Sometimes it's NOT bed bugs!(22 posts)
I just have to post my story here because I think a lot of people could learn from it & save a ton of money. A few months ago I moved into a new apartment in NYC. About a week after the move, I woke up in the morning with approx 10 very itchy bites on my shoulders, arms and hands. The bites were red, raised welts. At the time I assumed it was a mosquito because my window had been open during the day. But then I started Googling, found this forum & convinced myself that it was bed bugs (mainly because three of the bites were in a perfect row & there was also a splotch of blood on my pillow).
The next two months were hell. I basically moved out of my apartment & lived with my boyfriend. On the one hand, I didn't want to spend $1000 to eradicate a problem that I wasn't sure existed, but on the other hand I was terrified to live in my place and risk having bugs crawling all over me. I turned back to the internet & found out about the bed bug dogs. It cost $300, but I was desperate so I made an appointment with a reputable company. A guy showed up to my apartment with a dog. He told me to stand in the bathroom so I wouldn't distract the dog, then he led the dog around my apartment for about 5 minutes. Sometimes I could hear the dog scratching at my furniture or floorboards - when he did that, the handler would praise him and give him a treat. After about 5 minutes, the handler told me that I had bedbugs in about 7 different places in my apartment, including my couch, dresser and between my floorboards. He told me to call the company to arrange for treatment.
For some reason I was still skeptical so I did some more research. I came up w/ the name John Furman (i.e. KillerQueen) from Boot-a-Pest. John was really busy, but agreed to come to my apartment and do a search the same night I called, at about 9:30pm. He searched the place from top to bottom, turned over my furniture, looked in every nook and cranny, and determined that I did NOT have bed bugs. I was overjoyed.
BUT, about two nights later, I woke up with more bites, this time about 5 or 6 bites on one leg. As much as I wanted to believe that KillerQueen was right, it was difficult to do so when the bites were staring me in the face. I figured I would treat my apartment for anything else that could be causing the bites -- i.e. get a flea trap, aggressively clean/vacuum the floors, etc. Then I'd live there again. If I got one more bite, I'd get the place treated despite the fact that I had never seen any evidence of a bed bug (aside from the bites). I also set up a "NightWatch" detection system.
Long story short, I've been living in my place for the past two months without incident. The NightWatch never caught a single bug & after those two times, I never got another bite. It seems fairly clear now that I probably never had bed bugs to begin with - that it was simply something else (mosquitos? fleas? mites? who knows). Clearly, I did not (and do not) have bed bugs in all the places the bed bug dog said I did.
My advice to anyone who thinks they might have bed bugs would be: (1) get someone to physically inspect your apartment. Someone who actually knows what they're doing & what they're looking for. I recommend KillerQueen. (2) If a bed bug dog says you DON'T have bed bugs, then great. But if it says you DO, get a second opinion before you shell out hundreds of dollars on potentially unnecessary treatment. If my experience is anything to go by, the dogs are prone to false positives.
happycamper, thank you for this story; i really appreciate it.
did anyone else ever stay at your place? did they come down with a similar reaction?
I'm glad I was able to help you! Thank you very much for a warm glowing review. I hope others will learn from this. This "reputable company & K9" are becoming regulars on the false positive list I have.
Another person 2 months ago wrote a letter to the same company about my findings, while they were very nice in their reply letter, they said call them when the bugs come back. Imagine that?
I guess this thread once again enforces the fact.
YOU DON"T HAVE BED BUGS UNTIL YOU FIND EVIDENCE! FEEDING A DOG IS NOT EVIDENCE!
Wow, what a great story! Now if we could only clone KIller Queen for other cities
<YOU DON"T HAVE BED BUGS UNTIL YOU FIND EVIDENCE
CAN YOU DIE OF CANCER HAVING NEVER BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH IT?
I meet people each day who think they have them and don't. I also meet people each day who do have them. The point you make has no comparison. I don’t know if you are one of those people who are having treatment done without evidence .. but if you are .. good luck with that. Let me know the outcome.
My point is I try and save people the heartache and money buy doing my job properly, others should as well. The public should be aware that not everyone is a “bed bug specialist” just because they have updated their web sites, trucks, or flyers to say so.
