Help! Trying to get a handle on this before it gets too bad(9 posts)
I'm a poker player and spend a good 100 days out of the year in hotels. I also recently bought some furniture from someone on Craig's List. About a month ago my gf left the window to our apartment open and a week later or so we started getting new bites. These are all the possible sources of our BB infestation.
Anyway, we started to get bites and like most people at first I thought they were mosquitos because my gf left the window open. But they persisted biting for a few weeks and we haven't had the window open so I ruled that out. Then she suggested that it was because our cat had fleas. I didn't think that our cat, Paws, had fleas because he never goes outside, I never saw fleas on him, and he wasn't really biting himself. But we took Paws to the vet to get him checked out. The vet said that Paws didn't have fleas and also said that he is one of the healthiest cats she has seen in quite a while.
We were also concerned because some odd behaviors Paws was exhibiting. He would bite us. But not in a playful way nor in an aggressive way. It was almost as if he were attacking something on us. On top of that, he began pawing us in the middle of the night when he slept with us. His claws were never open, it seemed as if he was trying to get our attention about something. He had never done this before. My gf suggested that it was aggressive behavior perhaps because he was abused (we rescued him from a shelter). But when we took him to the vet, she said that he didn't seem to be aggressive, and actually was quite sweet. I thought something was off. As a kitten Paws was extremely sweet, he followed me everywhere around the house, slept with me every night (and was quiet), and even took baths with me by sitting on my chest if I took a bath, or standing on the edge of the bath if I took a shower. We were inseperable and he was gentle. It's very uncommon for a cat to get more aggressive as it becomes 1, so I thought something was off.
I then began researching the internet for other bug problems and came across this website. After just a few weeks the biting accelerated rapidly and we began getting multiple bites daily. We became desperate. At this point, I ran into this forum, and our symptoms fit perfectly! I turned over my mattress and found a huge BB colony!
I had noticed these black spots on my mattress before but thought they were imperfections in the fabric. But upon further inspection, I found flecking of both blood and feces. This was yesterday.
Based upon what I read in these forums, I know that getting a PCO is best, and I scheduled an appointment. But I also didn't want to do NOTHING while I waited. I tried to follow the advice in these forums and the FAQ. I took all of our clothes, sheets, and blankets and sealed them in garbage bags to be laundered. We sprayed the carpets with Orkin BB spray and vacuumed thoroughly. We pushed the bed into the center of the room. We sprayed around the house with spray in one hand and 91% alcohol in the other. If we saw a BB move after spraying, we sprayed it with the alcohol. We doused our entire bed with 91% alcohol to kill the colony, then vacuumed the colony, and put the contents into the apartment dumpster. We bought a mattress cover and covered the now presumably clean mattress in a mattress protector. We also slept last night sheetless (can't trust the sheets until they're thoroughly laundered). We slept with our bodies fully covered. I wore long john tops and bottoms, wool sucks tucked into the long johns, gloves, a Peruvian hat, and eye mask. Not a single inch of my skin was exposed. We finally went a night without bites.
I now realize that my cat wasn't acting up, instead he was warning us of the bedbugs, and now it all makes sense. He saw the bb's on our skin, which is why he bit. He saw them crawling on me at night, which is why he started to paw me at night, to get them off. He was distressed by them, which is why he became more vocal. Last night after we did all this he became more calm and the three of us finally slept soundly last night.
I know I need to let the professionals deal with this. I know that this was merely the first battle and I don't want the BBs to win the war. My question is, is there anything else I can do to head this off? Based upon comparison to others in the forum, we seem to have a moderate infestation, and I want to cut it off before it becomes severe. I will have the PCO over, but I want to do whatever it takes personally to assist. I also don't want to interfere with his efforts.
Lastly, I just wanted to vent. I spend a lot of time interacting with other players and it is so embarrassing to have so many bites on my body!!! On top of that, I can barely sleep knowing this hellish infestation is beneath me. Please help!!!!! And if anyone with cats is reading this, please, please, please don't ignore your pet! Please don't jump to conclusions and blame the bites on your cat having fleas. He probably doesn't have fleas if he has had his treatments and also doesn't go outside. He probably can see more than you can and he's probably trying to help! I trust Paws so much more now knowing that he was only trying to help us all along, don't ever let this problem make you turn your back on your pet!
have you encased your mattress/boxspring?
