Success stories

by nobugsonme on February 23, 2007

This post predates the Bedbugger Forums, which contain their own Success Stories about people who were able to get rid of bed bugs using various methods. Be sure and check those out also!

by Nobugsonme

This was originally a post entitled “A little inspiration, from those who beat bed bugs.” We could all use a little cheering up now and then. Here some stories to cheer you on: those who fought bed bugs and won. Some are linked out to other blogs, while others come from our readers.

Don’t get depressed about the small number of success stories below; remember, people often take a long time after their problem is solved before they declare themselves successful. That is wise.

And maybe six months or a year after you stop reading this site, when your problem is long gone, you will remember to come back and email me your success story? If you want to share your story, please do not post it in the comments. Email it to nobugs a t bedbugger d ot com. Thank you!

First, a success story that started with bed bugs misdiagnosed as scabies.

Bedbugger reader Aaron writes:

To Whom it May Concern,

Thank you very much for your posting on teaching doctors how to
diagnose bed bug problems
. Earlier this summer I was experiencing
intense itching all over my feet, ankles and legs. I was treated for
scabies and went through FOUR TUBES of permethrin, but to no avail.
Months had gone by and the itching and rashes were just getting worse.

Thankfully in early November, I FOUND THE LITTLE BUGGER! A
credit-card thin, small bed bug…resting it’s horrid looking body on my
bed. I found the culprit. I trapped him, called an exterminator and
sure enough; I had bed bugs. $275 later, 6 loads of laundry and three
visits from the exterminator, all bites have cleared.

Oddly enough I did not have bites all over my body, torso or anything.
It was only my lower body, but hey…I guess they do what they want and
I’m glad that I have it all out of the way. Everything’s been washed,
vacuumed, etc. and I’ve not experienced one problem since the
extermination.

I was surprised to find out that downtown Cincinnati (where I live) is
one of the worst in the country for bed bugs.

I’d like to thank you for that posting to know I was not alone with my
scabies scare.

Thank you,
-Aaron (12/17/2007)

Next, I’ve arranged the following stories according to types of dwelling, to give you an idea about how different solutions worked.

Single-family homes:

Bed Bug War: this fellow fought bed bugs in a single-family dwelling. I hesitate in sharing this as my one example of a single-family home dweller fighting bed bugs: I am not sure it’s representative. He did not hire an exterminator, just isolated the bed (see FAQs) and used Raid. But he did get rid of his problem. (Editor’s note: this was probably a light infestation and it was in a one-family home. I would not recommend that anyone try to fight bed bugs without an experienced PCO. If you’re in a multi-unit dwelling, you’re definitely going to need more than this. Even in a single home, remember, if your first attempts do not work, you can make the problem much harder to treat, and allowing the bed bugs to breed. You’ve been warned!)

From Bedbugger readers:

 

mgdecombe // Dec 23rd 2006 at 5:53 pm

Our experience, though we did not use a PCO and treated ourselves (I am a PCO for outdoor pesticide applications), might be a bit closer to the route most will have to follow to be successful. We found our problem on October 8, after I stayed in a hotel for 4 days in late August. We had started to notice bites almost right away, but couldn’t figure it out. Also found a cast skin about 3 weeks in, but had nothing to identify it against, so assumed it was a dead moth. Now that I know what I should look for, I realize my deep denial. Anyhow, we got on the problem as soon as we figured out what it was, and immediately did a huge purge, bag, and vacuum marathon which lasted for a few days. Isolated the bed. We interviewed several local PCOs and they didn’t have the slightest clue as to how to id or treat, and, indeed, mangled the two specimens we had saved. We decided to take matters into our own hands (something we NEVER would have done had I not been trained in pesticide safety over the last 25 years) We then sprayed the WHOLE HOUSE, including basement, including dusting electrical outlets. I think the full treatment was key to our success, as we didn’t treat just one area, causing them to scatter. Carefully timed treatments were also key, as well as constant vacuuming. Many of our things are still in storage, bagged and sealed. They will stay there for 18 months, at least, and will be cleaned and steamed before being brought back into the house. We’ve had no bites for over two months. A false-alarm about 3 weeks ago put me into an emotional tailspin, but it turned out to be either a single isolated bite, or a spider bite. We will treat the whole house one more time after the New Year, and observe carefully, continuing our vacuuming and laundry management (bagged clothing) for at least another two-three months. When the weather warms, I intend to unbag everything in our house in order to encourage any lingering or dormant BBs to emerge and show themselves, using ourselves for bait. I’m prepared to go right back into spray mode if they rear their ugly heads again. As anyone who has gone through this, or is going through this knows, it can have a devastating effect on your life. But persistence is the secret to success, and keeping your eye on the prize is the secret to sanity. It helped me a lot to hear of others’ success stories when we were in the throes of discovering our problem (I cried for two days straight). I needed hope and I found it in some of the stories of others on blogs and bulletin boards. Hope my story is helpful to one of you. Keep fighting! Don’t give up! Demand that your landlord take responsibility if you are in a multi-unit dwelling, and insist on competent pest control by professionals! If you are backed into a corner as we were and have to do your own pest control, research, research, research, and follow the label to the absolute letter. Use as much protective equipment as you can (I always use a respirator, goggles, gloves, hat, boots, and more if called for). You can win this battle. We think we have won, but are prepared to fight again if we need to!

Editor’s note: We do not encourage anyone to treat their homes without a licensed PCO who is experienced with bed bugs; mgdecombe was a trained PCO treating her own home. You should not try and do what she did!

