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BB infestation: Pregnant and low income

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  1. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 9 2017 17:22:47
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    I have bed bugs! Honestly, I'm terrified that I'll never get rid of them. I'm four months pregnant and I have a little 9 month old girl. We aren't dirty people. So overwhelmed.

    I've been getting bites on and off ever since my husband and I got engaged in January 2016. I spent a lot of nights over at his parents' house, and got bit once or twice every time. I blamed it on spiders; how naive, because his family has a huge past with bed bugs. My husband admits they had them for several years while he was growing up, like a full-blown infestation. He said after they got metal beds and washed the linens every week, they went away. He also said bed bug bites didn't look like the bites I had, so I believed him.

    The bites continued, one to five a night. We got married in June 2016 and moved into a trailer lived in by his sister and her family. After a few months, we moved into the apartment that we live in now. I got bites every night. He didn't get any. Must be spiders, we both said. I even found two bed bugs within the past six months, one on the carpet under our bed, and one on the living room floor. My husband said they must be just stragglers and didn't mean anything.

    Until I found two tiny nymphs last week, in the SAME SPOTS. My husband said they didn't look like bed bugs but at this point I wasn't convinced. I saved them in a ziplock bag and looked it up online. I usually wash the bedding every two weeks, but I had let it slide for about a month because first-trimester hormones had me so exhausted. Again, we aren't dirty people, so there shouldn't have been anything in the blankets but microscopic skin cells. Sigh. I found TWO bed bug nests on our comforter! That went into the dumpster ASAP. Nothing in the sheets or pillows, so I washed all in hot water and roasted in the drier for 90 minutes. Also checked the mattress seams and box springs, but found nothing. This was the day before yesterday. The next morning, I woke up with more bites, but I've heard you can have delayed reactions, so I hoped it was actually from a few days prior...

    This morning I woke up at 5:00am, saw a nymph scurry across the sheet, and caught it to inspect in the bathroom sink. Went back to where my husband was blissfully sleeping and almost caught another one, but it escaped. Ok, not bad, just babies. I can deal with that.

    Then I felt something crawling in my shirt and found an ADULT bed bug chillin in there like it was his favorite hangout spot! I'm terrified now. No way I'm sleeping on that bed again. My husband says I'm overreacting and if I wash the sheets every week, they'll go away. But they're not in the sheets! I'm convinced they're in the box spring and probably the baseboards too. I'm paranoid at this point. I've made rules about were to put clothes and shoes, pulled the bed out into the middle of the room, started washing everything in hot water, etc.

    The problem is, we really can't afford any preventive stuff until next week, even then, our budget is really tight. I don't work because of our baby girl and my husband makes enough for bills and food, but that's it. Anything extra comes out of paycheck bonuses, but at this time of year, we were planning on putting them towards Christmas presents. My husband doesn't want to alert the apt landlord because we've heard horror stories about tenants getting sued, and we can't find any laws in our state that would protect us. I'm sure we've always had them, and we have my in-laws' old couch as well, so I'm sure that's infested too. They swear they don't have them at their house anymore, but they never cleaned up the bug feces and messes in the bedrooms from the major infestation so how would they know if they were really gone?! We can't tell them because they're in denial like my husband was until two days ago. Plus they're the type of religious that believes that "if something bad happens to you, you did something bad to deserve it". I don't need that kind of pressure right now.

    I can't get chemicals to treat because I don't know what's safe for me to be around since I'm pregnant. We have to take it really slow with buying anything for treatment in general, like box spring and mattress encasements. Wont get those for another few weeks. I'm so frustrated and I want the bugs gone by the time the new baby arrives, but I feel hopeless that we'll be fighting this forever. Being poor and having bed bugs just doesn't work. Any advise?

