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How I brought bedbugs to France from Austin, TX

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  1. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Sep 27 2015 5:35:01
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    I've been reading this forum from when my bedbug nightmare started in July and just wanted to share my story with you all.
    After my divorce, I decided it would do me some good to take a 10 day trip to Austin (as it's my favourite place in the US) in July. I subletted a room on craigslist (had done it in the past and my experience had been awesome...not this time though...) in a pretty nice building, everything brand new, looked clean and all. On the first morning I woke up with one bite, I didn't worry a bit, I thought it was a mosquito, this went on for 5 days (each morning one bite), I bought mosquito repellent, still bites...At the end of the week, I woke up with 3 bites in a row (typical pattern for bedbugs but i didn't have any clue about bedbugs back then, lucky me...) on my butt (sorry!) so i started to worry and understood it couldn't be mosquitoes as I didn't sleep naked obviously. Next day, the word bedbug (as I had heard about the big bedbug problem in NYC in 2010) started ringing in my mind, I googled it and then totally freaked out! I changed my flight ticket in the morning, arrived in France in the early evening of the same day, i couldn't stay in that place and didn't feel like exploring the city anymore.
    When I got off the plane, I went straight to the laundromat (not wanting to enter my apartment and contaminate it), washed everything in the hottest temperatures, I freaked out so much that i threw away my suitcase and even my camera (and several days later ended up throwing even my tablet as i was so scared they would be in it - cause it often was on my bed during the vacation).
    I took what I thought were extreme precautions before even entering my apartment and still...
    10 days later (as it corresponds for an egg to hatch) a bite appeared on my arm...I knew they were there. I've been thinking about it over and over for 2 months and the only mistake i could have made is that the cycle of the laundromat was too short to kill all the eggs (only 35 minutes).
    Immediately i called the company with the specialized dog and it detected indeed a presence in my clothes cupboard. I had the PCO come 2 days after and spray my whole bedroom. So far I had 4 treatments cause i was still getting bites after the 2nd and even 3rd treatment.
    This is crazy, especially as i took care of the problem right away (cause I couldn't stop thinking about it and was in the lookout for any bites or marks on my body). I had the woman with the dog come back for the 3rd time(for free cause this story is costing me a leg and an arm as in France the renter has to pay for everything, i spent more than 1000 euros in treatments and dog searching + everything i threw away, it represents thousands of dollars/euros, most expensive vacation ever!) this week and the dog didn't quite find any trace of bedbugs but still, I've still had bites so I've been sleeping at someone else's apartment for a week as i can't stand sleeping in my room without sleeping pills as I'm so terrified of these monsters. They are literrally the devil. And I have a son that I'm doing everything to protect, i don't want him in this apartment anymore until I'm 100 percent sure there are no longer any bedbugs. I know now i have to come back and find the courage to sleep in my room to see if some are still hiding or not, I am so scared (cause deeep down i think a few are still there, as i still had bites after the 4th treatment)...I have to go and do it tonight...
    Just please, take no offense but please stop trying to manage this problem by yourself cause you're making these monsters more resistant. And it only makes it a bigger problem for all of us. I know it's expensive (I'm only a teacher, i don't earn a lot of money, but i know this was too big a problem for me to fix it by myself). The PCO told me it's the first time they have to spray 4 times (and i don't have a lot of them, took the problem at the earliest stages, I don't see them, i just saw one stage apple seed dead, that's it) cause the problem is not that common in France but these American bedbugs are resistant to insecticides, this is the worst and scariest part.
    I wish luck to everyone having to deal with this problem, I still love the US but I think I will be too scared (and broke!) to ever travel there (or anywhere else) again (and my passsion was traveling to the US, how ironic!), even if, unfortunately, I could have gotten them from anywhere (from the bus home or the movie theater next door...), without traveling that far, this is terrifying, this fear will never leave me I know that for sure. Good luck to evryone.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Sep 27 2015 12:59:46
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    I hope the problem is gone soon!

