Help? Found a dead bed bug and terrified!(17 posts)
After years of living in Manhattan and reading about bed bug horror stories, I've always been ont the look out for bed bugs in my living space. I'm pretty careful about checking my clothes when I come home from the movies, checking hotel rooms when I travel, etc.
All of that said, last Friday night I came home to find a single dead bed bug in the bottom of my tub. I was obviously horrified.
I picked it up in a paper towel, careful not to crush it, and immediately called my building's management - they sent up the super and the building manager, both of whom confirmed that they believed it to be a bed bug. (They're obviously not experts, but it seemed clear enough that this was a bed bug - right shape, size, color, striations on the back, etc.)
I wish I had a picture of it to post, but I don't. It's hard to say exactly which stage it was, but based on the BedBugger lifecycle image (http://bedbugger.com/photos-of-bed-bugs-and-signs-of-bed-bugs/), I'd probably say it was somewhere between a third to fifth instar nymph.
I checked all areas of my apartment for any evidence of bed bugs, as did my super. The mattress, the walls, the sofa, the central air unit, clothing, drawers, back of headboard, undersides of drawers, etc. I had traveled about 3 weeks ago (to Boston) and checked my luggage. I'm hysterical so I was quite thorough. I don't see any evidence of bed bugs - no live bugs, no feces, no blood stains, no visible eggs, etc.
At this point the building has called an exterminator to come this afternoon with a bed bug sniffing dog. They'll also show the exterminator the dead bed bug itself, which they've saved to show him.
I'll post an update once the dog comes through.
Here is what I'm hoping to get people's insight on - it seems strange, based on what I've read, to find a single, dead bed bug in the tub of all places. What could that mean? Why would it be in the bathroom and not in the living area where people are, upholstery, etc. Is it possible that I picked it up on my clothes, it ended up in the hamper, crawled into the tub and just died? If I see one, does that mean I probably have an infestation?
To compound matters, I'm moving on the 25th. After the dog comes through I suppose I'll have a clearer idea on what next steps are. I'll post an update later today. If anyone has any thoughts in the mean time, I'd be most appreciative.
There are probably lots of possible reasons. One is that they may be coming from other units via pipe chasings (which has been noted in some cases).
If you're hiring a dog, make sure to read our canine scent detection FAQ. We take the advice of experts who suggest only hiring dog handlers who perform visual inspections to confirm all dog alerts.
Thank you for the response!
Well, the dog came through today and did not signal any bed bugs. There was not any visual evidence of them either.
At this point, my building is pretty well satisfied that I don't have a bed bug problem. But I can't get the thought out of my mind - is it possible to have a SINGLE bed bug? I'm still freaked out.
I guess it's the waiting game at this point.
Would any veterans here have any thoughts on how much comfort I can take in the "clean bill of health" from the trained, certified dog? Should I consider this a fluke thing and that maybe the bed bug came through the pipes? I should also mention that my bathroom (where I found the bed bug) is adjacent to my floor's trash room. I live in a high rise apartment and the next "unit" over from the bathroom is the trash room. Could it have come through the wall from the trash room if someone through out a bed bug infested item?
Thanks to all.
Yes, it's possible.
If it was an adult male or an adult uninseminated female, you can end up with one bug that cannot reproduce. I don't generally say that since in generaal bed bugs can be really hard to find, so if people see one, that's often the tip of the iceberg so to speak, but it's possible.
You might feel slightly more confident that it was a stray if you use some passive monitors and do a monthly (maybe weekly) inspection of your bed area for the next few months until you're more convinced that it really was a straggler.
Did the building manager take the sample?
Yes - the building manager took the sample.
Apparenly the person who came with the dog yesterday was only the "handler" and so they didn't show her the sample. The exterminator himself is coming today to take a look at the sample as well as to do a visual inspection of the apartment and set some traps by the bed.
This is an in an effort to help with my peace of mind - it seems that the building manager is pretty well satisfied that a clean bill of health from the dog means I don't have any bed bugs in the apartment.
I've read on the dog FAQ about false positives, but are false negatives common as well?
It can happen. Monitors and a careful human visual inspection are a good idea.