With that out of the way, thanks for sharing your story, Mgdecombe. Your false-alarm is so like the stories I read on Caitlin’s and BBRUG’s blogs– people should not be complacent if they’re bitten once soon after treatment, and should definitely consider whether they are experiencing a surge in bed bugs. However, it does sound like an isolated bite can happen (and, of course, it could be a spider). If they were “coming back,” I’d expect more than one new bite, and it would be right to get into full gear once more.

Second, multi-unit dwelling, eliminated serious infestation, success stories from those who did not move:

In the Forums, in March 2008, reader Bugobsessed writes, after 60 days without bites,

I discovered the bugs in the last week of September ’07, though I had a mysterious rash on my hand and arm (the one I slept with under the pillow) since the end of August ’07. I had just moved to my new town in mid-August, so I attributed the “rash” to change in climate or soap or stress or whatever. I never thought of bed bugs until one day my husband and I were cleaning, we pulled the bed away from the wall, and there it was– the bed bug nest! We looked it up on the internet and there it was– helloooo bedbugs! I had never even heard of them before (aside from the bed time rhyme).

We quickly did everything you’re not supposed to do, like furiously clean everything and throw away furniture without bagging. By the first week in November I realized we needed professional help and I called my landlord who said the man upstairs had said something about bugs a while ago but thought it wasn’t a big deal! By deductive reasoning– I got my bedbugs from my upstairs neighbor who was in complete denial about the severity of his infestation. He lived for months without cleaning or bagging or anything– I was fighting against the currents.

After following the FAQ’s and cleaning ALL my clothes and bedding and furniture, I also sealed all baseboards, door frames, window frames, light fixtures, electrical outlets and cracks in all walls (including closets). I ordered food grade DE and dusted my couch (inside), bedroom, and even my cats like I was rubbing them with flea powder. I did laundry including my linens every 4 days. The PCO visited a total of five times.

The last set of bites I received was on January 10th, a typical BLD pattern, in my isolated bed. I dusted my bed frame with DE and washed all my linens, and that was the last I have seen of the bugs.

(Click Bugobsessed’s name above to read the rest of the story.)

Also in our Forums, in October 2007, reader Pleasehelpme writes,

I think I got bedbugs from either a headboard or a chest I bought at the end of June. It took me a few weeks to figure out something was up and then another week or two before I was able to get a PCO. It only took me two treatments before I stopped getting bitten.

When I was infested, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate at work, couldn’t do anything. It was awful. I went through so much hydrocortizone cream. I was coating my body with DEET and taking benadryl as a sleeping pill. I would wash my sheets every night, spray my sheets with rubbing alcohol before bed, sleep with soccer socks as gloves over my hands, lived out of ziplocks and garbage bags. I got bitten everywhere- my chest, my face, my arms, legs, thighs…

I’ve been bite free for about two months now. I’ve almost unpacked most of my stuff and I noticed that the scars from my 100+ bites are starting to fade. I plan on moving sometime in the first half of next year and am really excited about getting a new apartment (without roommates) and a brand new bed. Within the next two months I hope to be scar-free and then I’ll be really pleased. Actually, once I pay off my credit card bill I will be really pleased. All in all this probably cost me about $12-1500.

Anyway, everyone here was really helpful and supportive. Thanks to everyone and good luck with your battles!

BBRUG. Start at the bottom to get the whole story. In a nutshell: she was fighting them by herself (no PCO) for 14 months, at which point the whole building was found to be infested and was treated. A year later they came back, but a month after that, she was bit for the last time. I think this tells us a few things: first, try to get your landlord to treat your whole building, or at least to check the whole building (an experienced-with-bedbugs PCO should do this). Second, do not simply treat yourself–get the landlord to have someone experienced come in. Even though BBRUG does not think they started with her, the fact that she was working on treating them in isolation probably did not help. Third, even when you see them come back, or are still being bitten after multiple treatments, and feel desperate, don’t give up. One thing a lot of these stories have in common is that even when they’re almost-almost-gone, you will be bitten. And then you won’t. Keep treating until you’re not, but don’t assume it will go on forever. Yay, BBRUG!

Like BBRUG, Caitlin of the BedBugBlog (founder of the Yahoo Bedbugger Group, from which we sprang) also had a serious situation in a multi-unit dwelling, and also did not move to solve her infestation. Again, the whole building had to be treated for there to be any success. And again, there were additional bites without the whole darn thing starting all over again. Start at the oldest posts, and note that she stops being bitten sometime around October 2005, over 14 months ago. Caitlin got several bites in August 2007, in an apparent re-infestation from an outside source. She posted about this on August 14, and by August 19, after one treatment, it appeared to be under control. Yay, Caitlin! (Note: the Bed Bug Blog is now defunct as of 2011, so links were removed above.)

Like Caitlin, A Picture of Me’s Caryn also did not move. Read her Bed Bug Diary. I should note that–also like Caitlin–Caryn got bed bugs again in February 2007, years later, and dealt with them promptly. By 3/14 she is blogging they’re gone. Realize also that she probably got them from someone introducing them into the building anew. They were definitely well out of her apartment, and probably the rest of her building.

Caryn’s and Caitlin’s stories are a good lesson that–assuming one has the “early warning system” of reacting to bites–you can get bed bugs a second time and it is not the end of the world. It is much easier to deal with because you can detect it early, you know what it is, your landlord (assuming it’s the same one) knows what it is, and everyone has their act together. Bed bugs are no picnic and I am sure the moment of realization of a second (new) infestation is horrific, but Caitlin and Caryn both reassured us it is not the end of the world, and can be dealt with quickly, with as little personal trauma as a few days in the laundromat.

