Apartment Therapy: Amanda’s bed bugs are back

by nobugsonme on August 8, 2007 · 42 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs

Bad news: after a month of seeing no bugs, and two treatments, Amanda’s bed bugs have returned.

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1 James Buggles August 8, 2007 at 1:14 pm

One item missing from these stories for obvious reasons is the location. I’m curious as to the quality of this building. Does it have doormen, etc.? I’m also starting to think that Bugalina’s alarmism might be warranted. Still, I continue to live in two worlds. Here on Bedbugger I read all these horrible stories, but otherwise I never hear anyone discuss this issue in my day-to-day interaction with people. Thus, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the scope of this problem in a city of 8 million people.

2 Bugalina August 8, 2007 at 1:48 pm

Buggles…Because its an epidemic that is going unrecognized, ,it has only one place to go , and that is UP…….Many people have them and think they are getting bitten by spiders. Lou Sorkin posted that its very rare for spiders to bite. Yesterday I listened to a radio talk show host ( female therapist ) who spoke about her “spider” bites. Then, take into acct. that most people do not talk about having bed bugs, they keep it to themselves because of the stigma…..Just look at Interlopers photos and you can see that bed bugs are epidemic in San Francisco…This is why I promote taking photos of discarded mattresses….pictures don’t lie….

3 James Buggles August 8, 2007 at 5:28 pm

I just don’t know if we can call it an epidemic without any data. But I agree that because of the stigma, it has the right ingredients to become an epidemic if not one yet.

I also find it odd that some people have no problem locating their bedbugs and others never see them. If they’re living inside a mattress, under floorboards, etc., how do you flush them out for identification purposes? Has anyone tried drinking some coffee and staying up all night to catch them in the act? Has someone who has a later bedtime than their spouse ever seen one feeding on their spouse?

4 Bugalina August 8, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Buggles, I think there are things that can explain this as well….It all depends on Who is doing the looking…I caught my bed bug infestation very early on. I found ONE bite on myself….only one bite, and I knew immediately that something wasn’t right about this bite. It was a gut feeling…actually I did find evidence right away…I found a very tiny shed skin along with a pc. of poops…unfortunately I freaked out and flushed it down the toilet. But it took a little shy of two months to actually see one bed bug.. Some people don’t flip their mattresses over. Back in the days when I used real mattresses ( now we use only airbeds) I actually flipped the mattress over about once a month…just so that one spot wouldn’t get more wore than another. But some people just aren’t as fastideous as others..or some people have more stuff to for bed bugs to hide in ..there are lots of variables. I think the City is probably quietly keeping data….I will say this again and again…Bed bugs are bad for the reputation of any big city esp. a city like New York…they have the potential to devastate the tourism economy…So…their presence is being kept very hushed up….that’s my take on it…

5 James Buggles August 8, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Most modern mattresses (like mine) cannot be flipped. They have a top and a bottom and are not interchangeable. I’m not so sure about the whole clutter thing. As Parakeets once said, if there’s no clutter, they may hide in places you cannot see like under a wood floor. Still, how big can a bedbug population get before one makes a mistake and comes out of hiding at the wrong time — when you’re there to see it?

6 Bugalina August 8, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Buggles…You’re right…Its been so long I forgot that two of the almost brand new mattresses I threw out last year were the “combo” type….my other two were flippable. Did you read the lastest post about the Bed Bug Conference in New York?? I think my alarmism is being backed up by Michael Potter. I haven’t been to the movies in over a year and everytime I visit my MIL in the nursing home I douse myself with Kleen Free. The list of my paranoid habits are too long to mention….but Dr. Potter has reassured me that my behavior is well founded…. I want to wake up one day and find that this is all gone…

7 James Buggles August 9, 2007 at 2:21 pm

Hey, it could be worse. At least you can still watch movies on DVD at home. If it were 1940, you’d be out of luck.

