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Possible Fecal Spots on Passive Monitor [a: booklice and unknown stain]

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  1. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 6 2017 14:18:09
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    Hello - Reposting my note below with some new information.

    I am desperately hoping someone on here can help me.

    Over the past few weeks I have confirmed via a PCO the presence of merchant grain beetles under my bed (no idea what they're eating). I have a lot of bed bug traps and monitors down (because I'm paranoid) and recently started finding what I thought were bed bug nymphs, but a PCO just told me were booklice.

    What I am most concerned about at this point is I also have noticed some teeny black specks that smear ever so slightly on my passive monitors and climb ups. They don't seem to be the right size for bed bug fecal matter, but I can't be sure. I'm not sure if another bug could cause them, or if somehow they're just "dust" that happens to smear LOL? There's nothing on my white sheets, white comforter, or white mattress.

    Here is a link to the photos I have taken of the little booklice (feel free to opine if you don't think they're booklice) and the passive monitor stains (two photos are included of the monitor - one at normal size for scale, and one zoomed way in): https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/?

    Thank you SO much for your help!

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 6 2017 17:57:31
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    Hi,

    Yes they are booklice.

    However, I cant tell what the spot is as its not in clear enough focus. Whet you may need to do is compare with the reference images such as this:

    Slide7 by David Cain, on Flickr

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  3. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 6 2017 19:06:01
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    Hi David

    Thank you SO much for the reply. I've done a lot of research, and you certainly seem like one of (if not the) world expert!

    With regard to the spots, I am having trouble ID'ing based on the reference slides (I pulled a bunch from your website). I came home today to some more little grey spots that smeared when I touched them https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/35596370062/in/dateposted-public/. I don't know if this pic is clear enough (if not I can definitely use a better camera). To me they look more grey and faded than the examples on your website, but I'm not the expert!

    If they are NOT bed bugs, any idea whether booklice could leave little marks like that? Or some other bug? The fact that they smear a tiny bit makes me think it is a dropping of some sort and not dust.

    Thank you a million times over
    Heather

  4. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Thu Jul 6 2017 22:44:37
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    One other thing I noticed is the spots lighten significantly with a little damp rubbing - not sure if that makes a difference or not!

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 7 2017 4:30:32
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    Hi,

    Sorry, the focus which is so critical is just out by enough I cant get a good view of the surface of the spot.

    It does not sound characteristic of bed bug faecal but this is probably the most specialist and specific area of bed bug knowledge and I don't think I have ever heard of anyone else specializing in their analysis.

    It either needs a better image, sending to me in the UK or testing with bed bug blue.

    David

  6. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 7 2017 6:59:41
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    Understood! I have bed bug blue on order :). Would it turn blue if these are droppings from another type of bug?

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 7 2017 12:38:36
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    Hi,

    I am yet to find anything that gives a false positive with bed bug blue because its not the same chemistry as a presumptive blood test kit.

    Hope that helps.

    David

  8. Panicked

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Sat Jul 8 2017 8:25:42
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    bed-bugscouk - 19 hours ago  » 
    Hi,
    I am yet to find anything that gives a false positive with bed bug blue because its not the same chemistry as a presumptive blood test kit.
    Hope that helps.
    David

    David that is interesting as you may recall I have been getting bites for near on 2 years and you may recall that I found faecal spots that went bright blue straight away on the test, yet you said it wouldn't be bed bugs because your monitors were clear and that they wouldn't be in curtains where I found it. If you don't get false positives, why did mine go blue? Thanks

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Mon Jul 10 2017 4:29:14
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    Hi Panicked,

    To be 100% clear I am yet to encounter anything in the field myself which has turned bed bug blue which was not bed bug. I do look and search and my team looks and searches.

    What you had on your curtains I have no clue about. As I recall I have seen images but that is not the same as me being able to see or inspect it in detail.

    As for 2 years and clear with on-going bites well the odds on it being bed bugs are so small as to be considered zero by any logic. This does not exclude bat bugs and bird bugs which look similar but behave differently but equally a curtain is not a typical faecal location for them.

    I also offer clarification on the "its not a presumptive blood test kit" because its not, it is a different chemistry, I happen to know which one but that information is covered by confidentiality. In our initial field work in this area may years ago we found that certain pens and even some metal could produce a false positive for processes such as haemastix and other PBTK. As these are common in sleeping areas the risk of false positives with this approach is too high.

    Could I create a scenario where a spot could appear as faecal and would test positive with BBB yes I could. But that scenario would not be something that I would ever expect to find in a home without it being considered a much more significant issue than bed bugs.

