Crumy PCO and my own plan - please advise(4 posts)
I'm fighting my second infestation of bedbugs in 8 months, meaning I didn't win the first battle. They stopped for a while, but I've been getting bite for about 3 weeks now. I need to get rid of these guys quick as a single bite causes sever allergic reactions on me and I plan on moving next month and don’t want to take the problem with me. I had my landlord's PCO in last week, but got a few bites on Thursday. I've read through the FAQ and many other articles on this site and I still have a few questions...
I realize self treatment isn't the preferred method around here, but I feel like I have run out of options - I am severely allergic to bed bug bites - to the point where I need oral steroids to control the reaction!
My landlord is using a random PCO who has not told me what chemicals he is using, but insists the problem will go away if I put EVERYTHING I own into bags for just 5 days. He sprayed a bunch of white liquid around my apartment, which is the same thing he did back in the fall. Since this method clearly didn’t work the first time around, I've decided that this isn't enough and have invested in the WhiteWing Steamer and Eureka bagged vacuum recommended on Bedbugger. They should arrive within the next two weeks.
Some damage has already been done since this is my second infestation - for one, I do not know where the infestation is. My bed is clean and freshly encased with super high-grade white allergen-barrier encasements, which I check daily and are still pure white. The legs are in water, the entire area under the bed and the frame has been treated, and the bed has been pulled away from the wall. All of my linens and clothes are bagged up, awaiting payday to go to the laundry mat. Suggestions on second favorite hid-outs, or is it safe to assume they're all over?
I'd love any thoughts or comments on my plan:
Buy lots of large, plastic, airtight containers and put all of my books, CDs, DVDs, pictures and other non-cleanables into storage for 18 months.
When the WhiteWing and vacuum arrive I plan to clean the house end to end. I live in a small 2 bedroom railroad in Brooklyn with all hardwood floors. I was going to start at the kitchen end and drive them towards the bedroom at the other end of the apartment. The landlord swears he put powers in the walls and moldings when the unit was rehabed (we're the first tenants since the rehab). Starting high and working down seems to work for regular cleaning, so that was what I was going to do... All cracks, crevices, floors, etc.
I only have five pieces of upholstered furniture - a sofa (which I think has bugs), a chair, a storage ottoman, and 2 desk chairs. Are these steamable or should I throw them away? Also, I have 3 plastic drawer units - can those be cleaned? I am assuming that wooden furniture should be fine to use steam on...
While I steam I will have all the linens and clothing in airtight vacuum storage bags. Once the steaming process is over, I'll take it all to the laundry mat and follow the instructions for washing fabric in the FAQ.
That's my plan - if anyone out there has suggestions, please help! I cannot afford to get a PCO beyond who the landlord is sending. I have a cat, so I do not want to use any dusts or pesticides beyond the "pro". I will have him come in again before and after I clean. Thanks!
PS: If anyone knows the legalities of getting an NYC landlord to foot the bill, I am all ears. Once I get the bins I’ll be out over $1000!
One problem with steaming now, after the PCO sprays, is that the PCO's pesticides will be washed away. I would suggest getting him to proceed with treatment (since obviously, you're still being bitten and retreatment is warranted within 2 weeks), and asking him if you can up the ante by steaming the day before (so it is dry and so you are not washing away residual pesticides after treatment).
Also, since your first infestation was 8 months ago, and bites only resumed three weeks back, I would gather that your first course of treatment WAS successful. It sounds like your bed bugs did go away for 7+ months. What is likely is that a neighbor is infested and they came back via the neighbors.
So this suggests the PCO may have been doing something right. The landlord may not be having all units carefully inspected and treated if need be, and this may be the problem. Or a new person brought new bed bugs in after that length of time.
I guess I just assumed they came out of something I unpacked recently. We kept some of our clothes in bags until about a month ago. No one has moved in or out of the building and none of the other tenants have complained of bedbugs in the last 2 years. Then again... we drop off our laundry, so anything is possible I guess.
I'm definitely going to have the PCO come back right after I steam the house. Thanks!
Well, you can certainly have taken them out of something you had stored.
Laundry services are definitely a problem.
I can't stress enough how often people say "no one else in my building has complained of bed bugs," and then _eventually_ someone is found to have a case they were either afraid to report, or unsure what it was (or in some cases, it was someone with physical or mental limitations that prevented them recognizing or dealing with the problem).
You have to recognize that a sizeable percent of folks do not react to bites, and they have no idea. Bed bugs have to get very bad before someone with no reaction will notice.
I am not saying one of these is the cause, but you never can be sure.
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