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Advice needed..what are we dealing with??

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  1. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jun 17 2008 19:47:20
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    This is our situation. Back in March we took a trip to the Caribbean. We stayed in 5 * and only recently have I learned about the prevalence of these things and that it matters not where one stays. In the midst of our stay we did switch rooms which was interesting because in our first room I noticed that I was very itchy in the mornings and had little raised bumps which I thought was sun related(I often react to the sun). Fast forward about 3 weeks after we get home(we live in a large single family home) I woke to a large welt bump on my face. Not itchy at all. Again I ignored it . Three weeks after that I find 3 more "bites" one morning when I wake up on my chest and arm. Im no longer ignoring it. We check the bed, the carpet, the mattress , the box spring. We find all sorts of things but no bugs. I go to the dermatologist, who indicates that it could be bites or any number of things. I had been on medication for a long time so I thought maybe a reaction to that. But meanwhile Im panicking. We get a quote for thermal , and we call in a dog and handler. The dog finds nothing but the PCO does see clovermites so we spray for that. "Bites" get worse and seem to be coming every few days and are now itchy. We call the PCO and he and the dog very kindly come back a week later and they not only do our house but our office as well. Again they find nothing. We find some other bugs which obviously died from the clovermite spray but no BB's. Hubby and I breath a collective sigh of relief. 2 days later I have a couple of possible "bites" but could have just been a skin thing so again I ignored. Today I woke to 3 "bites", 1 on the fatty part of my palm and 2 on my arm. These do not look like skin things and Im not taking meds now(well just Ibuprophen which keeps them from itching)Ok im panicking again...The PCO is confident we dont have BB's but we really dont know where to turn next. If it isnt BB's then what the heck is it and where do we go from here?

  2. Itchybutdealing

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Jun 17 2008 21:30:02
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    Go with your gut and get the dog to sniff again.

  3. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 17:17:04
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    The PCO is very confident that the dog would have picked something up in the 2 trips. I have heard that dogs can make errors but with 2 checks by the dog, I cant help but think that would lower the error rate. Yet Im getting bit. It's not a matter of just being itchy, rather I am getting noticable welts and bite like marks

  4. bedbugvictimperthaustralia

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 21:20:04
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    Turn the BASE of your bed over, put it up against the wall, check the seams T-H-O-R-O-U-G-H-L-Y (sounding like my mum here, haha) because at a quick glance it can look fine until you actually start peeling things back and getting up close and personal. Check your luggage too, inside, outside, and the seams.

    I don't think people should be freaking out if they do that and don't see any signs. Though the bugs like to hide in lots of places, if you can't find any in the most obvious spots, haven't find any of the half-dozen shells they shed every week, you're probably fine.

    Alternatives? Could be mosquitoes, check if you have any plotted plants in the house because they love to live in the leaves near that moist soil - if you shake the plant hard then they often come out to play. Check your window sills, people here often find other kinds of mites there. Check your pets, cats can have spider mites in their ears (causes this ugly black stuff to cake up in there). You could have had bats or birds in the roof recently which would be spreading bird mites and bat mites. Or if you can't find anything you might have scabies - a Doctor could confirm with a microscope.

  5. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 21:36:40
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    Thanks
    I guess I should have explained more in the first place..at this point I think I'm so tired and frustrated it is all running together. We've already done these things at least twice....but whose counting. We have recently found "things " in our bed...some which look like they could be "pieces" of cast skin but I cant really tell for sure. Have also found a single drop of blood on the sheets and a couple of black marks. All of which got me to bring in the dog in the first place. Saw a dermatologist when I had the first series of bites. He didnt know what it was "could have been alot of things". Gave me cortisone cream and a followup appt in 6 weeks(socialized medicine here ).
    The only thing we havent done is removed the netting or whatever it is from under our 2 box springs. That'll be next I guess. No potted plants in the house....no pets...We do have alot of birds around the house but we've had the stove vent and chimney covered with mesh because they actually built nests in there a couple years ago...we've checked the dryer vent, cant get to the eaves(too high).

