I think I saw a bed bug. Is it time to burn all of my belongings?
January 30, 2014 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I think I saw a bed bug on a wall near my bed. What now?

So last night, I noticed a small black dot moving across my wall. I killed it and threw it in the trash. Then I thought, oh shit, what if it was a goddamn bed bug. Here are the important facts:

- It was small, round, dark brown, with six legs, antenna, and slow moving
- It was flat - so kind of hard to kill and was a little crunchy - no blood squeezed out - definitely not squishy
- I have no bites, welts, rashes, etc...
- I cannot find evidence of bed bugs on my mattress, bed sheets, or bed frame

Now what? Do I get the bed bug inspection people to come over? It certainly sounds like a bed bug but I can't be sure. I really wish I had a picture to show but I cannot find it. It was dry so it fell to the bottom of the trash can where it's irretrievable.
posted by joeyjoejoejr to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
You can get an inspector to come out and do an evaluation. They know what to look for and if you do have a problem, you want to catch it as soon as possible so it can be contained. We had this done once in our building after someone spotted something in another apartment - a nice guy came with a bug-sniffing beagle and gave us the all-clear (our neighbors weren't so lucky but because they caught it early they didn't have to destroy very much and I don't even think they needed to relocate).
posted by Mchelly at 6:43 PM on January 30, 2014

Relax and wait to see if you see another bug, evidence on your sheets/box spring/mattress, etc
posted by amaire at 6:53 PM on January 30, 2014

It would be weird to see a bedbug on the wall (usually a sign of a pretty serious infestation) and nothing else. You may not react to bedbug bites, so welts aren't definitive, though.

Do you live in an apartment building? Does anyone else above or next to you have bedbugs that you know of?

There are a variety of bugs that look like bedbugs - beetles mostly, sometimes small roaches.

I'd go with a bedbug dog, if I were to get an inspector out.

Remember that you can heat-treat most of your belongings rather than destroying them - upholstered furniture is difficult to deal with but other things can generally be treated. If and only if you get a bedbug diagnosis, consult bedbugger.com for methods - don't look until then, because otherwise it will drive you nuts, since like most forums, the people who post a lot have the worst cases. Many people have nuisance cases, not "burn my life to the ground, no sleep for a year" cases.
posted by Frowner at 6:59 PM on January 30, 2014

Is it truly irretrievable? I don't know if this is unusual, but an exterminator near me has a bedbug expert who will look at your squashed bug under a microscope, if necessary, and tell you what it is. If you can find it, check around and see if you can find someone near you who will identify it for you (in my case, my specimens were part of a carpet beetle and a seed of some kind).
posted by amro at 7:10 PM on January 30, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, I live in an apartment building with roommates. Buildings in the neighborhood are on the bed bug registry. Although I live in NYC so I think that's kind of unavoidable.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2014

Do not throw anything away. Unless the infestation is beyond ridiculous there really is no need, unless you are uber rich and can just afford to replace everything without blinking and not denting your fiances one bit. AND thowing everything out may not even end an infestation, those bugs can hide in things like electrical outlits.

If your really worried, I'd get an inspector. But, if you are willing to wait, a little double sided tape on the side of your mattress near the seam will catch some and you will know.

There are tons of instructional materials about identifying and treating bedbugs. I advise just googleing and looking at resources from large cities such as New York or Chicago.

Good Luck.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:19 PM on January 30, 2014

there are a lot of little round bugs in the world. little beetles, etc. don't freak out yet. freak out if you get bites.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:20 PM on January 30, 2014

Actually, only some people react to bed bug bites, so don't wait until you have bites to do something because if you're a non-reactor you may already be being bitten and not show any signs. Have either the bug or your apartment checked out.
posted by sumiami at 9:53 PM on January 30, 2014

It's possible to treat bed bugs without throwing anything away. It's also possible that it lives in the cracks in the floor or in a wall outlet and even throwing everything away would not fix it. So just sit tight and observe for now. If you see it again, put it in a zip lock so the pest inspector can look at it.
posted by ethidda at 9:54 PM on January 30, 2014

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