Your Bed Bug Questions, Tales of Bed Bug Woe, etc.

by nobugsonme on February 12, 2007 · 111 comments

in bed bugs, Tales of bed bug woe

This is an ongoing conversation, but I put up a new post every week or so, when the previous one tips 100 comments. This is what came before.

Share your stories, ask bed bug questions, give us an update on your battles against the evil and dastardly cimex lectularius.

1 nightshirt February 13, 2007 at 11:40 am

nbom – thanks for the explanation. i knew that info when i was in the heat of my investigations and the infestation was bad but i had a lapse of memory since i think i may be “clean”. slept in my bed last night and so far ok no bites. will see in a few days though.

regarding laundry – i put all my laundry in plastic then wash and put away.

do i need to use a new plastic or should i wash that one separately? those zilocks are expensive.

in NYC two years ago there were no complaints to 311 regarding bb’s. in 2006 there were over 4,500. THEY’RE HERE!

2 nightshirt February 13, 2007 at 12:28 pm

another question – if i dont get bit in my bed (that is the only place where i have been bit since mid january) is the assumption that they are gone? can someone who was allergic to the bites become immune if bitten alot and show no symptoms? b/c that would be awful to not get bitten and have an infestation growing.

is my dog my new bait?

3 deblynn February 13, 2007 at 12:39 pm

nightshirt, when I was successful at isolating my bed they started to bite my dog. Please, check the under belly of your pup, the smooth, hairless part. I clearly saw red round small bites on her. I had someone take her for me, otherwise I was breeding more bugs. You cannot assume that they are gone in an isolated bed. Odds are if you do get bitten again, it will itch and show up. Maybe you can sleep on your floor for a few nights, to test if they are still around, this way you can leave your bed safe. But Please check your dog’s belly.

4 nobugsonme February 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm


Do you mean you wash the clothes and then put them in the same bag that the dirty clothes were in? If so, don’t! Have a bag for them when they’re dirty, which you reuse with the next lot of dirty clothes, and a clean bag you use only when the things are clean.

Also–besides checking the dog as Deb says, use Advantage or Frontline. I use Advantage for fleas and ticks and an advantic collar (comes free with the Advantage from the vet). Not cheap but they are much more reliable than the stuff you get at pet stores, IMO.

If you sit in an unprotected chair, and you have hungry bed bugs, they will bite you in the chair in the daytime, so you’ll know if they are gone or not.

5 nightshirt February 13, 2007 at 3:44 pm

my dog does not have any welts on him so that is good. I use revolution for his monthly med for flees, tics, etc. but i dont think is says bed bugs too?! LOL.

my question regarding the zip locks was that after i put my dirty clothes in it, take the clothes out and wash them (my pco told me I can put clean clothes in drawers) can i use the “dirty” zip lock again or do i need to wash the empty dirty zip lock before using for next load of dirty clothes? I only wear clothes once and then they are classified as dirty.

i still would like an answer to the question – can you stop getting a reaction to the bites if you used to have a reaction to the bites. i mean that would be horrible thinking you were bug free but they were still biting you and noone in the household got the reaction. know what im asking? i dont think i am too clear but….

6 deblynn February 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm

nightshirt I think what you are trying to say is …Is it possible for your body to build up an immunity to reacting to the bites ? I guess you could call it bite immunity syndrome…Only an expert can answer this and quite frankly I don’t think there are any bed bug experts..there are some who know more than others, but no one seems to know enough…..You might try researching this online…I think that the odds are in your favor that if you reacted to the bites you will continue to react…maybe less severe but still you will get a reaction…but this is only an educated guess…I am just like you…a bed bug victim…Deb

7 S. February 13, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Hey Nightshirt, you are asking a good question and I think we’d all like to know the answer.

From my perspective, I’ve had bites that itch ferociously and bites that barely itch at all. Some of my bites swell up into little islands when they first arrive, and others never swell. And some are raised-up little bumps, while others are basically flat. I have also had many things – red flecks, skin-colored bumps, non-itchy bumps – that may have been bites, but there’s no way to know for sure.

The point is that I think bedbug bites can vary widely. They are not consistent. (One theory is that different bugs give different bites – like adults give bigger ones, nymph bites are smaller, etc). I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a guess.

I also don’t know if the same person could stop reacting to the bites. Although, if you think about it from the bedbugs’ perspective, they would want this because it would allow them to keep biting without detection. A bedbug would probably be happiest if NOBODY reacted to their biting, ever.

But from the human’s perspective, allergies are our defense mechanism, to tell us that something is wrong. So you would think our bodies would keep reacting, if we knew what was best for our own survival.

Just some thoughts. I don’t know if this helps.

8 hopeful February 13, 2007 at 5:40 pm

I need help.
I talked with the PCO today, and he said some things that may contradict what I’ve heard here.

He said that he is going to first apply Demand on surfaces, including electical outlets. When I asked if there is a risk of electric shock he said they have a way of doing that withough the risk. When I asked why he is not using dust he said that the Demand product would be more effective.

After Demand, he was going to use the aerosol (CB-123) to get bugs killed or out of my suitcases, shoes, papers (that I’ve previously inspected). When I asked if this is also called fogging or bombing he said yes. He said this is the only way to treat shoes and luggage, and he doesn’t see a problem with it because all bugs that go out will walk over the residual and get killed.

Lastly, when I asked if he is coming for follow up treatments he said only if I see more bugs (otherwise no need for extra chemicals).

Given that I might have a “light” problem (I haven’t been bitten or seen more than 2 alive bugs) does anything what he says make sense??

I am also looking up products online, but it take me time to figure things out, so your responses are much appreciated (I’ll also post what I get from

9 jessinchicago February 13, 2007 at 7:45 pm


About the Demand in the electrical outlets- I have absolutely no idea. Maybe he knows of a safe way to get it inside? It’s possible. Did you ask the PCOs at They would know better than any of us, probably.

As for the CB product, I can’t find a CB-123, but there is a CB-80, which looks to be what you’re describing. It is an aerosol contact kill and flushing agent, which means it will serve to flush out some of the bugs inside your belongings, and it will remain effective at killing the bugs only as long as it is wet, which could be an hour or two, I suppose. It will achieve the same effects- the killing and flushing out- as a “fog” would on any other insect besides bedbugs, so I bet that’s what he means when he equates it to “fogging.” It is NOT A FOG. It is an aerosol spray.

And as for the repeat treatments, every single PCO we’ve ever heard from (correct me if I’m wrong, guys) has said it will take at LEAST two treatments to get rid of a bedbug infestation, simply because of the egg-hatching cycles. Some eggs will probably hatch at a time when the residual is fading. Some adult bugs that are not immediately killed by the contact killers may already be fertile and lay eggs before they are killed by the residual chemical, and those eggs will hatch even later, after the residual is even less effective.

If I know this, your PCO should know this.

So, to sum it up, he could be right about the Demand, he’s fine with using the aerosol, and he’s going to have to come back at least one more time, and if he argues about that, it’s a problem.

Hope others weigh in here in case I’ve missed something or I’m off the mark.


10 jessinchicago February 13, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Nightshirt and S.-

Really great question about reacting to bites. I had really bad allergic reactions to the bites that never went away fully (even when I was on Allegra) until I got rid of the bugs. I’ve always kind of thought that our bodies will continue to react in some way- with itching or redness or irritation, whatever, until we are no longer being bitten. I thought that because, well, our bodies are not made to be food sources for parasites. And those of us who do react to the bites are experiencing an increase in hystamine production by our bodies to combat the effects of the bites on our skin. So, I can’t imagine that our bodies become “tolerant” of the bites. If anything, I would guess that the reactions would get worse over a longer time, not better.

Somebody should ask a competent doctor what they think. Anyone know a doc who would answer this question? I’d love to know the answer. Especially since I am in accounting and not medicine and therefore have no clue whether or not I’m even making sense! 🙂


11 hopeful February 13, 2007 at 7:53 pm

One correction on me saying i haven’t been bitten. I received 5 bites that didn’t itch, and those could be from BB given what S. has said.

I’ve also posted my above question ( Feb 13, 5:4opm) on the PCO protocol at, so I’ll let you know what I hear. If anyone here has a feedback on it don’t hesitate to let me know (I’d appreciate it).

12 nobugsonme February 13, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Nightshirt, if I were you I would not take the clean clothes and put them in drawers. It is possible for bed bugs to infest dressers. Keeping them in sealed clean ziplocs after cleaning is best. Others will back me up on that, right people?

As I already said above, you can use the dirty bag again with dirty clothes.

13 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 2:21 am


Not to pry, but why the concern about the entomolgists knowing your address? I don’t think you have anything to fear. However, another option is to find someone locally who can ID a bed bug, you might try going to, a site populated by a lot of Pest Control Operators, and ask if any of them are in your part of Washington. If they are, you can drop by their shops and have the bug identified without giving your address. I am suggesting the bed bug resource because there are still PCOs in lots of areas who do not have extensive experience killing bed bugs; the bedbugresource guys may know someone in your area. Tell them I sent you!

If you do have bed bugs, I encourage you to hire a qualified PCO. As much as you might like to try this on your own, it is much easier and more efficient (and believe it or not, can save money as well as much anguish in the long run) if it is done swiftly by someone who knows what they’re doing.

Bed bugs do not jump. They crawl, and they can fall, but they’re unlikely to crawl up to the ceiling and fall on your pets when they can do that to YOU, the intended target. Your blood is the thing they want most. They usually only bother pets if the owner is away or completely inaccessible.

Why do you think the pets are the main victims right now? Did you isolate your own bed? If so, do you still sit in chairs? If so, I think the bed bugs would come to you first before a pet. Do you have bites?

Advantage should help and is a good idea ANYWAY since ticks and fleas can be enough of a problem for you and the pet. It is not listed for bed bugs, but then bed bugs are not primarily going after pets, and are, in any case, a recent phenomenon. I do know that other pesticides are used to kill both fleas and bed bugs, if sprayed on carpets, so there’s a good chance this will help, and it can’t hurt.

You can buy dog beds that are raised off the floor (like cute little metal day beds) I am sure they cost a bit, and you have to take all the steps for isolation or you end up with a raised bed bug bed. ALSO, your dog should not be licking oil off the bed risers, which is what mine would do, given the chance, so perhaps our normal bed isolation techniques won’t work.

I am going to ask our reader Geoff to answer your questions about food grade DE. And for a balanced viewpoint, anyone with personal experience should respond. My own 2 cents is that you should not be breathing in any powders (nor should your pets) and that a light dusting in inaccessible areas is probably best.

14 RemedyJones February 14, 2007 at 2:03 am

Hey Folks,

I think it is very possible that I have a bed bug infestion. I want to send some bugs off to Harvard to ID. I want to do this anonomously. The evaluation request form asks for home address. I am a homeowner in the Puget Sound area (Washington). If I don’t include an address do you think they will process the form/ ID. Any other trustworthy entomologists not affiliated with a PCO out there in my neck of the woods? Plus, I wonder if anyone can recommend a good PCO out here.

Question 2. I am reading mixed messages as to the safety of using DE. It had been recommended that I use fresh water DE since I have pets. Apparently it is food grade. I’ve seen comments on the web stating that it shouldn’t be breathed in or used around areas of high traffic. Other’s state that it is safe to sprinkle on carpet and floors that it won’t harm pets or humans. So what’s the deal?