  2. thirdusername

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 9 2017 19:40:49
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    I sympathize.
    If you can post the state you live in then maybe someone can find something.
    I think you really need professional PCO but I don't know if those chemicals are safe for you.
    If it is, you probably need to vacate the apartment for 4+ hours (maybe you can go to a mall) and you'll probably need many treatments.
    The other option is professional heat treatment.
    Encasements will help if the bugs live in your bed.
    Your best option is to get the landlord to pay.
    Most stuff I have read are not horror stories.
    I think you would also need to be prepared not to go over to the inlaws house anymore.

    I am NOT an expert.
    My opinions are just opinions, they may NOT apply to yours or any situation.
    My advice is to always do a LOT of research.
  3. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 9 2017 22:16:22
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    thirdusername - 2 hours ago  » 
    I sympathize.
    If you can post the state you live in then maybe someone can find something.
    I think you really need professional PCO but I don't know if those chemicals are safe for you.
    If it is, you probably need to vacate the apartment for 4+ hours (maybe you can go to a mall) and you'll probably need many treatments.
    The other option is professional heat treatment.
    Encasements will help if the bugs live in your bed.
    Your best option is to get the landlord to pay.
    Most stuff I have read are not horror stories.
    I think you would also need to be prepared not to go over to the inlaws house anymore.

    Thanks thirdusername, we live in Wyoming and this is our first rental outside of college dorms, and it's a low income housing company that runs it, so I have no idea what oir legal terms are for bb infestations... I'm worried that our landlord will have us pay for a PCO, and maybe for the surrounding apartments as well. Even if not, we can't risk asking. We just can't afford it. I made a list of things I want to buy to DIY treatment, and it's around $150 for emcasements, bed leg interceptors, DE, ziploc bags for our clothes, and a small vacuum (we have a floor one, but the hose function doesn't work on it so we have to buy one to vacuum the baseboards etc). We might not get all of those things for another month or two. No way we could dish out a couple hundred or more for professional treatment. Really wish we could though.

  4. StopTheSpread

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 9 2017 23:56:11
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    I am so sorry you are dealing with this! I can imagine how much stress this is for you and being pregnant makes it so much harder. Here's my advice: Tell your landlord. Most, if not all, states require landlords to provide housing that is safe, healthy, and free of pests and bed bugs are included as pests. It is in the landlord's best interest to get this problem resolved. Landlords and multi-unit housing companies know that this situation is bound to arise at some point if it hasn't already (or they really have their heads in the sand). They should have some plan in place to deal with this and if not, it is time to get one. No dwelling is immune to this problem. Secondly, I don't think you can be sued for trying to get a problem resolved. I believe lawsuits arise when a party is knowingly negligent to a situation and the key word is knowingly. Having a problem that anyone can get and trying to resolve it does not lend itself to a lawsuit. I would be interested if anyone here has information regarding a landlord requiring a tenant to pay for surrounding units in a building. They may make you financially responsible to treat the problem in your apartment but then I don't think they can dictate to you on how to treat it especially during a pregnancy. I would be extremely cautious in using chemicals while you are pregnant. There is a new bio-pesticide that is supposed to be available soon. I read the EPA label and it states nothing about being dangerous to a pregnant woman. You may want to call their contact and see if it is available in your state yet. It can only be applied by a professional but it may be the most effective tool available for you right now. They state that one spray lasts three months so it eliminates repeated spraying. Usually spraying is not that expensive. I am a firm believer that no one can and should fight this alone. It is a community problem and will only be solved if people are transparent and work together. My husband and I were landlords and we had a tenant who hid this problem from us for a year. How I wished he would have said something. We would have taken care of the problem. Once we knew, we did take care of it but it would have been so much easier if we were informed earlier. I am in no way an expert so please, if I stated anything wrong in this post, please let me know.

    http://www.aprehend.com (Sales pending by state registration) I am not affiliated with this product or company at all. It just sounds promising and may be safer than traditional pesticides.

