Update and a few K9 questions(5 posts)
For those on here who have been lending support and info (THANK YOU), I wanted to give a brief update on my situation and ask a few questions.
I found a new place to live and it's a small building with only 4 units that has had long-term tenants. The landlord said the previous tenant was there for 17 years and never had any bug problems of any sort, nor had anyone else in the building. Yay! We think the risk of the new place having anything is mild. We've started our prep for moving in.
1. I've reduced the stuff I'm bringing with me from my infested LA place to just clothing, kitchen supplies (which will all be cleaned in the dishwasher, then bagged), and a few small knick knacks that can go in the Packtite. I don't have much anyway, so this is easy.
2. We have ClimbUps for our new bed frame
3. Mattress encasement
4. 4 BB pheromone traps, which we'll open up once we get into the new place - in the bedroom, closet, and living room. I think this will tell us fairly quickly if we brought any stragglers with us, and hopefully we can eradicate them efficiently. Has anyone used these and trapped BBs? Or should we try to lure them out naturally and just use the ClimbUps as a mode of detection? I don't want to contradict.
My questions for you guys:
1. We had a K9 inspect my GF's apartment in SF (which was feared contaminated since I brought items into her home before learning of my infestation in LA). It is a curious situation -- the dog alerted on a piece of luggage in the closet which had been sitting there for a month, but nowhere in the closet did the dog alert again. We removed the item and had the dog go back in, and he never alerted again. The dog inspected the luggage once more, and again alerted. The handler was unable to ID a live bug or egg in the bag, so we hope it could be a false positive (how rare are they?), or something was just lurking in the cracks -- also, how rare is it that one lone straggler made it into her bag and just sat there for a month, without seeking food? Curious pests.
2. The dog alerted on my laptop, too, which had been by my bed for a week or two during initial phases of my infestation in LA. We sealed it up in a bag, still don't know what to do with this. My question is.... I had another K9 in LA inspect my car a few weeks later. We got the all clear (Western Exterminators) on the car (was a mild risk, but had to be sure). The 2nd dog sniffed the laptop in question, too, and didn't alert. Is it possible I had a live bug but it died over the course of a week or two, sealed in the bag? Again, we are worried about false positives from the first dog. it just didn't add up.
3. How common are false NEGATIVES, as in, could there be a chance the first dog missed some stuff? This is my anxiety in overdrive. I want to trust the dog and handler, and I DO, I'm just being overly cautious. I have to make my brain believe that these people are PROS and if they say there is nothing there, there is nothing there.
That's it. We're prepping our move from the SF apartment with the stuff the first K9 team cleared. The 1st K9 guy was so awesome, he offered to come back out this weekend and inspect individual items we felt nervous about (basically, I feel nervous about stuff in the closet where the dog alerted on the bag). I think this will go a long way in assuring us we were A. I never spread infestation to SF -- B. We are doing our due diligence to stop the spreading of these horrible little creatures.
Keep faith alive. I am now more confident than ever that I can get back to my normal, yet vigilant life.
OK, if you have alerts you don't know if they are false positives becasue you cannont inspected yourself within a laptop (and, dogs can't talk). If you wish to be conservative, assume that there is a live bed bug within the laptop and seal it into a plastic bag, you can also place a pest strip within the bagg.
As for the luggage, perhaps heat treat it.
Hope this helps ! paul b.
Wanted to give an update to those interested, and hopefully give a little hope to those still battling.
Background: As I noted before, we had our final walkthrough of K9 inspection 2 weeks ago on our SF apartment. We are currently battling one confirmed infestation in my LA apartment, and a minor outbreak in the SF place due to some transported luggage prior to knowing we had an infestation in LA.
After our initial K9 inspection in SF 4 weeks ago, we were cleared except for 2 items found to have bugs: a suitcase that was being kept in a hall closet (but had been laying around other parts of the house: somehow the bug/bugs never left the suitcase during that time, as the other areas it was in were cleared by the K9), and my laptop. Suitcase was disposed of, and laptop was sealed up and has remained seal since.
On moving day from SF, we had our awesome K9 guy come back out and double check, as we didn't want to spread anything to our new place. He cleared pretty much everything, but sadly alerted on a box of miscellaneous things we had packed away in the closet. Nothing has moved out of there since our last inspection, so this worried us greatly that the dog was unable to detect it prior -- or the bugs had been hiding out and in between inspections found their way into a new box. Either way, we have no clear rationale why this happened, but just know that it did.
We isolated those items and saved everything we could so they can go into our Packtite. The items that could not be heat treated, we carefully disposed of.
