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BB Newbie-- How bad can this be? Advice wanted.

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  1. snowwhite4965

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 14:31:09
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    I have been getting mysterious bites every 3-4 months for the past year, but never found any bugs. Just assumed they were mosquitoes.

    Three days ago, however, I woke up with the tell-tale trail bites, on my face, neck, and arms. Still no bugs. I thought I was losing my mind. Then two nights ago, I found a BB on my pajamas when I got up for a glass of water.

    I screamed, put it in a jar, and woke up my BF (who is not allergic to these things at all!). It was five AM, but we tore apart the bedroom and bed. We found one more bug, but no other signs of harboring or infestation. we slept for a couple of hours, then started in on the room again, pulling down curtains, pulling out all the furniture, the closet.... nothing, nothing, nothing.

    So, we go to our landlord with the jar of the two bedbugs to say-- hey, we need to get an exterminator pronto-- and she is horrified. She told us she was planning to call us after the holiday weekend, b/c she didn't want to ruin our Labor Day, but during a building inspection a few days ago, a city inspector discovered a HUGE infestation in the apartment next door that the tenants had never reported.

    Our bed was right against the wall that we share with our neighbor, and there is an outlet on that wall, which is where they must have come through. When the next door neighbors left their apt for the holiday weekend, the buggers were looking for a snack. I seriously can NOT get over the fact that the tenants never reported the problem. I think in 2012, we all realize that this pest is completely democratic, that it's not a mark against your hygiene if you get them (however, it appears that the neighbors are, in fact slobs. The exterminator could not treat right away b/c of all the crap they had piled against the walls, so they had to clear a ton of stuff before any treatment can be done). I was fully prepared to admit that we might have even brought them into a our apt, through recent travel, etc, and bear the wrath of our neighbors, should there be any.

    The exterminators are coming on Wednesday (LL said she would touch base with us on Tuesday to let us know what prep if any we need to do), so I am still not sure what style of extermination they are planning on. I know the building has a contract with Orkin, so I guess whatever Orkin recommends is what we're going to get.

    My biggest question is this-- If all we are finding are a couple of adult bugs, but no harbors or other signs of infestation, how bad can this get? If the landlord really does a thorough extermination job (treating the main source, us, and the two surrounding apartments) is it wishful thinking to think this could be solved? I don't see too many success stories on this forum, so I'm worried! I like my apt and don't want to move if I don't have to.

    Right now I have the bed isolated (i know that's controversial, but I am so allergic to these bites that I really can't handle it), sprayed everything in the bedroom with bed bug spray, vaccuuumed three times yesterday, covered all the open electrical outlets, and sprinkled the floor of the bedroom and around the baseboards with DE.

    I don't think climb-ups would work, as we have a platform bed like this :http://www.target.com/p/simply-basics-platform-bed-black/-/A-10212022?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=|10212022&CPNG=furniture&ci_sku=10212022&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw=

    But maybe double-stick tape? Any advice or stories from someone who's been in a similar situation would be appreciated!

  2. buggyinsyracuse

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 15:30:51
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    Hey there. I'm also a newbie and far from an expert, but I wanted to respond to your thread so that you don't feel ignored. It's labor day weekend so many of the experts are probably out enjoying the day, so you may want to bump this thread tomorrow.

    It seems like your landlord is being very proactive, and that is half e the battle. Consider yourself lucky there. As for what you are currently doing, it all sounds good with the exception of the bug spray. Don't bother with that, it may do more harm than good. Lay off of the chemicals until you speak with Orkin. You don't want to accidentally use something that will interfere with the chemicals that they will be using. If they do a chemical treatment, you will need to wash all of your dirty clothes and bedding in hot water, and dry on high heat, then seal in airtight bags. Clean items will only need to be dried on hot heat for a minimum of 30 minutes, also stored in airtight bags.

    My biggest advice to you is to BREATH. Don't do anything drastic. That is the biggest mistake we newbies make. This forum has a wealth of useful information. The reason you don't see more success stories is that when people succeed (the vast majority), they tend to move on and don't post about it. Remember, they are only bugs. You are bigger than they are and you will beat them.

  3. snowwhite4965

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 15:52:30
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    LOL-- I am bigger than them, you're right. Thanks for the perspective.

    I think the main thing that is freaking me out is that, according to the LL, the infestation next door is really horrifying. Like, so far gone that the city inspector could tell just by walking into the place, not moving any furniture or anything. He was only here to check the structural integrity/fire safety of the building, so he wasn't even trying to find BB's. I'm pretty calm about it now, (after a couple glasses of wine last night) but when I heard that the neighbors let it get that bad and never reported it I was hellaciously P*ssed. Not just for myself-- they have three other directly neighboring units, one of which just had a baby.