    Hope that explains and does not feed any doubt into the OP's situation.

    David

  10. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Mon Jul 10 2017 11:44:33
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    Hi David

    I had a local PCO come out again and he also confirmed PSOCIDS. He could find no evidence of bed bugs.

    HOWEVER I am still getting what looks like little black dust specks in two of my climb ups, which smear ever so slightly if I touch them. He wasn't sure if PSOCIDs would do this, or if I should still be worried about bed bugs. He basically said wait and see.

    Do you know if PSOCIDs or other small little insects OTHER than bed bugs could leave black dust-like fecal marks/droppings? Full disclosure, I had bed bugs about 9 years ago, and the marks I saw then looked totally different - almost like I had left a Sharpie open.

    Thanks again for your help. Wish we had someone as knowledgeable as you here in Boston!
    Heather

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 11 2017 10:37:39
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    Hi,

    Sounds like an odd one.

    Its hard to comment on what could cause this without very clear detail. It may be that you need to invest in a clip on microscope for you smartphone so I can see some detail. However, there is an equally valid school of thought that says if its not bed bugs based on your comparison with clear images it may equally not be contributing to the issue.

    Sometimes an over investment or myopic focus does not solve the issue as fast as keeping an open mind.

    David

  12. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 11 2017 10:56:18
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    Thanks David! I have ordered a clip on microscope and will send you a pic once it arrives!

  13. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 11:54:54
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    Hey David

    Hoping you can help. You earlier identified the bugs I have as PSOCIDS (see earlier post).

    Prior your ID, I had given a sample to the pest control company that has a contract with my apartment building. They didn't get back to me for about 3 weeks. During that 3 week time period, I independently hired another local PCO to come look in person. He found no evidence of bed bugs and said the bugs I was finding were PSOCIDS, same as you.

    So that's all good. BUT THEN. I got a call yesterday from my building management company. They said their contracted PCO had both their service manager and on-staff entomologist look at the bug, and they said it's a bed bug nymph! They wanted to treat right away, but as my husband and I are pregnant, I told them I wanted more proof before they started spraying chemicals around.

    So now I am left with you (world's expert!) saying PSOCIDS, an independent firm saying PSOCID, and one firm saying "definitely bed bug." I had bed bugs about 8 years ago and I'm paranoid, so I have climb ups and active volcano lures, none of which have caught anything other than the tiny PSOCID/"nymph" bugs. The climb ups have been in place about 4 weeks, and the lures have been in place for a week. I do twice daily inspections of my sheets, the monitors, under the bed (yes I crawl around and look at the slats, screw holes, etc), and the baseboards around the bed. I see nothing other than those exceptionally small pin-head size black pieces of schmutz that blow away if you blow on them but do also smear ever so slightly if you rub them (I've only found them on the floor, never on the sheets). What I DO see are lots of PSOCIDs around our windowsills and every so often one or two in our climbups, which makes sense given that it's currently humid and our apartment building is located adjacent to what is essentially a swamp (ahem "nature preserve"). When the PCO from the firm that asserts they are bed bugs came to inspect again yesterday, he also could find nothing. (He didn't even see the PSOCIDS - yet I found 5 yesterday after he was there)

    So that was a long winded way of getting to my actual questions for you:
    1. Have you ever heard of professional pest control people misidentifying PSOCIDS for bed bug nymphs?
    2. Do you have a particular firm in the Boston area you recommend, just in case I need to get a THIRD local opinion?
    3. Given the bug in question was captured more than 3 weeks ago in our bedroom, if we HAD a bed bug issue, would you expect us to have had bites or confirmed fecal marks by now?

    Thank you thank you thank you. Happy to pay for your advice if that is helpful!!!

    Heather

  14. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 12:59:22
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    Hi,

    OK, here goes:

    A: 1/ Professionals by definition should not misidentify pscocids from bed bugs but there are lots of pest control firms out there who see bed bugs as "money bugs" and as such will rush to treat.

    Personally I know I am correct, I believe that also means the independent PCO was correct and the buildings PCO must be having a quiet month (again not a sign of "professionals").

    A: 2/ No I am happy with the first two assessments and my second opinion would come from throwing away the isolation and the volcano and actually monitoring with a method that makes sense. Its still going to remain clear though (why I did not recommend sooner).

    A: 3/ Faecal yes, bites no because they are hyper-variable. That is not to say you would find it although your pscocid hunting abilities puts you in the right skill range to have found anything that is present.

    No need to pay for my advice, I do things only in public because at one level of another it helps a wider audience than just you and me. I will however ask that you do follow anything I suggest rather than over analyzing. The first new piece of advice is go and read this:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/anxiety

    I am preparing a new and sort of related page which I will PM you a link to as its not ready for full public consumption yet.

