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A Healthy Home in DC/MD/VA Area PCO

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  1. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 14:07:42
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    I just off the phone with David the owner of a healthyhome pest control inc. He quoted me $350 for initial room and 225 for each room after that. He told me that 30% of the houses he has treated he has never seen a bed bug. Is this right? How can I treat my house without knowing for sure that I have bed bugs and how can others. My house was quoted $1025, that's almost the cost of thermal but American Pest won't thermal my house because they did not see any evidence. It seemed like he knew was doing and for $1025 his treatment was based off of DE + fumigation using some sort of mixture of a natural insecticide. He has a 2 month warranty but I'm still wondering if I should go ahead and use him as my PCO. He says he barely inspects and he will take care of bed bugs. He has a 92% success rate apparently.

    Any thoughts?
    Thank you!

  2. lagirl31

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 14:49:39
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    A PCO who routinely treats without seeing any bugs would be a huge red flag to me.

    Have you found any bedbugs or clear evidence other than bites?

    My PCO (unfortunately) doesn't do much inspection and has never seen a bedbug in my apartment, so it is possible for someone to treat and see nothing. However, I'm stuck with my landlord's PCO and I'd prefer someone who inspected and verified. In lieu of that, I've started doing my own inspections, being really good about catching bugs or saving evidence. It isn't ideal.

    If you have a choice of PCOs and you're going to have to pay for it yourself, I'd keep looking!

  3. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 15:54:25
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    Good PCOs won't treat without evidence of bed bugs, and from a quick skim of your posts, nothing you've posted here suggests that you currently have evidence of bed bugs.

    Bed bugs are not the only pest that can cause the kinds of bites or skin responses you're reporting.

    At this point, I would try to see if there are other pests causing your problems before I sank a lot of money into treatment.

    Pests to rule out:

    1. Fleas. Yes, you can get fleas in a home that doesn't have pets.

    Get some inexpensive plug-in flea traps. If they show fleas, treat for fleas.

    2. Carpet beetles. Yes, you can have carpet beetles without carpet.

    Carpet beetles don't bite. But their larvae have hairs that cause reactions in the skin. Since even experienced dermatologists can't tell what exact insect caused a bite, trust me when I say that you won't be able to tell the difference between a bite like response from one of these and a mosquito bite, for example.

    3. Other pests.

    If people are getting bitten on the couch, it's possible that you have a flea infestation near the couch--or that there are some carpet beetle larvae hairs there.

    It's also possible that you have a small, early bed bug infestation and have encountered several bad PCOs who didn't inspect thoroughly. It's also possible that you really don't have bed bugs and the PCOs are correct.

    Only time will tell.

    If you had had bed bugs since last summer, even a quick look by PCOs would be able to find evidence of them. But that doesn't mean that you haven't been exposed to bed bugs since then.

    In that case, I might get a BBAlert passive monitor and install it on the couch, as well as one per bed in each bedroom in the home. Check them weekly for a while. If nothing shows up, or if you discover flea or carpet beetle evidence, treat the fleas or carpet beetles first.

    If there are no signs of fleas or carpet beetles and the bites continue and the monitors are empty, it might be worth seeing a dermatologist to rule out other pests or allergies.

    Pest control today is tailored to the pest in question. Over $1000 to treat a pest that hasn't been identified is not only a waste of money, it will likely not give you peace of mind. If the PCO treats for a pest you don't have, that treatment won't solve other pest problems, and you'll still be getting bites (or bite like responses or an allergic response), and then you'll be even more stressed out and frustrated and more broke than you are now.

    I know it's frustrating playing a waiting game and trying to figure out whats behind the bites, but remember that if you don't treat correctly, that anxiety isn't going to go away until you identify the pest for what it is and treat it appropriately.

