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BB in college - need help

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  1. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Feb 2 2019 21:11:36
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    This is my BB story -

    I go to school in New York. Live in a dorm-like situation in a building owned by my university.

    A few months ago I started noticing black dots (their droppings) on my sheets. Didn't really think much of it - boy do I regret not looking further into what those dots were. Don't recall getting bitten at that time though. The semester then ended and so I went back home for about 3 weeks for winter break.

    I came back to my dorm room about 4 weeks ago and that's when I actually saw them for the first time. I woke up at 4 AM, jet-lagged because of my travels, and saw at least three of them on my bed. In the morning I also noticed my right arm had bites on it. Traumatic.

    The morning after I let my building's super know about the issue and my journey began.

    I put all of my stuff in plastic bags and got rid of, well, almost all of my furniture (handled carefully by the PCO). An infestation was ruled out (whatever that means) since no bugs were found in my suitemate's room which is adjacent to my room. Rooms above and under me were also checked. I was the only lucky resident, I suppose. In any case, the PCO vacuumed my mattress, box spring and the surroundings of my bed. Some of these fuckers were hiding behind a map hanged on my wall, right above my bed. Some were grouped on the ceiling in the corner above the bed. He then encased my box spring and mattress and we scheduled treatments.

    Fast forward to today - I am after three treatments. In between the first and the second one I saw at least 7 bugs, in different stages of their life cycle, all found either on the mattress or in between the mattress and box spring. When I said that to the tech he said that I wasn't supposed to see any living ones. After the second treatment, I saw another 2 bugs, on the mattress. Notified my super who demanded the PCO to come back for a third treatment. And so he did; encased my box spring with another case after I pointed out what seemed like a tiny hole in the one they put on initially. Treated my mattress and box spring and the rest of my room. I was happy about their responsiveness.

    Slightly optimistic, I woke up today thinking after three treatments I am not supposed to see them. But nope - just an hour ago, as I was sitting on my radiator in my room (which currently contains my mattress, box spring, a bookshelf I was able to save and a bunch of plastic bags with my stuff in them), I saw a grown BB traveling on my box spring.

    I am devastated and exhausted. What am I doing wrong? Is it me or is it the PCO?

    Just to clarify - all of my stuff is still bagged-up. Some bags containing my clothes I've managed to take to the dry cleaners - still haven't gotten them back. I've been wearing the same two sets of clothes the past few weeks (one set of gym clothes, one set of day clothes), which I wash and dry frequently. I sleep in my underwear, to have as few clothing items to come in contact with my mattress as possible. Haven't been noticing bites really ever this all started, but I think I am not really responsive to them (the first night I came back to my room was just a bad case as it was my first encounter with a flee of hungry BBs, I guess).

    I ordered a good vacuum cleaner and a powerful steamer to use post-treatment. Also got a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. Was hoping to use all of these once treatments end, just as a measure for extra certainty those fuckers don't come back and for my own sanity.

    I need to know that I'm doing things right. I am a student, busy with school, and dealing with all of this on my own (with the help of my university). It's very isolating and draining. I am terrified this might affect my academic performance, and with midterms coming up in a few weeks I really want to make sure I am able to contain this issue as quickly as possible. I am also limited with financial resources, naturally, as I am doing school full-time.

    Please, I would appreciate any word of advice/comfort. I've been reading stuff on this forum obsessively the past few weeks but thought it'd be worth to describe my case in detail and see what people might suggest I do. Looking forward to seeing your words of wisdom.

    Thank you!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Feb 2 2019 21:20:28
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    It stinks that you have to deal with this.

    The college housing department should be dealing with this and they should be experienced with the problem.

    Sometimes with persistent cases, there is a source of continued exposure from an attached neighbor, a regular visitor, or even you being exposed somewhere else.

    However, it is also possible the problem just isn’t eliminated yet. I am not clear on the spacing between your three treatments, but 2 weeks is typical.

    Moving is a last resort, because you have to treat all your stuff to avoid moving the problem. However, you can discuss this with the housing office. I am sure space is at a premium, but the college should be bending over backwards to fix this for you. They should be helping with getting your belongings bed bug-free. The culture of colleges now is more customer oriented so you and/or your parents can put the pressure on.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Feb 2 2019 21:32:55
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    Nobugsonme - 2 minutes ago  » 
    It stinks that you have to deal with this.
    The college housing department should be dealing with this and they should be experienced with the problem.
    Sometimes with persistent cases, there is a source of continued exposure from an attached neighbor, a regular visitor, or even you being exposed somewhere else.
    However, it is also possible the problem just isn’t eliminated yet. I am not clear on the spacing between your three treatments, but 2 weeks is typical.
    Moving is a last resort, because you have to treat all your stuff to avoid moving the problem. However, you can discuss this with the housing office. I am sure space is at a premium, but the college should be bending over backwards to fix this for you. They should be helping with getting your belongings bed bug-free. The culture of colleges now is more customer oriented so you and/or your parents can put the pressure on.

