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Bedbugs in the plumbing

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  1. deckbose

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 19:28:28
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    There is very little information online about bedbugs traveling between apartments via water pipes. But the afflicted tenants in our building have found bedbugs repeatedly in the bathrooms, in general, and in the tubs specifically. It seems I find new bugs in the tub everyday, even when no one has been in it for days on end. I mention that last qualification because the exterminators originally claimed that bugs got in the tub by falling off the showering tenants. But even when no tenant is showering, and the tub has been washed out with bleach in the interim, there are still new bedbugs in the tub everyday.

    Has anyone else experienced this? The exterminators pull the "experience" card and claim that in 17 years they have never heard of bedbugs traveling between apartments through the plumbing. At first I accepted this thinking. It has been a month of bathtub bedbugs since then, and I now consider that explanation from the exterminators to be a bunch of crap.

  2. cilecto

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 19:44:18
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    Read the comprehensive guides on the Resources page and at least one will note that utilities are a common conduit for BB travel between units. And since BB don't usually harbor on people, wholesale shedding in the shower should be rare (IMHO, I'm not an expert). Most exterminators are relatiely new to BB, as are all of us. What's happened over the last 17 years is not relevant. That said, are you certain that what you're finding in the bathroom are BB, not spider beetles, which people often mistake for BB? (BB are flat backed, spider beetles look like Volkswagens). I tend to find then a lot in my bathroom, especially around fuzz or in the soap dish.

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

    (Not an pro)
  3. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 19:47:55
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    I second Cileto's comments. I probably have found more bugs in my bathroom than anywhere else, but while some may have looked like bed bugs to the untrained eye, none of them were. If you have the slightest doubt, you can post a picture here and one of our experienced members will ID it.

  4. deckbose

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 21:25:33
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    After three months of watching, researching and corralling bedbugs, I think I know a bedbug from a spider or water bug or palmetto bug or anything else you find in showers.

    These are bedbugs. Period.

  5. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 22:03:48
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    I realize you may not have a very good opinion of PCO's at the moment, but we have some pretty smart ones here. Maybe they will have some comments on your situation soon.

  6. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 22:53:10
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    deckbose - 1 hour ago  » 
    After three months of watching, researching and corralling bedbugs, I think I know a bedbug from a spider or water bug or palmetto bug or anything else you find in showers.
    These are bedbugs. Period.

    Wow, bugs in the wall and attitude.

    I can't recall the last time there was a bug ID request and it was actually a BB. Many confuse other creatures with BBs and the good folks above were merely asking if you were sure via positive ID or comparing photos.

    It is a fair and valid question so don't take it personal.

    Any opening in the wall is fair game for pest entry.

    Jim

  7. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 23:15:31
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    I can't recall the last time there was a bug ID request and it was actually a BB.
    -------------
    You know, I've been thinking the same thing.

    Deckbose...If you went to a PCO with a story about seeing bed bugs, the first thing any sane PCO would say would be "do you have any bed bugs I can see"? So, Deckbose, you come here looking for help and a couple of members basically ask the same thing. If they didn't question your ID, then they really wouldn't be that helpful, would they? No one knows who you are and how adept you are at identifying bed bugs. On the other hand, we know who we are and some of the members here are very experienced at identifying all sorts of bugs.

    Richard

  8. cilecto

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 23:33:24
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    Deckbose feels confident in his ID skills, so be it. He asked a good question and I think we gave helpful answers. Hopefully help him to be a better advocate vis a vis his not so savvy PCO.

    Incidentally, with talk of plumbing and the word "deck", Google ads are offering up hot tubs instead of Terminix. Funny how that works.

  9. Eve

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 0:28:01
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    cilecto - 52 minutes ago  » 
    Incidentally, with talk of plumbing and the word "deck", Google ads are offering up hot tubs instead of Terminix. Funny how that works.

    I'm getting really nice shower enclosures.

    Eve
    <who is also bemused by the number of photos that turn out not to be our anti-heroes though I have spotted a few -- but I'm not brave enough to post positive IDs>
    <and I'm positive about at least one of mine cause I caught it in the act>

  10. deckbose

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 12:52:36
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    You guys are funny. You say I have an attitude just because I'm confident in my ability to recognize a bedbug.

    Between researching the pests on the internet for more than two months, with every form of photo and videotape to bolster my own personal experience in an infested building, I merely claimed that I could recognize the species.

    Why you feel the need to question my conclusions is anyone's guess. But next time, just try saying, "Are you certain they're bedbugs?" rather than suggesting someone is mistaken and has an "untrained eye" and is "not so savvy" when you know absolutely nothing about them.

    That's the only attitude I noticed in this thread.

    I've got to admit, though, I never thought I'd run into anyone who'd try to use their familiarity with blood-sucking insects as a reason to boast. It reminds me of the scene in The Road to Wellville when Anthony Hopkins, as Dr. John Kellogg, brags about the impressive size and shape, not to mention fragrance, of his own fecal matter.

