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10 months now: more PCO or time to try heat treatment?

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  1. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 31 2012 10:46:47
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    Since it's been almost 10 months now (our problem started in April 2011), I figured it was time for an update! Here is my story:
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/6-treatments-later-still-have-them%E2%80%A6-wtf-is-a-dog-going-to-do-anything

    Looking back on some of the work we started doing, we haven't been 100% which is probably part of the problem. I appreciate the neighbor suggestions, but I'll admit that we have not pursued that path. The house on one side of us is vacant and for sale (I guess this could be a problem). The other house could be an issue and maybe we should talk to them. This is such an awful thing to talk to neighbors about! The canine handler who originally visited us said that it was highly unlikely it was from our neighbors.

    We have climbups on the bed, we steamed all the baseboards and windows and edges of anything in the bedroom, and caulked everything and added childproof outlet covers. We have had no bedbug activity in the bedroom for months. Thankfully!

    In November I saw two adult bedbugs in my office, which is the spare bedroom next to our bedroom. I caught them both and chucked them in the freezer. I immediately cleaned my office, trashed anything that could go and sealed up any paperwork or books that I needed. I also stopped working in my office and moved to the dining room table. I know you're not supposed to do that but I haven't had any issues for months.

    After seeing those bugs in November, we were nearly ready to jump into getting the heat treatment which is VERY EXPENSIVE (especially given the investments we've already made: a $800 chemical treatment, installation of hardwood floors, etc). The only thing that held us back is that the heat treatment only has a 30 day guarantee (so short) and we were just about to be traveling for a few weeks for the holidays.

    We knew that we would have to face the question of what to do after we got back but we were just waiting for a sign. We've been back for about 3 weeks now and finally got our sign -- a sighting in my boyfriend's office, which is the back bedroom, the furthest from where we sleep. Neither office is caulked, and his is problematic because he has some folded up empty cardboard boxes from the hardwood floor, plus extra hardwood floor in boxes, and a futon couch. I've of course, been a nag about this, but keeping on top of everything else (living out of bags, vacuuming all the time, keeping rest of house in good shape) can be overwhelming at times.

    So obviously we know we need to get rid of absolutely anything that should go from his office, but we are considering our options before dragging stuff around our house and out the door when we know there are officially bugs in there.

    So this is where we are. Paying for any additional treatment will hurt financially, but we just want to be done with this (like really done, already!!!!). My questions are:

    1) Does anyone have good experience with heat treatment, particularly with any of the vendors in the Philadelphia area? The 30 day guarantee is really throwing me off given how long we've had this issue.

    2) What other PCO's would you recommend? We used Baxter to kick this off and ended up having 7 treatments. That sort of leads me to believe that it doesn't work.

    Living in a clean house, with very few signs and evidence, nearly no bites, but clearly still having an issue is as you would guess, making us a little insane at this point.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jan 31 2012 11:37:33
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    Omgbb,

    At this point, I would focus your energies on trying to find out where the bugs come from. It is possible for bugs to move from unit to unit. If the bed bugs are coming from a townhouse on either side of you--esp. if one or the other has a large and/or untreated infestation, you need to know about it. Yes, talking to neighbors can be awkward; and getting in touch with the owner of a vacant unit can be tricky too, but I really think that that needs to be your next step.

    You may want to talk to whatever agency oversees housing and health in your area before you do so. If an adjacent unit has a bed bug infestation that is reinfesting your home, it may help to know what the local laws are.

    While heat can be a great one-shot treatment, if the bugs are migrating for an adjacent unit, and you spend all that money on heat, and two weeks later you get more migratory bugs, you're going to be a lot more frustrated than you are now. (I am a big fan of heat; I had heat treatment in a multi-unit building. However, all three adjacent units were inspected thoroughly AND I was pretty sure I knew where the bugs came from; I had found what I thought was a tick in my bed at a hotel before I even knew bed bugs were something other than a child's bedtime rhyme.)

    Remember that heat is a one shot treatment; it does not provide ANY residual effect to kill any newly introduced bugs. So if you're being exposed to a source of reinfestation, heat will not solve your problem, and you'll have spent a lot of money on something that doesn't work.

    It's also possible that all the treatments you've had on your home have failed because the home is esp. hard to treat and the PCO is doing a bad job. But it's going to take some work on your part to start eliminating possibilities, and that means dealing with the units next door.

    I get that you're sick of this battle; no one wants or deserves to have to battle bed bugs at all--let alone for this long.