    Thanks for your quick response.

    Housing is indeed dealing with this - treatments, encasements, etc. was all dealt through them. I also got a stipend from the university to pay for the dry-cleaning. It doesn't change the fact that I come back at the end of every school day to a dystopian reality waiting for me in my naked room.

    This was indeed over the span of 2-2.5 weeks. Techs seemed professional, but what do I know. They kept telling me my case was 'mild' and that because they could only find them in my room and nowhere else they'd be able to contain them easily. So, in a way, I am still being hopeful.

    I doubt that I am somehow introducing new bugs to my room. And even if I did, my room is drenched with chemicals.

  4. loubugs

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Feb 3 2019 5:35:45
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    You initially had bites. You left and then came back. You were away and they couldn't feed. You didn't bring any home? They haven't treated and sealed? You didn't mention what products were used in your room. They didn't check adjoining rooms? They check above and below. Not across hall?

    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.
  5. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Feb 3 2019 11:23:20
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    loubugs - 5 hours ago  » 
    You initially had bites. You left and then came back. You were away and they couldn't feed. You didn't bring any home? They haven't treated and sealed? You didn't mention what products were used in your room. They didn't check adjoining rooms? They check above and below. Not across hall?

    I don't think I brought any home. My mom, bless her soul, always washes my stuff (including suitcases and backpack) the second I get home. I asked her to check anyway, nothing was found.

    As for the products used in my treatment - I am not sure. I can ask them when they come for inspection tomorrow morning. For all I know they've been using a professional backpack sprayer; my entire floor is stained with whatever they used.

    I live in an isolated suite in a very narrow New York City building. The only room 'across the hall' is my suitemate's room and it was checked. Other rooms on the floor, which are very far from our suite, were checked as well.

  6. loubugs

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Feb 3 2019 15:12:13
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    YD1991 - 3 hours ago  » 

    loubugs - 5 hours ago  » 
    You initially had bites. You left and then came back. You were away and they couldn't feed. You didn't bring any home? They haven't treated and sealed? You didn't mention what products were used in your room. They didn't check adjoining rooms? They check above and below. Not across hall?

    I don't think I brought any home. My mom, bless her soul, always washes my stuff (including suitcases and backpack) the second I get home. I asked her to check anyway, nothing was found.
    As for the products used in my treatment - I am not sure. I can ask them when they come for inspection tomorrow morning. For all I know they've been using a professional backpack sprayer; my entire floor is stained with whatever they used.
    I live in an isolated suite in a very narrow New York City building. The only room 'across the hall' is my suitemate's room and it was checked. Other rooms on the floor, which are very far from our suite, were checked as well.

    I work in NYC. Did you figure out how you got bed bugs in the first place?

  7. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Feb 3 2019 19:53:34
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    loubugs - 4 hours ago  » 

    YD1991 - 3 hours ago  » 

    loubugs - 5 hours ago  » 
    You initially had bites. You left and then came back. You were away and they couldn't feed. You didn't bring any home? They haven't treated and sealed? You didn't mention what products were used in your room. They didn't check adjoining rooms? They check above and below. Not across hall?

    I don't think I brought any home. My mom, bless her soul, always washes my stuff (including suitcases and backpack) the second I get home. I asked her to check anyway, nothing was found.
    As for the products used in my treatment - I am not sure. I can ask them when they come for inspection tomorrow morning. For all I know they've been using a professional backpack sprayer; my entire floor is stained with whatever they used.
    I live in an isolated suite in a very narrow New York City building. The only room 'across the hall' is my suitemate's room and it was checked. Other rooms on the floor, which are very far from our suite, were checked as well.

    I work in NYC. Did you figure out how you got bed bugs in the first place?

    Wish I knew! Actually, the first person that comes to mind is a friend of mine who was visiting from Boston last semester and I know for a fact she's been dealing with that problem in her place. Either that or the million other ways you can get bed bugs in a place like New York City.

  8. thirdusername

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Feb 4 2019 2:15:36
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    How long does relaxing response last?

