Advice - Self-Treatment Seems to be Working, do I need a PCO?(1 post)
My bedbug problem started end of June / early July - it's now end of July. I've been self-treating while trying to decide what steps to take next and it seeems to be working. Do I need a PCO? Would a visual inspection be any better than what I can obsessively do myself? Is a K9 reliable if I know I had bedbugs recently - that is, would the dog possibly give a false positive based on cast skins or fecal matter even if no new bugs were present?
I've actually been attempting to get a PCO since pretty early in this whole process, but two different companies fell through, and I have been unimpressed over the phone with others I've called. The NYC DoH and the FAQ here suggest that PCOs should not have a flat rate but should base their rate on the difficulty of treatment (level of infestation, apartment clutter, etc.) - most of the companies I called never said anything like this.
Here are my details -
I have a small 2 bedroom apt with a tiny "spare room" that's used for storage as there are no closets in the apartment.
- Late June - reading in my bed at about 2AM, a very brazen adult climbs up onto the bed right in front of me. I kill it. I try not to freak out but I take the comforter / topsheet off my bed and put in on the desk chair in my bedroom (in hindsight, bad idea). It's very late and I have work the next day so I go to sleep.
- next day - I inspect the comforter and find a bunch of eggs and nymphs under the duvet cover. Comforter, sheets, pillows go into black bags and to the laundromat for hot wash / hot bone dry treatment. I also bring what laundry I have in my laundry bag at the time and do the same thing. All the clean linens go in tied garbage bags. I inspect the desk chair, can't find any bbs on it, vacuum it and set it aside. I vacuum around the bed and then pull stuff out from under the bed, inspecting each item at least briefly and vaccuming some that are dusty. Don't see signs of bedbugs on any of them. Some of the items I place in the spare room to de-clutter the area under the bed (probably a bad idea in retrospect as well). After vaccuming under the bed, I spray a pyrethin spray (707-B) on the carpeting around and under the bed. That night I see a nymph on the wall next to my bed and kill it.
- Over the next day or two I try to get rid of all extraneous clutter in the apartment in general, with the idea that whether or not I get a PCO it will help simplify things.
- Bad timing - I go on vacation for 5 days - however, my roomate gets bitten while I am away. He was planning to move out in a month or two anyway so he speeds up the process and leaves.
- When I returned from my trip I go into overdrive with the cleaning and spraying regimen. I spray my roommate's (now-vacated) bed and the carpet around it with the pyrethin spray. An hour or two later when I go in his room to look around again I see an adult on the bed, which I catch alive (I have a video of it in my other thread). As an aside - it's been about three weeks since I caught it, and it had gotten a pretty decent dose of pyrethin spray, and the damned thing is still alive.
I clean my room, vaccuming in the cracks anywhere I can find them, between the carpet and the wall, under the carpet. (Every time I vaccuum I throw away the bags - thankfully they're cheap!). I inspect more closely under my bed and realize that some nymphs are hiding in small cracks in the wooden slats under my mattress in the bedframe. I kill the ones I can find... I wash all the slats with Murphy's Oil Soap... when they're dry I put latex caulk over all the gaps I can find (generally over knots in the wood) to try to make sure they have less places to hide. I also caulk all the gaps in the metal portion f the bedframe (this one: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S69849769) I put DE in the gaps between the wall and the carpeting.
Since then, I've taken a bunch of stuff I couldn't wash to my parent's house, put it in the garage in black plastic bags and Hot Shots DDVP strips in the bags to treat them - I'll leave the stuff in the bags for at least a month. I've cleaned and bagged all my clothes and I'm living out of the bags now. I replaced my old laundry bag with a "bedbug proof" one off of Amazon. I've seriously decluttered my living space. I continue to vaccum under and around the bed every few days. I got a puffer-thingy to apply DE more lightly and I apply it under the mattress and under the bed each time I vacuum. I've used caulk on all the cracks in the baseboard in the bedrooms. I isolated the bed with flypaper around the legs.
I could say more but I think you guys get the idea. Each time I do anything I look VERY hard for bed bugs and don't find them. I'm not nearly ready to say I'm rid of them but I feel like I'm doing well.
Big problem for me is that I don't seem to respond to bites - assuming I've been bitten by the ones I had, I never noticed.
So with all that said - what do I do next?
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