A Bed Bug MAYBE?(10 posts)
Ok, so I just got back from a weekend retreat two days ago and my roommate from the retreat called to tell me today that she has bed bug bites all over her. She never had them before she went on the retreat, so she's pretty sure she got them there.
I, on the other hand, do not have any bites and haven't noticed any bugs yet in my apt. My belongings were on the other side of the room, so I'm hoping this was a very localized infestation. I called the exterminator to ask if there are any precautions I should take to make sure I don't get a full-blown infestation. They told me to wash my clothes that I took on the trip and get rid of the my suitcase, which I have no problem doing. The thing is, I already unpacked and put some of my sweaters back in my closet along with the suitcase. I plan to be vigilant in inspection for the next couple months just in case I don't react to the bites and wash my sheets every week. I've read the FAQs and looked at all the photos, so I know what to look for.
My questions are:
If I don't show a reaction to the bites, how long should I keep up inspection? I know I just have to watch and wait since it was only two days ago that I returned.
Is there anything else you recommend me doing to stave off an infestation?
If you react to mosqitoe bites, will you most likely react to bed bug bites?
Thanks so much! Any help you can offer would be great!
OK first of all you cant tell anything from bites alone. they are too variable as to how people respond and when they respond to get an accurate diagnosis for it. They could be bed bugs, but then again they could also be:
- A reaction to dust mites
- an allergic reaction
- many other biting insects
- a reaction to the change in water
Now that aside it is always better to be safe than sorry with bed bugs and as you cant inspect the location you were at you have to assume you may have been exposed. Firstly isolate all the items you were travelling in a bath or seal in bags/saran wrap.
Once contained you can work through things logically and calmly. Items that can be hot washed above 60 degrees centigrade get washed ensuring you avoid over filling the washing machine. Things that cant but can be dried in the tumble drier on high heat for 45 minutes get that treatment. Do not dry clean it does not work.
Inspect the bags inside and out for signs of bed bugs, live samples cast skins and faecal traces. These are the only definitive signs of an infestation pictures of these can be found at a gallery on this website:
Once the items have been dealt with you can turn your attention to your sleeping room. Repeat the inspection of the bed area looking under and inside everything and clean as you go along. You will not be able to suck up faecal traces but the cleaner bag should be disposed of in a bin outside the property when you are finished.
If you do not find anything repeat the inspection and clean on a monthly basis, it does not take long once you get into the habit of it and keeping a clean sleeping area is really essential for well being considering we spend on average 180 hours a month sleeping in our beds, 30 minutes cleaning and inspecting seems rather a fair trade off.
Always inspect a bed away from home before you put you bags near it on rest on it because detection before exposure really is the best long term solution.
Read the FAQ's on this site as well and let us know if you find anything.
Most of all try to remain calm and focused and deal with the facts of what is going on.
Bed Bugs Limited
Thank you so much for replying! I scoured my apt last night, top to bottom, closely inspected my luggage, coat, purse, etc and found nothing that resembles signs of bedbugs. I also inspected my mattress and boxsprings and found nothing yet (knock on wood). However, just to be safe I cleaned, vaccumed and laundered almost everything that could have been touched by any exposed objects. The exposed objects that I couldn't wash, vaccum or discard in the incinerator, I enclosed in plastic bags. I also threw out the vaccum bag like you said. The only things I am worried about are my coats and bedspread. They would need to be dry cleaned, but you said that wouldn't work anyways. So I just used the vaccum for now.
Hopefully, as I inspect things in the coming weeks, I won't see anything! What's your advice about having visitors, like not overnight, but just in the apt or going to other people's apt? Should I stop doing this until I know for sure if I have them?
Your coats and your bedspread....You can put a coat or two in the dryer (not washed, just dry) on high heat for about 1/2 or a bit more and as long as the garment is heated all the way through, it should be fine. You can do the same thing with your bedspread but for a longer period because it's thicker/bulky. Most dryers get above 120 degrees and that's the temp that will kill the little buggers if they are in there.
