Why Bed Bugs Are Hard To Control

Dr. Harold Harlan © Armed Forces Pest Management Board (with permission)

Bed bugs are very difficult to detect early in an infestation when they are most easily treated.  Early infestations are less difficult to eliminate, there are few visible signs of a very early infestation and monitoring devices on the market are not very effective. Canine bed bug inspections paired with visual confirmation of findings is the most effective way to identify and pinpoint early infestations.

By the time there are readily apparent signs of infestation, the bed bug population has grown and become harder to treat.  Once there are visible signs of a bed bug infestation, the bed bug population may have reached large numbers and be spread throughout the site.

There is a lack of awareness and education about bed bugs.  As a result, people often overlook the signs of infestation until it is very large.
People often try do-it-yourself insecticides and other non-chemical treatments which make the infestation worse.  Many of these treatments , repel rather than kill bed bugs, spreading the infestation further into the structure.

Bed bugs can be reintroduced at any time after treatment. Clients must be educated about bed bug prevention and take precautions to prevent reintroducing bed bugs into their home.
Bed bugs are developing pesticide resistance. New studies are indicating that some bed bugs have developed the ability to produce enzymes which break down toxic chemicals in commonly used pesticides. These enzymes allow pesticides to be excreted without harming the bed bug. This pesticide resistance developed as a result of repeated exposure to pyrethroid pesticides.
Bed bugs harbor in deep, inaccessible areas, protected from pest control treatments.

Bed bug eggs protect the unborn nymphs from pesticides. Days and weeks later, the nymphs hatch and reinfest the site. (For this reason, follow-up pest control treatments are almost always needed.) Bed bug eggs are extremely difficult to locate because they are the size of a couple of grains of salt. They can be scattered around the room in the most unlikely locations. Also, bed bug eggs are cemented to the surface where they are laid, making them difficult to physically remove with a vacumn cleaner.

Bed bug control requires a great deal of work on the part of the residents and other involved parties to ensure pest control is effective. For example, reducing clutter is essential to the success of the program. A cluttered environment provides bed bugs with innumerable hiding places that are difficult to treat. Many pest control efforts fail because of lack of cooperation from occupants.