Not much info on how to deal with pets during an infestation. I have a dog and a cat. I think my dog may be the main fodder as of now. I’m trying to bath her as often as possible, I don’t want to send her off, since she’s an old lady and doesn’t like to leave home, but will if I have to. How about cats. How do you get pets pest free!

Is Advantage /frontline effective with bed bugs? I’m thinking that I should make a doggie platform bed and do all the steps for humans. I’m not sure how far off the ground it would have to be.
Hey can bed bugs jump? If so how high?

Thanks to all fellow sufferers for feedback. I really appreciate your stories and this site for all the great info.

15 Geoffrey Day February 14, 2007 at 7:19 am

First off, I am an adviser to a business that sells DE along with other natural and organic pest control products so I am naturally biased. I also use DE and since I haven’t had any BB problems personally, I cannot speak first hand on that matter.

Dirtworks started selling organic fertilizers and learned from farmers that this DE stuff was really something. It is routinely used to quell mite outbreaks in chickens. Lots of farmers swear by this stuff.

I am not a PCO nor an entomologist and perhaps we should have them weigh in here to get their official words on DE.

Fresh water / food grade DE is an ingredient in most “powders” including numerous best selling flea powders.

At the Dirtworks shop John has a dog named Angel. Angel is routinely treated with DE when necessary, both internally and externally. Angel is doing great! We should all have such an Angel.

If you are concerned about breathing the dust, then avoid breathing it by using the best dust mask you can find.

Concerns about silicosis are associated with swimming pool grade DE which is nasty as it is manufactured using a different process.

Don’t take my word for it – check out the Wikipedia pages on the matter. Have a look at the National Geographic article. There is much information out there.

I cannot recommend that you use product x for use y. All I can say is that many users around the world find this product helpful in controlling pests. Plus reports vary but in my humble opinion, bugs cannot develop an intolerance to DE like they can with other substances – and it keeps on killing when applied correctly in wall cavities, electrical outlets etc.

What you want to do with DE is apply a light film. What I mean by that is a VERY LIGHT film.

If you are applying it in a way that you are kicking up visible dust, you are putting WAY too much down.

Wally Tharp (the inventor of the DE manufacturing process) routinely would illustrate the safety of this product by mixing a tablespoon of it in a glass of water and then drinking the water. Wally today is in his 80’s and going strong.

Forgive the political rant here but there are numerous substances in this world that are used “off label” which create genuine benefits.

Your Mileage May Vary.

16 RemedyJones February 14, 2007 at 9:41 am

Thanks for the feedback,

Yes, I isolated my bed after I got bitten. I haven’t gotten bitten recently. My concerns about giving my address is that as a homeowner I may be wanting to sell my home in the not too distant future. I don’t want a bed bug infestation on record, of course, if I do have an infestation that may put those plans on hold for a good long time.

17 nightshirt February 14, 2007 at 9:50 am

nbom thanks for the insight about clean clothes and also for the info about not having to wash the dirty clothes bag each time i launder. the clean will be washed and high dried tonight and back into those zip locks. what a life!

(EDitor’s note: Nightshirt, just to be super clear, use only clean ziplocs for the cleaned clothing, make sure they seal tightly. And with the dirty ziplocs, you can reuse on the next dirty clothes but only if there’s nothing in the bag AND the bag is always kept sealed. Otherwise, you may be spreading problems.)

my pco told me to keep my dog out the the apartment for at least 4 -6 hours after a complete spraying, dusting, etc. had taken place. he is fine following those rules. i too had thought he breathed in or licked some residue spray left on my floor b/c he developed a cough. a trip to the vet was reassuring that he just had a cough. funny how focused all thoughts are on any scenario you could think up when you are infested and dealing with this. everything becomes related to the bb’s.

18 Bugalina February 14, 2007 at 10:38 am

Geoff…I think the best tool for applying the DE is the small hand bellows….it regulates the flow…comes out in nice even puffs…I highly recommend the hand bellows…I remember asking Dirtworks to sell them..along with the food grade DE….as a kit… But if someone doesn’t have the hand bellows, a heard a paint brush is useful to apply it and “flick” it over surfaces…Deb

19 John Meshna February 14, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Hi all,
Geoffrey asked me to stick my head in the door here today and add my two cents.
the question seems to be and always is, “Is DE safe”. The answer is an unequivocal yes.” We sell it every day and answer this question everyday.
Here’s some information dorectly from the Perma-Guard web site:
Perma-Guard, Inc. is the original and largest supplier of food-grade diatomaceous earth products in the world. PERMA-GUARD is the trade name for a grade and quality of Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Actually, DE is not an earth. It is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one celled plants called DIATOMS. When insects come in contact with DE, their shell is worn through and death is by dehydration. There is no survival and no immunity.

These products do not contain persistent chemicals harmful to the environment and to higher forms of life, to which insects become immune–it is an organic insecticide. Perma-Guard products are a much needed revolution for pest control.

Perma-Guard kills by physical action, not chemical — by puncturing the insects exoskeleton and absorbing its body fluids, thus posing no harm to warm-blooded life. The addition of Pyrethrum and Piperonyl butoxide is to irritate the bug, causing physical action, allowing the DE to work more quickly. Birds who eat bugs get 14 extra trace minerals.

These products are certain death to insects. Moreover, on any surface, these natural pesticide products have a remarkable repellency factor. As long as it is present, insects tend to stay away, making a serious infestation unlikely. Also, the more it is used, the more an environment is created that tends to make insects feel unwelcome.
xcerpt from The IPM Practitioner, Monitoring the Field of Pest Management, William Quarles, Volume XIV, Number 5/6, May/June 1992.

“Both swimming pool grade and natural diatomaceous earth come from the same fossil sources, but they are processed differently. The natural grades are mined, dried, ground, sifted and bagged. The pool grade is chemically treated and partially melted and consequently contains crystalline silica which can be a respiratory hazard. Thus, it is imperative that only natural diatomaceous earth be used for insect control. This non-crystalline silica is not a hazard as the human body apparently can dissolve it.”

“Ingestion of diatomaceous earth is not toxic to mammals. Rats fed a daily diet containing 5% freshwater diatomaceous earth show no abnormalities after 90 days (Bertke 1964). Dairy farms sometimes feed their animals food containing 1 to 2% diatomaceous earth to control worms and other internal parasites (Allen 1972). Impoverished humans add “fossil flour” to their baked goods in order to stretch their flour supply (Cummins 1975). It is so safe for use on food that the FDA has exempted diatomaceous earth from requirements of fixed residue levels when added to stored grain (Fed. Reg. 1961). The U.S. EPA also allows its use in food storage and processing areas (Fed. Reg. 1981).”

The Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, sets “tolerances” on poisonous chemical insecticides because residues of these insecticides are known to cause cancer and other alarming physiological effects when introduced into the bodies of test animals.

There’s much more information available at my web site and on the Perma-Guard web site.

Diatomaceous Earth manufactured by Perma-Guard is safer than any of the chemicals now being used to kill bed bugs.
It is a dust and if you have a low tolorance for dust, you can wear a dust mask or get some one else to apply it. I’ve used both the D-20 with pyrethrin and the fossil shell four and it works great to kill fleas, ticks, silver fish and all soft bodied bugs. fortunately i’ve never had to suffer the ravages of bed bugs but, if I did, I would not hesitate to use it everywhere in my house. Why not? I’ve done it already for other pests.
Proffessional pest control companies make lots of money selling their toxic products and they don’t like products like DE that anyone can apply and work forever, so long as they are down. Even they will tell you that no matter what they do, the bugs might return. DE last forever. It’s a mineral and doesn’t gas off or biodegrade over time.
It does have to come in physical contact with the bugs, so, if there any advantage to the synthetic chemicals is that they can kill by inhalation alone, but this is also what makes them so toxic to us and other warm blooded animals.

I could say more but, check out the Perma-guard web site and mine at if you need more information. FYI… we sell baby powder bottles for dust applictors and puffer bottles for injection into wall cavities and tight places. They’re cheap and they work good.
My sympathies to all of you with this problem. I’ll do what I can. John F. Meshna (owner) Dirt Works

20 Bugalina February 14, 2007 at 2:15 pm

John…how does humidity effect the remain at optimum efficacy, should it be applied at scheduled intervals if exposed to high humidity ??? Deb

21 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Welcome John and thanks very much to Geoff and John for the information on food grade DE.

John, I believe food grade DE is safe if used properly, though sometimes we hear from people who are clearly over-using it or putting it places they will be breathing. Everyone reading this should realize that you must educate yourself if you apply any products–whether it’s food grade DE or a pesticide.

No matter what you use, I also caution anyone against trying to fight an infestation of bed bugs with just food grade DE (or any other product in isolation, for that matter). Please see a qualified PCO–one with bed bug experience.

The other side of that is that you need to make sure your PCO knows what you’re using (whether it’s Kleen Free or DE or something stronger). Some applications you might do could work against something they might do, and you would have no idea unless you discuss it with them.

22 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 3:18 pm


I don’t think entomologists who ID bugs would track the data in any way. They would be seeing so few samples that recording who sent them would not yield any useful information.

There are bed bug registries where people can track their own infestations (see right sidebar links) and renters and hotel guests can use these to warn others. It’s helpful for me to know if the person in the next apartment is infested, or if the place I’m moving into has a problem. The registries also allow people to date the infestations–so the listings are not necessarily a permanent mark. HOWEVER, entomologists and PCOs are not (to my knwledge) using those registries to list people who contact them, and I doubt any homeowners are listing themselves for the reason you identify.

I do hope in time that the city I live in will get its statistics from PCOs on the frequency and geography of bed bug infestations–but only so they could see how prevalent the problem is. I don’t think homeowners need to worry that it will be hard to sell a home, once its free of bed bugs.

23 Remedy Jones February 14, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Thanks to all of you who have responded with advice. I really appreciate it. This is so crazy and exhausting! My sympathies to all who have battled and won and to those who are still in the trenches.

24 hopeful February 14, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Hi Jess (and others),

Thanks for your comments on my PCO’s protocol and summing it nicely up (with respect to three points, the Demand, aerosol, and followup). Here’s the feedback I’ve received on the protocol from Sean and another person at

“Demand works well as a liquid residual. To my knowledge there is no safe way to apply a liquid to an electrical outlet. Even if the power is off there is a danger when it is switched back on if it is not perfectly dry. These areas should always be treated with dust.

In the original postings we were under the assumption he was using CB-123 to rid the bugs from your dorm room. “Fogging or bombing” a specific area to rid the bugs from articles may be effective, but definitely against the law as far as this product is concerned.
CB-123 is a non-residual contact killer to be used on the mattress seams, bed frame, baseboards, moldings and floors. Anything other than that usage is contrary to the label (see label). There is also evidence to suggest that bed bugs are resistant to Pyrethrin.

Follow-up treatments are a must. Often the eggs survive treatment or are tucked away such that the pesticide does not reach them. These hatch in about 10-14 days. The follow-up treatment should be scheduled to occur roughly 14 days after the initial treatment to ensure that the newly hatched nymphs are exposed to the pesticide.”

And another opinion:
“I agree with what Sean said. Demand is a fairly effective liquid residual and we sometimes lightly treat the backs of switch and socket plates with liquid residual. Dust is way more effective in this environment. I also don’t agree with his (ed. your PCO’s) statement that Demand would be more effective. It all depends on what dust he’s using but a lot of dusts have some sort of desiccant in them which helps with residual effect. In my opinion, the presence of a desiccant improves the effect of dusts.

