first time bed bug experience--want to make sure i do the right thing(3 posts)
Hi. Background: In June I moved from NYC to London and moved into a furnished flatshare. I noticed a couple of bites every few days and started to get concerned... eventually I determined I was only getting them while in bed and then finally my flatmate saw a bug run across his bed. The past week or so has been really bad... last night I got TEN raised, itchy, red bites and woke up at 4am to see one running across my bed. When I killed it my blood came out. I almost cried. Before I went to sleep last night I saw one on my dresser (cheap-o IKEA type with thin wood slats and cloth drawers). This morning an exterminator came sent by my landlord (while I was at work, haven't been home yet) and my flatmates said he sprayed our rooms. The guy said my room wasn't actually so bad, but there were tons of eggs in my flatmate's mattress which he is now throwing out. Friends have told me that a "spray" doesn't work, and that a powder must be used. But reading this site people refer to "spraying" so I'm confused. If the guy didn't use the right type of materials I want to make sure I get in someone who will.
I've read a bunch of stuff on this site but wanted to get advice about my particular situation. Due to other reasons, I want to move out of my flat. But I'm afraid of taking the bugs with me. What do I do to ensure I don't, and how long do I have to wait? When I get home I'm going to wash all of my bedding and everything in my dresser (as I saw a bug there). Should I wash all of my clothes in my wardrobe and on my clothes rack?
I bought brand new (expensive) bedding in June when I moved here so I don't want to throw anything out. I have a feather duvet, feather mattress pad, memory foam mattress pad, silk (dry clean only) blanket, 1 fancy decorative velvet pillow, 2 synthetic pillows and 1 feather pillow. If I dryclean all those, will it kill all bugs? Do I do it immediately? I'm going to bill my landlord for the drycleaning but I don't want to do it once and then have to do it again if I find the "spraying" didn't work.
I see there's a link to the anti allergy mattress covers. There's a bunch of types, is there one people recommend? I'd obviously prefer the cheapest.
and then again, how long do I need to wait before moving out? How long does it take to determine if the spraying works?
I wanted to add-- I found out the PCO used "Ficam W" to spray the bed and surrounding rug area (we have wall to wall rug). Is that a trustworthy method?
Melissa: You are a lucky woman (as far as a bed bug victim can ever be said to be lucky). There's a very knowledgeable PCO based in London who posts on this very board. He's been off for a few days, but hunt around for a post by David Cain - he usually includes his email address and welcomes PMs.
I hope your flatmate's mattress was suitably sealed up before it was taken out.
About your furniture. The general recommendation seems to be that you don't need to get rid of mattresses if you encase them. I bought relatively inexpensive ($20?) vinyl covers from National Allergy (there's a link on this site that will get you a discount, but shipping to UK could be a lot). There's a PCO in NJ named Richard Cooper who is focusing a lot on BBs and he has worked with a cover manufacturer to develop one that he says is "bite proof" as well as "escape proof," but I haven't figured out exactly what bite proof means. It looks like it has some padding on the top, so maybe it means they can't bite you through the fabric. These are more expensive - maybe $70 each. Personally, I don't see how a BB could bite you through vinyl. I do think, however, that the zippers on the vinyl ones aren't great, so you do have to be careful to tape over the zipper seam thoroughly.
I washed every washable stitch of fabric - towels, sheets, blankets, clothes - and most of that is now encased in very large Ziploc bags. If you've never seen these, do get your hands on a few boxes of them from Target of a similar store. They're not expensive and they hold a LOT of stuff. What wasn't washable (including books, lamps, phones, clocks, lanterns, etc.), I baked in the car at 130F - which may or may not have helped anything. If you dryclean all your bedding, you are quite right, there's no point in putting it back on the bed now. But you could clean it and store it in Ziplocs until the flat is cleaned up.
Sprays can work if they actually hit the bug. I am not sure how well the residual action works on BBs. It appears to me from what I've read that multiple spray treatments are required at intervals of about two weeks to get the hatchlings, which would indicate that residuals aren't very effective.
Moving might not work.
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