What’s most alarming to me is the fact that this blog does not have a larger audience. It’s the best resource on the topic. Each post should have dozens of comments. Translation — many people with bed bugs don’t get freaked out enough to seek out sites like Bedbugger. These people don’t want bed bugs and I’m sure they try to eliminate them, but they don’t view it as the worst thing in the world. The same is also true of the public at large. Check out the comments on that Penelope Trunk article — not one person in the comments mentioned bed bugs even though they were a major part of the story.

Maybe there’s an epidemic, but it’s still very early. So Potter is right — it’s going to get a lot worse simply because of the level of ignorance at all levels of society — including many people who have bed bugs and know it.

8 hopelessnomo August 9, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I think a lot (a lot!) of people visit and read the site but don’t leave comments. Before the forums started there were many more comments here and the “tales of woe” threads saw a fair amount of action. Now they’re more likely to post or comment in the forums. (I liked the old system.)

I am also puzzled by the apparent lack of awareness in NYC. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural reticence or a result of the distribution of allergic vs. non-allergic sufferers. I think the first impulse of many people is simply to treat the problem. Doing research and participating in a blog are progressively higher levels of investment.

The possibility that NYC is not as infested as I believe it to be has crossed my mind but I always find a way to dismiss such a fancy.

9 James Buggles August 9, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Honestly, I don’t think we really know what percentage of people are allergic/not allergic. For that, you need a controlled study with hundreds of people. Most people I know react to mosquito bites. Ditto bee stings. Ditto spider bites. Ditto no-see-ums (midges). Thus, I suspect most people react to bed bug bites. But I have no proof.

The only people who have a good grasp on the scope are the PCOs. Maybe NB could poll ten of the big ones and find out how many bed bug cases they did in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 (estimated). By aggregating the numbers in her report or even better just using percentages, she would not disclose anyone’s private data. As for getting them to participate, offer them all a free plug in that post and a link back to the bed bug page on their Web site. She could even quote the CEO of each firm in the article. Well, I usually have one great idea per week. This time Bedbugger gets it instead of my employer.

10 nobugsonme August 9, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Thanks Buggles! I will consider this. It is a good idea.

As far as the site: we had 4000 page views yesterday by 855 visitors. 67% of those visitors had never been to the site before, and 33% had. That’s about average. How many different visitors commented today? 7? With one of those being someone new. Also probably about average, give or take. I wish more would comment, but even before the forums, we did not have so many new people commenting per day.

(Nomo, I preferred the Tales of Woe days too. Many people seem to enjoy and benefit from the forums but I don’t think they’re the best way to share helpful information. I am also not sure what to do about that!)

Even with the knowledge that the FAQS are more popular than the current posts, that’s still a lot of people reading and not saying anything.

I hope more people will feel comfortable commenting. I get emails from professionals whose work brings them in contact with bed bugs, and some of them never comment. I also get emails from people with bed bugs who never comment. I am not sure why. We do sometimes disagree but I think we all are pretty friendly. 🙂

11 Bugged Out August 10, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Is it Narcissistic to guess that I might possibly be the newbie who posted referenced above?

I can’t say enough what a relief it has been to find this site and to read all of the different accounts of people living with bed bugs. While it is sad to see how widespread it seems to be at the moment, it’s heartening to see that people are able to fight the problem. So, thanks to everyone sharing their experiences and knowledge. It has been really helpful and kept me from going the route of shaving my head and burning all my belongings. While some of my friends and family have found my reaction to still be rather extreme (I dropped over $200 on a vacuum, various cleaning supplies and giant baggies at Home Depot without batting an eye), I really feel that it’s better to be safe than sorry in this case.

Here’s hoping for a bug-free future for everyone!

12 James Buggles August 10, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Bugged Out, I spent $800 on my vacuum so don’t feel bad.

13 nobugsonme August 10, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Buggedout, you were the new person mentioned. Only we call you “newbites,” around here. I hope more newbites will be brave enough to comment!

