Bugged in TN(10 posts)
Hello again all, Joseph here,
I know the last thread was cloased so I decided to take the invite and open a new thread to keep everyone posted who showed so much concern.
I still have my appointment on friday and am looking forward to it, if for no other reason then just being able to shed the "I am the invincible all knowing dad" persona that I keep trying to hold up for my family.
On to the meat of the post:
Ok, it is now the morning of day three and I have noticed no new bites, old ones are healing over fairly well (especially considering the loss of appetite) so thats promising. If they aren't getting blood then they cannot hit the next stage in their life cycle I am told. I have class in a little less than an hour so I dare not take the time necessary for a full inspection however as of last night noone in the apartment had any new bites to report.
We have almost finished boxing and taping up the books and after that the bookshelves can go out into storage, thus clearing more wall space and baseboards for inspection. I still have a hallway stacked with boxes of various brick a brack and hope to be sorting that soon. It is shocking how swiftly these little demons can get one to take inventory of their entire life.
I did have quite a scare early this morning when I woke to find all three terriers scratching furiously however that might be due to them running around in tall grass more than bed bugs. I have instructed my family to give them all flea baths and dust them with the anti-flea powder just in case. (yes we will make sure they are dry before we dust them).
No new blood spots on the air mattress or pillows either and I havent been able to detect any new evidence of harborages in any of the nooks or crannies I have inspected.
For those who wanted me to post pictures for verification:
I can photograph and post in the near future. I harvested a handful of them into a glass vial with a rubber stopper when i first detected the outbreak and began treating. I have one vial with a few dead ones which I killed to verify the effectiveness of the ortho I picked up at the store and one vial with a handful of living samples I used to show Orkin when they came to offer the free inspection. They did confirm that it was bed bugs. I think it is almost poetic that the things are almost teardrop shaped when one considers the misery which they spread.
So thats the story thus far. The clothing is still out in the driveway (between work and school I just havent had the time and I dont want to launder them without having the strips to bag them with) and we are all still on air mattresses. One day at a time.
Thanks again for all the support all, hopefull wewill all be bite free here for at least 12 more days which should break the cycle, and in that time maybe we can hunt down and massacre the remaining stragglers if there are any.
Calling the Health Department today as well in the hopes that they can provide advice or even weapons to battle the problem. (was directed there by one of my professors last night)
Still stressed but getting on,
P.S. When all is said and done and this nightmare is over I promise to post (in order) the steps my family and I took to deal with this. It may be important since we are fighting with less than 1000.00 of total available money. I do not think we are the only ones who are in this kind of rut and it might give someone else in our dire straits a fighting chance.
Good luck, Joseph. You were in my thoughts last night. I wish you the best.
I am really glad you posted again. Good luck tomorrow and please keep us posted.
Great to hear you've taken so many steps! Just be sure to thoroughly check your bookcases before they go into storage. Best of luck and do post when you've defeated them!
Last night, as per some advice I got on this site, I took advantage of the hardwood floors in this apartment and laid down a double sided duct tape perimeter around almost the whole apartment. (approximately 7 rolls of tape required). When faced with a dresser or furniture blocking my access to the baseboards themselves I just enclosed the item in the sticky perimeter.
After thinking critically about the situation, and eating to finally replenish some much needed nutrients, it occurred to me that the bugs cannot just multiply in the walls without human contact, they need blood for every stage of their development. (another tidbit of useful information I found here) I focused extra attention on creating a heavier perimeter in the populated rooms (however I did not overlook the empty areas and made sure they had a basic perimeter). In the end there are only a couple of small zones that had breaks in them.
So here we are at morning 4 with no new bites, and even better news: the sticky strips (which I verified are VERY sticky) have no bed bugs large or small stuck tothem. There were a handful of pieced of grit or ditritis which I thought for a second might be bugs but closer examination with a flashlight, tweezers, and a magnifying glass put my concerns to rest.
On a humorous note: My brother in law is sleeping on the bloor in the nursery. Last night I taped that room around the wall baseboards. I circled the babys crib (even though the baby has been sleeping with his paranoid parents the last several days) and unwittingly I left what looked like a police chalk outline on the flood where he laid his sleeping bag. When I snuck into the nursery tonight to check the strips I felt like I was visiting a crime scene.
I have given a small cursory check to the furniture and we are still packing books into plastic tubs as we can afford them. As we pack the books into the tubs we seal the edges with two layers of duct tape. Since "The Great Burning" (I have pictures of the aftermath which I may post) we have not seen a single bug or evidence of the bugs. I am daring to hope right now BUT as I told my wife and inlaws: "Until ten weeks have passed with no bites or evidence of infestation I will continue to push ahead with extreme prejudice."
I am attempting to find a local source for nuvan strips and diatomous earth (spelling?). I would appreciate any info that can be offered as no store I visit has any idea. I know that the bedlam aerasol is order only but I have been told that I can get the earth, or an effective form of it, from some local source. I was at the pet store last night and found two dusts for carpets which kill fleas, their eggs, larvae, and ticks. I was wondering if I could dust underneath dressers with that and it still kill bedbugs but am not sure. I am also looking into buying one of those steam machines (its less than 1/4 the price of Orkin and I am told that steam will nuke anything that crawls.
