Please help me, tired, scared, and just dont know what to do(37 posts)
Hello everyone. I am a mother of 5 with one on the way. I am so scared of what the outcome is going to be. My neighbor upstairs moved out last month, since then my family and I have been getting eaten alive. They seem to love me, I must have 50 bites on my right arm alone. My kids father doesn't seem to get bit at all. I was bit on my eye, so bad that it was swollen closed for a week and then turned black and blue. my doctor told me to call my landlord immediately and tell him that she is going to call the health department. I did as she said. Presently, three weeks later, I finally received a letter from the exterminator, with instructions for preparations to make for the treatment, they do not seem to be very thorough. It says to bag everything and de-clutter. However, it doesn't say what to do with the stuff. There is no contact name, telephone number, or even company, and the landlord wont return my phone calls. My apartment is too small for my family, so everything is very tight and crammed up in my home, and I just dont know what to do. As thourough as I have tried to be, with washing, bagging, etc, its very difficult, my kids just dont understand that all the dirty clothes have to stay in particular bags, and neither does their father. me and my daughters in particular are being bitten, even during the day. They haven't been biting the guys in the home as much. I cant sleep, i am panicking. I am a high risk pregnancy and i am going crazy. I am supposed to be taking blood thinners, and I can not even take them, because while taking them I could bleed to much in my sleep. I have inspected, and so far found bed bugs in 2 of the bedrooms. I haven't found them in my sons room yet. I know they are in my living room because I have been bitten on my couch. I talked to my neighbor that moved out of the upstairs, she said the landlord knew of her bed bug problem over 6 MONTHS ago, and has done nothing about it, thats why she stopped paying rent and moved out. I am so afraid, that the infestation is so bad that it cant be controlled. My original plan was to wash and bag all the clothes and linens, move, and purchase new couches, and new beds, however, after reading others posts, I just dont know if that means they will follow me. I am sick of this. I started sleeping in my tub, just so I do not get bit for an hour or two. I am afraid that I can not keep only getting 2 hours of sleep for much longer, I have little ones to take care of. I am having a hard time moving furniture around and things to clean more thoroughly or inspect, and the kids dad is USELESS and LAZY. I think I pulled a muscle in my belly, trying to put my childrens bed back down from inspecting it. I am tired, confused, distraught, itchy, and losing my mind. What should I do, move and leave everything? Please someone give me some kind of advice.
I'm not an expert and am about to sign off. I'm so sorry you are in this situation.
The Health Departments in most states don't get involved in bedbug cases. You may want to see if there is a tenant rights group in your city to contact. Don't post anything personal on here (that could identify you). You can PM (private message) Nobugsonme your location and she may be able to send additional information.
Good luck. My thoughts are with you...what a horrible situation.
Thank you for the advice. The Health Department is coming to my home thankfully, not sure what they can do. But at least it is a start. I just feel so alone right now and angry that I can not figure a way to protect my children. You are right about the personal stuff on here, I honestly cant think straight enough. However, I don't really care anymore, I just want it to go away, and figure out how to make that happen.
Thank you for your kind words
Where are you from famof7?
ah, I would have helped you if you were in my area. Get on that land lord, stay strong for your children, and try your best to remain calm.
Best of luck!
Hi, Fam of 7. Dealing with bed bugs can be bewildering, especially since some of the people who are entrusted to "help" don't have a clue of how to deal with the "people" side of the issue (i.e., the vague, yet daunting preparation instructions. Here's pro (and forum member) Jeff White's take on why we do what we do. Jeff is somewhat cynical about the need for extensive prep for "most" cases. I'd be careful about that, as my guess is that your neighbor's "bad" case has probably migrated to you (likely abetted by some bad techniques, such as foggers, applied in the vacant apartment). http://www.bedbugcentral.com/tv/index.php/2010/07/bed-bug-preparations/
I'm angry for you regarding the man in the house. I wish I could think of a way to get him motivated. At the very least, he could be vacuuming the heck out of your place frequently (and dumping the bag outside or washing the cup with hot soapy water).
Please review the FAQ from start to finish to get a solid "foundation" for what you and your family should know. Our Resources page also has some excellent guides and fact sheets. Choose the one that you feel would be most understandable to your kids and the man.
