In need of advice and some moral support(12 posts)
I have been reading this site for a while now, but I feel the time has come now for me to join and connect with people in the same situation, who may understand how this all make us feel.
Here is my story. It's going on for a while, so if I rant too long, pleae forgive me.
I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a multi unit building in Brooklyn with my husband abd two little girls. After Thanksgiving, my younger daughter woke up couple times with weird looking bites/rash. She was sleeping back then on a toddler bed in one corner of their room. As I was always paranoid about bedbugs and always inspected our beds, I did the inspection of all the beds, mattresses, sheets and found nothing (I know now that I should have read this site earlier and would probably know, that just the fact that there is no evidence, does not mean there are no bedbugs).
The bites kept appearing all over her body, looking dfferent every time. We went to a doctor, who was sure, it was not bedbugs; we went to dermatologist, who had no idea, what to tell us. Went to another doctor, who gave no answer neither.
I started to go a little crazy at that time, but as we found no evidence of bedbugs, we actually went and bought a new bed for my parents upcoming visit. The bed my husband insisted to buy is the worst - wooden, kind of wowen look platform bed from IKEA. I did not want it, but we ended up with it.
So the new bed and new mattress went to our master bedroom, and our old mattress was moved to the kids' room, so we could sleep on it during my parents' 3 week visit.
Now, 3 weeks into this, my younger daughter is still getting bites, but not that frequently. My older daughter, who sleeps across the room, was not getting any bites at the time.
I am not sure, why the person like me, who is always on top of these things, did not call the landlord at that time. I just don't know why. Maybe excitement to see my perents after 2 years, maybe the Christmas holidays. Maybe the lack of evidence? Or my husband's beleif that we don't have bedbugs? I really don't know.
The day before Christmas, while sitting at work, it dawned on me that I absolutely have to throw out my little one's mattress. We did not find evidence of BB on that mattress, but the same day, it was wrapped and thrown out. She started sleeping on our old mattress on the floor with us, and was still getting bites. During Christmas holidays, my older daughter was bitten too - once or twice. I knew then, that I have to call the landlord. Because of the holidays, I had to wait. However, on 12/26, my parents, who were sleeping in the master bedroom on the new bed, on the other side of the apartment, found a bedbud crawling on the curtain. In a state of panick, I flushed it down the toilet after killing it.
Next day, I called the landlord, and 2 days later their PCO came to inspect. It seemed to me, that he was doing a thorough job with flashlight, turning everythiong upside down etc.), but found no evidence. He approved us for treatment though, because of my daughter's bites.
Due to the Christmas blizzard and time we needed to prep, our first treatment was scheduled for 1/11 - 2 weeks after the inspection. It took me a lot of pursuading the landlord to go ahead with the treatment without evidence.
In the meantime, my parents went back home to Europe, after I washed and dried all their clothes and packed everything in plastic (as of right now, it seems that they did not bring BB home with them) and they actually left thinking that I was kind of crazy.
The thoughts of BBs also took over my life. It had a very bed effect on my marriage, as my husband thought that I was overdoing it, stressing for no reason...
I just realized that I am getting carried away here, so I will summarize what happened next briefly - the PCO our lanlord sent was Global Pest Control. They do 3 treatments, 1 week apart. Their written prep list incuded washing and drying clothing and linens, bagging everything else, moving furniture from the walls and wacuuming every day between treaments.
I did all the prep, everyting is in plastic, what we don't need now is in space bags or big contractors bags; our clothes we use now, and jackets, bags/bookbags and shoes are in XL ziplocks. We threw out our sofa, which was leather and ripped and even though we never found BB there, I felt better without it; we sit now on plastic patio chairs; the toddler bed and our old matress were thrown out as well and as I am not sure if it is wise to buy her a new bed, the girls sleep together on my older daughter's bed - I encased the mattress in Protect-A-Bed encasement; bought new pillows, bought pillow encasements; encased our mattress too; we still live in plastic bags; I left out couple books and toys for the kids and Packtitie them every now and then.
After the first treatment, I cought our first specimen - foung BB sitting next to my daughter in the middle of the night . I saved it, showed it to the PCO, he confirmed it was BB, but since there is no more evidence to be found, seemed to be still relaxed about it. So is my husband, who cannot understand, that he needs to alter his life, he refuses to follow the protocols I set, does not change his clothes when he get home and then wears the same clothes to go outside. If I try to remind him of the protocols, he gets very annoyed and we get into fight (he lost his job and is in school, so he has now different issues to deal with, and BB are not the priority for him) - all the work that this BB problems involves, is therefore up to me. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed - I work full time, and trying to manage the work, two little girls, who are trying their best to follow mommy's rules, but they are just too little to do it 100%; and deal with this, is just too much.
