Ask your bed bug questions / share your tales of bed bug woe here

by nobugsonme on February 1, 2007 · 112 comments

in bed bugs

New readers: if you have a current infestation and want your questions answered, or want feedback of some kind, this is the place to post your message. Click comments to do so.

I’ll start things off with Redhead, who asked in the “What are bed bugs?” FAQ“:

Redhead posted on Feb 1st 2007 at 10:31 pm
I have a bedbug infestation. This situation is completly new to me. Is it possible with this bedbug infestation to salvage both my mattress, box springs and fabric hide-a-bed? I have been told that covering both pieces of the bed in plastic would suffocate the bugs.

Redhead, sorry for your troubles with bed bugs,but you came to the right place. First, you need to go back and read the relevant FAQs, starting with “Think You Have Bed Bugs? Some Do’s and Don’ts.” The FAQs on getting a Pest Control Operator, tenants, and doing your own pest control are probably also key. The three FAQs on protecting your bed will answer the question posed above. Then come back and let us know what else we can help with.

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1 nobugsonme February 1, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Buggedinbrooklyn’s response, moved from the place Redhead left the question:

buggedinbrooklyn // Feb 1st 2007 at 10:50 pm

redhead,

for starters, please read all the FAQ on the top of this page–and the “Where do I start?” link also.

yes it’s best to use mattress covers to lock them in/keep them out. I find that plastic covers are great for the box spring as it doesn’t alow the chemicals to enter the cover. any bugs try to walk up the boxspring will pass the chemicals easy.

I’m sure others will chime in too, but do some reading, get a good PCO, and start dealing with a plan as to what your doing with all the clothes and stuff in your house. bugilina will also help remind you to patch up all the cracks and holes you have in your walls and moldings.

good luck, and keep asking questions.

buggedinbrooklyn

2 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:22 am

From SBM:

SBM // Feb 2nd 2007 at 1:24 am

Hi.

Myself and two friends recently rented an apt in Queens. We just got the keys and started moving small stuff in. We haven’t moved any furniture or matresses or anything in yet. The most we had was our clothes in suitcases and some boxes and my roomate was sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag and blankets while she waited for her bed to come.

Well, the first night she slept there (Wednesday night) she was attacked. We weren’t sure at first it was bed bugs though it was our first worry. But we called the super right away just to be cautious (esp since we hadn’t moved any furniture/matress in yet) and it turns out the upstairs neighbors have been fighting an ifestation for the last month. (ACTUALLY at first he tried to blame it on us- that we brought it in- though none of us had any bedbug problems at our last homes- until we ran into our upstairs neighbors who told us they had an infestation. Little pissed about THAT)

Well, none the less we already got him to get an exterminator in and everything we’ve moved in already is going straight into the dryer and bagged up.

My question is this though: when do you all think it’s safe to move our beds and furniture in? All three of us are in no financial place really to get new things so we have to be REALLY careful with this. And one of my roomates has nowhere really to stay except couch surfing off the kindness of others which can’t last that long. Not to mention that the three of us basically put all the money in our savings accounts into the security deposit and first month’s on this place- we’d REALLY like to be able to fully move in and when I say we aren’t in great finances I mean it. We can’t afford NOT to live in this place.

When do you think it be safe to bring our stuff in and live there? I mean, I’m super greatful we caught this before we brought the furniture/beds in but all this reading has been making me really freaked that it takes months to deal with it- and I’m not going to pay months of rent on an apt I’ve never gotton to live in.

3 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:06 am

Buggedinbrooklyn gave us a status update in the comments of the last “Share your tales” thread. Bugged–you said you had not slept in the couch in 2 weeks, but it also sounds like you haven’t been in that apartment to sleep.

It’s really important if you are using conventional pesticides as well as DE and other dusts, that you are sleeping in the apartment, and preferably in any bed or sofa or anywhere else you used to sleep. You can treat the room, but if nobody is sleeping there, the bugs will wait indefinitely (and certainly weeks and months) for you to come back.

If you’re in the bedroom, it might help lure out the ones in the sofa, so that might be the best way to go for awhile, because I know you don’t want to get in that sofa anytime soon.

If some of those bugs are lured out, they’ll encounter the pesticides and die.

There also may be additional pesticides you can use on that sofa. I know its leather, but if you really want to save it, you might need a PCO’s help, or at least to be very aggressive with the pesticides as well as sleeping in the apt. to draw them out.

I am not a PCO, obviously, and know less than others. Maybe Jess has some ideas.

Oh, Buggedinbrooklyn, this advice I am giving you is lousy–who wants to sleep in such a setting? Does your sister REALLY want that sofa?

(I bet if you could invite her over and get her to come over and sit in it for an hour, she’d be cured of that.)

4 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:48 am

SBM–that is terrible, that when confronted, your super blamed you, knowing full well an adjacent unit was infested when your apartment was vacant.

If I were you, I would consider the fact that you probably have grounds for the return of your entire deposit and any rent paid, except for the time you’ve actually lived there.

Since you’re in NYC, call Met Council on Housing (http://www.metcouncil.net/), nobody knows the law like they do. They’re not lawyers, but they can tell you what your rights are. I know you probably can’t afford a lawyer or to lose that money, but you may well be entitled to get it all back if you want to cause a fuss.

People have blogged elsewhere about getting out of a lease, and in this case, where you just moved in, it seems like it might be worth trying.

Especially–again since you’re in NYC–if they think you might report them to 311 with their little housing violation. Maya Rudolph is suing under similar circumstances, and though her loft cost 13,500, you have as much right to rent an uninfested place as she does.

The actual answer to your question is that it can be very hard to get rid of bed bugs in a multi-unit dwelling. How many other units in the building? More may be infested. Each one makes it harder to get rid of. If your neighbor has been fighting for a month, it may be 2-3 more, IF the landlord hired a PCO who knows what they’re doing and is treating every two weeks.

If the landlord hired a second-rate PCO, or hired a good one but the other tenants with infestations are not following the treatment plan EXACTLY, or–in fact–if the bugs are now travelling around the building via wall voids and pipes, you might have bed bugs for months. Or years.

That is extreme, yes. But it is a bad sign that you’re in a building with bed bugs in multiple apartments.

Whatever you do, don’t bring your stuff in. I’d fight this using whatever advice services you can, and whatever leverage you can muster. The landlord may be glad to see you go –with your money– rather than report them to 311 and take possible legal action.

5 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 3:51 am

Treehvn asked:

treehavn // Feb 1st 2007 at 6:03 am

I have a query which doesn’t appear to be answered elsewhere on the site (it’s hard to tell, there’s a lot of information on here). Can anyone give me advice about how their bedbug infestations reacting to the PCO treatment? I see it says it takes 12-14 days to begin working on here (our bloke is coming back to respray after 3 weeks, standard procedure for that company) and it’s been a week since the first spray. I’ve found a few full-grown bugs in the bedroom acting pretty groggy (easy to find and kill), but now we seem to have a second batch of younger (I presume) bugs in the toilet area. Any advice/personal experiences you can share on this one? Cheers.

6 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 3:56 am

Tree, after each treatment, you should see less activity. Try to get them to re-spray after 12-14 days which many PCOs do as standard. (The eggs take 10-14 days to hatch, so waiting an extra week gives them time to bite and grow/)

Sometimes people think it isn’t working if they’re still being bitten after even several treatments, but don’t stop unless you have reason to think your PCO does not know what s/he’s doing. In which case, switch, and keep treating every 12-14 days until you’re bug and bite free. Completely.

Are they treating the whole apt.? The presence in the toilet suggests they may be coming in on the pipes or through the wall voids. Type “pipes” in the search box. Get the PCO to treat the point of entry in the toilet area.

7 S. February 2, 2007 at 11:04 am

This is in response to Buggedinbrooklyn coming back to try out the couch, and Nobugs’s response that you have to be there to lure them out.

I am still very curious about how quickly bedbugs can and will move around an apartment to find you. For example, they obviously knew we slept in the bed, and were probably habitating somewhere near the bed. But then, after we isolated, I stopped getting bit in the bed. Two nights later, I sat on the couch for an hour before one bit me there (I know it was there, I saw the bug).

Just to play out the example, did this bug sense me on the couch from 20 feet away, come walking over from its previous home in the bedroom, and bite me on the couch? And did this take a full hour? Or was this bug more likely already in the couch?

And if it did come from the bedroom, did it take an hour because that’s how long it took him to smell me? Or did he just walk slowly because he had to find hidden walkways in the floors or walls? (I have heard that they typically won’t just walk across an open floor).

I am asking because, like many of us, I have to spend SOME time in my apartment each day. While I am trying to spend as little time there as possible, I have to sleep there, and I have to get up and eat breakfast, and I have to come home at night and shower and get the mail and eat dinner. I have been doing all these things as quickly as possible, and trying to never sit down or stop moving. But it’s maddening, to live like this.

I know there are no rules, but like, let’s say they are now in the couch. If I sit on a stool 10 feet away, will they come over to the stool? And how long might that take?

If anyone has info on how they can move about an apartment, or how quickly, I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

8 buggedinbrooklyn February 2, 2007 at 11:09 am

hi NBOM,

your right, I have been in the house, but I have not stayed to sleep in the house at all.
so, I was well aware that I would be a welcome snack if I would sleep on the couch. yet I need to be bait to see just how well I’m doing in my fight against the bugs.
I just have not ever cought them cralling on me while I’m trying to sleep before…it was very tramatic to say the least.

the problem is two fold when it comes to the couch.
first it’s leather, like you pointed out. the next is that it is hard to force the bugs to take a path that is sprayed in order to reach thier meal…me.
so it’s always going to be easy for them to feed on me if I sleep on the couch. but I’m sure that I’m killing a lot by all my spraying…yet I agree, that I may need to start going crazy, and “over spray” every 5-7 days, or something like that.

also, I realy fear that if a PCO tryed to spray the couch for me, my clean up will be far worse to the point that the couch might be ruined.
Kleen Free seems to be the only safe product to apply on the leather it’s self, yet I could be missing something.
I’m spraying the couch with D-Force, but I’m trying to avoid spraying the outside of the couch…just spraying the insides heavy.

I don’t think the bugs in the couch are willing to travel any time soon.
I have wall to wall carpeting, and I just don’t see them anyplace in the carpets…not even near the couch.
I do vacumme, just not as much as I maybe should.
I also stay at my computer desk for hours at a time, and I’m sure they will try to reach a good meal if they want to, yet the path from the couch to my dest has lots of dust and spray inbetween the parts of the couch, tables, desk, and walls…let them come and try to reach me while I’m at my desk. I dare them!

I have no idea how good, sprays like suspend last on carpet, but I litely dusted the carpet toward the other way from the couch too (under the other wooden table)….
if they want to tavel they have work to do to reach me. yet there are holes in this strategy. I can’t dust or spray in places that I walk, so they have free rain to roam in the open if they want.
again, I just don’t see any adults in the carpet trying to travel.

what my next plan is that I’ll respray my couch tonight, and stay again in the house to sleep. yet this time in a far safer place like my bed.
I will spend time sitting on the couch to draw them out, and make them active, yet I will not sleep there for a while. I don’t think anyone could blame me for not sleeping in the couch.

I agree that I need to stay here for a few days to keep them active.
the last thing I want is to force them to starve and then go nuts on me again.

sadly, after spending over $8000 on my dad’s arangements, I’m broke.
no more money for Kleen Free or cans of D-Force.

I might be able to borrow more money, but it will be still hard.
I used to split many bills with my dad, such as my over the top, insurance bill for “our” brand new car.
over 10 years of not driving shot my insurance up to $6000 a year.
if you think it’s hard buying $100 worth of bug spray, try spending over $500 on insurance per month.

anyway, my plans are changing and I’ll get past this next stage.
I’m a warrior. them bedbugs better watch out if they know what’s good for them.

buggedinbrooklyn

9 nightshirt February 2, 2007 at 12:58 pm

First i would like to apologise to nbom. i thought i had my last spray last weekend but i think i have a bite on my arm this morning. i stayed on the couch for a few nights and nothing and lst night in my bed. it turns out they came from out from the switchplate behind my bed from construction upstairs. pco drioned it and i dont know if i really got bit in my bedroom or psychologically im fucked.

at any rate i would like a the link for kleen free and DE please. i found a few kleen free sites with different looking bottles so i dont know which one to choose. i would be grateful for that.

i too am wondering how long a bite takes to come out. i also have read up to 7-9 days. is there an absolute outside number? i think ill call or e-mail that lady in virginia that was recommended.

someone wrote “how do you take a cab, subway, etc.” I have decided to not be stupid but do all the things i would be pre-bb days. i cant get so wrapped up that it hampers my fun in life. like rudy said – go about your life – dont let them win. but OMG – maybe that is the wrong decision.

does anyone know what happened at the city hall meeting in septamber 2006?

and sorry again nbom.

