4 Days of Bliss...and then...(4 posts)
Firstly I would like to thank this site, all it's participants, professionals and bed-bug-bitten-psych-ward-bound peoples. To those of you who are senior members or old timers...how long have you been bed bug free? And you are still here helping us poor crazy folks battle these buggers...mother effers! (sorry to offend anyone!) It is all very much appreciated.
I will try to be as concise and, seemingly, sane as possible. I do have questions still if you would be so kind as to shed some light on...
My boyfriend and I just moved our of our infested (how does one tell when it is a low level or high level case?) two bedroom apartment that we shared with two other men (I live in a town with extortionate rent rates!). Probably mid February I started getting these bites (though I thought it was a rash). No one else was getting anything and I figured it may have had some sort of stress relation (job) or dust mite even (I moved in in February). A couple weeks in I started to think about bed bugs (apparently a common occurrence in this town...yay). I told the property manager and they set up a spray within a week. Still nothing was clearing and although I had seen a couple bugs on the bed, I didn't do any research as to what they looked like and my boyfriend quickly killed them (I have a slight bug phobia...great!) so we did not inspect. Just before our third spray I went to stay with my mum who was working in town for a month. No more bites. Hmm.
Though as I returned to my apartment...so did the bites. We had one more "final spray". Now I feel so foolish and wish I would have came to this site a looong time ago, I had no clue as to the measures that needed to be done before and after sprays (the "information" pages that the property manager left in our door and pathetic now that I know!). I also don't know how many of my adjoining neighbours were sprayed (I saw the letters in the doors for the people on my floor)...but how well did they package their items? I also, was unfortunately at work every time they came in to spray. We were never told by the property manager that our preparations were unacceptable, so we carried on every spray (5 by June). Meanwhile, thinking since no one else is getting bit and I still am after FIVE sprays, I must be allergic to something. So in for blood tests, urine tests, creams, ointments, steroids..all that fun stuff! Still no.
I decided to quit my job and was going back to the UK for a few weeks to rest my weary head. The night before my boyfriend was to drive me to the airport in a different city, we were trying to sleep, feeling very itchy. I got the flashlight out and BINGO. There. and THERE! and there omg baby, there...our pillows, there!! We threw out our mattress (I do feel bad about just throwing it away!) and when we looked at the box spring...there they were...how many? Small ones, 20...30? I don't really know. So thinking we had eradicated our problem we jumped in the car and off we went. While away, my legs..and arms...white as white can be! I was never so happy to be blinded by the whiteness of my skin...no red marks! Until...
I came back and was bitten on the first night. :*( On the second day we received a warning letter (issued to the whole building) from the city's Health Department stating that they had been notified that our building and a bed bug issue. Two days later we were sprayed...number 6! This time, since I am unemployed, I was home and a bit more aware of the procedures...still not enough though, I had some cardboard storage boxes in the middle of the room. On the morning of the spray day I had asked the older of the two men who shared the second room if he had washed and put all his stuff into bags. He said he had asked the other one to do it for him. "The other one" is a pot head who woke up at 11am. I told him what needed to be done and he went and showered...so I snuck into their room. To my HORROR, found about 15-20 dead bed bugs along the side of one wall. I lost it, I told him to get all his shit sorted, he laughed and did so carelessly. Nothing was washed, I told him to take it out. I threw away the other guys blankets (he slept on the floor). Pot head said he had to go to work that he was taking all of his stuff to the laundry mat.
When he left I went in and found that nothing was done, no vacuuming stuff was shoved into the closet and the computer desk was still in the corner. So I began, anger fuelling me, cleaning, vacuuming, pulling the desk into the middle of th....are you kidding me???! A little mug sized circle choc full of eggs and bugs and yellowness? I screamed. I cried. I phoned my boyfriend and told him to get home immediately with huge garbage bags. He was there in 15 minutes. I had vacuumed it all up but I couldn't go back into the room and I couldn't bring my self to turn of the vacuum. My boyfriend wiped down the desk, we were sprayed and when they got back home they were told that they had a week to find a place to live because we were leaving. And I let it rip. They're obvious lack of consideration, understanding, cleanliness (not hygiene but if he had moved that desk to vacuum he would have found it....or it wouldn't have been there!) I went through HELL for the past 6 months because they did squat all in terms of preparation...I'm also angry that the property manager didn't mention this...it should be cause for eviction!
