Believe it or not, I got bed bugs in the mail.(29 posts)
I'm still in shock over this. I actually saw 2 verified bed bugs in a wig that I had ordered 36 days ago. I don't know yet if the one that got loose was a female or not. I just know that at least one (maybe more) did get away in my house. But if it was a female then I will soon be sharing my home with them too. *sigh*
You can read a little more detailed story in a post that I just posted under the 'detection' forum titled 'how long before we know, it's been 36 days'.
My town hasn't had the bed bug outbreak like other areas, at least not a known one. And I never travel. So I never thought in a million years I would even see a bed bug first hand. But it happened and I haven't slept more than 3 hours a night since I saw them. I can't even sit here at the computer long enough to type this without feeling like they might be all over me. I want to wrap myself in plastic! I already can't handle this! If I do have them now, just how do you get use to having them? How do you get use to knowing that they have been crawling all over you at night? Xanax isn't helping and I'm only just going through the 'fear of having them' right now. How do you all keep your sanity living with them?!
But I have a question. (probably a million more questions before this is over). But by putting light colored sheets where we all sleep, will I definitely see those tiny black fecal spots on those sheets? Do they leave these immediately after feeding, right around where you are, or do they not do this until they have crawled away from you?
My teenage daughter has always chosen to sleep on the couch with the cat and dog. So I have put a light colored sheet over the couch. And put light colors on my bed and my son's bed. If we have babies running around should we be seeing these spots on these sheets by now?
I don't know if I'm getting bit because I didn't hardly react to the bite I got when I found them with the wig. My daughter sleeps wrapped up all but her head. She has had some red bumps on her face but she gets acne sometimes so I have no idea if this is bug bites or a form of acne. My son hasn't shown anything. The dog and cat were deflead but still scratch a lot. And the parrots probably don't care either way.
I'M ALREADY GOING INSANE! This is not good for a person that has a phobia with bugs anyway. I have an older 8 room home with a large finished basement and of course lots of nooks and crannies. Will I ever be able to get rid of them if they are here? Lord and I thought roaches were the worst thing you could get. Man was I naive!
I'm not an expert, but I believe it varies. Do inspect. Do read the FAQ. Do review a comprehensive guide from the Resource page, like one of these. Perhaps an investment into some "passive monitors" (like "BBAlert Passive")
I can't speak for your case, but I believe that it's possible to get BB via the mail. Some items have been returned. And, there's always the possiblity of BB being introduced during manufacture or in transport. Offices have been known to have BB infestations. Some mail and products are processed by people who take work home, some of which have BB. In fact, a recent article (below) tells of the privatized postal services in Holland. There, some mail is sorted and processed in carriers' homes, even on their beds. If some of these carriers have BB in their homes, then they are at risk of spreading BB to others' homes, as well.
Thanks cilecto for the reply. Oh man, after reading your reply, I had no idea that it would be so easy to have bed bugs mailed to you. I wish I had known sooner I would have been looking for it closer. I will no longer open ANY package inside the house, outside it will go!
Thanks for the info link. I have inspected everywhere that I can think of. But my house has so many rooms and places for them to hide. And with 3 different rooms being slept in I feel like it's impossible right now. So far I haven't seen any signs but since most would be newly hatched eggs from the past few weeks, I'm afraid it may still be too early for the signs to be obvious. That's why I was hoping the bugs have a habit of leaving fecal actually right near you after they feed so it would be on the sheets. I know for a fact that there is at least one adult bug here but I haven't found it or it's signs either. I just now noticed one very tiny welt on my arm but I don't know where or when I got it, or what it really is.
Who identified the bug as a bedbug for you? Was it a reputable PCO (Pest Control Operator) or an entomologist?
Blue_Ox, I took it to the local Extension Office. It was engorged with blood when it fell off my arm. Then when I grabbed it with a piece of toilet paper it popped and squirted blood. That's the only thing that made me suspicious enough to even keep it. They said beyond a doubt it was an adult bed bug. I about fainted right there on the spot.
It's not impossible to get bed bugs from a package.
