The most common method of studying bed bugs is to do literature searches. While there is some utility to this approach I find I learn more with hands on learning – especially since relatively little has been published about bed bugs. But hands on learning can sometimes be limited because the exterminator, working by the hour or contract, only spends perhaps an hour or two in a suite and the back ground of bed bug behaviour in an individual suite can be missed. If one can not stop to reflect and learn it is difficult to become proficient in the art of bug killing. This is especially true of the cases that prove difficult to eradicate. I am fortunate, as a landlord, that I do not need to chase customers to feed my family so I have the luxury of taking time to reflect and learn.
Usually when I address bed bugs the clients are completely ignorant of the facts about bed bugs and a fair bit of time must be taken for their education. But sometimes the clients have lived with bed bugs so long that they have become experts in their own right on the subject. For example, a tenant living in a rooming house stated he had a fool proof method of determining if he had bed bugs in his room. I was initially very skeptical but as he showed me his method I soon swallowed my skepticism. This tenant had a bed with encasements which prevented the bugs from harbouring on the bed proper. But the tenant had his pillow leaning against a shelf system by the head of the bed. On the shelf he had pieces of of carpet slightly suspended with small slivers of wood. Given that bugs are usually found at the head of the bed, and other harbourage areas were reduced, this monitoring system would work very well. If bed bugs were present he always found them under the carpet. Ingenious.
As a result I always pay attention to these folks with on the ground experience. If you have a chance to talk to persons such as rooming house residents, hotel house keeping staff, inner city apartment block caretakers, hands on rental operators, etc you should pay attention to what they have to say. Some of these folks are more knowledgeable than the exterminator standing at your door.