When I first encountered BB, what freaked me out was not so much the bugs, but feeling confused and alone. This community was here for me, I hope we can be here for you. I want to acknowledge your frustration, especially with the man who does not seem to "get it": you're having a baby and you're in crisis. Are there family/friends/community/church who can be mobilized to intervene?
Best of luck, with everything.
Killer queen, thank you for trying to help, I appreciate it. Good help is very hard to find.
Cilecto, thank you so much for all of the information. I feel a little bit better today. I think I was having a nervous breakdown. I was actually able to sleep last night through the night, I was so exhausted, I feel asleep in the computer chair. I feel overwhelmed and as if I may never be able to get rid of them. I have so many questions, like will I be able to mop my floors after the exterminator comes(I have a one year old, he walks, but he crawls and puts things in his mouth, etc)? Can I put my curtains back up after I wash them or do I wait until the exterminator comes?
I do not have anyone to help me, besides my 16 year old sister. Frankly, I am afraid to ask her to help because I don't want her to bring anything home with her. I have had her watch the kids, while I prepare for the exterminator (that's the most help I want from her, just cus I don't want her to bring any home). My mother acts like I have the plague or something, telling me to move away from her on my own porch, so that she doesn't get any, and that she doesn't want to go to the store with me because of them, or gets itchy instantly when I am around her. My best friend can't help because she doesn't live in my area, so she'd have to stay in my home to be able to help.
I guess the biggest thing on my mind is: what should I do? Should I just move, leave all my belongings, and start all over? Or should I stick it out and fight? Realistically, my apartment is too small for us. For example, my room is so small that my bed touches my sons crib and then there is two small dressers in there. There is maybe a foot of space between my bed and the dressers to walk. It is only a three bedroom apartment.
I have so much on my mind right now. I am probably forgetting things I wanted to say. Again, thank you for all your support and advice. It does make me feel better then someone out there understands me.
Hi, Fam of 7.
I would try and get treated in place. Experts advise us that it's hard to move without taking some bugs along. There's no guarantee your next place is uninfested. This may give you an opportunity to streamline your living in this place, if you can organize yourself and get tough with the people who live with you.
With a few precautions, you should be able to interact with people and people with you. Our travel FAQ should give you some guidelines.
I assume that you've reviewed that prep video regarding washing and bagging (if not, please do). Once items are laundered and bagged, it's best to keep them sealed up until after treatment. This reduces the number of potential places for bugs to harbor. It also gives the techs better access to the surfaces in your home. (So, don't re-hang the curtains yet.) Generally, "suspect" items are either kept bagged just to be out of the way for treatment, then let out, so bugs come out to feed, cross poison and die. Some pros have you bag "suspect" items either long-term, or in anticipation of treatment with heat or "pest strips".
This is a time to treat yourself extra special and try and see that others do, as well. Whatever can make you feel better, be it a nice warm beverage, an extra long shower or bath, a haircut, or music. Of course, something for the irritation (see doctor or pharmacist).
"Discovering" bed bugs nearly four years ago helped me learn some things about myself and how I deal with people, with things and with crises. My situation turned out a lot better than I feared, but it helped make me a stronger person. I hope that this crisis can help you and your family grow, as well.
Again, thank you so much. Would it help if I eliminated having a dining room, and make that into my bedroom? I am thinking this because that way there would be room in the bedroom for the technician. The living room and dining are connected anyway. I just feel as if, it will help with de-cluttering the space. I have lived here for 5 years and there just isnt any room. In addition, the new baby will be here in 2 months or so, and I need a place for another crib to go. If I did this, it would create a bedroom for the two babies and maybe a little more space, especially since I need to stay put to not bring any to another home.
Oh another thing, can we keep books? The paper says to get rid of all papers and magazines, what about reading books. I am a big reader and I try for the kids to be as well.
Or should i just throw them away as well.
Short-term, it's probably best not to make "big" decisions, like re-arranging your living space. Just see to it that there's enough room for the techs to get to where they need to treat. It's generally advised not to move "suspect" things from room to room. Perhaps a dining room is an asset...you can use it as a conference room where you lay down the law.
famof7andhalfHatingBugs - 2 minutes ago »
Oh another thing, can we keep books? The paper says to get rid of all papers and magazines, what about reading books. I am a big reader and I try for the kids to be as well.