However, just from what you wrote, I am curious as to whether you found the bed bugs as you unpacked the package, or if you just found them later and made the connection in your mind? Because if you did not see the bed bugs on the wig or in the package when you unpacked it, then I would not jump to the conclusion that they entered your home in this way.
There is nowhere that is not touched by bed bugs, even if no one is talking about them and there are no articles in the local media.
This is a map of Bedbugger readers in North America and Central America (also available through the sidebar for the entire world); I gather the dots showing where people are looking at this site correspond more or less to areas of population density.
I'm going to guess that it's probably uncommon for any one package or piece of mail to carry BB, but that some do. I don't open "every" package outside, but I do worry about what might be in it. And I make a habit of getting rid of packaging as soon as possible.
The places to look for BB is normally near where people sleep or sit. That can reduce the scope of your search.
Wow! That map is pretty full of red dots.
Yes the bugs came out of the wig. It's a very long wig. My sister and I opened it, pulled the wig out, laid it on the table and started combing it. Out ran a bug. We were both in such shock over seeing a bug that it took a few seconds for us to react but it made it's way under the computer. She started looking for the runaway while I draped the wig over my arm and started looking through it (not really expecting to see any more). After a couple minutes of discussing what the heck was going on and what was that, I just happened to pull up my sweater sleeve a little bit and there was a bug stuck on my arm that then fell off. This bug was fatter than the other and now we know it's because this one had just had a meal on my arm.
I put the wig in plastic until I could soak it in water. A few days later after I soaked it I looked through it again and found what I didn't realize at the time was probably a nymph. There was this almost clear, very tiny thing, with like a tiny black dot inside it. It was on the material on the inside but it wasn't moving. Being very stupid at the time I didn't keep it and was thinking it was nothing. Now after looking at pics I do believe it was a very young dead bed bug.
I got this wig used on ebay so it came from a previous owner. I notified the seller after I found out what this bug was. They weren't aware at the time but yes they do have bed bugs. They had someone check and confirmed it. So they sent me bed bugs without realizing it. I will never order any kind of used item on ebay or anywhere else again. Not even a yard sale. Nothing!
cilecto, I've tore apart each room where we sleep or sit and haven't found anything. How old do the babies have to be before I can obviously see them without having to strain?
That is terrifying.
I've read posts at other forums where shoppers have found bedbugs in parcels they ordered -- most often from Ebay, and most often used goods. One forum poster got a handful of bbs in a second-hand purse. I think items that might be stored away in a closet or under a bed (i.e. a wig, a purse, shoes maybe) are most likely to be affected by something like that. Most often the sellers aren't aware of the problem until the buyer brings it up.
I wonder how online businesses will be affected if this sort of thing becomes more prevalent. Thrift shops and vintage sellers are already feeling the pull.
Sorry this happened to you.
Sorry I am Reading this on an iPhone and can't reply in detail.
Please remain calm, try not to panic and I promise to post a list of options and what can be done in such a circumstance.
Bed Bugs Limited
Thanks! Well I have learned my lesson. I have deleted by ebay account and I never intend on ever buying anything used or anything from anyone's home. Of course now I hear they can be in warehouses too. So I may never buy anything again.
When I first contacted my ebay seller a few weeks ago she said they didn't have bed bugs so it couldn't have come from her. So all this time I've been assuming these bugs got in at the post office. But this morning when she emailed me and told me that yes they just got confirmed, I freaked again. Because if she had them bad enough to send me a few in the mail and all this time didn't even know it, how am I suppose to try to stop my problem before it becomes a REAL problem? So I feel defeated already.
I'm in a small town. Our local exterminator is the only one I could ever afford but he has only seen a couple bed bug problems so his experience is pretty next to nothing. That doesn't make me feel very safe. So I will have to tackle this problem myself. I already sprayed with Equil Lambda. Will this residue work for all stages of bed bugs or do I need something different?
Oh gawd I can't breath!!
The reality is that it will not explode overnight.
Taking a few focused hours or days to asses the situation can save a lot of suffering.
A few bedbugs actually takes more skill than lots of them and the less you move and disturb the better at this stage. I can't get into detail at one key per 2 seconds but take deep breaths and understand that this is a problem that takes focus not panic.
