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Neighbors Have Bedbugs, What Are The Chances I'll Get Them?

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  1. S13

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 1 2010 19:09:31
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    Hi All...

    I live in an apartment with 4 floors, 8 apartments total. Everyone has lived here for years with no BB issues. Alas, someone moved into a newly renovated apartment (of one of our deceased tenants who had lived here for years) on the 3rd floor & announced that they have bed bugs. I am on the 1st floor.
    Our Landlord didn't announce this. Our Super told us in confidence....
    The tenants claimed that they only noticed a few days ago.
    An exterminator came today, but I don't know what they found. They tossed their mattress & approximately 10 bags are out there in the garbage....

    What are the chances that we'll all get these?? Is there anything that I can do to prevent them?
    Ugh. I am SO upset.

  2. upagain

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 1 2010 19:34:32
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    From what you will read here there is always a chance and most pco's recommend treading the infested apartment as well as the adjoining units as there is a chance the bigs will try and flee once the spraying begins. You need to read up on the FAQ's about caulking to seal you apartment as much as you can. A little prep should go a long way in helping you out.

  3. parakeets

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Mar 2 2010 10:50:27
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    You have already done many things right, so give yourself a pat on the back. You are aware that there are bedbugs in your building, where they have been reported so far, and that a treatment has been done (some tenants have landlords that won't even treat). You have found this blog which is a concentrated source of up-to-date factual informaiton. You will read the FAQ's and get your questions answered. In a sense you are way ahead of most people so that is in your favor.

    At this point you want to keep your good relationship with the super who seems to be your communication line to what's going on and keep in good communication with your neighbors. A cooperative building-wide effort of alertness and prevention will definitely make the treatments work much better. The most important thing for you to do now is to be alert to any infestation in your unit. Try to inspect carefully on a very regular basis. Put your box spring in a protective cover since that's a difficult place to inspect. There are some relatively inexpensive products you can buy that, while not fool-proof, can give you a heads up on an infestation (Climb-Up and a member from the UK has a small detection device you can attach to the bed). You might be able to negotiate a price for regular inspections by a bedbug dog in your building and if you share the cost with your neighbors, the price per tenant will be cheaper and you will know what the situation is in the other apartments.

  4. twistcaff

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Mar 2 2010 12:01:09
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    I'm moving to a home where my neighbors house on either side is about 10 feet off my property line. If they ever get bed bugs is there a chance they will travel to my home?

  5. parakeets

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Mar 2 2010 18:33:58
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    If your neighbors get bedbugs, they will be the hosts and the bedbugs will feed off them. If you visit the home of someone who has bedbugs (such as your neighbors) you can get bedbugs, or if you take any thing out of a home that has bedbugs (such as a piece of furniture) you can get bedbugs--but I've only heard of bedbugs travelling from house to house under their own volition when the houses are connected like row houses.

  6. S13

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Mar 3 2010 14:48:54
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    Thanks so much for the replies. The super lives in the building & is just as scared as we are.
    Our once pest free building gets a visit from the exterminator once a month, so I'll see him on Saturday & ask a bunch of questions. I really hope that they stay up there. I'm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so I know the infestation is awful around these parts. I have a gut feeling that they left an infested building & moved in here with them..... Sadly, when they first moved in I exclaimed, "I hope they don't bring bedbugs!" Alas....
    : (

  7. Strabat

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Mar 3 2010 16:09:12
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    "They tossed their mattress & approximately 10 bags are out there in the garbage...."

    Can you request removal ASAP? Using appropriate disposal methods, of course.

  8. S13

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 8 2010 1:48:17
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    Not sure what the appropriate method would have been. The mattresses were in covers as they dragged them out & they were put on the sidewalk.....
    I also found out that the exterminator described the bedbug infestation as a "mild case." What does that mean?? Mild? At the very least, it does seem that the neighbors re making all of the right moves, so that gives me SLIGHT piece of mind.... I'd go up & ask questions, but to be honest? I'm terrified of a hitchhiker!!!

  9. ukulelejack

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Mar 10 2010 17:30:32
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    Luckily, you have a floor between you and the infestation. So it would take awhile for the bugs to reach you, if ever. But I am in the middle of dealing with an infestation directly below me, and I can tell you, it's totally disempowering. I've had the apartment sealed, dusted, and poisoned by a consummate professional. But until the source of the infestation is eradicated, it's a battle I will have to keep fighting.

    The best thing you can do is to press your landlord to have every apartment inspected for BBs and exterminate any apartment where traces are found. If he doesn't, he will have a very expensive problem on hand very soon.

    Organize your neighbors if you can. Educate them about how, just because they're not finding bites, they still might be being bitten. And about how, just because they don't have BBs now, they still might get them. It's your whole building's problem, not a single tenant's problem. In my experience, neighbors who don't react to bites or don't have bugs don't want to hear about it or be helpful in fighting for the building. Maybe you will have better luck.

    BBs travel through the walls. They multiply. Eventually, it will be like trying to stop a flood of water with bare hands.

  10. S13

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Mar 10 2010 19:06:08
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    ack! i just itched all over reading that.
    I am going to have to chat with some people & see what we can do. I'd love to see Roscoe the Bedbug sniffing canine of NYC come in right about now.