    To the OP:
    Is the PCO also using dust?
    My apartment had a small infestation and it took 4 treatments.

    I am NOT an expert.
    My opinions are just opinions, they may NOT apply to yours or any situation.
    My advice is to always do a LOT of research.
    A lot of what I read contradicts other stuff on the Interweb.
  9. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Feb 4 2019 9:27:05
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    thirdusername - 7 hours ago  » 
    How long does relaxing response last?
    To the OP:
    Is the PCO also using dust?
    My apartment had a small infestation and it took 4 treatments.

    The PCO has not been using dust. Should I suggest it to them today at the inspection?

  10. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Feb 4 2019 12:31:33
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    thirdusername - 10 hours ago  » 
    How long does relaxing response last?

    Those two usernames are just spamming up the site.

  11. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Feb 5 2019 17:27:59
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    UPDATE:

    I've been seeing two/three bugs a day after the third treatment and the tech came by today to do an inspection. We found a young bug together and he was finally convinced that I wasn't messing around (in the most recent inspection he declared 'no evidence for remaining bedbugs').

    I asked him what chemical they were using in my room, and he told me Crossfire, which to his experience of three years has rarely failed his company. He literally told me that the fact that I'm still seeing bugs in my room is very weird and unique given how well Crossfire has worked in all of the bedbug cases he's ever treated.

    As you can tell, this was a devastating thing to say. Clearly, I'm either doing something wrong or he's fucking with me. In any case, we've scheduled the fourth treatment to happen later this week.

    What do you guys think? Is Crossfire considered to be good?

  12. dcgirl

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Feb 6 2019 1:16:26
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    Can you request a heat treatment? They'll heat your apartment to about 140 degrees F. The bugs die at 120 degrees.

    The problem with chemicals is that if they are continually missing a spot where they are nesting, it is useless. Or perhaps one of your neighbors has it.

  13. SalsaVince

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Feb 6 2019 11:34:27
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    Several people have reported successful treatment with Crossfire so it seems like one of the more effective sprays. Residual sprays will kill bugs even without direct contact. When they walk over the chemical, even weeks later, there should be enough exposure to be lethal. Are you finding any dead bugs or are they all alive? I would be concerned if you're only finding live bugs. Is it possible that you're dealing with a strain that is resistant to crossfire? Or the PCO is not applying it correctly. An integrated plan involving various tools to attack and prevent them might be the best approach. Steam, encasements, monitors, dusts (cimexa). Sorry you're dealing with this longer than expected.

    "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.
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  14. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Feb 6 2019 17:27:23
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    SalsaVince - 5 hours ago  » 
    Several people have reported successful treatment with Crossfire so it seems like one of the more effective sprays. Residual sprays will kill bugs even without direct contact. When they walk over the chemical, even weeks later, there should be enough exposure to be lethal. Are you finding any dead bugs or are they all alive? I would be concerned if you're only finding live bugs. Is it possible that you're dealing with a strain that is resistant to crossfire? Or the PCO is not applying it correctly. An integrated plan involving various tools to attack and prevent them might be the best approach. Steam, encasements, monitors, dusts (cimexa). Sorry you're dealing with this longer than expected.

    I have found several dead bugs. I would expect to find more, but I didn't - should that be a good sign?

    In any case, I got rid of my mattress and box spring today. Despite the fact both were encased, almost all of the live bugs I have found were on the mattress. And having my mattress placed in the center of the room, requiring bugs who may still be in the walls/floor crevices to walk through the chemicals in order to get to me, makes it likely that my encasement wasn't bug-proof (although the tech claims that they are!).

    As for the steaming suggestion - I got a good steamer that I was hoping to use once treatment is over. Perhaps next week when I'm about to start reassembling my room. Any specific ways in which I should apply the steaming? Any things I should avoid doing?

  15. SalsaVince

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Feb 7 2019 8:09:58
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    The bad thing about getting rid of your mattress in the middle of treatment is that you've removed most of the treatment now. When they walk across the treated mattress, they should eventually die. The same applies to steaming. You don't want to steam and add moisture to the spray residuals or you could weaken its power. During treatment, it has to be coordinated with the professional so as not too affect what they have done. If you're seeing dead bugs, that's encouraging. You should notice less and less adults and mostly see young ones. It sounds like the treatment was working but you are dealing with multiple generations. If you replace your mattress, you'll want to let PCO know so that they can come out and treat the new one.