As for the use of CB 123 I’m not sure where the PCO is going with this (legally or from a treatment standpoint).

I also agree that in almost all situations follow-ups are a must. The bare minimum would be a follow-up inspection.”

25 hopeful February 14, 2007 at 7:13 pm


Thanks you for maintaining this site. I imagine it takes time and effort on your side, but it has helped me a lot to understand the problem as well as to feel supported while I am going through fighting the bed bug infestation.

From the beginning, it seemed to me it would be very useful to have a link of recommended treatments for different items (ex., general clothes, leather clothes, shoes, books, electronics, dishes, etc). What do you think?

I’ve received a few useful comments from Sean with respect to clothes and different items. However, if I leave those comments in this thread (a) they’d be harder to get to than if there were a link to them and similar professional comments on top of the page, (b) the person would have to read through all notes that have the desirable search word in them, and (c) anyone who’d read my post might like to read also the follow up comment to make sure other ppl agree with it.

26 jessinchicago February 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm


Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about the responses you got! That’s really helpful- it lets us know whether or not we’re really pointing people in the right direction.

I was surprised to see Sean’s response about “fogging,” but he is the expert. I’d love to pick his brain a little more about that one, as I’ve never heard that “fogging” or “bombing” will work with bedbugs.

In any case, you got some answers and now you can move forward with your PCO.

Keep us posted!


27 nobugsonme February 15, 2007 at 2:03 am

Have you read the FAQs? We do have one on how to deal with clothing (washing and drying on hot, bagging, etc.) Dishes can simply be washed, so we don’t mention that.

However, we don’t have one on how to treat other items. For the most part, it’s tricky to say. You can freeze things for a long time. But for the most part, I am not aware of good ways to treat shoes, electronics, and so on, besides leaving them in a home where treatment is taking place. (The idea is that bugs will come out of your shoe to eat, cross a pesticide, and die–but this only works if your PCO uses the correct treatment protocol. Not sure how it would work with the treatment plan you’ve had outlined for you.

If you have information you’d like to share and which is good for a FAQ, I will add it to the ones we have, or create a new one. So fire away. I realize people may not see what’s in these conversations but we do move good advice when we have it.

28 nobugsonme February 15, 2007 at 2:04 am


Since you have two PCOs outlining why the PCO your college has hired is perhaps not doing everything necessary, it seems like you could take those to your college’s administrators and ask them to hire a PCO with more bed bug experience. Just a suggestion.

29 hopeful February 15, 2007 at 10:29 am

Nobugs & Jess,

I”ll be back soon. I am speaking with the housing director and doing some more reading/reserach.

30 nobugsonme February 15, 2007 at 9:59 pm

We had a message from Tiago in Sweden on an old post. Here is her message, Bugalina’s reply, and a separate message.


Tiago // Feb 15th 2007 at 5:43 am


I am a PhD student in Stockholm University. I moved into an apartment (24 sq meters) in the beggining of last December (2006) but went on vacation soon after (only returned on 7th January). The apartment was rented empty and I bought (how I dread that very thought) a second-hand bed.

2 days after I came back from vacation, it started. At first, I didn’t know about them and I went to a doctor who tried to convince me I was wrong. That same night, I turned my bed upside down – and found them. I immediately threw away my bed (yes, I know!) and vaccumed the whole place. I called the Pest Control guys (Anticimex) and they sprayed with Empire 20 (organophosphorous). I washed and dried my clothes and got them back into the closet. Bought an air matress, surrounded it with double-sided tape and have been sleeping on it ever since.

The PC guys came again after 3 weeks and sprayed around (close to walls and in closet) and I once again put all my stuff through the drier (at least for one hour at 60 ºC). The same night, I noticed I had red marks scattered through my body. I am sleeping with long sleeved pjs and socks and I get these marks in my belly, legs, feet, etc. Last sunday I bagged most of my clothes and put them and my luggage in a room at -20 ºC. Only kept some clothes, which were ran through the drier and once more, washed my bed linen and pjs (at 90 ºC) and dried it at 60 ºC.

Every morning I wake up with red marks in me. But the annoying thing is that I dont know wheter its the bedbugs still. The marks appear and dissapear, most in the same day. Before, they stayed for a couple of days and I can still (even after a month) see small red dots where the @#$%^ bit me.

The pest control guys returned 2 days ago (on my insistance) and sprayed again, this time with Demand CS (synthetic pyrethroid) and Starycide (an Insect growth regulator). They even sprayed the underside of the air matress, although the sheets reach the floor (even if I have the tape around). And I had marks again, this morning, which have now faded away. I even photographed them, so that I would have proof of what I am seeing and feeling (yes, they itch).
I know this has been a long post, I’m sorry for that. Just wanted to describe the situation as good as possible. Since I am a PhD student, I have to go to conferences and I want to go back home for vacation. I can’t go on living like this and I am afraid to go anywhere, because I don’t want to spread it.
Just want to add one more thing: HELP ME. I have passed beyond the desperation point now.

I thank you for reading and for any constructive replyes.



Bugalina // Feb 15th 2007 at 9:20 am

Tiago, if they itch , then imho, they are bites, Is the bed elevated ? You cannot let the sheets touch the floor..this gives them passageway into the bed..please read all the FAQ’s on this need to have more bed isolation..and what about your pillows ? From my experience, the younger the nymph the smaller the bite and the sooner the bite fades, but its still a bed bug on its way to becoming an adult–please read all of our suggestions on the FAQ..

Tiago // Feb 15th 2007 at 1:13 pm

As I mentioned, I have an air matress now, no more bed. So it has to be on the floor, there is no other way. The sheets do touch the floor, unfortunately but, as I said, there is no way around it. I don’t have a pillow, the matress itself is higher in the head part.

I put double-sided tape on the ground around the bed, the only other option is to put it on the matress itself, all around. I’ll try that tonight.

I’m really at a loss here, I put my PJs (long sleeved, long pants) through the drier EVERY NIGHT, along with the cover and the socks. They sprayed with Demand and Starycide under the bed. Where are they coming from????
The bites can be from a nymph, that’s a possibility I don’t ignore (at all). The strange thing that happens is that I wake up, notice them on my chest, for example (???) – this around 8 o’clock – and around 10-11 they’re gone. I’m going nuts over this, I really am.

Tomorrow I’m going to a doctor. Even though the last time she didn’t want to believe I had this, I managed to convince her to give me a lotion to put on the skin which, believing on her, will kill the little b@#$#%^s if they get in contact with my skin. It only works for 24 hours, though. I thought that I can do the same again. Should I still get marks, it may be an indication that it’s no longer the bugs – or that the product doesn’t really work.

What’s your opinion about wooden floors? I can see some space between the boards, probably enough to put a sheet of paper. The Pest Control guy told me “not to worry, because they prefer to hide along the walls and that is too small for them”. I suppose he means the adult ones (with which I agree) but what about the younger?
Another question (sorry for writing so much but this is really breaking me at the seams): I’m seriously considering asking my landlord to move me to another apartment. Would that be a smart move?

Thanks for your suggestions.

31 nobugsonme February 15, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Hopeful– good luck and let us know what happens!

Tiago– Welcome!

I would not move. You are likely to take the bugs with you. Don’t panic. I know this is awful, but it can take some time to kill the bugs. It often takes 4-5 visits even if the PCO is experienced with bed bugs, though it can be less.

You should get the PCO (pest control operator) to come back every two weeks until the bites and itching are gone, and you see no new bugs. The bites can come and fade quickly–I get that with some but not all. Eggs hatch within 2 weeks and the pesticides do NOT kill the eggs–so you must have the PCO re-treat at close intervals to catch the hatching nymphs before they get a chance to mature.

Also, there is a small possibility you could be reacting to the pesticides, since you say you got a lot of red marks on the day your home was sprayed, and they went quickly. It might help to stay away for 24 hours on those days, though of course you need to be super careful not to spread them. (Don’t stay away longer though, since then they will all bite when you come back.)

Also when you wash and dry clothing–washing on 60C (140 F) should be good. But you also need to machine dry on the hottest heat. We’re told it is the HOT drier that actually kills the bugs and eggs (the machine helps dislodge them).

It might help to get a metal bed frame to put under the air mattress (wood is bad–they are more likely to infest it) and then you can follow the procedures in the “isolating your bed” FAQs (frequently asked questions–links at the top!)

However, you could be bitten while sitting in a chair, so don’t assume you are only being bitten in bed.

Finally, don’t put those washed and dried clothes back in the closet! Seal them in resealable bags. You can seal longer-term items in a garbage bag tied in such a way that no air escapes. The nymphs are the size of a pinhead (1 mm) so they really can get into a small space. If you put those clothes back they can get reinfested.

Good luck and let us know how we can help!

Read all the FAQs and ask any questions here.

32 Sean February 16, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Well Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I poked my head in here as the emails and postings at The Bed Bug Resource keep me extremely busy … oh yeah, then there is my paying job too 🙂

Nobugsonme posted on the Yahoo Support Group looking for some PCOs comments on DE.

As far as DE; I did write a blurb on it here (

As stated, there are many forms of DE, some more dangerous than others. Nothing in this world is 100% safe … drink too much water and you will die.



33 RemedyJones February 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Hey Guys,

I think the little f-ers may be in my car. I felt bites on my hand yesterday, while driving. Has anyone had this scenario? Help! How can I get them out of my car. I can’t believe this. It’s a fairly new vehicle. Will I have to stop driving it for 2 years! S—-T!

The bites I’ve been getting are single bites and I will feel a bite, when I itch it it welts up. Sometimes I will only see a small welt like a small red line. The bites don’t seem to stay long and there are no lasting red marks . Sound familiar? I haven’t seen anything bug like lately.

I’m washing and dry and bagging and bathing before I get into the car . I usually put on fresh clothes and change shoes before I get into the car. If they are in there can I get them out! What’s the word expert warriors.

34 Bugalina February 16, 2007 at 6:03 pm

I don’t know if anyone can really help you on the car issue…I believe they were in my car…I let it sit in the heat last summer for two months, untouched..then I had it completely cleaned inside..and I treated with pesticides…I was getting bites in my knee area..I think you should speak to a very qualified PCO about it..Deb

35 nobugsonme February 16, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Someone else had them in the car and their PCO was able to recommend a different PCO that was willing to work on a car (they aren’t all). It could be dangerous to try and kill anything living in your car (because of ventilation) so I would leave it to an expert.

You should also consider whether you’re feeling bites as they occur, or later. I don’t know anyone who feels them when they are happening, though I suppose it’s possible, it is not the norm. Most of us feel itchy creepy bugs crawling and biting, when they actually bit some time earlier. I am not sure what causes the sensations but I think its some kind of histamine reaction (all reactions to bed bugs are allergic reactions). What happens to me is I don’t feel it when its happening, but later it feels LIKE it is happening.

So next time you feel a bite on your hand, look at your hand (hopefully you won’t be driving!) Bed bug nymphs are small but visible. Especially on visible skin. Look at our FAQs to see lots of different pictures which will give you an idea about the various things you might see. You also might like to use a jewelers loup or magnifying glass to examine them and any cast off shells.

36 jessinchicago February 17, 2007 at 12:59 am


Hello, welcome, so sorry to hear you’re dealing with this.

Listen- I had just one other thought (the advice from Deb and Nobugs pretty much covers it all) and that is to elevate your air mattress. I don’t know if bedbugs would live in/harborage in your air mattress, so you might consider replacing the one you have.

