Do I have Bedbugs?(43 posts)
After coming back from a nice long weekend spent in a different country, I realised that the bugs we saw in the hostel were bedbugs. I was quite shocked, and after some time I started to worry what if we brought them at home.
I was full of bites which swelled, but now they are getting better. I got one new bite after coming back, which is surely a bite. But I am not sure if it is a bedbug bite or not. It is not swelled. And it is itching at many places, but when I check it is either an old bite or there is no bite there.
The problem is that I realised they were bedbugs only on the second day after coming back. So my luggage had been there in the middle of my room for 2 days . After two days: I took all the clothes (plus the clothes which were close to my luggage) and piled them in my bathroom and started to wash them. After washing them, I ironed them. However I don't have bags with ziplock so I don't use them. I have managed to wash my rucksacks as well.
Two weeks later, yesterday, I throw some old blankets out of my bed linen holder, and I cleaned my bed and the bed linen holder under my bed with the vacuum cleaner and I sprayed the edges of my bed. This is all the precaustion I have done.
How could I make sure whether I have bedbugs or not?
I am also not sure if I can visit friends, parents, because I don't want to infect them.
Also can a bedbug stay in my clothes while I wear it?
Thanks in advance for answers!
HI Anne. SO sorry to hear of your delema. Chances are pretty good that you brought bugs home with you from what you say. IF you know the place you stayed at had bed bugs and then your luggage sat for days in your home, chances are very good.
I would take percautions according tothe FAQs on this site. I would bag all linens, clothes etc that are in your room before moving it to the washer to be washed. Wash/dry on hot. I would bag all clan laundry to be worn according to the FAQs as to not spread them to work, friends etc...
I would interview and find a good PCO that has alot of experience with bed bugs.
Yes, the bugs can stay in your clothes while wearing them. You can to this place that has alot of information to help you and there are people here that can help answer questions. Chances are good that if you take percautions, catch and treat this early you won't get a major, spread out infestation.
Pay close attention and follow the Faq's. Good Luck and best to you.
Since you have had one bite since you came back, there is a good chance you brought them back. You might not have, perhaps there was one or a few bugs and you got it/them with your cleaning campaign. But if you have even one more bite, I would call in a pest control operator. Read the FAQs too as Paula says. If you have a question ask it on the relevant FAQ page. If it is unrelated, this is a good place.I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
Actually, you are on top of the situation much earlier than most people, so good for you for observing and responding quickly!
To answer your questions, I have stayed repeatedly with many people while I have had bedbugs and never spread bedbugs but I take a lot of careful precautions. See the FAQs here. It **is** possible to visit people and not spread bedbugs, though you can never guarantee it 100%.
To answer your other question, if your infestation is heavy enough, the bedbugs can be in your clothes in your drawers and in your closets. When you go out, the bedbugs can then go with you. In general they are more likely to spread in bags and pocketbooks and things, and they don't like being on things that move like clothes. If you're worried, once you wash and dry your clothes, you can put them in ziplock bags and they'll be safe.
Since you were only exposed 2 weeks ago, at this point the more likely place to find bedbugs are within 10 - 15 feet of where you sleep (including crown molding, electrical outlets, and ceiling fixtures), but the bedbugs can be anywhere.
Yes they can be on clothes. I took down my bedding to wash after finding one blood-filled bug. After a few trips to laundromat,I sat at the middle of my white bed sheet to eat lunch while looking around constantly to see any buggers. I didn't see any but I got 2 bites on my face while eating! Sure enough, one of the nymphs must have hitchhiked on the clothes I was wearing, crawled to my face and bit me
From then on, all dirty clothes and bedding go into sealed bags and I'll be xtra careful when doing laundry.
Actually, the bites you are discovering are an allergic reaction (to the proteins in bedbug saliva). As such, they can appear hours or days after a bedbug actually bit you. So the bites suddenly appearing on your face may actually mean that bedbugs bit you the night before, when you were sleeping, which is their preferred mealtime.
True, you could be one of those people who react to bedbug bites quickly, within an hour, but unless you discover a bedbug actually feeding on you, it will be hard to pinpoint when and where you received bites.
Realizing this may be important if you are isolating your bed (or not) and trying to judge the effectiveness of your efforts.