10 S. February 2, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Hey Nightshirt, I bought my Kleen Free on Amazon. Here is the link.

Kleen Free Naturally, (32 oz. Concentrate)

You know what’s funny, I ordered it about two weeks ago, and now its title includes the words “Bedbug Eliminator.” It didn’t say that, even two weeks ago! Somebody must be listening.

I have the same question as you, about how long before bites appear. I have reason to suspect that mine may be up to 4 days later. I emailed Dini Miller, the woman at Virginia Tech, but have not yet gotten a response. I will certainly let you know if I do! Maybe you should try calling her – I wouldn’t want to bother her, but if she has this information, there’s no reason not to share it.

If you do call, let us know what she says!

11 S. February 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm

One more thing, about Kleen Free – my PCO looked at the bottle, and he was a little skeptical. He said that if it didn’t have an actual “active ingredient” in it, that was chemical-based, that it wouldn’t necessarily kill bedbugs.

But he said its label did carry many of the same warnings that regular insecticides do. He just wasn’t sure of its effectiveness. And he’d never heard of it.

Has anyone ever actually seen Kleen Free kill a bedbug?

(Just trying to challenge groupthink!)

12 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Hi All,

Nightshirt– why the apologies? In any case, no need. But I am confused! I hope I wasn’t giving you a hard time!

If you want to know how to avoid spreading bed bugs, we have a FAQ on that. Let us know if you have further questions. I think some precautions are a good idea. And if you have a car, think about precautions preventing spreading them there. One Bedbugger just had a car treated by a special PCO 6-7 times to get rid of bed bugs in the car. If they’re in your car, they will come back in your home. Most PCOs don’t do cars, but they will know someone who does.

I would not bother Dini Miller about the number of days until bites appear. It is public knowledge, spread by entomologists via the press, that the bites can take up to 9 days to appear. Most of us notice them sooner, though not immediately. I _think_ mine appear within a day, and they usually start itching after a shower (I think the heat brings them out). I don’t remember anyone saying that they were bitten in a hotel and the bites appeared 9 days later, but the literature suggests this is the maximum time frame.

I do recall people being bitten in hotels for several days but not noticing the first night or two. Many others DO notice the next day.

But really, unless you see yourself bitten, and have only one bite, it is impossible to be sure.

As S. says, you can buy Kleenfree on Amazon, and the different bottles are both different sizes as well as concentrated vs. ready to use. The concentrated is mixed with water and you’ll need a spray bottle from a hardware store.

I have not bought DE but Geoff at dirtworks sells DE and is a reader of the blog and he might answer questions you have. You could email him at dirtworks dot vermont at gmail dot com. (I altered the email so spammers don’t get it.)

Nightshirt, forgive me for forgetting your situation, but is a PCO working on this for you? If so, you might want to check what they’re doing before getting DE. If not, why not?

Bugged–your story reminds me of why some people do throw out couches even though PCOs say it isn’t necessary (and even though we know this can lead to problems when our neighbors take the stuff: hello, permanent infestation in the building!)

My heart goes out to you. You are a warrior.

I am kind of a sissy (I mean that in the nicest possible way). My instinct is that these mo-fos must die. But my other, conflicting instinct is to walk out and become a wandering nomad.

Seriously, if I am going to have no posessions and be bitten by insects while I sleep, why not do it somewhere more scenic?

13 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:12 pm

S. about the Kleen Free: the claim is that it does something to the bugs exoskeleton, which eventually kills them. I can’t help with evidence.

I am not a strong advocate of these things, though lots of people feel better using them, and they’re certainly safer as far as using on a bed or clothing or whatever.

Here’s the thing, if Kleen Free and other enzyme cleaners can kill bed bugs (and I am not disputing that), they can ONLY do it in one way: if the insect is sprayed directly.

90% alcohol will also kill bed bugs if sprayed directly on them.

Makers of enzymatic cleaners say their stuff is more effective than alcohol–fine.

But look, my problem with bed bugs is not killing ones I can see. I can’t see my bed bugs, because they are holed up somewhere, chilling out, until I am in REM sleep. Or working at the computer so seriously I am ignoring them.

I think for a situation like Bugged’s sofa, KleenFree is not going to cut it. (As Bugged knows.) If you have bugs on your mattress and spray them directly, you will probably kill them. But the ones hiding in the mattress, between cracks in the wood, in the floor boards, hidden inside ANYTHING, are going to be safe.

Sometimes people come on the blog and think they will eliminate bed bugs with Kleen Free and a bit of DE and that’s it. I seriously doubt it. I hate “nasty pesticides” as much as anyone, but it’s impossible to eliminate bed bugs without drastic action (Thermapure and Vikane gas seem like the only options besides the traditional).

14 buggedinbrooklyn February 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm

S.,

I know I’ll get a lot of disagreements here on this subject matter, but I don’t think that bedbugs travel that much if posable….

yes, they can travel on pipes and wires behind walls if needed to find a new home with food in it.
but this seems like a last resort to me for the bugs.
after all, why travel if you have food at the ready?
why move to your couch, if they are by your bed and have plenty of food each night?
your bed is isolated? so..you really think they will stop trying to reach you in or around your bed?
sorry, but I feel it will take weeks or months to force a bedbug to seek out a better place to eat if you isolate your bed…IMHO. till then, they will keep trying. airborn, or other means, they will try.

me, I never realy isolated my bed. I just used mattress covers, and spray the boxspring and the bed frame. let them come after me…they will have to pass all the spraying and thus die sometime.
and if they keep comming after me, then they wont go to the next room or apartment….just my thoughts.

I also have a dining room table just 10 feet away from my couch.
there is no signs that they are even trying to travel to this table…and I spent plenty of time at it after my dad died. all the paper work, phone calls, lawer visits, and eating, still not one bug trying to travel to get a chance to bite me or others…..
this should speak volumes about how they are in your couch. yes, they are the best hitch hikers, and that’s how they are in your couch. you passed them to your couch without knowing it, and it’s not your fault. them damb bugs do it all the time this way.

it’s why in the beginning, I never traveled to even my family’s house on X-Mas or new years.
even now, I don’t like visitors in my house, and they are not alowed on my couch if they stay awile.

about Kleen Free, just look at many of my storys on the subject…yes, I have seen first hand how powerfull it kills bedbugs. far better then bedlam, that’s for sure. just look at many of my past posts and replys.
Kleen Free is the best contact killer IMHO…it kills instantly, on the spot, dead, dead, no more, dead.

buggedinbrooklyn

15 buggedinbrooklyn February 2, 2007 at 3:17 pm

S.,

you said….”Wow, bugged, thanks for your response. It’s so funny, how when someone has been living with bedbugs, they start to understand more about their nature, their “logic,” what they would be more likely to do or not do. I’m sorry that you’ve gotten to know them as well as you have.

But that’s really interesting, that they never came for you at the table, ten feet away from the couch. ”

look S., they are smart, but I’m the soldier in this war. they will try to find a meal, but I’m the one who can change stratergies on them.
to them, thier home in the couch is a great place to live and feed.
yes, they are hungry. yes, they need to eat. but they think I’ll be there to feed them every day. why should they not think that. after all, that’s how it was when my dad was alive, so why not now?

yet I do feel that they will walk a few feet if they get hungry and your not around to feed them. say from your bedroom chair to your couch.

but in my case, they have no reason to move. as long as I use the couch they will stay in it.
in your case, if you stoped using the chair, I see no reason for them not to try to reach you to feed at the couch.

but it is more likely that they just hitched a ride to the couch, long before that bite. long before.

just my thoughts,
buggedinbrooklyn

16 S. February 2, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Nobugs, you are not a sissy. You are doing more for this issue than practically anyone. A sissy would rid herself of bedbugs, then never speak of it again.

A question about throwing stuff out: My boyfriend and I are now thinking we want to throw out our dressers. They are cheap, they are old, they are empty, they will probably stay empty for months, and they are taking up space in the bedroom.

How can we dispose of them safely? I’ve heard space bags are good, but they don’t appear to make one large enough for a dresser. Should we try like, wrapping them in tarps or something? Spray painting them?

17 nobugsonme February 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Thanks S–I just mean it in terms of staying in a home with bed bugs and treating them with chemicals indefinitely.

It takes another kind of courage to start a blog, and yet another to wander the earth and make your home among strangers: I’m extremely brave in those departments. 😉

Got an axe? I would hack that thing to pieces. Saving that, I’d break the drawers at least, so it is not useable even after a paint job, and paint BED BUGS: BEWARE on every piece in English and Spanish (someone here can probably help with getting the grammar right on that). Trash pickers from your building, or trash pickers who roam the streets and collect stuff to re-sell, are remarkably inventive. They’ll paint over the warning.

I also think hacking and painting warnings are both good because it’s actually NICE that your neighbors see the words “bed bugs”. They need to know they’re in your neighborhood. They need to think about whether they pick up the other items on the block that don’t have the warning.

I’d slash a mattress or sofa if that were the item.

A bag, however, will do nothing.

18 S. February 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Wow, bugged, thanks for your response. It’s so funny, how when someone has been living with bedbugs, they start to understand more about their nature, their “logic,” what they would be more likely to do or not do. I’m sorry that you’ve gotten to know them as well as you have.

But that’s really interesting, that they never came for you at the table, ten feet away from the couch.

My bed is isolated, with the triple obstacle course of carpet tape, mineral oil and vaseline. It’s on risers, away from walls and furniture, and with two encasings each on mattress and box spring. When I was bit on the couch, two days after doing the isolation, it was the first time (I think) that I was bit outside of bed.

So I assumed that they saw or tried the bed, couldn’t get past the barriers, and then decided to seek me out in the rest of the house. Maybe it’s not so cut and dry.

We did have a chair in the bedroom, which we moved out into the living room when the PCO came. He inspected and sprayed that chair, but it’s got big cushions so maybe they were inside it or something. Anyway, we left it out there. It wasn’t touching the couch, but it was about six feet away from it. Maybe that night, they just walked from the chair to the couch.

Or, to your point, I somehow brought them there otherwise, on my clothes or whatnot.

I agree with the strategy of keeping them in the bedroom, and making them try to come after me there. I didn’t want them to spread to other rooms. But it seems that they aren’t getting me in my bed anymore. I’ve had some bites since isolation, but most showed up in the evening, and we’ve had no blood smears since them either. Plus the feeling of control, of one place in your house, and the ability to rest and even sleep, is really helping.

So if what you’re saying is true, then I should probably assume they are in the couch. And the chair. And maybe also somewhere in the bedroom. Let’s say I were to sit at the kitchen counter, four feet from the couch, on a stool? Might I lure them out? I don’t want to stay too far away from the couch, but I don’t want to sit on it either!

Finally, about the Kleen Free, I am only using it to spray my shoes and coat pockets – places I can’t see very easily, and things that come in and out of the house frequently. I also spray my new “purse” (a paper gift bag that is thin and basic, yet conceals the ziploc inside holding my wallet and keys and phone). But I am not expecting KF to do any more than that – contact kill, just in case there is something there.

19 nightshirt February 2, 2007 at 3:58 pm

nbom – i got them in sept when i had my bathroom gutted. came in from the walls. i have written some pretty funny stuff on this site so check it out. first pco only used tempo – no igr or drione and i knew that it wouldnt work but i was in shock. then got a great one whose number i posted ont his site and we will see. did the bags, washing etc. isolated bed (but mine is platform and i did not vasoline the base). etc. and i dont have the energy to repeat but i had my last spray last saturday. if there is a god – show yourself now! i know that a kleen free does not substitute for an exterminator but i would feel better having something in hand when the pco isnt there. i never see them, except once, when they first reared but i would still feel better. i did buy some stuff for bb’s at the home depot. i do the baseboards once a week with that for my mind.

re: outside diligence – i was saying that i will do all the things i used to do but take the cautions before entering the house.