  4. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 16:21:26
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    buggyinsocal - 21 minutes ago  » 
    Good PCOs won't treat without evidence of bed bugs, and from a quick skim of your posts, nothing you've posted here suggests that you currently have evidence of bed bugs.
    Bed bugs are not the only pest that can cause the kinds of bites or skin responses you're reporting.
    At this point, I would try to see if there are other pests causing your problems before I sank a lot of money into treatment.
    Pests to rule out:
    1. Fleas. Yes, you can get fleas in a home that doesn't have pets.
    Get some inexpensive plug-in flea traps. If they show fleas, treat for fleas.
    2. Carpet beetles. Yes, you can have carpet beetles without carpet.
    Carpet beetles don't bite. But their larvae have hairs that cause reactions in the skin. Since even experienced dermatologists can't tell what exact insect caused a bite, trust me when I say that you won't be able to tell the difference between a bite like response from one of these and a mosquito bite, for example.
    3. Other pests.
    If people are getting bitten on the couch, it's possible that you have a flea infestation near the couch--or that there are some carpet beetle larvae hairs there.
    It's also possible that you have a small, early bed bug infestation and have encountered several bad PCOs who didn't inspect thoroughly. It's also possible that you really don't have bed bugs and the PCOs are correct.
    Only time will tell.
    If you had had bed bugs since last summer, even a quick look by PCOs would be able to find evidence of them. But that doesn't mean that you haven't been exposed to bed bugs since then.
    In that case, I might get a BBAlert passive monitor and install it on the couch, as well as one per bed in each bedroom in the home. Check them weekly for a while. If nothing shows up, or if you discover flea or carpet beetle evidence, treat the fleas or carpet beetles first.
    If there are no signs of fleas or carpet beetles and the bites continue and the monitors are empty, it might be worth seeing a dermatologist to rule out other pests or allergies.
    Pest control today is tailored to the pest in question. Over $1000 to treat a pest that hasn't been identified is not only a waste of money, it will likely not give you peace of mind. If the PCO treats for a pest you don't have, that treatment won't solve other pest problems, and you'll still be getting bites (or bite like responses or an allergic response), and then you'll be even more stressed out and frustrated and more broke than you are now.
    I know it's frustrating playing a waiting game and trying to figure out whats behind the bites, but remember that if you don't treat correctly, that anxiety isn't going to go away until you identify the pest for what it is and treat it appropriately.

    The bites I receive and the stains on my sheets do indicate that there is some sort of problem. I am almost certain that I have bed bugs, I've seen nymphs on the ground and people do often get red welts while being in my car. A recent road trip shows that clearly and also on my white pants. After a car ride at night I notice that it had small red blood stains and also a brown faded stain that was in a line. Everything points to bed bugs but I will continue to look. I was exposed to bed bugs in the past and am not sure if I brought them home.

    Also a quick question, what's a reliable passive monitor for bed bugs? My mind right now is set on bed bugs just because I was exposed to it, there are blood stains and line rust colored stains, black stains on sheets, and I think I've seen a nymph but I killed it panicking so I'm not entirely sure. Fleas would definitely show by now, I have long hair so I considered fleas but I highly doubt that it is fleas. Can fleas harbor in a car? Thanks so much for your replies but that K-9 Inspection was terrible and the talk on the phone with that guy wasn't assuring. I'm not jumping to any treatments but I'm looking for a good pco to do a thorough inspection.

  5. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 16:28:29
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    buggyinsocal - 27 minutes ago  » 
    Good PCOs won't treat without evidence of bed bugs, and from a quick skim of your posts, nothing you've posted here suggests that you currently have evidence of bed bugs.
    Bed bugs are not the only pest that can cause the kinds of bites or skin responses you're reporting.
    At this point, I would try to see if there are other pests causing your problems before I sank a lot of money into treatment.
    Pests to rule out:
    1. Fleas. Yes, you can get fleas in a home that doesn't have pets.
    Get some inexpensive plug-in flea traps. If they show fleas, treat for fleas.
    2. Carpet beetles. Yes, you can have carpet beetles without carpet.
    Carpet beetles don't bite. But their larvae have hairs that cause reactions in the skin. Since even experienced dermatologists can't tell what exact insect caused a bite, trust me when I say that you won't be able to tell the difference between a bite like response from one of these and a mosquito bite, for example.
    3. Other pests.
    If people are getting bitten on the couch, it's possible that you have a flea infestation near the couch--or that there are some carpet beetle larvae hairs there.
    It's also possible that you have a small, early bed bug infestation and have encountered several bad PCOs who didn't inspect thoroughly. It's also possible that you really don't have bed bugs and the PCOs are correct.
    Only time will tell.
    If you had had bed bugs since last summer, even a quick look by PCOs would be able to find evidence of them. But that doesn't mean that you haven't been exposed to bed bugs since then.
    In that case, I might get a BBAlert passive monitor and install it on the couch, as well as one per bed in each bedroom in the home. Check them weekly for a while. If nothing shows up, or if you discover flea or carpet beetle evidence, treat the fleas or carpet beetles first.
    If there are no signs of fleas or carpet beetles and the bites continue and the monitors are empty, it might be worth seeing a dermatologist to rule out other pests or allergies.
    Pest control today is tailored to the pest in question. Over $1000 to treat a pest that hasn't been identified is not only a waste of money, it will likely not give you peace of mind. If the PCO treats for a pest you don't have, that treatment won't solve other pest problems, and you'll still be getting bites (or bite like responses or an allergic response), and then you'll be even more stressed out and frustrated and more broke than you are now.
    I know it's frustrating playing a waiting game and trying to figure out whats behind the bites, but remember that if you don't treat correctly, that anxiety isn't going to go away until you identify the pest for what it is and treat it appropriately.