    Bad news with the mattresses, too... They dragged the mattress & box spring outside. They were wrapped & left on the curb, but they did NOT leave a "Bedbugs" note on them & lo & behold... the box spring disappeared before the garbage men got them. BB's are the gift that keep on giving. I feel so sad for everyone. People really need to spray paint BED BUGS right on their tossed out goods.
    : /

  11. parakeets

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Mar 11 2010 14:30:20
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    I think the idea of a bedbug sniffing dog is great, but I am under the impression that while you can seal and caulk, there is no preventative pesticide treatment for bedbugs if a neighbor has them and you don't have them yet but don't want to get them. If you have bedbugs, you treat. If you don't have bedbugs, treating with pesticides including DE will not prevent you from getting bedbugs if they are in the building. You have to employ the integrated pest management techniques that don't involve pesticides, sprays or DE.

  12. wchicago

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Mar 11 2010 19:28:49
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    hi parakeets
    i think i'm about to ask a potentially dumb question (um, no surprise there perhaps)

    but, i've seen it frequently posted on this board that bed bugs will avoid DE to the extent it is not dusted lightly enough that they don't really detect it before walking through.
    i know nobody wants piles of De in their living space where it could blow around and get breathed in - but couldn't you put rather biggish piles of De under your baseboards (in the gap between baseboard and floor) before caulking and -if it is true that bbs will avoid wandering through it -then ahve a double layer of protection? another layer of protection to the caulking/sealing process could be good. (after having caulked my apartment like a madwoman, i have noticed sometimes caulk shrinks or the seals break, and it would be nice to have the "double whammy" of a layer of something they don't want to walk through even before they get to the caulk).

    i ask this because i'm going to buy a condo soon, and though it will be cleared by a bed bug dog before i purchase, i will then want to do some preventative caulking/sealing in case the neighbors ever get them. so, would an added layer of De before caulking be useful or useless? and should that layer be dusted lightly (like you would normally use if you wanted them to walk through and die) or piled less subtly in order to deter them from walking through at all? i know nothing is a perfect deterrent or preventative, but is there a way to do it that would decrease my chances of catching them from a neighbor if they get them, over and above just the regular ocd caulking/sealing? and the piles of De wouldn't be a lung hazard if caulked into my baseboards, presumably (as long as i used a respirator while doing the piling or dusting, whichever was better).

    and apologies if i'm asking the wrong person. but does anyone have an opinion as to which would be better, or if adding DE to the caulking process would even matter at all? spidey?

  13. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Mar 12 2010 0:13:49
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    Sounds like a plan to me.

    If and when I move the plan is inspect the place to the nth degree, vacuum, dust (properly not to excess), then seal. I figure it would take days to do if the place is empty

    It is a risk reduction and not a preventative.

    I crawled over every inch of this place after the OK from the PCO dusting and sealing. Tough on the old bones.

    Side benefit of it all was better insulation.

    Jim

  14. parakeets

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Mar 12 2010 12:19:46
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    wchicago

    I'm not sure what you mean by "cauking the DE in." DE has to be loose, such as in a dusting on the surfaces that bedbugs walk through. If you have caulked an opening, the bedbugs won't walk through there. If the DE is bound in with the caulk, the bedbugs won't walk through it and get exposed to it.

    I know there are people here who feel safer if they dust with DE as a preventive measure. I am not for that. I have asthma and a lot of people in my family have died of various cancers so I am aware of how certain seemingly harmless dusts can be harmful. Putting down a substance that kills bedbugs and can be breathed in -- when you don't have bedbugs -- is a risk I think most people should seriously consider avoiding. Small particles can be breathed into lungs and the risks are unknown. There is a risk/benefit to using any pesticide, including DE, but if you don't have bedbugs, I'm not sure if the benefit outweighs the risk. I'm sure there are PCOs who are using things like this since they have a business and want to make their customers happy. I don't trust dusts and I don't trust what all PCOs advise. Our building PCO said it was fine to bring pets back into our building 24 hours after we were treated and dusted, but all the parakeets in the building died.

  15. Beth

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Mar 12 2010 13:49:53
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    "all the parakeets in the building died"

    that speaks volumes. my dog is ill after 4 sprays. this stuff is not harmless after a certain amount of hours.

    bed bugs are ruinous.

    amy

  16. wchicago

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Mar 12 2010 16:16:30
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    parakeets i am so so sorry about your birds. and amy, about your dog.
    maybe chicago apartments are weird - the crack between the bottom edge of the baseboard on the wall and the floor is very very deep -as in, i-can-stick-a-pencil-in-there deep and it goes almost all the way to the eraser. maybe my walls are hollow? dunno. anyway, i am caulking the edge of that to seal the baseboard to the floor - but with canyons of space beyond. i know caulk will keep them from gaining access to my apartment from another apartment, IF the caulk doesn't break or shrink. but i think i'm a bad caulker -cuz i've had a lot of places i've had to go over because of shrinkage or breaking.
    so i was thinking of dusting into those gaps beyond where the caulk would go -kind of deep inside the walls (though obvs still on the floor) i guess -and then caulking/sealing.
    so it would kinda look like this, were my wall, baseboard, gap, and caulk rendered into ascii format

    obviously assume the caulk goes all the way down to the floor

    || = wall
    ] = baseboard
    0 = caulk
    ---=floor

    ||
    ||
    ||
    ||
    ||
    ]
    0

    dust here?
    --------------------------------------------------------------wooden floor
    <---------------------------------------->
    gap depth of a pencil

    thus the de would not be exposed to air outside the wall, but also wouldn't get gummed up with the caulk because the gap is so deep. but might discourage bugs from wandering over it?
    anyway, i do appreciate your caution, and maybe it isn't worth it -perhaps caulking/sealing all the gaps is enough
    thanks!


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