20 nightshirt February 2, 2007 at 3:58 pm

oh and registry is not loading.

(Editor’s note 2/3: the registry is loading for other people, and reports have been added for the last two days, so I think its fine. Try another browser if you’re still having trouble.)

21 jessinchicago February 2, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Hey Guys! I took a brief respite from bedbugging, and I missed so much!! I have responses for several individuals, so I’m going to write a couple different comments. Bear with me, okay?

This one is for Brooklyn: Would it be okay for me to email you? If so, Nobugs (who is the only one with access to your email address) can pass it on to me and I’ll write you.

I’m so pissed that you got so many bites and saw the bugs crawling on you. It just really kills me to hear that. All I can say is stay vigilant, stay strong and remember you will win eventually.

I continue to enjoy your anecdotes in the middle of all this crap going on in your life, I really do. Again, I found myself picturing the bug you sprayed three times (I actually pictured you poking at it to see if it was still twitching!) and I couldn’t help but giggle.

You’re making someone laugh, if nothing else.

Hugs.

Jess

22 buggedinbrooklyn February 2, 2007 at 11:02 pm

jess,

I don’t look at my email everyday so if I don’t reply right away don’t get mad.

I do welcome anyone to email me at micamica1217 at yahoo dot com

btw, yes, I did poke at it, and like his brother he “fliped me the finger” before I used Kleen Free on him….no longer will I use Bedlam after this last can is finished.
I just don’t think it works as good as Kleen Free….IMHO.

I also was thinking of leaving him by the couch, proped up on a toothpick as a warning to the rest of the bugs…yet I relised that they most likely would never take the hint. lol

anyway, I did spray my couch and bed with my last can of D-Force. oh, and my desk too. I even sat in the couch for 5 mins before I got up to frightened to sit any longer. ok, ok, I’m a wimp. but I’m going to sleep in my bed instead of sleeping at my lady’s house….and it’s much nicer to sleep with my lady then with bedbugs. trust me on this.

buggedinbrooklyn

23 Buggylicious February 2, 2007 at 11:12 pm

I agree with you BuggedinBrooklyn, I didn’t “isolate” my bed either, except the covers. For the same reason as you. Also I didn’t want my dog to drink the mineral oil…. however, I did try it, recently. I haven’t a clue if it’s working. I haven’t seen a bug lately either, nor have I gotten any bites in a week (last ones were nasty on back of neck). Just spray, wait, pray, wait, spray, wash, (spray-n-wash? ), wait, vacuum. That’s all I do.

24 nobugsonme February 3, 2007 at 12:28 am

Bugged–you are hilarious…

Buggy–my bed isn’t isolated either.

25 jessinchicago February 3, 2007 at 12:30 am

More to others tomorrow- got sidetracked and sleepy.

B-Licious, you’re on my list!

Smiles from the coldest place in the United States right now, aside from Alaska.

Jess

26 nobugsonme February 3, 2007 at 4:00 am

Nightshirt,
Thanks for the apology–I remembered now. Glad you’re back and no worries.

27 Buggylicious February 3, 2007 at 9:46 pm

I can’t tell if the reason I’m not getting bitten is because my treatments are working, or that it is just a “lull” and my bubble will burst in a day or two. This roller coaster is too much for me. It’s hard to hold on. I go out everyday like an actress, pretending everything is perfect, keeping my head up high, so no one notices that i am hiding the tattoo of the tiny terrorist ! How do others hold up outside of the home? Just curious. Also, how do I reintroduce my stuff? Last time I did it, I was attacked all over my body.

28 jessinchicago February 3, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Hey B-Licious.

I know it’s really tough to be fighting a war at home and trying to function normally elsewhere. You can’t really explain to people what you’re going through. You can try, and some will be sympathetic, but it seems no one really grasps the magnitude of what you’re dealing with. How could they? I remember thinking to myself, as I was trying to talk about it with friends, “You don’t get it, I know you don’t get it, and bless your heart for that. I don’t ever WANT you to understand!”.

Hey, it’s great news that you’re not getting bit! Who cares if it is a “lull”? It means you’re winning! It means damage is being done, it means the bugs are dying, it means you are conquering them. This is good.

I told another bedbugger this recently, and I want you to listen, okay? Remember that every bite you get means that a bug had to crawl through chemical to get to you. Every bite is certain death. The bugs are either crossing the chemical to get to you or crossing the chemical to go back into hiding. So every bite, now, puts you a little closer to victory. Think of those red welts as notches on your belt, B-Licious.

I remember, during the time after treatment, driving myself nuts trying to determine if the bugs were going to come for me, and where they were coming from, and how I could prevent it. In the end, I started repeating this mantra over and over in my head: “Jess, the little f*($&@s have been biting you for months. MONTHS. You’re still alive. You are not sick and you are not in pain. You’re pissed, but you are okay. Now relax and let the chemicals do their job.” After I repeated it about five thousand times, it started to work. Okay, I was getting a few bites, but so what? I was alive, and they were dying. Period.

About reintroduction- talk to your PCO and form a plan. That’s my best advice.

I’m thinking of you. You can do this. You’re over the worst of it now, and it’s going to slowly get better and better every day.

🙂

Jess

29 jessinchicago February 3, 2007 at 10:47 pm

S.-

I wanted to mention that there’s virtually no doubt in my mind that the bedbugs travelled to your living room on the fluffy chair that was moved out of the (infested) bedroom and into the living room. It’s a big no-no to take furniture from an infested room and put it in another area of the house- it usually spreads the infestation. I know you weren’t aware of this, but I don’t think you need to speculate any longer about how the bugs got into your living room so quickly. I don’t think it has much to do with you isolating your bed. I think they were in that chair, hid from the spraying your PCO did, and travelled into the living room when you moved the chair. Then, they set up camp on the couch. That’s totally normal.

Jess

30 jessinchicago February 3, 2007 at 10:56 pm

One other thought, based on a comment from Brooklyn. Bedbugs are NOT smart, people. They’re really not. They don’t think. They are incapable of thinking. They’re BUGS!

What they are amazing at is SURVIVING. Their survival instincts are incredible. So, you can outwit a bedbug, no problem, because you have a brain, and you can think. But it really helps to think like a bedbug acts. Strange, I know, but true. If you consider the behavior of a bedbug- which has three goals in life: to feed, to reproduce, and to avoid detection- you will be better equipped to deal with an infestation.

I credit Bugalina for this one. She told me once “Jess, you’ve got to think like a bedbug!”. She was right (except they don’t think- but I do!).

Jess

31 buggedinbrooklyn February 4, 2007 at 12:02 am

hi all,

well, no bites from the my bed last night, and I’m going to sleep again in my bedroom.
I’ll bet that I get no bites again. if I do, then I agree with jess, they will just have to cross the chemicals to reach me…and will die shortly.

btw, them couch bugs are hungry as hell. I noticed a young adult red bedbug out in the open on the back of my side of the couch. not even near a crease or near a hiding spot, but just out in the open ready to pounce on me. if he was the normal, black or dark brown ones, I would never even seen him. 1 shot of Kleen Free and I had another dead bug. I hope his brothers and sisters can smell his death….they’re next.

I think that I’m lucky…
my bedroom seems to be 98%-99% bug free.
sadly my couch might be another story, but at least I should have a good rest tonight.

I realy think that the lack of isolation of my beds helped kill them fast in the bedroom….if they want blood, they have to cross the chemicals.
death is in the air…and it smells good!!!

sadly, my PTSD (you would have PTSD too if you got 40 bites in one night) is kicking in high gear….
if you ladys remember, I always seem to itch as if I’m getting bitten. it really feels like they are always walking on me. mostly my legs, and feet…even with shoes on.
watching the remake of King Kong with Jack Black didn’t help…the bug part creaped me out big time.

hugs go out to all the warriors who are fighting this war, and to all who stay behind to help others in thier time of need.

buggedinbrooklyn

32 nobugsonme February 4, 2007 at 12:59 am

Nightshirt, I forgot to say, yes, I read EVERYTHING on this site, every last comment, including the ones I have to delete that are spam (you never see those). But sometimes I forget all the details of everyone’s saga, especially if it’s been a little while. There are just too many stories to keep track of, so please forgive me and remind me if need be.

Bugged, that red bug was red from his last supper.

(King Kong did it for me too!)

33 SBM February 4, 2007 at 1:37 am

nobugsonme- Thank you so much for your advice.

We are not moving into the apartment. We were in fact out and out lied to, I’ve learned that the lease actually had a page about bedbugs and stated the building was clean of them.

In actuality they have had this problem now we’ve learned for a year, the neighbors we’ve met suffering from it for a month.

They’ve breeched the lease and whilst the money has yet to be given back to us we have every confidence that the money will be returned. They lied, out and out, and breached the lease. And if they DO give us any issue they will uniquivically be reported on and suffer the consequences- we have ZERO sympathy for that landlord after being lied to like that. To be honest, we’re tempted to report them anyway, but we’ll see, there may be good reasons none of the other tennants have done so and we are only going to do this as a last resort.

I just can’t beleive the audacity that the landlord thought he could get away with lying to potential tennants on this matter and thinking he’d get away with it because we’re not rich enough to hire lawyers.

The worst of it all is there is nothing a person can do as a potential renter to stop such a thing from ocurring.

The things we brought over are in the midst of being washed and put straight into plastic containers to be moved out as quickly as possible and everything else is being cleaned thoroughly. I might have to throw away a suitcase I used to move but it’s a small price to pay.

I do have one more question though:

Shoes and books:

I can’t put shoes into the dryer obviously. Is there anyway to save them? How do you clean them free?

And books? Someone told me they can be transported in books and I can NOT get rid of my books. There’s no replacing them, how do I make sure they are clean before I remove them?

Thank you all again, this website has been an invaluable place to get information.

34 nobugsonme February 4, 2007 at 2:54 am

SBM,
I am SO glad you’re not moving in, and that you’re removing yourselves and the stuff you did take in.
There is no surefire way to clean books, shoes, and ANYTHING else that cannot be washed on hot and dried on hot.

Here are your options:

Find a PCO who will treat a truck or van full of your stuff with Vikane Gas. I heard it costs a few grand to do this to a truck of stuff, though it is possible a van will be less. (Update: Deb has alerted me that vans are probably not an option, so this really would only work with a truck and the cost would probably be a few grand.)

Find a cold storage and keep the items at freezing temperatures–it would have to be freezing, not just refrigerated–I would recommend doing this for a week or so. And I mean solidly freezing 1+ weeks, to be safe. If it is not a lot of stuff cold storage may not be expensive, but remember, no one is exactly sure what temperature will kill or how quickly. I think a few weeks freezing is a safe bet. I don’t have any leads, but cold storage is something people can rent, from what I understand. Please let us know if you find a company who will rent small amounts of space to you. I’d start with the yellow pages or googling.

You can seal the stuff in bags and store for 18 months. We’re told they can live up to 18 months. (Trouble is, parting with your stuff for 18 months is hard–opening the boxes at that point is hard too. Haven’t read of anyone going through that yet, but I am sure pretty soon there will be lots of stories.)

You should absolutely get your rent and deposits and moving expenses back. You should also insist the landlord pays for treating your stuff. I want to emphasize that you cannot be too careful with your things. People claim they’ve gotten rid of “everything but their wallet” and transported them. Shoes are a definite danger. I’d treat anything, personally, and I’d force the landlord to pay. I think you have a small claims court case if they won’t (not sure what $$ that goes up to) or civil case, though I am not a lawyer.

Oh, and I am really interested in this bed bug section of the lease. Is it a pre-printed form (the kind landlords buy) or is it something they drew up themselves, like an attached rider? I am waiting to see the pre-printed bed bug forms appear.

Thanks for the update, and again, I am so glad they are not getting away with this.