Also, my husband has no bites whtsoever, but me, I am not sure, my body is itching all the time and it might be psychological. I had couple spots on my body, that might pass for a bite. But I am not sure, I never found any evidence of BB on our new bed. But my younger daughter like to come to our bed in the middle of the night - sometimes I don't even know that she came, so she might be bringing something to our bedroom.
I invested in Packtitie, so slowly I am packtiting our belongings and it brought me a piece of mind, that I can go to work and send kids to school with all our clothes and shoes and bags sanitized.
Our third treatment was done 2 weeks ago. I vacuum every third day, since I really can't do it every day. In the middle of the week, I found one dead BB in the girls bed, after removing a drawer (it is a wooden captain bed with drawers). I thought that that was a good sign, that the treatment is working and they are dying.
I started to feel relaxed after a week without bites, but then - on Saturday I washed the girls' sheets, Packtited the blanket, vaccumed the room, turned the bed upside down, inspected every inch of it with flashligt and magnifying glass and found nothing. In the morninig, my older daughter woke up with 2 bites. I called the managment company who promised that they will have the PCO call me again and schedule another treatment. They seemed to be uncomfortable, when I started asking them, if they inspected units next to me. They said that they were not able to get to all of them, but will try to reinspect.
So, please advise, what should I do?
1) Insist on more treatment? I think they used gentrol/exciter in one of the treatments; I dont know what they used for the other treatment, as my husband lost the slips from PCO and refuses to look for them - he thinks that I do not need to know, what they use, as long as they are treating us. And I know about the unfavorable study on gentrol. But since the landlord is paying this PCO, I dont feel that I can actually dictate them what to use;
2) I have this urge to throw out the girls bed, I feel that it is the main part of the problem - it has so many holes and crevices; and I feel bad that my kids have to share one bed. I want to buy the metal bunk beds at IKEA and put climb ups on it. Should I throw out the wooden bed? Is it wise to buy a new bed now? Or should I just let the kids sleep on an air mattress until this is cleared up?
3) I am planning to start caulking everything. Should I use DE or anything else as well? I don't want to interfere with the PCO's treatment, but they are not too communicative, so calling the office to ask about these won't help.
4) How do I pursuade my husband that this is serious?
I am sorry for this long post, but maybe someone can give me some idea what to do now. I feel tired and overwhelmed; angry that I have to do it all by myslef;sad for my girls, because they have no toys to play with and are not allowed to have playdates; and lost in al this information. Fighting bedbugs and working at the same time; and trying to set up some kind of normal life for the girls, is just too much at times.
Thnak you to anyone for reading this and thanks in advance for any advice or words of wisdom and encouragement.
Sorry no advice for you-just support- I know what your going through. I know it really doesn't make it better but at least it can stop you from feeling crazy and alone. I am going through the same thing right now. We had our PCO (I don't really even like to call them that - their an exterminator)out this morning for a 5th treatment. He looked around for 5 minutes and said since there was no evidence he was going to have his general manager call me and did no treatment. We have never seen a bug but have been bitten. I have a fresh bite on my chest right now. We live in a single family home so there is a lot of room to hide. My mental health is very low right now. I've read it will get better and we will get rid of these things- so let's hang in there!
thank you for reading my long post and for your kind words. It makes one feel better knowing that there are people out there dealing with the same thing and feeling the same way. Especially, if our closest family members we live with chose to live in denial.
I know for sure this thing will pass and we will have a normal life again.
So hang on there and try to feel positive. It is hard though, right?
Try to relax here and there and do something nice for yourself. My husband drives me crazy for not following the protocols and for thinking that I stress too much. But he has a point in telling me to sit down and relax. Otherwise, we will burn out. So, every couple days, we just sit down on our "beautiful" plastic white chairs with a glass of wine and enjoy a show on TV or listen to some music.
Every day on my way from work, I set a goal what I will do that night before I allow myself to sit. I don't have much time after my girls go to bed, but even if it's just a load of laundry or a load of Packtite, it makes you feel like you did something that brought you closer to the end of this. And then I allow myself to sit and rest before going to bed , sort my thoughts, have a piece of chocolate or whatever. And I actually look forward to this little indulgences.
Let keep in touch about our progress. Good luck with your treatment.