    I wish I could let someone who is not so allergic be human bait in my apartment until they're gone. They got me right in the middle of my forehead, so it looks like I'm trying to grow a horn....

  4. buggyinsyracuse

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 16:42:27
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    LOL. Do you know that the rich in Manhattan lofts actually do that? They hire people to be bait while they go off to live in their vacation homes. Wish I could afford that as well.

    My infestation also came from my neigbhor (two family house) and his was pretty bad. Thet thing that worries me is that he had no clue, and unlike your neighbors, he's actually very clean. His apartment is clean and uncluttered. What concerns me is how could he have NOT noticed them. He's non reactive, but it was to the point that there is no way he could not have noticed them. The good news was that after my first treatment there were no signs of live BBs in my apartment. His was not so lucky.

    Hang in there. Whiskey and wine have become my two best friends.

  5. snowwhite4965

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 20:55:38
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    buggyinsyracuse - 4 hours ago  » 
    LOL. Do you know that the rich in Manhattan lofts actually do that? They hire people to be bait while they go off to live in their vacation homes. Wish I could afford that as well.

    My boyfriend should do that here in LA-- he's completely non-reactive. It would be a great part-time job for an actor..... Since he's 6'3", I think he's the reason that I haven't gotten more eaten up. He's probably their main meal and I just get eight or nine bites in really obvious places (face, neck, hands) that are impossible to cover with garments.

    I just had a minor freak out sitting on my couch, thinking I felt something crawling on my back, and it was my own hair.

    It must be time to join you in that whiskey.....

  6. Aintnobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Sep 3 2012 23:09:33
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    I moved into my apartment aug 1st... saw my first bed bug aug 9th. They had Orkin come out and inspect and saw no signs of BBs. I find more just crawling on the carpet or wall and they come again. They find nothing, so I say can't this be coming from somewhere else? He said yes, but thats unlikely because it would be a pretty bad infesation. They send a letter they are searching adjoining units and the one under me and later that day there is a mattress with live bugs crawling all over it. There were black spots all over and it was horribly, disgustingly infested. SO they obviously knew they had an issue. It just makes me so mad that they are selfish enough to let other people suffer when they could have just told the LL. I haven't seen any bugs in a week and don't have any bites (Hopefully I am not non-reactive) and I'm breaking my lease. It's my first apartment and to see BBs after NINE days is ridiously, I'm so sad

    I feel what you are going through, thats horrible someone would let it get that bad. I really hope they can control that infesation and I hope your apt. will be habitable and without nasty BBs.

    The apt. that was infested was directly below me and they treated 3X. I just saw yet another mattress and boxspring out by the dumpster (UNCOVERED) as well as a vaccuum. SO I think it is not yet controlled. Sigh.

  7. Koebner

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Sep 4 2012 10:45:02
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    It's not the case though, that everyone's up to speed on BBs. True, everyone's heard of BBs, that doesn't mean they know what BBs look like, nor how to monitor/ inspect for them, or what to do if they find them. Try asking a few friends if they check their hotels rooms when travelling - my guess is you'll get a uniformly negative response & even a bit of "Oh c'mon; there's no need to get paranoid".

    People still mistake BB feces for signs of mold & work tirelessly to try to improve air circulation & whatnot, instead of dealing with the bug problem they actually have.

    Even if your LL's one of the good guys, there are plenty out there who will simply leave infestations untreated, or even blame & evict the tenants. Some people don't report because of fear of losing their home & some LLs are blissfully/willfully ignorant, preferring to simply blame the tenants, & imagining that removing the tenants & their beds will magically clear the infestation.

    I know a LL who doesn't care a hoot if his properties are infested, so long as he keeps getting rent; he'd rather just get new tenants than pay for treatment.

    It's not just rapacity that can make LLs react badly - it's also to do with the unconscious psychological reactions people have to BB. When confronted with a "core disgust elicitor", our brains don't always do the logical thing. That CDE problem also militates against people recognising their problem in the first place - it's not by choice that they refuse to accept the facts; it's something atavistic & hard to recognise that turns them away from the truth of their situation.

