Let me start by wishing you Happy Holidays, whether that greeting is belated, early, or just about right on time (depending on your holiday and when you tune in!)
Holidays are a bad time to be suffering from bed bugs. We could all use a little cheering up now and then, and many of us now more than ever. Here are the greatest hits of bed bug blogs: those who fought them and won. Remember, to get the full inspirational feeling, go to the oldest post in the blog on bed bugs, and work your way forward.
First, single-family home, light infestation: Bed Bug War: this fellow fought bed bugs in a single-family dwelling. I hesitate in sharing this as my one example of a single-family home dweller fighting bed bugs: I am not sure it’s representative. He did not hire an exterminator, just isolated the bed (see FAQs) and used Raid. But he did get rid of his problem. (Editor’s note: this was probably a light infestation and it was in a one-family home. I would not recommend that anyone try to fight bed bugs without an experienced PCO. If you’re in a multi-unit dwelling, you’re definitely going to need more than this. Even in a single home, remember, if your first attempts do not work, you can make the problem much harder to treat, and allowing the bed bugs to breed. You’ve been warned!)
Second, multi-unit dwelling, serious infestation: BBRUG. Start at the bottom to get the whole story. In a nutshell: she was fighting them by herself (no PCO) for 14 months, at which point the whole building was found to be infested and was treated. A year later they came back, but a month after that, she was bit for the last time. I think this tells us a few things: first, try to get your landlord to treat your whole building, or at least to check the whole building (an experienced-with-bedbugs PCO should do this). Second, do not simply treat yourself–get the landlord to have someone experienced come in. Even though BBRUG does not think they started with her, the fact that she was working on treating them in isolation probably did not help. Third, even when you see them come back, or are still being bitten after multiple treatments, and feel desperate, don’t give up. One thing a lot of these stories have in common is that even when they’re almost-almost-gone, you will be bitten. And then you won’t. Keep treating until you’re not, but don’t assume it will go on forever. Yay, BBRUG!
Like BBRUG, Caitlin of the BedBugBlog (founder of the Yahoo Bedbugger Group, from which we sprang) also had a serious situation in a multi-unit dwelling, and also did not move to solve her infestation. Again, the whole building had to be treated for there to be any success. And again, there were additional bites without the whole darn thing starting all over again. Start at the oldest posts, and note that she stops being bitten sometime around October 2005, over 14 months ago. Yay, Caitlin!
Finally, there are those in multi-unit dwellings who made the hard choice to leave for a new home. Please note that we know this does not always work. You can actually get rid of everything you own, move with what’s on your back, and nevertheless, somehow, end up with bed bugs in the new place. With that in mind, it’s worth studying what people did who managed to move without the suckas following them. I give you Windy City Mike’s battle with bed bugs, which started in May 2005 and ended with a successful move near the end of the year. (Note: Windy City Mike’s bed bug story is offline for the foreseeable future; we hope it will return soon and I am leaving this as a placeholder.)
A Big Fat Waste of Time offers a harrowing story, in which the hero felt she had to get rid of everything she owned and move in order to escape bed bugs. Though this would seem to represent what is many bed bug sufferers’ worst nightmare, the conclusion is spiritually uplifting, and this account made me feel like the worst case scenario would be okay, if that’s what it comes to. After moving to escape the bed bugs, ABFWoT tells us:
I start my new job on the 23rd and spend the first week going back and forth between work, the new apartment, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I have only three shirts to wear to work. Out of fear of carrying luggage on the plane from Texas, I bought only enough clothes as I could fit in a small duffle bag, which I kept on my lap. On the 29th, while liberals march through Chelsea with anti-Bush signs, I run from Rockaway Bedding to Jensen Lewis to find a platform bed made of steel. I tell the saleslady at Rockaway that I am glad I found a steel bed.
“Bed bugs?” she asks. She knows.
It arrives tomorrow between 8 and 12. In the meantime, I am sleeping on an air mattress on the floor.
At the end of my first week back, I make one final trip to the old building to pick up the cable boxes I’d left in such a hurry. It turns out the cable company will charge me $200 a box if I don’t turn them in. I wear one of my parent’s old t-shirts which I brought with me from Texas especially for this day. I wear some new Adidas shorts, which I am sad to part with. I meet the landlord there. He gives me the boxes. I turn in my keys. I go to the cable office in my t-shirt and shorts and turn in the boxes. I go to my gym, throw away my t-shirt and shorts, shower, and put on one of my work outfits and go to work. I can’t believe I never have to set foot in that place again.
The next day is my birthday. It feels more like a rebirth day.
“I’m starting over in a new apartment, with a new job, with nothing,” I tell my friend Margaret, an immigrant from cold-war Poland, herself.
“Like a baby,” she smiles at me.
Yes. Like a newborn baby.
Now some of my readers are going to say, but Nobugs, that’s not the worst-case scenario. (Again, you can move and not escape them.) But I think we can learn a thing or two about the degree to which ABFWoT went to move away from the bugs.
The point of this post is inspiration, and I hope these accounts provide you with some, as they do me. There are many other wonderful bed bug blogs out there; I’ve chosen these partly for their inspirational and educational value, as well as the fact that their bed bug posts were easy to find, which is not always the case, when bed bugs take over a personal blog. There are also blogs that mention ongoing bed bug struggles and I’ve left those out here. But in reviewing the blogosphere, I want to mention one more source of inspiration: a priceless story of bedbug romance, from Bugged Out.
If you successfully showed your bed bugs the door, please add your own success story below.
Still fighting bed bugs? Click here to read the latest “Tales of Bed Bug Woe,” and leave your story there instead.