My heart really goes out to you, I was in the same situation with my husband not wanting to follow protocols (but I had teenagers w/ the same attitude also). So I totally empathize. I also had little ones so I know about the toys and playdates thing, it sucks and you feel so bad. All you can do is take it one day at a time and do the best you can each day.
My only advice to be helpful would be you definitely need to follow up about getting surrounded apts inspected, because whether they are the problem now (very possible) or could be a problem after you get rid of yours, you have to resolve that. Second, it sounds like your guy is using pyrethrins (because of the two week intervals). Maybe you could get a pest control co to use Phantom. I think it's supposed to be a little more effective over time (see the video segment at BBTV, Jeff White, I think). It's not a magic bullet, but it may be better than what your guy is using.
Best wishes, I'm sure you can do it. Take it one day at a time, your kids will forget about it quickly and you can just try to do the best you can.
Oh, and yes definitely find out how to correctly, and safely, put down DE in cracks, crevices, and wall voids. It can def. make a difference. And the caulking will be super important for the long run.
Again, best wishes!
thanks so much for your ideas. I will definitely talk to the PCO about Phantom.
And as I don't think that the landlord is trying hard to get to other appartments, I am contemplating to go talk to the neighbors myself (as always, my husband does not want to do that) and the people in my building might just be the kind who won't take it seriously.
I am also a little concerned how will the neighbors feel, after I speak with them, when they see me using our common laundromat in the basement. I take precautions, wipe the washing machine after I use it, but am I putting my neighbors in risk? I mean, my alternative is a laundromat down the block, but it is really logistically impossible for me to drag the laundry there.
Anyway, thanks for the advice. I am assuming your problem is gone since you speak in past tense, so maybe there is light at the end if the tunnel?
If you don't think that the neighbors are going to be really aggressive it becomes really important to caulk entry points. I know some people have talked about putting tape around where the baseboards meet up w/ the carpet if that's an issue on any wall that would have access from another apt. You can put DE or silica gel (I think Drione dust is supposed to be the good one-- again, safety first, see if the PCO would do it) between the walls, too.
That's a tough question about the laundry issue, 'cause you kind of need that communication. As a paying renter you have a right to use the machine. The dryer isn't a problem if it has been run long enough because it will kill them. The washer is a little more problematic if the water isn't hot enough, but hopefully they would be drying any clothes themselves after the washer. Honestly, chances are pretty good that you got it from another unit in the first place. That's why cities have a bigger problem with this because the bugs travel through multi-unit buildings. If you guys live in Brooklyn, no neighbor should be surprised to have that conversation with you. One in ten New Yorkers will deal with bed bugs this year.
A single mom that was struggling I sent some DE that I had (you don't use very much at all). She claimed that by using that and isolating the bed that she and her daughter were using she was able to get rid of the bugs. And I've heard a couple good Phantom success stories. I'd bet that with DE and changing to Phantom, and caulking you could make good progress. It depends how leaky the apartment is (how well you can seal it from the other apts).
I probably wouldn't put your kids on an air mattress because the legs of the bed are a good way to force the bug to cross poison(make sure the guy sprays them thoroughly) or isolate the bed if you want to go that route. You would have to make sure the bed frame itself is totally clear. We did end up replacing one bed frame. Everything's so expensive though, huh? If the kid's covers end up on the floor, though, it gives the bugs a safe path to the bed. So you can use safety pins on the sides to keep blankets from from falling.
Our infestation happened almost 3 yrs ago. Very stressful, we ran into incompetent PCO's , relationship stress like you're talking about, but after some months we were able to Vikane our house because we are in a single family house. I hope I can help a little this is such a hard situation. I've been typing all night while my hubby watches a movie, but Good Luck, really!!
We are apparently in the same sinking boat My husband like yours is not helpful at all and has even asked peolple to come over without warning them. I finally had to blow up on him last night and tell him he was being very inconsiderate as just because he has no reaction to them does not mean that others do not. I had to explain to him that I would be horrified if someone came to my house then went home and a few days or weeks later found out they had them and were allergic to them. Or Ive not heard of this yet but it could happen what if they were severely allergic and died or their kid died I would never be able to live with that guilt. He was furious that I called him inconsiderate but after I explained why I felt that way i think it finally sunk in to him. You see when its not bothering them they do not see it as a problem so you have to show them what could happen to get them to see the problem. Maybe you could just have him read my post and avoid the fight I had to have and the screaming and yelling door slamming. could save a fight.
tiredofvampires, fighting with significant others and family members is the worst! I had the craziest yelling match with my mother last night and it was just causing more stress. I'm not sure if my parents have bites or anything, or any reaction to them. It's come to the point where if I even bring it up my mum will explode on me. So I am giving her time to breathe while I run around the house cleaning and checking as many cracks and crevices as possible.