Or should i just throw them away as well.
Get rid of un-necessary clutter. Do not throw away books or magazines that you care about. They can be inspected and treated, if necessary. Again, back to the prep video and the FAQ. A good technician should not require you to throw away things you care about.
Regarding mopping the floor and crawling. The tech should (I believe by law) let you know what's being applied and where. Most products are applied "strategically" into cracks and crevices, not "broadcast" over the entire floor (though we've heard horror stories where products were abused). You will probably do well to thoroughly clean the floor before treatment, you'll probably need to leave it alone for a while after (but check). Consult with a pediatrician regarding how to protect your children if they crawl around.
Ok, thank you this is going to be a nightmare. We have to mop our floors at the very least, every other day. The wood floors are not varnished, so no matter how much we clean it just harbors the dirt. So we wash them very often.
Health Department was here today and is forcing the landlord to exterminate the ENTIRE house (the attic, upstairs, my apartment, and the basement).
so glad the health dept. is insisting the whole building is treated, as, if they are coming in from upstairs that is clearly what is required.
I just hope he hurries up and gets it done !
Best of luck
OMG, I am now so distraught. The Health Department just called. She said that her supervisor over-rided her and now because they did not receive a sample from the upper apartment, that it is my responsibility. The only way that it is the landlord's responsibility is if it is the entire home, and that they have physical proof. So now, I have to somehow figure out how to get rid of these on my own, which I do not have the money to. My fiance is currently laid off of work until the landscaping season starts and I am disabled.
Any suggestions, of what I should do now, would be very helpful. If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Please any advise would be helpful.
I don't see how failure of the inspector to take a sample of a different unit in the building would absolve the landlord from being required to provide a "habitable" apartment for you. That would require extermination. A good PCO would advise the landlord what needs to be done to protect his investment in the building, including inspection/extermination of adjacent units.
What happened to the original plan to treat your unit alone? Were you able to gain some perspective on preparation from the resources we gave you?
Is there a tenant advocacy group or a social services agency that can intervene either to get the LL to do his job or to assist you with the physical part of the work?
I do not understand that either. However, the Health Department said that is my choice if I have the apartment exterminated or not. The landlord does not have to do it, unless another person moves in upstairs and reports the bedbugs as well. The landlord is conveniently not retuning my calls regarding the extermination as well. So I am at a loss here, not sure what to do. I am not sure about a tenant advocacy group, I am looking into that. I am still waiting for social services to get back to me. Yes the resources were helpful.
This guide does not address bed bugs per-se, but does have a contact at the Buffalo Fair Housing office.
Were you able to produce a bed bug sample (or other physical evidence, other than bites) for your unit?
As you go through your daily routine, are you finding bed bugs in your things?
Yes, I was able to produce a sample for the Health Department, they took it. I have not found any bugs in any of our things besides our beds and couches. I have not found any anywhere else.
If you're stuck, here are my non-expert recommendations, to give you some temporary relief and get you "unstuck". As your man seems OK with manual labor and can work safely with dangerous tools:
- Do not go washing all your things, but, as you wash and (thoroughly) dry things, seal up (securely in a twist-tied bag) any items that are not in active use (ie, out of season). Any decent bag will do.
- Get rid of the newspapers and magazines that you no longer read.
- Vacuum the heck out of your floor, the cracks, the baseboards, your mattress, your box springs, your upholstery. nooks, crannies, seams, piping. bed frame. Picture frames. TV. Stereo. Nightstand. Deressers. Drawers. Etc. Every surface, nook and cranny. Go under the box spring and upholstered items. (open the cover). Use the bare hose or thin tool only, no brushes. After vacuuming, seal up the bag and dispose outside. If bagless, wash out the cup in hot soapy water. Do this regularly.
- Scrub down your bed frame with hot water and detergent.
- Scrup down wood floors and wood furniture with furniture polish or water and wood soap (like Murphy's).
- Do not use alcohol or other flammables in trying to solve this problem. Bad things happen.
Even if you were able to find the money, I don't think eradicating bugs in your apt. would be a long term solution - they would simply move back in again from the other apt.
