Another instance of bedbugs in my building(29 posts)
Hi all --
Came home today after shopping to find a notice on all the doors in my apt. building -- it seems that I'm not the only one to have these nasty guys. Apparently they've shown up in another apartment.
I had suspected this was the case for some time now as I know someone besides myself was also having to throw out infested furniture (but I was irked because they weren't bagging it or labeling it -- basically doing nothing to prevent the things from crawling out of the furniture or to deter someone else from dumpster-diving it). I also thought that at one point I had gotten rid of the bugs . . . I went seven weeks with no bites/signs to finding a live bug on my couch, and we started the cycle all over again. So perhaps they had come back from another apartment? Who can say.
They will be doing a whole building inspection this Monday, which is good, but I really do not trust whoever the PCO has been sending to do inspections. To top it all off, the snow has been melting here and my ceiling is leaking, so I have a nice WET mattress cover and am hoping someone will take pity on me and take me in for the night here in Denver so I don't have to drive a couple hours to my family's house. I just cannot deal with the leaky ceiling AND the bedbugs tonight. Oh, and did I mention I went to do a load of laundry and was called several nasty names by a neighbor? She saw my laundry in ziplocs and put 2+2 together I guess. Sigh. Didn't even bother saying anything -- what's the use.
Time to move for sure, with the help of a different PCO. Wish me luck, friends.
stamps: when you discard furniture or mattresses that may have bedbugs, make the stuff unusable. Rip gashes in all upholstered areas. Saw one leg off a chair and dispose of the leg elsewhere.
Smash and deface other things with a hammer or hatchet.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that the bb treatment works. Three visits are necessary, as you know. I hope that will be done.
Actually Bugless, I am curious about your idea that 3 visits will do.
It can take 2 (rarely) or 4, 5, 6. Or--? Usually less, but even sometimes when it's done right.
I WISH it just took 3 visits. There's just no magic number here since there are so many variables.
The plot thickens . . .
So we found that my diagonal neighbor (one floor down and one apartment to the side) had bedbugs for some time and set off a bug bomb to fix the problem.
I'm not crazy! Finally!!
Can't blame someone for doing that -- just shows they were panicked and didn't do enough research. The building is actually being proactive and treating on all sides of that apartment and the neighboring apartment which was the one to have actually reported the problem.
The PCO that came in today to search all of the apartments found no evidence of bugs in my apartment (ha, bitter laugh -- after I've had to throw out a good third of my possessions, there's not many other places for bugs to hide). Of course that doesn't mean I'm in the clear, but it's encouraging that the PCO found nothing and I haven't been bitten since I threw out my box spring a couple weeks ago. This doesn't solve the leaky ceiling or other problems I'm dealing with, but it's given me hope.
Wish me luck, friends. I think I'm going to direct those two apartments to this website and forum in case they need something -- god knows this site and all of you have helped me through my depths of bedbug despair many times. Hopefully they'll be proactive so this can be eliminated as soon as possible. I know if they ask for it, I'll be the first in line with giant ziplocs and extra vacuum bags in hand.
Bugless -- trust me, I'm doing all I can to make my used furniture as unappealing as possible. Luckily I have excellent access to lots of art supplies through my job, so I found block printing ink + elmer's glue + papier mache paste = nasty, realistic looking blood stains. I'm sure someone thinks an axe murderer lives in my apartment after I came up with that concoction.
Hahahaha... Stamps, I love your axe murderer marking of furniture. You should post that as a recommendation here!
Stamps, Believe it or not this is good news! No, you're not crazy and now the problem can be correctly addressed. It's good that the building is taking action. I'm proud of you for all the hard work, all you have done and now all you will be doing to address this correctly and helping others. People can take example of you
I'm sure it feels good to use your creative side when defacing items as well. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Good Luck!
OK. It might take more than three good PCO visits. I knew that from this website, and I should have said 'at least three'.
Great idea about the fake murder, Stamps. I don't know what you replaced the box spring with, but an air mattress could be a temporary substitute for a mattress. In spite of sounding comfortable, an air mattress is actually quite hard, like an automobile tire. However, they are very cheap to buy, and will do for a while until you get the problem cleared up.
It's difficult for adult bedbugs to find a hiding place in an air mattress, but 1st-stage nymphs are hard to see. When the air mattress is disposed of, a couple of big slashes will make sure no one picks it out of the dumpster.
A box knife is good for fabric slashing, as Nobugsonme has mentioned.
Another poster has suggested placing an air mattress on sheet plastic placed on the floor, with sticky tape on the plastic all around the air mattress.
oh. my. god.