    The fear will get better in time and hopefully you won't stop visiting the US. As you said, you can get them close to home also-- France has plenty of its own bed bugs, as does every other country.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 5:52:43
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    Thanks nobugsonme for your support. I cross my fingers that the problem will be fixed...
    I've been losing hope lately and resenting myself for not simply leaving my suitcase in that infested room in Austin and not leaving with only some clothes on, my credit card and passport...This would have spared me so much trouble, so much money and so much anxiety for me and my son...
    This horrible story will have taught me that material things don't matter (I had to throw away so many things that I was emotionally attached to).
    If I had had the courage to leave my beautiful dresses and shoes behind me in my suitcase in Austin, I wouldn't have never had to go through that ordeal...Now I should know better. my life's a wreck, no more money, I live with 3 pieces of clothing at somebody else's very modest place and now I just know I'll be happy with nothing, just making my son happy and being able to live without bedbugs will make me happy.

    As some wrote, the key factor to the expansion of bedbugs is human behaviour: how come some bad people let other people stay in places where they know there are bedbugs??? This, I will never be able to comprehend.
    All of this would never happen if people felt empathy toward others. I think people who are being well aware they have bedbugs and spread them should be legally punished, and there would at last be an end to this plague.

  4. JM

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 6:45:35
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    I replied to you on my post, but I wanted to say here too that I hope things improve for you very soon! I'm sorry that your vacation ended up being a disaster. I agree with nobugsonme, I'm sure you will travel again and have fun doing so, even though it doesn't seem at all possible right now. It is frustrating to feel like you're devoting a lot of time, energy, and money to a problem and only putting a dent in it, instead of resolving it completely.

    I would like to use a new PCO for our next treatment(s) - if you know of one, could you please PM me his contact info? It's very difficult to find ones here in France who take the problem seriously, or maybe I've just had bad luck ...

  5. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 14:44:26
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    Hi JM I just answered you via PM. The bedbug problem is far from being as bad in France as it is in the US and Canada , therefore most PCOs are not really knowledgeable about it (people around me have never heard nor much less experienced bedbugs) I agree.
    When it happened I even called my town council to know what I should do about it not to spread it to the building and to protect my neighbours,etc they had absolutely no clue of what I was talking about and didn't care at all! I had to educate myself about bedbugs on my own (via the internet) and thanks to the woman with the specialized dog. Luckily she was here to provide some very good advice and help me not lose my sanity.
    Take a look at what I wrote in private and let me know if you have other questions.
    I wish you luck...

  6. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 15:00:04
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    When the dog alerted were they able to show you a live bed bug? It sounds like there's no evidence at all that your issue is bed bugs.

    Killer of bed bugs for Homeless Empowerment Program
  7. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 15:59:15
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    The last thing I need is someone basically telling me I'm being crazy/paranoid.
    The woman from the dog company is a PROFESIONAL, so is the PCO (who saw dead bedbugs after the 2nd treatment). And I saw 2 live bedbugs in the highly infested room in Austin.
    I would love to be able to be in denial, but unfortunately, there are bedbugs in my room...

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Sep 28 2015 16:00:24
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    JM and tripturned,
    I hope your problems are gone soon.
    I mentioned this in another thread, but just in case you do not see it, I hope that if you find resources that worked for you in France, you will post about them in a thread. This way others who come here after you will be able to benefit.
    Thanks!

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Sep 29 2015 8:58:58
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    tripturnedintoanightmare - 16 hours ago  » 
    The last thing I need is someone basically telling me I'm being crazy/paranoid.
    The woman from the dog company is a PROFESIONAL, so is the PCO (who saw dead bedbugs after the 2nd treatment). And I saw 2 live bedbugs in the highly infested room in Austin.
    I would love to be able to be in denial, but unfortunately, there are bedbugs in my room...

    My concern is only that you're not being taken advantage of. Dogs inspections without the handler providing live samples is questionable at best. I've worked beside bed bug dogs on several infestations.
    You made no mention of actual bed bugs in your original post, skin irritations cannot be used for an accurate diagnosis as there are many causes and sometimes delayed reactions.