Get as much rest as you can and try to sleep as normally as you can.
futureBBmom - 9 hours ago »
cilecto, I've tore apart each room where we sleep or sit and haven't found anything. How old do the babies have to be before I can obviously see them without having to strain?
Bed bugs live in 7 stages:
Eggs - tiny off-white jelly beans, less than 1mm in size. Tend to be stuck to surfaces or inside crevices. Can't be killed by most chemicals or detergents.
5 stages of nymph - Starts clear and about 1mm and gets larger and darker. Must feed at least once before it goes to next stage. Sheds its skin (shell) when transitioning to next stage and to adult. Nymphs cannot breed. (If a nymph does not make it to adulthood, it does not reproduce.)
Adult - can mate and breed. Female must feed before laying eggs.
BB typically feed about every 1-2 weeks, but can go longer without food.
All prefer to hide unless hungry or disturbed.
Some people rid themselves of BB with minimal effort, others take more work. Experts recommend a multi-pronged "integrated" approach. Lambda Cyhalothrin (Equil Lambda, Demand, others) is a well-regarded insecticide. Success depends on where and how you apply it (vs. where the BB are), the nature of your infestation, luck, etc. Be careful to follow the label and only apply it where the label permits.
FAQ and the guides cited above have more about bb, and how to inspect and treat.
Thank you cilecto!
Oh I'm so glad the spray I used is a good one. Now I just have to be sure and spray the right place. I'll be sure to read through the FAQ, etc. There's just so much to read and learn, it gets overwhelming. Yes it sounds like I'll have a hard time seeing eggs. Or babies until they reach at least that 2nd stage. Being that tiny I figure you must not be able to see their fecal stains very easy either. It sounds like nature made pretty darn sure these bugs have more than a good chance at survival.
LOL ...... oohhh David you are telling a bug phobic to focus and rest. But I will try. I know they say it doesn't help but I now sleep with all the lights on. The kids want to get a tent for the living room.
I am sorry you're going through this.
I would echo the suggestions to read and learn as much as you can before you do too much. Take some of David's forthcoming advice and read the manual Ci suggested.
Many of us rush in and do the wrong things (like start tossing things out), which can lead to loss or even make problems worse in some cases.
Sleeping in a tent in the living room may mean the kids attract bed bugs to new places. The tent itself would be in danger of infestation and probably hard to treat. And would not protect them from bed bugs, which can get through tiny cracks, or wait at a tent door until it opens.
It's best if everyone stays put in their own beds. If you have 2-3 bugs, remember each one feeds about once a week. It's not like you're all going to wake up tomorrow covered in bugs, or even get daily bites, at this point. You have a little time to strategize and hopefully you will all be able to get some sleep.
OK I am at a keyboard now.
Out of 19,500 cases I have only traced things back to eBay or auction site items once or twice. It is possibly but it is also a low probability event (or I would have seen a lot more of it). Yes not buying items in this fashion will stop it happening again but it can also be said that using a system like the PackTite as a precaution or up close inspection would also help. The choice to eBay or not is an individual one, I still do it but I am careful with what comes into my home.
Now for the good news. By nature this kind of infestation is usually small in comparison to lets say and infected bed that is brought in. The initial population can be as low as 1 - 12 bedbugs and thus if you take swift action you can resolve the issue.
Rather than upturn the house and create chaos I would actually advocate that you do little for the first few days. Deal with the suspect items through sealing or disposal but aside from that waiting a few days for things to settle may save you months of anguish. If left to their own devices bedbugs will choose to locate close to their source of food which is usually beds or in some cases sofas if long periods of time are spent there.
Although I am more than a little biased I have used this approach before to resolve light infestations in environments where the use of chemical based products was to be avoided at all costs. Think of it as thinking in synergy with the bedbugs. Through planned placement of passive monitors and possibly the supplemental use of actives we encourage bedbugs into focused areas. The passives go in occupied areas such as beds and sofa while the active are used in areas where there is no occupation.
By collecting bedbugs into defined areas such a light single source exposure can be dealt with with minimal disruption to the rest of the home.
