Confirmed BBs--Our Story and a few treatment questions(2 posts)
Let me just start off by saying this, This website, blog, forum and FAQ center has been extremely helpful in not only helping me understand what is going on, but how bed bugs live and how to get rid of them.
In the last few days, I have confirmed one of my fears.. We have bed bugs. We rent a house that in total is 4 floors, basement, first floor, second floor and attic. Before we moved here, we rented a small apartment and we noticed starting in the summer months that my youngest son was getting bitten alive at night, which his bites would swell and become hard as a rock. Which I know that the summer of 2010 and 2011 my dogs were so badly infested with Fleas despite our vet treating multiple times with prescription grade flea repellent, which could have been the source of my boys' bites. Then months later, my middle son also started getting bitten. My boys, although they have always had separate beds, have always slept in the same bed. We just figured that because the screens on some windows in the house were coming apart from the screen frame, it was summer insects coming in and biting them.
Because both boys occasionally have accidents while they sleep, I was always cleaning and disinfecting their mattresses. I never once seen any indications of bed bugs, nor saw anything while packing and moving into the new place. My youngest son, it never mattered what season it was, he would get random bites, but they would almost always swell and be hard as a rock, but my middle son it mainly seemed to happen in warmer weather.
Fast forward to August 2011 when my brother-in-law moved into my apartment with his two children because he had gotten evicted. When he moved in, all he brought with was their clothing and pretty much left everything else behind. We had heard from people that he had bed bugs, but are unsure if he truly did have them. With my brother in law sleeping in the attic, my nephews slept on one of my son's beds as my sons always slept together. (It was a bunk bed)
My boys were still continuing to get bitten, the bites looked the same on my older son while on my younger, some swelled while others didn't.
At the end of October we moved into the house we are in now. Again, while we were moving, we saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, including any bed bugs, feces or anything on any of the mattresses and frames. Shortly after moving in here, my middle son starts getting bitten up by what we figured was the really little white/almost clear spiders that we see through the place at times. Which I have learned are like cobweb spiders, and boy do we get a lot of cobwebs..and he seemed to get bit up more when he slept closer to the radiator heaters.
After about a month or two, the bites would stop on the boys all together. Even at this point with their mattresses being on the floor because of the bunk beds wooden frame becoming un-sturdy. My daughter, who will occasionally sleep in her brother's room has never been bitten by anything, same went with my husband and myself. Until about May of this year. In May, we placed both my son's mattresses in their unused closet with the frame of the bunk bed (that had been stored in there since around March. They then started sleeping on a blow up mattress. My husband and I have rarely slept in our bed. We had (up until last week) had a sectional couch with a chaise that we always would sleep on. Starting around May, I started getting bit. It would be in random places, mainly on a finger and it would itch for days, but never spread bigger like mosquito bites do after itching. Because I seemed to be the only one at this point being bit, not only did I feel like I was going crazy, but I wasn't seeing anything at all biting me. What was even crazier was that I was getting bit in weird places, such as if I was sitting on the couch but leaning over and propping myself up on one arm, I would get bit on the place that was being leaned on. Because I hadn't seen anything while cleaning under the cushions, no bugs, no nothing, I figured that it couldn't be bed bugs, possibly it was some sort of mite that came in on one of my cats.
Well last week I got rid of my fabric sectional and got a leather (duraleather actually) couch and loveseat (dual recliners), I haven't felt that 'biting then itching' sensation. However about a month ago (before getting rid of the couch) my husband and I started sleeping in our bed again and low and behold I was getting bit up there. And again, if I was laying on my side and was resting my hand/arm under my pillow, I would get bites, while awake. Because I was getting paranoid about these bites, I would be constantly checking my bed. There would be nothing on, around or under my pillows and sheets, except fuzzies from our blankets, I have an addiction to fleece and Sherpa blankets. My mattress, still today has no signs whatsoever of bed bugs or bed bug feces. Then Monday night, both my boys woke up between 2-4am complaining of bites. My middle son had only a few where as my younger son had between 20-25. I covered their bites in a generous layer of Hydrocortisone cream and all bites were gone by morning. (IS THIS EVEN NORMAL??) So the next day, I scrubbed their room, baseboards and air mattress and it happened that night again. Monday night I did find one bed bug in my bed on a pillow, and it appeared to be an adult male, which looked dead to me, since it didn't bother to move. After searching my bed and mattress, I did not see anymore but woke up the next morning with my elbow covered in bites. No particular pattern, some big like itched mosquito bites and others small. Its like a cluster going about 4 inches in either direction starting from the elbow with an exception of the inner part of my elbow.
-A few things that I have noticed, the bites up until now have been sporadic with only my husband and daughter not showing reactions to bites.
