1. Bed Bug FAQ's

Where can I find bed bugs?

Adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs will generally be found near to where humans rest or sleep. Those areas are most commonly found inside the home, but can also be found on busses, trains, inside automobiles and on airplanes. Bed bugs prefer to hide in tight spaces, such as cracks and crevices in the headboard, behind baseboards, or behind the faceplate of a switch or electrical outlet. They may be found in sofas, cribs, futons, and car seats. There are few places that a bed bug won’t hide, within proximity to its food source: human blood.


What Do I Need To Do To Prepare For a Liquid Bed Bug Treatment?

It's not abnormal to feel a little apprehensive about treating your home or business, especially when it comes to bed bugs. That's why we've compiled a helpful guide to preparing for your upcoming bed bug service in the form of a checklist to help you get ready for your treatment. Learn more by browsing our bed bug preparation checklist. 


Do Bed Bugs Get On Clothing?

Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers, they can latch onto suitcases, backpacks, and, yes, even clothing. They will travel on most things until they can find a suitable place to hide.

If you find bed bugs on your clothing, you do not need to throw them away. Set the washer and dryer for the hottest setting that the fabric can withstand. If you need to use a dry cleaning service, mention to them that the items may have bed bugs and they can keep the articles in plastic bags until just before loading into the machines.

If you think your home may be infested because of bed bugs traveling on your clothing, contact American Pest to schedule a bed bug inspection.


Why Can't We Just Start Using DDT to Combat Bed Bugs Again?

DDT (Short for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was used widely during World War II to control malaria and typhus infections amongst troops. After the war, it was made available commercially as an agricultural pesticide.

It is believed that the widespread usage of DDT throughout the 1940’s through the 1960’s was responsible for virtually eradicating bed bug populations in the United States.

With the reemergence of bed bugs that has occurred in the past 10-15 years, it has been found that bed bugs have developed a resistance to DDT and usage of the pesticide would not curtail their population growth. DDT has also been linked to significant damages to the environment, including nearly driving several species of birds to extinction.

Why Do American Pest K-9s Wear Red Vests?

The red vest clearly labels our K-9s as work dogs. The K-9s also recognize that it is "work time" when they are wearing the vests, while not wearing the vests means they have "free time." The same principle applies to humans, people dress professionally when they are at their place of work and then change into comfortable clothes when they go home.


Your K-9s Are So cute! May I Pet Them When They Come to My Property for an Inspection?

First of all, thank you! Yes, they are very adorable and they love to play. However, they have a job to do and customers attempting to play with or pet them could distract them from being focused on detecting bed bugs. We request that you ask the Handler if it is okay to touch or play with the K-9 before interacting with it.

What if K-9s create a mess or trigger my allergies? What if they bring bed bugs to my facility from another property?

American Pest K-9s are housebroken and groomed daily, so they will not shed hair or make a mess inside your property. They also experience obedience training from the moment they are brought to the team, so they will not bark.

The K-9s receive regular full health screenings and are up to date on their shots. If you or someone else is allergic to dogs or afraid of the K-9s, they do not have to stay in the facility during the inspection.

It’s very unlikely that the K-9s would transfer bed bugs from one property to another. Bed bugs approach bodies when they are still for long periods of time, which is why they usually attack people while they are sleeping. During the inspections, the K-9s are moving almost all of the time, which would be very difficult for a bed bug to take advantage of.


How Do K-9 Inspections Work? What Do The K-9s Do to Tell You When They've Found Bed Bugs?

Inspections are conducted off-lead (without a leash) to allow the K-9 to search the entire facility as they search for the scent.

When the scent is detected, the dog signals the Handler with an Alert, which is to either sit or lie down. The K-9 is trained to Alert with a passive behavior (Either sitting or lying down, as opposed to barking) to keep disruptions in your facility down to a minimum.

The Handler confirms the Alert with a visual inspection of the suspected area and allows the K-9 to play with its favorite toy ball as a reward for a confirmed Alert.


I've seen other bed bug K-9s that are rewarded with food when they find bed bugs. Why are your K-9s rewarded with a toy?

Toy rewards have been found to be the most effective means for motivating a K-9 to work.

They encourage the K-9 to think of the inspections as a game that keeps them consistently engaged in their assignments.

Food reward K-9s are only interested in completing their work as long as they are hungry. They are also more likely to view the inspections as work rather than play, which will generally have a detrimental impact on their detection accuracy.


