Update after PCO "treatment"- Sorry so long- Need some suggestions please(10 posts)
**(There is a TL;DR @ the end... sorry I got wordy!!!)**
OK... so the PCO guy just left. He was this good ol'boy type, kinda condescending to me could tell he thought I'm a know-nothing young gal, which I can take if you know what you're doing, but he just mostly thought he did but didn't know near as much as what almost ANY of the people on here do!! He was here less than an hour if I'm being generous about 40 minutes, and a lot of that was talking to me answering questions I asked him. All he did pest-control-wise was spray Bedlam around and into the baseboards and window frame and door frame in my bedroom. He didn't even look at the bed, or any other rooms in the apartment, just asked me where I saw the bug. Got three calls on his phone from what sounded like family members during the time he was there and talked to them for several minutes the "hey how's it going" kind of call.
The only things that I agreed with were, he told me to wash my sheets (duh!!! I already have!!!) but to do them again and that I'll probably have to throw most of my furniture away; and to wash all my clothes and live out of plastic bags (that's fine!) which I should keep somewhere out of my bedroom. Ok, all that makes sense. BUT... also wanted me to put these bags of clothes that have been in my bedroom, in my car before washing um I don't think so, NOT going to infest my car. And I tried to ask him about any services around here that would help move my furniture and get rid of it (we're not allowed to dump it in the apartment complex's dumpsters, which is actually a good thing, but I really don't know how I'll get rid of anything.) I guess that's not his area of expertise so I really shouldn't have asked him, but I didn't know what else to do.
I asked him about treating other apartments; and he said, well, yeah, they can come up through your baseboards, but if no one else calls in a complaint they can't go in and treat it or even inspect it!!! so "yeah, there's not much you can do about it". I said what if people don't know what to look for (I mean it was dumb luck that I saw the bug that I did!) and he said that "you'd know because they'd be biting you." I couldn't talk back to him or anything with what I've learned from this site, I felt like a dumb loser. I don't see how they can't go in if there's an infestation on the OTHER SIDE of the wall- I'd want to know if someone on the other side of ME complained about bedbugs!!! He even said that if this didn't work they could come in and set off a bomb, or suggested I do so!!! I KNOW that is completely WRONG!!! and still I couldn't answer back to him!!! He seemed to say that would be the only way to get them out of any electronics in my bedroom- um, what??? He also wanted me to take the mattress cover and boxspring cover off my bed and wash them! I don't think that is a good idea in case they're trapping bugs inside, but what do you all think?
For my furniture, he said to get everything out of the drawers, and spray every crack & crevice down with Raid Flea & Tick b/c "they're just a bug, they're basically like fleas". I asked about books and papers and things and he said the ones in the bedroom I'd have to get rid of probably, or put in a bag for "about a week"(!!!!), but it was unlikely they'd be in the living room or anywhere else. Does he think they look at doorways and know to stop!! Or couldn't go through the baseboards from my bedroom to living room!!! He didn't even inspect any other rooms; heck, didn't even inspect the bedroom just walked in and sprayed stuff. Come to think of it, he didn't even do the bedroom closet!! DANGIT that was just a big fat waste of time!!! I am such an idiot!!!!
The only way they (PCO company) will come back is if I call and ask for another treatment if I'm still seeing signs or getting bites; and he even admitted that the Bedlam doesn't kill the eggs but said it "has a residual of a week" so that should kill them off when they hatch. I thought their life cycle was 2 weeks? Also I don't even know if I WANT them to come since he's talking about setting off a bug bomb!!! He said he thought this would take care of it since it didn't seem I have that bad of an infestation; I don't know how he could even tell!!!! I asked about the possibility of them being in my couch, emphasizing that I've slept there sometimes; he didn't even want to look and thought there was no way; and he barely checked under a couple of the cushions and said, literally, "Well, you'd see 'em on that light color; but then again, they're pretty small bugs so it's hard to see 'em". WHAT??? Do you realize you just contradicted yourself????
