Bed bug help needed in UK(25 posts)
I've had and still have a problem with bed bugs. I live in the midlands, UK.
I've taken action by encasing my mattress, boil washing and drying my duvet and pillows and bringing in a number of useless pest controllers.
When I called my council, the 'pest control department' responded by charging me £53 and spraying the place with chemicals: bendiocarb, fendona, and ULV 500 (the 'fog'/fumigator).
My situation has not improved, but the council promised to keep returning until it was resolved. After several visits and no improvemet, I realised it wasn't helping and so called a private company. This company used CIMETROL. If anything, this made the problem worse, as if it enraged the bed bugs but did not kill them at all.
I am now considering thermal but I've heard that this too has its flaws. Please advise me if you're in the UK. I've read the Jeff Eisenberg book, but sadly he heavily advocates K9 measures, and these are very hard to come by on this side of the pond.
David Cain, a bed bug specialist and very active poster here, is located in London. I suspect that he will see this thread and comment but if he hasn't after 24 hours or so, you might want to send him a PM. His username is bed-bugscouk. I don't know what your proximity to London is, but even if you're not close he could probably recommend someone in your area. Good luck.
Ficam and fendona are good products ... I use them myself and used correctly will get rid of bed bugs no problem, cimetrol is a very popular product that should do the business if used correctly. The ULV product is sold with the ULV machine to pest controllers who don't really know what they are doing.
Have you had a 100% positive identification.
Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.
Thank you both for you feedback.
I've tried to message Mr Cain and I am familiar with his work. I've seen him on tv and heard him on the radio tons of times.
Sadly, whenever I try to message him or open his profile, my webpage crashes and I have to re-enter the site. Perhaps the system can't cope with all the traffic going his way?
Anyway, I hope he gets back to me.
Bedbugman, what is your opinion on the use of heat treatments? I had a quote of £750 from Rentokil, which I had to decline. The reason for this was that when I asked how they'd treat the walls/floorboards etc, they said they'd use chemicals. I already suspect my infestation is immune to these measures, and so I had to say no. Even a 99.9999% kill rate would be a fail, of course. And they said the guarantee was only for 30 days.
Have you had 100% confirmation that the problem you have is bed bugs?
LionelItchyuk - 2 hours ago »
Sadly, whenever I try to message him or open his profile, my webpage crashes and I have to re-enter the site. Perhaps the system can't cope with all the traffic going his way?
Anyway, I hope he gets back to me.
The site shouldn't be crashing when you try to PM someone. If you let me know what kind of browser you're using, I can try and help fix this. (Contact form.)
You can try getting in touch with David via his website.
Sorry bedbugman, I didn't answer your question first time.
I've not seen a live adult, but once I think I found a nymph, though I can't be sure. It was on my wall during the daytime, which I believe is unusual. And it was tiny, like less than 1mm. And pale. I know they are red/brown after feeding but that their colour will pale if they haven't fed for a long time. Infuriatingly, I lost the little sucker shortly after capturing it. And so I can't get a positive identification in the form of an actual bug.
I've heard one expert say that you'll never see the bugs, and not to bother trying to find them as you're only likely to find one if you have a very severe infestation.
My evidence is in the form of the bites I suffer most nights, the rashes that occasionally develop and the blood stains and black feacal stains I find on the sheets. Can this really be anything other than bed bugs? I'd love to think so.
Get an inspection with a PCO. That can help to figure it out. We have a few on this site in your area.
Diesel, do you know of any bed bug specialist based in the East Midlands, UK? I have already had one general PCO over, plus my council. The PCO I used talked the talk on the phone, but spectacularly failed to deliver. In fact, I'm sure the problem was worse after he left.
I'm therefore very sceptical now. If I can't find a specialist, I'd go with a company where I can be assured of good service, such as some customer testimonials or whatever.
As I suspected I doubt you have ever had them, unfortunately your story is one I hear too often What you need is a visit from a reputable PCO as the last two you had in had your pants down. No treatment should have been undertaken without hard evidence. I suspect you have quite sensitive skin and the chemicals arn't helping.
I may be able to help you find someone local pm me your number
Sorry I have been traveling and came back to a full desk.