Hopefully we'll be steaming by Saturday!
My heart goes to you as well murukku as I can not imagine having no control over the situation at all your parents need to take these critters seriously I am fighting with my husband for my childrens sake two have no reaction like him but my son is like me so I can not even imagine what you are going through!!! I will pray your parents start taking it seriously if you think it would help show them my post Good Luck!!
I am sorry you missed the movie the other night, but I really appreciate you advice. I am so glad I finally registered for this forum, because communicating with people, who are in the same boat , or were there in the past, is just priceless.
I have a little update. My landlord scheduled a warranty treatment (4th) for tomorrow. I finally managed to speak to the PCO - the field guys' supervisor - he turned out to be really nice and willing to spend as much time on the phone with me as needed. He said that the they don't always use Phantom , especially at the beginning of the treatment, because of the lenght of time it takes for it to start working. But he said that he will try to use it this time. I have a suspicion that they used gentrol (with exciter and suspend SC) for all 3 previous treatments, but am not sure, since my husband did not find it necessary to give me the slips they left behind with the list of the chemicals used. He thinks I have too many questions and just wants to rely on the PCO treatment. But I am hopeful now, since they will use Phantom.
The PCO also confirmed to me, what I already knew, that the wooden captain bed is a difficult element when you are trying to get rid of the infestation. So after thinkig about it and you mentioning that the air mattress is not a good idea, I decided to get rid of the bed and will buy the metal bunk bed at IKEA over the weekend. I don't feel too good buying a new bed when we are still not clear and my husband might have a point when he said"OK, you will thorw out the woodedn bed, buy a new metal one and then, what if the kids will still be getting bitten. What will we do in that instance?" The fact is though, that they sleep together on one bed and I feel bad about it and must resolve their sleeping situation. So I will try to keep the bugs away form the new bed. My Protect-A-Bed encasement for the little ones mattress that I will have to buy as well, will be delivered on Friday and I will encase it, as soon as the mattress is home. I also ordered the climb up interceptors and will install them right away.I will keep the bed away from the wall and try to secure the blankets from falling on the floor. I am almost feeling excited about all this, as that wooden bed is like a sore in my eye every time I look at it.
Do you think that's enough?
I will also start caulking everything after the treatment. I mentioned the DE to the PCO, but he strongly urged me not to use it because if its inhallation hazzard, so I am not sure, what I will do about the part. I guess more research before I start caulking.
Thanks again and I will post updates.
Tiredofvampires and murukku:
Fighting with our significant others or other family members is not fun, so I really feel for you. It just knocks you down sometimes, when you are trying your best for your own sake, or for childrens' sake, and the others just don't care. Is is really worth it? All these efforts, when others happily boycott them?
I walked into the house yesterday and saw my husband's shoes laying on the floor (right next to the ziplock with his other shoes); his jacket and hat and bookbag thrown over the stroller (right next to their ziplock); he is sitting on the floor in his clothes, he wore out that day, and that he kept on when going to class minutes after I walked home. The girls' shoes, jackets and bookbacks were in their allocated ziplocks, but I don't know, if they went there right away, or if they were on the floor before. I just don't know. You see, my husband gets home with the kids before me, so I have really no control of what's going on there before I come home.
And getting irritated and mad and plunging into fights every day, cannot be good for our health (physical and mental).
So I made a decision yesterday - I will just accept the fact that I cannot rely on my husband; that he will never follow through 100%; that I have to do most of this myself ;and there is only so much that I can do. I will do my best however and hope for the best outcome.
So hang on there; we will get through this and have a life again. And I admit, after the initial freak-out and prep phase, when there was really not time for anything else besides work and bedbugs, I continue with my life - take kids to school and go to work; I still take the girls to their dance class, while taking all the necessary precautions , of course(Packtite is a godsend); I am meeting a friend for dinner next Friday (she know about the BBs and trusts me that I am doing my best to protect her and others around me and insists on meeting - I think she is just a good friend and knows that I need it); I also disclosed it to another friend yesterday, who has been contacting me for a playdate with the kids and I have been avoiding them without explanation for a while. It felt good to let her know, she appreciated my honesty and still suggested that we all meet - somewhere outside though, I would not go to her house as she owns a 3 story brownstone and I really could not live with myself, if she got BBs from us).
So be all strong and look forward to the bedbugs free spring!
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