How did you deal with your bed bugs?

by nobugsonme on March 6, 2007 · 4 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, government, moving, new york, usa

I was taken aback by the (albeit informal) poll currently running on Bed Bug City:

Bedbug City Poll

How did you deal with bedbugs at your home?

I moved out. 30.8%
I called an exterminator. 23.1%
I bought chemicals and applied on my own 19.2%
I discarded the mattress and most of the clothes. 11.5%
I do nothing. 7.7%
My landlord took care of the infestation. 7.7%

Total votes: 26

I realize the poll is pretty basic and unscientific, but it is still interesting. I don’t think “I moved out” and “I called an exterminator” should be exclusive answers. If you’re treating your bed bugs (and yes, if renting in most localities, the landlord must pay) when you move, as Windycitymike did, you have a much better shot. I know that isn’t always possible.

However, I have a hunch that the poll reflects the truth to some degree, and many people are fleeing bed bug apartments without treatment. In a lot of cases, I suspect people are probably getting the ball rolling, by reporting bed bugs and requesting treatment, but they’re not seeing results fast enough, or at all. So they’re fleeing with minimal treatment, which many landlords would welcome as an opportunity to not do anything further, because “no one is going to care.”

I am not saying those folks should necessarily stay in those apartments, especially if the landlord doesn’t get the whole bed bug vibe, or hires a crappy PCO.

On the other hand, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, it’s really hard to move without bed bugs. If you can get your landlord to treat them, then it’s worth fighting and living in a bed bug free home. Your next apt. may already be infested, or, more likely, you may take the bugs with you and they will set up home there. It is possible to get out bug free, and people here have done it, at great personal expense.

If many or most people are moving rather than dealing with bed bugs, then we are going to see bed bugs spreading at an even more alarming rate.

And specifically for New Yorkers, if you are going to ditch your infested apartment, because your landlord really is botching it, or the PCO is lousy, you really should make sure you reported the bugs to 311 before you moved. That way, at least the city has a violation of bed bugs listed for the apartment, and someone will at least be checking in to see if they’re gone.

Everyone in North America should post their infested addresses at Bed Bug City and the Bed Bug Registry. Both–because otherwise we have two 1/2 complete registries.

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1 nobugsonme March 6, 2007 at 3:28 pm

I originally posted the above in the Share Your Tales of Woe thread. I moved it here, and I’m moving Homelessnomo’s response too.

Hopelessnomo said:

30%, wow. In NYC at least, I’m convinced bedbugs are being redistributed by people moving. It ain’t just Astoria anymore–it never was, of course, but you can move to the ‘palest’ areas of the city–away from those frightening dull red and pink zones on the NYT’s bedbug graphic, remember?–and hear interesting bedbug stories. I met someone recently who told me her bedbug tale from two summers ago. She claims she got rid of them with just alcohol and physical removal, i.e., extensive, maniacal cleaning. No insecticides, as there was a highly sensitive/allergic family member. Not sure what to think about that, but I guess we can’t discount physical means of eradication. Anyway, this is a person who would not go on the internet for information or help, and couldn’t afford professional extermination. Interestingly, she did not throw out anything. I met her at the laundromat. My new laundromat at which I spend hours still since I can’t shake the wash on hot/dry on hot habit. The bedbug world is small and getting smaller every day.

2 nobugsonme March 6, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Nomo,

I don’t think we can discount physical means–if they’re really really thorough.

I have strong feelings about a chain that sanitizes mattresses and treats bed bugs with only steam, vacuums, and an enzyme cleaner. I believe it’s possible to get rid of bed bugs this way, but not in all cases. And I think it can be terribly expensive and exhausting and needs to be done many more times than they’ll tell you, and you can still end up needing to use multiple times as many pesticides in the end if you’re unsuccessful.

And for those whose bed bugs are more or less invisible, I don’t know.

Oh, there will be a post soon on life after bed bugs… because I think a lot of folks hold on to those bedbug-fighting habits a long time. Not all bad, but not all good either.

3 hopelessnomo' March 6, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Also, her neighbor had bedbugs after her (another neighbor had them before her)–so maybe some moved. Maybe some move to your neighbors no matter what you do. I like the alcohol idea though, I never tried it when I was suffering. Maybe it could have helped. Much better than the (bad! atrocious, really, for anyone reading this!) advice I got from a PCO no less (!) that I should spray Lysol on my mattress before going to bed.

Anyway, back to the moving thing, I wish I could have reported the building I lived in. But I had an illegal sublet and that option was not open to me. New Yorkers will know what I’m talking about. All others, NY real estate is a thing of beauty, honestly! So, that is an excellent suggestion, Nobugs.

4 Bugalina March 7, 2007 at 8:59 am

I couldn’t find the post for decorating tips..sorry.. Awhile back I mentioned that I overheard a sales person from Crate & Barrel saying that their entire line of furnishings was going to take a “new direction”…glass and chrome..sleek…Today I recvd. my new cataloge..its called C B 2 – I guess this means Crate & Barrel 2, for those who have suffered through a bed bug infestation and now want furniture that isn’t bed bug friendly. The industry is gearing up. This is nice stuff. Most everything has metal legs and is well raised off the floor. No fluffy upholstery, no bedskirts touching the floor. Lots of plastic with sleek, easy to clean lines. You can check it out at
CB2.com .. Deb

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