  5. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Nov 10 2017 17:00:22
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    Thanks StopTheSpread, I feel better about alertibg our landlord now. I'm probably just overreacting to everything and need to take a step back to think ractionlly. My parents were kindhearted enough to give us some money for the encasements and bed leg interceptors so we can order them right away. Once those preventives are in place and the sofa is gone, I think I'll feel a lot better about our infestation situation.

  6. BuggyEyed

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Nov 10 2017 17:19:16
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    I feel your pain. My fiance' was given a recliner that ended up having BBs in them, which migrated to our bed. I didn't find much on the mattress really but I did discover hiding places inside of the box springs. I removed the fabric covering from my box springs so I could spray it better and then put encasements on them and our mattress. Because we cannot afford a PCO right now either, I have forced to try to DIY route. So far, it seems to be working but it sounds like our infestation was smaller than yours. However, I thought I might offer some suggestions for what I did.

    -Lowe's has DE for about $9 in a big bag. It's in the lawn and garden section.

    -Interceptors for the furniture legs can be homemade. I used small plastic bowls with their lids that I bought for $2 a three-pack and put DE in them.

    -I bought encasements off of Amazon and sifted through the ones with higher ratings. I found them for a lot less than Wal-Mart or other stores had them. After I bought them, I did find some at Ollie's for $1.99. They were just plastic with zippers but it might be worth a shot for the money.

    -My vacuum blew up in the midst of all of this and I found a nice remanufactured Bissell at Ollie's for $50. You might also try looking on LetGo or OfferUp. They are often on those for $10-$20.

    -Use large trash bags for things you don't need access to frequently and tape them up if you can't afford the Ziploc bags.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  7. bugged-cdn

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Nov 10 2017 18:41:54
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    I agree with StopTheSpread. You would be on much shakier ground if you knowingly keep the problem from your landlord. You also have a moral duty to do your best not to have them spread to your neighbours.

    Sounds like it's time for your husband to wake up and smell the coffee. Bed bug infestations is definitely a situation where ignoring it or pretending it doesn't exist is not recommended.

  8. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sat Nov 11 2017 15:41:32
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    Thanks for all the advise! It definitely makes me feel better!

    BuggyEyed - 21 hours ago  » 
    -My vacuum blew up in the midst of all of this and I found a nice remanufactured Bissell at Ollie's for $50. You might also try looking on LetGo or OfferUp. They are often on those for $10-$20.

    What is Ollie's? I've never heard of a store named that, and Google gives me a bunch of different stores when I tried to search for it.

    bugged-cdn - 20 hours ago  » 
    I agree with StopTheSpread. You would be on much shakier ground if you knowingly keep the problem from your landlord. You also have a moral duty to do your best not to have them spread to your neighbours.
    Sounds like it's time for your husband to wake up and smell the coffee. Bed bug infestations is definitely a situation where ignoring it or pretending it doesn't exist is not recommended.

    Thanks! I'm going to call our office on Monday and let them know. I'm thinking more clearly now and everyone is right, the landlord has to know!
    Yea, my husband is generally pretty responsible and likes to take charge. I think the reason he's not very concerned is just general ignorance about BBs on his behalf (not really his fault, like I posted above, his whole family was infested and they did hardly anything to get rid of it.) My family contacted fleas from a stray cat when I was a kid, and my parents freaked. They're both clean freaks, compared to my in-laws who, in comparison, are kinda filthy. We were just raised in totally different environments. I've been drilling my husband over the last few days and he finally sees where I'm coming from, and agrees with getting treatment stuff, so that's a win!

  9. Lara71

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sat Nov 11 2017 19:56:07
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    If your bed has legs get interceptors that go under each legs and keep the bugs from climbing up. In addition make sure every bed has a bed bug proof mattress and box spring cover. I assume your daughter sleeps in a crib. Make sure the interceptors are under her bed too. They need blood to live so make it hard for them to do that.

