Info of my experience to pass on.(10 posts)
I started this in reply to bugobsessed's post and thought that it should be a topic.
I do not know your infestation history but I will tell you some experience that I recently had.
My infestation was discovered a year ago and after three treatments I have seen one dead bb in middle of Jan. 2007.
My wife initially reacted badly to the bb bites and I had no reactions until Dec 2006 after the PCO visits and much stress with no sleep. I still get reactions after I shower. The reactions which look like a rash on my arms had gone away during the summer. I think some visits to the beach and a tan helped. But now the reactions are back. A friend of mine who is an entomologist and studies bbs viewed pictures of my skin reaction and although she can't be 100% she thinks that they are not bb bites. She told me that if I have not seen bugs or poop by now the bbs should be gone. She told me to inspect my bed because at the beginning of an infestation that is the place that you will find evidence. I have checked bed and couch for months and cleaned and steamed and treated with DE and Bedlam and I have not seen evidence. So like many I am still experiencing some kind of skin reaction to something.
Two weeks ago I was inspecting my couch and caught a bug that I could not really see detail with 10x magnification under the mattress of my couch. Also caught two nymphs at top of walls outside my bed room and living room.
I freaked for three days or so until my friend IDd them as roach nymphs and thripp which is a plant bug. The thripp was the one I found under my couch.
My point is that specimens must be IDd by a professional who is not with the PCO company. I started to actually believe that my specimens were bbs and they were not. This is because I indeed had been infested and I do have skin marks.
I do not live in an apartment building but my house is attached on two sides and of course one is left wondering if I killed them all or not. Since bbs I have collected many different specimens. Carpet beetles, brown-banded roach that are flat with banding that looks like bb stripes, thripps, springtails, fleas. Booklice can look like bb nymphs to an non experienced eye. The first time that I discovered booklice I though that bb nymphs were hatching all over the place.
I continue to inspect, clean and steam and have bed bug dreams. I am left wondering about skin mark/reactions/rash.
Very freaky [expletive deleted].
Best of luck in your battles.
Thanks for the info. I know there could be so many explanations, but in my case I'm certain these are bedbugs, and I have been working with a PCO who knows they are bed bugs. My neighbors upstairs have them too. I found another one last night crawling on my husband's pillow before I went to bed. This one wasn't hungry. You can see the blood in the transparent 1st in stars after they have fed. As far as them being other bugs-- no way. My bed is isolated in mineral oil bowls and vaseline on the legs. No other crawly could get up there. My guess is these are newly hatched nymphs. The eggs were either in the frame or in the mattress or box spring. I did cover the mattress and box spring and taped the zipper, but I noticed the tape was coming up. Also, the little ones don't seem to leave fecal stains like the big ones do. I guess because they're so small-- thus no poop spots. However, I certainly had poop stains before, just not since the last PCO visited 2+ weeks ago.
It's funny though, since I started getting treatment, I'm discovering all sorts of dead bugs that I didn't know were here. I'm not sure what they are. I looked them up and some looked like carpet beetle larvae others looked like spring tails. I also found some dead spiders as well as dead adult bed bugs. So I guess that means the poison is working.
the part of your post I like the most is: have someone OTHER than a PCO identify specimens. I haven't actually seen a bed bug yet in my house (talk about freaky [expletive deleted]), but THEY (the PCO) told me they saw cast skeletons and trails. I took their word for it because, let's face it, I was getting bites in bed, some were in a row, my husband and I traveled a TON this year (like months) separately and together, and on one of his trips, my husband was bit by bed bugs (bites in a row on his belly and back). The evidence was there, so I figured we must have bed bugs....
But I am not at all comfortable with having a non-objective person/company evaluating my bugs and telling me what I do and don't have.
I am one of those inexperienced eyes that mistook booklice for bb nymph. I took it to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and had an expert there identify it for me. I will take any other specimen I find there as well.
Now that we have a super well isolated bed (knock on wood), the bites don't seem to be coming from the bed. In fact, I did some major caulking today...had my head and arms up in all kinds of spaces where I could barely see what I was doing (well hidden spaces) and I ended up with a bunch of bites from that. Whenever I get into the bins that we packed up with our junk pre-treatment or I start doing lots of caulking work, I end up with new bites.
There are still bugs in my house. I just can't see them.
And making a statement like that makes me feel like a totally crazy person.
This is the mystery bite/skin reaction thing many and many people are experiencing and it is experienced by people who are also not on this site and Nation wide. So we keep looking for bbs and we isolate etc... and we do not see any bbs.
I do think that someday an answer will be discovered to this problem.
Lieutenantdan, I am totally with you on the mystery bite/skin reaction thing. I know that I have been bitten, but I have at times had reactions that feel at first like bites, but they calm down quickly as long as I don't scratch, and they are usually in the spots where I have been bitten before. I'm not sure how that happens, maybe contact with something BB related, maybe stress-- don't know. It's frustrating though. So every time I think I have a bite, I stop and think about it, really look at it, and usually wait a little before I determine if it is a bite or not. Non-bites usually flare up and then down very quickly for me; whereas, real bites flare up and last for days. It would make a fascinating study.
In some thread there was a discussion about chitin allergy. Chitin is the substance that comprises insects' exoskeletons. I think the idea is that after you have been bitten enough, you develop a chitin reaction and if live or dead bugs are around you flare up.
But, I have also had actual bites that just went away really quickly. And I knew they were bites because I saw the mosquito. I think some things really ARE bites that just go away, for whatever reason, really quickly. I don't doubt that there are also "non-bites" that flare up, but "real" bites can do the same thing. That is why this experience is so maddening.
I think you are right, bummedindenver, and the bites--as much as they help in actually allowing you identify an infestation sooner rather than later--can sometimes be so unreliable as to be close to useless in helping you know if it is finally over.
Hang in there, ok? There is always a solution and if bedbugs are still there, evidence will come; I think you can be sure of that. But it might be useful to consult your doctor or a dermatologist to see if they have any insight into your bites. I think some bedbuggers have had good dermatologist experiences. I recall someone recently who was especially glad to have visited one in the aftermath of the infestation as the dermatologist reassured him/her that the continued skin reactions were part of the overall allergic response. (I'm sorry I don't know if you have already consulted them or talked about that elsewhere.)
FWIW, from what you have said, I think it's also possible that some harborage locations in your home simply have been missed.
I am certain that harborage locations in my home have been missed. I have little confidence in the thoroughness of the inspection done here.
As for a dermatologist--I went to one that I did not like. He had very definite ideas about what a bite "should" look like (big red and welty). Unfortunately, at the time I went, I only had recent bites on my neck and face in very visible locations and I didn't really feel like insisting on a biopsy because I still have the scars on my arms from bite biopsies I had done about 3 years ago when I got bitten by bed bugs for the first time while traveling. I came home with these things on my arms and had no idea what they were---they looked like chicken pox blisters--totally itchy--in lines on my arm. The dermatologist biopsied them and they were "arthropod bites". Based on the pattern and the circumstances (staying in a vacation rental), I was convinced at the time that it was bed bugs that caused them.
That is why I knew to immediately suspect bed bugs when I woke up with a line of bites on my neck THIS YEAR after doing so much traveling.
I'm a little annoyed with myself for not insisting that he biopsy the older bites on my back or shoulders... but I knew they were older, so they wouldn't tell me anything about what is going on NOW.
Forget doctors, they are not able to tell a bed bug bite. Save your money.
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