I think I am just going to throw away most of my stuff; I mean, it doesn't matter anyway since it looks like I'm gonna be stuck with the bugs forever and it will just get worse and worse, since these guys don't know how to treat them and aren't going to check any other apartments since no one else has called. My landlord kept saying that this morning when I asked about the POSSIBILITY of anyone else having them; and she said "no, you're the only one that's had any complaints..." and kept asking about if I'd gotten new furniture or traveled recently or had anyone sleep over recently; NO. To all of the above. I might as well just set up a party for the stupid little bugs. It's hopeless.
What should I do now, what do you all suggest? Should I go for the DE, the caulking, what? Should I try isolating the bed with bowls of mineral oil and a DE "trail" all around the bed? I don't really have a choice in which PCO I use. And probably no point even if I DID get another one since none of my neighbors would be being treated. Is there any way you think I could suggest something to the landlord about just at least CHECKING the other apartments, like how to explain it to them why it needs to be done? It's only a two story building, but it's long; like there's probably about 24 apartments on a floor in a building. Plenty of room for them to get through. If I mention it or post flyers around myself, I know they will be extremely upset with me- they'll know who it is since I'm the only one apparently who has complained. They'll probably come in and set off a bomb just to spite me, ha ha.
I don't know what will happen if this infestation gets worse or spreads to other apartments (or already has... who knows???) This PCO company clearly CLEARLY won't be able to treat effectively.
(and yes, I do realize I'm being a BIT dramatic... sorry, I'm frustrated with myself and with the PCO)
[b]TL;DR: My PCO came today (gave no instructions on how to prep; thank goodness for this site; he still thought I had too much clutter which I guess I did but he didn't give me ANY plan!!) and sprayed Bedlam in the baseboards and window frames and doorway of my bedroom, and does not plan to come back unless I continue to report signs or bites in a week's time, but wants to set off a bug bomb as a second treatment. Did not inspect any other rooms; only cursory inspection of the couch when I kept bugging him about it. Suggested Raid Flea & Tick to treat my furniture, since according to him bed bugs are like fleas. Suggested the best thing to do about most of my furniture and other possessions in the bedroom would be throw it away. Suggested to set off a bug bomb in my bedroom to try to salvage my electronics & other things I don't want to get rid of. Will not/can not treat or even inspect adjoining apartments unless they call in a complaint. Did have good suggestions to wash & ziploc bag all my clothing; but only thought I needed to do that for "about a week". Basically I am now looking for suggestions on what I can do since I know a lot of this is wrong- try some other form of treatment and if so, what? talk to the landlord about importance of treating adjoining apartments and if so, how? any suggestions on getting rid of my furniture since I can't move it by myself and we can't dump it in the apt. complex's dumpsters?
I"m not gona blow up on this one....... I'm just gona say one thing. "If he didn't take at least 15 mins to inspect your bed area thoroughly then you did not recieve a bedbug treatment." Bedlam does infact kill eggs but inorder to find the eggs you have to LOOK!! Dam, 1 more thing DO NOT IMO throw away all your furniture after a service like that! Did he show you any evidence that your furniture is that infested to were you have to throw it away and invest thousands on new furniture? A piece of furniture imo for it to be deemed "garbage," would have to be badly infested with limited ways of treating the item. Get a second opinion....
This sounds like an education requirement. The PCO evidently is totally inexperienced with bed bugs and does not read trade magazines, attend training, or even watch t.v.
IMO the best way to handle this is to educate your landlord. It is highly probable that you are not the only one in the building experincing bed bugs. The problem may be in other units and they won't report for fear of retaliation or they have reported it and get this PCO that doesn't understand bed bugs. Other tenants may also have bed bugs and just don't know it also.
Depending on your landlord and your relationship, I would arm myself with a lot of written information, preferably from University sites, and possibly involve a knowledgable PMP (Pest management professional) from your area.
