feedback for folks in Denver and request for feedback on experience thus far(28 posts)
not sure how Stamps is doing....Stamps appears to be at about the same stage as me in all of this.
Okay, two treatments later using Envirotech (company in the Denver area).....and I can't honestly say the treatments have made that much of a difference. (with some caveats, and would like opinions if anyone has any)
Yes, bed isolated. This has been the most frustrating part of the experience. Reading here, I got the impression that it would be possible to sleep without getting bitten during treatment if we isolated the bed. We did. Small room. Carpet tape all around the entire perimeter of the baseboard. All furniture removed from teeny little room. ONly the bed. legs on risers. mineral oil in risers. Box spring and mattress encasements. carpet tape around the base of the risers. After second treatment we caulked every crack and crevice, including inside switchplate covers and inside light switches and put DE inside before we closed them back up. Yes, we were thorough. Also put carpet tape around the encased box spring and at times, even around the fitted mattress cover.
I suppose that I would have to say there has been SOME improvement in that I have not gotten the kind of giant bite on my face that I got pre-treatment. That said, pre-treatment, we saw no blood stains on sheets, etc. Post-treatment YES!!! Post-treatment seeing MORE blood stains on mattress encasements and sheets. Post-treatment still getting bites AND 5 days out from treatment number 3, it appears that bites are picking up steam again.
VERY FRUSTRATING. I felt like we had done everything humanly possible and were still getting bitten, and yes, was beginning to attribute magical powers to the beasts.
So, the past couple of nights have been very bad for me (mentally/emotionally). As I lay in bed, I kept thinking WHERE could they be? I thought, the box spring has been treated and is encased in two layes of vinyl encasements. The mattress....not treated, and we took off our good National Allergy encasement at some point and replaced it with crappy Sears encasements (can't remember the sequence....we have encased and re-incased a few times trying to following prep-intsructions to the T).
So, I thought....maybe they are in the mattress and getting through the crappy encasement. I had some good National Allergy encasements I was waiting to use, but decided to go ahead use them yesterday. We took apart the bed again, and I realized too, that the bed frame was never caulked up properly. I started caulking it at one point and my husband told me it was a waste of time....
Anyway, last night, I examined the whole bed frame (metal) and saw the gazillions of little joints and cracks and crevices, and caulked the whole damn thing up. I'm wondering if all my other efforts have been for naught because I neglected this critical piece of the puzzle.
Let me add, we have never seen any sign of bugs in this room either, to make us feel even more insane. Not in the switchplates, not in the bed frame, not in the box spring....After first treatment, PCO claims he saw some scurrying into the wall after he "flushed". And I've got bites and blood stains to prove I'm not crazy.
Caulked the bed frame, put the box springs in 2 new national allergy vinyl encasements, making 3 layers now, put the two twin mattresses in the one king national allergy encasement, and started again.
I think I slept better last night, so maybe it helped.
i'm sorry that i don't have advice for you. i'm just at the beginning stages of my battle and to date, we have had no treatments and instead a furious and ongoing and ultimately useless debate with the rental company. my goal for this week is to get a first treatment and warn my neighbors.
i did want to send you a quick note. this experience can be soooooo emotionally distressing and it is very difficult for others to understand the anguish these little buggers can incite. i'm sending you warm, good luck wishes from my part of the country to yours.
Hey buggedoutinbalti, are you in Baltimore?
itchyincharmcity, i am indeed in baltimore. i sent you a private message yesterday, but perhaps it did not go through correctly. i am new to this forum, and new to this nightmare. please feel free to contact me. i'd be happy to compare notes and help each other through this madness!
bummed, a few questions:
do you sit in a chair: a computer chair, kitchen chair, sofa?
If you isolate your bed, bed bugs will still bite you. They can and do bite when you are awake and sitting in chairs.
It is possible they are in the bedframe, but don't discount the fact that they will bite in chairs or even when you're standing up (if they're very desperate!)
Are your pillows encased?
Are you taking precautions to avoid getting bed bugs in the car or taking them to work?
The other thing I can say is they WILL keep biting until they are all 100% gone. But bites increasing, as you imply, is not good.
Are you in a multi-unit (ie can they keep coming from elsewhere?)
Are you being retreated every few weeks? (I understand 3 weeks, not two, is standard for some companies in Denver, but you still need to keep treating.)
I mention these questions not to make you panic--but just so you consider all the possibilities.
Make sure the vinyl covers have not ripped. I found this to be a problem.
And, Thanks, Nobugsonme.
You are very nearly a saint, Nobugsonme, answering all these questions yourself, maintaining this site, and presumably having a life otherwise...