  16. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Feb 7 2019 18:29:54
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    SalsaVince - 10 hours ago  » 
    The bad thing about getting rid of your mattress in the middle of treatment is that you've removed most of the treatment now. When they walk across the treated mattress, they should eventually die. The same applies to steaming. You don't want to steam and add moisture to the spray residuals or you could weaken its power. During treatment, it has to be coordinated with the professional so as not too affect what they have done. If you're seeing dead bugs, that's encouraging. You should notice less and less adults and mostly see young ones. It sounds like the treatment was working but you are dealing with multiple generations. If you replace your mattress, you'll want to let PCO know so that they can come out and treat the new one.

    The mattress and box spring were being taken away by the PCO, after having them approve that move due to the recurring appearance of bugs on the mattress even after three treatments.

    And you are correct about the generational thing - since the beginning of treatment, I have been seeing mostly very young ones (some literally look like they've just hatched). Would you mind explaining to me why is that? Is it because young ones only recently started walking around my room?

    Tomorrow the PCO is supposed to be coming in again and treat my new (and temporary) mattress as well as inspect the room post 4th treatment. The university gave me the notorious college-furniture-type blue twin size mattress for the meantime, which is supposedly already designed to repel bedbugs (a picture is available here [pardon the out-of-context use of this unfortunate article] - https://www.today.com/news/columbia-student-carrying-mattress-protest-alleged-rape-gets-overwhelmingly-positive-1D80129390 )

    Also, for the sake of not damaging the effect of the residual stuff, when is a safe time to start using the steamer in my room? Or finally washing the floor (with Murphy's oil soap, as was recommended by the PCO)?

  17. SalsaVince

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Feb 7 2019 20:55:11
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    That mattress is ugly enough to repel anything I think. Glad you did that with the cooperation of the PCO. Same applies to the steaming and cleaning. Just check with them to see what they recommend. If you're seeing dead bugs and only seeing young ones now, you are on the right path, although it seems like forever when you're experiencing it. Yes, the young ones are hatching and aren't exposed to the residuals until they walk over to your bed for their first meal. The idea is that eventually, there will be no adult bugs left to reproduce and the nymphs will never reach adulthood so the population will dwindle until no more. You'll get there.

  18. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Fri Feb 8 2019 10:41:47
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    SalsaVince - 13 hours ago  » 
    That mattress is ugly enough to repel anything I think. Glad you did that with the cooperation of the PCO. Same applies to the steaming and cleaning. Just check with them to see what they recommend. If you're seeing dead bugs and only seeing young ones now, you are on the right path, although it seems like forever when you're experiencing it. Yes, the young ones are hatching and aren't exposed to the residuals until they walk over to your bed for their first meal. The idea is that eventually, there will be no adult bugs left to reproduce and the nymphs will never reach adulthood so the population will dwindle until no more. You'll get there.

    First of all, I really want to thank you for being consistent with replying to my messages. You are a hero.

    UPDATE: they came to inspect today and I think they've found the most dead bugs in my room since treatment started (around 4). The thing is, most were grown. They should be coming in on Monday next week again, and the PCO said that if we find 0 bugs (dead or alive) then, then we're on the right track. A final inspection was scheduled for Friday that same week, which will be followed by the full repairing of my room (walls, flooring, filling cracks and holes) as was agreed upon with the university.

    This means, hopefully, only two more weeks of semi-homelessness! Yay.

  19. anonabug

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Feb 10 2019 22:47:05
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    You need climbups to put under the bed legs so that they cannot get to you. If the mattress has no bedbugs, or there's a good, new, unripped encasement on it, and your linens and blankets have gone through the dryer, and bed is sitting in climbups, then you can sleep "safe" from bedbugs. Meanwhile, if they treat around the climbups, the bedbugs will crawl through it trying to get to you! And the climbups act as monitoring traps, too.

    Yes, you probably had the friend who slept over bring it. I now understand why sleepovers were not a thing until after DDT eradicated bedbugs. People didn't want bedbugs brought into their homes.

  20. YD1991

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Feb 12 2019 14:33:13
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    @anonabug, I've been sleeping on a twin size mattress the past few days, ever since the 4th treatment. It is on the floor in my still-very-naked room.

    UPDATE: haven't seen a single bug since the 4th treatment. It's been almost 5 days. It is the longest I've had without seeing any. I am thrilled but in a very cautious way.

    Friday will be the PCO's final inspection. The following week I have my room scheduled for repair.

  21. SalsaVince

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Feb 12 2019 14:54:07
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    Awesome! Sounds like you're on the final stretch. Now you can get back to concentrating on edjumacating yourself with your schooling and not bed bugs.


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