  10. BuggingForInformation

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Nov 12 2017 3:34:14
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    If you can, I would ask your landlord to use heat treatment if you're pregnant. Pesticides is not a good idea while you're pregnant. But all neighboring apartments would have to be heated. It won't be cheap, but it will be less toxic. I'm sorry about this. Also, ask your husband's parents to get a PCO to spray their house or else, you will get it again.

  11. BuggingForInformation

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Nov 12 2017 13:16:42
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    Or, else, an alternate solution that would be least toxic is to see if you can break your lease, throw all your stuff in a UHaul, and find a PCO that will heat treat your UHaul. Your landlord can spray the heck out of your old apartment because you will no longer be there. Afterwards, ask someone you know to wipe everything down with soap and water (plastics release VOCs and toxic dust when heated).

  12. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Nov 12 2017 13:17:17
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    Lara71 - 16 hours ago  » 
    If your bed has legs get interceptors that go under each legs and keep the bugs from climbing up. In addition make sure every bed has a bed bug proof mattress and box spring cover. I assume your daughter sleeps in a crib. Make sure the interceptors are under her bed too. They need blood to live so make it hard for them to do that.

    Thanks! I've ordered interceptors for our bed, and I plan on getting them for my daughter when we have more money. I haven't found any bug evidence in her nursery yet, I think the BBs are much more attracted to our room and the couch since my husband and I spend most of our time in those areas and we make a more attractive meal than a baby, haha. But I do plan on interceptors and speading DE in the nursery, just in case! I also wash her sheets every other day because her diaper tends to leak a little at night. and her mattress is plastic so I wipe that down with 91% alcohol when the sheets are being washed. I've washed her walker, carseat, and bouncer, keep her off of the floor (she's crawling atm), and only give her washed plastic toys until I can cook her stuffed animals in the dryer.

    BuggingForInformation - 9 hours ago  » 
    If you can, I would ask your landlord to use heat treatment if you're pregnant. Pesticides is not a good idea while you're pregnant. But all neighboring apartments would have to be heated. It won't be cheap, but it will be less toxic. I'm sorry about this. Also, ask your husband's parents to get a PCO to spray their house or else, you will get it again.

    Will do! I plan on turning down any chemical treatment, and I'm sure my OBGYN will back me up.

    Honestly, it sucks, but I doubt my in-laws would agree to a treatment. They don't react to the bedbug bites, they never bother to check for bugs, and they wouldn't notice signs of new bugs because the bedroom floors and walls are still a mess from the 'old' infestation. It's an old, tiny three-bedroom house. Eight people live there: my in-laws, two single brother-laws, a single sister-in-law, and a brother-in-law with his wife and son. But two more sister-in-laws and their families spend a LOT of time there, they make huge meals and all eat there and only go back to their homes to sleep. None of them are very clean people (I've seen their houses as well) and they most likely have bugs as well, so even IF my in-laws agreed to get treated, and IF it even worked, it would be undone by his other family members bringing them back in.

    I don't know if race plays a part, my husband's family is Native American and they are all married to Native Americans or Hispanics. I'm the only white person in the family, haha, which might be why I react so bad to the bites? Who knows.

    Plus, they are all very religious, and wouldn't accept treatment anyway because they think praying hard enough and having more faith is good enough to kill any bugs. Hence the denial in the first place. Sigh. I mean, I'm a Christian as well, but I take the stance of bad things happen to good AND bad people, and God's way of helping is allowing me live in a time where I have treatment options and it's up to me to get my rear in gear and actually do something about killing the BBs.

    Sorry for the rant, but it feels nice to get it off my chest and helps me face the facts haha. I haven't talked to anyone about this, my husband is finally seeing things my way so I don't want to complain to him, and I don't want to talk to my family about it because I see no point in making people hate each other for no reason (our in-laws have no contact with each other so it really doesn't matter).

    Thank you everyone for your advice, I appreciate it!

