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Update: bat bugs in cabin

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  1. Louise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Oct 15 2010 9:56:59
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    For posterity's sake, I thought I'd post a brief update on the bat bug situation at our cabin.

    This May, with much trepidation on my part, we headed out to the cabin. I hated the idea of another summer opening and closing ziplocks, so I relaxed a bit and we just put our clothes into plastic bins (rather than into ziplocks first, and then into plastic bins). We still stored the bins in the front room, away from the bedrooms. Our teenage daughter, on the other hand, refused to do even that much. Her clothes went out of her (eek! cloth) bag and into her drawers, her stuff was on top of the dresser, her slippers were under the bed...("They're *just* bugs, Mom. You're so way overreacting." Sigh.)

    At any rate, we saw/experienced nothing all summer. No bugs, no bites (except from what we presume to be the occasional mosquito), no fecal stains, no skin casts. We had people out to visit (with full disclosure of last summer's issues, of course) who even stayed overnight. We even moved the plastic bins out of the front room and into our bedroom.

    In essence, the bugs appear to be gone. Since finding the initial four bugs last June (three alive, one dead), a single casing and one possible fecal mark, we've seen no signs. Upon finding them, I was almost certain that these bugs looked like bed bugs, but I also had that ID confirmed by two PCOs and one entomologist. Beyond caulking, vacuuming and encasing box springs and mattresses (and placing the legs of the beds in glass jars), we never treated either chemically or thermally for the bugs.

    We never brought them home with us either, in spite of two entire summers of blissful ignorance - as in stuff on the floor, sleeping in the same pajamas at home as we had just been using at the cabin, etc. etc.

    I can only conclude that:

    1.) We found the only four bat bugs that were in our place. (Unlikely)

    2.) We somehow captured/killed any and all bat bugs through our encasement/vacuuming/caulking efforts. (Possible...though unlikely)

    3.) As some of the (albeit older) literature states, bat bugs can't survive/reproduce on human blood...or at least Canadian bat bugs can't (the Ohio variety appear to thrive quite nicely!).

    I'm also leaning toward the idea that the bat bugs in our cabin did not survive the previous (2008/2009) winter, but rather fell off the bats in the spring of 2009 as the bats attempted to get into what had been their home (from which we had effectively excluded the poor dears). That would explain the skin cast that I found on the window sill. (Otherwise, why would it be there, of all places?)

    At any rate, my family is now convinced that we went through a whole lot of work for nothing and doesn't share my angst regarding all things Cimex. Regardless, I'm overjoyed to report that our cabin is once again our home away from home and that we had a wonderful, relaxing bat-free and (more importantly) bat bug-free summer.

    Louise

  2. MyWorstFear

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 16 2010 21:24:57
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    Thanks for the update, Louise. I'm glad things have worked out. All that angst wasn't for naught though. Now you know what to look for and avoid, so that hopefully, you won't have to deal with any more Cimex in whatever form they decide to take.

  3. SearchandDestroy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 16 2010 21:30:39
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    Interesting update...and glad you can enjoy your home away from home once again!

  4. flabergasted

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 16 2010 21:36:54
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    We somehow captured/killed any and all bat bugs through our encasement/vacuuming/caulking efforts. (Possible...though unlikely)

    This exactly how I feel "Possible...though unlikely" about BB's even though there are no signs - no bites are they really gone or just hibernating.

  5. Louise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Oct 18 2010 11:17:40
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    MyWorstFear - 1 day ago  » 
    Thanks for the update, Louise. I'm glad things have worked out. All that angst wasn't for naught though. Now you know what to look for and avoid, so that hopefully, you won't have to deal with any more Cimex in whatever form they decide to take.

    Considering the number of people I know who have been dealing with these critters over the course of the past year, I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that complete and utter avoidance of bed bugs is not overly realistic. (Especially since I have relatives who may or may not be dealing with an ongoing infestation. Although I only see them a couple of times a year, IF it is an infestation, then exposure is certainly a possibility at those times.)

    So yes, as stressful as it was, I'm glad that I am now armed with extensive knowledge of a couple of Cimex species; I'll be that much ahead of the game if/when we should ever meet again...and hopefully that meeting will NOT be in my abode, but elsewhere!

    flabergasted - 1 day ago  » This exactly how I feel "Possible...though unlikely" about BB's even though there are no signs - no bites are they really gone or just hibernating.

    It's funny (in a sad, sick sort of way) the way these bugs play with our minds, isn't it? I remember the first time I washed clothes that had been at the cabin this spring: it took every ounce of mental fortitude to HANG the clothes to dry (as I normally do) rather than throwing them in the dryer on HOT HOT HOT as I had the previous summer and fall.

    Logically, I knew that there was *probably* nothing to worry about. The last bug sighting had been the previous June; there had been no bites, no other signs; we hadn't taken them home, etc. Even if there HAD been some bugs left in the cabin, the winter weather should (I think? I hoped!) have done them in.

    BUT...the emotional side of me just didn't want to take any chances and wanted to dry all of our clothing to smithereens and KILL KILL KILL any stupid bat bugs that MAY have found their way in there IF any still existed at all...

    Logic prevailed and (insert huge relieved sigh here) a happy ending ensued.

  6. bugnut

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Oct 18 2010 13:35:40
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    Louise -

    A happy ending indeed! I hope you never have to deal with this again. I am also impressed your daughter is so calm about the whole thing!


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