I have put a protocol online called treatment by passive monitor replacement which is akin to what we do with hotels in London although they have the advantage of the monitors being installed before the bedbugs are introduced.
One of the essential steps to this is to remain clam where possible and to record data and facts rather than worry about "what if" scenarios. Bedbugs will not explode in population size overnight, light infestations are by nature easier to deal with than heavy ones in terms of time till clear but they can also require a lot more skill. You need to be able to identify all the classic signs and finger tip inspection and removal of bedbugs will always be the most effective way to dealing with one or two that get into your home.
The reality is that the first 90 days of an infestation are the most critical to detect and start treatment as after that any hatched eggs can breed with their siblings and the rate of population growth increases.
In such situations I am not a big fan of using insecticides as 90% alcohol will suffice as a contact killer for any that you see around.
I appreciate that in the midst of panic having to focus can be hard but I often explain to people that if you divert the energy from stress to focused action you cant go wrong.
Lastly I would encourage you to make sure that the person who infected you does all they can to contact other people that they sold things to and to pass on good information on bedbugs to them, such as this site and bedbugbeware.com so that they do not inadvertently affect others. It takes strength for people to do this but morally it is the correct thing to do. I know you may not wish to communicate with them again but please for the sake of others pass this message back down the line.
If you are interested in this approach I am happy to post more answers or hints but will need to know more detail of your situation via PM or email in order to help you target things down.
I hope this helps.
Bed Bugs Limited
In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly declare that I do have a financial interest in the passive monitoring technology but this post is as clear and unbiased as it can be. I do not have an interest in any active monitoring technologies which I also recommend in such situations.
I also received bed bugs in the mail. After going through EXACTLY what you're going through, the wondering, the insomnia, the creepy crawlies, for about two weeks, I called a K9 company and had a sweep of the house done.
I found it absolutely impossible to believe that I would be lucky enough to find and catch the single bedbug that crawled out of the package, and went crazy cleaning, spraying with alcohol, vacuuming, de-cluttering(which needed to be done for my dust-mite allergy anyway, so it was actually good timing), encasing my mattress(again, necessary for my allergies so it served dual purposes), buying climb-ups and passive monitors, taping up cracks, etc. while I waited for the dog to arrive. (The bug was positively identified by two different PCOs).
Long story short - the dog came in and swept and found absolutely nothing. This, along with the handler's visual inspection, my own daily diligent inspections (flashlights and magnifying glasses, even),and lack of bites on anyone in the house finally put my mind at ease. That was three months ago and we've had absolutely no sightings, bites, signs on the passive monitors or suspicions since, but I DO unpack everything I buy outside, give it a thorough shake and pop all fabric items in the drier immediately now.
I would recommend hiring a dog, if you can afford it - the peace of mind I got from the sweep was priceless. I'm not a pro, and I know some people might think it's jumping the gun or an overreaction, but I hated not knowing.
Thanks for posting to illustrate that sometimes it can be just the one, I hope this allays many peoples fears.
I had not thought about a K9 screen but its a good option as long as they do visual confirmation as part of the service (it is after all the mark of a professional).
Glad to see that you are clear and remain that way.
> I had not thought about a K9 screen but its a good option as long as they do visual confirmation as part of the service (it is after all the mark of a professional).
Only work with a reputable dog team and only treat if physical evidence can be found. This industry is still somewhat "The Wild West" (if it's available in your town, at all). There have been multiple reports of people making expensive mistakes based on incompetence or outright fraud.
> Lastly I would encourage you to make sure that the person who infected you does all they can to contact other people that they sold things to and to pass on good information on bedbugs to them, such as this site and bedbugbeware.com so that they do not inadvertently affect others.
