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Apartment Dwellers - there's hope for us too

(8 posts)
  1. battlinbugz

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 6 2014 9:45:16
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    I just wanted to pass along some encouragement to my fellow bug battlers who live in multi-unit dwellings. You can have some measure of success even if you can't control what goes on around you as much as if you lived in a house.

    ** I am not a pro ** but have taken the advice and recommendations of experts here and tailored them for my situation. As in any profession, some experts disagree with each other so I have to consider that as well. On the whole though, there is much they do agree about and I hope my steps reflect that. I know David will probably give me the side-eye for using Climbups with the passives, lol.

    I am also hoping that any experts or Nobugs will point out any weaknesses in what I am doing in order to help us all.

    Mid-2011 was when I first started noticing a strange looking little bug every now and then in the bathroom, like about once a month. Didn't know what it was. Dismissed it like I used to do every one-off bug I see that occasionally finds it's way in.

    2012 was the year of reckoning. Thanks to this site and the experts here, I learned what they were: bed bugs! [Insert horror movie music here] My PCO was still coming up to speed on BB behavior so the resolution took longer than it should have. A big part of that is because we learned late in the year that the tenants under me had them. I suspect they had them in 2011 considering I first saw the bugs in the bathroom. I have a feeling they were trying to ineffectively self-treat, especially since I would see some bugs in my room all the way up in the corner.

    February 2013 is when I can say my unit was "essentially" bed bug free. I will explain that in a minute. Rather than put you through all the details of what happened in 2012, this is what I did up to and including January 2013, based on a combo of recommendations of experts here. I am not saying this is necessary for everyone to do or that it is 100% correct in every way. This is what worked for me.

    * Got rid of ALL clutter underneath the bed (still nothing there) - this is the only place where there actually was clutter.
    * Got "sets" of Phantom treatments from the PCO in March-April of 2012, and October-November of 2012 (when they "came back").
    * Got a new bed, mattress, box springs, bedside table and recliners. All of them were anywhere from 5-20 years old anyway so it was time.
    * Got encasements for the mattress and box spring endorsed by this site. I had a cheap one before. Learn from my mistake and don't skimp.
    * Installed a passive monitor on the box spring.
    * Installed Climbups at every foot of the bed.
    * Increased my vacuuming, using carpet powder every other time (still do this)
    * Bought some Bedlam Plus.
    * Bought some Bed Bug Blue.
    * Keep windows open and/or air circulating with a fan (still do this)

    I think it is only fair that I mention my downstairs neighbor moved at some point late in 2012 so that probably was a factor too. They were loud so it was a double-win.

    Since February 2013, I have seen only 2 bed bugs in my unit. Once in December and once in February of this year. They were in the same general area and confirmed to be hungry males that had NOT fed. Out came the Bedlam Plus each time. Maybe there was a migration from another unit? I have seen no other confirming signs before or after then in my unit.

    Again, I'm not even sure this is a "success story" but I can tell you it's much better than it was in those dark days of early 2012. I am very familiar with the sleepless nights, thinking every little speck is a piece of poop, stressing out over any new bump on my skin (never mind I have always had some mild form of acne). It is amazing how your mind can play tricks on you when you're obsessing over something.

    As someone who has been there, I would like to tell you to stay encouraged. Sometimes I do feel traces of the "bed bug panic" every now and then, especially since I know for a fact there are tenants who do have bed bugs. Would you believe someone actually placed their infested mattress in the laundry room? What the WHAT! People will do some crazy things. I was miffed at them and felt sorry for them at the same time. But I am a lot more aware and proactive about the bed bug situation now, and also trying to engage the owners through the PCO for some kind of awareness program.

    And yes, I do believe in prayer. It works in any stressful situation. When you have done all you can reasonably do, pray and let the Creator take care of the rest. Avoid the temptation to snatch it back and worry about it, which I fall into from time to time (but thankfully, better than I used to be).

    There are way too many people to thank on this site for their words of wisdom and if I start naming names I will leave folks out. But here are some paraphrased words of wisdom that have been really helpful.

    * "Bites" are non-confirming.
    * Live samples, fecal traces, and cast skins ARE confirming.
    * Do NOT let bed bugs (or any kind of bugs) rule your life. [Easier said than done, I know - it's a conscious choice]
    * At the end of the day ... they're just bugs. Hardy ones. But bugs just the same.

    Some quick health tips that may also be worth considering:

    * Treat yourself to some good B-complex and magnesium supplements. You need them anyway and they are great stress relievers.
    * Valerian root is a good supplement that will help promote restful, non-drugged sleep when occasionally used.
    * Lots of water (as opposed to coffee, sodas, etc.) and green veggies are important anyway, but are especially important during stressful times.
    * In general, be sure to eat the right stuff. Not eating anything at all or eating too much of the bad stuff means you won't be rightly equipped to deal with an already stressful situation, whether it be an infestation, grieving, a sick loved one, or anything. Remember body and mind are connected. Take care of both of 'em.

    You will get through this!

    NoBugs - thank you for making it possible for such a community to exist and help people worldwide. It is a true blessing.

