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Another desperate newbie :(

(10 posts)
  1. thissux

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Aug 10 2019 11:06:59
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    Hi all,

    So I've been dealing with a suspected infestation for about 7 weeks now and am really getting desperate as I haven't been able to find any hard evidence. I'm fairly convinced it's bedbugs because I had multiple bites at a hostel (I didn't know anything about bed bugs at the time and put it off as harmless insect bites). I also remember finding a few bugs when I washed out my bag in the tub upon return. I had spent time outdoors hiking, so didn't make much of it at the time. This same bag was on the bed overnight (crowded dorm room) when I got bitten at the hostel.

    Fast forward and I've been regularly getting bites in mostly ones and twos until this morning when I noticed a cluster of at least 7 tiny pinprick bites (my bites have been low-reactive small, non-itchy bumps). I've done some basic monitoring (bed inspections, DIY cardboard monitors, and glue boards under bed legs) but haven't found any clear evidence. I also suspect multiple exposure points throughout my apt after putting away contents from my bag. There seems to be a bite pattern of chest bites overnight and lower body bites after sitting on the sofa and office chair. I have a PCO with a good reputation coming Monday but I'm not all that confident that a visual inspection is going to find anything conclusive, in which case I'm going to be really lost as to what to do. I'm a renter, so I'm at the mercy of the landlord's discretion, and my landlord seems pretty naive about bed bugs (or is playing dumb). I would really like to have a K9 inspection but that doesn't seem like a realistic option unless I pay out of pocket ($350).

    Finding the cluster of bites this morning has me really freaked out. For weeks my mental state has been a roller coaster and my physical health is suffering too. I'm so desperate for answers and feel so helpless and overwhelmed by what to do. I don't feel safe sitting anywhere in my home. If the PCO doesn't find anything, I don't know what more the landlord will be willing to do to help. I'm also financially limited. What do I do??

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Aug 11 2019 8:27:21
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    If the PCO finds nothing it's timbre to look for another cause. Or if you really believe it will help you, pay for the dog inspection yourself. It's not as if your landlord brought in the bed bugs.
    At seven weeks time I would feel certain that I could find evidence, even if the tenant was self- treating and scattering the bed bugs to odd locations.

  3. thissux

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Aug 11 2019 11:07:08
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    Thanks BigDummy. I also would expect to have found some evidence by now. The circumstantial evidence (bites in hostel, bugs in bag, ontinued bites after returning) and other specific symptoms (persistent and pronounced crawling, tingling, pinprick sensations) just seem to strongly match bed bugs. I have read through the FAQ of other potential explanations and I just don't see another match. Will try to keep a level head and see how the PCO inspection goes.

  4. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Aug 11 2019 14:34:19
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    Stick to the three true indicators, cast skins, fecal deposits and live samples, anything else could be attributed to some other cause.

  5. thissux

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Aug 12 2019 9:44:37
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    PCO didn't find anything, bb or otherwise. He spent an hour going through my apt and was fairly thorough, but didn't inspect in any more detail than I've done myself. He was pretty confident no bedbugs, which is both good and bad as I'm still left without answers to my bites. Guess all I can do is continue passive monitoring and regular self inspections. I have my annual physical next week and will see what the doctor thinks about my bites.

  6. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Aug 12 2019 9:48:54
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    That's good news, you can shift your focus and try and narrow down the cause without worrying about bed bugs.
    Though you and I may look at the same thing we both will see very different details.

  7. thissux

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Aug 12 2019 17:34:43
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    Feeling better after a professional's inspection, but still not that confident about it. Yes PCOs have the trained/experienced eye, but they still have limited time to perform an inspection and thus are mostly inspecting the most common and accessible spots. One hour is not much time at all to inspect an entire apartment; I spent much more than that just inspecting my bed (36 wooden slats that fit into 92 plastic pockets that are perfect for hiding). Another example is the sofa framework under the dust cover - prime hiding and wasn't inspected due to difficulty/damage. I've read enough accounts of people who went months before finding hard evidence. Actually, even the PCO said he didn't discover his own infestation for what he suspected was 7 months (he's non-reactive)! I can't underestimate how good bb's can be at evading detection.

    My landlord actually had a backup inspection scheduled for later this week and he has decided to keep it to have a second lookover.

