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Bites but no bugs

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  1. neverender

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Nov 25 2017 11:16:34
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    I live with my girlfirend in a duplex in central Florida. We have been plagued with what we think are bed bugs for the past 6 months or so. Despite this we've never seen a bedbug, nor has the PCO we hired. After two treatments and consistent effort on our part, we still wake up with bites. What gives? Can anyone recommend an effective PCO in the area? Could it be something else biting us? We really want to be done with this.

    Evidence for BBs:
    I wake up every morning with itchy red spots that develop into what look similar to ant bites, itch like crazy, then disappear. A few months ago (and occasionally) the bites are more severe and last for several days. My girlfriend seldom gets the less severe bites, but occasionally has a more extreme reaction with a few very itchy bites. Bites for both of us are usually on the torso (covered during the night) and sometimes limbs. We sometimes find small blood stains on the sheets that don't correlate with cuts or scratches on us.

    Evidence against BBs:
    Despite constant inspection we have never seen a single bed bug, shed, or black fecal specs. We check the corners of the bedding and encasements, inside the box spring, adjacent furniture, hanging art on walls, baseboards, inside electrical outlets, corners of wall/ceiling, fan. We check the couch cusions, seams, corners and edges, as well as interceptors installed at its feet. Nothing. This couch was our main suspect for brining this into our home (a craigslist buy).

    Actions taken:
    Use of mattress encasements, bagged and heat drying clothes and bedding. Bedding changed weekly at minimum, vacuuming once per week at minimum. Trashed our headboard and lots of possessions we could do without. Removed all items under bed and bagged them, now stored outside on patio. Diatomaceous earth initially, then Cimexa, now lots of neonicotinoide poision applied twice by PCO to bed frame, box spring, and couches liberally, but we've essentially disassembled the entire house and applied this stuff everywhere.

    Common things we know are not the problem:
    Mosquitos: we get some in the house occasionally, but bites are consistently on covered skin.
    Fleas: We have a cat and dog, both are treated. I have been bitten before by fleas. Its not fleas.
    Ants: I find occasional ants, but not enough to account for constant bites.
    "Head bugs": the bites are very real. Not a crawling sensation. If needed I can post pictures.
    Scabies: Bites are singular or in groups of two or three, never a rash.

    Concerns with current PCO:
    Charged $400 without prior inspection. Claims nobody ever calls back after second treatment. After two treatments, there's been no improvement. They applied the same poison twice Alipine WSG. From what I know about bacteria (my field of study) this is a classic way to develop resistance to a biocide. No additional action on our part was suggested, except that we unpack our clothes from bags, and let the poison work. It didn't. We asked if we should contact the neighbors, and they said not to worry about it as there is a block wall between the units and bedrooms are on opposite sides.

    Where to go from here?
    The PCO can't find the bugs and insist its something else, but have no suggestions to what the real problem is. Without a specimen its hard to prove otherwise, yet I'm still being bitten every single night. We were considering heat treatment, but are now broke after wasting the money on the useless poison application. Can we get that money back? Who should I contact? Another PCO? A doctor? Getting desperate. This has already impacted our lives indescribably, as I'm sure most people on this forum know. I want to burn all my possessions, take a boiling hot shower, and start over. Sorry for the rant, just needed to get this off my chest.

  2. fieldbiologistx

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Dec 1 2017 1:24:07
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    maybe no expert replied as your post rings too many bells: Florida, used couch, box spring, mattress in plastic wrap, pets, pesticide spraying....

    I moved into a room with mattress in plastic, bugs crawled out of tiny gap in plastic, ruined my first month in room. Finally got rid of bedbugs using Nuclear Option: Forced landlord to take back her diseased boxspring mattress she assumed was safe as it was in plastic (NOT SAFE AS PLASTIC HAS HOLES AND GAPS).

    Nuclear Option: Got rid of everything down to bare room with hardwood floor. Then bought new sleeping bags in center of room. Taped Gorilla Tape sticky side up around sleeping bags as a moat. My sleeping area became my fortress in enemy territory. YES THEY DID get stuck on Gorilla Tape, not just bugs, but carpet beetles, ants, mosquitoes, flies, gnats. Slowly I returned my possessions to room, examining every grain of sand on every shirt, towel, boot, laptop bag. Found bug inside my shirt collar and laptop bag. Slowly my stuff passed inspection.

    Today I say with confidence bugs are eliminated. But I still get bites from flying pests, rash from carpet beetles (they fly). I say your couch and box spring are lost cause: DUMP NOW! Build a fortress of Gorilla Tape (MUCH stronger than duct tape) around your bed (my "bed" was just a few new sleeping bags).

    STOP SPRAYING. Roaches eat poison and die, but bugs eat only blood so most poison is ineffective. START LOOKING (at every grain of sand on everything in your room, including UNDER every shirt collar, under every zipper in laptop bag, under every chair and drawer and floorboard and electronics (bugs can thrive INSIDE YOUR ALARM CLOCK).

    TREMENDOUS OBSESSIVE EFFORT, and your Gorilla Tape, will yield results, as it is impossible to use Gorilla Tape in Florida without snaring an entire zoo of crawling and flying insects. Carefully inspect each kill: GOOGLE IMAGES of bugs, roaches, carpet beetles, fleas, ants, ticks, mites until you are expert.

    REMEMBER MY MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED: Tons of bites and rashes are NOT bugs: I soon realized I killed all bugs yet still got rashes from Carpet Beetle Larva which have tiny sharp needle-hairs that penetrate your skin even when they are dead shells. After all bugs were gone, I still got bites from mosquitoes, gnats, ants and spiders small as grains of sand.

    MITES are a whole new ball game, as Chigger Mites and Scabies Mites are on every blade of grass your pets and your pants touch, and all these Mites can cause rash and bites, yet they are small as sand. Your pets may bring in fleas too. It was a huge relief for me to realize that my bites are from other pests, and many of my bites are not even bites but rashes from everything including pollen spores. But when I scratch even pollen rash, they get infected and necrotize until they look like spider bites.

    How do I know bugs are gone? I take 5 minutes to inspect every grain of sand on every sleeping bag in bright sunlight every other day. I know they are gone as I only found their shells the first month of this new room. If you go my Nuclear Option, you too must inspect every inch every other day, of all your bedding, your entire room, and every critter caught in your Gorilla Tape Moat.

    I find Gorilla Tape stays lethal sticky for a full month, until house dust renders it useless. Each month I lay a fresh roll around my sleeping bags. Not a romantic setting, but at least it is free from bugs. Nuclear Option with Gorilla Tape is EXTREME, but just doing it makes you feel good, and it will yield results. Don't clutter your room with anything especially cloth. Bugs love cloth. Bugs smell your carbon dioxide breath so stay inside any cloth, even alarm clock and lamps, within a few feet of your breath.

    Finally after you do the Nuclear Option, don't freak at every rash and bite especially in Florida, home to a whole zoo of flying pests, spiders, grass mites, pollen grains. Good luck.

  3. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Dec 1 2017 11:46:35
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    After six months there would be clear signs. I do not believe that your issue is bed bugs. Treatment without confirmation of what you're treating for can just be a frustrating and expensive scenario.
    It might be worth having an allergy test done on your skin to see if that could be the issue. I've been in Florida for fifteen years now, but six years ago I suddenly developed fairly severe allergies to almost everything green in Florida.

    HVAC/Locksmith/Bed Bug Control for a non-profit homeless shelter and long term veteran housing.

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