Miranda’s story: a visit from the PCO for bed bugs, part 2

by nobugsonme on October 7, 2008 · 3 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, landlords and tenants

  • Editor’s note:

    Miranda sent us an update today. You can read the first part of her story here. When we last heard from Miranda, a PCO tech (called Ariel) had promised her a second, thorough, bed bug treatment from her original tech (Caliban) in her apartment in a multi-unit building.

    Rated PG [language]

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    Miranda’s story, part 2

    Now, Caliban was supposed to come to my apartment at 6:00 last night to do a follow-up, per Ariel.

    According to Caliban, though, Ariel was supposed to have treated five other apartments on Saturday, but instead sat on my couch shooting the shit about Madonna with me. So, to cover his ass, he had to double-book himself and Caliban on Monday and today. Caliban called and told me about this ahead of time but told me I couldn’t tell Ariel that Caliban had warned me that he was no longer scheduled to treat my apartment. Caliban assumed that Ariel would call me to reschedule and told me to insist that someone do my follow-up last night, because it was only right.

    I never received a call from Ariel, so at 6:05 last night, I called him. He did not answer. I left a message saying I just wanted to make sure someone was coming to do my follow-up, because it was after 6:00 and no one had arrived. By 6:35, no one had called and no one had shown up.
    I called Caliban. He told me he’d come to do the follow-up tonight even if he didn’t get paid for it, because this was not right.

    Caliban showed up tonight looking almost exactly like Ariel did on Saturday, minus the chest hair. He had on nice jeans, black shoes, a nice button-down shirt, and he reeked (absolutely reeked) of cologne. And he was holding a single can of D-Force. I couldn’t make this shit up if you paid me, I swear it.

    He took one look at my sweats and ratty hair (rainy commute) and then barely acknowledged me again, except to tell me that he was not getting paid for this because his boss does not like to do follow-up treatments. He said that’s because his boss only gets paid for the first visit, so he tries to avoid coming back to do the free follow-up — it’s a waste of time and money.

    He sprayed the underside of my mattress and the top and underside of my box springs (all encased) and then he sprayed my bed frame, set the can of D-Force on my bedroom floor, and said goodbye. I was really unnerved at that point– I was probably more frightened than anything, simply because I’d realized that this man was in my home on his own time, saturated in cologne, and all dressed up for SOMETHING. So all I said as he walked out the door was “What do I do if I get bit again?”. He said “You won’t. I don’t know why you’re getting bites now! I sprayed the hell out of this place the first time I was here; you shouldn’t be getting bites anymore anyway. You won’t.” He did turn to me, though, as he was walking out the door, and said “Give me a call anytime.” He smiled and winked and then he was gone.

    So I proceeded to do what any normal girl would do in this situation. I mean, my landlord tried to blame me for “bringing them in” and I had to fight tooth and nail to get him to pay for this (which, for the record, cost him a whopping $160.00)! And now I know there’s no way I’m getting Caliban back in here without some sort of exchange that has nothing to do with money at all. So, I donned the rubber gloves and gas mask I’d purchased in anticipation of this exact scenario, I grabbed the can of D-Force Caliban left and the other can that Ariel had left on Saturday (presumably to go back to the office empty-handed), and I treated the place myself.

    Here, my friends, is a classic example of a person who is desperate (tomorrow marks fourteen days since my first treatment; I am allergic to bed bug bites and am swelling and have hives in all sorts of fun places) taking matters into her own hands and potentially misusing toxic pesticides.

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    Editor’s note:

    Bedbugger.com does not recommend self-treatment for bed bugs. We simply think a well-trained pest control operator who knows bed bugs can do a better job, more efficiently, and avoid spreading the problem further.

    We know people can harm themselves with pesticides or make their bed bug problems worse.

    That said, we are immensely frustrated to hear stories like this from Bedbugger readers. Miranda lives in a locality where landlords are required by law to eliminate bed bugs. However, simply requiring landlords provide bed bug treatment is perhaps not explicit enough.

    People with bed bugs need appropriate, aggressive treatment (and inspections of adjacent units, with treatment if necessary). Remember, Miranda told us in her last letter that she had “seen and photographed four mattresses and box springs discarded beside our building dumpsters” in the past week. Are others getting inspections? Treatment?

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    1 David Cain October 8, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Hi,

    Sorry to be following your story so avidly.

    I would like to assure you that not all Pest Controllers are like this but it’s sad how many stories you do hear that sound similar.

    Please document everything in writing so that there is a good train for the appropriate people to follow this one up.

    I have in the past encouraged a number of clients to take the matter of poor treatment up in writing with the company and trade associations as well as on a few occassions the health and safety team.

    I hope you get the help you need soon.

    David

    2 Gerry Weitz October 10, 2008 at 8:58 am

    One reason why bed bugs may continue to appear is that they are not bed bugs! I don’t know if this is the case here, but I just wanted to mention a situation our pest control company had. Hearts Pest Management took a service call in Orange County, CA, where the homeowner described samples of what appeared to be bed bugs and she also reported that she had moved into her home during the past month and believed that the infestation came in with moving blankets.
    I have a really excellent bed bug inspector who informed the prospect that the problem was that they lived on a golf course. It seems they developed the habit of sitting on their patio at night, overlooking the golf course. Blood stains were appearing in their bed from MOSQUITO BITES!

    3 nobugsonme October 10, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Gerry,
    Thanks for your message.
    While people may mistake the cause of their itchy bites, in cases such as Miranda’s, where bed bugs have been positively identified and there has only been one treatment, I think you’ll agree the cause is very likely still to be be bed bugs.

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