My concern here falls into the following headings:
- It does not sound as if this has been correctly confirmed as bedbugs and without confirming it should not have been treated
- I would NEVER recommend ULV treatment for bedbugs in a home, its a poor practice and should be banned
- Equally Ficam is not what those in the know would use as its a cheap and over used product with known tolerance issues
- I to have read the book you mention and actually classified it as the worst bedbug book written by any professional its just plain stupid as books go and I have told the author that
Given the situation I would say thermal would be overkill as if its that light that its hard to find signs to confirm then you really need the skills of a specialist who is more like a neurosurgeon than a couple of beefy blokes with a sledge hammer of a heater.
I am not exactly local to you in the Midlands and we don't travel to unconfirmed cases as a rule if David (Bedbugman) knows someone trustworthy and local I would at least have a chat with them or monitor until you have confirm-able signs.
Bed Bugs Limited
Have pm'd you the number of a reputable and well respected pest controller.
Thank you bedbugman, thank you David.
David, I laughed when I read your opinion on ULV. Tell me, should this be illegal for human health reasons? My house got a massive dose of ULV by the pest control lady from the Council. Lovely as she was, I must say she was clueless. She told me she was trained to 'fog the room' for a mere 3 seconds. But she thought it'd be smart to give it a 30 second blast instead, presumably thinking she was helping my cause. She also gave me a lamp with sticky trap to stick under the bed. I later learnt that this was a flea trap.
As for thermal, well I have concerns in that department, fearing I'd just temporarily drive them away from the killer heat, only for them to come back. I'd sooner purchase a high powered dry vapour steamer than pay Rentokil £750 for a treatment plus 30 day guarantee.
Thank you for your opinion on the Eisenberg book. My main concern was that it heavily advocated the use of sniffer dogs, something which I've yet to come accross in the UK (though I hear there are a few). Other things in the book raised my eyebrows, such as when he said wicker furniture was untreatable.
I will look into bed bug monitors.
Finally, you do say that this doesn't sound like a definate confirmation that I have bed bugs. I struggle to think what else, though I'd be ecstatic if this were true. I do find bloodstains on my sheets and black inky marks. Plus of course, bites all over my body. What else could this be? However, I must say that I've never seen a live adult. I mentioned previously that I may have found a nymph.
Its not for health reasons, ULV only remains active for a short period of time some in some respects is a safer application method but the reason I say it should be banned is that it is just not effective and I have seen it result in bedbugs spreading from one room to others. Its a case of why use something that is not effective. Sadly it was written up in the CIEH (charted institute of environmental health ) recent guide to bedbugs but that might have more to do with the fact that one of their advisers is the distributor of ULV in the EU.
The foundation error in what has been done in your home is the failure to confirm the target species before treatment has started. The analogy here is a doctor trying to cure your ailment without actually diagnosing whats wrong. This is against COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) and COPR (control of pesticides regulations) regulations in the UK. Normally I would say to report such an issue to the local authority environmental health department but ooops they are the ones that did the treatment and quite literally should have known better.
Leaving the flea trap also indicates that she was unlikely to think that bedbugs was in fact the issue so I have to ask why treat as bedbugs when you are not sure its bedbugs.
Moving forward regardless of what you want to do you need to stop and confirm that it is in fact bedbugs or more accurately what is causing the issue so you can actually take action that is likley to resolve it. In short, don't assume its bedbugs and actually find one of the following which will always be present with bedbugs:
- Live samples
- Cast skins
- Faecal traces
I am shocked that Jeff's reliance on inaccurate non visual confirming dogs was your main concern with his book. I personally found much of the blame game that it is offensive to people in general and the sections where people who date more are at risk of bedbugs and people of certain non white anglo saxon straight sexualities increase their risks of bedbugs really struck me myopic and stupid. In fact as I said on Amazon it reads like a twisted self loathing self help manual and that the author should be ashamed despite the fact that profits apparently go to good causes. Wicker is hard to treat because of the hiding places in the weave but thermal works well for this, the reality is that some alleged "experts" get confused easily between what they can do and what is technically possible, if they can't do it them it MUST be impossible, after all they are the "experts", well as the forces comment goes "ex" is an unknown quantity and a "spert" is a drip under pressure.
Blood spots on sheets are indicator signs of an issue but do not point towards what is causing it, if you can take and post a link to some pictures if they are in focus and high resolution I may be able to give a more informed opinion on them (I am a lot like Dexster in that faecal and blood spot analysis are my forte in this world).