Case in point .. I was set to do an inspection today for a person who told me they have been battling bed bugs for 5 months. He told me the pest control companies that have been working/failing with treatment have never seen a bug (2 different companies).*EDIT* *I can't even tell you about the chemical application that was done! My Three year old could have done better.* The Client himself has never found a bug. My first thoughts are this guy does not have bed bugs. Rather than set the guy up for treatment, I tell him I need to do an inspection first. The difference is about $2,300 so who is doing right by whom?
Well .. his inspection was free because I found evidence ( First, second, and third instars) in less time than it took me to ride the elevator to the 20TH floor. Yeah .. He needs treatment .. Yes he has evidence now, something that should be found first.
You don’t get radiation treatments without being diagnosed do you?
I'm concerned, because a human being, or a dog for that matter can't find evidence - that people are not getting treatment and worse, are labeled as delusional.
To say that a PCO can always find evidence is to say that man always has the last say, that nature is simple, uncomplicated, never changing; that to not err is human.
I don't want an argument; I want both sides heard.
I still hold that enough good solid information is not known. I will continue to ask the questions as I want everyone to be seeking the answers.
Your last line somewhat agreed with me, you know. You won't get the radiation treatment w/o the diagnosis, but you still die if it's cancer.
Rest in Peace, Freddy Mercury.
well said Bait
Bedbug detection is not an exact science - nothing can perfectly diagnose their presence with 100% complete certainty and accuracy.
It is a well-known fact that EVERY BB detection method available today can have detection failures - some methods are more error prone than others - but NONE are 100% accurate in every circumstance.
This statement is an indisputable fact - Dogs, passive and active monitors and especially human physical inspections can experience failure with regards to detecting BB presence
Anyone who says they are "never" wrong in their physical and visual BB inspection is just selling is selling you a bill of goods! Humans by definition are fallible - and even the most experienced specialist can be wrong in some cases!
In other words - if you have cancer you will still die regardless if you've been properly diagnosed or not
I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell as well....
By the way - Bait is also correct to say that people who have experienced Bedbugs but were not properly diagnosed or treated for them - WILL be labeled delusional
usually it's because some "specialist" comes in and doesn't see the bugs crawling on the walls in the middle of the day - and pronounces the poor person "free" of bedbugs - and tells them that it's all in their head.
You cannot say with certainty that you have ________ without finding conclusive evidence of ________.
I don't care if someone suspects BBs, mites, poision ivy, carpet beetles. Until actual evidence is found, any suspected causes are just that suspects.
Skin reactions can have multitudes of causes and BBs certainly are a possible cause but if and only if a potential cause is found, eliminated, and the reactions cease can anyone say that was 100% the cause.
You're absolutely correct
But it's FINDING that evidence that can sometimes be difficult - especially in low level infestations - and many known detection methods can have failures
absence of finding conclusive evidence does not mean the evidence does not exist - or that the person does not have bedbugs - it just means conclusive evidence was not found
I also know that many other things an cause bite like reactions so I agree with you and I am not saying someone should be treated without evidence
But I am saying that just taking one "specialist" word for it is not conclusive either - especially with visual inspections which are statistically the most error prone and least effective method of detection
KillerQueen - I am very sorry that you took my comments personally I never intended them to be a direct assault on anyone - you or anyone else
I am bedbug free now and have been for while - you did certainly help me quite a bit and I always acknowledged how helpful, knowledgeable and kind you are to people suffering
In fact I have always advocated your services when asked. But the purpose of this forum is to provide a venue for people to state opinions and that is what I am entitled to do
Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else when you say that I stole chemicals from you as I was never around when you sprayed them and I do not have to steal anything from anyone. After all, it was late when you posteed that comment so it was possible that you were tired
I wish no ill will towards you - as I said you did help me after all - but please do not accuse me of things that I could not have possibly done and would not do and would not need to do
Blessings to you and your family during this holiday season
Ive convinced myself I have these darn BBS....WITH NO EVIDENCE! to make it even worse Im Moving back home with my family soon and am convinced Im going to bring them with me! Once again NO EVIDENCE! Yet still thanks to paranoia and over reading (the internet can be a useful tool but harmful as well) I am going to take all those crazy laundering steps for my clothes and have already THROWN AWAY alot of which i own which is very little! I dont have the money for this! The worst part is my clothes i can handle, but my poor little electronics! I cant part with them i cant afford new ones and I have no way to verify they are BB safe! I have horrible anxiety that im going to bring these bbs home! Once again! NO EVIDENCE!
