Along with ants, cockroaches, and flies, bed bugs are the most common insect pests of homes, and many pest control professionals consider bed bugs to be the most difficult insect pests to control. A large proportion of the population has fallen victim to bed bug pest issues at some point, and most people know at least one person who has either sustained bed bug bites or has enountred the bloodsucking pests. Historically, bed bugs were considered problematic only in impoverished and/or unsanitary households, but since bed bugs reemerged as common pests around two decades ago, most people have come to understand that bed bug infestations can occur within any indoor location, including five star hotels, movie theaters, public libraries, and public transit.

As bed bugs have become progressively more common, so have over-the-counter bed bug control products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bug control products that are available to consumers generally do not work as advertised, and virtually every bed bug infestation requires professional pest control intervention to be eradicated. Although pest control professionals struggled for several years to effectively eliminate bed bugs from infested structures, today bed bugs are well controlled with high-heat treatments. The equipment needed to conduct high-heat treatments requires professional training to operate, and in heavy bed bug infestation cases, moderate amounts of regulated insecticide must also be used, which requires licensing.

Generally, bed bug infestations are noticed within a week after the pests are inadvertently transported indoors. Infestations are often first noticed when residents wake up to find bites that are assumed to result from bed bugs, but it is not uncommon for residents to mistake mosquito, flea, and ant bites for bed bug bites. In rare cases, residents within bed bug infested homes remain unaware of the pests for several weeks after infestations start, even when they sustain bites.

In many infestation cases, one resident will report bites, while his/her bed-mate does not. This is not uncommon, as around 30 percent of the population experience no reaction to bed bug bites. Also, many people fail to notice the first bed bug bites they sustain, but they quickly develop a sensitivity to subsequent bed bug bites. Those who do not experience an allergic reaction to bed bug bites may not notice an infestation in their home for a while, but eventually, multiple signs of a bed bug presence will become clear, including fecal stains, shed skins, and even a musty odor that is known to accompany heavy infestations.

Have you ever smelled any kind of insect-related odor in your home?