35 Bugalina February 4, 2007 at 10:15 am

SBM… for your books and shoes…I would suggest..a thorough thorough inspection..place the items – one by one -onto a white sheet or better yet a large clear plastic tarp layed out in a cleared area…have a few spray bottles of Kleen Free and or a can of DForce…and a hot hair dryer…bed bugs like small dark enclosed places to hide in….so you can take the Kleen Free and spray the heck out of one shoe at a time ( taking them out of a protective container I presume)..then you can blow dry them on very high heat…and then put them into a ziplock..and keep isolated for as long as possible….as for your books you can do the same with each one…you can buy self cling stretch wrap at Staples and after heat drying each book you can “stretch wrap” each one and place into a protective plastice bin…the stretch wrap works very well in sealing…I would recommend that you try as nbom says, to isolate the items for at least a year…keep looking onto the white sheet…obviously…and spray around you with Kleen Free or better yet a lite dusting of Drion….I think Vikane might not be feasible for you as its very costly and requires a special vehicle such as a steel floored Uhaul Truck so the gas cannot escape…I would contact a lawyer who might take your case on with no money down…Maya Rudolph of SNL also moved into an infested loft and she is sueing for 4 million….certainly you should havae the right to sue for your distress and damages….Bugalina ps when you are done with the inspection bag up the sheet or plastic tarp and the old clothes you are wearing and chuck them all into the trash ASAP…You can also do the inspection and extermination is a bathtub…in a brightly lite bathroom…so sorry for your plight…

36 S. February 4, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Regarding the reintroduction of stuff:

Right now, we have moved all of our “stuff” into a storage locker. This excludes furniture and clothes, but everything else – books, toys, electronics, papers, and all that other random stuff you forgot you owned. It’s all in XL ziplocs and plastic bins, in a small room a few blocks away.

Our whole apartment was sprayed on Tuesday, so now our place is, as the PCO said, a “hostile environment.” We are currently dealing with the stuff – when and how do we bring it back?

So here’s what we realized. The only reason we moved it out in the first place was to give the PCO access. He needed all our furniture empty, and in the centers of the rooms. If our stuff could all fit magically on one shelf, for example, and still give him access, we would have just left it here.

So here’s what we are doing. Some of the stuff, we’ve realized, we can live without for 18 months. It’ll make our lives easier to just keep it in storage. I’ll be okay without my Pez dispenser collection; my boyfriend will be okay without his old Nintendo. So all that stuff, we are putting in ziplocs, putting the ziplocs in plastic bins, and taping down the rims of the bins with clear tape. AIRTIGHT, BABY.

Then, for the stuff that we don’t want to live without, we are bringing it all back today. Just in case there are any bugs in it, we want them to wake up, come out, walk on poison and die. So we are taking it all out of ziplocs and putting it on metal shelving units (we have 2). I have to imagine that if the bugs are in a book, they won’t stay in that book forever. They’ll have to get hungry at some point. Then they’ll come out, and encounter our hostile environment!

Just to make sure that the shelves are a one-way street (so any new bugs from the house don’t go crawling up them and start living in the books), we will put vaseline on the legs, and surround them on the ground with a ring of D-Force.

SBM, perhaps you could do something similar with your books and things? A can of D-Force is like $20 and wire shelving is cheap.

37 Buggylicious February 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Thanks, Jess! I appreciate it. 🙂

38 Judy February 4, 2007 at 2:41 pm

I have been getting what looks likd bites on my legs. I looked in my bed, on the rug, under the matress. dismanteled the couch looked on the floor borards and found a few dead bugs, they did not look like the bed bug pictures on the internet. I left town for 4 days and did not get any new red spots. I have also been using two creams on my legs my daughter gave me, Taro & Triamcindone. I have an extra bedroom so I have been sleeping in. I have not taken anything in that bedroom that was in my old room. I have been washing everything and placing clean items in clean bags. I do not wear anything twice. I bathe at night and put on clean clothes. I have done a lot of research on the internet trying to identify what my problem is. I have an drs. appt. tomorrow. I am very anxious about this. Pls help.

39 Bugalina February 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Judy…What do the bugs look like that you found? What do the bites look like? Do they itch? Many of us have gone to Drs. who know very little about bed bugs, I hope yours does. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if they are bed bugs you need to get into action and one of things NOT to do is to move into another room…they will follow…Please give us a description of the bugs and the bites..Bugalina

40 Bugalina February 4, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Judy just another thought…I had found carpet beetles, yet I had bed bugs,When I showed the exterminator the carpet beetles he didn’t take me seriously, unfortunately before I contacted them I found a molted skin and poppy seed sized blood excrement on my bed skirt, which I flushed down the toilet. So.this delayed my ability to get exterminated, So .what I learned…Save all bugs in a glass jar, and just because you find one kind of bug that isn’t a bed bug does not mean that you don’ t have bed bugs. The bites are telltale. You can phone a local exterminator to identify the bugs you found. Bugalina

41 nobugsonme February 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Judy,

Please make sure you read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) linked from the top of this page, especially “What are bed bugs” (which outlines some other possible causes your doctor and you should rule out) and also “Think you have bed bugs” Some do’s and don’t” just to make sure you don’t make any mistakes–as most of us do when we are at the early stages. Also, in the “photos” link at the right of the screen, there are links to photos of bed bugs. The young ones look very different from older ones, and they look different when full vs. hungry. Make sure you look at a lot of bed bug photos before being sure your bugs weren’t bbs.

Your doctor can rule out scabies and skin conditions. Try to get him or her to do a scraping if s/he suspects scabies–mine treated me instead for that, and the meds (a pesticide you wear on your skin for 12 hours) can have side effects.

Also, you may not have bed bugs.

However, in my case, my doctor insisted mine were not BB bites, and I later found lots of others with similar bite marks (we don’t all react the same).

Also, as per Deb’s carpet beetle experience, I have found everything from lathrydiid beetles to spider beetles to fungus gnats to “seeds” and had an entomologist look at them to determine if they could be causing my problem. They weren’t. The presence of other bugs that you show to a PCO might make the PCO think you do not have bed bugs, but the presence of other bugs does not mean the absence of bed bugs–that’s illogical.

Bed bugs can be hard to catch. Try to rule out medical causes–skin conditions, parasites. And look for the little black poops and cast off skins. They may be all the proof you get.

SBM,

I actually think if you can afford it, freezing storage (probably not too pricy for your small amount of stuff) or Vikane (much more expensive) is a much better option than 18 months in storage–18 months of regular storage in NYC can actually be as pricy as another option AND it means you have to replace or do without.

42 nobugsonme February 4, 2007 at 4:40 pm

Judy — if you are in NYC, we can hook you up with someone who will ID bugs–Lou Sorkin of the Natural History museum. There’s someone at Harvard who does it if you’re in Boston and probably via mail from anywhere.

43 WantMySkinBack February 4, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Has everyone seen the article in today’s times, op ed page 9 of the City Section? Written by Bonnie Friedman—thank you Bonnie!

44 WantMySkinBack February 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Nightshirt, Bugalina knows about the city hall meeting last September. She was there. I have been in touch with my city council person, and still nothing is happening—what, 4 months later! Nobugs, I saw a mattress and boxspring laying on the sidewalk of my upper east side street the other day, with other old furniture. I was about to take a photo of it, when I got sidetracked. When I went back outside to do just that, the trash had been picked up. That photo would have gone to the City Council Bed Bug Task Force (is it really in existance?)

45 jessinchicago February 4, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Hey Wantmyskinback-

Welcome.

It might be helpful if you introduced yourself and let others know how you got here and how you know Bugalina, etc., since I’m pretty sure you haven’t commented on the blog before. It might be interesting for our readers to know your story and make the connection. As you know, the blog is different from the Yahoo group, and so most people here won’t recognize you.

🙂

Jess

46 Bugalina February 4, 2007 at 10:21 pm

In My Humble Opinion…Someone put a gag in Gale Brewers mouth….She was very gung ho when I attended the meeting…very vocal about getting the law passed ( to ban reconditioned mattresses) and to set up a Bed Bug Task Force ….Two thugs from Bloomberg’s administration showed up to say that it would be impossible to enforce a used mattress law and they were of the belief that it was more important for people to save 50 to 100 dollars on a mattress purchase than having them run the risk of getting bed bugs from a “reconditioned” mattress..something tells me that someone doesn’t want to let on about the massive spread of bed bugs in NYC…..Integrity is wasted on the greedy. I have a news clip from the meeting..

47 nobugsonme February 5, 2007 at 1:23 am

The Bonnie Friedman article is here. The link may not last long: the Times is not very free and easy with its online version these days.

Bonnie Friedman demonstrates that when well-known people, like writers, get bed bugs, they have a chance to share the story more widely. Nice work, Bonnie! I have not seen Maya Rudolph talking about this, nor many other people. (When you have a court case, you can’t really talk about it, I know.) But I hope they’ll start to, because we need that. It does wonders for getting people to take this seriously.

Wantmyskin, I think the BBTF is stalled. I don’t doubt it may have been KO’d as Buga says, but hopefully, soon, someone in city politics will have a personal experience of bed bugs, and will become an activist. I wrote to Gail Brewer’s office myself and got no response.

Just wait until more people who happen to be reporters, politicians, media barons, and hotel owners have the misfortune to get bed bugs in their own homes. I am not wishing that on anyone, but they’re spreading at such a rate, it is inevitable. I do think things will change. You see, this isn’t like other social ills which politicians will allow to go on for decades because they are unaffected. They WILL be affected, and they will have to suffer the same misery as the rest of us. Money will make it slightly more comfortable, but there’s a limit to what money can do–you have to get multiple treatments or be inconvenienced in a big way no matter what. We’re lucky this does touch all kinds of people. If it only hit the poor and homeless, I think it would be even more of a mess, because people in power would not give a toss.

48 WantMySkinBack February 5, 2007 at 10:45 am

Thank you for the welcome. Hello. Yes, I was/am part of the Yahoo group . And have been keeping a low profile and probably will continue to. I read the blogs constantly, and use the information on the links provided. I am almost bug free, working with Pestaway. Fingers crossed.

49 nobugsonme February 5, 2007 at 10:55 pm

Wantmyskinback– I have a question for you (about the PestAway protocol for getting rid of BBs): you had to clean and carefully store your stuff. Do you have to keep it stored (sealed up, airtight) for 18 months? Or what did they tell you to do?
Thanks!

50 WantMySkinBack February 5, 2007 at 11:38 pm

No Bugs, that is an interesting question. I’m trying to figure that out myself. I was instructed to remove my clothing, books, bedding and artwork, and everything from any drawers in my bedroom and children’s bedrooms. I was told to wrap my paintings and artwork (why? and for how long? not sure about that). The instructions are vague about how long I should keep my artwork wrapped, and my books, which I vacuumed carefully. I kind of feel the same as some of the other people though, if there are leftover bugs, why not let them out and let them walk on the poison? I hope this answers your question.

51 nobugsonme February 5, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Hi Wantmyskin,
I would, if I were you, ask Jeff at Pest Away (and I hope you’ll share what he advises!)
One of the reservations I have about their treatment, which otherwise sounds stellar, is that this is not clear.
Other PCOs specifically tell people to seal up stuff just for the actual treatment, and to release them later.
It seems like Pest Away is setting people up for a long period of storage, but I’d love to know for sure. And if people aren’t being told when to bring it all out, well, it seems like results will vary a great deal!
Thanks!

52 aslan February 6, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Hey I was wondering if anyone knows if you could put a printer and coffee maker and blender into a freezer? We are moving and need to take all the neccesary precations.

53 nightshirt February 6, 2007 at 12:36 pm

nbon thanks for the re-welcome.

concerning the feb 4 op-ed article – just goes to show what we all know. anyone, anytime, any age, any income, any race, anywhere.

it was sad that nothing came of the sept 06 meeting. WHY? and how is a “poor” person supposed to afford treatment on their own? it is a really horrific experience as we all know and to abondon needy people would get bb’s just be a disgrace. i count my blessings.

my experience with pest away was informational. i read about them, called them after my first pco only sprayed with tempro and i needed to know why they were coming back so quickly. the first pco did not use the igr or drione. pest away told me about those chemicals needed to complete a spray cycle. they also told me about bagging, vacuuming, washing clothes, etc.

they also told me that they were $500 first room, $400 second room, etc. on down to $100, $100 etc. i thought that pricey since whoever sprays YOU MUST TO ALL THE PREP ANYWAY.