From Bedbugger readers:

bugsinhellskitchen // Dec 29th 2006 at 9:29 am

We live in an apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan We had bedbugs a couple of years ago and through vacuuming, purging, bagging, caulking, and use of “questionable” pestisides we got rid of them. My husband fought tooth and nail for three solid months and we finally got rid of them. Haven’t seen one since but we still stay viligent: vacuum and keep everything bagged. And we’re extra careful when we stay in hotels.

Editor’s note: it sounds like bugsinhellskitchen also did their own pest control. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I really do not recommend this to readers, especially since now (2007) there are more PCOs with even more bed bug experience than there were a few years back when bugsinhellskitchen encountered her bugs.

Reader Collette bought an expensive steamer and used dry steam, a process which took eight hours and much muscle and elbow grease:

I made the smartest purchase of my life, I bought a dry steam cleaner. $1,500 of killing steam. This would be my weapon of choice. And I went to war. The war lasted 8 straight hours, during which I went through every inch of wood and mattress in my bedroom, with a flashlight in one hand and a steam nozzle in the other. I crawled into unbelievable spots, I moved unbelievable weights, I was super-human for a day. I made no compromise, did not skip one crevice, I followed them home. I found them, everywhere. I found their eggs, found their hiding places, sometimes in the tiniest little nail holes. And I steamed them. 310 F of burning steam. They did not have a chance. I knew that even one survivor could mean re-infestation. Then I left the room and took a shower. I had a cold beer. And I came back into my bedroom, sparkling clean, smelling like a dry-cleaner shop. And I knew they were gone. I just knew. Since then I have been sleeping like a baby. So does my husband, but he always did. They are gone.

You can read the rest of Collette’s story here.

Note: Some dry steamers in the $400 range recommended by readers and PCOs can be found on the Useful Stuff page. It’s worth noting that some PCOs and individuals use steam followed by residual pesticides or DE. Whether you need these depends on your infestation–if they are deep inside a sofa, or in the walls, for example, steaming as per Collette’s methods might not kill them all.

Before you do your own pest control, please read this. If you want tips on how to choose a PCO, read this. And before you do anything, make sure you read our FAQs, especially this one.

 

Third: Success stories from those who moved

Finally, there are those in multi-unit dwellings who made the hard choice to leave for a new home. Please note that we know this does not always work. You can actually get rid of everything you own, move with what’s on your back, and nevertheless, somehow, end up with bed bugs in the new place. With that in mind, it’s worth studying what people did who managed to move without the suckas following them.

Some people leap and are lucky. This person took advantage of cold weather and moved then, leaving things out to freeze. I give you Windy City Mike (links no longer working as of 2010). It’s really important to note two things here: WindyCityMike moved with his stuff. But he did so carefully, after treating his home. He had multiple treatments and timed things so that he could escape with his stuff while the residuals were working. This is not a guarantee of success, but you have a much better chance of keeping your stuff (and not putting it in storage for a year, and not infesting a new home) if you think carefully about these things.

In contrast, A Big Fat Waste of Time offers a harrowing story, in which the hero felt she had to get rid of everything she owned and move in order to escape bed bugs. Though this would seem to represent what is many bed bug sufferers’ worst nightmare, the conclusion is spiritually uplifting, and this account made me feel like the worst case scenario would be okay, if that’s what it comes to. After moving to escape the bed bugs, ABFWoT tells us:

I start my new job on the 23rd and spend the first week going back and forth between work, the new apartment, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I have only three shirts to wear to work. Out of fear of carrying luggage on the plane from Texas, I bought only enough clothes as I could fit in a small duffle bag, which I kept on my lap. On the 29th, while liberals march through Chelsea with anti-Bush signs, I run from Rockaway Bedding to Jensen Lewis to find a platform bed made of steel. I tell the saleslady at Rockaway that I am glad I found a steel bed. “Bed bugs?” she asks. She knows.

It arrives tomorrow between 8 and 12. In the meantime, I am sleeping on an air mattress on the floor.

At the end of my first week back, I make one final trip to the old building to pick up the cable boxes I’d left in such a hurry. It turns out the cable company will charge me $200 a box if I don’t turn them in. I wear one of my parent’s old t-shirts which I brought with me from Texas especially for this day. I wear some new Addidas shorts, which I am sad to part with. I meet the landlord there. He gives me the boxes. I turn in my keys. I go to the cable office in my t-shirt and shorts and turn in the boxes. I go to my gym, throw away my t-shirt and shorts, shower, and put on one of my work outfits and go to work. I can’t believe I never have to set foot in that place again.

The next day is my birthday. It feels more like a rebirth day.

I’m starting over in a new apartment, with a new job, with nothing, I tell my friend Margaret, an immigrant from cold-war Poland, herself.

“Like a baby,” she smiles at me.

Yes. Like a newborn baby.

Now some of my readers are going to say, “but Nobugs, that’s not the worst-case scenario.” (Some people claim to throw away “everything” and move and still do not escape them. Of course, there must be something left that carried bed bugs.) But I think we can learn a thing or two about the degree to which ABFWoT went to move away from the bugs.

The point of this post is inspiration, and I hope these accounts provide you with some, as they do me. There are many other wonderful bed bug blogs out there; I’ve chosen these partly for their inspirational and educational value, as well as the fact that their bed bug posts were easy to find, which is not always the case, when bed bugs take over a personal blog. There are also blogs that mention ongoing bed bug struggles and I’ve left those out here. But in reviewing the blogosphere, I want to mention one more source of inspiration: a priceless story of bedbug romance, from Bugged Out.