Yes, pillows are encased. Yes, taking precautions to avoid getting bed bugs in the car (showering and putting on clean, bagged clothes before going out). But who knows if there are bugs from before we knew we had them. And I don't "go to work" as in go to an office all day. I mostly work at home.
No multi-units. We are a single family home.
Yes, I sit in a chair at my computer a lot. It is a wood kitchen chair type of thing, and I caulked up the joints in it and put vaseline on the legs. I always sit crosslegged so my feet don't touch the floor.
Yep, being re-treated. That's why I'm wondering if this company just isn't doing a good job. Bites aren't increasing so much as not decreasing AND seeing blood spots when we weren't before is very disconcerting. The company policy is one initial treatment with two follow-ups, each spaced by two weeks. We have had two treatments and are heading toward number 3. With the apparent lack of success after the first two treatments, I'm sort of wondering why we are exposing ourselves to these chemicals.
Trying to figure out if we have a crappy company, super pesticide resistant bugs or what. We've done the prep extremely well.
It's very frustrating. Obviously. For everyone. Guess this isn't news on this forum.
but when I read other people saying: "I haven't had a bite since my last treatment", I feel like something is very wrong. Especially since we aren't dealing with an infestation of lots of bugs running around. We've yet to seen a single bug. I had two different companies come inspect (to get a second opinion), both agreed it must be a very light infestation, and yet, and yet.....
We do still have bins of books with carpet tape sitting around that have been sitting since before the first treatment. I need to deal with them. And our basement is a nightmare of nooks and crannies. Not sure what to do about that.
So, can I ask, if we isolate the bed, and bed bugs will still bite us, was there any point to isolating the bed?
Thanks again for all you do and for having this incredibly informative site.
I am sorry you are having this trouble.
If the bed is properly isolated (ie they are not in the frame, no holes in encasement, etc.) then it keeps you from being bitten in bed. It doesn't keep you from being bitten in the home, but for some folks, being able to sleep through the night or just not think about being bitten while they lie there, helps them a lot.
Is this wooden caulked chair the only one you sit in?
I believe a lot of PCOs misjudge the size of an infestation. Some people seem to see few or no bugs, but have a good population. I _think_ more nooks and crannies could be related.
Is your whole home being treated? Every room including the basement?
If you just had the second treatment, I would give it a bit more time before assuming it was not working. Even if your PCO was not perfect, bites should be decreasing if they were spraying the typical concoctions. I can't imagine it not having any effect.
Remember that people react to bb bites after different periods of time. I suspect most people react within 24 hours or so, but we've heard it can take up to 9 days (if I remember rightly). If this is you, you may be reacting to bites suffered not long after the first treatment (depending on your schedule).
But it should be getting better at least gradually. If you haven't yet done so, take the receipt or docket from the PCO's visits and look into the chemicals. They generally leave a list and if not, you can ask them. thebedbugresource.com would be the ones to say whether it was a good concoction.
But it may just need more time and treatments. If you're seeing a significant improvement after treatment 3, then I would talk to them and get them to keep going. Or at least someone else. If not, I would call and talk to a supervisor. Some have had luck in doing so. They may not normally need more than three treatments, but it does happen. The company needs to understand you are not seeing any improvement (or, hopefully by then, are seeing some but not an abatement).
Has anyone looked into whether there may be a problem with bats, rats, or mice, which could be a source of "bed bugs"? (Bat bugs and bird bugs are nearly the same, and even look nearly the same to untrained eyes.) Did you ever see an actual bed bug, or is there any way this could be bird mites, rodent mites, or some other species or problem? (I apologize if I am backtracking a lot but I can't remember your earlier story; mites need entirely different treatment from what I understand, and if there really has been no improvement, it is a possibility assuming no bed bugs were seen.)
And in Denver, there's the possibility of Swallow Bugs, which are also very closely related to BB's. Are there any swallow nests on your house?
Thanks you guys.
Ah.....yes...I thought you meant that we will still get bitten in bed even with isolation--not that we can still get bites in general. I definitely think I've gotten bites outside of bed (and in bed).
No swallow nests on my house. We have had pigeon nests, but we finally got rid of them with spikes and some screening. Bats...well, I've seen them flying around the neighborhood but never coming/going from my house. And never saw them in the attic.
Now, about the mites....Right after the second treatment, we noticed a bunch of mites swarming around our back door. I squished a few, and blood came out. My husband got really suspicious immediately (as in, are THEY biting us?).
I've seen these little red mites every spring around my kitchen window, and they've never been a problem as far as I've known. It was just strange that they were on the back door, where I've never seen them before, right after treatment number two.