    But the fact is that you need to find out if they are coming from adjacent units. If they aren't, you need to figure out whether one of you is being repeatedly exposed to a place where you can bring hitch hikers home. Until you can rule those out, you can't really make a good, informed decision about what the next treatment step going forward is.

    Hope that helps. And hang in there.

    Any other folks who read this thread,

    A lot of people throw out or make other expensive changes to their environment when they find bed bugs.

    Throwing out beds is generally not necessary. (Please note that Omgbbs noted that they wanted a new bed anyway.)

    Carpet is not a usual harborage for bed bugs (again, the OP said that they'd planned to make that change anyway.)

    I point this out because a lot of very stressed out people will read this and think that if they don't get rid of carpet they're screwed and will never get rid of the bugs.

  3. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 14:09:05
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    Thanks for replying buggyinsocal!

    OK.. so here is our upcoming plan. We are going to finish the caulking job. First we are going to blow some DE under the baseboards and then seal everything up, baseboards, window sills, light switches, outlets, etc. throughout the ENTIRE house.

    We are still absolutely STUCK on which PCO solution to go with. We used Baxter last year and we are definitely considering calling them back since they are familiar with our place, but ... they didn't solve our problem! We had 7 treatments. SEVEN!!! Our house is totally minimal, no clutter, we barely see any signs. At this point I think the bugs are in the walls, and / or coming from our neighbors. We have not talked to our neighbors yet and I will be honest, it is a last resort. Way to be neighborly, right?

    I really wish I could see any good reviews for any PCO in Philadelphia. The threads here are all inconclusive and the reviews I've seen online are either 100% negative or nonexistent.

    I'd love to just go for the heat treatment because they've been so great, but it's expensive as hell and the guarantee is short and again, I have no idea if it actually works.

    Please! Philly is supposed to be high on the list of bedbug infested cities! Has anyone had success with a PCO in Philly? Anyone???

  4. DreDay17

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 16:03:36
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    If you go with a pco for chemical treatment. You will never to find out what they are using and for what purpose.

    Any surrounded units especially in apartment like settings need to be inspected

    Also from the other thread you said your pco used gentrol. In at least one study it was shown that gentrol may increase bedbug activity.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 17:53:21
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    DreDay17 - 1 hour ago  » 
    If you go with a pco for chemical treatment. You will never to find out what they are using and for what purpose.
    .

    What do you mean, Dre?

    A pco should leave a list of substances used and where used.

    I believe that's the law in the US.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 17:53:50
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    Hi DreDay17,

    Sorry but there are a few sweeping generalisations in that post that myself and other professionals would consider offensive.

    I am sure your comments were meant to be well meaning but respectfully you may want to get your own issues under control before you Offer advice or opinions to others.

    OMGBBS, I will PM you when I am in the office tomorrow to go through some diagnostics on infestation dynamics which may shed some light on what is going on.

    David

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  7. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 17:58:18
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    Just to reiterate, I live in a rowhome. The house next door is vacant and for sale. That is only for the last few months, long after our problem started. It's actually for sale by owner, so I called the number today to ask if they knew of any pest problems!!! Unfortunately, I got the impression that their understanding of the English language is limited as they really only wanted to know if I wanted to buy the house. I could not understand anything else they were saying.

    I called my former PCO to talk to them and they were pretty adamant it could be from the neighbors. I also read a ton of recent negative reviews of this particular PCO from customers stating that they still had a problem after multiple treatments. It does not give me confidence in working with them again, especially given the multiple treatments, needing to get out of the house (I work from home) and having to deal with the cat (she needs to be out for 24 hours).

    I'd love to do heat and be done with it.... but I know I can't do it unless I learn what's going on from the neighbors. So even though I do not want to talk to them I will try my best to do it. Question - what if my neighbors are like, we have a problem and you gave it to us? That makes me worry. Also, what if they do have a problem, lie about it and / or do nothing about it?

  8. DreDay17

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 18:10:49
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    Wow could have sworn i typed "need" instead of "never".....auto correct once again screws me up.

    My situation is being brought under control. I believe the DE put down actually gave a big punch against the fight. Now i'm going in for the knock out punch with the new treatment method that I had posted and talked to Paul about.

  9. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 18:15:12
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    Dear omg,

    Firstly, let's clear up some misinformation:

    > In most jurisdictions a professional applicator MUST provide the following prior to the applications of any pesticides in your home: a) A service agreement that includes a description of the services to be provided, applicable terms and warranties thereof, b) The product names, labels and MSDS for those products that will be applied within your home.

