So I've just entered the world of bed bug paranoia and have no idea what to do with myself.
It started with my roomates complaints of bites (which I took little notice of until I started to get them too!) My first bite was around a week and a half ago. I got it on the couch and I'm pretty sure that's how they were transported into my room. If they really do exist in my apartment at all.
Basically, all I have to go on are these bites I've been getting over the past week and a half. We've looked around and have seen absolutely no signs of bed bugs anywhere; no casings, no live bugs, no blood stains, no black spots, nothing. I live in a three bedroom apartment and although my roomate and her girlfriend have received bites in the past I'm now the only one in the whole damn house getting bit! (there are four of us living here total, not including the roomates girlfriend)
My last few bites all happened in one day. Three bites in the space of 24 hours (all of which I spent at home sick...in bed!)
I put my duvet in the dryer every night now, I'm living out of bags stored in my bathtub and I'm terrified of going to sleep at night. My pillows are in the dryer as I type this.
I've spoken to my landlord about it and she has been helpful, to a certain extent. She's perfectly willing to accept the possibility of us having bedbugs and has even taken a look at different pest control agencies for us. The management agency that we rent from is willing to foot the bill for the extermination but are going with "City Pest Control" (a company no one has heard of) and after speaking to the guy who is potentially coming to spray my home with chemicals (without an inspection he says because "in the early stages they're often much too hard to see") sounds like a bit of an idiot.
I have an email he sent me telling me how to prepare my place for treatment and it includes the two chemicals he's (maybe) going to use:
Tempo at .05% (pcp#25673
pyrethrin at .5% (pcp#12682
The second one I've heard of through another pest control company I've talked to (Vancouver Bed Bug Control, a company my landlord finds a little too pricey to be a reasonable solution) but the first I have no idea. Anyone know anything about these chems?
So basically what I want to know is if this guy comes in and thoroughly sprays my apartment do I have a chance at not having to worry about every crawling feeling I get while sitting in bed anymore? Should I even trust him since he seems to think that I don't need an inspection? I'm worried that if I haven't seen a single one yet that maybe they will be impossible to find and an assessment will just make my landlord think we don't have them.
To me, this is the ONLY explanation for my bites, ESPECIALLY since the last few could ONLY have happened while I was in bed. It makes me want to puke thinking about those little things crawling on me in my sleep.
I just don't know what to do. I can treat my place for a problem I think I have, bring in another company and pay for their assessment and treatment myself (realistically, not an option, all of us are farr to broke to foot the bill ourselves) or set fire to everything I own and cry.
There are plenty of other possible explanations for your bites. At the same time, it is possible that you have bed bugs. However, I wouldn't ever treat my residence for bed bugs until I had conclusive proof that it was bed bugs.
Here's the thing. Carpet beetles don't bite but do produce bed bug bite like responses. Fleas can also be a problem. In addition, don't forget that it's possible you and your roommates were exposed to bed bugs somewhere other than in the home.
Bed bug bites, esp. when someone is first exposed to bed bugs, can take up to 9 days to show up on you. Yep, that's right. It can take over a week between the time you're bitten and the time those itchy red welts show up on your skin. So unless you were in bed non stop for 9 days, your belief that this is the only explanation for where the bites came from doesn't hold up.
I'm not saying that you conclusively don't have bed bugs. I'm saying that your logic that the only thing that could possible have produced the bites was bed bugs is faulty. You're relying in your timeline on when the bites surfaced as proof that it could only be this one pest, and you yourself state that there are no other conclusive signs.
Bed bugs can be a tough pest to treat. That's part of the reason finding evidence of what is biting you is so important. You need to know exactly what you're dealing with so that you can tailor the treatment to the pest in question.
(After my successful bed bug treatment, I had one scare. My best guess is that I got bitten by bed bugs at a movie theater. My PCO came back out and did an inspection and found absolutely nothing. I knew that the bites were bed bug bites because I'd reacted differently to those bites than any other insect bite, but I also couldn't find signs in my apartment.)
If I were you, I would look into strategies for getting a PCO with lots of bed bug experience in for a thorough inspection. A bed bug specialist with a good record is the best person to find out whether you've got a very early infestation, some other pest in the home, or were possibly exposed to bed bugs elsewhere and are just now reacting to bites.
I know that it's more complicated when you rent (since I rent too), but the PCO you've described doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence with me from your description. Of course, negotiating with your landlord for this might be tricky, but if you spun it as a matter of getting the bed bug specialist PCO in for an inspection which might prevent the need to treat for a costly pest if something simpler is discovered, that might work.
Esp. if you live in a multi-unit building, making sure that the PCO who inspects can also inspect all adjacent units is important--remember to stress to the landlord that you don't want him/her to spend money on unnecssary treatment, but you also want to be sure to eradicate any problems efficiently, and inspecting all adjacent units is part of that plan.
Lastly, it sounds like you're really stressed out and probably a little sleep deprived (goodness knows I was before I got a PCO in to treat.) But I absolutely promise that things will get better. They'll get better even faster if you find a way to get a bit more sleep so that you have the strength to approach this will full energy. You might read the FAQ on isolating the bed if you think doing that will give you a chance to sleep better.
Hang in there.
Thanks for the quick reply. Haha I am stressed out, I feel like I've reached the end of my tether and it hasn't even been two weeks yet. My roomates aren't the most helpful people so I feel like I'm doing this all on my own. But I think they'd be willing to pay to have someone confirm what we have. I have two people I'm looking at for an inspection right now. One of them is from Orkin and wants to put some sort of carbon dioxide monitor in our house for 8 hours? We can't be home and we have to turn the lights off in order for it to work but it basically simulates a sleeping person, draws the bedbugs into it and traps them there? Is that a common way of finding them? And is it effective?
The other person is a guy from Vancouver Bed Bug Control (who have been really helpful up to this point) and he would just come in and visually inspect the place.
Both options are around the same price, I'm just wondering which would be better.
As much as a I would find relief in not having beg bugs, I'm also worried that I have something else. If this is the case I'm sure my landlord won't be offering any more help in the matter so I feel like I'm in some sort of creepy crawly catch 22.
We found ours by thoroughly vacuuming the mattress and box spring. So when the exterminator came for the initial inspection, we had them in a plastic bag.
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