If the bites are all over your body then it could be that the issue is in fact one of the following:
- An allergy / reaction to dust mites
- An allergy / reaction to the washing powder or laundry products
- An allergy / reaction to something else in the environment
The list of all possibilities is vast and although bedbugs are the factor that link us all here on this forum they are not the most prevalent issue and nor are the most likley which is why its all about confirming the signs.
The thing that always springs to mind with me when people say I only see nymphs is that one of the first times I heard that it turned out to be Pscocids but only after the person had had 10+ failed treatments and turned their life upside down.
Therefore the take home on all this is confirm first or risk not understanding the end point to the issue and specialists don't guess, they investigate, confirm, analyse them take action. Even though my team are probably the most trained and experienced int he world I still get them to confirm with diagnostic kits, sampling and images because its the right thing to do, it may cost a few pennies to do the job properly but there are no excuses for not doing it right from the start.
If you can find one of these nymphs please send it to me for ID and confirmation.
Hope that helps.
Thank you for the quick and extremely thorough reply. Work commitments have prevented me from getting back to you sooner.
I shall try to get some quality photos back to you asap. They look like black/dark brown felt tip pen dabs.
I agree with your approach regarding confirmation despite being 95% sure within myself, so I shall definately try to get some evidence for you.
The fact that I've never seen a live adult bug does make me wonder though. Surely the population of the insects would have risen, given the amount of time I've had this problem. I mean, how likely is it to NEVER see these creatures? I often awake in the night and try to catch them, but nothing. They must move very quickly.
I don't think my problem is to do with allergies. I wash the bedding weekly and have used a number of different washing/laundry products. Also, my girlfriend gets the same bites and rashes as I do. The bites often appear in rows of 3, which I hear is another sign.
Anyway, I'll try to get back to you with some photographs over the next few days.
Thanks again for your advice, I appreciate it greatly.
Okay so that link didn't work. Damn this is frustrating! I'm trying to share a photo of a potential bug. URL link fails me. Bear with me!
Yeah, it's unusual to have a longstanding problem without seeing any bugs. You don't say anything about your home -though. Most UK homes are piteously small compared to other developed countries, & our lack of space often leads to quite cramped living arrangements. This can make it easier for BBs to find harbourages & harder for us to locate them.
Another problem is, of course, adjoining properties. Another reason why ULV should be cast into the outer darkness; fogging has the potential not only to disperse BBs around an affected dwelling, buut into adjoining dwellings too. I shall look out for stories from the W Mids of whole terraces & apartment blocks affected with BBs. It would be intriguing to map any such reports against ULV treatments conducted by EH...
Do complain to your local councilors & MP about the treatment you have received from your local Environmental Health dept- it's not just meant to be a council income stream, it's meant to resolve problems. Crucially, no-one should be using any form of treatment in your home without POSITIVE VISUAL ID of the problem. Frankly, they might as well have tried to resolve your problem by using mousetraps.
On the flea trap, I think David might be being kind - it's alarming how many EH employees still seem to think that heat+sticky is a magic formula for all biting insects.
Well that image is 100% not bedbugs.
I would say it looks most likley to be plant based although the image is not as clear as I would ideally like.
If possible could you send it to me in the post for confirmation.
Great idea on the mapping but I fear the man who put ULV into the EH BB manual may object and he is after all the supplier of it as well as being on their advisory board. I think the mousetrap concept is worth investigating though but only if we can make it large enough to decapitate incompetent pesties.
Thanks David for checking my photo of my suspected bug. I'm glad you think it's something else.
Sorry for my lack of enhanced zoom/quality. The link above of what I suspect to be fecal traces may not be adequate either.
Koebner, in answer to your question I live in a terraced house. Standard red brick two up-two down. I'd say it's not hugely spacious but nowhere near as cramped as, say, New York.
As for my council, well they're a lost cause in my opinion. Without a major re-think, I can't see them solving this problem. Like 99% of all PCOs in this country, the council don't have the required expertise in this specialist field. What is needed is greater awareness, education and some sort of strategy. But I think you are right, it is one to take up with the local MP.
Regarding your point on ULV as a means of spreading bug infestations outwards, I'd have to say that the same could be said for heat treatments. Any creature not killed in the immediate wave of heat would surely scuttle away, possibly to adjoining properties? Still, I'm sure we all have to do our bit. If everyone were to take up arms, we could scorch them out of existence.