14 Bugalina August 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Nobugs..Your comment referring to the members of your Blog, that we do someimes disagree but we are all pretty friendly…Yes., this is very true…I have a friend ( without bed bugs ) who comes onto the Blog to read only, as he has taken my advice seriously, and recently he commented to me the other day how impressed he was by the concentration of intellect and warm feelings on this Blog…My friend is a mature, sensible, and educated man. I felt good when he said this because I feel the same way. I think your Blog is a very special place….a very needed place and a very special place…Someday I hope we can all celebrate the END of it…and turn it into a Reunion..but for now, that is wishful thinking…

15 nobugsonme August 10, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Thanks Bugalina.

I appreciate the tone the participants achieve too. I do wish more participated on the blog (here) but not because what we do have isn’t cool. 🙂

Glad your friend likes to read.

I have to decide what to convert the blog to when the bed bug problem is over, since I will need a new theme. I figure I have some time to work on ideas. Any ideas?

16 nobugsonme August 11, 2007 at 1:29 am

HI Willow!

Most people do not read the “stickies” in the forums. Too many read a FAQ or two and then ask questions. Instead of replying in detail, the best thing to do is to send people there (as I know you have done yourself). It’s hard and sometimes I don’t do it as much as I should. But most questions people ask in the forums are either things we can’t answer, or covered in the FAQs. Where gaps exist in the FAQs, those people should ask the questions in the FAQ comments–where all can benefit.

17 willow-the-wisp August 11, 2007 at 1:49 am

so to clarify … nobugs:
Are you saying you would like “new bites” to post extra questions about a particular FAQ, in the comments on that particular FAQ in the comments section –on the blog?

And are you soliciting those more experienced to either add stuff there in the comments on the FAQS on their own, as well as to go there and answer the FAQ question posed by the newbite too–if they feel they can add something useful?

It is hard to stop the overlapping of course it simply at times cannot be helped, to a degree.
Bed bugs can totally overwhelm.

But to re-clarify — is this what you have in mind for “new bites” and for those that have experiences to all ask and share more on the actual BLOG FAQ and less in the forums???

18 James Buggles August 11, 2007 at 2:05 am

Wow, in the last week I realized that HoplessNoMo and Willow are girls. I always thought they were guys. It just goes to show that on the Internet there’s no telling whether you’re a guy, girl, dog, or bed bug. 😉

19 nobugsonme August 11, 2007 at 2:53 am

Well, yes–I mean, if you read the clothes FAQ, and have the question, “what if I don’t have a dryer?” Then put it there. And someone else (anyone) can say, here, “read this,” and link to the “steaming, vacuuming and laundry” FAQ (or whatever the title is.)

The important thing, though, is to be succinct. And to stay on topic. I will eventually edit good responses and information into the FAQ. If your answer is too wordy, it will make that job harder. Less is more, when it comes to information. Also, the FAQs are not the place for speculating about possibilities. And if the answer is in another FAQ, link it or point to it.

Willow, this is how we did it in the olden times. The forums were put up as an experiment last spring, about a day or two before you arrived on the scene. Literally. The blog was going for 7 months before that. Everyone who had questions before left them in comments, either on the relevant post or FAQ, or on the Tales of Woe threads which were a catch-all for reader’s questions and other readers answers–about how to deal with infestations.

The forums are still an experiment. I’m not entirely happy with them for a number of reasons.

20 nobugsonme August 11, 2007 at 2:59 am

James,
I am not sure if I am allowed to clarify people’s genders, even when I know them, but I think Willow meant subsisters (as in people subsiting), rather than “sisters.”

The old joke is that everyone always thought the bossy and straight-shooting people with non-gender-specific names who don’t take any crap on Bedbugger.com are all men, and (speaking proudly as one of four well known ones) we’re not. The men, in fact, are often quite laid back in comparison 🙂

Wow. This post has a higher comments-content-to-post-content ratio of any I can remember…

21 hopelessnomo August 11, 2007 at 9:54 am

I’m a girl, I’m a girl! I like shiny things and pretty colors.

What gave me away, James?