In any case, you can get a cheap bed frame (for $60.00 or so) and put your air mattress on top of it. You can then put the legs of the frame into bed risers (from a bedding store-cheap-around $12.00 for a four-piece set) filled with mineral oil. I prefer tea tree oil. Bedbugs seem to hate it, but that’s probably because of the smell.

Your “bed” will then be elevated and protected, and because the risers will raise it, your blankets won’t touch the floor.

Good luck, keep us posted, and keep fighting the good fight.

37 Geoffrey Day February 17, 2007 at 11:21 am

on the subject of DE (again!) we’d be happy to grant some free DE and new DE like substances we’ve been sent to test them on bedbugs.

I’ve got 1 free bottle of C-M Powerguard for anyone reasonably scientific enough to want to perform time until death experiments on bedbugs and who has an active colony that is not otherwise affected by standard PCO chemicals.

Same offer goes for 1 bottle of DE, and 1 bottle of D-20 (with pyrethroids).

Maybe that’s asking a lot. Let us know and we’ll try to get something out to you.

(products given away in exchange for promotional consideration if appropriate, this is a limited time offer, your mileage may vary, see additional boilerplate below, etc)

Tell em Angel sent you.

38 Bugalina February 17, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Geoff..what is the effect of humidity on the efficacy of DE.?.. Someone told me recently that they applied it once a month…doesn’t humidity degrade it somewhat.?… frequently should it be laid down..I think it should be “refreshed ” but at what intervals? ..Thank you..Deb

39 nobugsonme February 17, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Geoff, thanks for your generous offer. I hope some folks with visible bed bugs who are just-not-dying will take you up on it. (By visible bed bugs, I mean the ones that come out, say hello, and like BuggedinBrooklyn’s, make offensive gestures.) For those of you with the more elusive kind, it’s harder to do the scientific research.

Meta-comment: I am always narrowing down my wish list of features for when I re-do the site. A big problem is how these threads are structured and how we have to move conversations when they’re started on old threads or the FAQ (and having one current “bed bug woe” conversation allows the Qs and As and updates to be shared among all the current readers.

Whew, all that is by way of saying that this conversation overlaps with the one on the NYCBoE’s appraoch to bed bugs in NYC schools. A commenter mentioned the Board of Ed’s approach to treating bed bugs is hindered by new laws about using pesticides in city buildings, concerns about kids with asthma, etc. I believe DE is one of the substances I think the city is worried about in terms of asthma, even though I am not sure that’s a legit worry IF people know what they’re doing. (And if not, do we have to legislate the use of substances based on mis-application???) Check out the thread on schools if you have thoughts on that.

40 Bugaboo February 17, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Hi! I just started reading all of the blogs and it is nice to know others are out there. Back story, In November my boyfriend began getting bit. At first I denied it, I have not been bit, but we got an exterminator who found 2 and their casings. He sprayed everywhere. We washed, dryed and dry-cleaned all of my clothes and sprayed the living room too. We also re-sprayed the same night and 5 days later with Steri-fab, which is supposed to be the best thing on the market. I stayed away for a week, and sprayed again with steri-fab. This was 3 weeks ago. Today my boyfriend found several bites in the same area and on a different area. My landlord has NOT been helpful and I have filed a complaint. In the meantime we have covered the box spring with 2 vinyl mattress pads and the mattress with another, as well as the pillows. We have the bed elevated and the metal spring is covered with vaseline. The edges are also covered with double sided tape. Today we are re-spraying with Steri Fab and I have lodged a complaint with NYC against my landlord. He has taken forever sending someone to help, and I don’t even know if he is spraying right. I don’t have any idea what to do next. I am so overwhelmed and exhausted about the whole situation. Has anyone heard of chemicals that are spread through a humidifier? Also, do I have to dry clean all of my coats, or can I put them in the dryer for a long time (2 hours)? That would save a lot of money. Also, I have fabulous shoes that I love. How do I treat them with that stuff??? How do you afford all of this? I have to move (for reasons beyond the bed bug situation) so how do I deal with a move? Should I just plan on throwing out anything I don’t possibly need, like books and such? Someone help!!!

41 nobugsonme February 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm

You should read our FAQs. Click the link at the top of this page. Standard treatment from PCOs does NOT kill bed bug eggs. They hatch in about 2 weeks, and so it is completely expected that within 3 weeks, you would be bitten again. Your PCO needs to return every 2 weeks until there are no more bites. If your home is re-treated by the PCO every two weeks until you are bite free, and this may take 1-3 more visits, sometimes more, you should have no trouble beating this. Almost no bedbug infestations are eliminated after one visit.
Sterifab is a contact killer, that means it only kills bed bugs sprayed DIRECTLY. You need the PCO’s combination of substances which will knock bed bugs out not just on contact, but over time. These should include residual killers as well as insect growth regulators. That will wipe out the problem.
Follow the recommendations in the FAQs re: clothing. Proper treatment should mean the bugs come out of your books and shoes to die. You should not need to throw away all of your posessions–this does not sound like a huge infestation. Get the PCO to come back at two week intervals.

42 Bugaboo February 18, 2007 at 12:14 am

Thank you so much. I do need to move anyway due to other terrible issues in the apartment. And the landlord has not been receptive to the situation. What should I treat my furniture with before I move? Do you have any tips on a move.

So appreciative,

43 Bugaboo February 18, 2007 at 12:27 am


I was in the exact same place! Only two were ever seen and relatively little bites. The exterminator said the same thing and now we are bit again. I would say have the exterminator come every two weeks like the others here have said. In the meantime check EVERYTHING. They will come back if you are not vigilant.

44 nobugsonme February 18, 2007 at 12:44 am

Bugaboo, please read the post we had on moving a few weeks ago. Go to the February section of Archives in the lower right sidebar (you’ll have to scroll down), and you’ll see the thread about moving. Let me know if you don’t find it.

Most of us would not advise moving for a variety of reasons which the post there will make clear. If you want to move, I’d fight the bed bugs first. You don’t want to move with them.

45 new_york_night February 18, 2007 at 4:08 am

Hi there. I feel compelled to speak up about this. New York/Upper West Side here and have been victorious over an infestation during this summer.

There are 3 pesticides, esp. used together that will kill them. Suspend SC, Drione Dust, and Gentrol. Make sure your exterminator uses these. Myself, I would not bother with any organic or enzymatic pesticides. These things are incredibly resilient!

Your exterminator will make you do things to protect himself. But the list can be overboard. Your exterminator won’t care of course because he’s not the one who has to do the work. This advice may go against what your exterminator tells you. This is only my opinion. Use your common sense.

This list includes:
1) Books and media: going through every page of all books and magazines to scan to see if there are bedbugs or their droppings.
Keep in mind that you are the attraction. So, although they can hide in your media, if it’s not around your bed or sofa, the less likely it is.
Your exterminator will make you wrap everything in airtight plastic bags. I think this is to make sure that if there are bedbugs in your media that they do not come out later after your extermination. This is valid, but use your common sense. If a whole body of books does not have any trace of bedbugs or feces, then you probably don’t need to bother for that whole area. You are better to do all of this, but this is a LOT of time and energy. Just be prepared. It’s like moving. If you have any trace of them in your media, then do all of it, to be safe. I think it is possible to suffocate them. Keep everything tied up, airtight in plastic bags. To be safe, keep them in the bags for a year. Otherwise, spray down with the Suspend and then trash.

2) Laundering in hot water and more importantly, thoroughly drying in very high heat all your washables.
Now THIS part IS necessary. The important part is the dryer, even more so than the laundering. You want to make it so hot that the eggs will die off.

3) Dry cleaning all your clothes which cannot be laundered. Keep in mind that again, you are the attraction. They need your blood and they need you to be fairly still. So, they don’t tend to hang out in your clothes. You are too mobile for them to hang out in your clothes, and if you are bathing before you get into your clothes, you will have washed off any bedbugs. Bedbugs are not like lice or scabies in that they do not adhere to hair that well and can be washed off. But of course, shower or bathe very well in very hot water. If you don’t have a bedbug on your body, it is unlikely that they will be in your clothes. At the same time, even one egg can reinfest your whole apt., so check your clothes thoroughly and if you think there is a possibility, dry clean the items you think are a potential threat.

4) electronics. I’ve heard they can be in your electronics, but there’s really not enough blood in them for them to hang out there. I could be wrong on this one, but they didn’t get into my electronics.

5) furniture: your bed you will most likely need to trash. If it’s not too infested you can wrap it in a plastic mattress cover and tape the zipper so that it is completely airtight. But remember: these things are about the size of a flea in its early stage, so it is unlikely you will be able to get a tight enough seal. Better to toss and when you do, seal in an airtight seal so that you don’t spread them to your neighbors and label “bedbugs” all over. Same for infested sofa. Chairs, etc. should get sprayed with Suspend.

5) cracks and crevices in wood. After your exterminator sprays with Suspend SC and Gentrol, lay down Drione Dust throughout all the cracks and crevices. Then, with caulk and glue, fill in the cracks. If you are in an apt. like mine, this will take forever but you want to fill cracks with Drione and then seal those cracks up.

If you are going to do this yourself, be careful of the Suspend, it is very toxic. Leave your apt. for at least 3 hours. Gentrol is key because Suspend will not kill the eggs. Gentrol will control future growth. Make sure to spray in and around electrical outlets. Of course, make sure you do it safely – turn off your circuit breaker first to avoid shock.

When you get a new bed: Get glides instead of wheels for the frame. Put the glides onto 3″ discs, available at Home Depot. These discs have Teflon on the bottom so you can slide furniture. Then thoroughly dust Drione on top of the discs, creating a “moat” of poison so that if a bedbug wants to get onto your bed, it will have to travel over this moat of poison. You can also slather petroleum jelly on the glides and bedposts as an extra measure; this will trap any bedbug that actually makes it over the moat of poison, although unlikely. Keep your sheets and blankets off the floor and move your bed away from the wall, esp. away from electrical outlets. Use slippers so that you do not drag any dirt from the floor onto your bed.

VACUUM EVERYTHING, esp. the bed and sofa and furniture. This is perhaps the most important part of the equation, before as prep to the extermination and after. Bedbugs like dust and as you vacuum the dust, you will also vacuum any bedbugs. Get a powerful, hepa-filtered vacuum cleaner like a Miele. You are not only trying to vacuum bedbugs but also their eggs. Once you have vacuumed up any bedbugs and/or eggs, put some Drione dust into the vacuum bag, killing them inside the bag. Then airtight seal the bag and throw out, or if you can, burn the thing! Make sure you change your vacuum bag frequently, as they can crawl back out of the hose.

For travel: always check your bed for any trace of the bugs before you get in, including the box spring and headboard. Bring with you: Steri-Fab (another pesticide, mostly just alcohol) and spray down the headboard and around the bed as a safety measure. Put your suitcase on a metal luggage rack, not on the bed and spray the base of the rack. Keep anything you might put back into your suitcase, inc. clothes, off the bed.

Hope this helps!

46 new_york_night February 18, 2007 at 5:15 am

to: Bugaboo:

Has anyone heard of chemicals that are spread through a humidifier?

No, and do not try this!

Also, do I have to dry clean all of my coats, or can I put them in the dryer for a long time (2 hours)? That would save a lot of money.

If your coats are wool, you risk greatly shrinking them in a dryer.

Also, I have fabulous shoes that I love. How do I treat them with that stuff???