I think we need to maintain the perspective that our OP is a victim with her own issues to deal with. She's advised the perpetrator (however inadvertent) and IMHO, her responsibilities ended there. The only way I'd "make sure" that the seller "does the right thing" would be via ebay feedback, or the "business end" of a lawsuit.
nobugsonme, I am trying to stay calm. But I am now imagining that every little thing I see, feel or touch has a bed bug on it. I just can't help it. In my paranoid head, overnight my house has become infested with 1,951 of them. It's now been 39 days since the bug got loose (yes I count) so how many do I have by now if it was a female? 100 tiny babies maybe? Oh gawd even 1 is like 100. Eewww! I've had a stupid fear of bugs since I was a kid. So this really is my worst fear coming true. The doctor just doubled my Xanax so at least now I fall asleep easier. Xanax can be nice sometimes.
So even those no-see-ums bug screens won't keep nymph bed bugs out? I've thought about wrapping up in one so that late at night I can sit at the computer or watch a movie SAFELY! lol
I was going to start throwing stuff out already too but I can't afford to replace it so easily so that's what stopped me, at least for now. My husband passed away (lung cancer) 8 months ago and all of his stuff is still in boxes in the basement and back bedroom. Lots and lots of stuff! I kept putting off going through it. So there is a ton of clutter for the bugs to hide in. Should I start going through his stuff now before we end up with more bugs? Or should I wait.
The stress of my husband being sick and then passing away is why my hair started falling out to begin with. That's why I bought this stupid wig on ebay. Otherwise I never would have bought it. Funny how things happen and why.
Christine21, oh I so hate not knowing either. But I really can't deal with the thoughts of them crawling on me so if I'm doomed to have them then maybe not knowing would be best. I don't know about you but I was in total shock to know I'm going through this because they were MAILED to me! Safe in your home, minding your own business, get your mail, and wham, you now have bed bugs!
The only thing I'm thankful for is that I did SEE the bug and had a warning that I might have them. Not many people get an early warning. I did spray right away after that but I didn't know anything about these things then so the spray I used was the wrong thing. Just some Ortho from walmart. So I only THOUGHT I had done something useful. I know better now.
I wanted to hire a dog as soon as I found out about them (I didn't know they had dogs until recently), but there isn't any near here. You know I no longer look at anything normally. Every single thing no matter where I go, I look to make sure it's not a bed bug. I even caught myself freezing and looking to see if a bug on the patio table outside was a bed bug. My head itches all the time and I can't even sit and watch TV without constantly looking at my arms for bugs. So now I rarely sit still in my house for more than 10 minutes. I know this is silly but I can't help it. Ok now don't laugh, but I sleep with a bottle of alcohol and if I wake up in the middle of the night I spray my legs and arms with alcohol. Sometimes I spray it on me because I think I feel something biting me when I'm sitting here. Yea I know, weird, but it makes me feel better.
I sprayed with actual bed bug spray 3 weeks ago. And then just when I was thinking it was safe because no one had anything that was an obvious bite, I got fooled. It's been a little over a month since this happened but I finally did get what I think is a bite a few days ago. It looks very similar to the one I got when that bug bit me after I opened that package. So I don't think I will be as lucky as you and only have one bug. Either the one that got loose finally found me or this is from one of it's kids.
Thanks David! I'm looking into how many it would take to place the proper amount of passive monitors where I need them. Is one monitor per room enough? We have 2 bedrooms and a TV room (couch) that are always occupied at night so that is 3 rooms to monitor. And the parrot's room (yes believe it or not they have their own room). That would be 4 rooms if I need to monitor the bird room too? When you use passive monitors do you have to pretty much clear the rooms out of other things like books, etc, that they may want to use instead of the monitors? My son, being a kid, has toys, books, you name it, on his shelves next to his bed.
Also I made an out of town trip yesterday to borrow one of those CO2 monitors from a friend. I then made another out of town trip today to buy a few bottles of CO2 but I'm finding out already that this CO2 type of monitor isn't going to be affordable for me. I had to drive 100 miles to buy these bottles at $35 a bottle. Not good when there isn't a place nearby to refill them either. But I have enough CO2 to at least give this a try.