So basically i come on here and vent about how crazy I am! To add to my craziness I also believe that my bites are from these lovely No see ums that infest the area! The no see ums i have EVIDENCE of! yet I still cant drop the idea of BBs and move on! Its a neurotic thing really!
Now i will return home and spend months worrying about if I infested my childhood home! (once again cuz there will be no evidence)....Its horrible! Its a huge mental challenge!
Killerqueen I wish u were everywhere!
My intention here is to advance the discussion, not stir the pot by dredging up personal stories that run the gamut of human behaviors and emotions.
I was at first excited to read a differing point of view (thanks Adele), only to witness the debate reduced to innuendo. Can we rise above the character asassinations long enough to get this discussion going?
Spidey and KQ have been enormously valuable to the forum and have their reasons to believe as they do, as do Adele and I. We are adults and should be able to have a debate on the merits. This is obvious a hot topic. We need and should have everybody on board.
Adele and I appear to be suffering a similar fate. I think it is a cop-out to label us as psychotic; IMO, a too convenient analysis.
For us, the question still looms; what is biting us???
Sorry Adele - on readying back I expect you're now bite-free.
Allow me to amend my last post...
Adele and I appear to have had similar experiences. I think it is a cop-out to label us as psychotic; IMO, a too convenient analysis.
For me, the question still looms; what is biting me???
Whoa this thread got really angry! I don't think there's any reason for anyone to be angry at anyone else - it's just a message board!
I too am suffering a fate similar to Bait - I have been cleared three times over by Action (who are doing all they can to assure me the bugs are gone and who I am so very grateful for their constant help through this) and their dog teams. I have seen no evidence of having these little thirsty bugs and three dog scans over the past two months have all been negative.
I should believe myself to be free of the bugs - I really should! But new marks appear on me every day since August 29th. They never stop appearing! My family and friends believe I'm crazy. *I* think I'm crazy! I shouldn't think that I have bed bugs at all any more (never have seen evidence of them - aside from positive dog alerts months ago)!
Anyway - here's a long story that keeps me going.
Over the summer I had my first Crohn's disease flare up. It was terrible - and I was put on a huge dose of steroids to keep the pain away in my gut (I had been placed on a low dosage of these steroids before for small flares). A week later I had the most terrible agonizing head pain you can imagine. Out of the blue! I had been experiencing dizziness for weeks before this - even before the Crohn's attack. I was convinced that I had an aneurysm as I had all the symptoms. Sharp stabbing lancing pain going through my head. Dizziness (vertigo like). I ran to doctors and had all sorts of tests done - CT scans, MRI's, ER visits. You name it - it was done. Not once was anything abnormal. The head pain constantly grew worse with the last diagnosis from an infectious disease doctor being my teeth causing the problem!
My TEETH?! I became convinced that I had a small aneurysm and that I was going to die. I had a will drafted up, and had my brothers/friends coming to check on me every week to make sure I was still alive. The pain got worse - spreading to my entire face. Then... I came across some information about the steroids I was put on - apparently it can cause severe head aches (but is very rare - as steroids are often used to treat headaches). Now my head pain didn't feel like any head ache I had ever had. It was a lancing pain - like someone took a pickaxe and slammed it into my head (it could drop me to the ground some nights it was so sudden). The pain lasted for 10 seconds before it would vanish, then repeat a minute or so later, or sometimes go about an hour or three before returning. I did more research and - with my doctors support - came off of the steroids as fast as I could.
As the dosage dropped the pain lessened. Then, August 15th, no more pain. I had seen four doctors (my gastro (who couldn't believe it was the steroids but realized it could be when we lowered my dosage after some begging), my normal doctor (thought it was a sinus infection), a disease specialist (thought it was my teeth, thought I was crazy and gave up), a neurologist (gave me chronic pain medicine that almost killed me, thought I was crazy)) over three months. I myself was convinced it was an aneurysm despite two CT scans and an MRI. I went to the ER three times! THREE TIMES!
The point of the story? My doctors were right in so much that their saying "it's not an aneurysm - we would have found it on the scan/mri!" was correct. Now what it actually WAS took alot of detective work, and I'm lucky to have come across a reason with alot of research. I view the current situation I am in as being similar. The exterminators are saying "your house is bed bug free!" and, since I find no evidence of them, it's time for me to say "it's not them... find out what it is!". And.. besides... I have a nightwatch coming my way for 10 days soon.