Who Owns The K-9s? Are They Pets?

The K-9s are owned by American Pest, but they live with their Handlers, who care for them around the clock.

Expenses for food and care are financed by the company. It is important to note that American Pest K-9s are very different from pets.

They are selected at a young age for this position after very careful consideration by our Master Trainer and enter obedience and detection training immediately. Even after they are deemed ready to conduct inspections, they still complete daily training drills to maintain their skills.


How is a Dog Selected To Become an American Pest K-9?

Our K-9s are registered with the American Kennel Club and selected by our Master Trainer from the finest canine breeders based on their aptitude, temperament, drive, health and obedience. 

These breeds are commonly utilized by government agencies and law enforcement officials for search & rescue missions and scent detection for drugs and explosives.


What are the qualifications required to become an American Pest K-9 handler? What training do they go through on the job?

Our K-9 Handlers are hired with verifiable K-9 handling skills. Several of them also have backgrounds in K-9 scent detection for areas including narcotics, explosives and search & rescue operations.  Upon being hired, Handlers are put through additional handling and scent detection training by our Master Handler. They also experience entomology training and learn proper inspection protocols.

I Want These Bed Bugs Gone! Can I Get Rid of Them Myself?

There are many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) products that promise to eliminate bed bugs, each with their own levels of success.

The problem is that these products often focus on controlling the populations of bed bugs, not necessarily eradicating the infestation.

A professional pest control technician can develop an integrated pest management plan that will attack the infestation on more than one front and will be able to completely rid your home of bed bugs.


What Are My Options For Bed Bug Treatments by American Pest?

We can conduct a K-9 Inspection of your property to and can provide mattress and box spring encasements. After confirming the presence of bed bugs on your property, American Pest can offer, conventional pesticide treatments or Cryonite®


I Think I Have Bed Bugs! How Did They Get Into my House?

You probably picked them up! Bed bugs are hitchhiking insects. They move quickly and can easily attach themselves to your shoes, clothes, purse or luggage. Once you make it home, they can crawl off and settle into your home.


How Could Bed Bugs Infest my House? I'm Such a Clean Person!

A bed bug infestation is not indicative of a person’s hygiene or cleaning habits. The pests can be picked up anywhere, from luxury hotels to the office chair you sit in every day.

They are nocturnal insects and are incredibly adept at hiding, so the likelihood of confirming their presence without a pest management professional is small. There is no need to take the news of bed bugs personally; the important thing is to take the proper steps to eliminate the invasive population from your home.

Are Bed Bugs Fangerous?

Bed bugs tend to be most active between the hours of midnight and 5 am and like the old nursery rhyme warns, they will bite their human host to intake a blood meal.

Upon awakening, a bed bug victim may find numerous small bite marks, which can vary in appearance. Some people may show no signs of biting, but that does not rule out the possibility of the presence of bed bugs.

At this time, bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases through their bites. However, the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency have identified bed bugs as “pests of some public health significance,” due to psychological effects that bed bugs have on their hosts.

These can include paranoia, anxiety and depression. In rare instances, some victims may exhibit an allergic reaction to some of the bed bug’s salivary proteins and victims experiencing severe infestations may become anemic because of how many bites they have suffered from.

Does it Matter Which K-9 Inspects My property?

All American Pest K-9s achieve the same degree of specialized training. You can anticipate equal levels of accuracy from each and every dog on our bed bug detection team.


Why Does American Pest Use K-9s to Find Bed Bugs?

American Pest believes that K-9s are more skilled than humans at detecting bed bugs. Specially trained K-9s are able to detect the presence of live bed bugs within minutes, whereas humans are simply not as accurate or efficient.

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to locate during the first stages, when only a few bugs may be present. But it is by odor, not by sight, that bed bug dogs are able to inspect and detect bed bugs in hotel rooms, apartment homes, and townhouses.

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L. Jones - Laurel, MD

 They were respectful workers that were excellent, timely, reasonable, and thorough. It was worth every penny!


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 The service technician was punctual, courteous, and very thorough. He took the time to explain each step in the process to treat our home. And, the services have resulted in a reduction/near elimination of pests in and around our home.

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 American Pest service technicians are always willing to take their time and listen to concerns, answer questions and crawl around checking out areas that may show signs of intruding insects or rodents.

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