Caitlin runs the bed bug blog (note: defunct as of 2011), and she started the Bedbugger yahoo listserv (which is an entirely separate entity from this blog or the Bedbugger forums). She’s been bug free for a long time now (something like 22 months, from what I gather). This is not likely a case of her own bed bugs coming back. It looks like someone in the building picked them up again.
And let’s face it: bed bugs are spreading. However you got them once, you can get them again.
Caitlin is the second person I know of who got bed bugs a second time, at such an interval that she could not have simply reinfested herself (by unpacking some stored stuff, or having them come out of the woodwork after a gap). Caryn (more on her below) was the first.
The good news is that Caitlin’s building’s management company swung into action, treating right away, and did not simply inspect, but rushed in to treat the units above and below, which were infested. (Yay, Caitlin’s landlord and PCO!) Caitlin was also able to spot the reinfestation quickly, finding a live bug after only three bites.
She wrote on August 14th, (dead link deleted)
… my super and management company ROCK. No questions asked, he just went ahead and made an appointment for the exterminator to come in ASAP and told me he’d be contacting my neighbors above me and below me to have their places exterminated as well. And then he said he’d come in himself to caulk any cracks in the floors along the walls. All this after telling me that no one else had been reporting bedbugs in my building for quite some time.
And then, five days later, she followed up.
As Caryn’s experience of reinfestation back in February suggested, Caitlin has reason to hope this second infestation, caught quickly, will be resolved quickly.
Bedbugger readers panic when these stories come up. Nobody wants to go through this once, and many of us are at our wits’ end with our first experience. It takes a while to get over feeling like it’s all going to come back. So hearing that it can all come back, can be frightening.
Caryn compares her experiences of bed bugs in 2004 and 2007 here. But Caryn’s recent experience of reinfestation sounds like it was way better than the first time, as Caitlin’s also seems to be (so far–it looks very hopeful). Caryn was rid of bed bugs much more quickly the second time around. I have every reason to think Caitlin will be too.
First, they caught it early. Knowing and recognizing the signs of infestation much more swiftly meant they could spring into action.
Second, their landlords had seen bed bugs before, and were in a better position to get a good PCO in, swiftly, to do what needed doing. They did not have to cajole, beg, or convince landlords to take this seriously and get a good PCO in. What’s more, the landlords and the PCO knew how to handle the neighboring units.
In Caryn’s experience, as she tells it, everything from knowing she had bed bugs, to arranging an appointment with the PCO, to doing her prep, and getting the landlord to pay, went more smoothly the second time. The problem was solved much, much more quickly.
I am seriously bummed that Caitlin has bed bugs again, make no mistake.
But I also think there’s plenty of reason not to panic, or think that the second time is the same as the first.
From what Caryn and Caitlin tell us, it isn’t.