Newbie Catches 1st Instar Nymph On Tile- Feels In Control for 10 Seconds(14 posts)
Thank you all for this forum and website. I have been able to work tactics in the face of a disappointing and demoralizing pest. It has been a mostly sleepless week but I've made good headway preparing for treatment.
I just discovered my infestation this week in my highrise bachelor suite after suffering from what I thought was seasonal excema for a few months. Oops! Woke up early brushing something off me (it's happened before) but this time found an engorged adult, and 3 of it's bunkmates after some frantic searching. The encased mattress had some molted skins but no other live bugz. The 'bed' is a built in tongue-in-groove (!!) framed murphy bed. Perfect bugz-accomodations and the building is chock full of these beds. I overreacted and chucked the bedclothes and dragged the mattress through the halls. Oops again. I had the Managers blessing but still...
It is now folded up and I'm sleeping on a camp mattress on the tile floor (thank god for tile) with a two side tape and vaseline moat, waiting for the treatment tomorrow. The PCO (Orkin) up in our 70,000 person town doesn't have much experience but will use the standard dust/liguid. He intends to spray the entire floor as well (upon which my asthmatic lungs have to sleep again); sadly only one treatment as he figures the residual will last. He says he'll inspect again though. Well if it weren't for my caught bugs you'd never know there was an infestation so good luck.
The landlord isn't checking other suites at all, swears I brought them in to his pre-furnished suite and is trying to make me pay. I think in my jurisdiction I may have some leverage there. I hope so, the costs for cleaning items and off-site storage are mounting, not to mention lost work time and heartache.
Anyway, finally to the point of my post- since the discovery I've been on the prowl at night with my flashlight esp near dawn.
I found a tiny 1st instar nymph a few nights ago on the tile. 1mm long, light brown and barely visible except it moved in the light. So far in my light infestation (the PCOs words) I've caught 2x 3rd instar nymphs, 5 adults and that 1st instar. And my vaseline moat caught one 3rd instar, all in 4 nights. That 1st instar would never ever be seen at 99% of time I suspect. It was a fluke to catch it close to me in full light beam and moving. If you have carpet, forget it. So far they aren't hungry enough to hunt me during light hours but it's only been 4 days since I isolated.
Are you all reached consensus that isolation is best during treatment, or that it will encourage dormancy and work against the contact working to kill them?
I know you all think the landlord should treat other suites at least nearby to me. So I am trying to work out the best time to extricate myself from this place especially since the PCO is only doing one treatment. I think with the murphy beds and no other inspections, the building is toast. There are other aggravations here I've been meaning to move from anyway. I know the odds of taking the infestation are good. I've gone through the cleaning/bagging protocols. I will even heat paper in the oven per librarian protocols although checks and distance from the yummy tongue-in-groove murphy bed 'suggest' its unlikley there's anything in my papers or books (ok I'm just crossing my fingers I know). The computer and guitar are untreatable and 18 month storage is out of the question financially. So I'll pray for release or that we all get them including every politician and landlord then we can stop being so ashamed and fearlful of spreading them. Argh Bugz!
Any suggestions or comments would be welcome.
That sucks, I'm so sorry. (I confess I have romanticized Murphy beds in the past, Before Bedbugs to be sure.)
Although the PCO is not experienced, thoroughness of application should be a goal, as well as follow-up inspections until all bites stop and there are no more signs. Very few people can get rid of their infestation in one treatment.
I hope you are able to persuade the PCO to return within 2 weeks, and the apartment manager to inspect the adjacent apartments. You can informally chat with your neighbors. Many people have resorted to that in the face of uncooperative landlords. It may help you gauge if the infestations are widespread and if people are generally up to speed on what bedbugs are and how to deal with them. If not, you can share your hard won knowledge. Who knows, maybe it's not as dire as you think. A lot of bedbuggers have to take on the roles of educators and activists in their own buildings. Comes with the territory. I hope you make some progress with the apartment manager.
I'm glad you are taking all necessary steps. I wouldn't worry about bed isolation causing dormancy. The bugs will simply come out during the day if they can't feed on you at night. (So, it's especially important to get the laundering/bagging/dressing for work routine down so that you don't invite any hitchhikers.)
Most people isolate their beds. This has so many benefits: you get a decent night's rest, bedbug reproduction slows, and you may be able to identify yet unknown harborages if they dare come at you during the day. The drawbacks are just the flip side of the above, but for most people it works great.
Canada, right? Check out the FAQ on landlords and tenants as the laws vary from province to province. Even in places where a tenant is held liable, it is often only if they are the only tenant with bed bugs. You may need to put leaflets around asking if anyone else has seen bugs or gotten itchy bites or both. (Others have done this--and even having one or a few people come forward could give you lots of leverage).
Also, Orkin in your sleepy city may have not much experience. But they are part of a network that DOES. If your guy wants to come only once, call and talk to a supervisor. If you must go through the landlord, try to get him/her to. This is where knowing who else has them might help.
The landlord may even have had other complaints and treated others and lie to you--this comes up a lot. (I am not bashing landlords: clueless landlords and clueless tenants BOTH abound and both make life hard for those of us who are allergic and or see bed bugs and give a hoot).
Let us know how it goes, and if we can help!
The PCO said he's inspect for signs and I said to him, 'you mean I'll let you know if there's any activity' since the only 'signs' he found was my collection from hunting them. I will definitely let him know.
