we definitely have carpet beetles--do we have bed bugs too?(19 posts)
So...calling on the many wise & experienced folk on this board.
After a number of weeks of horrible bites (raised welts) on me, we had Orkin's local bed bug specialist in today. He took a close look around and found no bed bugs, no fecal matter, no castings, no blood smears. He found two white specks that might be eggs on the bed frame. But what he did find....was LOTS of carpet beetles (ick).
My wife is not being bitten, and neither of my kids are being bitten...and we all sleep in the same room.
So....do we treat for bed bugs based on the bites that I am getting and the two possible eggs he found? Or do we just wash and declutter (much needed), vacuum, steam clean etc. in order to deal with the carpet beetles?
I don't want to spend over a $1000 (including encasements etc.) and put nasty chemicals in our house if there's no reason....but we don't want to let bbs get really entrenched and have a terrible problem....help!
I will also post pics of my bites. I also have allergies to dust, mold, pollen etc. and am the only one in the family with these allergies...
Eliminate the carpet beetles first. They may be your entire problem.
A welt from a BB bite is the immune system responding to an irritant. Welts do not tell you jack about the causative agent or insect.
thanks Jim...it is encouraging to think it might only be carpet beetles....time will tell....
Jim is correct... The welts are an immune system response... They certainly could be insect bites, but we really can't determine what kind of insect or other allergen produced the welts from the photos...
You could try taping a dead carpet beetle on you skin & see if you can produce a similar skin reaction ...
Consider inexpensive passive monitoring devices like the Climb Up Insect Interceptor or BBAlert to see if you can capture a specimen...
Is the Orkin specialist going to have the suspicious "white eggs" examined by their entomologist?
Even experienced doctors cannot look at a bite on a person's skin and tell you conclusively whether a bed bug or some other type of bug produced the bite, so posting photos of the bites are unlikely to give you the assurance you want.
Good docs with a lot of experience can tell you whether bugs from a certain group of insects made the bites. There is also a test that will tell you for sure if you have scabies or not. But beyond that, you can't tell much from the bites other than that someone's skin is responding to an insect bite of a particular group.
If you've got a PCO on deck who looks to be able to deal with bed bugs or carpet beetles, start treating for the carpet beetles. If the bites go away (And just so you know, technically carpet beetles don't bite humans, but some of us have reactions to the beetles that look just like bug bites which is why people with mystery bites need to look for carpet beetles and not just bed bugs), there's your solution.
Treat for the carpet beetles. If the beetles go away and the bites don't, then reevaluate. My guess, however, is that once you get rid of the carpet beetles, your bites will go away, and you will have avoided expensive and unnecessary treatment.
Be sure to ask the PCO when you can expect the beetles and their larvae to be gone so that you'll know when to expect the bite-like responses to stop. And also be sure to ask the PCO what if anything you need to change about your normal routine while you're in treatment. (I haven't had carpet beetles, so I have no idea what those would be. However, for example, with chemical treatment for bed bugs? Some PCOs don't want people to wash the floors or use a steamer to clean things after the chemicals have been put down. If you don't know to ask that question, you might do those because that's your normal weekend cleaning, and then the treatment is less effective, and then everyone's unhappy longer. So based on what I've learned about that, I suggest that people ask the PCO about specifics like that to increase the chance of success and make that success happen sooner.)
You could try taping a dead carpet beetle on you skin & see if you can produce a similar skin reaction ...
hmm...I may get desperate enough to try that, but not right now! We have been searching with flashlights and using double sided tape for a couple of weeks, and all we have turned up is lots of lint and some very small dead bugs that could be bbs or carpet beetles, on the floor behind the night table.
we did not ask the Orkin guy to get the eggs id'd by an entomologist...
We are also thinking about calling Abell in for a similar consult (less than $100) for a 2nd opinion....
I also have carpet beetles - - I noticed a few of the adults earlier in the summer in the bathroom window. I guess they came in when the contractor was putting in a new hardwood floor (and had the balcony door opened all day) as I just moved in the condo in April. A few weeks ago, I discovered the larva - - some in the bedroom behind the night stand and some in the bathroom behind the toilet. I completely cleaned the areas I found them in and they haven't been back to those specific areas. I did spray Ortho Home Defense Max (labeled for carpet beetles) and haven't had any additional issues (knock on wood) in the bedroom or bathroom.