If you can't get the landlord to change companies, you will have to take matters into your own hands. Do not throw away furniture! We have successfully treated furniture as long as you take your time and are thorough. It can be treated yourself if you are patient and follow all the procedures and followup.
Thanks for the suggestions. I just talked to my dad as well, and he agreed that I need to go to the landlord. To say (maybe in nicer words) that the PCO was not competent; mention that he stated that the residual on the pesticide he used was only 1 week and the life cycle on these bugs is at least 2 weeks; and why other apartments need to be checked and possibly treated; and why as a tenant I expect these things; and... I can't remember how he ended it but it sounded great, I will have to ask him again. I do not know how feasible it is to try to find another exterminating company on my own and pay for it myself? Or if that would even be a good idea if none of the other apartments are treated.
I feel terrible dumping so much on my parents; I'm 26 and it makes me feel like such a child to be so panicked and feeling helpless and calling them almost every day. They say they don't mind though...
The guy is clearly a jerk, but take a breath (outside). It might work. Or, you might get some relief for a while. In any case, you can make a careful plan on how to proceed. Yes, hang on to your stuff. Take steps to secure the stuff you care about most. The rest, hopefully you or someone can treat, if necessary, in due time, with less stress. In worst case, if/when you move, you can abandon what you don't need, have Legal Aid send a letter demanding your security and post your place to bedbugregistry.com. Please do something nice for yourselves tonight.
I'm trying to figure out what to concentrate on for tonight. I have not done much since he left but try to look up things online of what to do. I have not done laundry or anything. I am being stupid but now afraid to basically move or walk anywhere in my apartment. I'm afraid of carrying bugs on my feet from room to room. I couldn't find like, plastic shoes/flip flops today that I could easily spray down when coming in and out frequently as I will need to do to carry out all the trash I'm going to get rid of, and to transport all the bags to the laundry that I will need to. My dad called again and now thinks I should try to do home treatment; after complaining to the landlord. He had a plan for when I should spray and such, like a schedule. He also said that "they're just bugs" and he would be more OK than I am with them I think. I think he is tired of me being so upset but not doing much of anything to take care of it. I am tired of me too- I read all these people I washed all my clothes in 2-3 days and bagged all my belongings in one night and vacuumed and steamed every piece of furniture I own... That truly, truly amazes me and inspires admiration. I have still not managed to bag up all my clothes for laundry and have only done 4-5 bagfuls and there are at least 10-15 more I'm sure to do, I haven't vacuumed because I'm afraid of how to do it without spreading the bugs room to room; I surely haven't steamed anything (although I did boil a few things last night). It's like I have this mental block, don't know where to start, and then just- can't- do it. It's pathetic!! (And then I come here and whine about the PCO not doing his job when I'm not doing mine either; any good that his sort-of treatment did today will be negated by me not having all my stuff bagged up like it should- they'll probably go over into the closet and get in all those clothes. So I guess priority right now is to bag up the rest of the clothing in my closet and my dresser. Then tomorrow figure out a way to do laundry without tracking bugs everywhere in my apartment. And how to come and go frequently without spreading anything from inside outside and vice versa. And try to figure out if home treatment is even feasible. And figure out exactly what to say to my landlord (who I know won't believe me at all.) It's like I'm frozen and I can't stand it; like I keep waiting for someone to come rescue me and help me do all this dirty work; can't face that I have to do it all myself. Sad, sad, pathetic.
And I'm sorry I keep coming here and rambling to everyone. But probably not sorry enough that I won't keep doing it. Sad, sad, sad.
wow. bad pco. i second all the folks who say talk to your landlord. i also second the notion that tonight, after bagging all your laundry, do something nice to try to relax <note: bedbugs don't usually like bathrooms or bathtubs, just not their habitat - thus a luxurious bath is not only nice for itchy skin -add some oatmeal - but also a nice escape for you. if it was me i'd add some wine -to me, not to the tub, just oatmeal for the tub>
don't throw out your stuff -a good pco can treat it, or you can, with steam. if you DO need to get rid of stuff eventually, see if you have 1800gotjunk.com in your neck of the woods. when they take your junk make sure they or you wrap it in plastic, and make sure to tell them your apt is being treated for bedbugs.