    Not a pro. I have some knowledge and a success story, both thanks to this site.
  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 6 2014 15:39:39
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    I would absolutely call that a success story. Though you may get the random stray from time to time you know how to identify and act quickly.
    In short, you control the situation as opposed to being ruled by the issue.
    Thank you for sharing, it's great for everyone to read this, especially the new members who might be a bit freaked out.

  3. JustChecking

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 6 2014 16:13:12
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    Well done, battlinbugz!

    BD wrote,

    In short, you control the situation as opposed to being ruled by the issue.
    Thank you for sharing, it's great for everyone to read this, especially the new members who might be a bit freaked out.

    Agreed.

    battlinbugz wrote,

    What the WHAT!

    What? That's a good one.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Sep 8 2014 1:11:38
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    Battlinbugz,
    You are awesome for taking the time to post. It definitely sounds like a success story!

    Love this in particular:

    .... here are some paraphrased words of wisdom that have been really helpful.

    * "Bites" are non-confirming.
    * Live samples, fecal traces, and cast skins ARE confirming.
    * Do NOT let bed bugs (or any kind of bugs) rule your life. [Easier said than done, I know - it's a conscious choice]
    * At the end of the day ... they're just bugs. Hardy ones. But bugs just the same.

    If we had a theme song around here, that just might be the chorus!

    I don't think any newbites should necessarily try and implement specific strategies they read in others' success stories-- each case is different. However, I know people will get a lot of encouragement from your words and story.

    Thanks again!

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. cilecto

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Sep 8 2014 20:09:46
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    Congrats!

    That said, I'm concerned if others conclude from your story that "here's what to do". You did a lot of things and it's hard to say which "did it" for you and what is replicable by others. Two things concern me (not an expert) in particular:
    - Replacing furniture. Good PCOs advise that this is not necessary. In fact, if you have an infestation and fail to eradicate, you'll just end up with infested, albeit new, furniture.
    - Circulating air. While bed bugs do seek out meals by the CO2 trail, I have not heard experts advise that running the air around is effective in warding off bed bugs.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  6. battlinbugz

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2014 15:51:10
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    BD, JC, and Nobugs,

    Thank you all so much! The encouragement to post encouragement was right on time, so thanks for the nudge. Nobugs, you rightly said that everyone's situation is different so there is no such thing as a magic formula. I like the chorus reference. lol

    Cilecto,

    Thank you so much for bringing these items up. You are right on both counts. I'm not sure if you saw this disclaimer right before I listed what I did:

    "I am not saying this is necessary for everyone to do or that it is 100% correct in every way.
    This is what worked for me."

    Note that what worked for me is what worked to keep the bugs away (so it seems) AND to maintain some peace of mind by being proactive.

    I agree that getting rid of furniture shouldn't be 100% necessary, and yep it could make things worse if done before treatment. In my case everything but the mattress and box springs was 20 years old. The mattress and box springs were only 5 years old but weren't the best quality so they didn't age well. It was time for all of it to go once I had not seen bugs in a while. Fresh stuff, fresh attitude, etc. That said: I'm fairly certain that I have seen some experts here say that certain items that are especially difficult to treat because of all the crevices (captain's beds, certain types of couches, etc.) might be easier in the long run to get rid of and replace rather than treat.

    Air circulation: what you say is true. Yet I haven't heard or read that it's 100% ineffective against warding off the bed bugs, either. Plus it's good to have air circulating anyway, especially fresh air when possible. It can't hurt, right?

    I do appreciate you highlighting these points, for the sake of clarity. I just wanted to clearly mention all of the actions I took, personally, for my situation, in the name of being transparent.

    Speaking of transparency: here's one more thing, while I'm at it. Bedlam Plus is effective against many types of bugs, based on the label. I thought it was a good choice to keep on hand based on (a) what experts have said about its effectiveness against bed bugs and (b) combatting our building's active spider and silverfish population. I didn't buy it just for bed bugs and people should never ever spray ANY kind of pesticide just for the heck of it, or just because they suspect bugs of some sort when they haven't seen evidence of them. My personal, deductive, non-expert reasoning is that if I can in some way "fight" bed bugs while handling the other bugs when needed, or use it when there are live BB's ... why not? It appears to work very well and also appears to have a pretty long residual compared to say, Home Defense.

    True story: the December bed bug had a silverfish "escort". They were moving in tandem. I wouldn't have believed that unless I saw it myself. Perhaps BB's place ads for protection or have a cross-species coalition? Hoo boy.

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2014 16:57:11
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    Cilecto hits the nail on the head when he says,

    You did a lot of things and it's hard to say which "did it" for you and what is replicable by others.

    I don't think users should try and replicate others' DIY success stories, not least of which because it often isn't clear to the successful one or anyone else which steps were necessary.

    The best thing success stories can do is help people see that they can get through this too.

    Oh, I wish there was video on the silverfish/bed bug "escort service". That would make a lovely animation too, if we have anyone with the skills and time.

  8. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2014 21:55:09
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    Thanks for the success story!!!!

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT

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