David, could you please give me more information about these £720 steamers, and possibly give me a link?
And any advice about the use of Isoproply alcohol as a contact killer?
The diatomacious earth I mentioned on another thread was purchased on Ebay. I believe it was an agricultural product, intended for keepers of livestock. It is a light brown colour.
On the subject of monitors. Are they more likely to live in these, rather than in the frame of the bed, nearby furniture or duvet? I also have a few underbed storage drawers, but these are transparent plastic and I suppose not a great hiding place. I have removed one wicker unit which was right next to the bed. Basically, I'm just wondering why a bug would choose to live in one of these, rather than any of the other potential hiding places I have yet to find a bug.
LionelItchyuk - 1 hour ago »
There is not enough resolution in this to say anything other than its likely to the blood that has been washed into the material a few times at least. There is just not enough resolution in a 13.5 KB image to tell anything of value.
With regards heat spreading bedbugs out that only works with conductive heating when you use convective any bedbugs actually go towards the heat source and die.
If you contact me off the forum I will give you details of the steamer.
I cant offer any advice on Isoproply alcohol as we consider it too flammable to use in peoples homes as a service which is why we don't use it.
Likewise with DE we only use aerosol delivered DE as its easier to apply and use in the correct quantities.
The principle of harbourage monitoring is that they live inside the devices rather than cracks and crevices. In all my 24,000 cases I have only seen bedbugs hang out on a duvet once and that was for sociological reasons and the persons sleeping habits. They do not live inside duvets or mattresses as they don't have biting mouth parts to get inside them.
I strongly suggest that you confirm this situation as bedbugs before you carry on treating with anything because at this stage I am far from convinced that you actually have bedbugs or that you ever did.
Forgive me for being unable to provide more concrete proof, or higher resolution pictures. I thought that considering you can read the writing on the coin in the picture, that'd be detail enough.
I do of course value you opinions. Are the black marks likely to be anything else? Occasionally I'll see red spots (a more blood like colour) on the sheets, and of course my bites. I'm sorry to go on and on but I'm struggling to see what else it could be.
As for the black marks, well neither me nor my girlfriend wear black eye liner or any other make-up which could be mistaken for faecal stains. We don't use black pens or write in bed. These stains can't just appear!
As for my bites, well I can understand that sometimes the rashes which develop could be mistaken for a skin condition, or an allergic reaction to dust mites or some other dermatological affliction. But other bites take on the form of raised whelts, white in colour. These usually disappear within a few hours. Others are red dots, but they are not always in groups of three, though sometimes they are. They always itch and are definately not pimples.
But you're saying that this is not proof enough and that I should try to find a live specimen, dead one, or skin cast? Is the fact that I've not found any of these making you doubt my problem? Any advice on where to look for skin casts?
I sincerely hope you don't think I'm wasting your time, though I suspect I'm doing your head in somewhat!
It is more accurately that give the level of activity you report and the lack of positive confirming signs in particular cast skins and live/dead bedbugs the probability of this being bedbugs deminishes each day.
Bedbugs are if nothing else quite scruffy in nature and if you look at the field photos on this site and in my galleries (including bedbugbeware.com) you will see that signs tend to be associated in grounds, eggs close to skins etc. To get bites with no signs usually means it ain't bedbugs by about week 6 - 9 and certainly not after so many treatments, withe lack of confirmation it does not merit consideration as professional treatment.
As for what else it could be, if you read around the forum you will understand why allergens, fleas, carpet beetles, medication, stress, dust mites, washing powder and environment are all possible causes which is why an evidence based approach is so essential.
If you don't start by confirming what you are trying to kill how do you know when the job is done?
The file size being so small means you loose resolution when you move in to look at the finer detail. It does not need to be megs and megs but a few hundred KB makes all the difference and is likely to be the original file resolution anyway. Why zoom in? Well because where you read the letters on the coin I analyse the scratches on the surface of the letters of the coin, something after years and years to training I can do without magnification. My eyes are rather special that way and they can focus on detail from significant distances.
Fear not I am not as frustrated as you would expect its just hard to help without the detail of images. If you want to take this off line so you can send me 30+ images with all the data you have PM me, it will take a day or two for me to get time to look at but it's an offer.
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