Just vacuum them thoroughly and use SteriFab after.

How do you afford all of this? I have to move (for reasons beyond the bed bug situation) so how do I deal with a move?

Well now, this is the ultimate New York question!

Should I just plan on throwing out anything I don’t possibly need, like books and such?
Yes. See my posting earlier.

47 new_york_night February 18, 2007 at 5:09 am

Oh, forgot to mention. Do not put Drione powder, even a little, into water. Drione works by disintegrating exoskeletons. So it is very good at killing fish! So do not dispose of into the toilet or into the sink or outside. Use sparingly. In fact, with Drione, buy the duster. You want to create a layer of fine dust, not a pile. If there is too much, bedbugs will recognize it and simply move around it.

48 nobugsonme February 18, 2007 at 4:08 pm

New York Night,
Glad you were successful, and
Thanks for ypur comments, though much of what you wrote is in our FAQs, so I hope people will read those.
It’s mostly really good advice, though there are a few things I would disagree with.
I personally would not use drione in the bed risers, since there’s a danger of contact (esp. with pets or children). Others recommend tea tree oil or mineral oil.
Also, I seriously advise people to get an experienced PCO and get them to come in every two weeks until the problem is solved. I seriously don’t recommend people doing their own pest control — even drione can be dangerous if people do not know what they’re doing. We have a FAQ about it for those who choose to do it anyway.

Also, there’s another method to killing bed bugs besides bagging everything for a year–that’s to bag it only until treatment has begun and then open the bags–because bugs that are allowed to come out and make contact with pesticides will die. Some PCOs, like NYC’s PestAway, will tell you to bag indefinitely for 12-18 months. Others will tell you to let them out of the bags after a time. Talk to your PCO about their methods before hiring them, so you can be clear on your options. The people who open the bags are often as successful, with similar numbers of treatments, as those who don’t. BUT you have to talk to your POC, and use one that knows bed bugs. Similarly, I agree with decluttering, but people with smaller or average infestations do not need to throw away everything. This really varies. And tossing your mattress or sofa, like a lot of people do, can lead to disastrous consequences when your neighbor picks them up. DESTROY before you toss, if you must. Or the bugs may come right back to you in a few months.

Whatever people do, they should be in contact with their PCO about all of it. Because some of these steps can contradict what the PCO is doing. For example, dusts like drione may be intended to be left down for a time–ask your PCO how often you should vacuum and whether you need to reapply something after.

But get them to come every two weeks until it is gone. Not doing so is the most common mistake, IMHO.

49 WantMySkinBack February 18, 2007 at 4:28 pm

NYNight, I have two questions for you.
1. What does this mean? “When you get a new bed: Get glides instead of wheels for the frame. Put the glides onto 3” discs, available at Home Depot. These discs have Teflon on the bottom so you can slide furniture. ” Are you talking about the white and orange “Moving Men” that goes under quite heavy furniture for moving?
2. Have you ever heard of someone’s scalp being bitten (who has a full head of hair)?


50 new_york_night February 18, 2007 at 7:41 pm

To: nobugsonme. I fully agree with your comments and corrections. I don’t have pets or children so the Drione is not such an issue for me.
I also agree to listen to your exterminator first. I just feel that they tend to make very sweeping prep rules and it can be a bit overboard.
Also agree re: the Drione. It too needs to be handled with caution and it’s better to have your exterminator do it.

To: WantMySkinBack.
They sell bed frames with either wheels or legs which bottom out in a flat disc, like a cone. Those are called glides.
Re: the teflon discs. They are called Magic Sliders. They are plastic with ridges on top, in black and the bottom portion is grey with teflon. You put furniture on these things and they let your furniture glide on the floors so that you can move your furntiture easily. Available at lots of hardware stores, but I got mine at Home Depot.
Don’t know about the scalp. The bedbugs never got into my hair.

51 Bugaboo February 19, 2007 at 12:09 am

Thanks. I guess what i worry about is throwing away kitchen stuff, electronics and such. I am throwing away most stuff (good reason to down-size!) and am planning to spray everything in sight. Thanks all for your help!

52 nobugsonme February 19, 2007 at 1:05 am

Do not throw away washable kitchen stuff. You should not be throwing away electronics either. Occasionally bed bugs infest these, especially if they are close to where you sleep. But it is not always true, and even if it is, if you are treating the apt. and sleeping there, in a period of weeks, the bugs should come out to feed, make contact with the pesticides, and die. (Steri-fab won’t cut it, but residuals will.) Same is true of books, etc. Clothing is another story. See the FAQs if you’re not sure.

53 new_york_night February 19, 2007 at 3:54 am

Hi nobugsonme.
One question for you that does not seem to be covered in the FAQ. Although I do not have bedbugs anymore, I know that there are still bedbugs in the building. What should I do to prevent reinfestation?

Thanks in advance!

54 new_york_night February 19, 2007 at 3:56 am

I forgot to point out that the pesticides used from this summer have a “life” of 6 months. Now that I have passed this timeframe, I’m wondering what you would suggest.

55 Bugalina February 19, 2007 at 6:52 am

new_york_night….For what its worth…I have a hand bellows snd Drionne…when I was in an apt. ( I am in a single family home now) I continued to be proactive and dusted inside all of the electrical outlets on a monthly basis. I would suggest that you remain proactive. Why don’t you give the PCO a call and ask them, but use your Drione in outlets and smoke dectectors and around pipe chases. They travel via electrical conduits and pipechases…I would keep my bed away from the wall and continue to use high quality zippered mattress and pillow covers..deb

56 buggedinbrooklyn February 19, 2007 at 8:27 am

I have to agree with Deb, that you have to remain proactive for at least a few months after to make sure you don’t get reinfested.

if the building is infested, using drione dust as Deb says is the best way to help prevent a reinfestation.

I do have a question when it comes to Gentrol…
what is the point of using it?
it is more or less bedbug birth controle.
I can’t speak for the ladys here at this blog, but I wana kill the little F’ers, not give them the “pill”!!!

anyway, nice post.


57 wantmyskinback February 19, 2007 at 12:47 pm

My PCO told me that around 5 years ago he treated another apartment on a different floor in my building for bed bugs. It’s possible they remained in the building, and possible more people have them other than myself. I think being pro-active as Deb and Bugged suggested is great, but in a multi family dwelling it has to be really difficult to ever know for sure—- and although I’m not religious, I would start praying!

58 nobugsonme February 19, 2007 at 1:44 pm

You’re right, we have a FAQ gap in that area. Suggestions are welcome, though
I only post FAQs if I am fairly certain the information will help people. It’s pretty hard to avoid infestation in such a situation, and I have not gotten any reports on how to do it from those who have. I’d do what Bugalina and Bugged suggest–drione in all the right places (always using caution it will not come in contact with you, of course). If you report success, or others do, I’ll make it a FAQ item!

But Gentrol/Suspend/Drione have a six-month residual–really???

Also, Bugged: glad you’re back–let us know how it’s going! About the IGR, wouldn’t you rather have “no new bed bugs”? Unlike George Sr’s pronouncement on taxes, which was an outright lie (showing my age, sorry folks), insect growth regulators are supposed to stop those new bed bugs from being born. Sounds like a dream, why not? Your other option is they keep breeding while you kill them. And you have to keep killing new baby bed bugs…

(Update: I defer to Jess, student of pesticides… my comments above reflect the idea behind Insect Growth Regulators, and not the effectiveness of any brands.)

59 jessinchicago February 19, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Hey All!

NYN- If there are still bedbugs in your building, then your landlord or building management should still be working with a competent PCO who, in turn, should be using preventative treatments in the apartments adjacent to the ones with active infestations. If you are concerned, you could contact your landlord or management and express your worries and ask that their PCO routinely inspect your apartment and, if necessary (if apartments adjacent to yours are infested), take measures to prevent the spread into your apartment. Any landlord with a working knowledge of bedbug behavior should be more than willing to do whatever it takes to prevent bedbugs from infesting any more units (financially speaking, it just makes sense).

Brooklyn- The theory behind the Gentrol (now apparently disproved) was that it would affect any bedbugs that passed through it by rendering them incapable of reaching adulthood, therefore preventing them from reproducing, as immature bedbugs cannot reproduce. This would have, in time, helped to diminish the population as it would have eventually rendered all bedbugs incapable of laying eggs. That, in conjunction with residual chemicals, would have served to eradicate infestations. Unfortunately, according to Sean, our friendly PCO from Canada, a new study suggests that Gentrol has a much more limited affect on bedbugs than we originally thought, and so it’s not nearly as effective as previously purported.



60 new_york_night February 19, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Hello all, inc. Bugalina, and thank you for your suggestions.
My landlord is fully aware of the problem and knows how I feel. Believe me, I know they should be doing something more proactive as well as COMMUNICATING TO US TENANTS THAT WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM. But that’s another battle.

I have been putting down Drione. Seems to work. I am having trouble finding a box spring cover for my bed since box spring is 10″ high vs. 9″. Any sources anybody?

Re: the pesticides:
Suspend: “Suspend SC has a long term residual-2-3 months, and is odorless.”
I remember an exterminator telling me though that if you don’t see bedbugs in 3 months, then they are gone. But in my case, again, they are still in the building!
Gentrol: JessinChicago. Correct. Gentrol is supposed to stop the reproductive process of them; this is the supplement to Suspend because Suspend does not have this capability and you must control further reproduction and eggs. But Jess, if you are right then I guess Gentrol is not what it purports to be. I would still use it though.
Drione: I don’t know how long its killing “life” because it works more on contact.

I hope I answered your questions.

: )

61 Bugalina February 19, 2007 at 9:15 pm

New-york-night…National Allergy Catalog has deeper covers….Drion is not considered contact is a mechanical killer…dust lightly with it and it will stay in place..slicing the outer lipid skin of the bug..and/or dehydrating the does degrade with humidity..also you want to vacuum so dusting in intervals is probably best..As for the residual quality of Suspend..from what I have ideal laboratory settings it will last that long..but in the real world its residual is much less…it is photosentive..light breaks it well as other humidity..and maybe vacuuming..(of this I am not certain but it makes sense) Google Hydroprene..that’s what Gentrol is…the jury is out on whether or not its effective….Landlords are in a bind…this is an unseen “risk/cost” of doing business….the real estate industry has to speak up and demand something with a longer residual..or else they are going to go broke…bugalina

62 new_york_night February 19, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Bugalina: Wow! Thanks for all the corrections. I certainly hope I have not given out incorrect info.
Back to my original posting: what I did seems to have worked to get rid of them.
I’ll believe it when I see it when landlords do anything about this! Much easier to evade and lie and deflect blame!

63 Bugalina February 19, 2007 at 9:43 pm

new – york -night….your information has been very helpful imho…I applaud you for having conquered the monsters..Unfortunately most landlords will not spend the money they must to treat bed bugs effectively….some will, most will not….Its a most unfortunate situation for all concerned..bugalina

64 jessinchicago February 19, 2007 at 10:54 pm

NYN- Thanks. We’ve been covering this stuff for a long time now- some of us for almost a year- and we’ve done our homework (and for some of us, like myself, it was lots of research and field work!). I appreciate your input, especially because some of what you say reminds me of things I’ve written before.

Smiles from Chicago.


65 Bugaboo February 19, 2007 at 11:29 pm

2 days ago I found someones v. expensive looking furniture on the street in front of the building next door. The next day 2 pieces were gone. Won’t people learn? NYN- I too believe my building is affected- one of the reasons I feel I have to get out. Is it stupid to put some things in the freezer for 48 hours or more ? Will it kill the little #$%ers ?