Also - like my doctors before - I do want to thank all the PCO's who spend time here. Honestly - we are all really grateful to you. Really! Believe me, we really really are. It's just tough for those who suffer without knowing why that's the case, and finding the answer becomes difficult. We all want easy answers (a machine that instantly tells us what's wrong and how to fix it) but that's not going to happen and perhaps sometimes we take that frustration out on those who are here to help. So please accept our thanks, we are really grateful you're here! We'd honestly BE crazy otherwise.
Unfortunately, conjecture has gotten by us for too long.
If evidence is the only true diagnostic tool, then I have to ask, where is the proof that chemical reactions - scores, maybe hundreds of different chemicals, applied differently in different ways - in different environments, around very very different people across the entire globe, cause the same itchy bite-like eruptions on exposed skin?
Lots of people too. The threads with the most views - usually in the thousands range - have the same complaint.
Ditto for the psychotic/neurotic stuff. Where's the proof that I am psychotic? Because a pest control operator says so, or a salesman? That's not even conjecture. It's a cruel excuse that has punitive consequences for the hordes of us that are so labeled.
One post from KillerQueen deleted above per his request.
To Killer Queen : what you say makes sense to me ideally but I find it hard to apply in reality: After having a big infestation where positive identification was horribly hard to get although I was bitten all over the place, I called a PCO without trying to catch a sample when I got repeat bites that were absolutely similar to the ones I had during the infestation, 6 and 9 montsh afterwards. I feel I can recognize at least some bed bug bites with certainty, and that hunting for an individual or two might be entirely hopeless. Of course it would be ideal to find them every time- but should one really wait until an infestation has reached proportions where the insects are very visible to do something ? There is so little certainty when dealing with this problem that I find it difficult to accept that you should do nothing unless you have absolute proof. Now I have a PCO who refuses to treat without a sample - quite sensibly, except traps have not worked so far, and I as this site says doctors cannot identify the bites with surety; the PCO also says many things that are contradicted by the information on this site so that I cannot feel I can entirely rely on him; so I am getting bitten, unable to do anything much about it, afraid of spreading insects in spite of taking all precautions indicated here and some more, barred from visiting friends, and feeling very much isolated and powerless - not a normal situation. Thanks for your information in any case.
I think a PCO wants to make sure that he has seen the evidence of the bed bugs infestation, so that he also can be sure whether or not his treatment was successful. So from the PCO's point of view, this is understandable.
But I also understand that someone just wants a treatment, without proof. Problem here is, that the PCO can be asked to re-treat endlessly.
It should be possible to make agreements on paper in such cases.
Oh, I am so happy to hear your story. I've been back and forth with the "does she or doesn't she" since August. After all this time I have become 90 percent sure it isn't bed bugs though but fleas and quite possibly mites of some type. I've found both in the flea trap I put out along with one mosquito and springtails and ants--nothing in the bed bug beacon that's been running for 10 days already close to the spot where I always get bitten.
And I have scoured our pale-gold colored oak wood bed repeatedly for any signs of fecal spots, skins or live bugs--nothing but lots of lint. It's the ideal place for bugs too, so unless the little creatures are very, very clever and hiding far away from it I think we're okay. The real test will be when we go on vacation next month and I run the bed bug beacon without anyone in the house. Gulp, fingers crossed but you've given me hope.
On an added note, I do know that nothing is 100 percent a guarantee until real evidence is found--i.e. a live bug or at least fecal stains and cast skins where there weren't any before. Or that I complete my deep cleaning and am not getting more bites. I do understand how people can get so hot-headed over the issue. Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than getting bitten and being treated like a crazy person by your nearest and dearest because they aren't reacting and there's no obvious evidence to the problem. Not fun to say the least and I am still going through days where I cry and tear my house apart cleaning and steaming before I calm down again.
KillerQueen if you didn't live on the other side of the U.S. I'd hire you in a heartbeat and same to David Cain, because you both have real-life extensive experience with bed bugs. And at the end of the day I think that's probably more valuable than anything else out there. (If anyone out there knows of someone with similar experience in Southern California send them my way) We were cleared by a K-9 inspection, which I believe was good and the company does do visual inspections but even so I know it's not 100 percent. Nothing truly is until either a) the bites stop altogether or b) the known source of said bites is found whether that's bed bugs or mites or something else.
Regardless, if I do find I have these things in the end I will act accordingly using all of the excellent tools, information and success stories posted on this website. The fact is even if I don't have them now it's still good to be prepared.
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