What does encase mean in this context specifically? I mean I know what it means in the general sense, but what does it mean in this sense? I bought a mattress cover for it from Target that said Bedbug protector. Is there some sort of special BB encaser?
So I thoroughly sprayed all furniture with 91% alcohol, saw a colony on the mattress, and sprayed with alchohol. Sprayed the entire house with BedBug spray I got from a department store. Everyday I have sprayed the house with the BedBug Spray, vacuumed, then left the house. Had all bedding treated. I spray the bed with 91% alchohol 1 hr prior to going to bed. The PCO came and treated the house, although I don't know what treatment was used. I live in an apartment and the complex sprays on Thursday, so all you do is put in a request, and the PCOs come. I haven't had any bites since the treatment. My question is, what should I do at this point, and what is the chance that the colony has been exterminated? I have read horror stories on this website about colonies surviving even despite treatment. But I have also asked around a few of my friends/family members and they said they've been able to treat it on their own and successfully exterminated the colony. Seems like it could go either way. I'm just hoping that they don't come back. Not willing to let my guard down. From the website it says that they don't need to feed for about two weeks and this is also how long it takes for eggs to hatch. So it seems like I should be vigilant for at least a few more weeks. What can I do at this point to ensure that they don't come back?
I noticed no-one has replied to you.
I would check the head board on your bed.
I know you said you have not had any bites for a while but unless you have already done so do only that.
I first only dealt with my mattress and didnt bother to take my bed to pieces until the bites started again.
I found only about four bugs in total but they were hiding in the wood frame of the bed where the large drawers pull out from.
I saw one just when I opened the drawer to get some clothes out and on completely removing the drawer saw one that I could only get at by standing the bed on its side.
I then found another at the opposite end of the bed frame.
But the real sickener was when I unscrewed the headboard.
Oh my days.
There were three happily hanging out there only inches from my head, with knife and forks in each hand and knapkins under their chins ready for their next feast.
I jest but that was how easy I had let it be for them.
Anyway check around the bed frame if you havent already.
You did say you had a large colony under your mattress so its very likely they are around other parts of your bed.
I hope I am wrong, but please check, just to make sure.
The treatments dont get into every corner and it pays to be certain.
Your cat is unquestionably a star.
Thanks! You're probably right because I'm sure there are a few left hiding somewhere. I still wear long sleeve shirts and full length long johns when I go to bed because I'm still worried about it. Most days I go without bites, but every week or so I get 3 to 6 bites. This tells me that at least 2 or possibly more are still alive somewhere and come out once a week to feed. I have obsessively cleaned everything with 91% alcohol so many times and vacuum everyday so they must be hiding somewhere I haven't cleaned. I've thought about breaking down my bed, but haven't done so, most out of laziness. So thanks for giving me the motivation to do it.
Yes, Paws has been very good. Cats can see more than we can, so if they are acting unusual, it's almost unquestionably due to a problem that I can't see yet. He's stopped acting unusual and is back to his normal snuggly self so I think most of the colonies are dead, but there remains some hidden outpost waiting to strike from someplace in my house....
Must find and destroy.
Check with the PCO if you can get some diatomaceous earth powder to put around your baseboards to kill anything that might emerge between now and when the PCO comes back. I mean, you can buy DE powder anywhere, but some people say that there are some PCOs that will not treat your domicile if you've used any other pesticides (however as you've already sprayed around your apt maybe your PCO doesn't care about that.)
DE powder slowly kills bedbugs by sticking to their exoskeleton when they walk through it; then over the next 4-10 days (depends on the bug) they shrivel up and die. I'm a big fan of it. Must apply with mask and a little hand bellows.
Sounds good. Can you buy diatomaceous earth at any department store? Is it toxic to cats? Obv. it's not toxic to humans, or else you wouldn't have recommended it, but is it safe for cats too?
Food-grade DE is safe and the only kind you should be buying (there is also pool-grade DE which is dangerous to your lungs.) The main issue with some kinds of DE is crystalline silica, a pretty scary substance to get in your lungs, but food-grade DE has almost no crystalline silica content.
You apply with a mask because breathing a dust cloud is bad no matter what the dust is...then you should leave the area for around 1-2 hours to let the dust settle (at least, I do.) It is safe for pets as well; some people put it ON their pets to kill fleas. Just make sure they're not in the room when you apply; you can do your apartment room by room. It's also best to apply it where it won't be disturbed.
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