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Can Bed Bugs Survive 2+ Years Without Food?

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  1. nycbbs1

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Wed Jan 10 2018 0:30:14
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    About 2.5 years ago, I experienced what I believe to have been a bed bug infestation. I say “believe” because although they were confirmed in my building and I was getting bitten pretty badly, I never found any conclusive physical evidence other than the bites. Anyway, I bought a steamer and a PCO came on several occasions. Whatever it was, it seemed to work, as the bites stopped completely and I hadn’t had any issues for over 2 years.

    Here’s the thing: in my freaking out over it and following my PCO’s instructions, I mistakenly bagged all of my possessions, including things like books, which hadn’t been treated. After the treatment was done and I wasn’t getting bitten, I read that bed bugs could live up to 18 months in a sealed plastic bag, so I decided to keep the things that I hadn’t unpacked since my second treatment packed up.

    Now, it’s well over 2 years since I bagged the stuff, so I figure there’s absolutely no way I’m at risk of getting bitten if I unpack. I figure if the bags were properly sealed, they wouldn’t survive that long without food. If for some reason the bags got ripped or something, I would have gotten bitten over the last 2 years, which I hadn't. Makes sense, right?

    However, to my horror, within two days after unpacking I have a number of bites, which seem pretty similar in their look and occurrence to 2.5 years ago. The first ones appeared a week ago, so I can’t write this off as a one time occurrence. I’m at a total loss now. Like last time, I see no physical evidence of bed bugs other than the bites. My building won’t do anything unless I have evidence (last time they treated it without evidence because of a confirmed infestation in another unit in the building that they were trying to rent out).

    So my question is this: what do you think is the cause of these new bites? Could the bed bugs really have survived over 2 years without food? Is it something different that is biting me? If so, would there be something else that would cause skin reactions similar to bbs after being in a sealed plastic bags for over 2 years? What do you recommend that I do?

    Also, somewhat unrelated, but most of the bites I seem to be getting are on the areas of my body that I'm sleeping on top of. I know it's impossible to identify based on bites alone, but would this point to bed bugs?

    Thanks!

  2. F. Pazos

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Wed Jan 10 2018 1:59:30
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    bed bugs can live up to 18 months in perfect conditions created in a lab.... in your case, the answer is not, they can't be alive if any, so you are safe to open the bags

    Professional PCO based in Hong Kong specialized in Bed Bugs.
  3. BigDummy

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Wed Jan 10 2018 10:50:24
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    If you were getting 'bitten' as frequently as you're implying I don't think bed bugs were your initial problem.

    Opening bags after 2 years would not concern me in the least.
    It could be a seasonal issue that only appears when the air is dry and cold, but there's no way I can identify what is causing your skin irritations.

    Killer of bed bugs for Homeless Empowerment Program
  4. thirdusername

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Thu Jan 11 2018 0:19:24
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    Experts,
    Could it be anxiety related to opening the bags?
    Headbugs?

    I am NOT an expert.
    My opinions are just opinions, they may NOT apply to yours or any situation.
    My advice is to always do a LOT of research.
    A lot of what I read contradicts other stuff on the Interweb.
  5. BigDummy

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Thu Jan 11 2018 9:45:11
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    Stop

  6. nycbbs1

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Fri Jan 12 2018 0:37:52
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    Thanks for the responses. It definitely could be a seasonal skin reaction from the cold, although I can't put my finger on why it would happen now, as I haven't really changed anything that would cause it.

    I wish it was all in my head, as the definitely visible marks itch at times pretty intensely .

  7. loubugs

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Fri Jan 12 2018 8:38:34
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    nycbbs1 - 8 hours ago  » 
    Thanks for the responses. It definitely could be a seasonal skin reaction from the cold, although I can't put my finger on why it would happen now, as I haven't really changed anything that would cause it.
    I wish it was all in my head, as the definitely visible marks itch at times pretty intensely .

    Had any types of monitors been left out during any of the old and new episodes?

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  8. nycbbs1

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Sat Jan 13 2018 0:43:53
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    Unfortunately, my bed has horizontal cross bars touching the ground, so I can't use traditional climbup interceptors. I did put sticky tape on all of the legs, and I've caught a few roaches from time to time, but never bed bugs.

    With the next bed I get, having just 4 legs that touch the ground will definitely be something I look for.

  9. loubugs

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Sat Jan 13 2018 9:50:01
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    nycbbs1 - 9 hours ago  » 
    Unfortunately, my bed has horizontal cross bars touching the ground, so I can't use traditional climbup interceptors. I did put sticky tape on all of the legs, and I've caught a few roaches from time to time, but never bed bugs.
    With the next bed I get, having just 4 legs that touch the ground will definitely be something I look for.

    Just leave the climb ups along the walls near the bed. Traditional just means that you can see bugs in 2 wells of the unit.

  10. nycbbs1

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    Posted 9 months ago
    Sun Jan 14 2018 21:58:24
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    Thanks, I never thought of putting them on the baseboards.

    Anyway, I'm just glad that it seems whether I have them or not, my unpacking 2+ year old untreated items couldn't have caused it. I couldn't help but blame myself, even though it seemed impossible that's what caused it.


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