Bed Bugs and Me – Our 2009 Summer journey with the buggers(5 posts)
Hi, we are writing this to share our experience with the buggers – over the course of a Summer in New York we became bed bug experts but not by choice we did it to survive. I am writing this to share our experience and some tips with those dealing with the buggers now.
Our unfortunate bed bug experience began in the Summer of 2009 and lasted for several months. We don’t know how the bugs got in but every so often we would see the little buggers. Words can not express the emotional turmoil we faced during that time – the fear that we would see a bed bug, some friends who shunned us, and the worst of all, when we found a bed bug in our 14 month old son’s crib – bed bugs took a heavy toll on our summer and was a test of our marriage – you may find that hard to believe but bed bugs take a heavy emotional and mental (and not to mention eventually financial) toll on you.
So let’s just get down to business –like I said, it is expensive, emotionally stressful, and an overall pain in the butt to deal with the buggers. This describes what we did and what options you may have:
First, we had a bed bug dog come in and the dog confirmed there were bugs in the living room and bedroom – minus $250
We decided to try a short cut: steam clean the carpets and sofa, where we saw the bugs – it was a long shot…and it did not work, there were still bugs – there goes $700.
First off, we had a 14 month old infant and a dog, so our goal was to have an environmentally safe way to deal with this problem, and in a way that would inconvenience us the least. So washing clothes constantly, bagging all our belongings, and basically living out of a box for even a few weeks was not a good option for us.
So we researched our options:
1) Spray – The problem with sprays is it requires two sprays 14 days apart, and during that time you need to keep everything bagged up (and I mean everything) and packed up. And after the spray you still need to keep things stored for an additional week at a minimum. And you are required to wash ALL your clothes too. Basically you are living out of boxes and suitcases. It is a reasonably priced alternative. We spoke to M&M pest control and they were very nice and understanding.
One option that M&M recommended instead of washing and storing everything was to use Bed Bugs and Beyond, which would pack and fumigate everything for you to save yourself the trouble – but that option was extremely expensive.
2) Cryonite – Less prep work, however it will only work if the cryonite makes contact with the buggers, so you can do this and still not get rid of the problem as the buggers can make it into walls. You still need to wash ALL your clothes and live out of a box.
3) Heat treatment – this was the best option for us – there was no prep work aside from getting some flammable and combustible items (aerosol cans) out of the house (and wine too). You don’t need to pre-wash anything since the heat will permeate the entire house. And it’s one treatment only – but it is very expensive, at least several thousand dollars. We chose this option because it did NOT require us to wash all our clothes, and the heat would permeate through the entire house, guaranteeing the buggers would die, and it was environmentally safe. So basically this is what happens: the guys come in with these heaters and heat the apartment to as close to 140 degrees as possible for several hours (the buggers cannot live past 115 degrees), pretty much all morning and afternoon if you let them. The place gets hot believe me – it gets so hot that it will go through your walls and the buggers will not be able to hide – when we came back two days later the place looked like it was robbed, because they have to move things around and spread your clothes on the floor so the heat and get into the clothes (and the place was still as hot as a furnace two days later, which shows how hot it was during the treatment). Now what about electronics? Well, we have a lot of them: laptops, flat screen TV, phones, etc. Well you unplug everything before you leave, and when I came back, everything worked. Now you just have to make sure you’re on a low floor, since the heaters are powered by a generator on the back of a truck, and they bring the wires in through a window – so if you’re on a high floor (or not facing the street) it is going to be logistically difficult for the wires to make it to the window.
It’s been 6 months now and we have been bed bug free but what an awful experience we had to go through – for anyone dealing with this now we completely understand what you are going through.
Good luck to all -
Drive by comment as it's been a long day.
First, I am not at all surprised that a bed bug fight takes a toll on a marriage. Most posts here by people who don't live alone reference the fact that the bed bug fight caused stress in relationships among people living in the same residence fighting the bed bug problem. Thanks for pointing it out so that people in the future may be less shocked by it.
Secondly, thanks for taking the time to write up how it went for you. I also did thermal, and my experience was mostly the same (except that I didn't have a flat panel tv at the time, so I'm happy to know that it would likely survive if I had to do this again.)
Here's hoping that your future is bed bug free for a long, long time to come.
Thanks, willvandam. So glad it was a success and you're 6 months free of this nasty problem.
Who did your thermal in NYC?
The other issue that I don't think you mentioned (and it's late so I might have missed it) is that you want to be pretty sure your neighbors have no bed bugs if you're going to do this.
And not just based on them not reporting them to the landlord, telling you, or even feeling they have bites. Was this explored somehow, to put your mind at rest before you shelled out the dough?
I'm glad for you that the heat treatment was successful!
I know others on this forum who have had successful heat treatments, but I also know many (including myself) that would not recommend it. After posting several times about problems I ran into, I began to receive many PMs from other unlucky folks who had bad thermal experiences. We required 2 treatments within a month which had its toll on the house. Trim boards no longer meet one another, veneer has unglued from all of our kitchen cabinets, wooden chairs are falling apart because the glue seams melted, etc.
You gloss over the Bed Bugs and Beyond option. In my area, Vikane is an option that I also considered. It is a bit more expensive, but in the end I wish I'd gone that way. No damage, no prep work, better guarantee.
Best wishes for continued success.
How does thermal work in an apartment? Wouldn't all the bugs just run to the apartments above, below, and next door, once the place starts to get hot? If so, how would you prevent them from coming back?
You must log in to post.