I also want you to keep this in mind in case you discover a new bite at work or while you are away from home, and panic. Don't. Bites will appear. It just means you are still getting bites. It does not necessarily mean that bedbugs are hitchhiking on your clothes.
That said, yes, you need to take care in handling linens and clothing, especially when you leave home for work or anywhere else. Have you read the FAQs on this subject?
I'll respond to your other post.
Thank you all, for your answers!
My basic dilemma is: to call or not to call a pest control operatior and have my flat treated?
The problem is that I am not sure of some of my spots, pin prick looking points if they are bites or not. So if I calculate optimistically I have only one more bite. But if I calculate pessimistically I could have 5 more bites since I came back.
On the one hand I would like to settle this problem once and for all. And I am also afraid that I spread them at the massage course which I attend. (and also what they say if the notice my bites?) On the other hand I say what if I don't have them at all. Some people who I talk with say that I overreact the problem and if it spreaded so easily the whole world would be infected.
So I don't know what to do. Would it be advisable in my situation to call a PCO ASAP or not?
I have read the Do's and Don'ts under FAQ and the instructions for travelling. Though I haven't managed to follow all, as I don't have a dryer only iron and I haven't managed to gather ziplock bags yet. But I am searching a shop where I could buy them.
Almost everyone who participates here has or has had bedbugs. Some of us have been traumatized by our bedbug experiences. So, for most of us, I'm willing to bet that we'd be on the phone to a PCO right now. Your friends who have never been exposed to bedbugs? Their job is to talk you down from worry and try to reassure you. Different perspectives.
You have to make this decision. You can wait until you have one more bite or find some kind of evidence (which may indeed take a very long time). You can continue to clean and take precautions with your clothes so that you don't inadvertently spread them anywhere else, if you have them. Or you can start calling PCOs. Even if you call PCOs, not all of them will be willing to treat absent clear evidence of the pest. So, depending on where you live and the types of PCO firms in your area and many other circumstances we cannot know, you may be forced to wait for further evidence.
In any event, good luck.
Anne, my bedbug odyssey began after a recent trip abroad as well. I have had two PCOs inspect and say that I didn't have a bedbug problem. However, I have had suspicious marks on my sheets. I appear to not react, or react minimally, to bites. (Of course, the itching may be psychosomatic due to all the worry and maybe they aren't bites at all.)
I am not taking any chances, and I'm getting a full treatment tomorrow after a light treatment already. Our clothes are in Ziploc bags and shoes, belts and purses are soon to follow. The books that were in my bedroom are in storage. I have been so stressed that I brought home bed bugs and so anxious about spreading them to others, that I'm seeing a therapist today, because bed bugs are all I can think about, and I'm tired and depressed. I don't care that it's probably overkill. I have heard enough stories on this site and others about treating the problem promptly and agressively, that I am convinced it's the right thing to do.
So what does all this mean to you? As nomo said, we are a self-selected bunch of paranoiacs, and I think based on what you've told us, almost all of us would tell you to get a PCO. Get it treated while it's still a relatively small problem.
I'm sorry about your situation -- I can relate to it.
Lelaine. It's good that you're seeing someone on your anxiety. Wethr the full blown treatment is truly needed, no one really knows for sure.(probalby not, but..)
It's good that you're doing git as percaution and seeing it that way mentally. It'll be done with and that's that. Then you can go on as usual. Good for you
Hi Paula! Thanks for the kind words, as always. How are you doing today?
Anne -- one of the nicest things about this site is the emotional support. If you're on edge because of the bugs, people will understand and offer an encouraging word.
Thanks All for your comments! I decided to call the PCO to treat my flat this week. I hope it will help.
Lelaine, it is really good to get to know that there is somebody else in my shoes. It is interesting, that you met bedbugs during your travel abroad. Same as me.
Hopelessnomo, you are right, those friends who belittle the problem have never had bedbugs.
Some of our friends who we were in the infested hostel with found a bedbug at home. So it looks like it is not too difficult to bring bedbugs at home. They will also call the PCO.
