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1 bug in new area, 2 months after heat treatment

(3 posts)
  1. losing_it

    Joined: Apr '19
    Posts: 1


    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 24 2019 8:52:13

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    Some Background: Back in February my brother found beg bugs in his second floor bedroom when he started getting bit. We think he may have tracked them home from a Nov trip to NZ where he stayed in hostels, but we're not sure. We assume they tagged along with him since at the time they were only in his room. We never even found evidence in my parents' room right next door, so we also assume he caught it pretty fast once they became active. However, his room was/is pretty cluttered so who knows at this point.

    This was on a Friday, and starting then and through the whole weekend he and I inspected the whole house, vacuumed mattresses and box springs, and washed, dried, and bagged up any clothing or fabric items that weren't in a closet or dresser. All dried items got sealed into new bags and left in our unfinished, uninfested basment. We did everything you're supposed to do! Our family's PCO came out the next morning and confirmed the infestation in my brother's room, but did not see signs of the bugs anywhere else in the house. The next Tuesday they did a heat treatment on our entire house, and we prepped as we were told (leaving already dried items in the basement, thinning out closets, opening drawers, propping up mattresses, pulling out and opening up under bed storage, pulling everything away from the baseboards, etc.). They also sprayed after the heat treatment and we returned to normal, thinking the problem was taken care of. We all frequently checked beds and switched sheets just in case.

    Fast forward to last week, about 2 months later: I woke up last Monday with 5 bug bites on one ankle and 3 on the other calf. My head went straight to bed bugs and I looked in all pillowcases, under my sheets, on top of the encasements we had installed after the heat treatment, everywhere I could think of. I saw nothing. No stains, no dead or alive bugs, no casings. I had been working outside the day before and thought maybe they were mosquito or spider bites instead. Nothing else for two days, but on Wednesday I ended up with 3 more bites on my arm. I freaked out again, and found nothing again. This time (stupidly, I now realize) I did partially unzip the encasement, but again saw nothing. Nothing in the mattress seams or along the edges, so I zipped and velcroed it back up (I still don't think this is my main issue because I got bit before I ever did this). I haven't been bit again since (a full week, since today is Wednesday)

    This past weekend however, while doing some regular spring cleaning, I found a little bugger in the seams of one of my pillowcases! Definitely male and fairly big, and he had recently eaten. I trapped him in a jar and immediately freaked out, we're talking tears, heavy breathing, the whole nine yards. My dad spoke with the PCO from before who said not to panic and start frantically cleaning, though I did wash, dry, and bag the linens and pillows from the bed, and change my sheets just for peace of mind. The PCO came back yesterday to spray the home's baseboards, as well as my bedframe and our couch. He also left a volcano trap to help monitor the situation. He didn't actually inspect my bed or ask me to take the sheets off (not sure why, he said it was because he would spray regardless so it didn't matter).

    After he left I removed/washed/dried the sheets, washed and dried both my duvet and the pillowtop mattress cover that was on top of the encasement. I have some throw rugs and other items bagged up to be dried later today, and will also need to get through a couple baskets of laundry that were sitting in my room. I had a memory foam topper on top of the encasement, underneath the pillowtop, which I steamed and vaccuumed last night. I could find absolutely no evidence of bugs on the pillowtop, on the memory foam, or on the encasement. Box spring is also encased and there was nothing between the box spring and mattress. All items have been removed from under bed storage to be laundered, and will not be put back until I know I am bb free. I am also keeping my bed away from the wall right now.

    Apologies that this is so long, but writing this out has been very cathartic! I'm a naturally pretty anxious person, so this past week has done a number on me. Any advice on how this could have happened? And is it possible there actually could just be the one straggler? I'm wondering if there was potentially cross-contamination with all of the laundry we previously did, or if this guy just got moved around somehow. Most of the dried and bagged items from February are still in my basement actually, I've been slowly bringing them up but think I'll now re-dry just in case. My PCO said this is pretty rare after a full house treatment, especially since my bedroom is on a different floor and in the opposite corner of the house from where they were before (though the house is less than 1500 sq feet). I feel a bit better about the fact that I've still been sleeping in my bed since I found the one bb and haven't been bit again (though I wouldn't say I've been sleeping well). I reacted really strongly to the bites, so if I got bit again I would definitely know. He's coming back to check things and spray again in 3 weeks, so in the meantime I've ordered climbups and will continue drying and laundering items. I don't want to lose my mind over this, but that might already be happening, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. SalsaVince

    Joined: Oct '18
    Posts: 304


    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 24 2019 11:22:43

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    Yes, it's possible it was just a straggler. The fact that you got bit again 2 days after the first episode of bites might indicate there are more than just the one though since bed bugs typically feed once every 5 to 10 days but maybe he was a fast digester. In any case, even if it were just the one or 2 or 3 or 10, that doesn't change what your response should be. You've put into place the protocol of cleaning and inspecting your sheets regularly which is good. You've gotten another round of treatment which will hopefully eventually kill any remaining beds if any. And you've got some monitoring setup to keep an eye on activity. I can't think of anything else you can do other than thinking about possible ways that they came back again in case the original source is still not being addressed. It could be a vehicle or a living area in your home that you and your brother share or some place outside of the home that you both were exposed to in common. The monitoring will give you the best clues as to where they are coming from and where you need to focus. As long as everything comes up clean now, keep your eyes open but don't stress too much.

    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
    Not an expert. Just a survivor who's still learning.
  3. loubugs

    old timer
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 12,140


    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 24 2019 11:30:32

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    Which species of cimicid is it? Common bed bug, tropical bed bug? Specimens retained? Were any dessicant dusts used after treatment or only liquid spray after?

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.

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