    There are some excellent professionals in your area that provide bed bug remediation services by various means. No matter who you choose, also select a professional who stands behind their work with a suitable warranty. There are also professionals who use heat in combination with judiciously applied pesticide products.

    Hope this helps !

    paul b.

  10. healthimpacted

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Feb 3 2012 23:55:05
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    Look for a PM from me on Philly PCOs.

  11. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Feb 11 2012 10:29:16
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    healthimpacted - 1 week ago  » 
    Look for a PM from me on Philly PCOs.

    Just sent you one back...

  12. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Feb 11 2012 13:16:15
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    How are you guys doing with your situations ?

    pb

  13. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Feb 11 2012 15:10:57
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    We met with another PCO this week and decided to hold off on doing anything until we came up with a professional plan.

    We are going to caulk everything we can possibly caulk and if we move forward with this PCO, he's going to treat the two offices upstairs with Nuvan strips. The PCO would also treat all of the light switches and outlets with something else. I forget what it's called

    Since it seems to now be in our couch, where bf has been working, he wants us to move the couch into one of the rooms that will be treated. Our house is pretty darn minimal right now, and we are out of ideas, so I'm hoping this might be a good solution, but it's definitely new to me.

    Would love to hear feedback about anyone else's experience using Nuvan strips in a room.

  14. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Feb 11 2012 15:25:27
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    Dear omgbbs,

    Perhaps you should call the manufacturer of Nuvan strips to see what advice they can give you about bed bug control. There should be a toll free number.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  15. Alberta has bugs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 12 2012 1:07:49
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    Well I had heat, but in a 2 bedroom single dwelling with a basement.
    You are in a rowhouse, is it a end unit? Either way you need to find out if the adjacent unit has bugs or be able to block entrance into your house, which would I think be impossible if the walls have shared access for electrical or plumbing.

    I loved the heat treatment, even if months later I seem to have found a dead one, maybe because of reintroduction somehow. This could also happen with chemical I imagine.

    I had not heard of Nuvan strips being able to be placed in a room by itself, only in a closed container, so as Paul say's phone the mfg.

    Since the bugs live near their food source, do you think after the time the adjacent property has been vacated is enough that the bugs have already moved into your home or neighbors?

    Either way this needs to be thought out before you waste a ton of money and know that people on this site will give you some good ideas.

  16. goingcrazywithbb

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Feb 16 2012 12:31:08
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    Hello - I've had 1 treatment from POC and it cost $850 for 1 bedroom. I'm now thinking I should move to heat treatment. We have a 3200 square foot house and I'm worried the POC will need to treat other rooms which is going to start costing thousands of dollars.
    Should we pull the plug and do the heat treatment??????

  17. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 8:57:21
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    Just wanted to check in and post an update. No real news just yet, but last weekend we caulked up the entire upstairs (3 bedrooms, closets, hallway, etc) and our living room. Our PCO came on Thursday and sprayed the inside of all of our outlet / lightswitch covers upstairs and downstairs and blew DE into the voids. Our 2 offices (i.e. bedrooms) have the pro Nuvan strips in them with space heaters running. We have our dressers in there, in addition to our couch (moving that upstairs was NOT FUN), an upholstered chair, etc. The Nuvan treatment is supposed to take a week to 10 days.

    We have been staying with family for a few days since we are unsure about the chemical offgassing of the Nuvan strips & we wanted to get our cat out for the duration of the treatment, just incase. We're headed back sans cat today. We'll open some windows in other parts of the house for a bit today to make sure there's some fresh air circulating.

    After going through some posts this morning, I'm thinking that we should steam the upholstered furniture before we return it to the living room. After steaming (and once it's fully dry), would it be a good idea to sprinkle DE underneath the cushions and in the couch? We have an extra set up climbups that we will probably put under the legs for the first month.

    As for the neighbors of my rowhome, I did try to contact the ones that moved, as I said. Obviously they won't be completing any treatment since they're out. On the other side, it's highly possible they might have an issue, but I also don't see them doing anything about it. I'm hoping that caulking will be a good solution for that issue. Otherwise, we might seriously just move away!!!

  18. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 20:08:58
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    One more update for today. We've had climbups on our bed legs since... August? Only ever saw one exoskeleton, months ago. Today, 2 live ones. Hoping it had to cross poison to get here. The corner of the bed it entered from is nearest to the heating vent. Could they really live in the ventilation system?