Well, according to the PCO, bed bug cast skeletons were in the futon that we got rid of.
My impression, too, is that it would be very easy for a PCO to misjudge a size of an infestation. They are treating upstairs and basement, but not every single room.
Okay, thanks for the insight and suggestions and for your time. I really appreciate it.
Bummed, when I was researching swallow bugs, I saw an article stating that pigeons can also be host to BB type bugs...when did you get rid of the nests?? Your story about the swarming mites was graphic. I'd never heard about squishing blood out of them & was surprised because they're so so tiny... I'm new here, with bites but no BB's found, but I think the consensus among the experienced bb bloggers is to get the entire house treated. Please continue to keep us posted on your situation.
Hi Bummed --
I'm at about the same stage as you. Here's what I've noticed: I am getting blood on my mattress encasement as well, despite the extreme bed-isolation. But I haven't noticed ANY new itchy bites which is making me wonder if it's from me itching my scrapes at night (I get pretty beat up at my job some days and I do tend to itch a LOT as scabs heal -- didn't even think about NOT scratching those until I started to notice blood!). I'm sort of at a loss, is it bites or is it from scratching my cuts?
All of my previous bites itched like CRAZY -- and had a huge welt -- but I haven't noticed any of those. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic and tell myself to lay off scratching in bed at night (haha, gross).
Things are sort of normalized in a weird way for me. Yes, I still live out of bags and have my bed isolated and all that stuff. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go back to "normal" after treatments . . . I'm just so worried that, having been in a multi-unit building, they'll just keep coming back and coming back. So I'm not okay with unpacking my bedding or clothes, really, probably not until I move, whenever that happens.
I think my neighbors down the street also have bed bugs. I have to drive up the alley to get to my parking spot and noticed a few houses down that they were throwing out a box spring and couch. Nothing tagged or bagged, though, which irked me.
Anyway bummed, Orkin's stuff has seemed to work fairly well for my situation thus far (knock on wood), still have a couple more treatments so it's way to soon to say, though.
Yes, Stamps - good point re blood spots. I don't think I've been bit in a week, but last night I found a new blood spot on my pj's - but it was opposite an old bite. I'd apparently scratched the scab off of it in my sleep. My old bites have continued to itch for more than a month...
Hi pleasehelp. Yes, I'd read about the pigeon-bug connection. But I don't think that is our problem. We did a lot, a ton, of traveling this year. And last year. So, it would sure be a coincidence. But, on the other hand, I don't know anything for sure. I don't think we've had a pigeon nest for at least 2 years.
I would LOVE to have a sample to give to an entomologist for verification, but I don't have a single specimen. So, yes, that is frutsrating.
Stamps, I just wish I could say that I haven't gotten any new itchy bites.
You wanna know what really really irks me? Irks isn't nearly a strong enough word....here in Denver, you know, we have dumpsters in the back alleys which all the residents backing to the alley can use. I have carefully ziplocked and then placed items in ziplocs in contractor bags to dispose of stuff. Then I realized that the dumpster divers were opening EVERY single bag and dumping stuff that they didn't want right in the dumpster. This enraged me. I am doing what I can to get rid of these stupid bugs, and the idiots are rummaging through, taking and dumping it, SPREADING the bugs. I even started writing "bed bugs" on the ziplocs and leaving notes telling the idiots not to take the stuff or to open the bags. It didn't help. I already paid a guy $400 to take two trailer loads of stuff away, most of the big stuff, and I can't even carefully throw stuff away in my own dumpster because of the idiots who will probably sell the stuff.
I wish you continued luck. Keep us posted too. I want to hear how things go with Orkin in case I decide I am not happy with Envirotech.
You know, sometimes I can have a lot of perspective and deal pretty well, but other times not so much. I imagine most eveyone here feels the same to some degree. I mean, I consider life in Iraq, or life for most any refugee dealing with loss of home, constant violence, loss of family members, loss of country, cold, starvation, BUGS, AND lack of sanitation......and suddenly the bug problem seems fairly minor.
But then, here in the U.S., it is not socially acceptable to walk around with red bug bite welts on your face. and it IS terribly mentally difficult to have to go to sleep knowing what will happen. And the social isolation...both self-imposed and imposed upon us--it is real. So, this IS a big deal. The social aspect of it, having toxic chemicals sprayed in our homes. Man, it sucks.
Agreed. Bed bugs do not spread disease so it not considered a serious treat. But to people grew up never knowing about this pest, the emotional trauma it takes is quite large. Moreover, it's hard to understand how one little bug can be so bad until you've actually had to deal with it.
