Help! Neighbors have bed bugs!(5 posts)
I live in three story house in Brooklyn. The land lord lives on the first floor, I live on the second and there is a third and final apartment on the third floor. Two days ago our landlady dropped by to let us know that the tenants upstairs had bedbugs (evidently they had them at their last place too).
She was really freaked out. And after reading about how hard it is to get rid of the bugs I am a little too. An exterminator is coming (I'm told). But they are only going to the upstairs apartment.
What I'm asking is "Is it invitable that the bugs will spread to our apartment?"
Is there any kind of preventative measures we can take to stop them? Should we be spraying stuff even though we haven't seen any sign of them?
Can they crawl into our apartment?
I read the FAQ but all the topics seem to be for people who already have bed bugs and I don't think we're quite there yet.
Please help! Thanks in advance!
Well, this is a toughie. Most exterminators won't treat if they don't see any bugs to treat for. This is the environmentally responsible approach and I approve of it. But some of the chemicals that they use to kill BBs repel the BBs and some enterpising bug IS going to stroll down to your place to see if there's a better-smelling place to eat supper. And then the PCO will have to treat your place anyhow.
At a minimum, ask if you can have the PCO inspect your place. He may find something you haven't found yet. He may decide to treat behind your walls with dust to discourage BB travel. You might want to have a look around your ceilings to check for cracked plaster, cracks where moldings attach to walls, gaps around light fixtures, pipes, radiators, etc. Maybe these areas could be treated and/or caulked even if your whole place isn't sprayed.
when is the exterminator coming? it might not be a bad idea to let them do a block treatment, where they spray just the periphery of your apartment as a preventative. in the meantime, before the exterminator comes, i would go caulking-crazy. get yourself a caulking gun and two different kinds of caulk. one to seal up any cracks between the baseboards and floor (or around windows etc), and the other type a high-heat caulk to seal up any gaps around radiator pipes and whatnot. it's no guarantee, but at least it would reduce the chances of a bug getting in to the place.
another thing i would do (if it was me) would be to remove the electrical outlet covers and dust diatomaceous earth in behind (only use food grade DE - search the forums for lots of information on this).
if i could do it all over again, caulking, dusting, and the preventative peripheral spray (by the exterminator) are definitely the things i would do. i wish you the best of luck, and sincerely hope it all works out okay!
linkster - I had to deal with a very similar question. When I found out the neighbor below had them, I was initially pretty sure I didn't have them (yet) because I didn't think I had bites and wasn't seeing any signs. I tried inspecting my bed and saw nothing. I called a recommended pest control company and they said, wait until you are bitten. Well, as you all know and I didn't then, that was bad advice because I never noticed any bites initially and for months after. However, the PCO did offer to come in and do a "preventive" treatment if I would do all the work that went into a "real" treatment. When I found out what that work was, I melted down and set in motion a series of events which resulted in my abandoning my home. Extreme, yes; advisable, no; and not relevant to your question. What is relevant is that I thought the bugs had not yet spread to my apt when I discovered the neighbor had them and it turned out they'd been in my place for a while. However, my neighbor was infested and yours may not be.
I posted a similar question 2 weeks ago. The title was "Neighbors have BB, what do I do?" There were some great suggestions if you want to check out the post. I'm still not sure whether any of our caulking/vacuuming/plastic bagging etc will help, but here are the precautions we've taken since hearing about the infestation one floor above us:
Re-varnished the wood floor in our bedroom.
Caulked every crack we could find (but the place is old, we find new cracks everyday)
sprinkled DE powder along the perimeter of the room.
Bought a ton of space/vacuum bags to store whatever stuff we don't use often
Washed all of our extra bedding and sealed it in bags at the laundromat
Isolated our bed and removed bedroom clutter
We've gone through and thrown out a ton of stuff that we just don't need.
Clean regularly with a high-powered vacuum
Inspected and vacuumed all painting frames, bed frame, and dressers
Put double-sided carpet tape on the posts of all furniture
Sealed our top mattress in two plastic mattress covers, duck taped the zipper seams
Sealed our box spring in just one plastic cover... though it gets holes in it from rubbing against the wooden bed frame. (I figure we can throw that out if the infestation hits our apt. I can't seem to keep it hole-free.)
Anyhow... it's been expensive. And we're considering moving though I feel like it can happen anywhere so best to just try to deal with it. Our landlord is completely unhelpful but trying to stall and pretend as though he plans to take action. He's known about bed bugs in the building since September and doesnt want to pay for them. We have no evidence of BB so far (that we can see) which means that his inspector probably won't find any and therefore won't exterminate our place
Bottom line... if the other places get the BB I'm going to try to find someone to dust the perimeter and do whatever preventative matters that can be done by the pros so the critters don't find a new home in our place (if they're not already hiding out here).
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