  8. ughhhhh

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Aug 14 2019 19:06:20
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    hey -- i feel you on the pinprick/tingling thing. a horrible piece of information that i actually found really helpful: if you can feel it crawling on you, it's almost definitely not a bedbug, because they are designed to feed without disturbing the host. i have caught bed bugs in the act (i wake up because the anesthetic doesn't really work and my bite reaction is immediate and very intense) and have seen one crawl across my thigh and felt nothing.

    and just like bigdummy said, at 7 weeks without treatment, with plenty of thorough searching (including a pro, who sounds diligent, for what it's worth -- my somewhat incompetent PCO checked my apartment in under 15 minutes), there would be evidence by now -- a bug, a skin, fecal trace. you gotta start living again, bud.

    the psychosomatic itchiness is, to me, far and away the worst part of this whole ordeal (though the laundry and the trash bag + climb-up 'bed bug aesthetic' can also suck my balls). for a long time i was convinced my heat rash (which sometimes blisters) was bed bug bites, and then i got an actual bite and that theory went all the way out the window. it sounds like you maybe have sensitive and/or dry skin. my current phantom itchiness is dramatically helped by moisturizing and taking a daily antihistamine. i also try to apply cbt techniques when i feel the need to scratch or flip my mattress or go strip in the bathroom at work to check. remember that, even if you find them (and it really doesn't sound like you will), they are a shit ton of work, but they are not dangerous -- they're just mosquitos who transmit anxiety/existential dread instead of West Nile -- and they can be beat.

    and look -- fundamentally, especially in the utterly delightful world of bed bug control, feelings are not facts. isolate your bed if it'll help you get sleep, put passive monitors wherever they'll give you peace of mind, and then repeat that mantra until it really does feel true. good luck!!

  9. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Aug 14 2019 20:13:24
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    ughhhhh - 1 hour ago  » 
    hey -- i feel you on the pinprick/tingling thing. a horrible piece of information that i actually found really helpful: if you can feel it crawling on you, it's almost definitely not a bedbug, because they are designed to feed without disturbing the host. i have caught bed bugs in the act (i wake up because the anesthetic doesn't really work and my bite reaction is immediate and very intense) and have seen one crawl across my thigh and felt nothing.
    and just like bigdummy said, at 7 weeks without treatment, with plenty of thorough searching (including a pro, who sounds diligent, for what it's worth -- my somewhat incompetent PCO checked my apartment in under 15 minutes), there would be evidence by now -- a bug, a skin, fecal trace. you gotta start living again, bud.
    the psychosomatic itchiness is, to me, far and away the worst part of this whole ordeal (though the laundry and the trash bag + climb-up 'bed bug aesthetic' can also suck my balls). for a long time i was convinced my heat rash (which sometimes blisters) was bed bug bites, and then i got an actual bite and that theory went all the way out the window. it sounds like you maybe have sensitive and/or dry skin. my current phantom itchiness is dramatically helped by moisturizing and taking a daily antihistamine. i also try to apply cbt techniques when i feel the need to scratch or flip my mattress or go strip in the bathroom at work to check. remember that, even if you find them (and it really doesn't sound like you will), they are a shit ton of work, but they are not dangerous -- they're just mosquitos who transmit anxiety/existential dread instead of West Nile -- and they can be beat.
    and look -- fundamentally, especially in the utterly delightful world of bed bug control, feelings are not facts. isolate your bed if it'll help you get sleep, put passive monitors wherever they'll give you peace of mind, and then repeat that mantra until it really does feel true. good luck!!

    I agree with most of what you posted. But I do want to add that the first time I ever seen a live bed beg in real life was when I felt something crawling up my forearm while laying on the couch and sure enough I look and it was a stage 4 bed bug nymph. Since then I've felt and seen at least 3 other lower stage nymphs crawling on me. Even a stage 1 crawling on my hand that I couldn't believe how small it actually was. I do agree that almost all of the time you can't feel them crawling on you but it is possible from my experiences.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  10. thissux

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Fri Sep 6 2019 19:31:29
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    Judgement day Monday - K9 inspection. I found a 10-year certified handler who uses two dogs and does visual confirmation. Very good impression of the handler after multiple conversations. Working in my favor for an accurate result is that I am pretty minimalist and mostly clutter-free.

    2.5 months of [increasing] bites and persistent crawling/tingling/pinprick sensations. Three unfruitful doctors visits. Still no hard evidence of bed bugs, but I just can't get past the combination of circumstantial evidence and the totalilty of my symptoms profile. I also have reason to suspect a possible complex infestation due to exposure specifics. I'm so desperate for answers.


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