Are you able to complain to the Health Dept. supervisor?
If the Health dept. wont help you force the landlord to act, is there someone else that will? Perhaps even the local news might run it as a story?
Otherwise, I can't help but feel your upstairs neighbour had the right idea?!!! Moving without taking bugs with you will be a nightmare with five kids, but is there an alternative?
Newtactics, I was thinking the same thing, and I dont know if there is any other alternative. However, I am so scared to bring them to a new place. I have been trying to get all of this stuff done, but we have alot of things accumulated in this house with having so many kids. I dont mind doing the work, its just very time consuming.
My social worker is having the landlord at least exterminate twice, so i can try to move without bringing any, and she is helping with a security deposit. Supposedly the house will get done, not just my apartment. No I can not contact the supervisor of the health department. However, many people have pushed the issue, my kid's counselor, school, ob doctor, pediatrician, etc.
Notwithstanding the health department, if there's an infestation upstairs, sooner or later, the landlord will need to exterminate. A vacant apartment is a cash drain. He's got to rent it out, so he'll exterminate. Bed bugs are a learning process and he will hopefully learn.
Based on what I've heard so far, a move will not help you. There's no guarantee that your next place does not have BB. There's a good chance that you'll take strays with you. You'll have a lot less standing with your next landlord when you need pest control in your new place and your history comes out.
I'm glad that you're mobilizing your resources and your family to take this problem on. Good luck.
I'm so sorry to hear about all the stress and anxiety you are going through. I am dealing with my second go-round in my apartment, and I feel your frustration. I would keep records of ALL money you spend to clean, and keep collecting samples of the bugs. I told my landlord I spoke to a lawyer (which I didn't) then sent my landlord a list of all my expenses and an explanation of the anxiety the infestation was causing - all to get them to pay attention. I wish you the best of luck. You're not alone.
As for sleeping, here's what I did when I first got the bugs. I still felt paranoid all the time, but I was able to sleep a little better. Vinyl mattress covers are not the best, but they are the cheapest. If you can't afford the good mattress covers, buy a few of the vinyl ones. Inspect your bed, killing any bugs you find, then put the covers on. Tape the end of the zippers so it's harder for any bugs to escape. If you have a frame, put double sided tape around the legs of the frame and around the base. This way, no more bugs can climb up. If you inspect good, there should not be any in the bed or they should be trapped inside the mattress covers. It's a temporary fix, but at least it's something to help you feel safer at night. Again, good luck!
I'm sorry to say it but I think Cilecto is right that it will be hard to move without taking any bed bugs with you.
Two visits from a PCO can eliminate some problems, but often isn't enough and this is likely if the neighboring apt. is infested and untreated.
Is your partner helping you with the bed bug stuff now?
It might be worth calling the Fair Housing office number that Cilecto linked to. They may have some advice about your rights.
Does the social worker have anything to suggest?
If funds were available, you could have all of your items treated with heat/Vikane gas to avoid moving bed bugs, but of course, you'd want the new place carefully inspected just in case. Unfortunately, it can be costly if you're on a budget.
Thank you everyone, for the support, suggestions, and advice. My fiance's uncle, my fiance, and I have been trying to get enough knowledge to tackle the problem.
Our plan, is still a trial and error thing. However, the uncle is coming over today, with many heaters, heavy duty thick plastic, painters tape or duct tape, and an extra electrical dryer (just so happens, I have an outlet for an electric dryer, as well as the hook ups for my gas dryer). I am going to borrow my aunts heavy duty steamer as well.
The three of us are going to go into each room together and tackle them one by one, extensive cleaning, vacuuming, bagging, scrubbing, etc. Once, we complete all the cleaning activities in that room, we are going to put all of the heaters in that room, shut windows, close it off completely, with tape and the heavy duty plastic, place the digital thermometers (to know it is at the right temp in the room) and bake the room for an hour. While that room is heating, we are going to go into the next room and start the process all over. In the meantime, I will be doing the massive amounts of laundry to be re-laundered, with 2 dryers, I can have a load going every half an hour.
In addition, I have to get rid of at least 2 beds and 2 box springs, and my living room couches, there are tears and rips in them. We have had them for a long time, and they have been through alot of wear and tear. Boys jumping, wrestling, the dog, etc.
