New here. Carpet beetles and possibly bedbugs?! NIGHTMARE!(5 posts)
Hello all, I am new here and have been lurking the forums for nearly a week. It seems to me many of you have experience with pest that infest the home other than bedbugs and may be able to give me some tips..
Let me start by explaining how this all came about. I live in the northeast, a little over a year ago my son(who is nearly 3 now) and I had to move in with my mother and her step family given the down fall of the economy. We went from having plenty of room and closet space to the smallest room I've ever lived in, with no closets! So we have a baby bed, queen size mattress, night stand, and computer desk in here, under the baby bed there were boxes of random things, and under the bed three dresser drawers to store things.. I was never really concerned by the because I never had bug issues.. I went away for a week and spent a night in hotel, still, no worries.. A few weeks later we suffered a power outage over night, during this time I dropped something very small on my carpet in the bedroom. I proceeded to get on my hands and knees with a flashlight to find it and I did find it.. along with 3 carpet beetle larva living under my desk! I was HORRIFIED. I've never been the type of girl who is afraid of bugs, in fact the opposite, I'm the first one to kill a bug bare handed when someone else points one out. However to think they are living with us, in out room?! Much less the larva.. the actual bug is not nearly as creepy to me as the larva.. disgusting.
We spent the night in the living room, the next day I gutted the room and started inspecting the floors, boxes, furniture and all. In a suit case I found what I believe to be a nest of a creamy/white powdery substance.. EVERYTHING went down to be washed, all of our clothing, all stuffed toys, anything that could not be washed in the machines went outside to be hosed down and has stayed out several days to dry.. I will inspect these items BEFORE they enter the house again. I pulled up the carpet and realized there was hardwood floors under neath, and although they were not the prettiest and had gaps in between the floor boards(which will be caulked and sealed whenever I can get my hands on a caulking gun) I decided I'd rather live with them, than the carpet beetle larva. My father has been in the carpet business for 30 some odd years, so I know that getting rid of these suckers would not be easy had I kept the carpeting, being that they eat through it and live deep in the fibers and pad. Thanks to him I am capable of ripping carpet out with ease and little issue, so I did just that.. I ripped up all the carpet and pad and threw it out the window to avoid dragging these creatures through my home. I put the mattress' and boxsprings back, along with the bed frame, computer desk and night stand. I used RAID fumigator(or fogger? Not sure what the difference is, I guess it's probably fogger.) and let that sit for 5 and a half hours(an hour and a half more than recommended) I got a box of 4 so I expect to this again several times. I still have yet to put any clothes back in the room and refuse to do so until I have a plastic container for them with a lid, and moth balls. For now all the clean clothes are in a room I believe to be uninfested in plastic bags, and some are still in the basement awaiting washing(we have 4 other people living here so I need to wash and dry with in reason of others needs.)
I was feeling pretty confident after sweeping and vacuuming that these guys would be gone.. After all, I pretty much took away their life line by removing the carpet and clothing, right? Wrong. Today I spotted two alive on the hard wood, I promptly killed them but now I am worried that they are not fully gone despite all my hardwork.. I also am curious, why my room? I have spent 3-6 hours a night reading about these things and loosing much sleep over it.. I found that they live off of carpet, clothes, pet hair and human hair.. Much to my dismay this house has a lot of dog hair. . My mother has two dogs, one who seems to shed endlessly and I appear to be the only member of the house hold who is completely bothered by this. I do not allow the animals in here, so why?! One of them does sleep in the hall way in front of my room and there is a small gap between the floor and my door but.. he is not the one who is constantly shedding the long hairs. I'm baffled because I clean regularly, never open my windows without a screen and even at that I usually don't open them because I get nervous of my son playing near them. I've looked for boric acid but being that I live in a teeny tiny town with one hardware store where the clerk appears to be the son of the owner and couldn't tell his head from his ass on any of this.. I could not find the product.
Now that I'm completely paranoid of bugs living in my home.. I'm curious as to how I can tell for sure if I have bed bugs? I have not noticed any blood stains however 2 of my sheet sets are a bright/blood red color.. I did check the bed out when I redid the room and did not see any actual bugs, however on the boxspring I did see some stuff that looked like it could be feces.. Unless this belongs to the carpet beetles? I did spot a carpet beetle larva on my mattress prior to the stripping of the room. Also in my extensive reading on these things, I found that bed bugs can live in electrical sockets or come in through holes in the wall? There are a few nail holes in the walls, and one hole from my brother being "cute" and punching the wall, which again, I will patch as soon as I can get to a Home depot and get the Spackle.. There are also two socket covers that are chipped at the top so they will also be replaced.. I do watch my son sleep at times and have yet to see any of these guys but I know its common not to find them right away.
Also, something that really has been bothering me.. The seam of the mattress, part of that had ripped and I had sewn is back together, after trying to peek in(but could not get a clear view without tearing the seam open more) Would either bedbugs or carpet beetles make their way in there and infest? If so, how can I get rid of them on a very tight budget? This whole thing has been a complete nightmare and I believe with in this week I've gotten at best 10 hours of sleep total. Any help, suggestions, ideas, ANYTHING at this point is much appreciated, as I can not STAND the idea of co-habitation with these pests or having them feed on my son!
