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Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Stop Bed BugsA common question asked by many home owners and Apartments and Hotels. We have discovered and rid countless residences of nasty bed bug infestations. We are providing here some true stories that might help you understand the problem and solution.

How Do Bed Bugs Spread?

Saluda County, South Carolina

Saluda, South Carolina is part of the metropolitan area of Columbia and has around 5,000 residents living there. I recall one case in Saluda in which a house had bed bugs and the home was shared by four different roommates. What struck me was that once the K-9 alerted and bed bugs were found one of the roommates did not seem terribly concerned, while the other three seemed to be completely grossed out and very concerned. Before leaving the Saluda, SC home I found out that the one unconcerned roommate had lived in Ohio and had dealt with bed bugs in the past. He pretty much acted like they were roaches and seemed willing to accept having them since he had no skin reaction to the bites. I reminded him that they are not like roaches that climb around in your kitchen cabinets and eat your food, but that they ate him, but still he was able to shrug it off.

We ended up heat treating the home, but I warned the group that anyone that didn’t follow our protocol or take it seriously would risk bringing these pest back in. Once heat treatment was completed the group broke their lease and I believe they all moved. It was probably a good idea because the one roommate was not going to worry himself about not getting them again. If you are a person living in Saluda and are looking to move, it would be worth it to ask property managers if the apartment / home has been treated for bed bugs in the last six months. Believe it or not, pest control companies keep records and if a home or apartment has been professionally treated it should be disclosed to you.     

Newberry County, South Carolina   

Newberry, South Carolina is located northwest of Columbia with a population of around 12,000 residents. Did a bed bug job in up in Newberry, South Carolina which involved a mobile home. In general heat is always going to be superior to any type of legal chemical application, with the exception being fumigation. Fumigation is dangerous and can be very expensive as well, but is a good option for certain situations and when using a company licensed to do fumigation.

In this particular case, in Newberry, SC we felt we had heated this double wide mobile home and killed all of the bed bugs, but upon our complimentary K-9 recheck (done approximately 30 days post-heat treatment), Scarlet, our K-9 Alerted on a bed and bed bugs were found. Upon a closer inspection we found that one of the windows near the bed had a small crack between the window and the frame. We believe that this is the area that the bed bugs were able to escape from the heat onto the outside of the dwelling and then came back in after home cooled down.  This mobile home in Newberry, SC had to be reheated, but first the  window area was caulked up and then we reheated the dwelling with a successful outcome. It is uncommon that we would need to re-heat, but it does happen from time to time; mostly from poor preparation or from something being taken out of the home with bed bugs and being brought back in.

Bed Bug Infestation   

Lexington County

Lexington, South Carolina which is located near Columbia and has around 22,000 residents. I recall a phone call which came in from a family that travels a great deal. The husband and wife did most of the traveling as their two sons were teenagers and did not accompany them on all their travels, but stayed in their Lexington, SC home.

The husband did not have any reaction to being bitten, but his wife had bite marks and itching and he had captured several bugs he found on their mattress. Their local pest company identified them as being adult bed bugs, but stated that they did not specialize in or treat bed bug infestations due to the well-known difficulty in eradicating them. They recommended he find a company that specialized in bed bug eradication to deal with the infestation.

After doing his research he contacted us (BBDS) to discuss treatment options. He decided to go with our heat treatment and luckily we were able to get to his job within three working days. This Lexington home had what we consider to be a medium sized infestation due to the number of bed bugs found in the master bedroom, closet and the recliner in the den. Luckily, it did not appear to have spread to the other two bedrooms or sofa. Apparently, the father was the only person who used the recliner and the wife liked to watch TV in her bedroom.

This Lexington, SC couple still plans to travel as this is something that they really enjoy doing, however, they will be sure to place their luggage in the bathtub while they inspect their hotel bed, bed frame, and dressers before they settle into their next suite.

West Columbia, South Carolina is located in Lexington County and has around 20,000 residents and located about two hours north of Charleston. We received a call from a family that believed they had bedbugs in their home. Upon K-9 inspection the K-9 alerted in the master bedroom on a padded hope chest at the foot of the bed. Upon inspection of the chest a small amount of bed bug poop was found, but handler was unable to find an actual bed bug. Perturbed the handler pulled back all sheets and mattress pad to inspect the bed itself. There was no evidence of bed bugs on any of the linens, mattress or box springs. K-9 again went back to hope chest giving a strong insistent alert. Handler put the K-9 up and began questioning the lady regarding the alert and the lack of evidence.

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide

After talking with the lady for some time she admitted that she had hired a West Columbia cleaning service to clean the room the day before and they had steam cleaned the entire bed and bedroom furniture and she had also purchased new linens. Handler went to laundry room to inspect the old sheets that had been washed and found small blood stains which did not come out during the washing process. Handler then found comforter which had not yet been washed and ran K-9 over it.  K-9 did not alert, but did track over the comforter several times (this can be an indication that K-9 is trying to locate scent). Handler then took comforter into the garage spreading it out to fully inspect. It was at this point that one adult bed bug was found in the ribbed edging of the comforter. Specimen was placed in a Ziploc so the lady could discuss with her pest control company.

Within two days she called us back saying that she preferred to go with our company and wanted to know how soon she could have her home heat treated. I explained that we could get to her within four days, but that we would also need her to do the pre-heat checklist in preparing her home for the heat treatment. Since she had never dealt with these pests nor anyone she knew in West Columbia, she didn’t realize that there were some things she would need to do to her home before we would be able to heat it. Things like: wipe down aerosol cans with rubbing alcohol and then remove them from the home so that they do not explode shaving cream or other inside the house. Other items to wipe down and remove include things like candles, fire extinguishers, liquor, etc.

Professional Bed Bug Inspection

It can take two trained technicians up to two hours to search one bedroom for bed bugs visually and they only have around 25% accuracy. Inspecting an entire home with an IBBMA certified canine and handler can be completed in a number of minutes with accuracy of 90% or greater. Bed Bugs are excellent hitchhikers and just like lice they are parasites and need people or animal blood to survive. 

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Pictures of Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Detection Remediation Services of South Carolina is a division of FFR, Inc.

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