We returned 3 weeks ago from the infested hostel. Do you think that one treatment done now would be enough? I suppose we could
I also haven't received too detailed instructions on how to prepare for the treatment. It looks like here in Central Europe there isn't that much elaborated protocol for this. Though the PCO said the did around 3 treatment agains bedbugs per day in the summer. We also don't have ziplock bags in any shop.
So I am not sure whether to wash my clothes before the treatment or is that fine if I wash them after? Some of the PCOs I called wanted to treat the clothes as well. I don't have a dryer, I dry them in my room and all what I could do is to iron them.
I am not sure how fast bedbug can multiply. But I am afraid I have seen an egg. Is that possible that I have already had a few newborn bedbugs?
If you saw an egg, you could have a few newborn bedbugs (you are catching on very fast about bedbug biology!!). Unfortunately the first-born nymphs are almost translucent, and while they are in a bedbug shape, they don't look much like adult bedbugs since they are white or yellowish, or bright red if they have just fed. A female that lays eggs keeps laying a couple a day and the eggs hatch accordingly. Be sure they treat heavily around the area you found the egg. There might be some activity there.
Anne, we get a lot of readers in Central Europe, even though most do not post to the forums.
I do not know what country you are in, but in some countries, PCOs have better pesticides available than in the US. In any case, they should probably re-treat in 2 weeks.
If it is possible, and there is a laundromat (public laundry) around your home, it would be worth machine washing on hot and drying on hot. A cool, warm, or hot wash should kill bugs, but only hot dryer can kill the eggs. That said, it is possible there are no eggs in your clothing, it is really hard to say.
I am writing from Hungary and we brought the bedbugs from Czeck.
Nobugsonme, by landromat do you mean a laundry where you can wash the clothes by your own? I know laundries where you can leave there your clothes for wash, but no ones where you can wash them yourself. Here in Hungary it is not that common that private washing mashines have dryer functionalities, though some of them do have. Mine is automatic but it can't dry. I will try to look around if I can find a laundromat.
Yes it looks like I am getting involved in bedbug biology.
I am not sure if it was an egg or not. But I found something which I think it was feces and there was a small white point in it. I noticed it on my blanket after making my bed for the night. I don't know how it got there.
BTW. Is each female bedbug always able to lay down eggs? I mean if there is an available male bedbug around then is the female theoretically able to lay down eggs whole year? What if one by chance has only one single male bedbug? Then it is no risk of infestation. Or what if I have only one single female bedbug?
So I still don't understand this bedbug biology!
An adult female, once inseminated, will lay eggs. It also needs to have been fed, but I'm not too clear on this. I think once fed, it'll lay eggs until the meal is completely digested in a week.
If you just picked up an adult male, it cannot lay eggs and cannot make an infestation. Don't bet on this, otherwise bed bugs would not be spreading like it is.
It's important to know that eggs can be laid. Only heat is known to kill eggs, contact sprays and residual sprays do not kill the eggs. It takes 7 to 14 days for eggs to hatch. And that they must travel across an residual pesticide for the nymphs to die.
nomo: I didn't see your reply responded 5 days ago. I can actually feel a nymph biting on my foot and had caught one at the middle of feeding me as I was putting on lotion on my bed. That is how sensitive I am to their bites, because my skin will feel a weird (pain+itchy) sensation. Hence bites appearing a day after or even 6 hours later is not possible. I always react within 3 hours the most
Anyway, no bites yet for 10 days, weeee~~~~~
There are lots of bed bugs in the Czech Republic, but they are all over Europe now. (We have a map of readers on the blog page.)
It might be ok to leave the laundry with someone only if you take it in a sealed garbage bag, they wash and dry on hot, and put in a fresh garbage bag and seal (for bringing home). You need to make sure they know your clothing could spread bed bugs to others.
If it can't be done, washing would remove all but the eggs, and you must seal it in bags after washing. Drying outside would be preferable to in your home.
If there are eggs and you cannot kill them in this way, you may need more treatments, at 2 week intervals, keeping the laundry sealed during this time, since bed bugs will keep hatching as long as there are eggs.
Kraystone, do you mean my PM? Didn't get a response but then, I don't expect one. It took me a few seconds to figure out who nomo was. Oh, that's me.
I'm glad you seemed to have your situation under control. I've been bite free for over 2 weeks.