He charged $425 for one hour of treatment in a sparsely furnished bachelor apartment on a 'light' infestation (his words). He sprayed the entire floor and baseboards and dusted all furniture including the cracks in the tongue-in-groove murphy bed. Doesn't that seem high for an hours work?
Apparently they likewise 'inspected' two adjacent suites and found nothing.
He treated Sunday. I stayed away till last night due to asthma and somehow got a small bite on my chest(??) when I got back as I was setting my things up, also catching 2 live adults in the light. The early morning activity has dwindled already.
Day 9 post Treatment: Still seeing activity late at night when hunting with the red LED light (red light doesn't alarm them altho movement does, last night I caught 11!) Only a few daytime encounters. Most of the night time catches are older nymphs with maybe 30% second or first instar. They are still confined largely to the tongue in groove murphy bed with one or two adult stragglers lurking elsewhere.
I checked with Orkin Canada and their policy under all circumstances is to treat 2x in the first two weeks. Now I have to convince the local rep to adhere to his company's policy. Sheesh! And the price is in the ballpark. Seems excessive to me for one or two 1 hour treatments. Do the chemicals and permits really cost so much?
All cardboard gone and bags and plastic containers in extensive use. Over the next few weeks I have to start treating paperwork etc in an oven. (130degF for 3hours, water in pan for humidity- in oven)
As an aside, I note that when picking up the older nymphs on sticky tape during my 'hunts' I occasionally and accidentally pick up 1st instar nymphs. I never see them against the wood of the murphy bed or even on the tape until I stick it on white paper. Those 1st instars are hideous in their non-visibility. The very young ones are smaller than 1mm and practically transparent/skin tone. Now wonder they transfer so easily.
Can you describe your vaseline moat and how you did that? I just bought an air mattress and am going to sleep tonight on the floor in my bedroom for 1st time in a week. But being on the floor on the air mattress makes me a little nervous. So easy for them to get to me! Can you tell me what you did? Thanks.
Hi! So far a line of double side carpet tape around the my air mattress on tile floor, with enough room adjacent for blanket overfalls, and a finger goop line of vaseline on the outside and I haven't had any breeching bites. I couldn't say with carpet or hardwood if this would work. I think I am lucky with the tile. They don't really like the exposure, even at night. I also have my computer area isolated with tape.
I have seen BB avoid the vaseline but so far none avoiding the tape or cross it for that matter. Also only found one nymph stuck in vaseline and none stuck on tape so far.
Any gaps under the tape must be sealed somehow since these critters are oh so thin. Tile joints can cause gaps as the tape dries and I seal them with vaseline.
Since the treatment I've even put the vaseline on the tape to avoid wrecking the treatment and altho the tape absorbs the vaseline I haven't had a breech (xfingers). But I am more nervous with this method. After my 2nd treatment I will likely go back to the outer vaseline line.
Also paranoid me- I watch the high places for fallers/flyers. It's documented but so far I haven't had any fall/fly. A few have been out looking though.
Thanks. Yeah I guess it helps to be on tile. I have carpet and I didn't even think that they could slip under it. Sigh. I'll tape anyway and see what happens. I've been on the couch for a week and it's time to graduate to a semi-bed. Even if I do get bitten. Thanks for your answer.
Maybe you can sleep in another room that has lino or tile (kitchen or bathroom).
jennifer, I believe a lot of people have placed a large plastic sheet on the carpeted floor, then placed the air matress and vaseline fortifications on top of that.
jennifer09, if it's feasible you can buy a camping cot (I bought mine from a sporting goods store) to put your air mattress on. I couldn't get up the nerve to put my air mattress directly on the carpet, so I bought the metal cot. I still do the tape/vaseline thing, but I think I am sleeping much better than if I was directly on the floor!
... although now my back hurts from sleeping on the air mattress for almost a month (and counting). I'm trying to build up the nerve to buy a real bed again
Thanks for the cot idea. And itchinincharmincity, thanks for the tarp idea! I can't believe how much $$ I've spent so far! I slept on the air mattress on the carpet with tarp underneath held down by carpet tape. No bites and no catches. I did see one on the wall before I went to sleep which freaked me out. I killed it but I'm sure there are more.
I got another PCO to come out today and talked to him at length. He's much much more knowledgeable than the company my landlord hired. He's with Orkin. He told me:
1) Would treat with Bedlam, Exiter, Pyrethin, Boric Acid. They plan to puff the boric acid into the light sockets and any cracks along baseboard.
2) he's spraying ENTIRE apt., including cd's, books on bookshelf etc.
3) Will inspect neighbor's apt next door. Sad thing is that she has cancer and is weak from chemo. I pray pray pray she doesn't get them or have them.
4) What was disconcerting was that he said he'd come back in 3-5 days. Should he come back in 10-14 days?
I take back my comment about sleeping in other rooms.
I agree with the thought that sleeping in the room the infestation is primarily in keeps the bugs limited to one room. My experience so far is that they only hang around places they have gotten fed before (computer chair, Comfy chair, bed area). Primarily in the bed frame here although I have had bites in my isolated computer chair which the PCO did NOT treat. So I switched chairs. But I note that the 'one' in the computer chair, has remained there after biting, in the upholstery, since it was not caught on the tape and had nowhere else to go.
Glad your Orkin PCO is thorough, Jennifer. My Orkin Rep is not so thorough, sadly.
Not only will bed bugs venture to other rooms if you move, thereby infesting more of your home. They also may not all venture forth--so the old room may remain infested. (Thisis why PCOs tell you to sleep at home--when people evacuate, the bed bugs can simply wait for dinner to come back.)
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