66 strangedays February 20, 2007 at 12:38 am

Hi, folks
I have been doing a little research on line here and am greatful for all the info and input. I live in a realatively isolated apt.(no other apts. in the building, and no one else lives in the building, or ever has, except for the previous tenant) The building itself is at least 40′ from any other dwelling. Before I moved in 2 months ago, never had a problem with BBs. I’ve been scratching my head (and other places!) wondering how did I get these vampires? I’ve only noticed them for about 3 weeks now, but the PCO guy said it was a heavy infestation, and I agree. However, I saw a bug about 3 weeks ago, 1 bug and no bites, and now many dozens with many bites! Today I found out that the previous tenant had stored lots of old found furniture in another area off the apt. and belive that this is the scorce. I suspected that the previous tenant must have had them, and when I asked the building admin., they stated that he never complained about any bugs whatsoever. Before I moved in, the apt. was partially redone, mainly the bedroom(new baseboards, carpet, window sills) The contractor said nothing about any evidence of any bugs during renos. Does anyone think that the old funiture is the likely cause? And if so, is it possible for someone to live with these things for 12 years and not speak up?
This building is a church built in’53 and the apt. is the caretakers’ unit. I.m trying to track the scorce, because I need to replace my B sping& mattress, and now my love seat, futon couch, and, I think some clothes, and if the scorce is the previous tenant, the church will help reimburse me for some of the expence. Ayn thoughts?

67 Caryn February 20, 2007 at 1:58 am

Hi. First, thanks so much for the links that you have to my site. I appreciate that very much!

But I have some bad news to share. I hadn’t seen a bedbug in 2.5 years. Until yesterday. They are back. I have posted photos of my new bites. I’m trying to get an exterminator in here ASAP. I feel confident that this infestation is much smaller than what I dealt with in 2004.

I really have no words for it.

68 nobugsonme February 20, 2007 at 2:36 am

Awww Caryn,
That really stinks. I am so sorry.
The good news (if there is any) is you probably figured it out really fast–dealing with it quickly may make things much easier than what you dealt with the first time.
Do you have a sense that your whole building had them beat for a time, and this is something new somebody brought in?

69 nobugsonme February 20, 2007 at 2:41 am

The old furniture is a possible source, but I doubt the tenant lived with them for 12 years. While it’s true she might not have reacted to bites, I am not sure someone could be bitten and breed bed bugs for 12 years without them becoming so numerous as to be visible.
Either the offending object was brought in more recently, or there’s another source.
If the church is active as a church, there’s every possibility they rode in on a member of the congregation or a visitor. (Lots of churches even have shelters, soup kitchens, 12-step meetings, daycares–any of which has people, and a bed bug could ride in on ANYONE, anytime.) Having been brought in as a hitchhiker, somewhere in the building, it would be possible for the bed bug to find you, sleeping there, and set up shop.
Not sure where you live, but I think the church should take responsibility. It’s in their best interest–their congregation, if there is one, is at risk.

70 Bugalina February 20, 2007 at 7:36 am

strangedays…some people have different “living standards”….although its nearly impossible to pinpoint an intial infestation, used furniture is a no brainer..there was a woman several months ago who owned a 3 family house and bed bugs showed up. When she went to inspect her tenants apts. she found that one of them had been living with bed bugs for at least a year..They were spraying Raid on their beds at nite..Coming from another country they had more tolerance to live with them…I highly suggest that you get an extermination program ASAP…talk to the church ..if all the baseboards were replaced..etc. it points to some prior bed bug remediation…so do what you must..but do it soon…deb

71 Caryn February 20, 2007 at 9:00 am

I live in a pretty big building. It sounds reasonable to me that they may have been mostly, but not entirely, eradicated last time. My neighborhood has had many infestations. (Caitlin lives in the same neighborhood I do.) Maybe they did re-enter. Who knows how they came back.

I got a bite Saturday, and was worried. The next night, I caught a bug. So, I knew for sure. But I talked to myself reasonably, and said that I have been able to identify it early (as opposed to last time, when it took me months to figure out what was wrong), so it should be much more manageable this time.

But now my emotions are catching up with me and I am quite upset. 🙁

I am so thankful that this wonderful community has formed. I was so incredibly lonely last time I had bedbugs (there was nothing like this online at the time). For so long, I’ve felt so good that I have been able to contribute to this community in my own way, by sharing my story and my pictures, especially at a time when there were few/none online.

But now I need you all. I need to be reminded that it’s all going to be OK, that I’ll get through it. I really can’t believe this is happening again …

72 strangedays February 20, 2007 at 9:04 am

Thanks for getting back, Nobugsonme.
This particular church has no sort of Soup kitchen, shelter, or 12 step programs. It is accually a synagogue. Any area that is used by the congregation is also quite a distance from my apt.(2 flights of stairs, and at least 20′ from any main areas of the shul) About 80% of the shuls flooring is terrazo and tile, and the areas leading to my apt. are concrete flooring. I have not brought any new clothing or furniture into the apt. since moving, but do travel up and down stairs frequently everyday. What is the liklyhood of them being tracked in by my shoes?, or my cat, he has freedom in the building in the evenings, if it is coming from upstairs? The previous caretaker, I’ve been told, had a lot of old found furniture stored in a room adjacent to my apt., as I have said, and also some various pieces of lumber, some of which is still here (lumber) No members of the congregation have been in my apt. during my brief residence, so I’m thinking it is more likely from the former c/taker’s rummage bin. I also suspect he had some problems with bugs because he had cans of Raid that were for use indoors and include BBs on the lable. I should also say that we have had a contract with a PCO for years and the only insect activity reported, I believe, has been ants, and this was outside of the building. The PCO guy has been the same for the duration of the contract, to my knowledge. The PCO has also said he had never been in the c/takers apt before I found the BBs. This is a fairly large building and the BBs would have to travel quite a distance on their own to find me if they originated upstairs, and if they came in on my shoes, wouldn’t there be evidence of them elsewhere in the building?
I’m sorry for going on so long, but I am starting to freak-out a bit, as there are literally thousands of places these BBs can hide in the apt.(lots of cracks and gaps, old building) Its going to take me days just to fill every possible hiding spot. Any suggestions on wageing all out war on these critters? Should I consider a contractor to give me help to seal the apt. ASAP? I’m running on very little rest and, again, I apologise for going on.
Any advice is greatly appriciated.
P.S., I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Any idea if there is a special problem in this city? (I have heard a rumore..)

73 Bugalina February 20, 2007 at 10:10 am

strangedays….It sounds like the caretaker..but you must take actions..go online and read all you can about what good extermination is all about…bed bugs travel via electrical circuits and pipechases…you need to get treatments from a very qualified PCO..educate yourself as not bring in any new bed , other than an air mattress..there are FAQ’s on this Blog must read you have a good vacuum?? Until you get into the hands of a qualifed can start to clean and vacuum..someone just told us that Murphy’s Oil Soap with citrus is good to spray and soak your furniture with..but this is only something to do must contact an exterminator who knows about bed bugs..and isolate your sleeping area so you can get some rest.deb

74 jessinchicago February 20, 2007 at 10:45 am

Hey Caryn-

I’m so sorry about this. I can only imagine what you must be feeling right now.

Remember that you will get through this. It will end. You did it once before- back when there was so little information and good advice available- and you can sure as HELL do it again. This time will be easier, I think, because you’re already ahead of the game. And we’re here for you!

You never knew this, but you gave me great inspiration when I was dealing with my infestation. I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to help you through this.

You are in my thoughts. Many hugs.


75 strangedays February 20, 2007 at 11:13 am

Thanks to everyone for there advice, help, and consideration so far. Will read and do anything I can to get rid of these BBs., and will keep you all informed. Is there any specific questions to ask the PCO? He’s coming tomorrow morning. He seems knowledgable, but….
Is there any drugs one can take, like the ones you give your pet for fleas, that will make the little bastages unable to reproduce?

76 jessinchicago February 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm

Hi SD-

Check out the FAQ titled “Advice from a PCO on choosing a PCO.” It has some really good suggestions.

And no, there are no drugs you can take to make them unable to reproduce, unfortunately.


77 S. February 20, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Hey Caryn,

I saw a therapist last night. I’ve been dealing with bedbugs for over two months and my emotions are definitely catching up with me. She was very good. She suggested having a mantra, something that you can say to yourself when you are most worried. It can’t be too short-term, and it can’t be something you don’t believe.

My first mantra, which I created weeks ago without realizing it, was “Maybe THIS is my last bite.” Every time I had a bite, I would say this. But obviously, when each bite proved to NOT be my last bite, I was let down. The therapist said your mantra can’t be something that sets you up for failure. It can’t be too short-term.

My second mantra, which came from Jessinchicago, was “Every bite is certain death.” This makes sense if you’re confident that there is a chemical barrier along every path the bugs could take. This worked for a while for me, and each bite even felt like a little victory, but ultimately I kept questioning it and kinda stopped believing it. My PCO is pretty good, and there is chemical in all the obvious places, but I don’t feel totally sure that every bite is certain death. We still can’t find our bedbugs, so they could be in my ceiling, my car, or my coat.

So after last night, I wrote a new mantra. It started out as “We are doing everything we can.” But that didn’t work because I learn something new every day. I constantly realize that I’m NOT doing everything I can. So I changed it to “We are doing everything we KNOW. We can’t know everything because there isn’t enough knowledge out there in the world. But as we learn new things, we will do them too. Because we CAN do anything.”

So far, it’s helping.

78 nobugsonme February 20, 2007 at 2:21 pm

Halifax has bed bugs (type Halifax in our search box) as does every city in Canada, and most parts of the US, though Canada seems to have been the “early adopter” in North America.
I’m in NYC so we get the synagogue/church distinction. Just a small one 😉
Your caretaker may have been a strange fellow, who did not mind putting up with bed bugs, or he may have gotten BBs right before he left. Or they may have recently appeared: bat bugs and bird bugs are pests of those species, & biologically very close to bed bugs, which can get into homes and other buildings. If the bird or bat they lived off of died or left recently, they’d move on to a nearby human. They can travel 20 feet for a blood meal. You need a PCO in there ASAP, and make sure s/he knows bed bugs (interview them). I’d get them in right away since knowing where they’re coming from may affect how much your landlord reimburses you (from what you said), and anyway, the PCO may want to spray in those cracks before you seal them. Good luck and read the FAQs which should help!

79 nobugsonme February 20, 2007 at 2:27 pm

We’re here for you. And you will get through this. You have the advantage of knowing what to do, and it should absolutely not get anywhere near as bad as it did when it “snuck up on you” last time.

80 nightshirt February 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm

i find myself crying for caryn – i am heartbroken for you. i too was wondering if i would get an infestation again. i literally did all the stuff to do and sealed every crack and open crevase in my apratment(actually a friend who is handy did that for me) and i was just beginning to feel the slighest bit secure.

it goes to show you that there MUST be a community response to this infestation of bb’s. even if you rid them from your place, they are still there waiting for an opening for rear their ugly bites on you again. probably each and every buliding in NYC should be thoroughly exterminated to really have people feel secure.

caryn – you will get through this. we are really here for you. the process takes up so much brain space. but just think in a month – 6 weeks you will have that space back.