    David

  15. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 13:48:20
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    Hey David

    The line "a common belief is that that box must contain hundreds, thousands or even millions of pregnant female bed bugs waiting to unleash a plague of biblical proportions" made me laugh out loud (and nod my head in full agreement!)

    I will plan on watching the video posted tonight, but the article was quite good. I may be referring back to it frequently.

    Just one follow up question on something you said - "No I am happy with the first two assessments and my second opinion would come from throwing away the isolation and the volcano and actually monitoring with a method that makes sense. Its still going to remain clear though (why I did not recommend sooner)." I assume the method that makes sense is the passive monitors? Just wanted to check!

    Thank you again. I cannot tell you how helpful it is to have someone in my corner who knows his stuff!
    Heather

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 13:59:16
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    Hi,

    Yes, it makes sense because its what we developed.

    Glad the quotes did as intended, I may have to complete the "mindfulness" section with a bed bug colouring book (but I was kinda hoping Lou would do that one (LOL)). Hope the other link also made a lot of sense, I can see the pair of them working well together.

    I am also starting to work in ASMR audio as I have one of those voices which can modulate well for relaxation sound tracks. It will be all systems go when I get my new standing desk sorted next week.

    David

  17. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 14:04:02
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    HAHAHA perfect!! Keep all of us here posted! Thanks again

  18. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 15:06:22
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    heatherboston - 1 hour ago  » 
    Keep all of us here posted!

    The pilot recording I just made might be a little too "hot breath on the back of the neck" to share publicly. Think big bad wolf meets Barry White

    David

  19. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 21:03:42
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    Hey David - I tested some of those teeny black specks with bed bug blue and I can't tell if it's a grey color or blue color. Could you take a look and let me know what you think? I'd greatly appreciate it

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/?

  20. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Jul 14 2017 22:00:52
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    Follow up For my own reference, I just tested some ink from a Sharpie pen. The results from the specks under our bed are the top left window. The results from the Sharpie are the top right. To me they both look "grey-ish blue," but the window with the specks doesn't look any more blue to me than what I know to be Sharpie. Hopefully this is a good sign! Let me know if I'm interpreting this correctly and I can just relax!

    Thanks again
    Heather

  21. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Sat Jul 15 2017 8:04:27
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    Hi,

    None of these is a positive bed bug blue result:

    IMG_2053 by heather hh, on Flickr

    This image shows positive results:

    bedbugblue test pic by David Cain, on Flickr

    The blue is generated as a chemical reaction that diffuses out from the central point of contact. You don't "rub" the tip on the card you place it.

    With some non faecal stains there is a diffusion and/or chromatography effect where the pigments may be dispersed onto the test paper. Personally I have never seen one of these in the field where the "tinge" could have been described as blue without looking into the sun and squinting.

    Very quickly things pass into the realms of Schrodinger's and Occam's bed bug where the reality is that the sufferers perspective draws them towards reliance of ever remote chances. Well if I tell myself its blue then it could be that the spot was so small that it bled out in a way that caused this. Well the reality is that the chemical reaction is a little more complex than would first appear and without breaching confidence it is simply not technically feasible to get anything other than a bright cobalt blue core to the reaction that diffuses out.

    I will try and use the new studio space I am working on to do a simple bed bug blue video to show you all how strong the reaction is. But you will have to wait for that because so often the time I set aside to do these things is taken up answering questions.

    David

  22. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 18 2017 12:54:32
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    Hi David

    Thanks again for your response. Funny story to share --

    those "black specks" I was finding? (see for reference https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/with/35625498991/) We figured out that every time we lift our bed (it's a "storage bed" on hydraulic springs), small graphite shavings from where two parts of the metal frame (I know, tsk tsk) rub together fall to the floor, in the exact spot we see the "black specks that smear," that oh-so-coincidentally tested negative on bed bug blue. Thank goodness for an engineer husband who narrowed it down and then demonstrated it to me!

    Our building's PCO still claims the booklouse we gave them is a bed bug nymph and wants to do weekly inspections. I'm not the one paying for it though, so they can inspect away! I feel very confident though in your assessment of our situation from afar and in what to be on the lookout for. (Confirmed fecal spots, cast skins, etc). Thank you again for your help!! Hopefully this is the end of this particular saga...!