I also thought about those climb-ups to see if I could catch anything but that's not an option. The legs on both of my couches are only like an inch tall. So the climb-ups themselves would probably touch the bottom of the couches. And both beds are water beds in old homemade frames. So it's basically just like a box sitting on the floor.(sigh)
David, can bed bugs be drowned? After this happened I took this wig outside and soaked it for 30 minutes in warm soapy water and let it dry outside. It's been sealed in a bag ever since. It's not advisable to use heat on wigs, so what do I do to make it safe to take out and maybe use? If I soak it again in just warm soapy water for another 30 minutes, will that drowned any that might have hatched since the first soaking? And then maybe wait another 2 weeks and soak it again? Would that work? After all of this trouble I'd sure like to at least use the item that got me into this. But of course I'm willing to pitch it if I have to!
cilecto, I don't know if she has contacted anyone else that she may have sent bugs to. Yes as for my situation, I wouldn't have the heart to push the issue now. If she knew before she sent the package that she had bed bugs I would most definitely be wanting to sue to help pay for what this may end up costing me. I believe her when she says she didn't know. I figured if she knew she never would have contacted me again to tell me that they actually did get confirmed as having bed bugs. Sadly for me nothing will change the fact that I probably still have bed bugs now but I would LOVE to send the bugs back to her though! LOL
No you don't need to clear the room of items, the concept is that by providing a perfect home for bedbugs in an ideal location they will live there rather than in other items in the home, effectively localising the infestation where it can be easily isolated and removed.
You need one passive per bed or key occupied area. You could use one near the birds but they are less appealing host for bedbugs than humans so are less likely to be an issue. You can use passives in combination with other technologies but they were designed without access to other systems and function perfectly well on their own.
Reading through your post it's actually a good sign that you have gone a significant time without confirming signs, if the worst case scenarios of your mind were true you would have seen more activity by now, especially if you have been looking.
Soaking the wig once should be enough although 90% alcohol would be better than water as it's a contact killer, that said bedbugs are less likely to remain on wig like materials and surfaces than more stable items in your home so what you have already done should suffice.
There is no need to throw items out because of bedbugs, sealing and isolating them if you do find live samples, cast skins or faecal traces gives you time to deal with them when you are not in a paniced state.
Good bedbug co trol is all about logical planning and a methodical appproach which comes with experience. Thankfully most people don't experience bedbugs frequently enough to need to develop all these skills or they would be a lot more abundant.
The comments about her contacting others she has sold to are more about helping others to early detect and deal with a light infestation than persuing legal channels, when you get the lawyers in only they win which is why I avoid them like the plague.
I hope you get some reassurance from this.
PS split post as I am away from a keyboard and phone has no cursor control
For someone who replies on a phone keypad you do pretty good.
I'm relieved I don't have to go through this stuff yet. I've spent the day putting my husband's stuff in bags. At least that will be safe for now.
Ok I will get enough passive monitors to put one in each room. So with the couches I just put it on the outside of the couch, right? Will that work if they already have a home setup somewhere else, like on the inside of the couch? Or under the enclosed waterbed frames? I guess I'm still confused on what would make the bugs move out from a home inside the couch or bed and move into the monitor instead. There isn't a cover on the bottom of one of the couches, should I put the monitor up inside the couch on that one?
Their nymph size complicates things. Since I'm not experienced enough in spotting those first tiny signs of a low number of them I'm probably just missing it. We have lots of dark furniture and darker walls. But in the beginning of this panic I did spray with Lambda a couple weeks ago. So I may have messed up and cut the population down but just enough to keep me from detecting them yet.
I put fresh sheets on the beds and couches every single day and haven't seen any obvious black dots on any of them. So at one point I thought we were safe but then on day 34 I showed up with a tiny welt and red bump that looked just like the one that I had when that bed bug bit me after I opened the package. So that could have come from my bed or the couch. Now last night (day 39) I slept on the couch to run the CO2 monitor in my bedroom and I woke up with a red bump on my hand. But that's all I've found on me. I don't know how the kids would react. But there isn't numerous obvious bites yet.
My borrowed CO2 monitor didn't go well last night. It was working fine, I woke up at 4:00 and it was still running. But when I got up this morning at 6:00 it was reading that it was out of CO2. So my first bottle was a bad bottle! Have to try again tonight. Another night on the couch with the pets so I guess I'll see if I get another red bump.
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