81 strangedays February 20, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Hey, Nobugs.
He was a strange dude.
Got so drunk every night and fell asleep that his carpet was burned by 2″ cigarette nasty’s. Thats why they reno’ed the place. Everyone on the house comm. was surprised the place didn’t burn down when they finally had a chance to get in and make ready for a new c/taker. Hence the new carpet, etc.
In all fairness, He was well liked and most congergationers were sad to see him go, but…
I have a PCO coming in the morning. I am throwing EVERYthing out. Bed, sofa, loveseat, clothes, bedding especially. I do not care. I AM WAGEING WAR!!. I will rip up the new carpet and… gone!. Does anyone think this is a tadd too much?
I do not want to take up to much space here and would like to have a victory story sooner, rather than.
Hali. is a port city, and there are 7 degree granting Intitutions on the main part of the peninsula, lotsa students. lotsa rambling parasiidic furniture hunters.Dumpster divers. And so on. how do we put out a warning?

82 WantMySkinBack February 20, 2007 at 10:36 pm

First, I’d like to give Caryn my support, and I’m so sorry for the re-infestation. I just cleaned around my desk (where I think they may be harboring since I am still being bitten) with 50% diluted Murphy Oil soap and a paper towel. Nothing dropped out DOA from anywhere, that I could tell. But I did pick up a sesame seed sized off white oval shaped “thing” in the paper towel, and put it in a baggy for the PCO to look at. Any ideas anyone? I spoke to my PCO and he said I shouldn’t find a random 1/2 peice of rice looking egg just while cleaning…but…when I bring him the evidence tomorrow….I will post…

83 nobugsonme February 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Just be aware that if you toss all your furniture, you MUST destroy it first. We have many reports of people putting out sofas, mattresses, etc. with bed bugs taped on a sign, or spray painted on the item, and people STILL take the stuff and reuse it. So get your box cutter our and slash that stuff up on the curb, and you will feel much better.
THAT SAID, you should also realize that if the building is infested, it can be in the cracks in the floor, in the baseboards, in the wall–your furniture may not be the main harborage at all, and you may not have to throw it all out. I’m not saying you shouldn’t–but let your PCO inspect it all so you have a better idea. Mattresses especially are usually treatable and sealable in such a way to make tossing them not necessary. AND buying new stuff and bringing it in is a BIG no-no until the bugs are gone for multiple months. Otherwise, you may have brand new infested furniture.
Hali sounds a bit like Boston; the Boston city government has done something, along with a community group called Allston Brighton, to help students become more aware. The city has a special leaflet for students renting housing in the city, and it has a big section on bed bugs. Perhaps Halifax could do something similar. But everyone, students or not, is at risk, and this kind of public health education is something every city should be doing, and sad few are, so far.

84 nobugsonme February 21, 2007 at 1:18 am

Thanks for posting your question here, WMSB.

85 buggedinbrooklyn February 21, 2007 at 8:25 am

First, I’d like to give Caryn my support, and I’m so sorry for the re-infestation.
sadly, I’ve been warning about such things as little as just a few days ago…and I fear it will happen to all of us again, and again.

I would realy get my PCO to spray that desk on any open areas and inside the draws too.
I’m sure Murphy Oil Soap helps, but you must soak the item down in every spot compleatly…maybe even better then what we as freaked out bedbug victims can handle.

I did see a bedbug or two on my desk in the beginning, but after a few sprays, I have not seen any….my couch is the only item in my house that has bedbugs.
my infestation, is only isolated in that area of my couch at this time.
I’ve also sprayed my couch on some of the leather areas, to help kill off more bugs.
I also used Drione Dust inside the couch.
I’m at the end of my rope people, if it doesn’t get better over the next month…I’ll have to say “good bye” to the couch.

for all that have no idea (since I’ve only emailed Jess about this), I’m at my wits end.
I can no longer sleep even in my uninfested bedroom.
my body will not let me rest in that house any longer.
the last bedbug attack on that couch was all it took, but it was more then enough to freak me out for good.
every time I’m in that house all I think about is them crawling all over me in my sleep…walking on my face, arms and leggs, is not something I wish to think about, but my mind just can’t get that picture out of my head.

still, even today, I always feel like they are still walking on my legs and biting me…this feelings are from the old bites, even the ones that are no longer scabed over from all the scratching.

I will try sitting on that couch again someday, just not today.

totaly freaked out,

86 nobugsonme February 21, 2007 at 9:51 am

I’m really sorry Bugged.

You know what I am going to say–is the couch worth it? Your wellness is worth so much more. I know that it’s a hard decision. Just know I’m thinking of you.

87 nightshirt February 21, 2007 at 11:32 am

having had my last spray on january 27th – i haave slept on the couch mainly. no bites there. the few times i have ventured into my bed – no bites. but i NEVER sleep well in my bed (had the bb’s in couch and bed only). im exhausted today and am at work and feeling itchy all over, seeing red where it is only dry skin and paranoid about my bed and bites like i havent been for a while. i think the more time that goes by that i have not been bit the more paranoid i become that they will resurface and i will have to face that whoe ordeal again.

does anyone else think each and every building in nyc should be exterminated? how else to surely know that they are eradicated? oh – even if this was done they would only hitchike back on someone. what is the solution so we dont all end up at belleview?


88 East Harlem February 21, 2007 at 11:36 am

I am so thankful for this site. All this information is a little overwhelming, but I’m trying to weed through it all slowly. I’m desperate and I’ll try anything to get rid of these terrible bugs. I live in East Harlem and our building has several infested apartments. As you hear from many others, the building managers have been trying to keep it quiet. The problem apparently started on the first floor and the tenant travels frequently so the PCO can’t get into the apt for follow up spraying. I only know for sure about this apartment and the apartment below me (3rd floor). Someone claimed to have a problem on the 2nd floor as well, but the PCO said she was just trying to get out of her lease. She apparently had no proof. This is MY problem. I have been bitten and bitten time and again. But I can’t find the bastards. This is part of what is freaking me out. My boyfriend isn’t being bitten either. I’ve read of this happening, but it doesn’t help me feel any less crazy. I am almost positive we have a slight bed bug problem. It isn’t too serious YET, because I haven’t found a lot of evidence and I’m only being bit once a week or so. But our downstairs neighbors have been fighting this since the summer and the PCO has bombed their place several times (he must not be a good one since I’ve heard you shouldn’t be doing this). He came in once and sprayed our room topically. I didn’t get any bites for about 2 weeks, and then I started getting them again on my birthday! Happy Birthday to me! The problem is, is that my landlord won’t do anything about it until I give him a bug sample! I’m not sure if I have any recourse against that. I would really just like to get out of my lease and move, but not sure if I will be able to. We did cover our mattress (but with only one vinyle cover). It did seem to help at first. I’m going to isolate my bed like suggested and by more mattress covers. I would like to get a new bed, but don’t want to get one until I move, so don’t want to spend a lot of unncessary money since I will be upgrading to a Queen when I move. It’s really a nightmare this whole thing and it makes me so angry that the management doesn’t have a clue, nor does the PCO seem to really know what he is doing. Anyway, our landlord gave us some spray that we are using and I am going to try to do what I can on my own, but without evidence of the bug.. no one seems to be willing to help us. I guess when the infestation gets really bad, then we’ll be able to see a bug and then we might be able to get some help. It sounds like it will be a little too late then. On the bed bug registries it looks like there is a mass problem around our area in East Harlem and I just can’t believe that people are not doing more to combat this issue. If anyone has suggestions about finding these bugs, let me know. We have a metal frame with wheels. We took apart the bed, but we couldn’t look into the box spring because it had this cover on it. Should we take the mattress covers off and take the cover off the bottom of the box spring to investigate more fully? I’m afraid to take the mattress cover off in case they are in there and they come out to make the problem worse.

89 nobugsonme February 21, 2007 at 12:04 pm

HI EastHarlem,

I can relate to your story, since I also had extremely elusive bed bugs, and lived with someone unafflicted. It’s terrible enough being bitten, but having to convince other people it is not your imagination or stress, is infuriating (that was what happened in my case). It can take a very very long time to see bed bugs or shells, even when you are infested. There should be signs though–they excrete feces everywhere they go. Use white sheets, and inspect the sheets thoroughly for little black specks which can either be like little poppy seeds (but smaller), or moister and very hard to remove. If you touch the moist ones, they stain badly.

There was a NYT article about bed bugs in East Harlem last fall. Here’s a link. I would not take the mattress cover off the regular mattress (esp. if you sealed the bed bugs in with your own bedbug-proof cover!) However, it’s my sense that box springs are bad news. Lots of people remove the cheesecloth and find them inside. I’d have a friend ready with a powerful vacuum plugged in and ready to go, so if you do find them, and tape a few to a card (samples), you can suck the rest up. (The vacuum friend should also have a camera at the ready, so you can document them, if there’s anything to see.) Vacuum bags should be immediately removed into a sealed garbage bag (airtight seal) and gotten rid of. Have a mattress cover ready to seal the box spring–see FAQs (link at top) on covering the mattress.

However, be aware that they may not be in your bed. I was all psyched to find a bed teeming with them, and my vacuum-and-camera friend and I were perplexed to find no signs and a pristine mattress. They can be hiding in cracks.

Here’s what I would do, INSTEAD, seeing as your landlord is not going to help until you produce a bug.
Your landlord’s PCO should have inspected thoroughly BEFORE spraying your apt. If you cannot find them, in NYC, call 311. They will file a housing violation, and this is what your landlord deserves if he is not willing to have a PCO inspect your apt. PCOs need evidence to treat for bed bugs, but they do not necessarily need to see a carcass, and you certainly do not have to be the one to find it. It would help if you’ve got little black specks (either the little poppyseed type or the little black stains) on your bed. Pick up some of the specks with tape and tape them to a white card. The HD inspector will do a thorough inspection (I hope–but we’d love some feedback from people who went this route). THIS IS IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE GOING TO CALL 311, DO NOT TAKE APART THE BOX SPRINGS. LET THE HPD INSPECTOR COME IN AND INSPECT IT AS IS. If there’s something there, you want them to see it, so they can file an accurate report.

By the way, if the PCO really did bomb the other unit, it may be why the bugs are spreading.

90 Bugalina February 21, 2007 at 12:08 pm

East Harlem…I went to the Task Force Meeting formed by Councilwoman Gale Brewer. A woman from Harlem spoke at the meeting and she said that Harlem has a major problem with bed bug infestations. She loved Harlem but moved out because of the impossible to fight bed bug infestation in her apt.. If your bldg. isn’t doing what it should, then please read all of the FAQs on this Blog. Also you can find many good products online,( google bed bug products) that if used responsibly, can help you fight off the bugs. If you are going to move do not buy a new bed. Your bed must be covered with high quality zippered covers, on both mattress and boxspring…Please read all the informative info. on the FAQs and then start to educate yourself on what steps to take. The PCO that is bombing in your bldg. is spreading the bugs to other apts.., this is what those bombs do. Educate yourself…

91 strangedays February 21, 2007 at 1:04 pm

I bet you are cute!

(Editor’s note: Strangedays, you left some pretty crazy cryptic comments last night, most of which I had to delete, but thanks, I liked this one. Careful with the language! All kinds of folk are reading this blog.)