  10. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Sep 29 2015 12:29:15
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    BigDummy, sorry, thank you for your posts and your concern. I understand what you mean: true, the dog handler didn't show me live samples (and honestly I didn't want her to, cause i would have freaked out even more) but what you need to know is that I took the problem at the earliest stage possible (considering my story) so i know that I only have a very few of them (but still some of them still don't die) so there's no visible harbourage. The dog can detect eggs and dead bedbugs up to 10 days.
    I reda an article that said that human detection is 30% reliable whereas dog detection is like 90% reliable (and when I just think of the dogs for drugs, or trained to find people trapped under rocks during earthquakes, under the snow,etc I just feel they are our best assets cause they are so clever). I think this especially appplies to my situation: when the BBs have not reproduced a lot (yet) and have not spread (yet), of course when the infestation is important I think any PCO or dog handler can easily show you live samples.

    The first time she came was right after my first bite so there must have been just a few BBs, the dog alerted in my clothes cupboard, there was no way I would have liked her to unfold all my clothes and search for THE bedbug. She told me considering the reactions of the dogs here are just a few-but still, they are here!(cause the second time she came with 2 of her dogs, after the second chemical treatment, having them search the apartment one after the another, each of them sat exactly at the same spots: the BBs had migrated from the cupboard to my bed...despite the insecticide! and this made sense as the bites had become more numerous and frequent). This is when i decided to get rid of my bed.

    Plus, her company has been recommended to me by one of the managers of the hospital of my town (whom i contacted to get names of professionnals because i had read an article on the internet about the hospital being infestd by bedbugs because of a patient). The hospital manager told me that the chemical treatments had not worked but then they contacted the bedbug dog woman company and thanks to the dogs pointing at the exact spots where the BBs were hiding, they eventually managed to eradicate the BBs.
    And she is very professional, I trust her 100%. She really wants to help.

  11. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Sep 29 2015 14:03:17
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    Nobugsonme - 22 hours ago  » 
    JM and tripturned,
    I hope your problems are gone soon.
    I mentioned this in another thread, but just in case you do not see it, I hope that if you find resources that worked for you in France, you will post about them in a thread. This way others who come here after you will be able to benefit.
    Thanks!

    Ok, sorry I hadn't seen what you wrote under the other post. Of course I will do what you suggest. Thanks for your forum!

  12. Menton

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Sep 30 2015 22:23:36
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    For the record, I got my bedbugs in France and brought them back to the USA!

  13. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Oct 1 2015 4:01:33
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    Menton,
    Yes-- they are everywhere.

  14. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Oct 1 2015 15:49:23
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    Menton - 17 hours ago  » 
    For the record, I got my bedbugs in France and brought them back to the USA!

    I read your old post, yes, sounds like our stories are quite similar...

  15. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Oct 15 2015 15:19:36
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    Update

    I still got bites several days after the 4th treatment. After that, I got occasionnally one little red spot (2 on my feet, one on my arm and one on my back) that didn't look like anything I had experienced before. But still, I suspected they could be bites and some kind of new reactions to the bites.

    I was freaking out like crazy. I was ready to call my landlord and stop my lease, to move and leave EVERYTHING behind me, throw everything away (so as to make sure not to bring this pest with me). I was slowly and terrifyingly getting used to the idea of having to live in another apartment with absolutely nothing (cause of course I don't have the money to buy new furniture or anything else right now).

    But last Tuesday, I had a call from the woman from the bedbug dog team (since the month of July when my nighmare began, she has been the one giving me all the information about what to do, what not do, informing me about bedbugs behaviours, responding to my calls and texts,etc). She was driving through my town, returning from one of her detections, and offering me to check my apartment (for the 4th time!) for free with 3 of her dogs after my work .

    One after the other, the dogs checked my apartment and my car and didn't alert.
    She told me she's 100% sure (given the reactions of her 3 dogs) that there's no bedbug left.
    She's a honest person (she has experienced the BB nightmare herself with her 2 little kids 6 years ago), that's why she became the 1st bedbug dog team in France and in Europe to help people(her 8 dogs are trained in the US, in Florida, I can't remember the name of the American man in Florida but he's a pioneer in the US for bedbug dogs).