Sorry, I accidentally clicked the post button before I wrote. If you want some advice about a social life, take it from me, do not stop living a normal life. I am in college and the dorm room that I moved into had an infestation (found about a week prior to my moving in, it was exterminated a few days before I moved in but still drove me nuts). After moving in I pretty much drove myself insane about the bed bugs. I put carpet tape all over my room (to try and catch them before they caught me), got a case of Steri-Fab and sparyed weekly. I walked around to class feeling like I was infected with some kind of contagious disease. I didnt want anyone to come to my room, and I was afraid to go to anyone else's room. I pretty much made myself sick over it. Everyone had told me that I had to relax, and i did (but i still wake up every morning at like 530am and check my bed with a flashlight i keep close). If the luggage you brought back from the retreat is in one localized area, chances are if there are any bugs, they havent spread to0 far. Other parts of you house are probably safe. If you have guests, just to be safe, make sure that you dont put their jackets, or purses anywhere near the possibly infected area. Likewise, keep the items you normally go out with (that you are sure are clean) away from the possible area. In my case, (since i have a dorm room, and not much space), I bought plastic bins that I keep my jacket sealed in. When my girlfriend comes, I make sure she puts her jacket and purse inside the bin as well and close it tight (I know it sounds eccentric, but if by some chance I have them and gave them to her I would never forgive myself).
So pretty much the conclusion om my story is that you have to just keep on going normally, just be extra safe. I drove myself crazy and isolated myself, and it didnt solve anything. Ive been living in this room for about three weeks now, havent seen anything, but still go crazy thinking about it. However, I have been trying to live normaly, go out with friends, and not think about it, and I am starting to feel better. My suggestion is to do the same.
Thanks both for responding! One last question. I should probably wait to pay for an professional inspection until I actually have good reason to suspect that I have them, correct? As of now, nothing points to that except that my roommate had bites. Otherwise, I have seen no signs. Thanks again!
It has been five days and I still have no bites, nothing on the mattresses or sheets. I'm still being pretty vigilant and cleaning everything. It's kinda driving me nuts not knowing if I have them. Can someone please let me know if I should have a PCO come inspect now or should I wait until I see any signs? I'm nervous and a pretty social person, so I want to know if they are in my apt or not. Plus, I don't want them to travel to a neighbor's place. I would feel horrible.
Ok, I had a professional from Smithereen come out to inspect and he didn't find anything, but it's only been a week and half since I returned from the retreat, so there may not be clear-cut signs yet. I still have no bites.
My questions are:
How long should I keep checking and wait to assume I am in the clear if I possibly don't respond to bites?
Should I wash my sheets, clothes and vaccum weekly or will that just deter the evidence?
PLEASE HELP! Not sure what to do!
I posted something similar to another thread but here goes.
It is best to get into the habit of inspecting your sleeping area monthly as and when you clean it.
Vacuum cleaning will only remove cast skins and live samples, faecal traces are invariably engrained in surfaces to such an extent that they will not be removed with suction alone.
It is fine to wash your sheets as normal and I would say monthly inspections rather than weekly or heavens forbid daily. The longer the period between checking the greater the chance that you will spot small changes, if you check daily it is far too easy to get confused.
I wrote a newsletter on the subject here:
Bed Bugs Limited
Hi again. So it's been about three weeks since I was possibly exposed to bed bugs at a retreat center and there hasn't been any signs. I have been checking and I hadn't had any bites. But last night I spent the night at my new boyfriend's apt and saw a large welt on my chest. The thing is, like 15 minutes later, it had almost entirely faded away and now (the next morning), nothing is there except maybe a little red spot. It didn't itch or anything. Do you think this could have been a bed bug bite? I'm kinda freakin out since I was at my boyfriend's and hoping I didn't have a bug on my clothes or something. I just had everything washed in HOT and dry-cleaned. PLEASE HELP THANKS!
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