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Mentally too much; Recommended Steamer?

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  1. Ritza

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    Joined: Dec '17
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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Jan 4 2018 20:48:49
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    Hey guys. First off i'd like to thank you guys for all the great advice i've read, you're doing great work for others!
    This is a bit long, i'm sorry, but i'd really like to get this off my chest as i've no one to really talk to about it. =(

    My boyfriend and I moved in to our first apartment over a year ago(April 2016). Everything had been awesome up until Sep of 2017, when I had woken up one morning with a large raised, itchy line across my arm below the shoulder. As most people do, I assumed it was a spider bite as i'd seen multiple "punctures", however there were a lot of them.. if it'd been a spider it'd of bitten me like 3-4 times. I thought nothing of it despite it being very itchy, and a few days later another spot appeared on my thigh. Not as many bites, but again raised(almost like poison ivy) and itchy. I thought "damn, this spider is persistent!". I checked around the floorboards in our bedroom and found no spiders.
    So then a day or two later I go in to fix up our bed before bed(the sheets constantly came off), and spot some brown bug just lazily meandering across our bed. I called my boyfriend to get me a paper towel and I grabbed it and gave it multiple tight squeezes, but it continued moving. After squeezing enough it finally stopped moving(or so I thought) so I wrapped it in the paper towel and threw it out. Went to bed, no issues.
    The next morning I woke up and had a thought.. so I looked up bed bugs out of curiosity, and just felt dread. I went and grabbed the paper towel from the trash. It was luckily still on it, so I dropped it in a ziplock bag and noticed it was still weakly moving.
    The next day the apartment office was open(only open Tues and Fri), my boyfriend and I took it down to the office manager and showed her. She immediately called Terminix to get an inspection.
    We asked about all the usual, and she kept insisting we brought it in because nobody else had complained about anything. I wasn't so sure as we 1. never bring in used furniture 2. We don't go to anybody's house, and 3. we don't have anybody over. However, I accepted that just maybe it'd latched on to me somewhere(Planned Parenthood or the bank perhaps, as i'd sat in a chair waiting in both places recently). She insisted it's "impossible" for them to go from apartment to apartment, and that she'd gone through "training" for it. Uhuh..

    So now I have never dealt with these things, never knew/heard of anybody with them.. they basically just didn't exist in my world.

    So the Terminix guy shows up on Monday at something around 7am(which at the time I thought was weird, and thought they had him early to hide the fact). Now this is where it started grinding my gears. This guy was in and out of our apartment in 3-5 mins. He was looking in all the typical spots with a flashlight, but was very quick and almost lazy about it all. We were given clear, and he left. The maintenance man took the bug in the bag with him(i'm assuming to toss).
    After he left I went through and checked all the areas again, just much more thoroughly. I found on the top of our bed, a cast skin that he had completely missed.
    I thoroughly checked our bedroom, pulled everything out of the closet, looked it over, found nothing. Received no further bites, but we got a mattress and box spring cover put on just in case.

    Jump to October. I walk in to the bathroom one night and on the back of our toilet sat my towel from my shower the day before.. and walking across the top of it was a bed bug. I yelled for my boyfriend, who brought a bag, and we caught it. We still have this one in a baggy in the freezer. After this, I had covered all our outlets with electrical tape, covered the open underside of the sink in tape, and bought Cimexa which I dusted lightly along all of the walls in the apartment. Still no further bites, however I began to get "pin prick" red spots.. i'm still getting these to this day. I mostly figure these may be from the Cimexa, but i'm not sure.
    The end of November I lose my mother suddenly on Thanksgiving, and but a few days later we find another of these bugs AGAIN in the bathroom! This time in the morning, just chilling out on our roll of toilet paper that is sitting on the counter. At this point I know it's not us bringing these.. so I checked the tape on the underside of the sink and spot what I THINK is a dead Nymph on it..
    Under the sink(and it's bottom cabinet) is just a hollow area, and a gap between the wall and floor, so this is where we think they might be coming in at. Also somewhere around this time I woke up to blood spots on my bed, 6-7 in total that corresponded with 7 or so small red bumps on my lower back(though each blood spot was smaller than the last). All had apparently bled? This freaked me out as this isn't normal for me. I don't usually bleed on my body. I use to in my teens on my face at night because acne, but never during my adult life.

    Every time we ask the manager if anybody has said anything, it's no. The maintenance man had actually done a quick look-over(or so we were told) by his own choosing for us in the apartment next to and below us and said he found nothing(the third apartment neighboring us is far from any of this going on).. however I don't know how well he'd of looked, if he knows what to look for, if he'd looked at all, or if our 2 neighbors have any idea they even have anything.
    Now mind you the people under us always have people over, and the people along the wall where our bathroom is had somebody staying with them for a while(don't think they still are) shortly before this all started.