So. I bought Ziploc bags and a Packtite and "heavy duty" steamer. Oh ya. I'm unemployed. We only had a day and a half to to move when the Packtite came so we were forced to bring our "dirty" Ziploc bags with us to the new apartment. We first surrounded the middle of the two bedrooms with double sided tape. One was a dirty room and one was a clean, Packtited room. 4 days (blissful, omg!! I can wake up and laze about, cook, read magazines, go for walks, wear Packtited clothes and non get-me-through-this -next-two-weeks-three-outfit shuffle. Just wonderful. And a place for just my boyfriend and I. Haven't been this happy in a Very Long Time.
Felt quite itchy yesterday but just figured my lounge pants have just been washed far too many times. Went to bed and still itchy. Woke up this morning and was itching quite a bit, my wrist had raised-skin-colour area which I instantly thought was a bite but I calmed myself down, just a little something! Went out to grab coffee, came back crawled into bed with the boyfriend....very itchy. I checked my thigh. That sure is a bite. I think I have another one in my cleavage and another on my upper thigh. I. Am. Losing. It.
We had just put on a dark grey sheet on our air mattress and when I was inspecting it this morning ( I also did last night and found nothing) there were quite a few little round white balls. I don't have a magnifying glass but I presume that they were eggs?
Now I know I wasn't THE most crack proof when moving. When we were moving things into the new apartment, since we are ground level and have big bedroom windows, we moved things in through there and since I would be touching them I wore the clothes I was wearing in the old apartment (just moving stuff, no sitting, etc). But as soon as everything was moved in I removed the clothes, put into a Ziploc and had a shower.
We only had a kitchen table and desk that I steam cleaned before bringing over. The only things that haven't been Packtited have been the microwave, toaster, two large rubber maids containing flour and sugar (I do a lot of baking), a dry erase board and a garbage can, which have all been sanitised.
Why. Why is this happening? What should have I done differently? What should I do now? I have quite a few clothes and some designer homewares that I simply cannot give up but they have been Packtited. I can't live out of Ziploc bags, plus I don't have the room too! I need to be able to hang my clothes up.
How have you stored your items after moving?
I really don't think they are adult bed bugs, surely the last spray would have killed those. Or maybe I am just losing my mind! I read today that bites can take up to 14 days to manifest. But I'm also itchy.
I can't go back to feeling isolated and disgusting. I'm afraid it may break my relationship and my sanity!
I appreciate any advise you can give me. I would prefer not to go to the new property manager, first she my friend's mother and second...it's our fault! I can't afford a PCO after all that I have already spent...putting me into debt
Thank you all so much...and good luck. Geez...we HAVE to win this fight!!!
P.S - I was never one to be concise.... sorry!! :)
P.P.S - I have never seen a dead bug in my Packtite, is that normal? Most things have been Packtited still in the Ziploc bag with it open but none on the bottom either....is this normal? (I was kinda hoping this just ment we weren't infested as much!)
Mind blowing story GoingCrazy O-o
Not that coping with bbs 2-yrs in a single family unit is any easier but I never want to live in a multi-family unit. It’s gotta be extra-tough for those that also have to cope with untidy direct neighbors.
“I can't live out of Ziploc bags, plus I don't have the room too! I need to be able to hang my clothes up.”
I sorta like living in ziplocks and plastic bins.
Tidy, protected and well organized for the most part.
I personally use dry cleaner bags.
After they are cleaned I tape the tops, tie the bottoms and pray. IDK if it is the bags or my prayers but I haven’t seen anything on/in my hanging clothes nor in my ziplock dresser bags.
Shoes, purses etc. Stay in their bags and in the bins with lids.
For me. Forever.
Welcome, ICGC. You've had quite an ordeal and have worked hard. Scanning your approach, I (a non expert) don't see a lot to criticize. You bagged your stuff and are treating it in your new place. There was always the risk of a straggler on the outside of a bag or in the walls of a box. But it's done.