So the person that had bedbugs and set off the bomb . . . the apartment manager said they found like 60 on the mattress ALONE.
Okay, so I'm trying damn hard not to get angry now. Because I ended up paying for half of the PCO treatments when all signs point to this guy having them first. This is after the fact, and his apartment was not inspected when mine was initially treated -- I was unaware of this, and assumed the PCO inspected all adjacent apartments, including the unit diagonal from me -- apparently the PCO just did my neighbors and directly downstairs (I live on the top floor). Also, how can someone let the problem get so bad that they have that many on the mattress? I found TWO on my box spring at the onset of the problem, with less than ten bites on me -- did some online research -- and went to the apartment manager immediately. Yeah, I know some people don't react, but how infrequently must you wash your sheets to not notice SIXTY @#%*!^% BUGS?
I know, I know . . . there's a certain social stigma attached to having bedbugs and most people don't want to admit it.
And there could be other factors, possible mental illness?
Sure, it's definitely possible that I introduced them too . . . after all, a number of the students I teach have bedbugs. And I know that no one EVER purposely tries to bring bedbugs home, that that person is just as much a victim of bedbugs as I am. I just wish he'd done some research. I wish he hadn't set off a bug bomb. Oh, for a time machine.
Anyway, I think I've found a wonderful new apartment -- extremely slim chance of there being bedbugs since the apartments are new with all new appliances/fixtures/etc. I see no other option at this point -- I already plan on trashing most of the rest of my furniture upon moving. My mother has promised me a mattress and box spring she's not using, my boyfriend is buying me a new couch, and I will very likely be getting a new TV upon signing the lease as a signing bonus. (This leaves me with a dining room set, bags of clothes, toiletries, kitchen stuff, books, a couple electronics, and a couple lamps).
I have a question for anyone still reading: I have a basic plan for moving. Besides having a PCO treat both apartments simultaneously, I also have an idea for my few furnishings I am bringing. The new apartment has hardwood floors and a large living room . . . if I applied double-stick tape to the floor in a box, and dusted that tape with Drione dust, and then put all of my furniture inside that box (aside from an air mattress and my clothing) would that be a decent idea to lure out any remaining bugs to their timely deaths?
Perhaps even apply another tape box o' death around the air mattress? Flaws? Other ideas?
Have you considered treating the furnishings & contents with steam?
You know, I have considered that but ultimately have decided to trash most of my things (I graduated from college less than two years ago, and most of these things are my possessions from college years -- read: not old Chippendale heirloom pieces). The only truly nice furniture I own is my dining room set and my mattress, but since I have a replacement mattress lined up, I figure why risk it?
I plan on replacing some old bookshelves, an armchair, a nightstand. It will be expensive, but I've already resigned myself to the expenses. My hope is that I can claim all of these losses on my taxes this year and at least get a decent refund which ought to help out some.
stamps, I don't know ... I'm skeptical. It might work, but with these bugs - unless it's a tried & true thing, I'd be reluctant to rely on it.
Is the carpet tape intended to keep the dust in place? The stickiness of the tape might impede the dust getting on the bugs. Also, I'm skeptical about whether carpet tape is strong enough to stop bedbugs in their tracks. And with dust on it, the tape would basically be a welcome mat for any bugs making their way to the rest of the apartment. And if the dust itself becomes less effective because of the tape ... (?) Besides, people pour DE all over their homes and, by itself, it still doesn't eradicate bedbugs.
I know you're getting rid of so much stuff, but would it be possible to keep the dining room set and most of the other stuff sealed up & stored for a couple of years? The only thing I'd have real confidence in bringing into the new place is clothing that's been washed/dried properly and transported in an uncontaminated container.
Or you could look into the steaming/Vikane/thermal options for what little you're bringing.
Well, in a way, I'm trying this experiment with the tape and dust right now. My ceiling in my bedroom is STILL leaking (keeps snowing and melting here, unfortunately) so I'm in air-mattress town in the living room. I surrounded that with the carpet tape and dusted it. I mean, the real problem is that I'm not currently being bitten. I never have been bitten in large amounts through this whole ordeal, never bitten outside of bed . . . the most bites I ever had was 7 or 8, and that was when I first discovered the bugs. After my first treatment, I went bite-free for seven weeks, then started getting bitten again (either due to bugs coming from my neighbor or because the vinyl cover on my box spring tore, but I am more likely to suspect the box spring since I was getting bitten in bed and it was otherwise isolated).