Thanks to everyone who shares their stories here. They do a lot to educate and inspire others. :-)

 

If you successfully showed your bed bugs the door, and want your story included, please email it to me: nobugs a t bedbugger d ot c om. Make sure you tell me what name you would like associated with your post, and make sure you tell me I have permission to post it on the blog. It would be great if you mentioned your PCO, your city, and whether you were in an apartment or a single-family house, but tell us as much or as little as you like. If your story is on the web, but not linked to above, you can send me a link. Thanks!

Still fighting bed bugs? Go to the forums to leave your story and questions.

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1 nobugsonme December 18, 2007 at 12:14 am

Aaron’s story added at top.

2 LadyReal January 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Hello, first I would like to thank you so much for this site, no-one who has not had to deal with bed bugs can really understand the trauma we have lived thru.
I had an infestation in an apartment complex, my manager did get an exterminator, but it took about two weeks. In talking with her I found out that my upstairs neighbors had them for about a year before they got rid of them, so really they didn’t get rid of them just moved them downstairs with me. So here is my story.
My second to oldest daughter had what I thought was some kind of rash on her back and shoulders, took her to the doctor got the creams and nothing helped. Then my youngest daughter got the same rash, back to the doctor, now the doctor was at least willing to admit that he did not know what was causing the rash. There are a total of 4 of us in my apartment, my middle child never did receive a single bite, or at least she never showed signs of bites, I think I was bite several times but never to the extent my two daughters were. I would sit up most of the night and try to watch them to keep the bugs off of them, I would cry most nights and think I was very close to haveing a mental break-down , I couldn’t sleep, eat or even concentrate on any thing except the bed-bugs. Every nook and crack in the wall anything left on the floor became an obsession with me, I would vacuum and vacuum, scrub everything threw out everything that was not essential. At first I tried all the same things everybody else does, tried spraying everything with Alcohol, tried Thyme, I even laid down DE, which just caused a big mess and made my youngest daughter cough uncontrollably, please listen to this site, you need a professional exterminator. I ended up having to throw out my and my girls mattresses, the second to oldest mattress was how I found out it was bed bugs saw one crawling from underneath the mattress onto the bed to bite her, lifted it up and they were everywhere, soon after I found a small space (less than an inch long) on the seam of my mattress that had the bugs, with-in 2 days my room had also become totally infested. Threw out my furniture, and most of our clothes, at this point I no longer had enough money to keep washing everything over and over. I just wanted to sleep but coulnd’t imagining those bugs biting me and my daughters was a nightmare, even during the day I couldn’t sleep because I just knew they were there, hiding, waiting. You begin to feel like you are at war, it become you against them, and they are winning. My oldest daughter who was spared this nightmare as she does not live with me was becoming very scared due to my mental state and was starting to come around to make I sure I didn’t lose my mind, not to say crazy thoughts of just torching the place or tearing the walls down don’t enter your mind at 3 AM when you can’t sleep, and throw back the cover on your children and realize there are about 7 bugs in the bed feeding on them.
Well finally right before Xmas the exterminator came, I saw a few after that but so far no new ones, and no bites for about a month now, I still vacuum all the time, and have started using the Kleen-Free, which I love.I still freak out every time I itch or I notice a mark on one of my children, I do not think I will ever be the same after having dealt with bed bugs, so to all of you who are still dealing with this know that you will one day be bug free , just keep on and know that my prayers and understanding are with you, you are not alone.

3 nobugsonme January 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

LadyReal,
Thanks for your message.
I am glad you are not getting bites now, but I would seriously, seriously encourage you to call your pest control professional back in. Almost no cases of bed bugs are cleared up within one treatment. It is normal practice to follow up in 2-3 weeks with at least one additional treatment. The marks on your children may be bites.
In any case, if you want to discuss this further, please come to the forums. I won’t add your story to the success stories just yet, since a month is too soon to call. Come back in 6 months and let us know how it went. Ok?

4 hugsnotbugs February 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Hello. I joined the site after discovering I had bed bugs, but this is my first post.

I spent several months looking for those damn spiders, then I was misdiagnosed with scabies and spent several months treating that, both to no avail. Then someone mentioned “bedbugs” and I started my research. It really helped finding your website and hearing about others having the same traumatic experiences.

I am lucky that my realtor/landlord stepped up to address the problem! But only after I found him a sample of a bed bug — he didn’t want to do anything until then about these “alleged” bugs. He wanted my dermatologist to submit a diagnosis or do something about it somehow! I told him, well his job is treating my skin; here is your bug, now your job is to treat that!

Today was the first treatment. As soon as the pest control guy got there and started poking around, those ugly bugs started coming out of the woodwork. It was crazy to see them crawling on the walls after so many, many months of no sign at all of anything!!

I read all your information about sealing things in plastic bags or not. There really does not seem to be a definite answer. My bug guy wanted all clean stuff out of the house for the treatment, and all stuff that is sealed cleaned. But since he is using a fogger, one would think that would just kill everything in the house whether it is sealed or not. Anyway, I have a lot of washing to do once I get home tonight, either way.