    Honestly, the signs point towards bed bugs. The linear rust stains, the black stains, the blood stains on my pillow, everything points towards bed bugs. I thought I saw a nymph while searching once but have yet to see an actual adult. I will continue looking and will buy a passive monitor to hopefully see the culprit to the bites.
    I thought of fleas as a possibility but can they really harbor in a car, sofa, bed without any evidence.

    Biggest things right now are, people get bit on my couch by something, in lines and they develop red welts. Also people get bit in my car with red welts that are itchy. I've worn white pants while driving and discovered tiny red blood stains also stains in lines, that point towards bed bugs.

    Also, I'm not rushing to treat my house. I'm a college student and I don't have the money right now. I'm just looking for a PCO that help me inspect my house and help catch the culprit. Everything points to bed bugs, my car concerns me the most, with black interior, I won't be able to see evidence.

    Also, where can I buy a good passive monitor?

  6. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jun 14 2011 18:24:53
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    Honestly, the signs point towards bed bugs.

    I'm not sure that they all do.

    I had a bed bug infestation for about 6 weeks to 3 months. I did not have "linear rust stains" anywhere.

    I had very few blood stains that were bed bug related in that time.

    I had a lot of the tell-tale black stains--but, again, I've also seen stains that looked a lot like those that weren't bed bug related. A gel ink pen or a permanent marker--mascara--bicycle grease--all of those substances can give you look alike stains.

    I'm not suggesting that you're not being bitten by something. I'm not saying you're imagining the bites.

    And, yes, the evidence from fleas takes a while to build up. They absolutely could live in any of those places--esp. in a warm, humid climate like northern Virginia.

    I did not have any evidence of the kinds of stains that you're describing from the car. I did have a few blood stains from bed bugs, but they were larger stains. In retrospect, I think they were freshly fed bugs that got crushed.

    The BBAlert Passive, which you can read about over here is available online. Chances are that you won't find it in a local store, unfortunately.

    I live clear across the country on another coast, so I can't help you with a suggestion from a local PCO in your area.

    Car infestations are extremely rare. You wouldn't think that they would be. I mean, from our perspective, you'd think that bed bugs would end up in cars all the time--if you're taking laundry and people around in them, it seems like a no brainer, right? But for whatever reason, car infestations of bed bugs are very, very, very rare.

    That's good news.

    I think what I'm trying to say is this:

    1. Any PCO who says that 30% of homes don't see evidence of bed bugs (if he actually means that he can't find evidence of bed bugs in those homes) isn't the sort of person I'd want treating my infestation. A good PCO who knows bed bugs will be able to find evidence of bed bugs if it's bed bugs. A PCO who claims that 30% of the homes he treats have no evidence of bugs either is misspeaking or is more interested in taking money from desperate people than in getting to the bottom of your pest problem.

    A good PCO can find the evidence of bed bugs if it's bed bugs or put in place monitoring stuff to find out it's bed bugs in the near future.

    2. Your description sounds like it could be bed bugs, but could definitely be something else. (If I had to give it numbers, keeping in mind that I'm not a professional and I'm 3000 miles away, so I haven't been in your place, I'd give it a maybe 10% chance of being bed bugs and a 90% chance of being some other pest or pests.)

    Given that that's the case, if you haven't found a name of a PCO that people like in the forum here, I might send a private message (PM) to the professionals on here to see if they know anyone in your neck of the woods. David Cain and EffeCi probably won't be much help, since they're in Europe, but some of the US based PCOs here may have a rec for someone in your neck of the woods if there aren't reviews here for folks from northern Virginia.

  7. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jun 15 2011 21:26:02
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    http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/7273/10009601.jpg

    I highly doubt this is a bed bug but this is something I found in my room. Could it be something else that's causing my bites and blood stains?

    Here's the stains that really concern me, this happened over night.

    http://img850.imageshack.us/img850/9979/10009561.jpg

    http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/9162/10009571.jpg

    These blood stains concern me the most, even though I've never seen a bed bug yet in my house. I'm the only one that gets bites, other then my mom and my mom has nothing but she gets bites on the couch. My friends also get bites on the couch and in my car. The first image is just a bunch of random brown spots that are very small and the second picture is of a fresh red blood line faded. The line concerns me a lot, it looks like a bed bug fed then moved with it's freshly fed blood.