I agree!!!! It is a big deal--I am being held hostage by a tiny bug that you can hardly see. Living out of plastic bags, unable to enjoy a TV show because they are waiting in the recliner. My small pension savings are dwindling rapidly, bought a new box spring, now I think maybe the sofa has to go. I am an "older" lady, and have started swearing a lot. It more than sucks!
The dumpster-diving is seriously annoying. People are idiots.
I know you don't want to hear this, but I think treating every room is important. You might talk to the PCO about this. If you need to continue past treatment three, I'd definitely go to that.
hey bummed, i'm sorry you're ordeal is continuing...
may i inquire of your basement?...is it a finished basement with sheetrock, paint and carpet or unfinished?...
my basement is consists of crumbling cement and clutter (now in lesser amounts)...my washer/dryer is down there, and i'm curious if anyone has had their basements treated too if they're unfinished, and how/what was done?...
conceivably, i could have carried a nymph down there on my clothes at some point, but just don't know...hopefully it would have come back upstairs...
unfortunately, truly, truly unfortunately, the basement is where we are getting bites. The basement is where we have been sleeping for over a year. It is a "finished" basement (poorly done long before we bought the place) with sheetrock and paint and carpet. But it also has lots and lots and lots of cracks, and holes, etc, because it was truly a crappy finishing job.
We have a living room, laundry room, storage closets, and a guest bedroom down there. We started sleeping in the guest bedroom nearly a year ago due to remodel work upstairs. We slept down there, then traveled extensively this year, and our "regular" room was not quite ready, so we never moved back up to the upstairs bedroom before this problem started. The PCO found bb evidence in the sofa upstairs, and possibly in the couch in the basement living room, and we have been getting bites in the guest bedroom in the basement. Obviously the bugs were/are upstairs too. So, the problem is very widespread, despite being called a "light" infestation.
We've yet to actually see a bug (the criterion used by the PCOs to determine extent of infestation, it seems), but I am confident that this problem won't be going away any time soon due to the (apparently) widespread nature of the problem.
bummedindenver, your first post for this thread sounds exactly how i am feeling right now. i too have isolated my bed and am still getting bit - my first treatment was a week ago. the only place in this apartment, besides my bed, where i have been able to sit is at my kitchen table. i sit on a high metal/plastic bar stool. so either i'm being bit in an isolated bed, or i'm being bit sitting on a metal/plastic chair when my feet are on a rung off the ground...
to complicate this, some of my bites seem to be occuring during times when i know i can't be being bit (such as when i'm out of the house for several hours, or in one case out of the house for two days, with ALL clothing precautions having been taken methodically) which means my bites could potentially not be showing up until hours or even days after i get them. i understand your frustration. some days i am so tired i just want to give up.
can i ask, what kind of caulk did you use for your bedframe? i have a metal bedframe and the only thing i can figure is that perhaps they are hiding out in there. i've already thrown out my couch/coffee table, and i don't want to have to throw out the bed/bedframe too, if i can help it. i'm so so tired and discouraged right now.
Bummed - I have the same problem as you. I've had three treatments and my bites have never really stopped after any treatment. (Though, when I sprinkled DE/pyrethrin all over our carpets before our third, the bites did stop for 2-3 days...then started right back up again. I just think they sensed the natural pyrethrin and hid for a few days till it wore off). I've done all the steps you have done in isolating the bed (except for caulking), but we still get bit every night. We've treated the whole house with our PCO and he came today for the fourth time to try something else on our bugs. We keep our fingers crossed. We are renting our townhome, but it is only a little over a year old. No problems with birds or bats, etc. I saw two small bed bugs in my car at the beginning, but we haven't seen even one bug in our home yet. Just the inky fecal spots on the sheets and mattress (And pjs). It's been frustrating and I totally understand what you are going through. And I wonder, if these signs don't point to bed bugs, what does it point to? Perhaps we have related bed bugs? Or similar "other bugs"? (Since I'm just a state away from you). Hopefully we find success soon!
Everyone keeps talking about spraying the floors and putting down DE but in my apartment, I have to look up!!! Mine are on the ceiling!! In fact, last night(Wednesday) I took 12 pix of that many bb's and now I have proof that we still have them!! We have a textured ceiling and they love the hiding spots there. Needless to say, the kids missed the bus today cuz mommy was unable to sleep last night! The PCO that treated our house told me that for gravity reasons they souldn't spray the ceiling and I thought they had been all along. This sucks!!!!
Hey, to follow up on another treatment in Denver . . . I had Orkin come out and treat, they did the whole steam/spray/dust thing. It worked, for a while. They even did a mini thermal treatment. They were supposed to follow up two weeks after the first treatment with more residuals but it never happened, despite my many calls to my building manager and Orkin.