JayRae, I'm sorry to hear that you're going through so much distress. Being forced to change your living situation is bad enough, but these creatures are a total nightmare. It sounds like you've performed your due diligence, keep up the work. My only advice would be to get mattress covers and use them on both the mattress and the box spring. You can purchase them at Walmart for about 10 bucks, but I will warn they are not comfortable to sleep on. They do not breathe and it's almost like sleeping on a plastic bag (experience). Instead you should invest a little more money into a cover that will breathe. Look for one that is rated for dust mites and bed bugs. Good luck with your clean up. I've been there through the sleepless nights and paranoid days. It gets easier!
Thank you for your reply BB! If I get the cheaper covers for the time being will using multiple sheet sets on top of it help at all? Also the baby bed mattress is already coated in a waterproof plastic type of material, but that's just how it's made, should I get one for that also? I was up until dawn keeping an eye on my son, lifting the covers and his clothing every 1 minutes or so to make sure I saw nothing feeding on him.. I saw nothing and no new bite like marks. However after I retired to bed for a few hours, I woke up with several white raised bumps on my right hand, but nothing else. Part of what concerns me is that I keep finding little black specs all over the place! Probably about as big as a grain of pepper, but I have spotted them on the mattress and boxspring, and even sometimes on myself and my son! Is this a for sure sign of bedbugs?
Also my brother has been having issues with night time scratching fits, he wakes up very agitated and itching like a mad man, he swears something is biting him but I see nothing on him, except for sometimes the pepper flakes in his hair. Could this be bedbugs feces? Or fleas? Honestly at this point I think fleas would be easier to get rid of. But would fleas cause the raised bumps and all? Fleas would be a though considering the pain in the ass shedding dogs that never get washed and hang around all over the downstairs furniture. He has a futon, is it possible for bedbugs to infest a futon? I should probably also mention a few weeks back the brother that lives here, and I went to visit out other brother out of state. I slept on his couch and my brother slept in his half refinished basement on a foam mattress that has been used by friends of my brother. Not to sound rude but some of these fellas aren't exactly the most hygenic and are the type of guys to crash at parties at just about anywhere you would NOT want to sleep so I believe it's very possibly any number of them could have brought bedbugs around. Also my brother lives in a woodsy area, I saw several earwigs and beetles in his basement[now that makes me wonder if that's where the carpet beetles came from, but I believe there was too many in here for the short period of time I had been home, and I read that they do not travel with you.]
Today I plan to vacuum the room again, mattress and boxspring, and from reading here I realize I did miss a spot by not doing the seam of the boxspring.. I'll also lift the boxspring and tear off the cheese cloth? and double check there.. I did slightly glance in the day the carpet came out but saw nothing. Any other tips or a point in the right direction at figuring out what exactly is going on here is much appreciated. I will be very glad when I can rest assured that no bed bugs inhabit my home.. Also, if they ARE bed bugs, and I get the covers for the mattress and boxspring[which I plan on anyway, even if I don't have bed bugs at the moment given the tear in the seam] and fill in all holes, gaps in the hardwood, and change the socket covers.. Will that keep them out of here?! I also have a ceiling fan that has holes in the base[it is made that way] would they come in through there? This really sucks!
Okay I just ran over all the bedding including the boxspring seams with a vacuum, also ripped off the cheese cloth and found nothing excepta few cobwebs underneath the boxspring, the occasional peper sized black dot and lint and a few cob on the mattress. However as I mentioned I DO have the two socket covers with cracks, a few small holes in the wall and some gaps inbetween the floorboards.. Yet no blood stains, no actual bugs, no casing.. Where does this leave me? I'm VERY worked up by all of this.
The answer to your question regarding multiple sheets is that from my own experience it is still a bit uncomfortable albeit a better alternative than having the bed bugs (if there are any) coming out of the mattress and box spring at night to feed on you. I don't believe the covering on the baby's mattress is sufficient to keep bugs in or out. Since approximately 65% of bugs are found in mattress and box spring, using proper mattress covers will contain what is already there and keep the others from finding a new hiding place.
You stated that you found the black "pepper" specks while inspecting your boxspring and mattress and you also found similar specks the other day. It is quite possible that what you have is fecal matter. You should inspect the mattress each day and continue to vacuum.
Don't let the name fool you. Bed bugs can be found on any piece of furniture, not just beds. They can infest a futon, couch, and even a car. Also contrary to popular belief, hygeine and cleanliness play no part in who will be infested with the bloodsuckers.
In addition to using mattress covers, I pulled the bed out from against the wall and placed carpet tape just above the level of my bed and on the legs. The carpet tape will catch any would be predators in the act. It acts like fly strips. If you catch something, anything at all, than you will know what you're dealing with. Also, if you should happen to catch something post the picture on this site. There are many knowledgeable people who can identify your critter.
Its been approximately one year and three months since my ordeal, you can get through it. Just continue your clean out and stay vigilant.
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