    So each bug we found ate more of my mental state, and now I have just been in complete ruins. We have been living out of trash bags since September, and I am absolutely TERRIFIED that these things might be getting in and hiding somewhere without my knowing. I have thrown things out, and we plan on tossing a lot when we are finally able to move just in case.. luckily we don't have much, nor do we have much of value. We cannot afford to have them treat(they pay 1 round of treatment, if they come back it's on us), $800-$1000 for something that, if coming from another apartment and will come back, is pointless. They REFUSE to check the other apartments because nobody has complained. Heck, apparently even coming to check again would cost money at this point, and I check a lot more thoroughly than the guy we had before).

    This whole thing has stressed our relationship, and my depression has gotten so much worse. I already suffered from severe and debilitating depression(I cannot afford to see anybody at all or get help for anything), and now I'm terrified of my own home, i'm terrified of wearing clothes in my own home, I carry a flashlight with me everywhere, check clothes before I put them on, check between our mattress and box spring every single night. My mental state has gotten so bad that i'm unable to work. Constantly feeling creepy crawlies, pinches, random itches that can last for days.

    Now we've found no "signs", so no spots or shells(yes I have read many "no signs = no bugs posts"). Not seen another bug.. yet.. however I did find a tiny dead bug on our base board next to our bed, but i'm not sure if it'd be a nymph or beetle. I've tried taking a picture but my camera just won't work on something so small, even on Macro setting.

    So I am constantly getting the tiny pin prick marks, or small red bumps that go away within a few hours, but they don't itch(sometimes they do) and often have no hole in the center(sometimes they do). I am often itching quite a lot on my chest or the back of my shoulders, but I am not sure if this is a reaction from the Cimexa further drying out the already dry NY air, and maybe something is being kicked up. My boyfriend keeps trying to tell me i'm not being bit, but he's supportive and will check a place if I need him to. If I am getting bites they are reacting nothing like they did before(I was bite technically only 2 days), and this also terrifies me because I want to know if we have a problem.
    I honestly don't know what else I can do. I can get climb-ups, but I don't know if they'd be a waste of money as we have carpet and they apparently like to break.. also getting so many is expensive.
    I feel I should throw my christmas wreath out(was hanging on the bedroom door), and my christmas tree, even though it was in the livingroom.. i've no way to heat anything to check. I know it's unlikely there's anything in either of these things, but my mind says leave nothing to chance. I really don't want to throw them out. =/
    We won't have money to move until June, and our lease renews in April so we would pretty much be stuck here another year. I cannot go through another year of this mental hell because the landlord/manager refuses to check the other 3 apartments around us(this building has 7(8 if you include the office).

    Now for the next leg of things.. I would like to get a steamer, however I am unsure which ones actually get hot enough. Does anybody happen to have any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate any help.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Jan 6 2018 1:00:41
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    We have some recommendations in the FAQ on How to Kill Bed Bugs with Steam

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

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    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 9,319

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Sat Jan 6 2018 10:00:53
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    Ritza:
    "Everything had been awesome up until Sep of 2017, when I had woken up one morning with a large raised, itchy line across my arm below the shoulder. As most people do, I assumed it was a spider bite as i'd seen multiple "punctures", however there were a lot of them.. if it'd been a spider it'd of bitten me like 3-4 times"
    ---First error is labeling skin lesions spider bites, although, I must admit, that's what many people do, so you're not alone. Real spider bites don't really happen that often. Second is not realizing that it is important to collect specimens for proper identification and not obliterate and throw away. Not singling you out, but I hope people read the post and understand these points.

    "The next day the apartment office was open(only open Tues and Fri), my boyfriend and I took it down to the office manager and showed her. We asked about all the usual, and she kept insisting we brought it in because nobody else had complained about anything. Every time we ask the manager if anybody has said anything, it's no. She insisted it's "impossible" for them to go from apartment to apartment, and that she'd gone through "training" for it. Now mind you the people under us always have people over, and the people along the wall where our bathroom is had somebody staying with them for a while(don't think they still are) shortly before this all started. Now we've found no "signs", so no spots or shells(yes I have read many "no signs = no bugs posts"). Not seen another bug.. yet.. however I did find a tiny dead bug on our base board next to our bed, but i'm not sure if it'd be a nymph or beetle. I've tried taking a picture but my camera just won't work on something so small, even on Macro setting. We cannot afford to have them treat(they pay 1 round of treatment, if they come back it's on us), $800-$1000 for something that, if coming from another apartment and will come back, is pointless. They REFUSE to check the other apartments because nobody has complained. Heck, apparently even coming to check again would cost money at this point, and I check a lot more thoroughly than the guy we had before). I cannot go through another year of this mental hell because the landlord/manager refuses to check the other 3 apartments around us(this building has 7(8 if you include the office)."
    ---No reaction to bites doesn't mean there are no bites. Some people don't want to report problems so no report doesn't mean no bed bugs. Sometimes self-treating will cause bed bugs to crawl about and go from one apartment to another. All that said, you live in NYC? I can look at specimens or if you take pictures, I can look at those, too.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.

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