  6. bedbugvictimperthaustralia

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jun 18 2008 21:50:21
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    From what I read, bird mites will spread from wherever they are to wherever you are, and they are tiny enough to go through anything but the finest mesh (and maybe even then). I only know from what I've read from people on here though, you might want to google it for more information.

    The pieces of cast skin are usually transparent orange/yellow in colour and of varying sizes. But they are usually clear enough if they're from bed bugs, I mean they have the shape and legs and everything.

  7. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jun 19 2008 13:46:34
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    Thanks Australia. Well they definitely dont look like that ie legs etc. They look like little pieces of curled beige matter , thin and translucent. I sent photos to the PCO of these things today and he doesnt think they are BB castings and he is quite knowledgable. But I'll be damned to know what they are. Hubby and I have been showering before we get into bed , we've bought brand new sheets and comforter, we're trying to exclude everything.

  8. buggedmama

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Jun 21 2008 21:25:17
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    Your welts do sound like bed bugs bites, especially the 3-at-a-time pattern. But I had about as many visible bites as you've described, and as soon as I lifted up my mattress to reveal the wood bed frame, all of the signs of bed bugs were very clearly and obviously present there... I would definitely check under the fabric of the box spring, if I were you.

  9. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 23 2008 9:46:03
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    This is crazy. All of the work that you have done and the PCO and no one has pealed off the box spring fabric! This is the first place that one should check for bed bugs.
    Get your Steri-Fab and a vacuum and take apart that box spring!

  10. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 23 2008 13:42:57
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    Well, our weekend was spent cleaning and we took off both box spring bottoms, flashlight in hand and searched high and low and we found nothing, no bugs, no skins, no feces. We also took apart our home office because that was 1 place where I thought I had bites late at night(even with a cleaning lady I now realize how dirty a house can get ...at least ours is going to be really clean.). We did however find more strange things in our bed, and we sent one of them to the dog handler(PCO) for inspection. The bites that started off seeming to be every 2-3 weeks are now at every 4-9 days somewhere between 1-4 "bites".

  11. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 23 2008 14:55:41
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    Look into bed bug mattress encasements for future protection. I was sure that you would find them in box spring.

  12. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 23 2008 17:41:28
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    That is what makes this whole thing so weird. Even the PCO and handler based on our description thought he would find BB's. Yet everything we have found in our bed, the other bugs we have found around our house, the extremely thourough search of all the floors and basement(I never knew a house could have this many cobwebs and spiders...yuch)have turned up no evidence of BB's. The dermatologist says "it could be bites" because it doesnt show a usual pattern of any skin thing ie :hives, since I only get a few at a time and they last for weeks. The PCO and dog handler also checked our office building so it isnt happening there. Hubby and I havent been going anywhere else on a regular basis so we've discounted that as a possibility.

    I'm glad it doesnt seem to be bedbugs, the confirmatory eveidence seems to be pointing away from that, but I really dont think I will be able to breath a sigh of relief until either the "bites" stop, or we figure out what the "skin thing" is that is causing this. I'm the type of person who wants to KNOW what a problem is so I can begin dealing with it no matter what it is. This not knowing is driving me insane. To tell you how insane, Im scheduled for a surgery this week and when I spoke to my surgeon today he remarked that I was really calm about my surgery. I had to laugh to myself, that it was because I'm more worried about this stupid situation....makes no sense at all but here I am. Thanks all for your help.

  13. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jun 29 2008 13:59:15
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    Well we still havent found bedbugs or any other bug. The couple of things that we did find the epidimiologist could not identitfy. We did buy the encasements and put them on 2 days ago. We have found very little in our bed since then but interestingly , we have found on the side of the mattress encasement a small blackish stain which looks remarkably like the stains in the photos .We cant tell if it is on the outside or inside. The fitted sheet had covered this so there is no way anything we did could have caused this. Im getting more and more frustrated. Im also wondering if we're doing the right thing leaving the encasements on. If by some wild stretch this were BB's ie we're the 2-10% the dog missed because it is a low infestation, then are we making it more difficult to find the infestation. We're also being treated again for the mites that were found(but dont bite) with the fogging agent. Could that make it more difficult to find BB's.