92 strangedays February 21, 2007 at 3:53 pm

O.K., folks, the PCO just left. He seemed confident that this treatment will work, and will be back in early march for another go at it if need be. He used Tempo (chemical name is cyfluthrin) and really laid it down. I have rid myself of all my furniture and anything else that might harbour the BBs. We will see. And I was relieved that he said that “100% the bugs were here already”, he said because of there sheer numbers that they simply could not have multiplied that fast. I want to believe him, but does anyone think otherwise? Has anyone else used this bug juice wth any success? Should I wait before I get my hopes up? I already feel better, and will sleep better tonite.
Thank you to everyone, especially Nobugs;)

93 S. February 21, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Hey guys, I have a new development and therefore a new set of questions.

It’s been 11 weeks, it’s been 6 treatments, and I am still getting bit. My fresh bites look like Caryn’s newest ones – thank you Caryn for posting those photos! – and yet, both the PCO and his boss cannot find them anywhere. The inspection last week took three hours. They have looked EVERYWHERE.

Everywhere except the ceiling. Our ceiling is made of wooden slats, and there are thin voids between some of them. The PCO said he couldn’t imagine any other possible way that they were getting into our bed. He said there’s no way they could be walking up our sticky, oily, slippery bed legs, and the frame has been inspected mighty well and sprayed with Demand. New pillows, N.A. encasings, clean sheets and pajamas every night.

So next week, he wants to come by and try to inspect, and potentially treat, the ceiling. It sounds like he wants to try to dislodge one or more of the wooden slats, get a light up in there and see if he can see anything. He then said that he would try a “fogger,” not to necessarily kill any bedbugs but to dislodge them, ie, make them move. He said he typically uses foggers for other bugs, but that this one has a residual fogging effect and might work in this space (the narrow space between our ceiling and the floor of the unit upstairs). He also said that this residual wouldn’t drip – something about it being encapsulated so it would stick to whatever surface it touched, and not drip on us while we sleep.

I am nervous because everyone says fogging doesn’t work. However, this guy is the company’s Technical Director and he seems both intelligent and highly experienced with bedbugs. He said our case is still a mystery to him, and he wants to get to the bottom of it.

Does this sound kosher?

94 nobugsonme February 21, 2007 at 8:12 pm

S– I would contact Sean at bedbugresource. We’re not PCOs and though we’ve been told foggers and bombs are bad and spread bed bugs, Sean did say on the yahoo group that some kinds of foggers might be ok. I don’t think anyone should speculate on this one who isn’t an expert. (I still want to tell people not to use foggers or bombs, because the “wrong” kind is the one that people who don’t know what they’re doing use. I am only saying that only a PCO who knows BBs would know what the right kind is.)

Strangedays, One warning: it’s my sense that the usual bed bug treatment is a number of different pesticides and dusts, not just one. So one, no matter what it is, sends off a little red light to me. I said little. Someone here will know more.

95 Bugalina February 21, 2007 at 8:26 pm

S… Bed bugs harbor in wood..cracks and crevices..Your ceiling is tongue and groove, and your beams are “rough hewn”..I think…..So..this is like the Hilton Hotel for bed bugs….You should listen to your PCO…they are really trying to make this work…You are a team…Deb

96 nobugsonme February 21, 2007 at 8:29 pm

S–any more updates on the neighbors? Perhaps they are coming in from elsewhere too.

97 jessinchicago February 21, 2007 at 10:19 pm

S- Yes, I do remember reading something from Sean saying that some “fogging” products are okay- I think these are flushing agents as opposed to what people think of as traditional bug fogs. It would be great if you’d write him and let us know what he says.

The one thing that really concerns me is that whatever your PCO uses may cause the bugs to scatter, which is kind of the goal, I think- but they might scatter UP to your neighbors. You might want to ask them about that and make sure they’ve taken it into consideration.



98 nightshirt February 22, 2007 at 10:11 am

my last spray was jan 26. all cool until now, 27 days later. im having that feeling again. an itch here a welt there. only occasionally. so do i behave precautionary and get the pco in again this saturday?and do the laundry thing again? and freak out again? or doubt it again?

could this be in my mind?

i knew i should not have said i was feeling cautiosly optomistic. that was the jinx.

dog itching but be had a grooming last weekend and he usually itches for a while afterwards.

also, i noticed that when the infestation first happened i was getting a runny nose. i knew when i got bit (aside from the obvious) from my runny nose. i thought that i had pinpointed the beginning of the bb problem but in wracking my brain about this i realized that my nose started running in the summertime and i thought is was allergies. a friend had told me that in forest hills there are strange trees had get his allergies going so i thot i developed the same thing. i did not see welts until mid september.

now, today, my nose was running and i dont know if it is the cold or bbs.

feeling defeated.

please let me know what you think about the precautionary pco visit or mabe it would not be precautionary and be actually needed.

why me?

also – on a more personal level – for anyone out there who is married and spouse not getting bit – is this whole thing causing friction between the two of you? or both getting bit and having friction in your marriage?

99 S. February 22, 2007 at 10:57 am

Nobugs, no updates on the neighbors. It’s making us want to break our lease and move out. Our landlady has asked the building manager repeatedly, and he has come back and said, “They haven’t noticed a problem.”

I actually ran into one of my next-door neighbors a few weeks ago, and asked if she was going to get inspected. She took it so lightly. She was like “Well, I’ve lived here for three years and I’ve never had a problem.” She also said, “I’m allergic to everything. If they spray chemicals, I’ll die.” I was like, “Well maybe they could just inspect?” And she was like, “If the building wants to pay for it, then sure, whatever.”

This is a goofy metaphor, but I felt like she was this little, innocent baby, and I could see this giant anvil hanging over her, and I just wanted to jump out and like, save her from it! But I know that I can’t save anyone who doesn’t want saving.

I told her that they are terrible, expensive and stress-inducing, and that they could easily travel from my apartment to hers. She was basically like, “That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

I have tried so many times, and with so little response, that I’m basically ready to give up on the neighbors. We are already starting the process of looking for our next place (we are going to buy) and if we can make it happen sooner than August, then we will move out before then. Because yeah, this kind of life isn’t sustainable, and in this apartment, the bugs are certainly, somehow, being sustained.

100 nobugsonme February 22, 2007 at 11:29 am

S. thanks for the update. I am as worried some of your neighbors have them and don’t know or care–and they’re coming to you–as I am that they’re on the receiving end.

101 S. February 22, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Right. Me too. Hence the idea to break our lease and lose our security deposit. It would suck, but hey, the money’s already spent. It’s a sunk cost.

I am increasingly concerned that they are coming in from UPSTAIRS. That is the unit with whom I’ve had the least contact (ie, none). We’ve noticed some odd things from upstairs – it used to be consistent noise, then last summer, a day of lots of bumping and moving, then nothing for months. We think someone moved out. Now, we’re hearing what sounds like construction. Our brick walls are crumbling again, and we’ve had some dripping of brown water from the ceiling in the kitchen.

Maybe this PCO, given his position as Technical Director of his company, will be more authoritative. I’m going to try to arrange for him and my landlady to talk.

102 jessinchicago February 22, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Hi Nightshirt-

I’m sorry. Try not to freak out.

Can you call your PCO and explain your symptoms and ask them to come back to inspect and possibly re-treat (or do something precautionary if possible)? That would be the approach I would take if I were you. It can’t hurt to try, can it?

Also, I am not married so I can’t really answer your question, but I remember several people commenting about friction in their relationships related to the exhaustion, frustration and hassle of dealing with infestations. Hopefully you’ll get some feedback.

Keep us posted on the situation, okay?


103 jessinchicago February 22, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Nobugs and S.- You’re right- if they’re up in that ceiling, they could very well be migrating down from upstairs. Hopefully the PCO will be able to make some headway with the landlady.

104 nightshirt February 22, 2007 at 4:34 pm

thanks jess . ill keep you posted. and i am hoping someone can realte a story or relate to the marriage thing. tired

105 nightshirt February 22, 2007 at 4:36 pm

called pco and left message. hoping for saturday anytime. need that fix. it has become a fix for me.

106 wantmyskinback February 22, 2007 at 5:57 pm

An update from my PCO — I brought him my little 1/2 peice of rice looking “egg” thing, or what I thought was an egg. He didn’t think it was anything. In fact, it could have been rice ! While I was there, he told me about a woman who after treating her entire apartment many times, and still being bitten, finally put a layer of OIL based polyurethane down on her floors, and then caulked after wards. The biting stopped.

107 S. February 22, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Hey Nightshirt, I can definitely relate to the issue of relationship friction.

My boyfriend, who I live with, is GREAT. He’s caring, empathetic and patient. However, he hasn’t had a single bite, and it’s caused somewhat of a rift between us. We actually saw a counselor, together, this week.

The main issue is that I have changed, and he has not. I am energized to fight these bugs, and it’s practically all I want to talk about. I am motivated by fear, and have definitely become a little obsessive. (Can’t sit still, investigating every itch, trouble sleeping, scared of the dark). All of this freaks him out.

One night, we were lying in bed, and I said, simply, “I’m scared.” And it struck a nerve I guess, because he said, “Why are you still scared? This has been going on for weeks and weeks. Aren’t you used to it by now?” I said no, I’d never be used to it. Then he said, “I’m scared of losing you.”

And I can understand how he’d feel that way – because I do feel like a different person. I want to go back to who I was, but it’s not that easy.

The counselor was really helpful. She assured him that “you will get your girlfriend back.” She called my bedbug experience most similar to “acute stress disorder,” which is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (which some soldiers get after coming home), except that instead of being post-traumatic, it’s still traumatic, even now. She said it’s like getting into a car and having a car crash, every single day.

I think this opened his eyes a lot, that I am a) reacting in a normal way and b) going to be fine when this is over. The reason I will be fine, is because I am dealing with it, emotionally, now. (Not burying it away).

Just remember, he’s not motivated by fear, so his involvement simply can’t be at your level. And he’s frustrated because he’s essentially powerless. He can’t protect you from the bugs.

Instead, he can only be motivated by YOU. So do whatever you can to motivate him. Be strong, be positive, be your lovely former self. Give him jobs so he feels like he’s helping. But above all, make sure he knows that your behavior is normal for having bedbugs. If he doesn’t believe you, maybe you could see a counselor together.

Sorry for my ever-longer posts, everyone. I hope this helps.

108 nobugsonme February 22, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Wow, S.
Thanks for posting that.

This is an aside, really, but I’ve heard a few stories where people have sought out therapists about the bed bug stress (not solely relationship oriented, or couples counselors, but still) and felt the therapist felt they were overreacting. (One Bedbugger with an active infestation was told by her therapist to have some herbal tea before she went to bed and not worry so much.)

So I am really glad to hear (a la Caryn’s post about changes) that maybe more of them are hearing about this too. It sounds like you found someone who said just the right thing. I am so glad you shared it. Perhaps copying this and sharing it with under-sympathetic significant others would be helpful for others?

Also, this is an entirely unscientific observation, but I note that it’s more common for women to tell us they’re the only ones in their male-female homes who get bitten (or, should I say, suffer from bites), than for men to do so.

I read once that women were more likely than men to be targeted by bed bugs. I do not know if there’s any proof, but I can name a lot of you who live with unbothered men and so seem to fit that description. (I also realize that most of the men here suffer from bites too, and maybe some women don’t).

In any case, I envision a whole lot of women being told they’re crazy or overreacting or hysterical, simply because the man they live with does not get bitten.

109 nobugsonme February 22, 2007 at 7:34 pm

We’ve hit the 109 comment mark, so comments are disabled, and I am moving this conversation to a new thread. Click here, and select the post at the top, which is the latest in the series.

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