Next steps for newly arrived bugs?(7 posts)
I had bed bugs a couple years ago, so I sort of already know the drill. Here's the story this time...looking for advice on what to do next.
- Dec 6/7: Spent the night in a hotel in DC. Forgot to use my preventative training for hotel rooms. Woke up early with two close bites on my elbow. Recognized them as likely bed bug bites (on me, nickel to quarter size, red, very itchy, raised and warm). Searched the room and found what I now recognize was a carpet beetle larva on the bedskirt with cast skins (thought it was possibly a weird bed bug at the time). Told the hotel management, moved rooms for the remaining night.
- Dec 8: Returned home. Stripped and changed clothes in the basement storage unit. Left luggage down there (bagged up). Only brought up with me my computer and a handful of durable items (pens, notebook, etc.). Should have checked those more thoroughly too, but forgot.
- Dec 10/11: Woke up with two more bites in close proximity. Spent most of the day washing/drying clothes and sheets. Didn't return any of those to the bedroom. Cleaned and vacuumed the room and mattress/box spring. Found and bagged a bug on the mattress that I am 99% sure is an adult bed bug (definitely NOT a carpet beetle) - no other definite signs of them. Looks to be a dude but I can't tell for sure. Pulled the bed away from all the walls and did not replace the sheets.
- Dec 11/12: No bites on me, but my girlfriend woke up with a small raised bump on one toe (she'd been wearing socks). Not sure it's related, but if it is, it probably means the one I found wasn't the only one (which I'd naively been hoping because of my precautions).
Possible steps I'm considering:
- Calling the landlord to see if they'll cover an exterminator (I can't find specific responsibilities of either party for this situation in my lease, so I am nervous about being blamed even though my landlord is generally fair.)
- Using the spray pesticide we picked up at the store on the mattress (not a fogger)
- Putting the legs of the bed in cups/bowls of water or DE (where do I buy that, anyway?)
- Encasement for the mattress/box spring (protect-a-bed?)
- Eventually treating my luggage (with the spray stuff?)
We'll definitely re-vacuum the bed today. What other steps would you recommend/discourage? Anything specific to Chicago?
Also, the hotel has been decent about this (though I really wish they had told me they'd do a same day cleaning on my clothes while I was still there!), but what kinds of things should I look for from them? I don't really need the room comped as it was business (they offered one night), but I will take them up on the bill for clothes cleaning...wish they'd cover cleanup of stuff at home too but that seems a bit much to ask. Thoughts/experiences?
Thanks. I was really hoping never to re-live this stress again...
How about getting a thorough, professional inspection before doing all the work (and stress)?
Well, I don't need an inspection to tell me there was at least one bed bug here - I've got 'em bagged up in front of me. Also, I'd want to go through my landlord, but not sure I'm ready to do that. And if I didn't go through my landlord, I don't really have the money. Finally, inspections often don't tell you anything except "we didn't find any" which is not the same as "there aren't any." At least that's my current logic.
I am with you in your belief that a beginning infestation of perhaps a handful of bedbugs, if that, would be extremely difficult to detect, unless you have a pro (which are just as hard, if not harder, to find these days). But, if you've seen a couple, perhaps that's not the case and a professional inspection, which are often free, could detect them. In my own infestation, I kept getting bites for a few months, but I only ever saw one adult bug, except for a few cast skins/eggs, which I only saw once I completely tore apart (aka destroyed) my mattress and couch. That said, I think the only reason the inspection I later got didn't detect anything was because by then I had no furniture, kept vacuuming and steaming everything, so I'm sure the few stragglers just went deep in to all available cracks and crannies. Nowadays, I'd just rather get an inspection from the beginning--if, God forbid, I had a do-over.
I realize the decision of talking to your landlord may be a difficult one. However, self-treating is almost sure to be worse. It is, of course, your call. But, just imagine how much more costly and draining it can be. Additionally, as the property owner, I personally think your LL has a right to know, so s/he can decide the best course of action to protect their property.
Just a couple of notes: since you stated you've dealt with bbs before, I am sure you know sprays are not recommended, even if they aren't foggers. Especially NOT on your mattress. I've extensively applied Bedlam on my car and, to this day, even after a complete detail, I get itchy when my skin touches the upholstery. So did a friend of mine.
DE: You can find it on the net. Even Amazon has it. But...you do know that's extremely dangerous, right? Professionals apply it with a respirator, and a lot of expertise is required in doing so, as there's the right amount, placement, etc.
Best of luck. Hopefully, you just had a couple of stragglers, if that, both male, who will soon die if they're not already dead.
Thanks for the thoughts. We did decide to go ahead and notify the landlord, who is sending someone to do an inspection. Sounds like they will pay for this, but maybe not the treatment - they're not legally required to here and were already making noises about "it's obviously not something you got from the building" - but we'll see.
The previous time I had bed bugs, I had less control over what was done to my living space (e.g. basically only had control over clothes/linens - not the mattress or other options). So I am a little less familiar with some treatments. And it seems like for almost every option, as many people swear by it as denounce it! Contradictory advice abounds.
Anyway, yes, I do know this about sprays. I was feeling desperate when we bought it. I'm planning to hold off at least until I can coordinate with whatever professional treatment is or isn't needed. Same with the DE - doesn't seem like it's worth it right now. I'll stick to vacuuming, maybe setting up some bed barriers, heating clothes in the dryer, etc.
Sorry to hear about your situation. Believe me most on the forum can relate. You could add some Steri-fab into the mix. Obviously it's a contact killer but as an addition to an overall plan maybe it's worth consideration. I'm a couple of months into my infestation and have three gallons on Steri-fab waiting. Good luck.
Guess I'm not an expert on sexing bed bugs. The "dude" I thought I had bagged yesterday now has two eggs and three pieces of poop in the container with "him."
Any way to tell how long they've been laying? I've been home from my trip for four days.
@never - thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of Steri-fab before.
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