An update one week since finding the single dead bed bug on the floor of my bath tub after work last Friday:
* A certified dog came in and did not alert anywhere inside my apartment
* Exterminator came and did a visual inspection and did not find any evidence of bed bugs.
* Exterminator also placed passive glue trap monitors in 3 locations around my bed - I have checked them daily and there is nothing in them.
* I have been doing experiments of my own - I set my alarm for 2am, woke up and did a full "night time" check of my covers, sheets, mattress, flipped to the underside and everything, headboard, etc. Found nothing, no feces, no blood, nothing.
* I have not had any bites nor have my roommate.
* I am moving next Monday to a new apartment (all planned prior to finding the bed bug last week)
Even though all indicators are looking good thus far, I'm still really anxious. I can barely sleep.
Here's my moving plan of attack:
I'm planning on washing/drying all my clothes, packing them in ziplocks for the move. I'm also not going to use cardboard moving boxes. I'm afraid of them living in the cardboard. I'll be moving exclusively in plastic containers. I'm considering buying a Pack Tite to treat my books, papers, etc. The electronics I'll wipe down with alcohol and keep a keen eye out for eggs. Wood furniture will be wiped down with alcohol and again, I'll look for eggs.
I had already planned to get a new bed and mattress, so I'll throw those out on moving day. A new mattress and frame are being delivered to my new apartment. I do plan to keep my sofa. Considering renting a steamer to treat that. Is that overkill?
Does anyone have any feedback on my plan?
Am I going crazy for nothing? Everyone I know says I'm crazy to be doing all this when I have no bites, dog didn't alert, etc.
Want to add one more detail here -
As I've mentioned, I found the dead bed bug in the bottom of my bathtub. I live in a Manhattan high rise and my bathroom is immediately adjacent to my floor's compator room that includes recyclables and the trash chute. (In other words - my bathroom shares a wall with the trash room) My bathroom also has an air vent near the ceiling above the bath tub.
My resident manager mentioned he had the bed bug dog also check the trash room - the dog didn't alert. But it made me wonder - could a lone bed bug have made his way into my bath tub through the wall from the trash room or maybe through that vent? Anyway just some extra info.
I also found dead bed bugs in my bathroom. I asked the PCO why is this possible and he told me that the bugs were looking for water vapor before they died. I don't know if he's right but it could be possible. Hope your move goes well!
You know, there are some bugs that look something like bed bugs but aren't. Since it was only identified by you and building management, I think it's worth considering that this wasn't a bed bug at all.
It is of course possible to have one bed bug walk in from the trash room.
No one can tell you if you should do everything you mention.
Keep this in mind: you could do all this but if you really had bed bugs in your sofa, you're not likely to get rid of them by steaming, since they can hide inside. I doubt they're there from what you say, but steaming may not be worth the trouble in this case.
The other steps may give you peace of mind. However, another route would be not to throw out the bed or do the other steps, but just to move and use passive monitors in the new home. If you actually have bed bugs in the new place (which could, by the way, happen even if you don't have them now), you'll need to do all that drying and prep, so why go to all the trouble and cost now, when you have no evidence of a problem?
Thanks @Nobugsonme - your advice is so sane and rational. And I realize that I must sound like a basket case. I have no business being as frenzied as I am considering the nightmares that I've read some people go through on this site.
Just the possibility of this is having such a serious psychological impact on me. I feel like they're crawling on me all the time, like there's hundreds of them on me while I'm sleeping, etc. Having a tough time sleeping but I've got to calm down.
I'll likely forego the steaming for the sofa as you mentioned. As to the mattress, I was planning on buying a new one before the possibility of BBs came up so I'll go forward with that.
I appreciate all the advice.
BTW - unfortunately the single BB specimen found in the tub was indeed identified by the building's exterminator as a BB.
Hi everyone! I found this site and this particular thread of comments by searching Google for "found a dead bed bug". My emotions are at exactly the same level of intensity as the author's - I hope you can advise me as well... Please...
My husband and I live in Central NJ, in a new townhome development. We have never had any problems with pests (well, perhaps, a few ants last summer, which we took care of quickly). Both of us are clean freaks and extremely neat. Yesterday we got a delivery of a new bedroom set and, as I was wiping the drawers of the chest drawer set prior to placing our stuff there, I found... yes, a dead BED BUG! (it was dead and dry, but nonetheless - a BED BUG!!!)