That bg said, after my fourth spray with the second pco who used all the right stuff my husband found 3 baby smears on our bed. i freaked b/c i assumed that they came from a small bug, i.e. newly born. that means eggs were not killed and they are hatching. hatching leads to reporduction. leads to new adults and new infestation?

since i was sleeping on the couch with our recovering dog (hes fine) we assumed he was getting bit and not having a reaction. or shuold i move back to the bed and let myself get bit b/c i get a reaction and then we could be sure?

so complicated!

thanks.

54 Bugalina February 6, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Do you have both a mattress and boxspring ? And if so, are they both covered with securely zippered protective bed bug covers ? If the bugs don’t pass across a chemical barrier they won’t die. If they bite and then slink back into your mattress the only way to kill them is to “trap them inside” with secure covers, which will lead to eventual death, or allow them to live within your unprotected mattress , set yourself up as bait, and eventually , very carefully and securely…cart it away, with the bug population inside..just some thoughts..Bugalina

55 nobugsonme February 6, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Nightshirt, You have to keep getting the PCO in to treat every 10-14 days until the bites and bugs are totally gone. Spraying anything (even the right stuff) does not EVER kill the eggs. Your goal is to get treated so often that when those eggs hatch, the nymphs will be killed before they can lay eggs. If you’re persistent with the treatments within 2 weeks, every time, you will get there soon (assuming they are not coming from elsewhere to reinfest you.)

56 cincybugged February 6, 2007 at 11:08 pm

Wow, thanks for the feedback guys.
I didnt think when I disposed of the matress, it was 3 in the morning, and I was in a state of panic.
I pray that the garbage collectors took it.
I am going back to the apartment, and will be “bait”.
I will also call the exterminators to ask what chemical they used.
Any thoughts about the cold remedy?
We’re looking at 34 degrees and lower for the next week, at least.
I have also fumigated twice with “Raid”, I think. Have I done more harm than good? I have one more can left, but I hear it just makes them spread out.
I purchased a spray that seems to kill them within a few seconds. Can that be used as a barrier around the bed, does it stay in carpet and kill them? I have so many questions, and there doesnt seem to be a definate answer to any of them.

57 nobugsonme February 6, 2007 at 11:18 pm

For those who missed the first part of Cincy’s story, here is her first message and the responses.

#

cincybugged // Feb 6th 2007 at 5:28 pm (edit)

I live in cincinnati, ohio, and have been dealing with bed-bugs for over two months. When I moved into the apt. in August of 2006, a friend said some tenants had left a mattress, and it seemed to be in good condition. Ignorant to bed bugs, I took it. I started noticing “the spots” on my sheets in december. I was in denial for awhile about my situation until January. I called my landlord,and evacuated the premisis. I am now staying with a friend, while I decide what to do next. I have laundered all clothing, and havent seen any bed-bugs in his place. (please God)
I talked to my landlord about moving into another unit, but see that is not exactly the way to handle the situation. Ihave also considered putting some of my belongings outside, as it is very cold here now, and have heard that the cold will kill the bugs. I have to say that this has been an unbelievable nightmare. I tossed my mattress, and am going to throw out what little upholstered furniture I have.
When I discussed the problem with my landlord, he said that another tenant has conplained about bed bugs. I get the feeling that he does indeed think that I have brought in the problem bugs.
I now do not have a mattress, and cant really afford one right now. I am terrifed to sleep on an air-mattress in my apartment, and have no couch.
An exterminator has sprayed twice, but I have still found live bugs. I have seen, according to your blogs, that I have not handled this in the best way possible. I guess I will return to my aprtment, and fight these buggers till they die.
#

buggedinbrooklyn // Feb 6th 2007 at 6:06 pm (edit)

hi cincy,

first off, stop blaming yourself, even if you did bring them in–and you might not have.
I’m not convinced that bedbugs spread fast to other apts, so you might have had them there as you oved in.

but now that you understand that you do have bedbugs, and you seem to have started to read the FAQs, it’s time to start a plan to fight them.

above all, you need to be the

58 nobugsonme February 6, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Aslan, I am not an expert on electronics, but I would not put your electronics in a freezer.

I’m also not a PCO, but you may be able to isolate the items in your new home with a ring of drione sprayed around them, so that if they come out to bite you, they will walk through it and die. This would only work if they cannot escape but by walking through the poison. I realize you don’t want any chance of bugs in your new home. I’d seek the advice of a PCO.

At least one person has commented that they found one who would treat their new home to help prevent bed bugs which may have moved with them. PCOs are not supposed to treat a home without evidence of bed bugs, but since you are likely to have a few hangers on, that may be sufficient grounds. If you do get someone, make sure they know what they’re doing.

59 Buggylicious February 6, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Question: I think I need to dispose of my desk, and upholstered desk chair. The desk is made of wood, it is a one of a kind, artist designed. I used to love it. I don’t think it’s infested, it has been treated, and is currently empty, except for my computer and printer….but I think there could be a connection to the desk, the chair and my bites. How would you guys recommend I do it? I hate to give up the desk, should I clean it with Murphy Soap and try and find a new home for it? Where would that be? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. BL

60 nobugsonme February 6, 2007 at 11:11 pm

Buggy,
I would personally not dispose of a special desk unless there were evidence it was infested. You need to treat your entire home every two weeks until this is gone, but you should not need to throw away posessions you love that are not clearly infested.
An upholstered desk chair can be a problem, but the bed bugs could just as easily walk up the legs of any chair. Unless they’re living in these items, there’s no reason to get rid of them in my opinion. I would get a PCO to retreat the desk. Remember bed bugs can hide in screw heads and even beneath the veneer on certain kinds of wood (as Parakeets has said). But a PCO should be able to help you determine if this is the type of wood you’re dealing with. Otherwise, you may dispose of something needlessly.
If you did think it was infested, then what would be an appropriate home for it? Who would you like to infest?

61 nobugsonme February 6, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Cincy,
I would take a different line than Bugalina above, in that I think the key is to have a GOOD PCO working in your home and to have them come back and treat every two weeks until the bites and bugs and all signs are gone. I think that if you’re doing just that, you do not need to do your own pest control. Please read our FAQs (linked at the top of the blog) especially “Think you have bed bugs? Some Do’s and don’ts” and also the FAQs on pest control.
You do need to be in the apartment sleeping, as bait, in the bedroom, but this will only work if you have the right pesticides and so I recommend making sure you have a good PCO doing what they should.
Did you use a raid bug bomb, or did you just spray some raid? Bug bombs disperse bed bugs–no good. Raid spray (not fogger) may not do harm, but is probably not much help. These are some serious bugs and if you’ve seen them, you need serious help. Your landlord needs to become educated, and perhaps the PCO can help–bed bugs do spread out, but Bugged is right in that they probably would not spread too quickly. There’s good chance the building had them and you did not notice bites at first.

62 Jane February 7, 2007 at 12:08 am

editor’s note: Jane, I moved your question here.

63 Bugalina February 7, 2007 at 12:10 am

cincy..Everything depends on the expertise of your pest control operator…If you are at the mercy of a landlord and they hire a lousy PCO, then I think supplementing their work is necessary, esp. if you are going to leave your bed unprotected.( you should take some protection steps ..feeding them leads to breeding them ) ..If your PCO is really good, then you have a better chance to beat them…Are you vacuuming your carpet? Ask your PCO a lot of questions, and then tell us what they said..based on this, we can give you better advice….when I said that throwing an infested mattress away was criminal..I was referring to the fact that YOU took off of the curb it to use it…Not that you threw it away…although you wound up doing both, so now you know …never take anything off a curb and destroy or deface any infested items before you throw them away…Please read all of the FAQ”s …Bugalina

64 nightshirt February 7, 2007 at 1:00 pm

wow. the newcomer list just keeps getting longer and longer.

my bed is a platform bed queen 4 drawers on each side and each side also has a cabinet that does not go through to the other side. it has been treated 7 times.

it is isolated but i did not do any vasoline etc. to the foundation after the treatments. it is away from the walls – that is how i mean isolated.

my friend who works at home depot sealed the floor molding to the wall and to the floor (meaning top and bottom only around the floor. will do the ceiling modings next. he also has opened each radiator and redone the innerds with that liquid wood stuff and insulation so there are no cracks. the apartment is soooooooooooooooo hot now. im afraid it is a breeding ground but cant leave all windows open b/c my dog is home during the day alone.

i think i am on the right track for finishing this. i just need to finish hermetically sealing all the cracks in OLD apartment.

if after last spray on jan 24th 3 little bb smears on bedding – does this mean i need another spray?

damn.

65 cincybugged February 7, 2007 at 8:59 pm

So, I thinking about just cutting my losses and moving in with a friend. I will not take any furniture in his house, but was thinking about bringing in my TV andDVD player and CD’s. Is this a problem? Can I store things in his garage over the winter? What is the bare minimum? I alrready know that all clothes would have to be laundered, blah blah blah. Any thoughts?

66 Bugalina February 7, 2007 at 9:24 pm

No one can tell you for certain. You can store things in his garage, as long as they are completely , tightly sealed, with no chance for a bed bug to escape. Everything stored in Plastic bins, with tightly sealed lids. If they was a bed bug in anything it can live for up to a year and a half, so you would have to take much precaution upon opening any thing stored. I was told by my exterminator that it would be unlikely for a bed bug to be in my TV or DVD player, but he would not guarantee it. You can take these items outside and inspect them in bright sunlight and spray all screwheads and crevices with a can of Dust Off compressed gas, which might make any bugs come out, but this is all speculation. When I moved the first time I transported the bed bugs with me. When I moved the second time I took nothing with me and I was ok…Be careful with things you think are safe…like your pocketbook and shoes…Bugalina

67 nobugsonme February 7, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Cincy, there’s a new thread about moving–I hate to tell you to move to another thread again, of course, but it might be a better place to discuss it there–since you can benefit from the responses the other person (Jane) is getting. And she can benefit from the responses you get. Give serious thought to how you will feel if by some chance you do take bed bugs to your friend’s home. It has happened to people here, so I thought I’d mention it. It can ruin friendships and people can expect you to pay for treatment.

Nightshirt, a wooden platform bed with drawers is a prime bedbug infestation setting. Ideal. Here’s the thing, your bed is not touching the wall, but this is not what we mean by isolated. Bedbugs can walk 20 feet for a meal, so a few feet to the base of the bed is nothing. Away from the wall is always good, but not sufficient. See FAQs on isolating beds.

If you’re still being bitten and your mattress is encased in a National Allergy bed bug-proof case (which we recommend because they do not tear the way cheaper ones do), you need to consider whether they could be harbored in the frame.

PCOs can and should be treating that wooden bed every time they come.

And they should come every two weeks until all signs (bites, bugs, new bloodstains, or black specks) are gone. Period. Can’t say that often enough.

68 nightshirt February 8, 2007 at 4:04 pm

nbom – thanks for the isolation info. i will read right now. each time the platform has been sprayed. can i just get the frame re-done again or do i have to do the whole place. we have still been isolating clothes – designating for each room and not cross mixing.

i dont have enough room in my bedroom for 20 feet each side of bed before a wall happens.

i lost my energy for this.

69 nobugsonme February 8, 2007 at 5:30 pm

I know–it is exhausting.

I would retreat not just the bed bug the whole home–because you do not know where the bugs are living. If you skimp on treatment this can go on longer.

As far as clothes–are you washing all your clothes on hot and drying on hot and keeping them in sealed airtight bags (like XL ziplocs) until used?

The twenty foot issue is unrelated to the bed touching the wall. My point is that separating a bed from the wall is good, but isn’t isolation. The bugs can come out of the wall and reach the bed unless you do more to prevent it. It is imposssible to fully isolate a wooden bed.