    Even on this site, where good, solid information is readily available, we regularly get purveyors of tinfoil milinery posting complete nonsense about how to deal with BBs. There's a whole wild frontier of misinformation & gimcrack gadgets out there, & it may be that your neighbours have genuinely been trying hard to deal with the problem; just in all the wrong ways. The canard about BBs being immune to treatment, rampaging superbugs that can't be cured, is common enough too & can make people accept a level of infestation that better-informed folks would never see as "normal".

    Then there's pre-existing mental illness - there's nothing like being clinically depressed to make one view BBs as no more than one deserves. Delusional illnesses can provide explanatory mechanisms for bites & other BB evidence that entirely skip BBs, & even when BBs are identified, you'd be amazed at what some illnesses can do to a person's understanding of the problem. It's really hard to get someone to deal correctly with BBs if they think BBs are actually surveillance devices - I kid you not.

    Or, they may have another problem they're dealing with that makes BBs seem to them like very small potatoes. I knew a family with a severely disabled child & the 24-hour care she required simply left them exhausted & incurious about the insects they kept seeing in their home. No-one in the family reacted at first, & when one family member began to show bites, they spent huge time & effort treating for the fleas they assumed their pet had brought in.

    And, because you're in LaLa Land & they thus deserve specific mention; there's the wretched hippies & their illogical obsessions with the "natural" (arsenic, cyanide & post-partum fistulas are all "natural") & their witless prejudices against "teh chemicals" (all life is a chemical reaction). Sadly, their shrill maunderings often drown out accurate advice &, like all persons of illogic, once a hippy has a bee in their bonnet about some dietary supplement that will "prevent" bugs from biting, or the madcap notion that some essential oil or other will make BBs run away; it can be impossible to make them change what we shall laughingly, & for the sake of brevity, call their "minds".

    Even people with a better understanding of the problem sometimes do sub-optimal things - like tearing the bedroom apart at 05:00h - see the FAQ on inspection for details.

    Getting angry with neighbours won't help you, and that's the important point. Bed bugs are just bad luck - anyone could have been ground zero for this problem. You don't know why it got so bad in their home & speculating won't help you.

    Snowwhite - I'm concerned that you say you've been "sprinkling" DE around the place. Please read this site's FAQ on DE. Quite aside from the health risks, if you laydown too much DE, it's a lot less effective against BBs. Before you panic - be sure it's wet when you clear it up & don't vacuum it up; it can really mess with your vacuum cleaner.

    Sorry, but you haven't found your bf a new fill-in job; a non-reactor's not really ideal bait. Someone with a light to moderate reaction is a better bet - they can demonstrate if the bugs are still biting without having to resort to one of those illuminated magnifying glasses.

  8. buggyinsyracuse

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Sep 4 2012 12:36:49
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    Koebner - thank you so much for such a well thought out response. I, too, have been dealing with anger issues at my neighbor, and everything that you said could have played into why he did not realize/report the problem. I have to keep reminding myself that it could have just as easily been my fault.

  9. snowwhite4965

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Sep 14 2012 3:39:43
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    Thanks for the thoughtful responses! So far, the building manager has been good, but the building owner is not wanting to get a professional PCO. They sent the super in with some sort of spray two weeks ago, (looked exactly like the stuff they sell at Home Depot, only in a bigger jug) and they are sending him in again tomorrow to spray again. I just found another live bug this morning as I was doing laundry. Still not finding any signs of them harboring in my apartment. Is that even possible? That I'm getting bites, but not finding any signs in my place?

    I've told the building manager that I would really prefer a professional PCO, and she agrees with me, but she works for the property management company, and it is the building owner's decision how to proceed with pest control. After the first Super-spray, I called the County Dept. of Health to report the infestation; they are going to come out and inspect the building next week to look for signs of an infestation in our unit and surrounding units. My biggest fear is that with the way the owners have been handling this so far, the BB's are just going to roam to another unit in the building, then re-infest both units all over again. I have to be patient at this point, I know... hopefully this will work....? Is that too naive?

    I read up on the DE and haven't used much of it, just around the baseboards on the wall I share with the unit that sent the buggers our way.

    I appreciate the point that it doesn't help me to be angry at my neighbors. You are completely right, Koebner. I just want to clarify that I wasn't angry with them for having BB's in the first place, I know the buggers are just bad luck. We live in a big city, I know it's part of the deal. In my initial post, I just needed to vent.

    If my neighbors were dealing with any of the horrible issues that you mention in your post it would obviously not have bothered me. I have a heart. But we live in a small building-- only 14 units-- and I know these neighbors are not dealing with anything of the sort. Everyone in their unit is in good health and good spirits. They were likely just hoping the the things would magically go away....


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