Also, the exterminator is coming Thursday, I have to be out of the house until 9 at night he said, since I am expecting. What I do not like about the exterminator, is that he already said he doesn't think the infestation is that bad, yet he hasn't been here to inspect.
Now, my questions are this, do you think that these strategies can eradicate the problem, or at the very least make an improvement? When should I get rid of the furniture, should I wait till after we heat the rooms, before we heat them, or after the exterminator comes? Is there a particular way we should remove them?
Heat treatment is not for amateurs. Done right, it solves your problem in one shot. Done wrong, it drives bugs deeper into hiding and burns down your house.
It makes no sense to try heat, throw out furniture, then do chemical treatment.
If I were in your place, I'd take the conservative "first do no harm" steps that others and I advised you. Then work with the techs. If that doesn't get the job done, take advice from experts on the forum on how to proceed.
I cannot answer all your questions, but I must emphatically say, absolutely do not attempt a DIY sort of heat treatment for your rooms. Not only is it unlikely to even work (temps, circulation, speed are all important to do perfectly), you are taking safety risks. Heating buildings should ONLY be attempted by knowledgeable professionals.
Okay, so no heat treatment. The techs are coming Thursday. But when and how do I throw the furniture out, that needs to be because of the rips and tears? Before or after the tech comes?
I am really glad you're not going to attempt DIY heat treatment. As others explained, it is highly unlikely to work and can have disastrous consequences.
PCOs tell us most furniture does not need to be thrown out. If yours does, the PCO tech who comes can advise you on this and hopefully guide you in terms of how to do so safely.
One concern is that tossing things out tends to lead to neighbors reclaiming the items-- which can mean re-exposure in time. They also need to be well sealed before removal to avoid spreading them in the unit or building. If the PCO thinks they can treat without tossing the items, that's probably best.
Okay, PCO was here yesterday, said I can start unpacking everything. Seems a little strange to me, if he is going to come back and treat again. It makes me wonder if I am going to have 60 bags of laundry to wash over again? He is going to be back on Thursday, to dust with a powder. I now have new neighbors moving in upstairs. I can't believe that my landlord just has absolutely not a care in the world that another family is going to have to go through this. I also thought the PCO was supposed to put the encasement's on the bed(the paperwork that was sent to us for prep instructions, said it was included in the service), and he didn't. I hadn't been bit in about a week until last night, after the home was exterminated.
Hi. I just read through all these posts and I have such sympathy for you. I am so sorry you are going through this.
Personally, I would not unpack anything until after your next treatment. You might have been bitten because some bugs that survived the first treatment came out of hiding and needed to feed. From what I have read, the bugs are on a 3-7 day feeding cycle. Hopefully after they came out and found you they will have been exposed to whatever material the PCO used and will slow down. But I am sure the experts on this forum will weigh in and tell you more. I am no expert at all.
Is there any way you could warn your new neighbors? I know it is hard. You don't know them and heck, they might not even believe you, but at least you will know you tried.
Being bitten after treatment is to be expected-- it will take time to kill the bed bugs.
I agree with manhattanmom that if it isn't too late, you should keep your already cleaned, sealed items as is. Your PCO may need more than one treatment to eliminate the problem-- most spray/dust treatments seem to need multiple visits.
While I general think people should follow a PCO's instructions, there's no harm in keeping clean things sealed a bit longer until you're confident the bugs are all gone.
Heck, I still live that way, and likely always will so long as I live in a multi-unit dwelling. I packed away alot of stuff in sealed bags, including extra fabrics I didn't need access to on a regular basis.
I have a whole new respect for "living lightly."
famof7andhalfHatingBugs - 2 days ago » ...I now have new neighbors moving in upstairs. I can't believe that my landlord just has absolutely not a care in the world that another family is going to have to go through this....
Having neighbors can work to your advantage. If they're responsible people and they discover BB in their unit, then the whole building finally gets the treatment it needs. The trick is to:
a. not scare them off
b. they identify an infestation
c. take responsible steps to get the problem resolved
Best bet is to probably have a conversation with them about what's going on in the building and that the landlord does take care of these things, if you press him and that this problem can be fixed if you take the proper steps.
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