Nobugs, you think I frighten people? I don’t mean to! (I get the bedbug anger thing, though, but don’t know what to do about it.) Nomo is more assertive than I am, but I’m probably nicer.

22 nobugsonme August 11, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Yes, okay, Nomo:

You, me, Jessinchicago and S are all often thought to be men.

You say assertive, I say bossy and straight-shooting. I meant it as a positive. Our bossiness and assertiveness is a good thing and the site would not function without it. Seriously!

Anyway, no Nomo. I don’t think you frighten people. And I did not mean anger either. Why are men allowed to be authoritative and straightforward, and women have to tell people what they want to hear? We have good reason to be angry about bed bugs and misinformation.

I can vouch for Nomo’s genuine niceness, witnessed every day.

23 willow-the-wisp August 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm

wow.

24 James Buggles August 11, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Hopeless, I can’t remember what gave you away, but it was recent. What made me think you were a guy was a post in which you said the xenophobia being dished out made you want to cry like a little girl. That seems like something a guy would say. So how about a date? (Kidding.) Jess was easy though I guess people choose names of the opposite gender all the time on the Internet. Bugalina was easy — she has mentioned her husband.

I mentioned earlier the issue of people with bed bugs who don’t become that alarmed. I think these photos make my point:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/58671494@N00/231051425/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/damndirtyhippie/18169894/

25 Bugalina August 11, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Buggles..You are very funny. I just want to comment that I think people who are less invested in their homes or apts. , and/or those with no children, may have an easier time dealing with bed bugs…I repeat “may”…..The more people one has to take care of makes it all that more difficult to deal with in regards to an infestation. And/or if a person has an apt. filled with a lifetime of belongings, and furniture, this makes infestation more devastating. IF a person is quasi nomadic, with few belongings and moving isn’t a big deal, then they have less that they are responsible for. There are many variables to a bed bug equation……I looked at the photos and all I could think of was that I hope these young ladies didn’t bring bed bugs home to their parents !!!! That’s my mindset !!!

26 hopelessnomo August 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Now I feel I have to hit James with my lunch box. Instead… I stick out my tongue.

I like to pretend I’m tough, but bedbugs have done a number on me, which makes me think, Bugalina, that class and family status are not predictive of how difficult a time a person will have. We see all kinds of people take this in stride, even people with children. I think more relevant is temperament, sources of emotional support, and whether they get competent professional advice in a timely manner.

I don’t know if I’m misremembering but I think that, despite your resources, you did not find good PCOs to help you and were forced to make drastic storage and moving decisions. We recently saw someone in Chicago who, despite having very little resources, had access to a fantastic PCO.

Yes, my heart breaks to see parents battling this with children, but what hurts most is to see them fighting without good help.

The picture of that woman posing with her hotel bedbug is depressing. I don’t understand people like that.

27 hopelessnomo August 12, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Thanks, Nobugs, for vouching for me!

28 willow-the-wisp August 12, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Hey, I’ll put it out there too, nomo: your very helpful to all.

29 willow-the-wisp August 12, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Oh and sweet!

30 nobugsonme August 12, 2007 at 8:58 pm

James and all,
I think another reason those people in photos aren’t that alarmed–the woman in the hotel bed at least– they probably are not allergic (or maybe haven’t reacted YET), and they also don’t know enough about what bed bugs can do. Lots of folks still don’t know you can easily bring them home, infest your home and even those of others, suffer for months, and pay out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