finally, i know you're overwhelmed with everything now - but it will get less overwhelming with time. and when you're ready to begin caulking <really, a must in an apartment situation> there are lots of good tips and FAQs, or just gimme a holler. i'm a VERY non-handy girl who just started caulking all the baseboards, ceiling molding, window, decorative fireplace, and every other darn crack in her vintage apartment. if i can do it, anyone can. its even kind of relaxing once you get the hang of it.
hang in there and good luck!
Thanks WChicago. I just got done bagging all my clothes- once I did it, of course, was not so hard. I didn't see any more bugs in them. Of course the washing and drying will be rough but everyone else here has done it; so can I!!! My poor mom; I had a long LONG conversation with her tonight and she listened and she does understand me very well which helped so much, even if she doesn't quite understand these bugs. She still thinks it would be not that big a deal for me to come home for Thanksgiving; then when I tried to explain why not, she said the family will come down Friday to help me take out furniture!!! I said no, please no; I do NOT want them to catch these bugs. Somehow I will figure out a way to get rid of furniture if I need to but they don't need these stupid creatures. I also made a list of what to do this next couple days and that has helped a lot.
About the PCO situation I also wrote a list of questions; my mom said maybe try calling the actual pest control company if I can figure out who that is, and just say I have questions about the treatment I just had and thought, for example, that my bed was supposed to be inspected; adjoining apartments inspected; etc. She also had the point that maybe this guy's employers don't quite know what kind of job he is doing and think he's doing things he's not, or whatever- I guess that is a slim chance of that being true!! If I can grow a backbone and say all the things I want to, I'll be proud. I don't know if my LL will be upset that I go over her head. She has been relatively kind so far but I'm afraid this will change that. As far as self-treatment, I don't feel too confident in myself to do it right; except the caulking/vacuuming kinds of things. I guess if calling the company doesn't work I can just call other pest control companies to see what kind of things they do and how much they cost to treat bedbugs; of course, probably wouldn't do it without being able to treat adjoining apartments as well. She also suggested calling the Health Dept. if it came to that I think that will be a last resort.
Enough rambling for tonight... Thanks for listening this place helps.
I believe that you can see your family safely, and should get out and do it. I have a step by step plan for you, may I coach you?
Also, please hang on to your stuff. Here's what I offered another member recently. Perhaps this can help:
People, ... introduced to the world of BB, are horrified, traumatized and overwhelmed. They want a way out, they want it the way it used to be. So they make quasireligious mental bargains. "I'll do X. I'll toss Y. I'll scrub with bleach (when milder cleansers will do)." Reality is that it won't necessarily solve the problem. If you toss your bed, but your infestation is in a duffel bag, you're out the bed and still have the infestation. Or, you have no infestation and you're also out the bed. Or, they go on buying sprees, often spending money on equipment that's not up to the task (like those $50 steamers and "bedbugs kits"). Your bed frame can probably be treated, sealed with wood filler or caulk, varnished, etc. scrubbing it down with Murphy soap will kill bugs... Take a breath.
Please do not have your family come in. They're not as up on this as you and they're at risk of taking the problem back home.
OK; so I talked with the PCO company today (I had called them yesterday and left a message) and I talked to a different guy, I think who's above the guy who came Monday, and he sounded more willing to listen to me and more intelligent (does that sound bad?) He said he will call me @ the start of next week and he will come out and do a more thorough inspection. Apparently, I didn't realize this, the landlord office threw out my sample!! The guy who came didn't tell me that; I just assumed he'd seen it. Ugh, oh well; I still do have the picture on my camera- although I know that's not as good, it should help. But I feel better now I have more of a plan of action etc. I have to go to work soon but wanted to thank all of you for your continuing support/suggestions; it really really helps.
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