Nomorebugs, Sorry-- some people may mean you. But Kraystone may also mean Hopelessnomo who some of us (myself included) been calling Nomo for months. I will try to remember to use Hopelessnomo's full name, now you are on the scene.
Oops, yes I meant to reply to hopelessnomo. Sorry for the confusion, I'll type the full id in future~
Nobugsonme, I could check the visitors map and indeed Europe is quite red.
Unfortunatelly I don't have a garden where I could dry my clothes. I could dry them on my small balcony which is very dusty, being close to a crowded road or on an open corridor shared with the neighbours. I am afraid in the last case I might even spread the bedbugs. Usually I dry them in my room. However this makes me question if in this case bagging makes any sense at all. Do you think I should bag the clothes even in this case?
And what if I bag my clothes and there is an egg in it? And it hatches meanwhile. Well at least I don't get new ones in it.
Does ironing help? Because I could iron all my clothes and then bag.
This morning I had my flat treated. Well, I have to say my PCO didn't make a big problem/fuss of it. He just splashed the walls, the edges and the sides of the furnitures, the beds, he made the beds quite thoroughly, then he splashed all of my clothes to be washed and the bed linen. Then the rucksack and the sleeping bag I was in Prague with. He said there is no point in splashing the clothes already washed these days, which I had in my room, but I didn't put back to the wardrobe (as I would like to keep my wardrobe clean).
He was quite confident that the bedbugs didn't go into the clothes and that there was no real risk that I spreaded the bedbugs and infected others. He also didn't say a word about bagging or anything like this. So he had quite a simple approach to this bedbug problem. On the one hand it is quite comforting that he thinks he can control the situation and it is not a big problem. On the other hand I am not totally sure that he is righ regarding the clothes and the spreading.
But anyway I hope that this treatment will be effective and I will have no more bites. As these days almost each day I notice a new pinprick looking bite.
Great minds think alike! I was actually plain 'hopeless' when I first came to bedbugger and added the nomo when, thanks to Nobugs' ministrations, I gained strength and resolve. I've been thinking of shortening it to nomo but the reminder of dark beginnings is useful.
Wow, I knew that people like you existed. The theoretical you, with quick bite reactions, but it's the first time I meet someone who actually knows this to be true of their reactions. I'm trying to think whether this is lucky or not and I think that, yes, it's gotta be. The insidiousness of bedbugs has many causes, but their stealth has to be near the top. So I'm glad you caught the little bastard in flagrante.
Stay vigilant but 10 days of no bites is really great. I hope it sticks. Go draw!
It looks like I found a landromat!
Yay Anne! Persistence pays off.
Anne, in answer to your question, Yes, ironing your clothing will kill them too. Good Luck!
I am so glad you found a laundromat.
Drying on hot really is best.
Entomologist Lou Sorkin spoke on the radio on Tuesday and, if I was listening correctly, he said that he has seen nymphs live for 6 weeks waiting to be fed (maybe longer--I was not listening with my entire brain due to various factors!)
So the answer is you don't want them living in the bags.
Ditto what Hopelessnomo said--I also thought it was possible. Most people who think they feel themselves being bitten really don't--they look and there is nothing there. I am fascinated by your experience, and I am really glad you're not getting to test it further lately
i also felt two first instar nymphs biting me...definite needle-like pin pricks...but now i find that similar pin prick sensations reveal nothing...i think i'm just hypersensitized to it...my welts show up within a couple hours too...but they're just not as itchy now as they were before...not sure why that is...
Hey, thanks for the ironing tip. I will start quickly ironing my fresh clothes each morning, even though they were put into the dryer. Because living out of ziplocs=wrinkled clothes and because I'm obsessive like that.
How long do you have to iron them? WIl a normal ironing job to the trick or do I have to iron for, like, 20 minutes? Don't want to damage my clothes!
I'm pretty sure normal ironing will do the trick, as long as you get every thread...
nobugsonme and hopelessnomo: Yes, for I am the Chosen One!!! dada-dada--daaaa!
Today is the 12th day without a bite but I continue to do laundry all in hot and bagged soon after. Tomorrow they are coming for a 3rd treatment, hopefully we've seen the last of it and end of the trilogy: "Chronicles of Kraystone", The Laundry, the Bagging and the Bed bugs.
