Neighbors have bedbugs, roommate bombed for fleas, now I have bites -- help!(7 posts)
Sort of long, but please read and help if possible!
Two nights ago, I picked up a small table outside of my apt building (I live in Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn which is like a playground for bed bugs), considered taking it inside, then decided against it. I was also sitting on the step (wearing shorts) in the doorway of my building which was right next to a suspicious looking table-looking thing covered in a mattress protector. I went inside, washed my hands, and went to bed. 1.5 hours later I woke up with an itchy feeling on my leg/butt, under my underwear, which is the only thing I was wearing for bed bc it was a hot night. When I woke up the next morning, one bite was very large, but the others were not really visible to me until I was leaving work that day around 5pm. I have 5-6 bites scattered over a circular area on my butt, one on my upper thigh, and two on my calf in a line. They are very large, itchy, and a bright, dark red color.
When I got home from work, I was disturbed to find out that my next door neighbors had a severe bed bug infestation from a roommate they had kicked out the week before. The suspicious looking thing I was sitting next to was her bed frame. They had gotten sprayed on Thursday (it is now Tuesday, and I first felt the bites on Sunday night). My roommate then revealed that she had bombed her bedroom (across the apt from my room) on Thursday because she had found fleas on her dog (if this situation had not come up, I wouldn't have ever known-- wtf?!). The infested room is actually right next door to her room, not mine, which is diagonally across the hallway, but I wonder if the spraying and bombing done on the same day might have caused the bbs to come to my room. I had been out of the country but returned late Wednesday night (another possible factor, I know).
Basically, I am freaked out and am not sure what to do. I don't want to take this situation lightly, but as a person who works full time and goes to school, I don't have a ton of time or energy to panic over something that might not even be happening. I wonder, what is the likelihood that I do have bed bugs? What kind of steps do I now need to take? I assume if I do have them, that my apartment couldn't be very infested by this point, so luckily I am in the early stages (I hope). So far I have washed and dried my sheets and dried on high heat all the clothes that were near my bed (mostly sweaters that can't be washed). I was going to bomb, but am now reading that that's a terrible idea and possibly the reason why they wandered over to my room. I plan to buy a mattress cover. I have DE and a spray for my mattress and bed frame which unfortunately is wooden. Do I need to take more extreme steps or do I just wait to see if they come for me again? Last night I slept on the couch. I guess I'm not supposed to do that? Oh god... Also, in an early stage, how can you find out for sure if you have them? Should I just act like I do in order to be safe?
Passive bed bug monitors may help you determine if you have bed bugs. You can find posts about them linked from the Useful Stuff page.
Please read the FAQs, which should help. Yes, bombs are a bad idea. We have a FAQ on DE, though it may not be enough to eliminate your problem, and I recommend professional treatment if you can manage it. If you're a NYC tenant, your landlord is responsible for treatment.
If you have a bed frame with legs that will fit them, the climb-up interceptors seem like a good early detection/preventative measure as well. Definitely find out what your landlord is doing about the situation. And since you are getting bites already, you may want to let him know. Maybe he will treat your place when he does the place next door.
Ugh, good luck. I know how frustrating it is when everyone around you seems to be doing the wrong thing about it!
sadly, i had to ask this question http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/passive-bb-detector-for-bed-design-without-four-legs bc my bed does not have 2 legs. arrg! apparently my landlord has offered to spray, but my neighbors have hired someone else on their own dime. hopefully someone who knows a thing or two. I guess my next step would be to go to him, but I'm slightly in denial? I feel like I want to do as much as I can myself and see if I really even have bbs first...
I think the law in NYC is that the landlord has to hire a licensed PCO, not just take a can of xyz spray and do it himself. Bed bugs are not the usual bug pest. You need an expert for them, especially if your roommate used a bomb and your neighbors with an infestation are using a PCO. It should be coordinated or else the bugs will leave their place and come to you. You'll then try to get rid of them, and they'll go running back to your neighbors and on and on.
Chances are those bites are from bed bugs because they do bite in the sam area. I would take apart your bedframe if you can and look for any holes/cracks that they could possibly hide in. Chances are they are somewhere on your bed frame that is where they are living.
If I were you I would buy some Diatomaceous Earth and put along the edges of your bedroom/apartment, including the legs of your bed frame. I would also take some rubbing alcohol and delude it a bit in water and spray it all over your mattress and clothes. If you have a steamer, it would be wise to steam all of your clothes and apartment. I had this happen to me and have had similar bites and can bet they are there. I'm moving out of my place but am getting am doing a heat treatment. Act ASAP because you do not want them to start laying eggs.
The BB Alert passive monitor can be used on a bed without legs. ClimbUps, a completely different product, require that a bed has legs.
Have you read the Bed bugs 101 section of this site's FAQs? Knowing all the signs of BBs & how to inspect properly are your best first line of defence.
As you've noticed, bombs & foggers are a very bad idea for BBs. Please don't start using diatomaceous earth either. If treatment is required it must be methodical & is best done by a competent PCO. Introducing extra elements can complicate detection as well as any subsequent treatment. DE is not an easy product to use correctly - unless they've been properly trained or have done a lot of research & experimentation, most people over-apply, making it ineffective. It's also an inhalation hazard & should never be used anywhere where it might be disturbed by people or pets. I read sometimes of people treating beds or couches with the stuff & I despair.
Spraying alcohol only has any effect if you spray it directly onto a bug. It has no residual effect so the moment it's evaporated, it isn't doing anything anymore & it has no effect on eggs.
Regardless of having sat near or touched possibly-infested articles, because you know there are BBs in the building it's a good idea to monitor your home for BB activity.
If the affected neighbour adjoins your appartment then your risk is increased. The PCO your neighbour has hired, or a PCO provided by your LL should inspect all adjoining appartments as a matter of good practice. "Will you be sending anyone to inspect adjoining appartments/ will you be asking people to let my neighbour's PCO inspect adjoining appartments?" is a good question to be asking your LL right now.
If your LL is the sort of person who listens to their tenants, you could do a lot worse than to point him at this site. LLs often fall into the trap of thinking that the lowest-priced PCO is the best value, when in fact the PCO who eradicates BBs quickly & efficiently is the one who saves LLs money in the long run.
Clothing that can't be hot-washed can still be put (dry) into a hot drier to kill BBs. Bag & seal the items afterwards for peace of mind & to avoid having to repeat the process. Ziplock bags are your friend. They also protect your wollens against clothes moth which is no bad thing.
Have a look at the FAQs for advice on how long to leave the items in the drier. The only problems I had were with GoreTex garments - even dry heat damaged some of the waterproof membranes.
A plug-in flea trap is a good idea to let you know if you still have fleas - bombs & foggers are really not much use against anything except flying insects, so you may still have fleas & thus flea bites, despite the chemical assault. Grouped skin reactions aren't diagnostic of BBs. BBs sometimes bite in rows or clusters - this seems to happen if they're disturbed during a feed, but there are plenty of other reasons why you might have grouped skin reactions.
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