At Bug Off Pest Control Center’s 2010 New York Pest Expo Dr. Ballard reviewed the advances in bed bug controls from thermal techniques to insecticides, to detection tools. In part 4 of our series we will provide a detailed approach to controlling bed bugs.


The control of bed bugs is a challenge even for the most experienced and talented pest control professional.  It requires thorough inspections and meticulous applications and even so, retreats are common.  Treatment options are not as wide as those for roaches or ants and the need for customer cooperation is greater.  The major reason for bed bug retreats is poor customer preparation.  The client must assist in allowing access to all areas, removing clutter, laundering bedding and clothing and in some cases, disposing of contaminated items.

The first step is to diagnose the problem correctly. Established infestations are easily confirmed but in the early stages the signs are more subtle.  After all, many things other than bed bugs can produce itchy welts on a person’s body.  Many times medical personnel misdiagnose the symptoms and attribute the welts to scabies, rashes, allergies or other pests like fleas, ticks or mosquitoes.  The flip side of course is that as people become more aware of bed bugs, any welt, rash or itching will be attributed to them when they may be due to other factors.  To avoid this, both physicians and pest control professionals must learn to become better diagnosticians.

A thorough inspection requires the use of a flashlight, a magnifier, a vacuum (Atrix VacIPM VacBug Sucker Vac) and a pyrethrum flushing agent to help reveal where bed bugs might be hiding. Any possible crack and crevice on or near places where you sleep or rest must be inspected and vacuumed as a first step towards control.  The vast majority of bed bugs in any given account will be found in bed components (mattress, boxspring, bedframe), couches and armchairs.  First, dismantle the bed and check all components including the interior of the boxspring.  Nightstands, dressers and all other furniture should be emptied and examined.  Upholstered chairs and sofas must also be checked.  Other areas of concern are: along and under the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting; cracks along baseboards; door and window frames; hollow doors; behind picture frames; behind switch plates and outlets; under loose wallpaper; inside closets; inside electronic equipment, air conditioners and ceiling fans.

Since bed bugs are so hard to detect, many of our clients have opted for canine inspections.  Make sure that these dogs and their handlers are nationally certified and experienced. Properly trained dogs will only signal in the presence of live insects and viable eggs.  This option is very useful for confirming the presence of bed bugs prior to treatment as well as for determining the success of the procedure after the fact.

We hope you are finding our bed bug series informative and useful. Please let us know by adding your thoughts and comments. You can also learn more about pest control and stay informed by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you.

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