I am preparing to see the laundromat. Its opening hours are a bit limited. I have to check which clothes can be dried. I have heard not all of them. After the treatment from yesterday my flat is a mess. All of the unwashed clothes are in the middle of my room. Bed linen out there to dry, the paper calendar frizzled up on the wall etc. It doesn't look pretty well.
Good that ironing kills the bedbugs! I can do that till I get to the laundromat.
Kraystone, this is really good! How long had you had bedbugs for?
And has anyone of you taken dry clothes to the laundromat to dry? What was the reaction? I am afraid they would look strange at me if I just dried... dry clothes.
Perhaps it is better to wash as well. :-/
Hi Anne -
I think you'll find that most clothes can be dried, except for those labeled "dry clean only." I decided to both wash and dry everything I can, because why take any chances? However, I do have some things that can't be washed - like purses. Some I am going to dry them only.
Don't worry if people look at you strangely! You will look even more strange with itchy bites all over you.
Hi Anne: I have bed bugs for 2 months now. My landlord got the PCO to come down a month ago, and they are supposed to come today for the 3rd treatment~
Yes I also took bags of dried clean clothes to re-dry at the laundromat. People were also staring at this weird person tossing bags of clothes into 2 large dryers. But I don't care as long as it'll kill bed bugs.
For purses, I examined each one closely under bright white light and a tiny keyring touch to see the pockets and seams. Then I sealed those I won't use often in a large plastic box to be put away for 4 months, to be shipped back to my tropical country in Jan. We have balconies there so the sun should be able to kill any remaining bugs. Of course, I hope that I'll have them exterminated here and not bring any of em around.
Kraystone: I sent you a PM. Do you know how to check your private messages? Okay, here's what you do, you wriggle your nose twice...
(Click the green private messages button on the front page of the forums.)
The talk of ironing reminded me of Fedupandparanoid, thanks to whom we learned of Richard Naylor's laundering research at the University of Sheffield.
So, just in case there are others from Europe who may find this thread, please note that if you have a secure place to hang dry your clothes, then you can rest assured that washing in hot water, at least 60dC (lower temps will not cut it), will kill all life stages, according to that research. (If you can afford 90dC, then even better, more reassurance.)
It seems that dryers are not widely available in many places. So, hot water! And a secure drying line. In an apartment, it gets tricky I imagine, so finding a laundromat was lucky, Anne.
hopelessnomo: Gosh, I was about to wriggle my nose~
I didn't notice that there's a PM button in this forums, oops! Maybe moving the green button from the bottom to the top will be better?
I'll wriggle my tummy instead
Further to hopelessnomo's words-- drying in the home or even on the balcony might be dangerous. But yes, Naylor had different results from Potter (slightly different experiments) which are good for the dryer-free.
Kray--on the first page, it's on the sidebar. I agree the navigation on the forums pages is bad--I am working on that as part of my plan. But actually, it's hard for me to alter the bbpress template (much harder than with wordpress). So I need to work on that.
Thank you All for your feedbacks!
What I am currently doing is: Washing most of my clothes in 40dC (except bed-linen and towels, which I wash either on 60dC or 70dC), drying them in my room, ironing everything very thoroughly and putting them in ziplock bags, which I finally could purchase on Saturday. I really hope this is secure enough.
Today I am going to go to the laundromat and bring a lot of clothes there. However I found that most of my clothes can't be dried. There is a sign on them that they can't be dried. Eg. most of my shirts with long sleeves are only around 70-80% cotton and they can't be washed. I found that mainly 100% cotton clothes can be dried. And I am also not sure about my coat. There is no sign on it, but it is not fully cotton.
What I surely can dry is: bed-linen, towels, jeans, a few shirts and t-shirts and underclothes.
The coat is really a problem as in case I can't dry it I can't make sure that I have a complete secure wear. Though I ironed my coat on the lowest level, but the coat is really thick so I am not sure if it worked. I also don't keep my coat in ziplock bag. As I am not totally sure abt. it.
Do you dry clothes in dryer even if it is recommended not to dry?
Kraystone, it is really good that you got rid of them in 2 months. Encouraged by your example I will bring today half part to be washed and dried clothes and half part to be dried only clothes.
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