My apartment is laced with Drione . . . I took it upon myself to dust the perimeter and outlets, baseboards, etc since the PCO didn't do it himself but said it would be okay if I "wanted to" (yeah, don't even get me started on the PCO situation). If a bedbug tries to crawl ANYWHERE along the carpet border or between rooms, it will have to cross the dust. Will it work? I have no idea . . . I'm not having a problem now anyway but know it's very possible they're still somewhere.
Well, maybe when I hire my NEW PCO I'll tell them about the box plan and see if I can get a discount to just have them spray around my tape square. I am so broke I am having to defer my student loans to take care of this s***.
I KNEW IT!!!!
I just talked to the PCO who came and did my building a few weeks ago (current building, not the one I'm moving into). He said that without a doubt I was NOT the person to introduce the bedbugs into the building (found evidence of multiple nests in a piece of secondhand furniture my idiot neighbor brought in -- and idiot neighbor admitted to first seeing them in SEPTEMBER. #@$^$##$^@$#!!(*%(*@#$!!! There is no swear word long or terrible enough for how I feel. And I know I sound harsh. But I'm pissed).
So I wound up paying half for an ineffective treatment because neighbor-boy was too scared to say anything about the bugs -- and he OBVIOUSLY knew he had them since he set off several bug bombs.
I am mad beyond words. There is nothing to say or do with this rage, knowing that my life was pretty much destroyed and I've been thrown into debt because someone else was too scared/nervous to report bugs. goddamnit. I want my neighbor to pay for my replacement furniture. I want my neighbor to refund me for that half of the initial treatment cost I paid. I want my neighbor to give me back those three months of my life I lost to living out of plastic bags and slowly throwing out most of what I own.
Sure, okay, he's a victim of bedbugs too. But he LET himself be a victim for so long that it turned my life into a living hell, and I can NEVER forgive that. Never. And I feel bad about myself because I wish just truly awful things upon this person for not taking control of the situation and letting it affect others.
I am going to lose it today. It's gonna get ugly and I hope I can hold it together until I'm done with work.
Sorry! That is awful to hear, but I want you to know that never is a long time and this is just another way for the bugs to control your life. It is terrible but if you do not forgive others it will consume you and make you a hateful person and I know that you do not want to be that person! I am talking from experience and not from the bugs stand point, but in my personal life!
I'm very, very sorry. I can understand how you are feeling. We've all experienced anger over bedbugs. Bedbugs are unfair. They can create such an upheaval.
But you need to stay positive right now. It's really very important! You need to clear your head because you have a great many tasks ahead and you need your calm and all your energy.
Bedbugs are tricky and ultimate blame may be impossible to ascertain. Consider that a few weeks ago you were certain that your (immigrant) students had given you bedbugs. That could have led to terrible stigma for those students. And now that you are moving, you will find yourself in the unfortunate position to potentially spread your bedbugs to others.
I think everyone here is rooting for you so that you move successfully and leave this terrible experience behind, but taking stock and staying positive and letting go of this anger is probably best for you.
You guys are right, of course. It's just so frustrating to have been jerked around and lied to and told I was wrong so many times, that I HAD to be the source of the bedbugs because of course NO ONE else has them in the building!
I'm incredibly frustrated. You're right, nomo, and I don't have a time machine so it's a moot point anyway -- I guess maybe I just wish someone would even offer an apology, like instead of having to battle my manager to get out of my lease, let him say "I understand, and we're not going to have to argue about it," or "Hey, I'm sorry I didn't report the bugs, guys, but now let's all work together to fight them" or "I'm sorry I told you all adjacent apartments were inspected but they really weren't."
What a fiasco. I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy, I wouldn't even want the guy who spread it to the rest of us to have to live through this twice.
Stamps - please see my post under Angie's thread, "Just got off the phone and..."
Maybe I sound a little harsh, but it still sounds to me like you are planning on taking too many things = too much risk. You have already treated your apt, which ups your chances of success; but every single object, article of clothing or piece of furniture adds another variable and point of risk. In my months of surfing the Web and researching this, I have noticed a low level of success of people moving and taking belongings with them. The success rate, I would assume, goes down with each additional item you choose to bring.
I know everyone needs to vent, but after a while the blame game becomes pointless. It's an epidemic, we can get them and re-get them from anywhere. Which does not, of course, absolve us of responsibility for doing our best not to spread them. (I'm already guilty of that... :o(
I appreciate the advice but cannot afford not to take some things with me. I've read your earlier post and realize I'm preaching to the choir here. It's just that I'm about maxed on my credit cards, and a degree in art education isn't exactly in high demand right now. Unfortunate. Family can't bail me out and neither can friends. I'm minimizing the risk by having a PCO come treat the new place, just finalized the options with him, and talked to the HEAD guy today who came over to check out what I'm taking and said that while he'd treat it when he treats the new place, it's pretty low-risk stuff. And yes, he is doing one follow-up for sure, and more if I find ANY evidence within 30 days post follow-up.