This is not a complete success story yet since I don’t know if the bugs are gone after this one treatment. I do feel it is successful in the facts that I was able to (1) finally identify my problem (2) find a sample bed bug for my landlord to prove my case and force him to respond, and (3) get a professional treatment. I will let you all know how this one works and whether or not I need to do more. I heard that the Health Dept. of California requires 3 treatments, so I’m hoping to get all 3 of them out of my landlord, just for my own peace of mind after dealing with so much for so long.

good luck to you too.
hnb

5 nobugsonme February 20, 2008 at 10:46 pm

hnb,
Are you sure your pest control operator used a fogger? Do you know what kind? You should read this:
http://bedbugger.com/2007/05/30/bombs-dont-work-on-bed-bugs-citation-anyone/

6 bugbasher February 22, 2008 at 9:45 pm

hnb,
Did the bug guy spray anything to make the bugs show themselves? I wonder why pco ‘s I’ve read about don’t use flushing agents at all it seems.Maybe that’s why they usually can’t find anything.But on the subject of the foggers,NBOM is right in that there is evidence that they drive them away into walls where you can’t treat them and when it wears off they come back so I would question pco on this point.

7 nobugsonme March 20, 2008 at 8:38 am

added bugobsessed’s story.

8 Meg March 23, 2008 at 12:11 am

I suppose you could consider this a bedbug success story, as it certainly meant success for me. I began getting a rash on my chest and torso (which quickly spread to my back, neck, arms, and upper legs) about a month ago. The bites didn’t really itch, but it was scary none-the-less so I quickly began researching. I stumbled upon the bedbugger website and read my heart out, convinced I had bedbugs. I had every single one of the signs. After a long night of researching, I headed upstairs for bed, something I wasn’t quite looking forward to after reading. I pulled out a tee shirt to sleep in, brushed my hair, and when I went to pick up the shirt again I lifted it to find a tiny, 1cm long grey bug slowly squirming on the sheet. Horrified, I stuck it to a piece of tape and ran into my mom’s bedroom crying. I refused to sleep in my bed again. The rash spread just a little bit more and then stopped. I hoped and prayed they didn’t follow me to my couch downstairs. After little help with the healing of the so called bites, I decided to go to the doctor. He took one look at my back and raised his brows, muttering something softly. I wanted to squeeze the answer out of him. “Ah, looks to me like pityriasis rosea. Completely harmless.” I broke into a grin and sank into my chair, looking at my mom and laughing. The doctor had no clue of the battle I’d been through. “Usually there’s a large spot somewhere as well, known as the herald patch. It’s–” I cut him off, showing him the scaly 2in spot on the back of my knee. Once he was positive of a diagnosis I went home and researched even more, still apprehensive to sleep in my bed again. We washed all my laundry and vaccumed my entire bedroom (including my metal bedframe and surrounding areas) just to seal the deal. I’d like to think that my scare was the result of extremely bad timing of my pityriasis rosea, combined with premature researching, combined with that inexplainable bug on my shirt, combined with jumping to conclusions. =) Basically I’m telling you all of this so you can explore all options before deciding on one. Pityriasis rosea resembles bedbug bites almost exactly, they have the capability to itch, and they appear in the exact same places AND groupings as bedbugs. The only difference is the large scaly patch that the host gets, which sometimes doesn’t even occur. At early stages it resembles ecsema almost exactly. Thankfully it is caused from a virus (they think) and rarely effects the same person more than once. But because I’d never heard of this silly skin disease I didn’t even think to consider it. Overall I just want to share my story to help shine light on other options for those who think they may have bedbugs. Good luck in your endeavors.

9 Katie April 4, 2008 at 12:00 am

I am now part of the bed bug community. None of my friends or family understand what I am going through. Your stories are encouraging here in Florida. I am not winning this battle right now though, here is how it is going. . .

I have to maintain a normal life outside my bug infested home, and even try to be the woman in charge. I dread going home after a 12 hour day with the cleaning ritual ahead of me. I am in a state of panic and need advice. I cannot afford a professional, pest control officer as I am getting ready to go to Grad School in New York. I still have a couple months left in this house. What do I do?

10 paulaw0919 April 4, 2008 at 8:38 am

Katie. Go to the forums page (blue bed bug that has forums written across it) upper right side of this page. Post your questions there and more people may be able to help answer your questions.

11 Marc April 8, 2008 at 10:29 am

I live in a third floor apartment of a three-story building in Denver, Colorado. I have two roommates, and yes we have bed bugs bad. The biblical story of Job and all his afflictions was never so real to me as now. I am riddled with bite marks and I appear to be severely bed bug allergic, I itch constantly, and a good night’s sleep is only a dream (pardon the pun). I didn’t realize until now how deep the psychological effects of bed bugs could be. As I write this, I am literally trembling, hands shaking with anxiety. Like Katie, I cannot afford many of the solutions offered (PCOs, continuous loads of laundry, throwing everything away?). Desperation, however, will force me to try something soon. When I complained to the building management, they “punished” me by making me move everything in my apartment out of the way of the pest guys so they could gas the place. I noticed zero improvement after their visit, and there was no follow-up. I wonder why so little is said in this blog about the effectiveness of some of the chemicals which are advertised here. If they are not effective, isn’t this exactly the place they should NOT be advertised? And, if they do work, why isn’t somebody touting the hell out of them. The guy in the pesticide department of the hardware store swore that only boric acid powder would solve bed bug problems, but it has not solved mine after months of applications. I ache to try diatomaceous earth, but if it doesn’t work I will literally lose my mind. PLEASE, SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT WILL WORK. At least give me a clue about what will quell the itching.

12 nobugsonme April 8, 2008 at 10:44 am

Marc,
Boric acid is not a good solution for bed bugs, according to the entomologists we have heard from.

Pesticides do work but need to be applied repeatedly (often varying the exact cocktails) every two weeks until the problem is entirely gone.Every good PCO requires you to prepare for treatment, so perhaps this is what moving the furniture is about. That does not mean you had a good PCO, though–what is this “gas” you spoke of? Do you know what the PCO did?