70 nobugsonme February 9, 2007 at 3:23 am

buggedout also said (re-posted from another thread):

#

buggedout // Feb 9th 2007 at 3:02 am (edit)

Hi all,
I think I have a very heavy infestation of bed bugs that have gone onto my clothes and are eating me alive! Has anyone else had such an experience where they are bitten constantly during the day because the bugs are on my clothes? I can’t sleep or work and I think they are making me literally sick and very weak/low in iron. Can someone please help! I am afraid I am passing them onto others because they are scratching too. 🙁

71 buggedout February 9, 2007 at 3:21 am

Someone please HELP! I am living in a nightmare and I don’t know what to do! I can’t sleep at all. I have bed bugs and I see the white eggs all over my clothes and house. I believe I have spread them to my car and office because I am constantly being bitten. I think they are living off me if that is possible? I am feeling very sick and weak. I have read in some heavy infestations, the ‘victim’ can become anaemic.

I do have birds and bats in our garden, so I am wondering if I have some combination of bed bugs and something from the birds?

Is there someone out there who has had such a horrible experience – feeling bitten all the time by microsopic bugs? I’m scared I am also spreading it to others because them seem to itch when I’m around them.

Our house is very cluttered which makes it easier for them to hide. I have been trying to clean it but I think it could be making it worse as I am just moving it to another area. I made the mistake of sleeping in another room, and that is how I have spread them over the house. Now that the bugs have laid more eggs, I don’t even know where to begin. I want to just throw everything out but then I still have the car and office to work out.

BTW, has anyone tried using a steamer? Does it work?

In despearate need of some helpful advice.

72 nobugsonme February 9, 2007 at 3:35 am

Bugged out,

You need serious assistance from a Pest Control Operator. Find one in your area who has experience with bed bugs. Read our FAQ on choosing a PCO, in order to help you get a good one, because there are some who are not experienced with bed bugs. Obviously, you may need to reduce clutter to completely eliminate bed bugs, but do not wait until your home is de-cluttered to start getting help. Also, if your infestation is serious, a steamer is not going to get you far. You need pesticides, applied by someone experienced.

Are you positive these are bed bugs, and not bird mites, or something else? Bed bugs are not microscopic–they are in five life stages, with the smallest the size of a pinhead and the largest the size of an appleseed. Please read the FAQs carefully, especially “What are bed bugs?” which has photos of every life stage of the bed bug.

Bird mites are smaller and can be much harder to see than bed bugs. Scabies would be microscopic.

Also, have you seen any of the bed bugs? If you have a large infestation you probably have. It’s important to take some samples on clear tape to show to PCOs and an entomologist if need be.

Keep in mind that you may not actually be bitten all the times you feel something like a bite. People generally feel nothing when a bed bug bites them, because bed bugs inject an anaesthetic as they bite that makes us not feel it. You might feel your skin crawling as if you’re being bitten, and I believe this is a feeling some of us get as an after effect (in other words, the bites already on your skin can feel this way.)

Please let us know what city you are in and perhaps someone can help by recommending a good PCO. Consider signing on to the Yahoo Group (also called Bedbugger) which is linked in the right sidebar, and can be a good source of support.

Also, consider seeing a doctor. If you HAVEN’T seen the bugs, definitely make sure the doc does a skin scraping to rule out scabies (which can itch all the time) and folliculitis. Scabies, in particular, spreads easily, and so others may have caught that. You want to rule out any other mites as well (again, I say this not knowing if you’ve seen the bugs themselves). At the very least, a doctor can test you for anemia.

Good luck, and don’t panic, this can be solved. Tell us as much as you can and we will try to help.

73 deblynn February 9, 2007 at 8:45 am

Buggedout , You may have bat bugs. You need to take a bug and some eggs to a very qualified pest control operator, or an entomologist close by to where you live. There was a man on the Yahoo Group from Kentucky, and he had a horribly infested home, and cars, his wife was hospitalized. It turns out he had bat bugs. He told me that bat bug bites are even worse. But you can only know this with positive identification of the bug. If you tell us where you live we can probably help you find an entomologist who can id them for you. But you need to get professional extermination. You cannot wait , You should go onto the Bedbugger Yahoo group and from there I can put you in touch with the man who had bat bugs, with his permission of course. You did not describe what the bites looked like ..please do so ..The reason I think they might be bat bugs is because you mentioned having bats in your garden..Please go onto the Yahoo Group….Deb

74 buggedout February 9, 2007 at 10:16 am

nobugsonme,

Thank you so much for your advice. I have found a very small live bug on my bed when I woke up but didn’t keep it alive for the PCO to identify. The bug I found was reddish/brown in colour which indicates that it was just fed. I tried to catch it using a tissue and saw blood on the tissue when I accidentally squeezed too hard. I am so grossed out by this whole experience – I am so sleep deprived and can’t stand living in this house because there isn’t anywhere I can rest without feeling bitten.

I have small bite marks on my body after I’ve had larger ones which indicates to me that I’m now bitten by the ‘new generation’ so to speak, which freaks me out even more!! I am getting bitten on my face too and feel like they are also getting in my hair if that is possible.

I have found black specks on my sheets and sometimes pieces of reddish/brown bits on our tiled floors which must be their shells that they are discarding?

I have seen the doctor and he has ruled out those possibilities that you have mentioned.

Has anyone experienced bird mites or bat bugs? I’ve treated my hair for head lice tonight just in case as my head feels itchy too. I have also noticed that other people around me scratch when I am near them. Is it possible that the clothes I am wearing could have that many ‘eggs’ on them that they are getting onto other people’s clothing? Is that possible? Or do I have something else that is ‘biting’ others??

Thank you for this great website – it has been very resourceful.

75 buggedout February 9, 2007 at 10:22 am

Deb,

Thank you for your suggestion that it could be bat bugs. I will certainly research this and check out the Yahoo group.

76 deblynn February 9, 2007 at 10:43 am

buggedout, Have you sought the services of a Qualified PCO.??..I emphaize Qualified because when it comes to bed bugs or bat bugs you must be in the hands of a knowledgeable professional. But you can also help them along by having some of your own “tools ” in your “bed bug tool kit”, I would suggest some contact enzyme sprays like Kleen Free or Superzyme.( buy them in bulk if possible) .these can be sprayed on your clothing and shoes and all around where you sit, although they are only contact killers, they are effective for “shriveling up” the small hard to see nymphs. Also I think a good clothing steamer is useful . Hot steam when applied correctly will kill them, and their eggs. Don’t buy a lousy one, get a decent one. Lots of vacumming and clearing out your clutter. You can wash clothing on hot water , even using some of the Kleen Free in your wash, and then immediately put your clean clothes into well sealed large ziplocks…we have a very informative FAQ…and you can continue asking questions on the Yahoo Group….Deb

77 buggedout February 9, 2007 at 10:55 am

Deb,

Thank you for your advice. I will seek another opinion from a qualified PCO and obtain those products for the clothes. Thank you for taking the time to respond – at least I know there are people out there who understands what I’m going through.

78 deblynn February 9, 2007 at 11:18 am

We completely understand, and are here to help.

79 parakeets February 9, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Reply to ASLAN’s comment about whether you can put a blender or coffee maker in the freezer:

Answer: Probably not. I had two appliances that were ruined by freezing. One, according to the company, froze when a bunch of the appliances were stored in a company warehouse where the temperature dropped below zero for several days. The other was a small appliance that I left for a couple of days in my car when it was freezing outside.

Some appliances have a toll free number on them or on a website, so you could call and find out, but I don’t think all appliances with electronic components can be frozen, thaw out, and then be guaranteed to work. (Freezing would probably be okay with straightforward electrical items like a lamp or something. I’ve done that with no problem. Also, there are electronic components in your car, and car’s CD player, etc., that can freeze and be okay–so it is possible for electronic things to be designed to withstand freezing.)

80 parakeets February 9, 2007 at 1:54 pm

To bugged out: I relate to your story soooo much. I personally feel you are suffering from bedbugs, since all the details you are giving about the bugs are consistent with my experience with them, and bedbugs are more common than anyone realizes. But even a doctor can’t always diagnose them. My gynecologist, from Asia, knew what they were but sent me to a dermatology office–which had no idea! Luckily I found BB samples in my mattress, but, like you, I didn’t save them. (Darn!)

I relate to the clutter problem and am slowly decluttering. CLUTTER DOES NOT CAUSE BEDBUGS. Say that to yourself over and over, and to every person who raises the issue. Bedbugs are such a blame game. Someone can sleep naked on a bare air mattress in a totally empty apartment and still have bedbugs. Even if you have clutter, the bugs are likely to live in baseboards, crown molding, furniture in the bedroom mostly, and ceiling fixtures…not necessarily in the clutter. (And if you threw the clutter out, the bedbugs would sadly still be in your home).

A PCO we talked to said it was common to treat pristine homes that had bedbugs, so it is not a matter of cleanliness or decorating style. I know of a person who moved into an empty apartment, had a bare apartment look with minimal furniture (student budget) and yet had such a bad bedbug problem, she moved out in 6 weeks.

At the bedbug convention, some PCO’s said they would not guarantee treatment in a place with clutter–but they couldn’t even guarantee treatment when they treated empty apartments, so that didn’t seem too significant. They complained that it was more work to treat a place with clutter, and, for example, they preferred to treat college dorms over the summer when the students were away.

81 nobugsonme February 9, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Buggedout,
Parakeets is right about clutter not causing bed bugs. It will help your treatment to remove it gradually, but please seek a PCO’s treatment right away.

Deb is also right that you can use Kleen Free, but you need to understand that the fact that it is a “contact” killer as she says means that it ONLY kills bed bugs that are sprayed directly. Since bed bugs are visible to the naked eye (even the smallest ones) then this is not going to make a big dent in your problem. That’s why a good PCO is so important, and while you’re booking one, make sure s/he comes back EVERY 12-14 days once they start–until the problem is GONE. The eggs hatch within 7-10 days and so this repetition is crucial, since standard treatment does not kill eggs.

To get samples, which you may need to show a PCO, (and a landlord if you don’t own your home), use clear packing tape that you’d use to seal boxes. Put the tape gently down on the “sample”, then affix it to an index card. You can then note where and when the thing was found. It does not have to be alive to be identified. Bed bugs can even be identified from a cast-off skin. So pick up some of those and some of the black fecal specks, at the very minimum. If you can get some eggs on the tape, great. If having them taped to a card makes you nervous, you can slip it into a ziploc bag for keeping. These samples are going to help you get help.

Regarding your clothes, read our FAQs about “some do’s and don’ts” (again), and on how not to spread bed bugs. (Even though they’re not just aimed at clothes.) From now on, you need to wash and dry all clothing, bed linens, towels, everything–on hot, and dry on hot, for at least an hour. (The dryer should not be overstuffed, and when I say at least an hour, the stuff should be totally bone dry and then you should keep going another 20 minutes or so after its totally dry. Actual times depend on the machine and the stuff.) With thick stuff like comforters, I’d do them for 2 hours. Anything that cannot be washed and dried on HOT should be dry cleaned, and the dry cleaner has to be warned the things may be infested with bed bugs.

After washing, put the items in a sealed ziploc bag (regular size, 2 gallon, XL or XXL–see our FAQs), depending on what works for you. You can seal stuff long term (not for everyday use) in a space bag or even garbage bags sealed with contractor’s ties, so that they are airtight (ie a bubble of air cannot escape from the bags). Keep all your clean clothes this way, and remove it only to use it, then seal the bag.

Dirty clothing should be kept in a, XL ziploc too–this will help keep bugs from laying eggs in them before washing.

You could have bat bugs or bird bugs, which are both extremely similar to bed bugs. Photos linked from our FAQs show the bat bug, and it is so similar to the bed bug I’d be surprised if the symptoms were different (it’s more likely the person Deb speaks of reacted to bites differently from someone else–we all have differing levels of reactions.)

Bird mites are completely different from bed bugs, bat bugs, and bird bugs. They are much smaller. If you found a sample you think is a bed bug, or bat bug, I’d focus on getting that identified right now.

Also. I should mention–since it sounds like it might be a serious infestation– we have been recommending you see a PCO and most of us get the standard treatment which involves a varieties of sprays, dusts, and so on.