Recently though, I found a couple coming out of the baseboard in the living room. I didn't want to spay in the living room because I have two cats so I just cleaned and tried to spray 409 into the baseboard where I saw them coming out of. After that, I only saw maybe 3 or 4 more coming out of that area in the past week or so.
I also sprayed the balcony around the window seals, etc. with Ortho Home Defense Max.
My big question - I did buy DE (which I know is used to treat CB as well). Should I sprinkle the closet and around the baseboard with DE just to be sure they are gone? Again, I haven't seen any in the bathroom or bedroom for a month or so. But have seen a couple in the living room.
Just an added comment - I did/do experience an allergic reaction to them. Not so much as a bug bite but a kind of sensation of itchy needles - especially if I am in the condo for a long period of time. I've had a couple bite like reactions from carpet beetles. I had a bad one on my wrist and was even in the grocery store the other day and the girl behind me told her boyfriend "see that guy, he has bedbugs". I've had two K9's in to check and have told "no signs of activity". I don't have any of the tell tale signs (keep fingers crossed!!). I'd never really heard of carpet beetles till moving to DC and it seems that they are actually quite common. Anyone care to comment on how common they are? I've read on the Internet that most households have at least a few beetles.
Hope this helps! And I hope you are only dealing with beetles!
I'd like to also add that wearing shoes and socks seems to make the allergic/bite-like reaction worse. It must make the static worse and the tiny hairs get kicked up and into your skin. I also bought a HERPA germguardian air filter (cost about $30) at Target to filter the air and this has seemed to help a bit.
thanks for all your advice...we will deep clean the bedrooms and go from there...
So far so good....we bought a nice new vacuum and have vacuumed all the carpet in the house (burning through 3-4 carpet bags in the process...yuck!). I have not been
bitten' at night since. When we walked in the house last night, I carried my sleeping daughter to her bed, put her down and went downstairs...sometime in that time I got two more small bites. But I hadnt even sat on a bed, couch or anything....hmmmm the mystery continues. In the meantime we are enjoying having a cleaner more decluttered house, and are continuing to move in that direction!
I do seem to be developing some kind of other rash on my forearm...some kind of stress related scratching rash that is just small bumps.
For what it's worth, I had thermal treatment for my confirmed (I caught some of them myself) bed bug problem.
The thermal treatment took care of the problem in one treatment.
Nevertheless, I freaked out over every single bump and itch for months.
It seriously took me about two months to realize that those "possible bug bites" I kept getting on my right leg behind my knee were irritation from the stubble on my legs growing back in after shaving.
Which is a long way of saying that it may be helpful to you to keep a log of exactly what skin issues you have and when exactly they occur. My guess would be that (if I recall correctly) in all the cleaning up of the carpet beetles, the hairs on the larvae that people react to probably got slightly stirred up in your home, in which case, yeah, just walking around might be enough to cause the bite like skin reactions that carpet beetles cause. (Mind you, I am not a scientist or a PCO, and I've never personally dealt with carpet beetles, so that's speculation on my part, and I may be wrong since I don't understand CB from anything approaching personal experience.)
Anyway, my point is, yeah, you're probably going to be extra watchful of any new skin things. Some may be the bite-like responses that CB cause, some may be other reactions. It'll probably put your own mind a bit more at ease if you somehow keep a log or record of what reactions occur when.
Hang in there and keep us updated. I'm still crossing my fingers that it's just carpet beetles, and if it makes you feel any better, nothing you've said here in the updates to this post makes that seem any less likely to me.
Thanks, but so far, we have caught lots of carpet beetles & haven't seen any bbs (nor did the Orkin guy). Not sure if thermal treatment is available here (Ottawa area in Canada), it doesn't seem to be. But it's great to hear that you had such success!
If things don't clear up in a week or so we are bringing in a 2nd opinion.
This is exactly where we are. I know my husband was exposed to bed bugs at work--having to launder all the clothing of clients of a group home that had them...but he was so careful that day--throwing away his clothes, showering right away etc. Anyway, I had been getting some bites that were similar to what I've seen of bed bugs, and usually getting them right after I woke up. That happened to my 4 year old a couple times and now to my two year old as well.
As we were bagging everything my husband found what I have now identified as carpet beetle larvae in a pile of clothes in his closet. We also found a nest of sorts behind our kids bunk beds.
What I can't figure out is would these things really bite us when we were sleeping and us not notice it? Also I have seen what I think are two bed bugs just before bed, crawling ridiculously fast across my arm while I was reading! We have no blood stains, have seen no dead bugs, no fecal matter.
