How do I confirm the bed bugs are gone?

Bed bug infestations can re-occur in a home for one of two reasons:

  1. Bed bugs were re-introduced back into the area through hitchhiking on people’s belongings or crawling from another unit.

  2. The treatment effort only lowered the infestation level rather than totally eliminating it.  This situation is also known as “rebounding.” Observing no bed bug activity* for 60 days (with appropriate monitoring and inspection) is generally accepted as proof of elimination.

To prevent rebounding, confirm that the bed bugs were eliminated before you return the area to a routine pest inspection schedule (usually quarterly).

Evaluate the effectiveness of each bed bug treatment within two weeks after the treatment date to determine control. If there are still signs of bed bug activity*, treat again. Some control methods such as whole-home heat or fumigation can result in elimination after one treatment. Other methods may require re-treatments. Always evaluate the effectiveness of each treatment.

Discuss the following with your pest management professional to determine the appropriate method(s) for evaluating the success of your treatment efforts.

  • Interview occupants. Ask when they last experienced bed bug activity.*

  • Inspect treated rooms and adjacent areas visually. Use a flashlight and look for bed bug activity* within 10 feet of any area where bed bugs are likely to infest. If a visual inspection is the only way you are evaluating treatment efficacy, do a thorough inspection including looking at all parts (including underneath) of the bed, upholstered furniture, and other fixtures and furniture. If doing visual inspection along with using monitoring devices and/or scent-detecting canines, a quicker inspection is justifiable.

  • Use a bed bug scent-detection canine team.**

  • Place bed bug monitors according to the manufacturers instructions and include looking in the monitors as part of the visual inspection.**

*Bed bug activity is any sign of bed bugs: bites, new bed bug fecal stains on sheets, visual sightings, etc.

**For further guidance, see NPMA’s Bed Bug BMPs


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