Anxious bedbugger new to Chicago - ADVICE?(8 posts)
Hello fellow bedbuggers! I recently moved to Chicago, where I've heard bed bug problems have been on the rise exponentially the past few years.
I just moved into a 1 bedroom apt in a 200+ unit building, and am very very anxious about having bed bug problems. The unit seemed very nice and clean when I first checked it out, with new paint, freshly sealed hardwood floors, newer bathroom, etc., but the day I was moving in, my bed bug fear began to set in.
The first alarm raised was when an older man living on the first floor (I live on the third floor) started talking to me while I was actually moving my stuff in, telling me how most of the people in the building are infested with bed bugs, how they've caused him to become an insomniac over the past years that he's lived there, and how the management company basically is no help and doesn't want to deal with the problem.
I was sort of hoping his was maybe just an isolated occurrence and that he was just a crazy old guy trying to scare new neighbors, but later that night by boyfriend actually found a bug crawling on the wall in our bedroom and squashed it only to find it was full of blood. The next morning, he found a similar bug on his pillow, squashed it, and again found blood. We looked up photos of bed bugs online to id the critter, and much to my dismay, they were definitely bed bugs.
Now of course, I'm freaking out. I have a wonderful mattress that I love very much, and am super worried that my furniture is all going to be ruined. I have a 1-year lease in this apartment that just started the first of this month, so I know I'm going to be locked into this situation for at least a year. I found this website while researching bed bugs online, and the last few days I have been educating myself as much as possible on bed bugs, since I've never had to deal with them in any way before. I have yet to contact the building management, as I am going to be out of town for about a week and won't be able to work on anything in the apartment until I get back. I'm also really anxious about talking to the management for fear that they won't really want to work with me or do much about the situation, as my new neighbor implied they wouldn't.
I know for a fact that I did not bring the bed bugs in, and that they must be coming from infected units surrounding me, and my main fear is that even if I do everything right, the landlord won't take care of the problem in the surrounding units and that I will continue to have to keep fighting the problem for the durration of my lease.
I'm going to order a mattress and pillow encasements online right away per the advice on this site, but one of my concerns is that since my bed doesn't actually sit on 4 legs, but rather the footboard and headboard rest on the floor (it's a platform bed without box springs), I won't be able to use the special traps for the legs in order to keep the little buggers from crawling up onto the bed. Any suggestions here?
I also don't actually have a sofa in the apt right now, since my old one was too big to fit in the tiny door, but now I'm really nervous about buying a new one to bring it since I'd hate for it to get infested. Of course, I'm also going to need furniture to sit on at some point!
Any advice, suggestions, support, etc. would be seriously appreciated! I'm just so upset because I was so looking forward to my new apartment in Chicago, where I was super excited to move to, and now I feel completely disappointed and am worried that my first year in the city is going to be a long bed bug nightmare...
What apartment building do you live in?
Who manages your building? Is it a management company?
Contact a lawyer and tenants rights organization in your area. I don't know what the laws will be, but at least you should be able to break the lease and move on as the apartment isn't habitable in its current condition. (If money is an issue, you may want to start here: http://www.lawhelp.org/) AGood lawyer will likely be able to offer more specific advise than the tenants rights org, but both will have valuable information.
You should document everything with photos and keeping specimens in ziplocks. Unfortunately, I know Chicago's renters law are no where near as favorable to the tenant as they are in NYC. You should immediately take steps to protect yourself from liability as much as possible as you're taking steps to deal with the bugs. I would not be able to live long term in an infestation due to allergies, and my own nature, I can't imagine doing it just to honor a lease.
AshamedandScratching, thanks for the advice. I would say at this point, since I have only spent two nights in the apartment, haven't actually had any bites, etc, I wouldn't be able to say for sure that this apartment is completely uninhabitable enough that I want to pursue breaking my lease right now. I have heard/read that tenants rights regarding bed bugs aren't exactly up to par yet in Chicago, so I'm not sure how much of a fight that would be for me at this point. Besides, my feeling is that it's very likely I might encounter a bed bug problem at any building I move to, at least it's quite unknown, so maybe not worth the hassle just yet. I certainly am going to start looking into tenants rights in my area, just to be sure what my options are.
Like I said, I haven't tried contacting management at this point, so who knows? Maybe they will surprise me and really take care of things. I just have a bad feeling about the whole situation, but maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill right now. I'm going to contact the management later today, so hopefully the landlord will surpass my expectations here.
Another issue, I have a wooden platform bed, and am curious if anyone has any advice as to how to protect/use any detection devices or traps with it, since it technically has no legs...
This is how I would advise you to handle it:
Learn about bedbugs and in particular:
- Live samples
- Cast skins
- Faecal traces
The FAQ's are great for this and I have included a few images below:
Self inspect and check your home. If there are no confirming signs then its a good place to be starting from but its not the end of the exercise.
Moving forward as you have idientified early detection is essential to minimising the impact and disruption of bedbugs to your life. I am biased but I have the longest record of doing this in the world I would suggest that you again check the useful stuff section and consider Passive Monitors. They are effectively a home that bedbugs will live in but with this house it induces them to leave signs on the door step. If caught quickly and not coming in on a regular basis resolving the issue can be as simple as removing the Passive Monitor, cleaning and checking for others.
This process can be enhanced by optimising your home in advance of bedbugs which you can read about int he link below:
This set of principles works with what you have rather than encouraging you to replace items when you don't need to.
Again using the FAQ's and information sheets such as the ones linked below educate all your adjoining neighbours. This in essence creates a protective awareness bubble around you and greatly reduces your risks of getting a problem from a neighbour.
Check when you travel to avoid personal contact with a source of bedbugs and check your own home at least once a month but there is no need to do it more than once a week. Its all about being Zen and sensible rather than letting the possibility of bedbugs rule your life.
Hope that gives you some sensible options.
Bed Bugs Limited
In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly confirm I have a vested interest in the Passive Monitoring technology but ti is the most cost effective device for early detection and is proven to work.
bedbugscouk: Thanks for the advice and links. I think I'm definitely going to take the steps given about sealing my bed up to try to stop any infestations on the bed itself before they happen. I'm actually kind of nervous to approach any of my neighbors about the bed bugs, as I don't want anyone to think I'm accusing them of anything, or necessarily want my landlord to think I'm trying to stir up trouble at this point, considering I just moved in. I'm really hoping the landlord will consent to having the surrounding units inspected on him own, but we'll see how that goes...
nobugsonme: Great link, thanks! I'll probably try to get in touch with my Metropolitan Tenants Organization to find out more about my rights prior to giving my landlord a call, as I think it would be best for me to know my rights before trying to deal with a landlord who I have a feeling may not be easy to work with on this issue.
If you see another bug, I would post a photo, just to get an independent ID.
You must log in to post.