    So, the thing is, I should be relieved and I want to believe her but I'm traumatized (and on this forum, it has been written many times that dogs couldn't be 100% accurate). I haven't been able to bring myself to go back to my apartment but I definitely have to (I've been sleeping at somebody else's place for a month now and coming back to act as the bait in my apartment every 3 days to monitor the evolution of the infestation..).
    Even if there is no bedbug left, I feel like I'll never be able to have a normal life again (even if I'm considering myself lucky if I really managed to beat them this time...until when? Lucky also to have been able to sleep elsewhere after 2 months of struggle cause I was going crazy with the sleeping pills).

    I'll go sleep in my apartment this weekend. I'll keep you posted about the evolution of my "case". Good luck to all of you, this is such a hard thing to oversome. I've been through a lot in my life and remained strong (crazy parents, survived a bus accident, a divorce, loss of my house,etc) but this BB story almost killed me (literally). I hope this is the end of it for me (even if I'm not 100% sure) and for all of you, I hope you stay strong.

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Oct 16 2015 16:33:02
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    Tripturned,

    I hope your problems with bed bugs are over. Please do keep us posted and then I can convert
    this thread into a "success story".

  17. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Oct 17 2015 9:46:17
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    "I brought bedbugs to France from Austin, TX" good for you I have a list of other countries you can infest, although I'm sure they already are and with more then just bed bugs ......................................

  18. tripturnedintoanightmare

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Oct 17 2015 16:18:47
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    Nobugsonme - 23 hours ago  » 
    Tripturned,
    I hope your problems with bed bugs are over. Please do keep us posted and then I can convert
    this thread into a "success story".

    Hi Nobugsonme, thanks but don't convert this tread into a success story (unfortunately)!!!

    Yesterday evening I came back to my apartment (believing my nightmare was over), I even stopped changing my clothes when I got out or into my infested bedroom (yes, this is what I have been doing since the beginning of August when my infestation was confirmed, even at night, I would take my clothes off and go to the bathroom naked if I needed to, in order to prevent them from spreading/transfering in another room). Yesterday evening, I put on some music, trying to feel happy again in this apartment (it wa shard though, couldn't bring myself to sit on the sofa, even if it's not supposed to be infested), then went to bed (well, on my air mattress on the floor in my bare room in the middle of the chemicals, how exciting).

    This morning I woke up, inspected my body (though I know I can also have delayed reactions), was happy and confident not to find any bite. I felt like going running in my favourite park (looking at the sky, smiling, confident, happy to be able to enjoy the nature that surrounds me, the birds, etc, thinking that maybe, I could have my life back).

    But no! Around noon, after showering, I felt something itchy on my leg and looked in horror: hare it was: a big bite, same shape , same feeling, unfortunately this time I'm 100% sure it's a bite!

    No need to say I feel totally desperate, I just don't understand.
    I hadn't slept in my apartment for a whole week and received just one -still big-bite, the BBs must be very few (maybe just one, God, if this could be a lone male BB, that would be great!).
    I'm starting to think about crazy things; could my BBs have migrated to my neighbours-while I was sleeping at my friend's house- (that would explain why the dogs didn't smell it/them) and some came back yesterday to bite me? This is crazy and unlikely (they would have migrated if I had stayed away for several months, not for 6 nights, they were fed, and not that hungry), it doesn't make any sense anyway.

    First thing on Monday, I'll call another exterminator (and throw my money out the window) to do another round of sprays...If this doesn't work, then I'll definitely have to leave everything behind and this story will kill me. I'm tired of all of it, tired of wrapping everything, everyday in plastic bags, my mind never being able to rest for a second. It's been going on since the end of July, I will end up making mistakes (cause I'm so tired of all of it) and I'm scared of making mistakes and contaminating my son's bedroom, car, my ex-husband's apartment (cause we have shared custody of our son) or my work place. This is just unbearable and it never ends. I did everything I could, I keep taking extreme precautions but it never ends, I don't understand.

    I'll update my story after the next round of sprays...I'm sick of it.

    I hope you'll all have better luck than me!


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