-While I was waiting for my prescription for my ADHD medication to be figured out and I was off of the medication, I was not having reactions to bites (if I was getting bit).
-My boys have been getting the brunt of it, however, I have found absolutely nothing in their room to even give me initial thought of bed bugs. (Their room is rather empty. Has only 2 dressers, tv and air mattress with its bedding.
-I started getting bitten up in May on the first story on the couch while my sons were having no reaction at all for a few months. (All the bedrooms are on the second story)
-Since getting rid of my old couch, i haven't gotten any new bites while on the couch and after cleaning my living room thoroughly today, I saw no young bed bugs or eggs. (I have hardwood floors throughout my entire house, so when I sweep, I always look at the dust I pick up)
-Wonder what the possibility is of my cats killing bed bugs in the past, since cats love to play with crawly things..
This whole ordeal is truly confusing me.. I didn't mean to go into such detail, but I really am trying to pin-point when/how the infestation started as well as figure out what could have caused no bites/reactions for a few months.
Now for my plan of attack.. since I cannot afford to have a PCO come to treat my house..I did ton's of research of ways to self-treat this problem. I am hoping that the infestation is not extremely horrible..but I purchased the Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth and I am hoping that I can get this under control and hopefully eventually gone on my own.
Basically the questions I have are:
I saw some talk in a thread with a link to http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Proper-treatment-safe-materials-can-put-bedbug-2562803.php where it tells how to make suspended DE. Today while I was out, I purchased 2 plastic spray bottles, DE and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. However, I see some people stating that the DE loses its residual effect and even some say it doesn't kill the BBs at all this way while some say it does. Can anyone tell me which it is? (I do know that I will need one of the spray bottles to be without Alcohol due to my whole house having hardwood floors and original woodwork to the house)
From what I can see in my room alone, the few bed bugs that have been found are on/under the tablecloth that is on my decorative round table that is next to my bed. (tablecloth and round table are touching my side of the bed) I have also always had a dust ruffle on my bed and never any problems until I put the table in my room with the tablecloth touching my bed.
My room is rather cluttered from my husband and I having a lot of clothes and not enough room. i.e: one dresser each. Since a lot of my clothing sits folded on the floor or piled on top of dressers, with the possibility to have bed bugs or eggs on the clothing, is it ok to bag up the clothing in garbage bags and close/seal the bags and place them in the basement until I can wash them? (I own my own washer and dryer and I have already bagged up all of my children's clothing, bedding, pillows and stuffed animals in garbage bags and placed them in the basement to be washed, even clothing in dressers..)
Since my first floor seems to not have bed bugs (from inspecting and cleaning constantly), would it be safe to put the clothing on the first floor (such as folded and on a raised surface) without having to buy storage totes or the supersize ziploc bags? (I do still plan on treating the first floor, just not as intensely as the second floor)
Once I declutter my room of clothing and misc stuff, to keep bed bugs from moving out of the room after treatment of the light dusting of DE, is it wise to put a thicker layer of DE blocking the doorway? or a waste of time? (again, whole house is hardwood flooring, original to house) And if this could work, could it be done in every room upstairs during the treatment phase and blocking their exit?
I also know I need to pull my bed away from the wall but I was wondering, is it possible that the DE will be effective without putting the protective covers on the box spring and mattress? The cloth that is normally on the bottom of box springs are no longer there, so I can treat the inner part of my box springs with DE. (King size bed, I have 2 twin box springs) As many others that are dealing with bed bugs infestation, money is extremely tight in my family of 5, I am really just hoping that the bed bug problem really isn't too bad.
Also, I do have cats, and I know that they have brought in fleas, and have had fleas for most of the year despite flea treatments..(they are outdoor cats) could it be possible that the bed bug problem is fairly new while the fleas could have been the start? Or could the fact that some windows that are open with window fans in them have no screens?
And my final question that I can think of is for the dust ruffle and table cloth that do have the bed bugs on them, what would work best to kill on contact?
Again I am sorry for such a huge post, but I felt that it was necessary to explain the on and off biting prior to this because maybe someone else out there is or has dealt with something similar to us. We just want normalcy back in our lives. Wow.. It literally has taken me a few hours to write this, because I did not want to forget something.
I thank everyone in advance to any input!
Hi Syn, in my opinion of course I say this to everyone, you should first have the bug Id. You can post a pic on here or find a local pest control company who will Id for free. I am struggling with bat bugs right now and there are different species of the bb bug that look identical. And it may just be that you have bed bugs, but if I never had my bug id I would never no otherwise they look exactly the same! It just seems odd that your story is a couple yrs worth of bites and moving multiple times and just now you see them? It could be before they were just fleas, but now in your newest home bbugs? Definitely worth the id.
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