Think I might have them - can't find a shred of proof(4 posts)
About three weeks ago I woke up with several nasty bites on my leg and rear end. I thought it might be fleas, I have a dog and 'tis the season for them, although she gets a flea/tick preventative every month and hadn't shown any signs of itching herself.
I went out and got a flea spray and sprayed down my bedroom. That night I was bitten with a vengeance, very nasty bites on my hand/arm that I think I scratched in the middle of the night, which then became infected. I got nervous and started reading up about bedbugs/fleas/scabies, etc to see what I might have.
I tore apart my room and bed looking for signs of bed bugs, but I've found no casings, no bugs, no fecal matter, no blood smears on my bed. I encased the box spring and mattress anyway, bought some Raid bedbug stuff, sprayed that, washed everything I could. I started wearing long pants to bed. As far as I could tell, I hadn't gotten a bite after those first couple days, although the bites I have still itch like mad.
Woke up today and saw a few bites on my arm, but still I can find no proof that the little buggers exist. I called a pest control person in a couple weeks ago - he couldn't find any proof, but I was less-than-impressed with him. He didn't bring in anything but a flashlight, and hardly moved anything around, yet wanted to treat (at an outrageous cost) for bed bugs anyway. He also tried to huckster me into buying "his" brand of mattress covers.
I'm thinking of bringing in a dog detection service, but I'm trying to convince myself that $300 is worth the peace of mind I'd get one way or the other. I'm thinking if I have an infestation it must be pretty minor, considering how little I've been bitten.
Another issue - I can't figure out where I got the darn things. I moved into this house six months ago - I can't believe the bugs would hold off on biting for six months. And the last trip I was on was four months ago - again, that seems like a long delay between exposure and bites. I haven't brought any furniture in, new or used, I haven't had anyone spend the night, nor have I spent the night anywhere else since my hotel visit except my parents' house, and they don't have any problems.
So three big questions:
1. How to stop the darn itch - calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream don't work. My bites still itch like the dickens three weeks later.
2. Where would they have come from? I live a relatively solitary life.
3. Is there a good dog detection company in central NJ?
I had the same problem! The first time I got them I had no idea where they came from. I did not travel, go to the movies NOTHING! ANd I live in a house so they did not come thru the walls. I did get rid of them in on treatment tho (with an awesome PCO). This time I got them in the Bahamas at a VERY expensive hotel. We have not be on vacation for 5 years and saved up a while for this trip. I can barely look at the pictures. I am so mad I spent a fortune on the vacation then a fortune to get rid of them. I can't beleive I live in a house and I have had them twice! PCO is convinced they are separate infestations (I am half way thru - second and hopefully last treatment next weekend). Last time I had a dog come thru after treating to confirm they were gone - and they were. This time I did it before because by husband thought I was crazy. Now after 4 weeks the only evidence I have found is bites, ONE cast skin and one spot of fecal staining (bites have stopped). I still have not seen a dead or alive bug. I am told it is because I have a light infestation. I bought a Packtite and mattress and boxspring enclosures and climbup interceptors from US Bedbugs via this site.
Anyway, I am a worrier and the dog worked for me. FYI my PCO used Phantom, Gentrol and spot sprayed Bedlam on the beds and frames and Delta Dust in closet (where the offensive bag was). Had a dog check yesterday and hit on only one spot and the handler said it was probably a dead bug as the dog did not have a "strong' reaction. Re-treating next week (you can't be too careful) as Phantom can only be applied in 28 day intervals. That is my story. Not too many stories of single family homes on this site so I thought I would share. You have a better chance of eradicating them as you do not have to deal with neighbors that are uncooperative. FYI I believe there is a K9 team in Lawrenceville NJ that was recommended on this site.
Yeah, I think I've convinced myself that peace of mind is worth the $300. The place I'd called to get a quote was Action Termite & Pest. Maybe I'll check out the forum for experiences with them.
I'm really annoyed because I was planning a trip to go see my sister and her kids next month, but now I'm scared to go because I'm afraid I'll bring the bugs with me if I actually have them. Argh.
Glad to hear I have a better chance of eradication with a single-family home. Here's hoping there are few enough that the infestation isn't too bad. If I've got one that is - I'm still sort-of hoping it's scabies (and there's a phrase I never thought I'd write or say!). I just need to get to a doctor and get a skin-scraping done I guess.
There are many other things that might be causing your skin irritation (I say skin irritation rather than bites because we know, for example, that the hairs of a carpet beetle larva cause things that look and feel exactly like bug bites but are really a reaction to hairs.)
In addition, while I think bed bug detection dogs can be a great tool, the dog/handler team is only as good as the handler and the training of that team.
Any good dog/handler MUST confirm visually by human inspection each "hit" that the dog makes on a site. Unfortunately, when you call a detection dog service and ask whether that's standard, the company can say yes, but the handler/dog team sent out might not do so.
As you might guess from my user name, I'm not really much help when it comes to PMPs in your area.
If I were you, I might try two much lower cost alternatives to a detection dog at this point. I'm not ruling dogs out, but it sounds like you're pretty stressed.
Detection dogs are only as good as their handlers, and if you're not sure how to find a good dog/handler team, then you're not necessarily going to get peace of mind from an inspection.
Search the forum for information on the do it yourself bed bug trap that you can make with dry ice. Also, order some Climb up interceptors for use on your bed. Install the climb ups.
Read the FAQs on how to avoid bringing bed bugs with you. Take all those precautions and go on the trip to visit your family. Set up the detector with the dry ice while you're gone.
When you come back from the trip, you'll have had an excellent chance of catching some bugs. It will also give you some time to relax away from your place (which is probably seeming like a pretty stressful environment to you right now), and in the meantime, do your research carefully about dog/handler teams in your area.
If the detectors turn up nothing and you're still anxious, you can come back from the trip relaxed and better informed about hiring the right dog/handler team at that point or finding a pest control firm with reliable bed bug experience to inspect. (Remember, if you've got another pest like carpet beetles, the bed bug detection dog isn't going to find that problem. As a result, you might be better off with a human inspection from an experienced PCO.)
If the detectors turn up bed bugs, then you have samples to proceed with treatment.
Hope that helps.
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