Developing a game plan is the first step in effectively executing a goal or objective. Treating for bed bugs is no different. You need to understand your opponent, how they behave, what their goals are and use those facts to effectively attack your opponent. Yet many times both homeowners and professionals just go out and buy whatever tools we find that are supposed to treat for bed bugs and then attack a home without doing any research on what our opponent is doing.
One item I want to mention before we dive into particulars is that the body of this article assumes that you’ve identified the infestation early-on and there are less than 100 bed bugs present in the home (and most of those bugs are found in the beds and couches). If this is the case, please continue reading. If this is not the case please continue reading but know that once an infestation has grown to the point that there are hundreds of bed bugs spread throughout the home a more drastic approach may need to be taken if you want to control the infestation in a short amount of time. The facts mentioned below still hold true in bad infestations but taking a targeted approach in bad infestations may not control the problem in an “acceptable” amount of time.
Understanding how bed bugs behave is the first step in developing an effective game plan and there are two facts that may be the most important of any when developing that plan: bed bugs want to infest close to their food source and they like to hide in cracks and crevices. These two facts should take your home, which probably seems overwhelming at this point in regards to how many places bed bugs could be hiding, and help you focus on a few particular areas.
In regards to bed bugs infesting close to their food source unfortunately they like to feed on us when we are sleeping. Therefore “sleeping areas” should be a focus whenever you are treating for bed bugs. In fact, the sleeping areas (typically beds and couches) and any item within 2-feet of the sleeping areas should be considered “high risk” when treating for bed bugs. These items should be inspected and treated paying particular attention to any cracks, crevices and voids on those items. Any cracks and crevices should be treated with an approved and properly labeled pesticide REGARDLESS of whether or not you think it has bed bugs. Remember, if they are hiding in a crack there probably isn’t any evidence that they are in the crack and therefore you don’t know which cracks have bed bugs.
Beyond the 2-foot area, the further away from the bed an item is typically the lower the risk is. Again, you can throw that rule out if you have a bad infestation but in normal circumstances the bugs want to be close to their food. This is why we highly recommend interception devices for both detection and to help with treatment. These devices go under the legs and around beds and catch bugs as they move around. The concept is to use their biology and behavior against them and as they travel to the bed or couch for food capture them in a trap.
So the point here is to know to focus your efforts and energy in manageable bed bugs infestations on the sleeping areas and the items within 2 feet of those areas. Actually you should always focus your efforts in those areas regardless of the infestation size but you will need to expand your efforts in bad infestations to control the problem in a reasonable time frame. Lastly, remember to pay particular attention to cracks and crevices regardless of what you see near the crack. You can’t see everything that’s going on inside the crack and to treat them regardless of whether or not you see bed bugs (assuming what you are treating with is labeled for that particular application).