    Please help!

  8. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Jun 15 2011 21:54:50
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    The insect in the picture does not appear to be a bed bug.

    Dr. Lou Sorkin, entomologist at NYC's American Museum of Natural History (forum member "LouBugs") says that bed bug bites rarely bleed (initially). So, I doubt that your stains are from BB.

    Please read our FAQ and a good comprehensive guide, like this one from our Resources page. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Bed_Bug_Manual_v1_full_reduce_326605_7.pdf These will give you a better idea of what BB are and are not and how to be a more effective BB fighter if they are.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  9. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jun 19 2011 22:34:35
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    cilecto - 4 days ago  » 
    The insect in the picture does not appear to be a bed bug.
    Dr. Lou Sorkin, entomologist at NYC's American Museum of Natural History (forum member "LouBugs") says that bed bug bites rarely bleed (initially). So, I doubt that your stains are from BB.
    Please read our FAQ and a good comprehensive guide, like this one from our Resources page. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Bed_Bug_Manual_v1_full_reduce_326605_7.pdf These will give you a better idea of what BB are and are not and how to be a more effective BB fighter if they are.

    They don't bleed initially? Reading around the forums it seems like they do bleed initially from blood line stains and when there's an open wound from your bite. The only thing that concerns me are the welts all around my body and blood line stains, there a lot of line stains in brown and red throughout my bed. I have yet to see a bed bug and I'm not sure what to do at this point.

  10. novabedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 1:45:16
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    Well it appears I do have bed bugs but I can't find any evidence other then fecal stains throughout my bed and myself getting bites in many lines, I definitely react the worse in my household. I isolated my bed, put covers, and I have little tubs with small amounts of de in it. I had a K-9 inspect but they did not find anything. What's my next step?

  11. seca46

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jun 12 2012 9:08:27
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    I guess this poster never came back? I would love to know what happened! I also got a negative K9 check from American and can't find any signs of the bugs, but have what I am pretty sure are bed bug bites (and we did have bed bugs a few months ago and never treated, just threw stuff away). I was also considering Healthy Home. If anyone has any more info about this or similar, I would love to hear it.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jun 12 2012 9:34:07
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    seca46 - 24 minutes ago  » 
    I guess this poster never came back? I would love to know what happened! I also got a negative

    Wrong, Novabedbug has been on the forums as recently as three months ago.

    You can click someone's status ("newbite," "member," and so on) under their name next to any post to see their profile and past posts.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  13. seca46

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jun 12 2012 19:42:35
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    Here's a different perspective on this particular thread - I have run into the same problem as the OP. Dogs came up negative, so big companies will not treat. However, upon doing some more research, I realized that the dog checks were too quick and not thorough enough. I know I have bed bugs. There is no question in my mind at all, and I need to treat or I will never be able to sleep in this house again. So finding a company that will do something based on good anecdotal evidence (we definitely had them at one point, plus now I have tons of new bites) is really a good thing for me. I don't think that alone makes a company suspicious, especially if it is not using toxic chemicals or charging a lot of money for a heat treatment.

  14. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Jun 12 2012 23:58:10
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    seca46 - 4 hours ago  » 
    Dogs came up negative, so big companies will not treat. However, upon doing some more research, I realized that the dog checks were too quick and not thorough enough. I know I have bed bugs. There is no question in my mind at all,

    The question, seca46, is HOW do you know? You have not explained this. Skin reactions as you describe can come from other sources,plain and simple.

    I don't think that alone makes a company suspicious, especially if it is not using toxic chemicals or charging a lot of money for a heat treatment.

    You might feel differently if you shell out thousands for structural heat treatment and the problem persists.

    In such a case, you might feel like someone took advantage of you and did not solve your problem. This has happened to others, many times.

    By the way, I don't think you mentioned having had bed bugs before previously. If so, I missed that. When was it, how was it confirmed, and how and when was it treated?

  15. seca46

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jun 17 2012 11:33:24
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    Sorry, I just noticed this reply to my post. When I first noticed the bites on my child I checked the beds and found actual bugs on our box spring. The PCO sent the first dog right after that and the dog found the same bugs I found and the PCO confirmed bed bugs. After that I threw out the box spring and that's when the bites continued but neither I nor the dogs have been able to locate the bugs since.


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