However, since you sound like you are in a house, I would SERIOUSLY look into two treatments which may be options for you: the first is having your home tented and gassed with Vikane. It’s legal in many places, and you should find out if it is there. It is very safe as long as everyone is out of the home (including pets) but can’t be done in apartments, unless the whole building is treated. That sounds like a moot point in your case. (It’s also something you cannot do yourself–and in fact “bombs” people use to fog homes do not work either–they just disperse the monsters. But if you read the do’s and don’ts FAQ, you know that.)

The second special option is heat/thermal treatment. Thermapure is one company that does this–they heat every nook and cranny of your home to 140 degrees F for 4+ hours. This is NOT something you can do yourself. But they claim its very effective. I’d do it if it were legal in NYC (it’s not). It is legal in NJ, however, and much of the US. Not sure about Canada or wherever you are (let us know where you are if you can).

If I were you I’d make some calls about those possibilities since they may wipe out a problem thoroughly very quickly, whereas traditional treatments most of us had to make do with take a long time. The cost may seem high, but those of us paying for apartment treatment end up paying a lot too, since we have to get treated multiple times–4 or 5 is not uncommon. And in a serious case, killing them fast may be a big help.

82 WantMySkinBack February 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Re: Clutter
When Jeff from Pestaway first advised me on my preparations, he also reffered to clutter. He said I didn’t have to throw away all of my paper clutter, but to shake my papers over a bathtub and fan the pages of books and magazines. Then vacuum the books. I didn’t. I did throw out lots of paper clutter and actually trimmed down the files in my desk drawers ALOT. He said they could hide in those files, so it gave me an excuse to do the things I’d procrastinated about anyway.

83 deblynn February 9, 2007 at 9:24 pm

My comment about clutter…yes, it does not cause bed bug infestation, however, getting rid of bed bugs is like fighting a war, and the less hiding spaces you give them, the easier it is to “smoke out your enemy. Female bed bugs randomly drop eggs, and bed bugs, in general, like to harbor in small dark spaces. Clearing the space makes it easier to exterminate, and gives the bed bugs less opportunity to hide and lay eggs in. There must be a reason why all exterminators request that living spaces be cleared, as much as possible, before they exterminate. Clutter does NOT cause bed bugs, but it can create more hidden places for them. The easier it is to see them, the easier it is to kill them..

84 nobugsonme February 9, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Wantmyskinback–
I know I am a bore with my PestAway questions. But did Jeff ask you to seal up in bags all your books and files, after searching them?
Thanks!

note to others: PestAway uses a preparation-for-treatment protocol that differs a great deal from that used by other PCOs. Don’t try and adopt what someone else did to prepare. There are some things we all do (like the laundry thing and, if you like, the bed isolation thing) but don’t start sealing up all your stuff in bags unless YOUR PCO tells you to. Why? Because PCOs use different treatment plans, and unless you and your PCO are doing everything exactly like Pest Away does them, then you might do somethings that work against your PCO’s efforts, in fact, when it comes to bagging up everything, you might save your bed bugs lives!

85 buggedout February 10, 2007 at 1:51 am

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for all your input/suggestions on how to resolve my bug problem. I am still very overwhelmed but have started to reduce some clutter today. I have been collecting evidence and will show it to a PCO very soon.

I would really appreciate some advice on whether or not it would be possible for someone to be a ‘carrier’ of bug eggs that actually could make others itch when they are near them. I feel like something is biting me – they don’t ‘jump’ do they? Maybe I have mites on me as well?

I have isolated myself from going out with friends/family and I am so afraid of going to people’s houses etc. I feel like this problem will be the end of me if I can’t work out what I could be ‘transmitting’. The doctor doesn’t seem to know what is wrong with me and I think the only way is to find evidence before anyone believes me. I have been itchy all over including my head and have resorted to taking very hot showers to try and kill whatever it may be.

Any out there experienced others itching around them and also itch and feel bitten all the time from head to toe?

86 nobugsonme February 10, 2007 at 2:09 am

Buggedout,
As I said before, some of us feel like we’re being bitten when we’re not (and we know this because we can look and see there’s nothing there). It’s my sense that this is “how” the bites itch after the face.
From my experience, hot showers (also humidity and hot environments in general) make me itch much more. You might try using warm water in the shower instead.

I also wonder when you say others are itching–do they know you suspect you have bed bugs (or something)? Because I think it’s human nature to start itching when you’re thinking about this, and I’ve heard peoples’ friends itching when they talk about bed bugs.

On the other hand, bed bugs do not leap. They simply crawl. The exception is that they can occasionally fall from a height, downwards. But they can’t hop from you to someone else. And I don’t think you can be a carrier of eggs: they don’t live on you or leave eggs on you. Unless you do not wash or change clothing. Perhaps there is another cause besides bed bugs.

I’m concerned that you say you’re seeing lots of eggs–I do not think anyone else has reported that. Most of us never see eggs, and some people see a few. I still think you need to follow up with a doctor about other possible causes.

If you have more questions about bed bugs and mites and such, remember there are entomologists who read the Bedbugger Yahoo group (see links under Information and Help for a link to that group). They might be able to answer bug-related questions and help you identify the problem if it is not bed bugs.

87 deblynn February 10, 2007 at 8:27 am

Buggedout, In an earlier post you said that you found a reddish brown bug in your bed, and that when you squished it, there was blood. This certainly sounds like a bed bug. And you said you have seen white eggs around your house. All qualified PCO s, have a resident entomologist who they work with. You absolutely must get an egg specimen, or a bug, or a moulted skin, or a poppy seed sized excrement . Are any BITES showing up on your body? There are many different ways people react from bug bites, but I am thinking, that it’s possible that you are highly allergic to the bugs that are attacking you. My husband is extremely allergic and when he reacts to something he itches from head to toe. You could be experiencing severe allergic reactions to whatever is biting you. Before this can be determined you need to get some specimens identified. As for the people around you, When a person yawns, it causes others to yawn. You could be creating this reaction when in the presence of others. But, if you have found eggs on your clothes, ( you said you found white eggs all over your house) then whatever bug it is, it is a serious infestation. The yahoo group can lead you to potential help sources. Deb

88 wantmyskinback February 10, 2007 at 8:35 am

Nobugs, Jeff told me to take all of the files I will NOT be using, and seal them up tightly and store them, indefinitely, at least for the 18 month (or so) period. Basically, anything I did not need, he wanted sealed up. When I told him I was putting the sealed up old tax returns from years prior and other documents into a filing cabinet in a spare closet, he rolled his eyes. I recently was audited for 2004 and needed to get to these files, when I called him to tell him I was “going in there” he gave me the “that’s up to you” type of reply. He really felt that these items needed to be placed in quarantine! I asked about my paintings over and over (which are coverred and taped). I understand they may be hiding in the paper backing on the framed prints, etc, but I don’t understand why I cannot just vacuum them daily and if a bug crawls out of them and crosses the poison, death to it then. I haven’t a clear answer on how to reintroduce the paintings yet. I’ll keep you posted.

89 rightapproach February 10, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Hi everyone,

I am very grateful for your community and this site! I was unfortunately introduced to this problem 5weeks ago and have read much information on your site. However, I need important feedback (best if before Monday, 2/12).

The problem originated when I moved into a dorm room, which was vacated and treated for beg bugs (along with a room next to it) 5 days before I moved in (I hadn’t known of the problem). First week there, I saw 1 bug alive (killed & identified). 3rd week there, I got 5
bite-like spots on my wrists (no itching, but hadn’t had before). No other signs of bugs on the mattress or anywhere else. 4 weeks later, I moved to another room (other side of the same building, but with no previously reported problem) and saw 1 bug alive there right away (the same day, the girl in the room next to my previous room reported BB bites).

Because in 1.5 months (end March) I am moving permanently to a new country (no friends/family, demanding work schedule) I’d like to make sure I move bug/egg free (as much as possible!). Thereofre, I’d like to treat everything I own now and move to another building (not known to have BB
problems) until my final move.

Here’s what I plan to do – any comments will be much appreciated(!)
a. Clothes – hot wash & hot dry (1hr, or 20′ post being dry), dry cleaning, or freezing (for 2weeks), then ziplock.
b. Regarding Shoes, Papers, Books, Electronics, and Suitcases: the PCO
told me to go through everything I am keeping and ziplock items until
Monday. Then on Monday, he’ll place these items in plastic containers and
he’ll fog/bomb the room. He said this should kill bugs at all stages, including eggs.

Is this treatment (a.for clothes, and b.fogging) going to remove bugs AND eggs?

Two more questions:
c. is there a freeze storage one could rent (my concern is bugs/eggs in book folds, so freezing seems to be the best option)?
d. if by some misfortune bugs are to reappear or hatch at my new place, what
would be the time window for that?
Thanks so much for your time!

90 deblynn February 10, 2007 at 1:21 pm

What City do you live in? Please ask your PCO for the name of the fogger that he claims will kill all bugs and eggs. This is necessary info. What is the name of this product ! Foggers are known to spread bed bugs to other adjoining apts., but until we know what they are using we cannot make this claim. There is a freezing facility in NYC, although I have never heard of anyone using it, but it does exist. What was the PCO going to do with the items he was placing into plastic containers? You should purchase some Bed Bug Terminator or Kleen Free, these are enyzyme contact killers only, but can be effective on small, hard to see nymphs, they shrivel them up. You can link onto the bedbugger yahoo group and post some questions there. There are many worrisome things about what your plan is. Moving, foggers, packing untreated things..Did you read all of the FAQ’s that this Blog has made available ..Please do this..Deb

91 deblynn February 10, 2007 at 2:23 pm

One other question..Is the PCO from an independent Exterminator, or is it someone on the maintenance staff of the college?

92 jessinchicago February 10, 2007 at 2:39 pm

rightapproach-

Welcome.

Listen, Deb is right- foggers and bombs usually make the problem worse, not better! It’s REALLY important that you find out if this PCO is qualified to be treating for bedbugs. I’ve never heard of a bomb that works on bedbugs. The reason for this is that bedbugs hide, and they hide well. They also sense threats to their survival- they sense chemicals, and when they do, they run from the chemicals. So, they would sense the chemicals released in the bomb, which would not reach them immediately because they’re hiding, and they would scatter to safety- inside walls, etc. An infestation that may have been centralized in one location could then be scattered all over the place, even into the adjoining dorm rooms.

Qualified PCOs will use specific pesticides- usually a combination of three or four- to kill bedbugs. And one treatment of these pesticides in a small dorm room should take at least two hours, if not more.

I urge you to find out more about the treatment before it is done.

Jess

93 rightapproach February 10, 2007 at 6:28 pm

deblynn, jess,

thanks you for you comments. I had read the FAQ, and that’s why I
needed feedback (given the fogging suggestion). I live in the Boston
area. I left a message with the PCO to let me know the name of the
fogging product. He is scheduled to do fogging on Monday, but maybe I
should delay that. He was hired by the university (noone from the staff),
so I presumed they had an idea who they were choosing (he said he
checked the fogging approach with his boss, who has more expertise
with BB). The company is Ultrafast Pest Control (from Waltham, MA), and I
am now looking the internet info on them.

Regarding plastic containers, they were supposed to hold papers, shoes, and books after I inspect them. I don’t believe their
tightness, so I am placing everything in ziplock bags. Prior to fogging, he was going to open the containers so the items
get exposed to the gas.

After the fogging, I was going to retrieve the items from containers as
well as suitcases and electronics left elsewhere in the room and move only these “treated” items. It seems from what you are saying that, depending on the product he uses for fogging, I may or may not be taking EGGS with me – is that correct?

94 jessinchicago February 10, 2007 at 7:09 pm

I’m saying fogging is not going to work. Period. I do not know of a fogging product on the market that will work for bedbugs.

Your PCO should be using a combination of products- not one, but two or three at least. Your outlet plates need to come off and a dust needs to be applied inside them. A residual spray needs to be used along or behind your baseboards and probably on the undersides of your furniture. A contact kill and possibly a residual needs to be used on your bed frame. I just named three different types of pesticides commony used to effectively kill bedbugs- a residual dust, a residual spray and a contact kill. One product typically will not cut it. The dust inside the outlet plates is particularly important, because bedbugs use outlets as modes of travel.

