How to React??(3 posts)
About 2 weeks ago, my co-worker lackadaisically said she had bed bugs. My initial response was omg how did you know? and she said she had tons of bites. Other than that she seemed less than worried about it and hasn't mentioned it since (although i definitely see her scratching quite a bit). Needless to say I am paranoid. This week she now has to sit right next to me at a crowded conference room table. Because I am paranoid, I feel itch all day long. It's miserable. I try to go to my bathroom immediately when I get home, shake out my clothes in there and shower before I go to my room. I've never found a bug doing that. On Wednesday I found a bite. 1 bite and I have no idea when I got it (or even if it is a bed bug bite or just a regular bug bite....which would be strange since it isn't the summer)
That night i did not sleep a wink, and every few minutes i freaked out and turned on my lights thinking there was a bug on me and got out of bed checking the spot and the area to no avail. In one of these manic investigation, I saw a little bug crawling slowly on my pillow sham! I took the entire pillow to the bathroom and picked the bug up with tissue, smashed it and flushed it down the toilet. (Retrospectvely wishing I had snapped a photo!). I looked at the bug, but what I saw didn't 100% align with bed bugs pictures. It was slightly rounded, not flat, and it seemed to have like vertical bumpy ridges. It didnt scurry or move quickly at all! I washed my sheets the next day and have always had dust mite covers on my bed so I am not worried they are in the mattress. I have looked all around for the signs I have read about online, but it's hard to tell what's normal dander/dust and what is shell casings or fecal matter etc.
I didnt sleep at home last night, and when I went to my friends house I immediately changed/showered there.
So the summary is: My co-worker clearly has bedbugs (and admitted it) and sits rather close to me. I have had 1 bite, and found 1 *possible* bedbug in my bed. What do I do next? Should I start steaming things? Do you think I have bedbugs? If there was 1 bug in bed for about 24 hours (since I had 1 bite and then found 1 bug) could it have laid eggs? How long should I be on the lookout for? If it did lay eggs would it be helpful to just stay away from my room? Could a baby bedbug also survive for 18 months with no food? I don't want to go and spend a bunch of money only to find out that I am completely overreacting. Then again I don't want it to turn into an infestation that I could have easily prevented. I also absolutely can't sleep all night because of the uncertainty, and i feel itchy all over my body with no bites/rashes/nothing aside from the 1 bite on my arm.
I really would love so re-assurance and advice of what to do! I switch off of this team (therefore no longer sitting next to this co-worker) and I would love if my paranoia would ease up along with that. Should I be taking additional precautions when I go home? I try to shake out my purse outside and leave what I can in my car.
Blimey, take a deep breath and try to calm down a bit. I'm exhausted just reading your post
First of all, the risk of a bedbug crawling from one person to another in the work environment is very low. Usually, you would expect bugs to be transmitted by someone spending some time in an infested environment or the transfer of materials from an infested location to a new location.
There are many "bugs" capable of inflicting a bite and many skin reactions that resemble a bug bite, so your "bite" isn't necessarily just that. The fact that you found a bug on your pillow suggests that you possibly have been bitten but, as I said, it could have been something other than a bedbug. By the way, none of the bugs that spring to my mind scurry about or move quickly. Your description certainly doesn't sound like Bedbugs.
To help you sleep a bit more comfortably, you need to think rationally about your situation. A bedbug MAY have crawled from your colleague onto you at work. You MAY have brought it home and it MAY have bitten you. You spotted it on your pillow and disposed (KILLED) of it. Problem sorted!
Go to bed and sleep tight......... the bedbug's not gonna bite!
Next time you find a bug you think might be a bedbug, kill it by a means other than squashing (spray it with soap or rubbing alcohol) and keep it. That way an expert will be able to confirm that it's definitely a bedbug or tell you what it is. Posting a picture on here may get a pretty confident identification too.
Look for fecal bloodstains. There's plenty of description on here, but basically they look like specks of dirt.
Get encasements for your mattress and box spring, and ClimbUps to put under the feet of the bed. That's not a complete waste of money even if you don't have them, because the bugs are around and the encasements and ClimbUps will still be there if you need them later. If you have a dehumidifier, crank it all the way up. Opinion is divided about whether this does any good, but it seems unlikely to do any harm. If you don't have one, there are probably better uses for the money. If you dehumidify, turn the thermostat up (things dry out faster when it's warm, including bugs); if you don't dehumidify, turn the thermostat down (things happen slower in the cold, including bedbug metabolism).
It doesn't matter how close your co-worker sits in a conference, because bugs don't travel directly from person to person. It does matter whether the office is infested. Bugs can live and bite basically anywhere that people stay still for a substantial length of time. A bug bites and then goes to hide. If the hiding place it finds is a bag or coat, it might be at work when it gets hungry again and goes in search of food. Then it would bite someone and look for a new hiding place. That might be someone else's bag, but more likely it would be a cubicle divider or a crevice in the leg of a chair. It won't be on the person. A bug that stays on the person longer than it needs to would be at high risk of being squished.
Staying away from your bedroom is not helpful. The 18-month threshold is for adult bugs, that can store up lots of food, and even then it's not clear whether they really live quite that long. But even newly hatched bugs can probably either find you or outwait you.
If you had one bug for 24hrs, it well might have laid eggs. The eggs are very small, and hard to see on light-colored surfaces. But by the time you see one bug, you probably have more. And even if you had just one bug, you probably didn't have it for just 24h. They usually go longer than that between meals.
Read some of the FAQs. I've read a bunch since I got them a couple weeks ago, but I'm not an expert.
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