  14. theprey

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jun 29 2008 18:28:23
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    Most PCOs say fogging agents are a major no-no. They can cause bed bugs to scatter deep into your belongings and into the walls, making the bugs that much more difficult to find, not to mention eradicate. Has your PCO explained his or her rationale for using a fogger when you're being bitten in rows of three (a very strong indicator for bed bugs)? I'm not a professional, but it doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Have you thought about getting a second opinion?

  15. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jun 29 2008 19:21:34
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    There really is no one else in this area with any experience with BB's. Before we found this PCO(who is an hour away from us outside Toronto), we called a couple of local PCO's. Both said they dont inspect and when we find a bug let them know and they'll treat. Our PCO has been excellent. I have to say that he really wants to get to the bottom of this too. He has come out twice with the dog to check and he is quite confident it isnt BB's. There is no doubt im getting bitten by something though, and we did find small red mites which we sprayed for once. Im just getting very frustrated. We cant find a bb, the dog cant find bb's, I dont want it to be bb's, and yet we keep find very strange debris on our bed, we have found a blood drop on our linen, and now a small brownish/rusty round spot on our brand new mattress encasement. I've just had surgery as well and have an infection from that so I dont need this aggravation on top of it....sorry Im venting but I am just so frustrated trying to sort this out. Anyone have any thoughts on whether we should take the encasements off?

  16. theprey

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jun 29 2008 22:31:41
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    Definitely don't take the encasements off. If you do have bed bugs, they should be sealed in there and the encasement should remain on the bed for 18 months. Which kind of encasement do you have, and are you taping around the zipper? You've probably seen the most recent information about encasements, but here it is just in case:
    http://bedbugger.com/2008/04/20/new-mattress-encasement-test-data/

    The use of foggers really concerns me. Have you read this thread?:
    http://bedbugger.com/2007/05/30/bombs-dont-work-on-bed-bugs-citation-anyone/

  17. Notsolucky

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 30 2008 0:22:18
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    Keep in mind we're still trying to figure out what we do have...I have to keep reminding myself of that. I guess I was thinking that if we leave them on then if we are the 1-5% error rate we might have a harder time discovering them. On the other hand it could be that they get locked in to so that would be good. I guess we just figured if we put on the encasements and the bites stopped we would just throw away the mattress and box springs after a few months for piece of mind. We have the protect a bed encasements so I didnt think we needed to tape.

    With the fogging though I am right that eventually if it were BB's they would have to come back out to eat right? And if it were another bug, then the fogging should work. I guess what Im really trying to ask is there is no harm done in a single family home where BB's are not suspected by the PCO to fog?

  18. theprey

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 30 2008 9:43:55
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    I guess my point is that the dog may not be able to sniff out bed bugs if foggers used for other vermin have driven the bugs deep into your walls. Perhaps you don't have bed bugs, but the 3-bite rows are a pretty unusual and characteristic bite, especially when they're appearing in conjunction with blood and black and rusty spots on your sheets.

    I'm not an expert, but it seems to me that this possibility is more than a remote one. I suggest getting an opinion from a second PCO. If there are none in your area, you might want to post the question separately in the forums and see if someone with expertise can answer.

  19. hatinglife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Jun 30 2008 19:23:50
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    omg, i'm sorry!
    I'm in the exact same boat--- no evidence but recurring bites in typical bb frequency and pattern. i've had pco inspection and they didn't even tear open underside of boxspring as i wanted. it's covered now so i will hopefully never know as i won't remove it. i didn't use tape on covers either. is that necessary?

    i think i'd leave your covers on, wash and bag all clothing in room, vacuum and mop w/ murpy's oil soap often, steam clean, and hope for the best. that's what i'm doing. i've also thrown away baskets, a few frames, baskets, papers, and small items. i'm thinking of covering a bedside dresser with a boxspring cover! It may look stupid for 1 1/2 years but i'd rather not deal with bb/s.

    my pco won't treat without more evidence either but i continue to get bites, too.
    let us know and good luck!!!


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