Success? (maybe) (okay this is reallllly long...)(6 posts)
I'm not sure I should post this in the success stories, but I want to post it somewhere...
Tomorrow will mark 2 full months since I completely left the apartment where I had the bugs. It is also 9 months since I first saw a bug. I am so hesitant to even type these words because I think I will jinx myself but I think my home is free... for now?
I did do everything I could, or everything I thought I could at the time, to get my landlords to treat my old apartment, but I was not very successful. The specimen I brought to the landlord's office ended up thrown away (by them) before the PCO could even see it. (It was ID'd as an immature BB by knowledgeable posters on here from photos.) The treatment was 2 sprays 4 weeks apart, one confined to the bedroom baseboards and doorway, one including the living room baseboards. I also ended up putting DE down in all the bedroom baseboards and (I think, can't remember) several other adjoining baseboards. I guess the fact that I did not see more bugs means that either it was not a large infestation, I threw them all away with my duct-taped stuff (ha ha), or their treatment was better than I would have thought, although it was pulling teeth to get a second spray. I always suspected the apartment next door to mine as being the source, as I heard them smacking their hands against the walls late at night the way you do to smash a bug. But they did not speak English from all I could tell, and the landlord and PCO would not inspect any adjoining apartments unless people complained. Along with other management issues and a general declining quality of life in that place, I began looking for a new apartment. *Edited to add: I also posted my old apartment on the bed bug registry http://www.bedbugregistry.com
I saved no furniture from the previous apartment. I defaced it all with markers and spray paint in English and Spanish, wrapped it all in plastic and duct tape, and called two different junk removal services (at different points over the months) who came and hauled it all away. I got rid of a lot of the rest of my possessions in sealed garbage bags, and most of my clothing (though probably more than I needed to.) What I brought... I treated in the Packtite in open ziploc bags which I sealed and packed to the car after treatment, or washed in the dishwasher with a hot dry cycle and placed into new sealed bags. I treated my laptop in this way (with battery out!) and it still works well. The only exceptions to the Packtite/dishwasher routine were my laptop battery which I inspected very carefully, and my cell phone which I wiped down many times with 91% alcohol and inspected thoroughly (I couldn't get its battery out). And of course, the laundry procedure mentioned in detail on this site. I live alone and was very reluctant to ask anyone to help, because my family is not nearby and there was no one else I trusted to tell about my problem or to take the precautions to keep from catching the bugs themselves, thus this took several trips over about 2-3 months, with meticulous decontamination procedures for myself/clothes always included. I was fortunate to have the time between the start of the new lease and end of the old one to do this, and the savings in the bank to be able to pay both rents for this time.
I've seen no real signs since moving in- though panicked threads I may have posted in the meantime seem to belie that, they always turned out to be nothing. I have a BBAlert passive monitor on the couch where I've been sleeping and it's empty. I'm working on getting the place caulked up.
I remain paranoid/vigilant. I still do my laundry with the Ziploc routine (it helps that my work clothes do not have to be dry-cleaned.), and keep my shoes and purse in Ziplocs at home. I still hate making overnight visits anywhere, no matter who, because I am always afraid that I will catch them again. I'm still afraid to buy furniture. I think I will always avoid movie theaters from now on (Netflix and DVDs make them not really worth it anyway.)
I did last night for the first time, tell someone at work whom I trust very well the "real reason" I moved. (Bed bugs came up in conversation as it seems they are more and more lately.) To my surprise she was very sympathetic and told me not to be ashamed as I have been, and still wants to come to my place. I also found out in this conversation that a prominent area PCO company states that bedbugs are second only to termites in the number of cases they are treating recently, and yet they still don't have a great success rate. (I don't know how accurate this statistic is, being pretty much thirdhand, and that I'm sure cockroaches in this southern state must still be more common than bed bugs, but it still is enough to give me pause as to how isolated I have felt, when in reality this is becoming unfortunately common here.) It makes me realize I have to stay vigilant, but I also have to live my life.
If you have read to the end of this, I am amazed. I am sleepy after working last night and that tends to make me ramble. I guess this was more therapeutic for me than helpful for anyone else. I guess I should make a list of actually useful things to take away from this.
-This site is amazing. Any question you have someone can answer and help you or just listen to you and UNDERSTAND.
-Giant ziplocs and 91% alcohol are wonderful tools.
-If you are moving, Packtite will be a lifesaver.
-A good PCO you trust who knows their stuff is probably the best tool of all if you can find them!!!!
-If you can avoid moving until you are pretty sure you are as bug-free as possible, that is your very best bet; and even when you are "pretty sure", move as if you still have them.
-Reach out to at least one person in your life who will listen and care, and be sure to appreciate them because they will deserve it.
-Don't blame yourself for this; no one was born knowing how to deal with bed bugs and there is no sure fire way to avoid them.
-Once again... This site is amazing.
okay.. that's all... sorry for this long post. if I ever feel much more definitively confident, successful, and generally world-conquering, I will come back and post to let you know
I just realized in all that jabber I forgot to say, definitively, Thank You.
-Thank you to Nobugsonme for creating and keeping up this site and keeping it an open and very welcoming, calming atmosphere, and always informative and up to date.
-Thank you to the people who were here when I first came here panicked and hyperventilating and generally hysterical, and answered my long long posts (hey I haven't changed much) and my many MANY frantic questions. Esp. cilecto and wchicago.
-Thank you to all the entomologists, PCOs, long-successful BB-survivors, who stick around and answer posts out of the goodness of your hearts and depth of your knowledge, including so many stupid questions and PMs I may have sent, and never get tired of doing so (or at least show it). I am afraid if I try to name you all I would forget someone but you must know who you are, and so does everyone who comes here.
-Thank you to all of the above who are working every day to find new and better solutions to this problem.
-Thank you to everyone who comes here and shares their stories and their ideas and their fears and commiserations about every little aspect of this problem, and look out for each other, and makes this place what it is.
(I'm sorry if this sounds too cheesy. it is meant from the heart; I'm not good with the jokes as many of you are but pretty good with the sincerity.)
Good for you! It sounds like you worked hard. Good luck with your continued success
I wish you a very long time of bed bug free happiness in your new place.
Your post gives me great hope as I am moving into a new place Tuesday.
My situation sounds very similar to yours.
I am taking many of the same precautions sans Packtite at the moment.
(Several items will be staying in my car in sealed and double bagged until I can get one and treat)
I am glad you are experiencing success.
And thanks for your kind words about the site!
Congrats to you! Best of luck in your new home.
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