  11. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 14:16:20
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    I've got to admit, though, I never thought I'd run into anyone who'd try to use their familiarity with blood-sucking insects as a reason to boast. It reminds me of the scene in The Road to Wellville when Anthony Hopkins, as Dr. John Kellogg, brags about the impressive size and shape, not to mention fragrance, of his own fecal matter.

    Wow. You clearly seem to want to fight and argue rather than discuss your situation and get feedback on ideas and work towards a solution.

    Fine good luck with your bug war.

    I get enough of fighting and arguing in my day job but that pays the bills.

    Jim

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 15:28:57
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    Cilecto said,

    That said, are you certain that what you're finding in the bathroom are BB, not spider beetles, which people often mistake for BB? (BB are flat backed, spider beetles look like Volkswagens). I tend to find then a lot in my bathroom, especially around fuzz or in the soap dish.

    And Richard said,

    If you have the slightest doubt, you can post a picture here and one of our experienced members will ID it.

    I felt the general tone here was that people were not implying you were unsavvy, not at all. Just double-checking.

    And as Ci later said,


    Deckbose feels confident in his ID skills, so be it. He asked a good question and I think we gave helpful answers.

    I think that's very apt.

    Let's all move on?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  13. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 18:02:14
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    If pictures could be posted, the problem would be cleared up. Also bed bugs can crawl on plumbing pipes but I have not heard of them crawling within the pipes. Bed bugs could be washed off a person or have fallen off the clothing while the person is in the bathtub. Many scenarios could be revealed. Bed bugs in a bathtub could be from them crawling along, no matter how they gained access into the bathroom, and then falling in, slipping in, falling off shower curtain, etc. Just end up in there -- it doesn't mean that they had to have access through the drain pipe to end up in the bathroom or bathtub. Bugs may have gained access through molding areas along walls and floors, through perforations of walls that let pipes through. Again, a picture of the insects would really be able to settle some questions.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult in all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology.
  14. MyWorstFear

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Sep 4 2010 18:09:32
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    Must be too many people heeding our advice and keeping their suitcases in the bath tub!
    Guys, we need to find another safe place to stash those suitcases.
    (JK, Sorry, I just couldn't resist!)

  15. BuggyGirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Nov 6 2010 14:32:37
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    Does anyone know if they travel INSIDE the pipes, or just ALONG the pipes? I've had the gaps between my pipes and the walls all sealed, but am trying to figure out if I need to keep my sink and tub drains plugged when the water's not running.

    Maybe no one really knows? So much about these bugs is unknown it drives me crazy!

  16. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Nov 7 2010 6:45:39
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    Hi,

    Yes bedbugs can pass between apartments along pipes, gas, water and electrical conduits. This is because there are often much larger gaps around the pipes than are needed. This is facilitated by the fact that these pipes are usually away from sight and thus not finished as well as the more visible parts of your home.

    The high incidences of bedbugs in bathrooms is a strong indicator of an adjoining neighbour with an issue. This is because a lot of the utility pipes pass through the bathroom and provide a good highway of movement between units.

    To answer the along or in question as I have not found any bedbugs that have developed scuba gear or an ability to hold their breaths I have to say its always on the outside of the pipe.

    For anyone who gives the reason for their accuracy as tenure in years I would always recommend that you politely remind them of the fact that until Columbus in the 1480's people thought the world was flat. However it only took a few years of sea exploration to realise the errors of their ways. A similar thing holds very true with bedbugs, the longer you work in the field the more you know, the more you do the more you experience. As a result those with tenure are somewhat less willing to make sweeping generalisations without being able to back them up.

    I would suggest a change of exterminator and a chat with all your adjoining neighbours to ensure that one of them is not the source of your problem.

    I will however also say that a picture speaks a thousand words and although you may be very confident of your ability to identify an insect your experience of bedbugs is not likely to be more than 1 - 8 encounters whereas around here the collective experience of "old timers" is simply off the scale. I get multiple samples each day to identify and at present I would say only 10% of them are bedbugs and yet 75% of those who sent samples in where 90% certain the samples they found were bedbugs. Its always better to make sure you are 100% certain before proceeding.

    Hope this helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  17. BuggyGirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Nov 7 2010 13:31:11
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    David, thanks so much for answering the inside pipes question--scuba gear! Thank goodness they can't do that.

    They are definitely BBs, identified by 2 competent PCOs, and my neighbor IS infested, and has infested the whole building. He is a hoarder who has been cleaned out by the city and is also facing eviction. So it's been a long battle, and will continue to be a long battle. In the meantime, my apartment is sprayed with Demand CS every 5 weeks, my cracks are caulked as best as possible, and where the pipes come out of the walls is also caulked.

    I was mainly worried about the drains in the sink and tub, and also the faucets. Thanks again!


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