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Visitors Are Just Part of the Nightmare

Monday March 4, 2013

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Mr Pest Control

Question:

What different kinds of larvae can you find in beds?

Chris, AZ

Mr Pest Control

Answer:

Well, this is an interesting question, and I'm not sure just yet where this response is going to go, so we'll just get started. First of all, I guess I would say that there are NO kinds of larvae that anyone should routinely expect to find in beds. About the only bugs that would visit a bed for some purpose in their lifestyles would be bed bugs and other nighttime blood feeders, like mosquitoes or kissing bugs. Mosquito larvae, of course, are restricted to water and the bed bugs and kissing bugs do not have "larvae" as their early stages, but instead have "nymphs". Either of these could crawl to the bed from some nearby hiding place to feed on a sleeping person, and over the past couple of years I have been sent images of kissing bug nymphs found in bedrooms that clearly had recently fed on someone. 


But, plenty of other critters seem to accidentally find their way onto or into beds as well. A few times over the years I have seen the larvae of Snakeflies in beds. These predatory insects have nothing to do with a bed or people, so their presence there was purely by chance as the fast-moving larva looked for some hiding place. Carpet beetle larvae also tend to show up now and then as they wander around a home looking for things to destroy, and you may even find certain moth larvae wandering onto a bed, such as casemaking clothes moths or the active Indian meal moth larvae. But, this would not be some habit of these insects, but simply an accident. 

I also have a wonderful and growing collection of images of other things found in beds that the occupants of that bed swore were biting them. Most of these things turn out to be fuzz and other kinds of debris, but a number of them are plant seeds. When someone is increasingly paranoid about things crawling on them or biting them at night, everything small and out of place in their bed seems to develop bug-like habits and appearances. This is the tremendous value of having a decent dissecting microscope available in the pest control office, allowing you to examine these kinds of things at high magnification so you can rule out or verify whether it actually is an arthropod. 

If, in your situation, you have a customer who believes they are finding some critters in their bed you need to gather the samples and make sure a positive ID is made. And, until you know exactly what you are dealing with, no insecticide applications should be made. 

Mr. Pest Control

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