Do I have bedbugs or what?(10 posts)
Hi, I posted this message (pasted below) on the "Tales of Bed Bug Woe" page and am only getting the chance to respond now (had trouble posting from work).
To answer Bugalina and other people's questions,
-I did put a cover on the futon mattress (as did my girlfriend and her roommates)
-the PCO sprays the metal futon each time he comes.
-I would consult another PCO, but the guy we have cost a few hundred bucks and I'm loathe to fork out that kind of money again. Do you think it's worth it?
-I'm careful about changing my clothes every time I leave my house and when I return (to avoid the chance of reinfestation
-I have not seen any other evidence (shells or feces)
-I'm not sure how I would go about consulting a bed bug dog
-I alerted everyone in my co-op building and no one claims to have any of the signs.
The exterminator is coming back again tomorrow (to treat both mine and my girlfriend's apartments), but it's frustrating to think that the apartment will be covered in pesticide once more for us to get bites again a few days later. Is there anything I should specifically tell him or ask him?
Thanks for the help!
Hi, I live in a studio apartment in a multi-unit building in Brooklyn and am suffering terribly because I still am not sure whether or not I have bed bugs more than three months after I first discovered bites. Here are my reasons why. I would love if someone could help.
My girlfriend and her roommates believe they got bedbugs when one of their friendâ€™s, who thought heâ€™d gotten rid of his own problem, stayed in one of their beds four months ago. This friend had picked up bedbugs from a hotel in Chicago and he thought he was clean because he hadnâ€™t received a bite for a few weeks. A couple of days after heâ€™d slept there, the girl whoâ€™s bed he used woke up with bites on her ankle. They determined they had a bedbug problem. A few days after that, I started getting bites on my stomach. I determined I had the same problem.
Soon after discovering the bites, my girlfriend and her roommates researched and found a PCO (the company they found was recommended highly by New York Magazine). He sprayed both our places and we proceeded with the laundry and ziploc bag measures. Soon after that we all got covers for our comforters. I also put double-sided tape around my bed, which is a futon with a metal base.
That PCO has come 4 times (or more, possibly) to spray each of our places since January. Itâ€™s now almost April, weâ€™ve persisted with the measures (bagging and sealing clutter, washing and drying clothes on high heat) and weâ€™re both still getting bites.
My bites have come in patterns consistent with the bugs (they look like mosquito bites, they come in rows of three, sometimes sporadically, they usually appear on my stomach). The problem happened just after a known victim of bed-bugs slept in my girlfriendâ€™s apartment. Both her roommates get bites as consistently as I do (my girlfriend gets none for some reason). One of my girlfriendâ€™s roommates says she saw a bedug crawling on her sweater when she got it back from the dry cleaners (I think sheâ€™s since switched cleaners). The other roommate says he say a shell casing. Thereâ€™s a bedbug epidemic.
Iâ€™ve had a PCO come 4 or 5 times and each time heâ€™s been skeptical. I tell him, and sometimes show him, my bites and so he continues to spray. He says heâ€™s never had to treat a place more than 2 or 3 times (and that includes one place he says was so infested that the woman who answered the door had bugs crawling up her chest). My neighbors donâ€™t have the problem (nor do my girlfriendâ€™s neighbors and she lives in a small building with one other unit). I just moved into a small studio apartment and I donâ€™t have much furniture for bugs to infest (because I moved in right before I got the bites and I postponed my furniture purchases until theyâ€™re gone). The bed that I am using is a futon/couch with a metal frame (and even that has double-sided sticky tape around it and on the base of the legs). Most of all, I have not seen any bugs, nor any bedbug case shells, nor any blood specks on my white sheets, nor any black specks that I can be sure arenâ€™t just the remnants of my black socks where my feet lie.
Do I have bedbugs or what? If so, what am I doing wrong? How can I get rid of them? PLEASE HELP.
breakfastlunchanddinner: It takes time to bring the bed bug poputlation down. This is because nothing on the market kills the eggs. So continuous treatments are a necessary evil. You should have the PCO Fan Spray the lower portions of your walls. You should buy some DE..there is a company advertising on the blog Tallman Science..I like their DE kit..they include the hand bellows in it. DE is very effective...it dessicates the bugs...just do your best not to inhale it..tell your PCO that after his treatments you want to puff DE around the perimeters of the room..and underneath your bed...a light spray...you have to shake the bellows hard and continuously while puffing...you should buy some enzyme spray to spray down your shoes...and of course I know that messy housekeeping does not cause bed bugs, however it is more important now than ever to keep your living space as clutter free as possible, and vacuum a lot...its all about killing off as many as you can...one dead bug means that it wont' grow up to breed...I think the Frost King double sided tape is very good..you can put it randomly along the edges of the walls...Also..DEFINITELY have the PCO spray around your toilet..and in the bathroom....you have to inspect judiciously...its a lot of work but eventually you will win...deb
Let us know what intervals your treatments have been at--how many weeks in between each.
Also, do you know what the PCO used? They often leave a receipt or docket with a list of pesticides and % strength. Of course, if you really want to know about the effectiveness of what they're doing, you can ask the PCOs at
as PCOs, they know even more about that aspect. (If you do, let us know what they said!)