So I am left wondering if it's just the beetles or both?! It really and truly is crazy making.
Meanwhile I am trying to get my husband to quit his job and at the very least never set foot in the group home where he works again. I feel like I would just never feel safe.
Anyway, some of these posts are so informative and some give me that tiny glimpse of hope that alleviate that sick feeling I have in my stomach constantly since discovering my first bite Monday.
We are still getting the house sprayed twice and are going away for two weeks--after washing/drying and bagging all of our stuff.
How are you treating for the carpet beetles? Are you finding the adult bugs or the larva? Do you know what is the best treatment for them?
What did the Orkin guys say? Will they be back next summer?
Not a happy update from us....after about 5 days of no bites, I got a bunch more on my lower back and right leg this morning. But this happened while I was hanging around the house,
NOT while I was in bed. AGGGGGGGGH. So crazymaking...is it bedbugs? Am I still reacting to carpet beetles? We have been vacuuming almost daily & doing tons of laundry. And in desperation today I taped a carpet beetle larva to my arm as per the suggestion of someone here. 15 min. later, no reaction. My sinus allergies are going crazy right now too
My partner has her first bite as well...
we are really going crazy wondering
On a good note we have gotten rid of 3 garbage bags worth of clothes and our carpets have never been so clean. We are now thinking of calling in a 2nd opinion (Abell Pest Control) to see if they find any bbs. Or is there something else that could be causing this?
Socal, that's a hopeful story and a great suggestion re: keeping track of the bites. That could really help to stop us from going crazy!
we have bedbugs
After the bites came back, we went on another search of the mattress...no blood, no fecal matter but...we found a young (clear/white) bedbug, crawling across the corner of the mattress. We trapped it with tape. We will call another PCO tomorrow to come & confirm and then we will be prepping the house (continuing to prep, as we have already started). We are hoping to have someone come the week of Sept 7th....sigh.
we are so frustrated & overwhelmed. Some questions:
-Can anyone in the Ottawa area recommend a PCO? There doesn't seem to be anyone that offers thermal or vikane, correct?
-Has anyone mapped out a step-by-step guide to prepping/getting rid of them? I just don't even know where to start...
The last I remember, the thermal providers were all in the western part of Canada (there was a PCO in Vancouver, but he seems to have left the bed bug thermal business. There may be a thermal person in Alberta--but I can't remember if it's Calgary or Edmonton).
I haven't heard of a thermal person in any of the more eastern provinces.
And, for better or worse, Vikane isn't available in Canada at all.
I'm sorry to hear that. If you do find a PCO you are happy with, please do share that information so that others from Ottawa will have that information.
As for prep, well, I would wait and see what the PCO says, since prep varies by PCO. The one thing that's almost universal is that all fabric items--clothes, linens, drapes, etc.--will need to be laundered. They need to be washed (preferably in hot) and dried on high for at least twenty minutes after they are dry.
Items that are clean can simply be put while dry into the dryer and heated up to the bed bugs' thermal death point. There are many items that cannot tolerate a full dryer cycle on hot that can be treated that way. If items cannot tolerate even that, dry cleaning is an option, as is treating them in a Packtite (which is pricey, yes, but can be reused, unlike dry cleaning. Since it's costing me $45 for dry cleaning for a week's worth of work clothes, I would imagine that a Packtite would pay for itself in terms of treating items very quickly, so it might be wise to estimate the cost of dry cleaning, esp. if most of the dry cleanables are already clean.)
Once the clothes/linens/etc. are hot enough long enough, they should be placed immediately into clean ziplock bags. You can double bag with garbage bags, but the seals aren't as secure, and take it from me--finding your clothes in non clear bags is, um, challenging at best.
The idea behind all of this is to eliminate bugs from your fabric items (a favorite hiding place) and then sealing the treated items up to make sure the bugs don't wander back in.
I found it helpful to limit what clothes I wore during that phase of treatment. (That was easy for me since my job doesn't require me to be in the office every day. It may be harder for others, but the concept is a good one. For example, the clothes you'd wear in the coldest part of winter are clothes you're not going to need for a few months yet, so those can be treated, sealed up in bags labeled as such, and not opened until months from now--when hopefully you'll be bed bug free.
Hang in there, and while I'm sorry to hear that you found a bed bug, on the upside, at least you did finally catch one. Other people go a lot longer before they do.
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