Regarding your first question. I'm from NYC and have been active on this board for nearly three years, joining after encountering bed bugs at my parents' home. They're elderly and I sometimes "live in" and care for them. The issue cleared relatively easily, without need for profesionals. With a constantly turning over care staff, I consider their home perpetually "at risk" for bed bugs. My wife and I also have our own apartment. There have been bed bugs in units adjacent to ours, so we keep our eyes open.
Bed bugs are tough enough "as is". It's made tougher when you feel like you're doing the work and some jerk undoes it, as your stoner housemates did. Glad you have your own place. May I suggest you get a digital camera with a macro (flower symbol) setting and snap a picture of anything you find suspect, post a link (on the forum, under a new topic, requesting ID) to flickr or photobucket and someone here will help identify it. If you have a phone camera, shoot through a magnifier.
As someone on the board has said, people get rid of bed bugs even with imperfect PCOs and imperfect preparation. Except in bad cases (your stoner friends probably qualified), bed bugs are primarily on or near the bed or where you sit (e. g., the couch). So, the whole washing/bagging thing is a precaution. In fact, PCOs/entomologists such as BedBugCentral's Jeff White say that the bag/wash thing is overkill in most situations. (If you're staying put and your home is treated properly, bugs will eventually have to come out of your "item" and feed, they'll cross poison and die. In a moving situation, stragglers are more of an issue, as they might end up coming out to feed in your new, untreated place.) That would be one reason why you are not seeing a lot of bugs in your packtite. There might not be a lot of bugs. Another reason may be because when facing heat, bed bugs try to escape someplace cooler. In a packtite, that may well be deeper into the item being treated. (David James, creator of packtite is active in this forum).
So, what's happening to you now? Your place might have a problem unrelated to your stuff. It may have a problem due to stragglers in your stuff. You might be getting bit outside the home. You might be having a reaction to something unrelated to bed bugs (hopefully and something not too serious). You sound pretty savvy, but please read our FAQ end to end. They'll give you a good overview and refresher. You can advance to "bed bugs 201" by going to the Resources page and reading a "Comprehensive Guide", like the "State of Michigan". Keep inspecting and monitoring, post suspicious pictures. And try to find ways to indulge yourself (within the limits of your budget), even if it means getting our for a free summer concert in the park. Exchange big hugs with your partner. Lean on us. We'll try and get you through.
Wow. When I finished my post I really thought...look at the size of it! I wouldn't blame anyone for not reading it! So...thanks! For hearing me out ...felt good!
NJ Bites - I agree the Ziploc keep things tidy and organised.. not so much for me at the moment because both my bedrooms are still squared off with double sided tape and the bags in the middle. So I'm sleeping on the air mattress in the living room....with is again, squared off with double sided.
Oh, how I long for the day to have someone over for tea!
How long have you been BB-Free?
Cilecto - ugh, thank you! I appreciate your understanding, as I haven't told anyone else of my situation and my boyfriend doesn't always want to listen (he doesn't react to bites..so the BB-induced craziness doesn't apply to him) also, the roommates, although not friends, were still people he knew through a friend and from his country so there was a kind of...bond?
I do have an SLR but the battery is dead...and the charger is somewhere in a Ziploc. lol I will locate it and charge it up for if and when I do see one of the bloody things. As I'm not always sure. The photos of bed bug stages shows the nymph as white with a bit of stool (I'm guessing it's stool!) that you can see. But I've seen pictures of a nymph on someone's thumb and you see none of that...maybe it's feeding or maybe I really can't judge how small these things really are!
Your reason for not seeing the bed bugs is a good one...a bit sickly to imagine they are still in the items, just dead...reading a book before bed...oh hello old friend! But I am hoping that the reason is the latter...I just don't have that many bugs!
I will continue to read the threads and the FAQ, I will continue to be vigilant but will try to loosen up as well. I really appreciate your time and words. I read them last night just before I passed out from lack of sleep and the last couple sentences made me smile, I told my boyfriend and then passed out. And ohhh it was a good sleep! I woke only once to flashlight something that I think just needs to moisturizing!
From my heart, thank you for your words and for this site!
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