Pest Management Solutions for Your Business

Early Detection is the Key to Controlling Bed Bugs

October 08, 2020
Establishing an early detection system for bed bugs can reduce the inconvenience and cost of an infestation.

Pests do not often advertise their intentions until it is too late for property and facility managers to act. Establishing an early warning system for pests, particularly bed bugs, can save residents and employees from the stress and inconvenience of an infestation, and lessen the financial impact for property and facility managers.

On a recent Sprague Pest Solutions Spotlight Webinar Danny White of Bed Bug Central and Sprague’s AJ Treleven reviewed the benefits of establishing a proactive early detection bed bug program for commercial facilities.

White emphasized that the longer a bed bug infestation goes undetected the more complex the problem becomes and the more difficult and costly it is to eliminate.

“There is a significant difference from a budget perspective when treating a bed bug infestation of five vs. 1,000,” says White. “A low-level infestation identified through early detection requires fewer visits versus a higher infestation that requires multiple visits.”

White said treating larger bed bug infestations triggers more hassle and inconvenience to residents or employees, and more cost to property managers. It is also increases the chances of the infestation spreading to adjacent units or common spaces and expanding rather than containing the problem.

What options are available to property and facility managers looking to establish an early detection bed bug system? White says the key to early detection involves ‘stacking the effects’ and having your pest management service provider and management staff do the following:

  • Conduct resident interviews
  • Perform a thorough visual inspection
  • Bring in a bed bug scent detection canine
  • Install passive and active monitors and interceptor traps

How effective is investing time and resources in a comprehensive early detection program? A research study in the Journal of Medical Entomology detailed the results of an early detection program in multiple New Jersey apartment complexes.

Residents in only 26 percent of the 346 apartments reported having low-level bed bug infestations but the property manager felt that number was much higher. Visual inspections of all the units were done and revealed a different story. Following the visual inspections, bed bugs were found in 74 percent of the units, almost triple of what residents reported.

A Bed Bug Central study in a different 116-unit building showed the effectiveness of ‘stacking the effects’ inside the apartments. Inspectors visually observed 746 bed bugs and trapped another 1,619 in the pitfall traps in the two weeks following the traps being deployed.

This told the inspectors that the bed bugs were actively moving around the units and coming to the bed to feed but were unable to after they fell into the traps.

An additional study by Bed Bug Central compared the performance of resident interviews vs. visual inspections vs. installation of interceptors. When inspectors interviewed residents in another building’s 71 units only 30 percent mentioned having a bed bug issue.

Following a visual inspection of the units, 69 percent were found to have bed bugs and when the monitors and interceptors were introduced, they were able to detect 96 percent of the active infestations ranging from low-level to severe.

“Visual inspections by a pest management professional or a trained member of the facility’s staff proved to be far more effective in finding infestations vs. resident reporting alone,” said White. “When monitoring tools were added to the mix the effectiveness of the early detection effort increased.”

This cost-effective ‘stacking the effects’ approach can help property managers and their pest management service provider more effectively monitor bed bug activity, pinpoint infestation ‘hot spots’ and arrive at a successful solution quicker.

Why Inspections and Monitoring Work

  • To help detect new problem areas
  • It assesses the extent of a bed bug problem
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of control efforts
  • Help determine when a problem has been eradicated

For more information on how Sprague Pest Solutions can assist you design and implement an effective no-prep bed bug management program for your commercial facility, call 855.805.0755.