    Heather

  23. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 18 2017 12:54:34
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    Hi David

    Thanks again for your response. Funny story to share --

    those "black specks" I was finding? (see for reference https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/with/35625498991/) We figured out that every time we lift our bed (it's a "storage bed" on hydraulic springs), small graphite shavings from where two parts of the metal frame (I know, tsk tsk) rub together fall to the floor, in the exact spot we see the "black specks that smear," that oh-so-coincidentally tested negative on bed bug blue. Thank goodness for an engineer husband who narrowed it down and then demonstrated it to me!

    Our building's PCO still claims the booklouse we gave them is a bed bug nymph and wants to do weekly inspections. I'm not the one paying for it though, so they can inspect away! I feel very confident though in your assessment of our situation from afar and in what to be on the lookout for. (Confirmed fecal spots, cast skins, etc). Thank you again for your help!! Hopefully this is the end of this particular saga...!

    Heather

  24. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 18 2017 13:07:35
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    Hi,

    Good job you used blue and not a presumptive blood test kit as they often give false positives on iron shavings like this.

    Shame the buildings PCO is "typical" it really is a rewarding and honorable job when done by good people.

    David

  25. heatherboston

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 18 2017 20:11:24
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    Hey David (or others!) -

    I just thought of two more questions:

    1) I found more booklice (I think) around my bed and the PCO is coming back for an inspection on Thursday. See photos on paper towel here https://www.flickr.com/photos/152405063@N07/with/35587720592/. Any words of advice or reference sources for how I explain to him (and his "entomologist" colleague) that these bugs are NOT nymphs but booklice/psocids?

    2) My husband travels frequently for work and we use a Pactite for his suitcase, suits, etc. Any regular clothes always get put in the dryer immediately or bagged until we can dry them. He also does a "mini inspection" of hotel rooms. However we realized we don't know what he should be doing with his phone and laptop, which he always keeps at the nightside table. Is there some sort of process you would recommend for when he gets home?

    Thanks a million

    Heather

  26. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 months ago
    Tue Jul 18 2017 20:26:19
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    Hi,

    1 share with them this link:

    https://flickr.com/photos/76884786@N07/sets/72157651936266406

    Tell them to actually read a book and if one is an entomologist ask to see their qualifications and tell them I said "shame on you, time to change jobs". You are as likely to fix stoopid as you are to push water up hill.

    1a ask them to never identify themselves to me because I will take the piss out of them as much as I do many of the cockwombles I find over the pond.

    2 watch the hotel room inspection video. If the room is clear stop worrying about what to do with phones and laptops because the room does not have bed bugs, that is the whole point of searching. Think about it, avoid and dont need to worry.

    David

  27. heatherboston

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    Tue Jul 18 2017 20:37:38
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    Now THAT is an epic response. My husband is determined to use cockwombles at some point in conversation this week LOL...

    The flashcards are actually pretty helpful! To me the moral of the story is that the bed bug nymphs don't have an altogether different shape than the adult bed bugs, so stop thinking that they are Transfomers and somehow magically lose their head/neck between nymph stage and adulthood....

  28. heatherboston

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    Thu Jul 20 2017 21:11:53
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    Okay, so my building's fabulous PCO came today for his (now) twice monthly inspections. He is still insisting I need him to come spray a bunch of toxic chemicals around my apartment, which is especially wonderful when you're pregnant..... Before I go ape shit on him, his firm, his "entomologist," his mother, et al, could you look at what I am 99% sure are more psocids and (he thinks) are 1st stage bed bug nymphs? https://flic.kr/s/aHskYVxTBq

    Thank you so VERY much

  29. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jul 21 2017 9:18:21
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    Hi,

    I would ask for a copy of his entomologists qualifications and follow this issue up with any body they are members of.

    You can also print this information to share with them:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/pscocids.html

    It's 100% booklice and they are 100% wrong, yet again.

    David

  30. heatherboston

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    Fri Jul 21 2017 9:22:09
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    Love it. thank you thank you thank you David!

  31. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jul 21 2017 9:56:07
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    Hi,

    Please make sure you follow this one up so that you help others as well.

    In case you get it thrown back at you you may want to frame it in terms of vested interest and how this is actually you being a good tenant of the building and an awesome citizen of the environment.

    The bad boys always have a limited play book.

    David

  32. heatherboston

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    Fri Jul 21 2017 10:13:30
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    Absolutely - I do not want ANYONE else to go through the anxiety I've been experiencing or even worse, have unnecessary treatments!

    It is unbelievable how much terrible information is out there masquerading as "professional." One company I called even asked me if the bugs had 8 legs, because "bed bugs always have 8 legs" (face palm)...

  33. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jul 21 2017 15:02:49
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    I would love to be able to say I am shocked, sadly I am not.

    David


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