The treatments have been in intervals of 2-3 weeks -- about a week or 2 after noticing that the bites came back.
Actually, I did ask the PCOs at the thebedbugresource.com and the guy named Sean told me that while he's not saying I don't have the bugs, it is odd that I haven't seen any evidence 4 months after the first bite:
"Even if the first time you got bit (four months ago) was shortly after a single fertilized female bed bug was introduced ...
On average a female will lay 5-10 eggs per day. Each of these eggs take about 10-14 days to hatch. Assuming a 50:50 male:female ratio etc. the total number in the apartment could be quite high. There is no doubt that the treatments you have been receiving would have killed most of the bed bugs. There should be dead bed bugs around."
He suggested a few places to look, including in the cracks of the metal futon frame. I have looked, but the frame is black so it would be hard to see them. However, I have had my PCO spray the entire frame. Shouldn't that take care of them?
He also asked if I had hardwood floors. I told him that I do, but I haven't heard back from him yet. Is there anything you are supposed to do with this kind of floor? The last time the PCO came, he sprayed the entire floor (not just the corners and sides like he usually does).
I wrote down the names of the chemicals, which were in spray cans, and their ingredients the last time he came. One kind was called Intruder HPX. Here's what was in that (I may be misspelling some of these):
Cyano; methyl-3; cyclopropanecrboxylate; pyrethins; piperonyl butoxide, tech.
The other kind was called CB-80 extra (with Australian pyrethrun). Here's what was listed in that one:
Pyrethrins; piperonyl butoxide, tech.
Does that tell you anything?
Thanks again for the help.
As far as whether it's bed bugs: I would say you had them if you'd seen feces or something. But no fecal specks or smudges? (Some people look only for the black fecal stains on mattresses that we see photos of, but it can also be little black specks that look like coarse ground pepper or a small poppy seed.)
Have you looked for smaller mites (eg bird mites, which are tiny but also bite)? Have you ruled out skin conditions? (Look at the FAQ "What are bed bugs?" which also covers other possibilities.)
As far as whether they should already be dead, they may be almost dead, but not dead. It is hard to know. I'd check the combination of chemicals with Sean to see if it sounds right (not my area of expertise).
Is it possible you're still being bitten but not at home (eg work, school, bus, taxi service, friend or relative's home, partner's home?) Since bites often do not show up for hours later, this really is a possibility. Remember the other people who are there may not be allergic to bites and may not know its happening.
I think its possible to have the bugs, but not see them..in the case where one is treating aggressively. I purchased a Carson Bug Magnifier..its great...I can't live without it ! It costs about twelve dollars and it really helps to view any suspect "specks". Breakfastlunchanddinner....you have to make absolutely certain that your "bed isolation" is working. If you are being bitten when you are sleeping then you have not succeeded in isolating the bed...If your blankets touch the floor at any time during the night the bugs will scurry up and bite you....This happened to me. Get bed risers...Keep in mind, The less they eat, the less they breed...
My PCO used Phanton because he claims that pyrethrins can scatter them. Maybe to other apts. if you live in a bldg. or to other rooms or under floors in single homes. He has treated about 100 large apt. buildings that had large illegal immigrant populations and they were crawling. He swears by Phantom. He is a friend of a my husband's best friend and his business is in NJ but he came here to Brooklyn for us. He charged us a reasonable amount and was thorough and knowledgable. He says Phantom does not repel them so they do not avoid it. Even so, I needed 3 treatments and it's not over yet.
Hi Bugalina, in your experience, do several treatments produce visible signs of dead bugs? In other words, should people be seeing dead bugs? Is the absence of dead bugs a sign of ineffective treatment?
I caught my bug infestation very early on...I saw only saw two live bugs..then I moved from that house...and unfortunately when I moved some bugs came with me... I moved into my mother in laws home, ( she was in a nursing home) There, I never saw a bug, or any trace of anything ..BUT I was getting bitten.. I went into immediate PCO mode and had the place exterminated twice professionally ( at the time I was the only person living in the house), my husband was in Calif. ) ... I left a few weeks after the second extermination, I had gotten about two small bites after the second extermination. My husband and I rented an apt. we brought NOTHING with us..and I mean nothing but the clothes on our backs. ..I returned several months later and exterminated the house myself...then I left it empty for 10 months. I returned two weeks ago...I don't think anything is still there. I slept there, for 5 nites, surrounded by Frost King double sided tape on a mattress that was ontop of a plastic tarp....I have to make several returns to reclaim many of our belongsings, and some furniture. I never saw a bug....but I know they were there. Sometimes a smaller infestation is more frustrating because the bugs are harder to find..It is not that difficult to reduce the poputlation, but getting them down to zero, takes time. I pray they are gone from my mother in laws home as our neice is moving in there with her two small children on June 1st...I plan on returning there again to sleep.
I am glad it looks like your saga is almost over. I know how hard you were hit. Sorry this impinges on BL&D's thread, but wanted to give you that shout out.
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