  13. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Nov 12 2017 13:33:36
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    BuggingForInformation - 9 minutes ago  » 
    Or, else, an alternate solution that would be least toxic is to see if you can break your lease, throw all your stuff in a UHaul, and find a PCO that will heat treat your UHaul. Your landlord can spray the heck out of your old apartment because you will no longer be there. Afterwards, ask someone you know to wipe everything down with soap and water (plastics release VOCs and toxic dust when heated).

    That's a good idea! I'll have to keep this in mind if I can't get rid of them by April and we get really desperate. We've been thinking about trying to get a trailer home hopefully next year anyway.

  14. bugged-cdn

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sun Nov 12 2017 16:05:36
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    Please remember that bed isolation techniques may help keep the number of bites down, but they are not a way to get rid of bed bugs. If they can't feed on you in bed, they will find you somewhere else.

    I get really nervous when I read about people struggling with an infestation putting a lot of hope in isolating the bed. The longer it takes for the infestation to be resolved, the more time the bugs have to reproduce.

  15. shinydarkvoid

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    Sun Nov 12 2017 16:29:43
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    bugged-cdn - 15 minutes ago  » 
    Please remember that bed isolation techniques may help keep the number of bites down, but they are not a way to get rid of bed bugs. If they can't feed on you in bed, they will find you somewhere else.
    I get really nervous when I read about people struggling with an infestation putting a lot of hope in isolating the bed. The longer it takes for the infestation to be resolved, the more time the bugs have to reproduce.

    Good to know! I just don't know what else to do given our financial situation. My technique would be more advanced if I had a couple hundred extra dollars. I'd love to get a steamer, a Nightwatch machine, Packtite, whatever chemical or heat treatment I could afford, more active/passive monitors, etc. etc. Everyone is quick to offer a solution but not the money to make it happen, unfortunately including the professionals who I wholeheartedly listen to, but just can't do everything they suggest because /le gasp/ I'm poor. Haha.

    The couch and bed are the only places we sit and spend time, so I'm hoping throwing out the couch and isolating the bed will help, along with cleaning and DE. I know it won't get rid of them entirely, and I'll slowly get the right chemical/heat treatment in the future, but again, it all depends on me saving the money paycheck to paycheck. It's a bummer.

  16. Livingagain

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Mon Nov 13 2017 13:29:17
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    You should try to get treatment through your landlord, but if you end up DIYing it, or in addition to the pest control person's treatment (ask them about it) you can use Cimexa. It's very cheap and it is much more effective than DE. Good luck. You're going to get them back from your in-laws if you don't address it with them, too.

  17. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Nov 14 2017 13:33:04
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    Livingagain - 1 day ago  » 
    You should try to get treatment through your landlord, but if you end up DIYing it, or in addition to the pest control person's treatment (ask them about it) you can use Cimexa. It's very cheap and it is much more effective than DE. Good luck. You're going to get them back from your in-laws if you don't address it with them, too.

    Thanks, I looked into Cimexa and it seems promising! I'll keep it in mind!

    We got rid of the couch Sunday night and vacuumed the living room, no sign of any bugs whatsoever. I've been bite-free for a few days now. Hopefully now the bed is the only 'ground zero' spot left, and I'm optimistic that the encasements and interceptors will be here by Thursday (today being Tuesday). Fingers crossed

  18. Bugsadness

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    Wed Nov 15 2017 12:42:02
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    Hey, I have no advice, but I'm a mom with a young baby (6 months) and I'm rooting for you. To cope, I've been telling myself, "This is one moment in your life, it's not your whole life."

  19. shinydarkvoid

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Thu Nov 16 2017 15:28:45
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    Bugsadness - 1 day ago  » 
    Hey, I have no advice, but I'm a mom with a young baby (6 months) and I'm rooting for you. To cope, I've been telling myself, "This is one moment in your life, it's not your whole life."

    Thank you so much! That gives me so much confidence Hopefully by this time next year, we will barely remember all of this! Good luck to you too!


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