UPDATED Chicago Newbie - Moving Plan Feedback, Please :)(3 posts)
*I initially posted this under a moving forum*
Where to begin . . .? Well, I've been a bedbugger.com voyeur ever since I learned my apartment was invested ~ August 5th. Although I only registered today, I've read so many supportive and helpful threads, and I want to thank all of you for making the last couple of months bearable. Thank you!
Some background info . . .
About me: Ironically enough, I'm in the business of working with others who have mental illness. Who ever knew I'd have a real need for my professional training in my personal life . . . it's just too bad my strength lies in helping others, not myself! [:wink:] Thankfully, I have unflappable friends, family, colleagues, and bedbuggers who show strength for me when I can't.
About my current building: I live in a highrise with almost 30 floors and over 300 individually owned condos. I rent a 1 bedroom from a condo owner, (thank goodness I'm a renter!)! The owners pay monthly assessments that support a management company that oversees the building. From what I've gathered, the management company takes direction from the "board" - a select group of owners who happened to win the popularity contest this year but who don't appear to have the best decision making skills and are always in some kind of struggle with the owners (who voted the board members in) in this building.
About the infestation: I first suspected a problem when I got crazy, itchy bites on my toes and legs, and later all over my body. I immediately reported my concern and learned (by talking with the building's PCO and a board member friend) my neighbor's sofa was infested, other units on my floor were infested, and approximately 30 units in my building were infested. Thankfully, the PCO my building contracts with seemed to have a thing for me, so he shared more information than the building would have liked, and I also learned the building had no intention of treating the problem in a comprehensive and systematic way. Essentially, the board and management company were initially only allowing treatment of each unit that reported a problem. Weeks later, they arranged for inspection in a cloverleaf fashion. Still, some of my friends in the building were getting bitten, but since the PCO couldn't find evidence, their units weren't treated - the neighbor on the other side of me (not the one with the sofa) is one of these people (she keeps getting bites). For the units that did receive treatment . . . the PCO used Temprid SC once a week (and D-Force once), and he treated my unit 3 times, each 1 week apart - said my bedroom and sofa were infested. This didn't seem consistent with what I'd read, and I was also concerned about my neighbor - both for her own well-being and the possibility of them spreading from her unit to others and possibly reinfesting my place (that's assuming I ever become bb-free). Of course, this whole ordeal is costly, so management blew me, and other tenants, off. I realized I had very little "power" as a renter, so I suggested to my landlady, who lives in another country, that she become more vocal. She did, but nothing changed. One day, I heard residents in the elevator talking about their dissatisfaction with the way management has handled this, and they said they planned to use foggers. Knowing how awful this would be, I went to management again (3 weeks into badgering them) and asked that they at least post a notice about the infestations to inform the residents and refer them to informational sites. I also called 311 to report the building to the city. Management finally posted a notice informing residents that "a few" units (30 is the new "few") were infested. As of today, nothing has changed in terms of inspections and treatment, and I learned dealing with management and the board would only prolong my problem.
Plan B: My landlady is desperate to keep me as a tenant. Before this fiasco, we were actually in talks of me signing an 18 month lease renewal, and I was very happy about staying in my current apartment. Pre-BBs, I'd loved it here ever since I moved in, and I've loved my landlady. Sooooo . . . at the end of August, she suggested we bring in our own PCOs because the building's PCO decided after my 3rd treatment (week 3) we were done - guess he didn't like me that much [:wink:] We brought in our own PCO a week later. He used Temprid SC, Gentrol (seems somewhat controversial), and Delta dust. Things felt ok (bitewise) for about a week, and then I started getting bites again. His retreatment was just this past Saturday (3 weeks after his initial treatment), and he used Demand CS and Gentrol.
Treatment recap: So, I received my first treatment (Temprid SC) one week after I reported bites (week 1). The second treatment (Temprid SC and D-Force) occurred one week later (week 2). The third treatment (Temprid SC) occurred one week after that (week 3). One week later, the new PCO did his initial treatment (Temprid SC, Gentrol, Delta Dust) (week 4). Three weeks later (just this past Sat), the new PCO did his retreatment (Demand and Gentrol) and said I should be good to go. Both PCOs treated the bedroom and the common areas. How will I know when to stop having chemical treatments? Bites sure don't give me any indication (see below) . . .
My part: I've washed, dried, and bagged clothes and regularly wash and dry bedding. I also bought a Packtite. My mattress is encased. Do my occasional crying bouts and sleeping with the light on fit here?! Ugh! [:wink:]
Bites: Of course, I always feel the creepy crawly tingly feeling at home, in my car, at my office, etc. (and yes, my office is being treated, but I'm not sure if being fearful that my car is infested is realistic). I seem to get new bites every couple of days, but they fade quickly (sometimes within half a day), not like the ones I initially got. I have no idea what bites mean anyway given that people have said our responses can change with time and by body area.
