Edgie in San Francisco

by nobugsonme on February 27, 2007 · 2 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, california, misdiagnoses, reader questions, usa

Reader Edgie wrote me an email which she asked me to post on the blog:

I’m Edgie in San Francisco.

I moved to this apartment last June and learned from a
neighbor that there were bed bug problems. I didn’t know
what a bedbug was, but quickly learned. I also started
getting small bites pretty regularly, not big welty
ones though.

I have been reading most of the FAQs and
understand bites can be different on different people.
I too went to the MD and was (mis)diagnosed with scabies.
While the medication was on me, I was bitten on my
stomach. Meanwhile, I called in a request the the
property mgmt. co. requesting treatment. No response.

I was getting concerned that my little bites could be
baby bed bug bites and insisted that the unit be treated.

Then, I started looking to public agencies for help.

The building inspector ended up calling the property
mgr. and Terminix arrived on the scene. They treated
the unit 3 times, and I still got bites.

During this time, I too was washing and washing, my clothes are
all bagged. I was still getting bites, and learned
that the building was sold.

I decided to hire another PCO to come and treat and the biting has been reduced,
I have many days with no bites. They have treated 4
times. Since the building has been sold, I learned
that the new owners, a giant property company-will let
me out of my lease, and give me a relocation package
too. I need to tell you that the first PCO, while
treating, never saw evidence of BBs. The second guy
didn’t find bugs, casings or fecal stuff either.

I have asked a few bug specialists for advice (The
Bugman and Sean from the bedbugresource.com) Both said I need
to have a competent PCO or entomologist come here and
inspect, to make sure of what is in here, as this
person would find evidence of BBs. So I have a list
of PCOs that I will call to see if any of them will
do a bed bug inspection, they inspect for termites, I
think they should do it for BBs too. But will they?

My idea about moving would be to take as little as
possible, wait a few more months, maybe the bites will
stop altogether, AND someone can do a thorough
inspection here to help me know what the culprit is. I
really wanted to tell this to someone who knows how
truly complicated the problem is.

Thank You No Bugs, and all the other bedbuggers for being there,



1 nobugsonme February 27, 2007 at 12:04 am


Sean is right, that a qualified PCO — one that knows bed bugs — would be able to find bed bugs if they were there. I am surprised they treated you without evidence, but since your building is infested, AND you have itchy marks on your skin that appear to be bites, this makes it likely to be bed bugs. If your building were not infested, I would seriously send you back to the doctor, since most people at least see some small black fecal specks, like poppy seeds or large flecks of black pepper.

Given your building has a problem, you need to get a better PCO, right? If they deal with bed bugs, they will inspect. They have to inspect before they treat, by law, they’re supposed to find evidence.

It’s difficult for us to recommend anyone. First, I am not in SF. We don’t have many active commenters there. (Realize that hundreds of people read our site every day, but only about ten different people comment every day, and most of them are regulars.) Second, even if someone here is from San Francisco, there’s a chance they are a PCO and advertising themselves. Caveat emptor! Third, a good local PCO recently pointed out to me the dangers of people in the media (even bloggers) recommending PCOs: when one is written up in the media, for example, they’re often very good. But the more coverage they get, the more chance they will grow too fast. A good PCO will take lots of time on bed bugs– hours talking to you and hours on every treatment, and so sudden, huge growth may not necessarily be good. They can’t necessarily meet the demand while upholding the same quality. They may have trouble getting enough good techs to work for them when they expand. That’s definitely not to say that all the heavily interviewed companies are letting their quality slip, but it does stand to reason.

In any case, I am sure there are lots of good PCOs there. We have a FAQ about choosing a PCO (which Sean wrote) and you should read it and follow the instructions.

Nobody can tell you if a move will work, but your plan sounds reasonable. It would be good to get a good PCO in first, since, if you do have bed bugs, it will be easier not to take them along if you get treated now. You wouldn’t want to infest your new home.

2 Kathy Harrington September 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Edgie, if you ever come back, folks in SF could use some recommendations.
Have yet to find a firm who will LOOK for the bugs. We have one in a trap, so they say we have them, in our OFFICE – but they won’t look.
Any one know an SF firm that will SHOW US THE BUGS?

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