PLEASE get professional help. It sounds like you have a serious case.
DE can work but bed bugs must cross it in order to die, and in a case like yours it is not likely to solve the problem anytime soon. You need a combination of methods expertly applied.

I understand the cost factor, believe me, but this will not go away, it will only get worse without proper treatment. Find out about local laws from a tenants org. If your landlord is liable to pay for treatment, s/he is probably liable for GETTING RID OF the bed bugs, not just for paying for one ineffective treatment. Find out your rights.

If you have further comments, please leave them in the FORUM, since they are off-topic in this thread. Forum: http://bedbugger.com/forum

13 Sridhar Iriventi April 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Quick Tips oN Handlng Bed Bugs

1. know that they are indeed bed bug bites…search web for bedbug appearances images

2. wash those bites hottest water you can bear with preferably with neem soap or antispetic soap…touch wipe with a clean towel…dont scratch.Apply ointment bought from a near by pharmacy story ex:benydine can be one. if you cant access them get coconut oil and mix camphorin to it by mashing it . Apply it ont eh affected areas as well as surroundings preferably thru out the day you need to wear them ( you may need to wear socks ) I assure you you will enjoy good return on your effort. Still better if you can use an antibiotic for itching.

During this itchy time u will realise that scratching can also give you orgasm. bcos YOU R STRONGLY ADVISED NOT SCRATCH.

3. once the bed bug itch subsides now lets prevent them from attacking us once again.

4. Dont sleep on the same bed. get green neem leaves…put them in owl and burn them undeer the bed where suspect the bugs… if you can and let the smoke of these leaves be kept thru out the night. or Buy one rentokil spray and spray it on all nooks and corners …

5. Abandon the rooom for a day or two.. enter the room sleep on the bed …swithc off the light but dont sleep for 15 minutes…after 15-20 minutes or more just jump out of it in jerk and watch for those bugs near you ..if they are not found send me consultancy fees by sending ny titling me as the Bug Buster of the Century.

6. You found them or not ; take a fresh bag in your vacuum cleaner and suction out nooksand corners of that room…take out the bag and freeze it. those poorbugs can t enjoy the chill weather they will die along with their eggs

7. deeper crisis? wash clothes and put them in the freezer and later anywhere else you want …

8.still deeper: cremate that beautiful bed please dont dump them on the road. take room by room in your home

Lesson : In this life or your last life or previous to that you have been bat which was not bitten by bed bug. so you’re finishing your duty now. and stop bugging your rest of the citizens.

** EDITOR’S NOTE: Much of what is described in this comment is dangerous and/or may make bed bug problems worse. I am not deleting it because these are common misconceptions about bed bugs. Please read my response below and see the FAQs for solid bed bug advice many have contributed to. –Nobugsonme **

14 nobugsonme April 14, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Sridhar,

I appreciate you writing to share, but your recommendations contradict much of what we know about bed bugs. I would not say this with confidence except I have now taken the combined knowledge of hundreds and hundreds of people with bed bugs (as well as professionals who study and treat them).

1/ identifying the bites based on appearance does not work (see page of bite photos).

2/ washing in hot water is not necessarily good (many of us find makes bed bug bites itch WORSE).

3-5/ sleeping elsewhere is a good way to SPREAD bed bugs around your home, which makes them harder to treat, and sleeping elsewhere is a good way to spread them to others (surely this is bad karma?)

4/ Please do NOT burn ANYTHING anywhere in your home, especially not under your bed.

6 -7/ Freezing in your refrigerator will probably not be cold enough (and may not be long enough) to kill bed bugs (see our FAQS on dealing with clothing and other items).

8/ Burning ones bed is a dangerous practice. It must not be done in or near homes, but it also may release toxic fumes. It is not necessary. It can be carefully bagged and labelled.

I am intrigued by the idea in your “Lesson” but most of the rest is dangerous advice and I beg readers to read the FAQs. They are longer and more complicated than our friend Sridhar’s comment, and this is because bed bugs are not simple to deal with. It is easy, however, to make your bed bug problems worse.

15 bugged out September 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm

After waking one evening from a nap I noticed I was itching badly on my legs. My boyfriend had been complaining of bites for 2 nights previous but we had disregarded them as mosquitoes. I knew these were not mosquito bites. I jumped out of bed and began pulling the sheets off. Nothing. I went on line and found this website. I then went back in my room and pulled the bed from the wall. There just as described were several black dots-like ink. I immediately became hysterical. That night I canceled dinner and stayed up until 4 am washing and bagging my clothes, sheets and pillows, vacuuming, cleaning walls and baseboards and encasing my mattress and box spring in an allergy encasement that I then sealed with packing tape. The next morning I visited my property manager with a bed bug I had caught on a piece of tape. She was horrified and bewildered. This is the 3rd case of bed bugs in less than a year! She sent an exterminator the same day (hallelujah)and my apartment was treated promptly. The exterminator found 2 bugs and said we had caught them early. He is coming back in 2 weeks or so and I am hoping we won’t find any more bugs in that time. I am greatly concerned over the possibility of re-infestation so I have created an informational handout for the other people in my building. I feel that if the problem is detected early enough and treated by a professional it will not spread to other residents. I am referencing this website on the handout to consult if they need more information. Thanks!

16 Elsie October 7, 2008 at 3:33 pm

bugged out

Are you able to post some (or all) of the handout you created for your building?

We just had our 1st treatment yesterday and I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing to help educated my building.

17 awe man! October 13, 2008 at 9:21 pm

I too would be very appreciative of seeing a handout. I have been getting bites for about 2 months and recently caught and saved one.

