingernails against each other to smash one, I usually just flush them if I find one. Luckily we have not had any flea problems here in the house or on the dog.

this site has some of the best pictures of bed bugs I have seen and also references for size.
Bed Bugs: Photos

How do you know if have 'em

this one has good pictures of ticks

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Amy, bed bugs can't jump, they just crawl, and they crawl very slow. But if there's any chance it fell on her instead of jumping on her, it could be a bed bug.

I, unfortunately, know pretty much everything about bed bugs because I work in housing.

First things first, identify your bug. Google image and see if they are the same. If you DO have bed bugs, washing bedding and putting on a cover is not enough to get rid of them. Bed bugs don't only live in mattresses, they live in bed frames, books, clothing, any kind of furniture (especially wood), wooden baseboards, couches, etc etc etc. They do like beds the best though, so they can bite you at night.

The best way to look for them is to get a flash light and start looking at the mattress and box spring. Signs of bed bugs are blood spots (from bites) and rust color spots (their excrement). They like to live in seams so check the seems of the mattress and box spring to see if you can find any signs of bugs or rusty colored spots. Turn the box spring upside down and look inside of it with the flashlight. Look in every corner, crook, and crevice. Check your seams of your couches and chairs, check wood molding along floors.

Does anyone have bites? Bed bug bites are often in clusters of 3, usually three in a row, but not always. They are really itchy to most people, although don't bother some others at all.

If you do have bed bugs, here's how you treat. At work, we treat with cedar oil (cedarcide to be exact). This is the process we go through. Wash every single thing you can put in the washer (on HOT), and dryer. As everything comes out, put it straight into garbage bags. All clothes, blankets, pillows, etc. Buy a sprayer from home depot (one that you would spray your lawn with) and spray all the places I listed above. Leave all the stuff bagged (except for what you need), and treat once a week for four weeks straight. Have the kids keep their back packs and coats in rubbermaid bins while you're treating so they aren't bringing any stragglers to school for their friends to take home. It would be a huge project in a house, at work everyone has studio apts with no carpet! After the mattresses are treated, put the plastic covers on them. If any bugs are left, they'll die in the cover because they don't have access to food.

When we have an outbreak of bed bugs at work, I will seriously strip everything off at the back door and put my clothes straight into washer. I leave shoes outside, or spray them. I keep my stuff in rubbermaid bins at work so one won't hop a ride home. I've only had one scare at home (I was getting bit on my legs at night for a week or so), and I tore apart my entire apartment looking for them. I even cut a hole in the bottom of my box spring so I could stick a flashlight in there to look.

You could call in a pest company, but they will use nasty stuff and charge you an arm and a leg, and I'm not convinced they will do any better of a job than you could yourself. If I didn't get the creepy crawlies so bad about bed bugs, it would be a REALLY good business to go into right now and make a fortune! Bed bugs aren't going anywhere any time soon and they are just spreading more and more. Always check your hotel rooms you are staying in people! Don't set any of your stuff on the furniture until you look for bed bugs first. You can easily take them home, and cleanliness has nothing to do with bed bugs, so they are just as bad in 5 star hotels as in cheap motels.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:02PM
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I think a good practice for people is to start checking for bed bugs every time you change your sheets. I do. If you get bed bugs, the sooner you catch them the better. The worse the infestation, the harder to treat.

People should search any used furniture, clothes, or books they buy and are planning on bringing home.

Also, it's completely possible to find one bed bug and not have an infestation yet. It could have come in on anyone's coat, shoes, etc. However, if you find several, you most likely have quite a few.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:08PM
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You can't kill bedbugs w/chemicals.
They use heat. Extreme heat.

Definitely contact an exterminator!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 9:24PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't think that this sounds like bedbugs, but if I could see a picture, I'll identify it for you.

Bug bombs, by the way, are NEVER the way to go....for any kind of pest. They are dangerous, toxic, and not very effective.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Jennmonkey thank you for taking the time to type all that out. Great information.

I have not seen one today. I will look hard this weekend to get a pic.

THank you all for responding here - my poor daughter is so wigged out over the bugs. She'll need therapy for this I'm sure.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:00AM
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You're welcome! I know it's a nightmare. You live in the same neck of the woods that I do, and they are around this area quite a bit. has a lot of good pictures, not only of bed bugs, but also of infestations, so you'll know what you're looking for.

I don't blame your daughter. I've been itching since I responded to your post, LOL! They are nasty...the good thing is that they don't carry any diseases or anything, but the idea of bugs living in your bed and sucking your blood at night is horrifying. I hope you don't find any more!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:38AM
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My husband and I were furniture shopping last weekend. There was a couple in the store with 2 kids trying out new couches. I overheard them tell the sales man that they were getting new furniture due to a bed bug issue. It really made me think at how easy it would be to spread these bugs! A lot of people go in and out of that store trying out the furniture. If someone with bed bugs left one behind, the next person to try out a couch could find themselves with a hitchhiker and take it home with them.
I have also heard that movie theater seats and clothing can be culprits. It makes sense that you could try on a pair of jeans at a store that someone with bed bugs tried on and bring it home that way.
It just seems way too easy to get these things!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Well you can kill bed bugs without using the heat method. I work for an exterminator and we kill the little buggers every day without the use of heat.
Another thing not mentioned here, bed bugs can live up to 2 years without a feeding, so if you put a certified mattress cover on your mattress, don't take it off for 2 years.
People use to think if it was winter and below freezing you could put an infested mattress outside and the bed bugs would freeze to death. this is untrue.
Jennmonkey was right about everything here, but may have not have mentioned that you even need to remove switchplates and electrical socket plates because they will hide there also.
People can get rid of bed bugs on their own, but the problem is that most people would not be thorough enough to get rid of them. We do charge a lot to get rid of them, we charge $800 to treat a house for bed bugs, this includes 3 visits, and we do take furniture apart and take switchplates off the wall, so the price may seem extreme, but not when you consider that we are all trained and certified, we spend hours at your house, and we guarantee that the bed bugs are gone after your final treatment.
Bottom line is, bed bugs are not hard to kill at all, they are hard to find. They even hide in screw holes, behind pictures, behind curtains, any crack and crevice.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Bedbugs are becoming a national pest epidemic. My BIL lives in an apartment complex that has just become infested.

The landlord is having the entire building heated up to 160 degrees to kill them off. Tenants need to remove oil paintings, candles, cosmetics, plants etc - anything that can wilt or melt.

So I did some research and read that this is really the only way to kill them everywhere. All other treatments require direct contact, and you can't get into all the places they can lurk (one article even suggested they can be found behind framed pictures between the picture and the backing). Chemical treatments will kill them on contact but if any remain behind under floor boards or in sofa cushions, the infestation will reoccur.

Ugh. I hope it's fleas you're dealing with - they are much easier to get rid of. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:25AM
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I forgot to say in my first post. I had fleas one time without having a pet, one jumped on me. I sprayed the floors with regular bug spray, then resprayed 10 days later. That took care of the problem.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:31AM
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This is a real eye opener. Yuck-I feel things on me LOL!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:18AM
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I never had bed bugs, but I have had a flea infestation thanks to a cheap dog-boarding situation. We went on vacation for 2 weeks, boarded our dog,and she came back crawling with fleas. I put her in the tub for a bath and they were literally jumping off of her.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:48AM
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