Today should be my meeting with the counselor too. Its almost funny that as the stress is starting to diminish THATS when I end up getting to see the professional. Such is life I suppose. I can definately still use the talk tho and I highly reccomend that anyone who is dealing with bed bugs in any capacity go sit down and talk to a professional. Those monsters are a plague on humanity and even when I am certain they are gone I will NEVER stop despising them for making me wake up every night shivering cold on an air mattress.
Will update as the war continues. As always I appreciate any new info on ways to trap or combat the bugs.
With a little more sleep and food,
Great to hear from you again! The stress of bed bugs can especially be tough for graduate students...but they can be overcome!
You might want to try a local pet store for diatomaceous earth, but make sure it's food grade. I got mine on amazon.com. I would also love to see a photo of your bedbug funeral pyre.
Also, it was a good idea for you to buy plastic tubs, as they can be reused in the future and are not BB friendly.
Even after you think you got rid of all the bedbugs (no bites for 10 weeks), it still may be prudent to put some interceptors to protect your bed and new furniture to prevent future infestations. A tiny bit of diatomaceous earth in the corners and baseboards of your place will also make sure you don't have a heavy infestation in the future. It will also keep the bug population down in general (fleas, ants, etc).
Keep posting, as your story has been quite inspirational. Best of luck!
If you're going to use DE, please do your research as it must be used carefully. It can be used safely and effectively, but many people use it in ways which is neither safe nor effective. We have a FAQ on DE which is a good place to start.
We also have a FAQ on steaming.
I hope your meeting with the counselor was helpful.
Here is my Latest Update,
For four days we say no evidence of further infestation. We had no bites and the double sided tape that I surrounded the walls and the furniture with showed little more than grit and dog hair, which fascilitated changing out the tape in sections.
After day four my mother in oaw reported a string of bites along her left arm which itched like fire. I investigated her airbed carefully and found nothing, her blankets appeared clear as well but we ran them in the drier on hot anyway. None of the tape strips surrounding her position in the room had captured any of the devils either.
I have had no luck finding DE anywhere. None of the pet stores here seem to carry it and sadly after all of the tape and tubs I really can barely afford to pay for gas anymore. We ran out of storage space to place our belongings so we have a hallway still full of boxes surrounded in tape.
Aside from the one instance of bites two more days passed without any further bites or worries. I inspect the headboard (which is all that remains of our old bed) and find no evidence anywhere (I spray anyway), and I check the drawers in the chest of drawers we still can access. I can find zero harborages or evidence of excrement trails. I have no idea where the bites on my mother in laws arm came from except that they are identical to bedbug bites. I was prepared to write it off as an errant flea bite.
Tonight I was laying on the airbed with my wife and son and noticed that a very fat red bug was crawling across the comforter we just laundered. I examined closer and found that it was an engorged early stage bedbug. I popped it. The comforter is now again in the drier on hot running its cycle. I further examined the premesis and found no evidence anywhere. The dogs have been bathed in fleabath just in case (they started itching a day or so ago) and we also dusted them with anti-flea powder just in case.
Finding another bedbug after such a time has been hard on me emotionally and I am sad to say that my stress levels came right back up. So another e-mail has gone out to the college counselor and I'm just holding the line at the moment. I am wondering if it is just time to give up. Burn all of our things, or send them to the dump, get a job at a local restaurant and start a new life from scratch. Dropping out would be a requirement at that point.
I might be jumping at shadows but these things are horrible. It is almost like the economy prices both the professional treatments and the weapons you need completely out of the range of the very people who need it in the first place.
What kind of advice does the site have on sorting through an entuire life for packing? in order to place everything in the tubs I will need way more money than i have for duct tape and plastic tubs, then I'll need a place to put them all for storage. Nuvan strips would be amazing right now and god help me I need to find a place that sells DE where I can afford it.
Joseph, sorry you are going through all this. If your comforter is really thick, it may be difficult to kill any bugs that might be inside it. At this time, you might have better luck with a thin blanket that you can launder and dry on super hot, where there won't be any spots inside the blanket that won't reach killing heat. It's also possible that the bug wasn't hiding out in the comforter at all, but since you seem to have your perimeters well guarded and "armed", I don't know where it could have come from. The first week I discovered the bugs, I slept with a large towel which I could pop in the wash and dry every morning. It was neither warm nor comfortable, but it beat having to deal with a king sized comforter every morning.
Bed Bug Central has a charitable bed bug services offer, for the holidays. You can apply to get a professional bed bug treatment (from a local provider) in December.
You can read more about how to apply here.
Unfortunately, this is just one treatment and so it is not going to solve your problem entirely, but it could make a difference.
It's a shame that there is not a charitable service providing full bed bug-treatment, but this is still an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
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