Bugs: Today is the first day I've seen an actual bug in my place (dead or alive). Thank goodness it was dead, so that's a good sign! It makes me nervous that it was in the bathroom though . . .
Added to the mix: I have 2 cats, so who knows how they might play into transporting the buggers from room to room. They often sleep on the bed - the bedroom door doesn't shut! Another weird thing about them . . . they seem to get somewhat ansy when night falls. They start scanning the floor and walls and jump at things I can't see on my bed! They also start crying as if something's bothering them (they're super "talkative" Siamese cats). It only adds to my anxiety. I woke up in the middle of the night one night last week, and one of them was perched at the wall across the room from my bed just scanning the wall with his little eyes.
Possessions: I've resigned myself to the fact that I might lose some of my furniture, and I'm totally ok with that. My last PCO says it's all safe, but of course I'm anxious.
The moving plan: Ok, so despite how much I love my landlady and my place, I've decided my mental health (as you all have probably experienced, this has already interfered with my emotional well-being, sleep, work production, etc) is much more important to me. If the problem was limited to my unit, or if infested adjoining units were treated, I could deal. With time, I'm sure the residents could demand a more systematic treatment plan, but that's not really my battle to fight, as I'm a renter with no influence. Plus, who knows how much time that will take . . . I feel like the chance of reinfestation increases with each passing day. So, I'm moving to an apartment building that seems to have very specific procedures for dealing with bed bugs and other pests. I read that it's not best practice to move before or during treatment, so I forced myself to wait, and I'm actually not moving for 7 more weeks. That would be 14 weeks from when I reported the problem and 7 weeks after my "final" (fingers crossed!) treatment. The new unit becomes available in 5 weeks, so I can conceivably move earlier if that's a better plan. I plan to have my moving van heat treated and move as few things as possible - only what's absolutely needed. I'm still not sure about the mattress because I don't know how they respond to heat treatment. I'm also not sure about all my files and books (tons of them!). Given that I also plan to use a canine detection service to inspect my new place before I move in and all of my possessions after they've been heat treated in the moving van, I thought I could have the dog inspect my files and books and anything that doesn't pass could be tossed or sealed and stored for 18 months. A different option would be Vikane, but our local provider doesn't tent moving trucks, and that makes me nervous. Heating or Vikane? Sometimes I feel like this plan is overkill, but when I consider how anxious I am about the possibility of taking an egg or bug with me, I think it's a fine plan. Still, I'm terribly biased . . . so, given all the helpful responses I've seen on here, I thought I'd run it by you . . . Thoughts?
P.S. Please keep in mind my ultimate goal is to be able to move into my new place Ziploc-bag-free! Is that realistic?! [:D]
Heat treatment sounds good. I plan to use vikane and to packtite what is possible to packtite like books and papers, tools and pictures. Clothes laundered twice with essential oils, into zip locs. New air mattress upon move in. Junk my car for engine parts. I wouldn't trust thermal on a bed, sorry. But encasing it may be fine after a thermal treatment. I dunno, even with everything I am doing (including freezing books and shoes for a week each in a super cold freezer, packtiting everything twice, DDVP'ing my computer, putting diatomaceous earth in storage boxes, spraying Kleen Free on everything as it enters and vikane bombing it all), I am tossing my bedframe and plastic computer desk and chair and air mattress and bedding (all told only $300), picture frames and other usual suspect places. I just can't fathom dealing with these things again and even thermal/vikane has some failures. In addition to getting a bed bug sniffing dog on move in and laying DE down as precaution. Only taking clothes (cotton/poly clothing that isn't too thick), towels, a few books, important papers and ID, computer, telephone, some pictures, water purifier, fax machine, scale, gas mask, diatomaceous earth, dishes and my animals, professionally dipped by a vet. Storing the rest. Nervous about my sneakers I wear at my desk. Am coming up with a list of each and every thing I am bringing in and how I am going to decontaminate it at least twice, if not more. It will take a month for me to do this I figure starting in October. Books are already freezing.
Not overkill. Just kill. Kill them all. Good luck to you!
Thank you for sharing your plan and the words of advice, Amy. It sounds very comprehensive.
It seems like I think of something new I need to consider each and every day! It's been getting cold here, and I don't feel safe keeping my down comforter, so I just ordered a white cotton blanket from National Allergy.
I've been looking at Vikane a little bit more, but I'm not certain about the temperature requirements . . . I won't be moving till November. Hopefully, our temps won't get too low by then!
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