  19. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 20:20:19
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    No !

    BBs don't live inside HVAC systems even though it looks as if they emerge from them.

    This is so because there are gaps between the HVAC system ducts and the wall boards that are hidden by the vent cover. These gaps most often are entry ways to the hidden wall voids into which many pests, including bed bugs, may enter and travel in hidden pathways and harborages. This is why it is important to inspect, treat/dust all utility penetrations.

    Additionally, if bed bugs do infact enter these areas where insulation is present it is possible that such bed bugs may evade or escape a heat treatment as they may be protected by insulation present within the walls there.

    Hope this helps, let me know if any other questions or concerns ! paul b.

  20. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 20:23:35
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    hese gaps most often are entry ways to the hidden wall voids into which many pests, including bed bugs, may enter and travel in hidden pathways and harborages. This is why it is important to inspect, treat/dust all utility penetrations.

    Paul, thanks so much for your quick response. What do you recommend as the best treatment for these areas? Our PCO sprayed the backs of all the vent plates too.. Is that enough?

  21. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 20:37:28
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    Void areas must be treated thoroughly !

    They may be trated by:

    > Dust - use a suitable duster to treat the voids. My preference is Tempo Dust and/or Drione Dust.

    > An Actisol machine may be used to apply liquid solutions as a ULV fog type application into such void areas. Suitable products include but may not be limited to: Temprid SC, Onslaught, Suspend SC and other products.

    Your BB Pro should have an adequate knowledge of these treatment techniques and products.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  22. CA-BedBugPro

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 21:10:48
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    DreDay17 - 2 weeks ago  » 
    If you go with a pco for chemical treatment. You will never to find out what they are using and for what purpose.
    Any surrounded units especially in apartment like settings need to be inspected
    Also from the other thread you said your pco used gentrol. In at least one study it was shown that gentrol may increase bedbug activity.

    Any PCO in CA must disclose pesticide usage. What amount, what brand and active ingredients. It's the law. You shouldn't even have to ask for it.
    That being said, I haven't used Gentrol for bed bugs in over 2 years.

  23. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Feb 19 2012 21:15:52
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    Dear CA Pro,

    Please check your PM, thanks.

    pb

  24. jeffklein

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Feb 20 2012 12:31:15
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    We have found bed bugs within duct systems several times. In one building the tenant on the top floor was bombing(he had a very high infestation rate) and bed bugs were falling into the tubs of the two units below him. Years ago we used to seal off the duct system during thermal remediation until we had two retreats at a home with central a/c. Again this was a high level infestation and had been bombed by the homeowner several times. Once we opened all the ducts and placed it on fan we had no further issues. At this point we leave everything open. We have enough heaters to overcome the loss of the heat through duct work. Also in most cases we are able to heat the home or apartment in its entirety so there is no escape through ducts or other openings. The exoskeleton on a bed bug is tight preventing moisture loss. It can lose up to 35% of its moisture and still survive making it a very hardy insect. It is not like a cockroach or other insect that is sensitive to airflow.

    Bed Bug and Thermal Remediation Specialist
    Please email me directly for support. Thank you.
  25. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Feb 21 2012 9:56:20
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    Thanks for all the information about HVAC systems. In the short term, I was able to close the vent and I want to look into how I can seal up the edges with caulk. I just checked in with my PCO to confirm that he treated the covers for the vents and he did, so hopefully those 2 live ones crossed a nice amount of poison to get to the climbup.

    My latest update is that last night there was a 3rd or 4th instar in our bathroom sink upstairs. We can only assume that since they seem to be in the walls and it's the bathroom is right next to one of the offices being treated that maybe it came through the outlet or light switch. We're going to get them treated on Thursday since we didn't originally include during first treatment.

    I want to believe in the confidence of my PCO that this treatment will do the trick... I am hoping for the best. Considering the entire house is caulked now, all the voids are treated with DE, the plates / sockets have residuals on the back... maybe this will work?

  26. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Feb 27 2012 22:20:24
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    Just wanted to pop in again and give the latest update. This past Thursday we unsealed our offices, which had been loaded up with DDVP / Nuvan strips with space heaters running. We brought our couch back downstairs and threw a sheet over and put climbups on the legs.