I feel totally comfortable taking my clothes/kitchen stuff/etc. Perhaps I'm rationalizing it or underestimating the bugs but I believe that if I'm going through periods that are weeks long between bites, I still am at risk, but not hugely enough that I need to dispose of my dishes or clothes or other things I am able to competently clean.
I worry about the table but figure since it's in only two pieces (table plus base) I can disassemble it, clean with Murphy's, and reassemble/caulk it together in the new place. There are no cracks or crevices in it aside from where the two pieces connect.
Could I bring bed bugs? Sure. And I do worry about it. But I think if I had a sizable population, I'd be getting bitten more frequently than once every 5-7 weeks (and I believe that that is only happening because of the neighbor, thus the reason for the move -- PCO said that the neighbor is not doing anything about his clothes or clutter, and I'm not putting myself in this position any longer). If bugs were living here, they'd be biting me (and I do react to the bites) and not just hanging out going dormant. It's warm enough here, there's a food source here, there's no reason for them NOT to feed on me (especially since I'm more vulnerable on the air mattress, as the bed and frame have all been pitched -- yes, responsibly, I know!)
I just want some encouragement that I can do this, that the goal is within sight. I've been on this forum for over 3 months now living this hell, slowly dismantling my life, and I want to know that it's possible, that people do get rid of these while not having to completely start over, that I'm being responsible and doing the right thing and that I'm not a horrible person for removing myself from a bad rental situation where the manager is not doing enough and the neighbor is too complacent. That I'm not a bad person for keeping my one really nice set of furniture.
Maybe someday I can afford to live in a single-family house but until that day this is the best I can do.
Am I really being naive here? Truly? I feel like I spend hours on here daily trying to figure things out for my move and have a decent plan (only taking clothes/electronics/dining set, all of which will be cleaned pre-move -- if not already cleaned/bagged -- and treated in the new place). Please tell me I don't have to start over from square one. I honestly don't think I'm strong enough for that.
okay, square 2 is just as good as long as it doesn't include the bugs!! Keep smiling cuz just think, it can't get any worse can it? Lots of good vibes sending your way!!!
Thanks Angie -- I appreciate it
Well, it sounds like you've been very thorough and thoughtful about this. PLEASE keep us posted within the next year and let us know how it turns out! Though I imagine it's quite difficult, it would be nice to know that there are some people out there who did manage to move successfully with a few things.
I drink a toast to you: May your horror end before the year is out!
(I never quite understood the concept of treating a place before you move in - is it so that the PCO can spread residual poison down and then if you do bring any unwanted residents, they will die by crossing the poison before taking up harborage? But then this would only work if the new furniture they would harbor in (bed, dresser, TV) was treated as well?)
Oh, maybe I figured it out. If you pre-treat your new place and then do notice signs of bugs, you will have helped prevent them from spreading and also make if easier to treat. Something like that? Still don't totally get it.
Taking little and then treating in the new home is a good idea. Yes--the idea is that you hit any stragglers. If stamps is allergic, then she has that on her side--a warning. But it's good to treat at least once and then more if you need to. People also seem to have an easier time if they move after a number of treatments in the old place (rather than before treating, or after a long gap post-treatment). There are no guarantees. And you may move some bed bugs. But it will be easier to treat them--if indeed there are just a few--in a new place.
I'd be most worried about people who don't react to bites, since they may move bed bugs and not realize. fightorflight--your situation (having moved them to someone ELSE'S home) is perhaps worse. At least if that was your new place, no one else would be harmed, and you could spring into action and treat. Some here have had this experience. It is NO picnic moving some bed bugs, but it is not the end of the world as long as you a) notice right away, and b) deal with it right away.
If there's ANY chance at all of treating properly in the old home, I'd recommend people do not move, but everyone has to assess this for themselves.
Stamps, I'm thinking good thoughts for you.
I recall someone from Chicago (WindyCityMike?) used this approach successfully. There must be others. Maybe soon you can stop spending all your free time doing laundry and can start living a normal life again.
Yes--Mike did this, though as I recall, it was not a situation where he knew his neighbor was infested, nor so grossly infested as stamps' neighbor. He also left when he'd had many treatments and it seemed like they'd been successful. (I do not recall if he treated at the new location, either.) You can read him--there's a link in the blog (under "bed bug stories" or on the success stories page).
Stamps, how did it go? I thought about you and I hope, hope, hope.
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