Both, my husband and I, were in shock and mortified. Having heard plenty of the bed bug epidemic in the Northeast (originally, we are not from here), we too are always on alert - just like the author of the thread describes - we are careful when traveling or even after visiting friends - all clothes get thoroughly washed, luggage inspected and always isolated in the basement. I don't know how I even spotted this monster - I guess with some sixth sense, I don't know... It is definitely dead and dry, but it COMPLETELY matches the description and pictures from the internet! It IS a bed bug!
We saved it in a ziplock bag and contacted the furniture people right away (had to leave a message for them - waiting for their response today). I spent all night wiping down the insides of the new set (bed frame, night stand and 2 chests of drawers) with alcohol, panicking and feeling completely helpless. It felt like a timebomb had just been delivered to us.
I've read plenty about bed bugs last year when they started talking about them in the news. And a couple of my friends even confessed to having bugs in the past. I am horrified!!! I too didn't sleep well last night, even though we slept in another bedroom - the room with new furniture is still absolutely empty - just the new furniture there.
What are the chances of us getting bed bugs? Can alcolhol really take care of things in case there are bed bug eggs in the creases of this furniture? What should we do next? I wiped the drawers inside and all around - bottoms of the drawers on the outside too. And, btw, there was some white stuff - like greyish-white dust spots on the bottom of the drawers - that wouldn't be bed bug eggs, would it? (I need to read up on this next!)
My husband and I are truly in a "crisis mode". I have a feeling the furniture people won't do anything for us. Moving out this furniture now is almost as scary as leaving it there (it came pre-assembled - except the bed frame - and had to go through the entire house to get to the bedroom - we paid for in-house delivery and package removal with that too)... and, omg... what if they carried the bed bug stuff with the packaging all over the house on the way out? What should we do? The new furniture is drenched in alcohol now... But what else? I know that bed bugs live long and can come back to live even after they seem dead and dry... This is hellish beyond description. Could someone please advise?
I can feel the hurt, Stormy. Since this is an old thread, I'd suggest you start a fresh thread with your story. Give it an explicit title. Describe if you got this in "new", used or close out goods. Does your seller sell both new and used furniture? Does he carry recycled mattresses? Does he share a warehouse with a flea market? Hate to scare you, but the leading story on this site's blog section is about a court case involving a family who got BB via a furniture purchase.
What I'd do right now is go to the home center, buy some extra large poly "banana" bags and plastic tape. Bag each suspect item and tape the end shut (like a bag of D'oritos), pending further action.
If you have the specimen, snap a picture of it. Open an account in Flickr or photobucket under a pseudonym. Upload and post a link on the forum. A lot of people who've posted what they thought was BB turned out to be pleasantly wrong.
If it is BB,
- document your story,
- take pictures of everything you see (including the dust specks, on "macro" or through a magnifier)
- consider working with a lawyer.
Stormy. I forgot to mention. If it is BB you may need professional help. At the very least, review our FAQ end to end. I would take conservative steps at this time, namely to vacuum floors, baseboards, cracks and crevices of as much of your home as possible. Use the hard tools, not the brushes. Seal up and dispose of the bag outside the home. If you have a bag less, wash the cup in hot soapy water. (While not an expert, I wouldn't recommend washing all your stuff, using harsh chemicals, etc.).
from the bottom of my heart -THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for your support and for every single piece of advice - so very sound and practical! I will follow each one of your suggestions! How sad it is to hear that other people are suffering from BB problem due to new furniture too! We got ours absolutely brand new, well packaged (we even paid extra for in-house delivery and packaging removal!!!) - were quite happy until this horrid discovery... Well, more on that in the new thread... I will post a picture too (although I personally have no doubt that it's a bed bug - it matches pictures of bb from the internet to the point of raising my blood pressure... so scary...) I am still somewhat hopeful that it was just some freaky occurence... plus we are catching it literally in the bud - as soon as we got the darn furniture yesterday - within hours... Still, I am not taking this lightly. Having read all the outcries from others, I am horrified...
Thank you again, dear cilecto, for responding! Your advice and support are much appreciated!
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