I think it is important to share it was 5pm and I was taking a nap with the shades closed. So…they don’t just come at 3am. Also a majority of my bites are on my fingers and arms. I have a temperpedic like mattress I got off overstock.com I don’t know how to treat my mattress, I am assuming it will be different then your average mattress. I noticed the fecal spots all over my head board not too much that I could see but there are plenty of places in that wood fixture they could have been hiding.

I never found any other evidence of bed bugs in my actual mattress or box spring but I did get rid of and label it and it looks like the super cleaned the garbage area down and disposed of it. I brought a product from my hard ware store called Spray Away (sprayaway.com) which is supposed to be all natural and could be used on mattresses and fabric. I have a cooperative landlord who referred me to an exterminator, but I am totally afraid that since my problem at least seems to have been small that I am getting them from a neighbor.

I have at least generally looked at my nearest dressers lights electronics and little rug by my bed. Anyone with a lot of knowledge of bed bugs no the likely hood that any of my other rooms are infected if no one has experience bites. Do I need to do the same vigorous process for the living room and my partner’s bed room? I really really hope not! Can I just search and spray and vacuum….
Also if I have showered and washed all the clothes I wear then shouldn’t there be virtually no risk of spreading the bugs to friends or another sleeping spot? I don’t want to be afraid all the time especially since I read that re-infestation is so likely?

Any advice is welcome especially the hand out for the rest of the building.

18 nobugsonme October 13, 2008 at 9:54 pm

awe man!

Please re-post your query in the forums:

http://bedbugger.com/forum/

You will get more responses there and it is kind of off-topic here.

19 Molly Kitsmiller November 15, 2008 at 9:59 am

I have been encouraged to post here my success story which is still in the making, but which I believe has a good chance of succeeding.
We first picked up our bbs 16
months ago, had en exterminator come to spray and thought we were good. (They were active in our house for about 7 weeks before we figured it out.) We did NOT
do any other preventative measures as I had not done research and the PCO did not tell
me to do anything. They sprayed twice and I never heard any recommendations for
mattress covers or even washing and drying linens. It makes me mad now that I know all
that I do.

We didn’t have bites for a full YEAR and then they started again. Of course, I didnt think
bb’s at first (it was my kids getting bit this time) but finally found the little buggers after
about 2 months of bites that started out random and then kept increasing in number.

We got rid of the wooden bedframe, isolated the new metal bedframe with double stick
tape around the legs, washed and dried EVERYTHING, boiled all their toys, dusted DE all
around the floor edges, caulked every crack, bought mattress covers, dry vapor steamed
all the cracks, removed the door casings and dry steamed in there (there were a lot hiding
in there), cleaned up clutter, and continued searching the bbs out night after night. It has
now been 4 nights in a row that we have not found any bbs. Prior to using the steamer,
we were finding one or two every night. BUt after steaming the door frame, we have not
found any! We did not use a PCO this time – I have a theory that the bbs stayed away
while the chemical was active and came back out when it was safe. Of course i could be
wrong, but I have more confidence in preventative measures then I do in chemicals now.
Remember, if the bugs can’t eat, they can’t breed and they can’t lay eggs. They can live a
long time, but at least they can’t spread in the meantime!

I’m sure it helps that we are in a single family home so we can control where the bed bugs
go to some degree. I think I would feel completely helpless if we were in a multi-unit
structure – never knowing if they were feeding somewhere else and they would come back
through the walls. God bless those of you in apartments – I don’t envy you!

I guess the moral is – do your research and be methodical! It took us 4 weekends to
complete all the tasks, but we knew it had to be everything and didn’t want to miss a step.
GET A DRY VAPOR STEAMER – they really do work and the money that you spend you can
save in cleaning products as you don’t need anything else to clean almost everything in
your house – they are very versatile. Mine also was about $400.
Good luck to you all in fighting these things. But also TAKE HEART and HAVE HOPE – you
can win the battle. I was so stressed for awhile because all I ever saw on all the posts was
doom and gloom – so I want to give you hope that it is a winnable battle.

20 jonnyk25 December 31, 2008 at 9:40 am

I have a success story. I’m currently dealing with these little bastards, they’re not gone yet but each day for the last few days I have found at least one just wandering around near me. I collect each of them and enjoy shortening their lives by using different methods. Well, yesterday I collected one, dropped it in the toilet, and pissed on it with every drop I had to offer, then flushed the bloodsucker to its death. I was successfully & temporarily filled with GLEE.
As for the rest of them I plan to steam the house very thoroughly and then using DE around the entire house. I will post again if I have more success in killing the rest of the BB family.

21 Frances Ayers July 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I was misdiagnosed with pitaryasis rosea by two internists,and only recently found out I was bitten all over my body by bed bugs.We sprayed,bought new beds,did the laundry and scrubbed the floors.The bites have decreased but we still have a problem.We live in a small apartment building in New York.

22 Diane Mitchell August 21, 2011 at 5:00 am

I thought I was getting mosquito bites. My cat was tearing up the corner of my boxsping. We moved. I turned the box spring away from the cat and taped it up. He never ripped up my bed anymore. I was still getting bitten occasionally, being a nocturnal person myself I think I may have been starving them, but they don’t need much. If I would sleep at night I would wake up with bites on my arms or back and around my hairline.
I now think I have eradicated them with mass quantities of rubbing alcohol. If it wasn’t for my cat locating them and the fact that I had seen a strange bug on my mattress once and that there aren’t that many mosquitos in Las Vegas and that I spend a lot of time in my room, I might not have located them. Hopefully I haven’t spread them and they are gone forever!