    Last night I saw an adult bedbug belly up in the hallway but still alive. In my bedroom there was one live one in the climbup closest to the vent. We just painted our bedroom and my bf said the drywall around the vent is pretty broken down, the bottom screw of the vent cover does not have anything to screw into. We definitely need to do some work to create the tightest seal possible around the vent. The back of the vent cover and all the lightswitches etc have been treated, so hopefully that will help in the meanwhile.

    Just waiting and waiting to get to 2 months, and then... for many more months. Ready to move on already!

    I guess my only questions are... should I be concerned that I am still seeing live ones? I'm seeing more than I have ever seen before. That makes 2 in the climbups in the last 2 weeks (after 6 months of nothing) & random ones around. As a reminder, we caulked the entire house.... guess they can't quickly hide out again?

  27. BugsSkeeveMe

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Feb 28 2012 12:39:01
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    I live outside of Philly. I had only two chemical treatments wasn't able to live life with bb's as roommates. I believe that my chemical treatment provider was not effective and stopped mid contract and took it up with my credit card company. I ended up getting a refund. A3 Superior did my thermal and I've been in my home for 10 days bite free with the exception of one delayed reaction.

    Good luck, you've been through this long enough.

  28. P Bello

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Feb 28 2012 13:30:34
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    Dear omg,

    Thabks for your updates.

    Some comments:

    > Remember way back I advised you to contact the manufacturer of Nuvan to get additional information on that product and its use, did you do that?

    > A bed bug that's "belly up" may be what we call "moribund" which pretty much means that it's intoxicated by a pesticide and may either be in the process of dying or may recover depending upon the dosage exposure, the toxicant and the individual bed bug. As such, you may place such bugs in a container for observation or simply destroy the bug as you see fit.

    > That a bed bug will crawl across a treated area, let's say a 12 inch swath of pesticide residue surrounding your bed, and pick up a sufficient dose of pesticide to cause it's demise is, generally speaking with today's products, a myth. For pesticides to have optimal efficacy against bed bugs the applocations need to be made to the harborage areas where the bed bugs will have long term exposure to the pesticide residues.

    > And, while it may be possible to actually find bed bugs within the ducts of an HVAC system, this would be the exception and not the norm. We need to remember that the HVAC system is an adverse environment for bed bugs due to a numbewr of reasons. Sure, we may find some bed bugs within the duct work in a "bed bug ground zero" type location but once the system kicks on and starts blowing heat or cooled air if the AC is running, the air within the ducts would have insufficient humidity within it and there'd be few suitable places for bed bugs to harbor to shield the from the desication that would likely take place within such a harsh enviornment.

    Keep us posted on your progress.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  29. omgbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Mar 13 2012 22:33:02
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    Just popping in for another update. I really don't want to have to change the subject of this thread to something like "It's been ONE YEAR now!" but it's not looking great over here.

    One week ago, found another belly up bugger in my bathroom sink. It was flat & dry as a bone. Chucked it down the toilet as I have enough samples in my freezer. I figured based on the whole moribund thing that P Bello mentioned above that this was just part of the final death march of the remaining stragglers.

    Haven't seen much other than that, and no bites... until today. The boyfriend seems to have a two-fer on his shoulder, but couldn't figure out if it was unrelated. I was hoping for the best. Just about 20 minutes ago, I was ready for sleep. I feel a tickle on my neck and BAM - big juicy bedbug. The shape of it is unusual to me, but maybe it's full of blood from the bf's bites. I don't normally get bitten, or else I don't show signs, but in our almost year long history, I have shown signs, so who knows.

    Here are some photos of the bug I caught tonight. I'm guessing it's nothing other than a BB but it was just a little longer than usual, so please feel free to weigh in.

    http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc415/omgbbs/photo13.jpg?t=1331695043
    http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc415/omgbbs/photo14.jpg?t=1331695042

    The conditions here are mostly the same: all caulked up, backs of outlets & switches treated with residual (temprid, I think -- I do have exact list if anyone wants to know), another residual around the perimeter of the rooms, still living out of bags etc. We did move back into our offices and no signs of anything there anywhere. Climbups are empty, no cast skins, no nothing, as usual.

    Any ideas on what to do next?

  30. mindoverbbs

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Mar 13 2012 23:39:20
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    I'm so sorry you're still going through this. : ( I can't comment on the bug photo (hopefully the pros will see this and ID for you). But I've read through your story (ugg!!) and am wondering if you ever contacted your neighbors? (I know you said one moved out but what about the other side?)

    Hope it gets better for you soon.
    MOBB


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