Well, the bugs have come roaring back. I'm sure the couch is the problem -- as far as I know, they just steamed the couch. My manager claims that the thermal they did should have killed the bugs, to which I argue that the couch is thick enough that I don't think they could have guaranteed that the core got to 120 degrees. So the couch is going this weekend, as soon as my boyfriend gets back in town (he will be cutting apart, I will be frantically vacuuming and plastic-wrapping).
I have now been blamed by the manager for re-introducing bugs into the apartment. That is bullshit. I have been the most vigilant person ever, I immediately bag my coat/shoes/purse/clothes when I re-enter my apartment and shower, change into new clothes.
So I am moving. I will not live in an apartment where I'm not believed and I receive improper treatment. I'm a freakin' teacher and live alone -- I'm having to take on after-school duties next semester so I can afford to move. I'm going for a larger building -- which is scary -- but one with balconies, so I can at least freeze smaller items this winter (mostly books and artwork).
I don't know whether to blame Orkin or my management (but I'm leaning towards both at this point). Just completely disheartened that I can't afford to live somewhere where I feel safe. Safe shelter is a basic need, one of THE most basic needs (if you believe Maslow and his hierarchy) and I can't even afford that. I think that's why lots of us are in super-stress mode: we can't function on any sort of higher level if one of our most basic needs is not being met. Just my $.02/social commentary.
Anyway, I have to go supervise some assembly so my planning period is over -- please wish me luck in getting one of the apartments I'm looking at.
Good luck and be very careful when you move!!
Stamps, I am so, so sorry. I know that hardly helps. I know also that at this point you are done with this place, but here is the name of someone at Denver Environmental Health who at one point offered me "help". Nobugsonme doesn't like us to post e-mail addresses here, so I won't post his, but if you'd like it, PM me. His exact words to me were:
"Again, I want to assure you that we will do everything possible to assist you and to address the problem within Denver."
Bob McDonald, Supervisor
Department of Environmental Health
Contacting him, at any rate, couldn't hurt. If nothing else, it gives them more information regarding the extent of the problem in Denver and could encourage his office to be more proactive.
Good luck....and I really do encourage you to share this post with these people at the health department. What you express here sums it up. And be sure and post the address of your apartment on the Bed Bug Registry when you move.
If landlords FINALLY figure out they are going to end up on the equivalent of a bed bug blacklist if they don't take care of their tenants, maybe that will encourage them to treat people properly (and treat their units properly).
Take care, stamps.
lil-bit asked: what kind of caulk did you use for your bedframe?
I used run of the mill DAP Alex plus super stinky caulk that you can get at any Home Depot. Make sure you have windows open when you use it. The stuff is pretty noxious.
currentinsomniac asked: if these signs don't point to bed bugs, what does it point to? That is my exact question. We replaced our bed (so I no longer have the caulked up bed frame), and put on a fresh mattress encasement (we went to a platform bed with no box spring), and ALL white sheets and blanket. The other day I found what I'm guessing was a fecal spot. It looked like blood, but it apparently washed out. It was on the top of the top sheet near my husband's feet. It wasn't on the inside facing us. So fecal spot is the only thing I can think of. The blood spots I had at the top of the old sheets (before I replaced the bed), on the inside near me, did NOT wash out, so I suspected that was my blood from when I was getting bit.
So, without knowing for sure, it seems MY blood stained the sheets (presumably my blood because it was on the side of the sheet facing me in the same spots where I was getting bit--along my jawliine/chin/neck area), and didn't wash out, but what looked like another blood spot on TOP of the sheets did wash out. That location was not at all consistent with coming from my husband or me because it was on top of the sheet.
I have used one of those bleach pens to get out some of the stubborn fecal stains that stay on our sheets after washing. As for our blanket, which is colored, it just stays stained. We've washed it so much it will be hashed to pieces before we're done anyway.
So, last week I found this white cotton glove in my nightstand that I missed washing the first go around. (I have a few pairs that I will wear to bed with vaseline/hand cream to keep my hands from not cracking to pieces in the dry, cold weather of the Rockies). So, I put it in my hamper to await it's turn in the washer. After a go around in the cauldron of doom, I notice this rather large brownish-red spot along the seam of the glove that wasn't there before (in a place I would never get blood on). After the dryer, it is black like all the other fecal spots I have found. I'm thinking I may have actually got one! Die! Die! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
where are you? Were you the person in Utah?
Yeah, I'm in Utah (a bit south of Salt Lake)
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