23 Tom October 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

You landlord “punished” you ? I’m a PCO and a landlord myself and attitude like yours make me sick.

24 Raquel December 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

thank you i needed to hear there is hope. I been bit free for 30 days and just started bring my laudry home. it been over my mother for 30 days. we been living out of rubber maid. I had orkin spray 4 times then i bought what they use and sprayed myslef i aslo replace my beb bought cover and replace evething in my living room. i have sealed my floor and culked. should i start puting my thing back?

25 nobugsonme December 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Hi Raquel,
If you’re not sure, I suggest you consider using bed bug monitors to try and confirm there’s no more problem.

26 Tess0109 July 16, 2013 at 11:00 pm

We recently discovered a bed bug issue in our home. I started getting bites on me about two weeks after mothers day. I was the only one in our home getting bit. Not sure what it was I went to the doctor I was told that I had hives. I left it alone. About 2 weeks after that I seen this weird bug run across my pillow on the couch and I was able to catch it in a tissue and I killed it. I googled bed bugs right away my gut just told me see what they look like. The bug I had looked just like that. My husband and I went out on a late night walmart run bought all kinds of bug killers, foggers and a flash light searched every where in the couch couldn’t find anything. We also checked everyones mattress in the house and beds, baseboards, pictures just about everything. We cleaned the entire house and sprayed. The bites stopped and we thought maybe it wasn’t a bed bug and I was just over exaggerating. About a week ago I started getting bit again but only when I would sleep on the couch. My husband seen 2 bugs crawl across the couch he caught them and killed them. He thought I better turn the light back off and if there is two there is going to be more. Sure enough he turned the light off and waited and our daughter was on the other end of the sofa sleeping and he caught four crawling on her. He flipped the couch and where we looked before there were eggs this time. We immediately took our couch and chair outside and cut it open and found 18 total bugs and the eggs. We sprayed bed bug killer from hot shot on live bugs and eggs to see if it killed them and it worked. From there we stripped everything and scrubbed baseboards and floors and then I steamed floors and area rugs sprayed everything and waited for it to dry and then put down DE everywhere. We did this in every room even thought we only seen the bugs I the living room which makes sense because we all like to sleep down there a lot and from what I understand they hide close to the food source. Everything has been washed dryed and treated and we currently have no living room furniture. We are sleeping in our beds and I have set up traps in all rooms as well and made homemade CO2 traps and I have not experienced any bites and have not caught anything in my traps and its been a week. My question is how do I know if I have gotten rid o them and when is it safe to purchase new living room furniture. (by the way we tore our box springs apart in every room and I couldn’t find anything or a sign could they have only been in our sofa) we are not sure how they got in our home we don’t travel or anything like that and the only place I started going to differently around the time I started getting bites was the tanning bed and I am wondering If I brought one home from there I would always put my purse and clothes on the floor in the room instead of hanging them up. – any help ad suggestions would be helpful I do not have extra money for a PCO so we are trying to keep doing what we are doing and hope for the best – thanks!!!

27 nobugsonme July 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Hi Tess0109,

This is an old post and it’s about people’s success stories. As such, people aren’t likely to see your questions here.

Since you’ve already got an account on this website, please log in to our active user forums and repost your question there.

28 Margie February 19, 2014 at 5:50 pm

It’s been awhile, about a year and a half, that we are bug free. The most important thing I would like to mention is that the “motherload” nest that I happened to find the night before the Orkin man was coming (besides the box spring where we found them months before), was in a cloth covered office chair (no arms, just a cheapie I found many years ago). It was during the night when I got up to use the computer that I noticed one on my leg and then turned over this chair and lo and behold there were lots of them in various stages under the cloth that stuck out past the staples holding the cloth to the chair. By then I had a “drill” of sorts which included cotton balls and Q tips and plastic baggies that could be sealed. I was working furiously to get them all jailed in the baggies because by now after disturbing them they were scattering fast.

I did not have to heat treat our place but the Orkin man used a lot of diatimacious (sp?) earth on our bed frames along with whatever other treatment he did. Of course we had to bag up clothes, put some in the dryer, and it was one heck of almost year as I developed paranoia to the point it was driving my hubby crazy although I knew it bugged him as well but he had vision problems from some cancer treatments so it was frustrating for him not to see as well as I did. Every morning I would ask that we strip the bed, lift up the mattress and box spring to check for bugs.

I can hopefully safely say we are bug free now. I did not want to tell anyone in our apartment complex and we have cinderblock walls that the inhouse pest guy said helped keep them in one place. No one ever complained about having bedbugs so I am assuming they did stay within our place. One other important thing, we do believe we brought these over from another apartment building because a friend from there who was visiting us said confidentially that six units were infested and all were heat treated and checked by dogs. We lived in that wing so I am pretty sure the bugs hitchhiked over when we moved. Fro my own mental sanity I wrote a letter to the owners of that building kind of hoping they would reimburse us for our treatment but knowing I could not prove anything, did not mail it.

I want to thank everyone for contributing to this website. Also, I am grateful for Bedbugregistry.com for hotel and neighborhood reports. Never say never, as I did stay in a hotel since then, a Quality Inn in Montana, and did not hesitate to look thoroughly around the bed and kept my things in the bathtub with the slippery sides to imprison the bugs if they get into the clothes, at least I hope it works like that. Odd thing was that at the registration desk, a gentleman was there when I asked about bedbugs and he said he was the manager and checks daily for them.

29 nobugsonme February 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Thanks, Margie, for sharing your success story. So glad you are now free of bed bugs!

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