The point here is that bedbugs are NOT like any other bug in the world. Proper chemicals that work for long periods of time (residuals) are applied because they are not sensed by the bugs, and therefore, the bugs will come out to feed, cross the chemical barrier, and eventually die. Does this make sense?

I would DEFINITELY postpone the fogging until your PCO figures out typical protocol for getting rid of bedbugs! And if he can’t or won’t figure it out, you need a trained PCO. There are PCOs out there who don’t have to be told this kind of thing. In Boston, in every city. It might be best for you to start screening other PCOs right away.

In the meantime, you can use the ziplocs and plastic bins to help you declutter, but your PCO should be advising you on what to do with the things inside after treatment.

This is not a matter of the eggs not being killed by the fog. I want to be very clear on that. This is a matter of a fog scattering the bugs and making the situation worse, AND ALSO not working properly, meaning most of your bedbugs won’t be killed and they will continue to feed on you and multiply unchecked.

Please keep us posted, okay? If I sound harsh, it’s because I’m really concerned for you- I have been through this exact situation (except my orignal PCO used flea bombs) and it made things so much worse.

Jess

95 nobugsonme February 10, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Hi Rightapproach,
Listen to Jess, she knows.
I am not sure what university you’re at, but it is standard knowledge among PCOs who know bed bugs that foggers don’t work. The exception is Vikane –tenting an entire building and gassing it with Vikane gas. But this is clearly not what your PCO is recommending. You may have to approach the university officials who hired them and explain that they really need to get a PCO who is very experienced with bed bugs, or this could spread disasterously.
Good luck!
Also, freezing facilities exist everywhere, but none of them advertise their services for this purpose. You might want to ask if you could get a small amount of sub-zero storage. If anyone has already done this, we’d love to hear from them.

96 hopeful February 10, 2007 at 10:59 pm

Jess, Nobugs,

I’ve changed my name to ‘hopeful’ given that there was no ‘right approach’ in what I wrote.

Thanks a lot for your quick comments. I truly appreciate them (it’s disappointing not to be educated by those who are supposed to help). I’ll cancel the fogging and will keep you posted on how things go.

97 deblynn February 11, 2007 at 9:16 am

hopeful, I would still like to know, what product the PCO was going to use. I ask this, because it may be something that we are not aware of. Here is what troubles me. He said that the “fogging” would kill both the bugs and the eggs. To my knowledge no product, except Vikane gas, will destroy the eggs. So right there you know he is either using a product unknown to us or he is misleading you. Foggers will kill some bugs, but the fast crawlers will escape and run into protective spaces and either lay low to return or crawl away from the fog dispersement and spread into adjoining apts.. But its the promise of killing the eggs that has me curious…Please find out this info and get back to us. You should want to know this for your own good, and you should tell the PCO that if they are spreading misinformation, that is a serious “bed bug offense”…however, the only way to know this, is to ask them .I await your reply..Deb

98 hopeful February 11, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Deb, thanks for the followup (it means a lot). I had left a message with the PCO asking about the product he was going to use for fogging. His boss called me up today and said he’d get back to me tomorrow/Tue with the product detail. He also said that the fogging agent won’t kill the eggs, only the bugs (there we go). He said prior to fogging he’d spray the room, so any bugs that escape from my things would walk over this spray and get killed. In any case, I’ll get the protocol in detail and will post it here as soon as I have it.

99 deblynn February 11, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Thank you hopeful…well you see, they give misinformation. I was hopeful !! Nothing kills the eggs, therein lies the problem. It’s a tedious and time consuming process/procedure to bring them down to a zero population. Ask him exactly what methods and chemicals they are going to be using…You could supplement the treatments with some enyzme contact killers like Kleen Free…it s not a bad product to have on hand…it’s a very useful multi purpose cleaner, I think its important to have a “bed bug tool kit” on hand..I look forward to the protocol info…Deb

100 nobugsonme February 11, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Hopeful, I would post it to bedbugresource.com’s forums. One of the guys there is a Canadian entomologist and PCO who is very experienced with bed bugs. His name is Sean and he is also on the Bedbugger Yahoo Group. Anyway bedbugresource.com is his site and you should go there and post the protocol and any fogger-related questions. A whole bunch of PCOs are active on that site and will give you good advice. Tell them I sent you! (Of course, we’d love to hear the results–so let us know. I just think you should go to the experts on this.)

101 nightshirt February 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm

nbom – on your feb 9th reply to my question re: isolating bed – i do live out of the baggies, have been exterminated like 7 times, my friend is sealing all moldings and applying plastic wood or whatever that stuff is to fill on all cracks and spaces in woode nfloors, i am reinsulating my radiators. hopefully this is all.

i did have one question – i tough jeffs preparation info was great. i did his suggestions and then had a different pco come in – who told me this was the best prepared apartment he had encountered. why would another pco suggest a different preparation? i think that jeff was logical.

102 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Nightshirt-

It’s because some PCOs would rather not seal up virtually everything in sight and instead allow most possessions to remain exposed so that any bugs that are potentially inside them will be able to crawl out to feed and then naturally cross the chemical barrier and die. If most possessions (even those that may harbor bedbugs) are bagged and sealed, there is no way for the bugs that may be inside to be killed- except for starvation, which takes up to 18 months. That’s a long time to live with bags!

It all depends on the method of the PCO- so everyone should follow what individaul PCOs tell them to do. (Assuming that all of us have competent, experienced and trained PCOs- and we SHOULD.)

🙂

103 hopeful February 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Nobugs,

Thanks for recoomending the site (bedbugresource.com). It looks very informative. I’ve just put up a posting, asking for feedback on what my PCO intends to use.

For the record here (since Deb asked) my PCO told me to unclutter the room and carefully inspect shoes, papers, books, electronics, and suitcases. Leave these items in the room. He’ll then come in and do the following:
1. apply insecticide (“Demand CS”: 9.7% synthetic pyrethroid, 90.3% other ingredient) to baseboards, electrical outlets, and other ‘suitable’ surfaces.
2. following (1) he’ll use an aerosol insecticide (“CB-123”: 1% pyrethrins, 2%
piperonyl butoxyde, 3.33% n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, 93.67%
inert) that would stay in the room for 2hrs, to kill the bugs hiding in my
belongings. The bugs that try to escape would walk over (1) and get killed.

104 sleeplessinvancouver February 12, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Are foam mattresses safe? Will bugs live in them or lay eggs in them? Can they crawl on them?
They at least seem to be able to do the later as I took my zippered mattress cover off to wash it and didn’t put it back on as I thought it would be safer without it. However I am still getting a few bites (14 days later)(not swelling up now, because I am taking allergy pills), even though I just have the loose sheets on top, not even to the edges.

I brought 3 bugs (I think, because I was only bitten 3 times the 1st nite) home in a library book. I’m pretty sure that’s how I got them, as I had just brought the book home, read a little, put it down on the bed, got up to do something, and shortly after I came back and was sitting on the bed for maybe 10 minutes, noticed I had been bitten on the leg, 3 groups of 3.

I ran into bugs 3 years ago when travelling, and am extremely allergic, very large swellings, and it was the tell-tell sign of 3 bits in a row in each group.

I put the book in a plastic bag in the freezer and took it back to the library 2 days later and told the librarian. He wasn’t surprised, says it is rare but has happened before.

I put a clear plastic leaf bags on the bed the next day and put all the fabric on the bed into, sealed it and did a hot wash and hot dry, putting the fabrics back into new bags. Also spray the bed frame and floor and baseboard with Raid, then put down the d. earth dust, on floor and bed base. The bottom and edges of the foam mattress have picked up some of the dust, which I thought would kill anything trying to climb up to me.

I only put the sheets back on the bed,Only on top, not tucked in, as I thought they couldn’t climb on foam but that isn’t the case. Would I be safer off sealing the mattress in a “allergy- dust mite” cover?

Also, can someone give me a link to the Vancouver City legistlature on landlord responsiblities regarding getting rid of bedbugs?

105 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Hopeful-

I’m glad you visited Sean’s site. Hopefully, you’ll get some good responses. I hope you pass along any insight to those of us here at Bedbugger.

Your PCO sounds like he’s on top of things. The Demand is a good product, from what I’ve heard. I’m relieved to hear that he is not, in fact, going to fog anything! You’re on the right track.

One thought I have is to make sure the PCO is going to come back within a two week period to treat again, as there will be eggs hatching, and the residual value in the Demand will be starting to wear off at that point. Did he mention this?

I’m so happy to hear you’re in good hands.

Jess

106 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 9:55 pm

Hey Vancouver,

Welcome. You need to contact your landlord and get a qualified PCO in there right away. And I highly doubt you picked up the bedbugs from the library book. I really do. It could have come from anything, including your neighbors, and I’d be very careful in taking responsibility for bringing bedbugs in- especially because I don’ t think it’s likely they came in a book.

So, read our FAQs on how to properly protect your bed. Learn about bedbugs and bedbug bites- three groups of three bites don’t necessarily indicate just one bug. Contact your landlord, because you have to let him/her know what’s going on so that they have the opportunity to remedy the situation and prevent the spread to other apartments. And make sure you get a trained, qualified, experienced PCO to inspect and treat right away (your landlord should arrange this) . You don’t want to keep trying to handle this on your own.

Good luck, keep us posted.

Jess

107 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Hopeful…before I read Jessinchicago’s comment I was planning on saying the same thing…one treatment is not enough…and there is no guarantee that any bugs in your belongings are going to come out and walk over the chemicals sprayed within a two hr. period. Also , the Demand SC. in an emulsion state cannot be applied to electrical outlets…ask him if he is going to use a dust form of insecticide for the outlets…(drionne being the most effective)..Have you gone online and researched the products ?…I would recommend you get as informed as possible..the more you know about how to kill bed bugs…the more you will know if the PCO is capable or not…Deb

108 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Hopeful-

Deb is right, most PCOs (that I have heard of, anyway) use a dust inside outlet plates, etc., and a liquid can’t be applied inside electrical outlets. It’s important because bedbugs use those outlets to travel and/or hide. It would be good for you to ask about this. Drione is effective, but other dusts are commonly used, too.

Sorry I missed that in my first response, and good job of catching it and passing on good info, Deb!

109 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Nightshirt,

You asked, why would another PCO require a different preparation for treatment plan than Pest Away’s plan?

Simple: there are different ways of dealing with your stuff when you kill BBs. Pest Away’s protocol involves cleaning all your stuff and, from what people tell me, sealing it all up for 18 months, period.

I am sure that many PCOs are pleased if you do this since it makes treatment easier. But many customers are glad to find that treatment can be done successfully without giving up your stuff for 18 months.

It is not the only way. Other PCOs do NOT expect you to seal your stuff up for 18 months. They might ask you to bag and seal it until they spray, and then they might ask you to unload it so the bugs can come out, walk through poison and DIE. Just as the bugs in the baseboards will want to come out after spraying and eat your blood, so too the bugs in your box of books. Seriously, why would they be any different.

So a box of books that is open after treatment, is one bugs can walk out of, walk through poison and die before or after eating your blood.

Now, I am not recommending anyone get their home treated while full of clutter.

However, it is possible to box stuff up temporarily and still have a treatment. Many people treated in this wayhave 4-5 treatments. Apparently many of Pest Away’s clients also have 4-5 treatments (as Bonnie Friedman did).

Would you like to seal up everything you own and put it in storage or a corner for 18 months? I would prefer not to.

HOWEVER, and this is my key point: whether you do or do not seal everything up is a decision you should discuss with your PCO.

Your PCO may insist you seal your stuff, as Pest Away appears to.

They may also insist you do not.

They may tell you to keep it sealed then take it out.

Ask them. If they know what they’re doing (ie you chose a good PCO or had a good one chosend for you), they should have a plan.

Different treatment plans may require you do different things! And that, Nightshirt, is why people should not necessarily do something because someone else had luck with it. You need all the information.

110 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Vancouver,
Our FAQ on tenants’ rights has a brief explanation re: Vancouver laws.
Click Frequently Asked Questions on the top of the page.
And others are right–get a qualified PCO in asap. Don’t hesitate, it is not your fault– Vancouver has a big bed bug problem–lots of press on that. (And hey, the librarians admit the library is infested?!?)

111 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 11:52 pm

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