31 Bugalina August 12, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Nomo..I think my post was misunderstood…by “invested in their home ” I did not mean economically….A person can have lots of stuff…no matter how much money they have. The longer some people are in their apts. the more things they have accumulated, the more they have to deal with in terms of infestation. This has absolutely nothing to do with class…nothing..it has to do with Stuff….invested as in “time”…I had a lifetime of things when my bed bugs showed up…and the competency of my PCO had little to do with what occured. The house I was renting when the bugs showed up was close to two hundred years old. The floor boards were old wide plank pine with huge gaps inbetween them.. The ceilings were high with crown moldings all around. It was a three story house and on the first floor the landlady had a lifetime of accumlated things in boxes..piles of crap everywhere. Two very capable PCO’s told me that the house would present a big problem and they both said they could not guarantee any success in such a house…both wanted $4000.00 to start.. So, this was a terrible scenario. To add to my woes I had moved there after living in my own home for 28 yrs.and I had lots of stuff…4 bedrooms and a lifetime of “kid raising” things…christmas ornaments, trains, guitars, piano….you name it. So this is what I was trying to point out. Every infestation has variables…the horror of my situation had nothing to do with a PCO…and everything to do with the enviroment where the bugs showed up… A smaller home is has less to deal with than a larger home. A person with no kids and little belongings can be more mobile. I don’t know what style home the woman in Chicago had..but I can tell you that her home couldn’ t possibly have been as challenging as the one I was in….Anyways I moved….and the rest is history As for those girls in the photos…I think they would be acting very differently if the bugs followed them back to their parents homes..of their apts. They might be foolish enough to think that the bedbugs are just going to stay in the hotel room. I was at a family gathering today and my sister in law actually said that all a person had to do was to get a temperpedic bed and they wouldn’t get bed bugs. I hope she never knows the truth…

32 James Buggles August 13, 2007 at 12:25 am

A lunch box? Do they still sell those? That would hurt plus it sounds like a good harborage so how about htting me with a Ziploc instead and we’ll call it a draw.

33 nobugsonme August 13, 2007 at 12:30 am

Lucnhboxes are so IN right now, James. What with the environment. Plus, anything submergible in hot soapy water is good for Bedbuggers (provided, of course, they DO wash it regularly…)

Here’s a few for the Violent Femmes.
http://www.lunchboxes.com/krislun.html
http://www.lunchboxes.com/supper.html

34 James Buggles August 13, 2007 at 2:17 am

I don’t brown bag it so that explains my lack of awareness. After all, this is NYC — lots of great lunch options.

35 August 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm

I wonder if that’s what Bed Bugs think, too!

36 Bugalina August 13, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Today on the Bed Bug Blood Menu we have Type O+ on Special…A+ B+ AB+ are all available…down the hall If there is any left we are serving O- A- B- and if they haven’t vacated the joint you might get lucky and find some AB-….
These are the Lunch options….Breakfast and Dinner will follow…

37 willow-the-wisp August 13, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Totally “over the top humor” Bugalina … I’m still on the floor!
All this blood is to be found in Amanda’s residential building then, is it not?

38 Bugalina August 13, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Yes…these are the Bloody Options !!!

39 James Buggles August 13, 2007 at 10:34 pm

“That was an amazing dinner. So, your crack or my crevice?”

40 willow-the-wisp August 13, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Lordy lordy meeee ..
What to do?
Can anyone recommend any current forums that may offer some hardcore suggestions? Common Bugalina, there must be something we can do to help keep ourselves, and our children and our infirmed and bed bug spreading poor people from being bitten nearly to death at times–yet there, still alive yet barely sleeping! All the while, his or her bugs will bite anyone no matter what their income level is?

Check it out: Theoretically, I could, poor as I am, go sit in a nice coffee house, accidentally have missed one of my bugs and a chauffer could be off duty but come into same shop and sit right where I had been sitting moments prior.
He may …. carry my poor bug elsewhere? What can and should they do Bugalina? Where can they go world???? All???
So there are no quick answers only a bunch of band aids we try to meld into a good treatment and prevention program.

Funds need and better had soon become available, lest, the above scenario, becomes commonplace all around the globe! Can and do people see the cluster maps of the spread of Bed bugs across 70–80% of the known world?

41 willow-the-wisp August 13, 2007 at 10:38 pm

typo above, that should read plese comment Bugalina or soebody! Anybody!!!
(opps! sorry!)

42 nobugsonme August 17, 2007 at 12:03 am

Okay, James?

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