We've been in our new place in LA for 2 weeks. No signs of bringing anything with us, but its still early to tell. We have been Packtiting like crazy, anything that had been in the closet, since that seems to be the only verified area of infestation. We have items from that closet sealed up for the past 2 weeks with pheromone sticky traps. So far they have yielded no results.
Our bed is isolated with ClimbUps which we check daily. No signs of activity. We have a new bed frame and a mattress encasement. Both are checked morning and nightly, and no signs of activity. Neither my partner or I have experienced any bites, though we occasionally get outbreaks of pimples or other skin issues that are likely related to stress. They don't react like bites, never itch, are not in any patterns. Usually just a few bumps, or one-offs. We are fairly confident they are not bites, but we can't really tell, as bites aren't a sign of anything.
We've seen no casts, no blood on our sheets, no fecal traces...nothing. We also have an ecasement on our mattress. We're being cautiously optimistic.
I have a contract left over with a local LA K9 unit (Western Exterminators) who are coming by our new place tomorrow to TRIPLE-CHECK the work the other dog has already done, to make sure those items in the closet are safe and also that nothing hitchhiked for the ride. We're nervous and anxious about this walkthrough, but if it goes well, we'll feel a lot safer knowing that the chances of infestation spreading are basically minimal.
It might be dumb hope, but with no solid evidence thus far, we will have to believe that yet a 3rd negative K9 inspection definitively proves no infestation came with us. They are also kindly sending out an additional inspector in addition to the K9 handler to help do visual inspections. We think this is really going to clear our minds once they do a once over.
We're not preparing for the worst case scenario, but should the dog alert and we are able to find something, we are hoping eradication will be swift and easy. If there is no alert, I feel we may finally be able to relax and get back to our normal lives, continue monitoring as long as we can, and stay vigilant when traveling.
We have taken to educating a lot of our friends and families about BBs and the dangers of spreading them. I feel like a positive of this whole situation has been some increased awareness, even if its limited to our social circle. It was stigmatizing at first, but I think letting people know you have bugs, how you got them, and how they can avoid them is ultimately so much better than living in secret shame.
After tomorrow, we'll focus our attention on my LA apartment which was infested and DE-treated over the last few months. I have not been staying there at all since we got the new apartment, but whenever I go back, I make sure to do inspections. So far they've yielded nothing.
I've also strongly advocated to the building manager to treat the entire building, not just on a per-unit basis, as they'll never fully eradicate the problem without it and many others will unnecessarily suffer through the same ordeal I have. They were probably scared of legal action and allowed me to break my lease early with no penalties. I am also getting back my full security deposit, and they agreed to safely have my discarded furniture hauled away by pros, so that no one picks it up off the street.
I will update more once we have our inspection, if anyone is curious to know the progress. I am also moving out of my old LA apartment Saturday, so I am prepping for a safe and swift move there too, making sure to be ultra-cautious about bringing in items into a new, quarantined house. We are re-drying my clean laundry, packtiting, and cleaning our kitchen stuff. Nothing else is coming in.
Excuse the long post, but there are a few salient bits of success in here, along with doubts and worries I know new and veteran bedbuggers alike can relate to. My hope is to continue to be vigilant, bring hope to others, and educate as many people as I can about this issue.
Who knew I would end up learning so much about BBs. Many praises to the moderators and experts of this site, along with all the other posters who continue to bring knowledge, expertise, advice, and support to everyone suffering through these difficult situations.
Fingers crossed for your inspection tomorrow. Keep us posted.
Inspection went well. We had the dog and handler inspect everything from our old apartment, including special attention to all the boxed up questionable items from the closets. There were no alerts at all.
One curious thing... the dog took a very strong liking to a set of taxidermy deer antlers I had in in a bag. It was going crazy for them (not alerting), just sniffing it out, trying to bite it.... What's weird is that this was also in the box the other dog alerted on, which got us all nervous to begin with. I am starting to wonder if the other dog had a false positive and was just intrigued by the animal scent on the antlers? Could be.
Other findings: handler visual confirmed that 2 bug we found were indeed carpet beetles, and also found a carpet beetle cast. She took them back to their office where they had an entomologist confirm this. We found the skin cast on a side table next to our couch. I had noticed lately that I have been getting little bite-like marks on my wrists and arms whenever I sit on the couch near that table...I think it could be a carpet beetle that had crawled on me, maybe? Or just some other bite entirely.
Anyway, dog ruled out bed bugs in our new place!
We're moving along to our road to recovery (I hope). Next up, tomorrow I move the last of my possessions from my old LA (infested) apartment into my new home for packtiting and cleaning. Should be a hairy one.
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