Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Bed Bug Infestation -- Real or Imagined?

(4 posts)
  1. thekingofcheap

    newbite
    Joined: Jun '13
    Posts: 2

    offline

    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Jun 12 2013 23:49:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Stayed in a hotel three-four weeks ago and woke up with bites, including "breakfast, lunch dinner" pattern and bites on forehead. We at first thought it was mosquitoes since we'd been outside in the woods, but we only noticed the bites after waking up. We spent three nights in this hotel, in two separate rooms (non-related reason) and had about 10 bites each, in almost identical places on our bodies.

    No bites in elbows, knees, crotch to indicate fleas. Girlfriend and I decide we have bed bug bites. We do a quick check of the bedding and mattress in the hotel and don't see any evidence of infestation.

    On the train ride home, we did some research on this forum and other places and decided on a plan of action to boil any bugs and eggs we might be transporting as soon as we got home. Walked in the door, boiled a lot of water and left our bags outside the apartment door. One at a time, we poured boiling hot water over each item of clothing into a plastic bucket, then put the clothes into a washing machine with the lid shut. It was very hot inside the washing machine.

    All electronics, books, toiletries, etc. were inspected visually, placed in ziploc bags and sealed in a large airtight bucket I use for brewing beer.

    All bags were left outside the apartment and taken to be dry cleaned the very next day. All bedding was dry cleaned and additionally put in a dryer for 30 minutes, just to be sure.

    The boiled clothing was washed in cold water (only option available to me in my old-timey Korean apartment), then taken to a laundromat where it was put in a clothes dryer for 30 minutes.

    In the days following, we installed baby-oil monitor traps under each leg of our bed. After two weeks, there were no new bites and a PCO did a free inspection during which she found no evidence of bed bugs on our bedding -- she vaccuumed to search for eggs and larvae. My monitors have not turned up any bugs.

    A few days ago, my girlfriend woke up to find two large bites on one toe, and I have one large bite (maybe a pimple? no head) on my cheek. Fearing bed bugs could be hiding elsewhere in the house, we set up a dry ice trap and left the apartment overnight. We were gone for about 12 hours, during which time only half of the ice sublimated. The trap was empty, except for a mosquito which flew directly into the thermos containing the dry ice.

    Today she woke up with two bumps on her jaw and is afraid they are bites, although they are nothing like the ones on her toe, which were definitely insect bites.

    We are arguing about how severe this infestation might be. I am still not convinced there are any bugs at all. There is still no evidence in our bedding but I'm going to have it dry cleaned again today because she is freaking out. I also ordered a mattress cover from Amazon.

    This is causing a huge strain in our relationship and I don't know how to move forward without just paying a ton of money to have my home super-heated. How likely is it that we have any bugs at all?

    This has been extra difficult because we live in Korea and it's not easy to find many of the simple things others use to trap and identify bugs. Even our PCO required getting a translator.

  2. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,262

    offline

    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Jun 13 2013 1:41:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    It's possible you were exposed to bed bugs in the hotel, but this does not mean you brought any home. The likelihood of them hitching a ride home should be much higher if more bed bugs are present, and lower if fewer are present. Luck plays a role as in so many other areas of life.

    I know your partner is getting skin reactions, but you have no evidence these are from bed bugs. You DO have evidence there are mosquitos in your home! So they are quite likely the culprit.

    Your precautions seem pretty good, actually, given the constraints (we have a FAQ on what to do if exposed in our travel section).

    As far as detection goes, the problem with "baby-oil monitor traps under each leg of the bed" is they're not monitors per se-- they won't necessarily alert you to a problem. Bed bugs may walk away from them rather than falling in, which means you not only don't know you have them, but they may seek harborages further from the bed which makes treatment harder when they are finally detected.

    You may get peace of mind from further work with an active monitor like the dry ice one. Note that if you have bed bugs present, they will feed about once a week each (maybe a bit sooner). So leaving an active monitor running for 12 hours is not going to be sufficient. If you had bed bugs which recently fed, they might not feed again for a week; if they get to you instead of the monitor, that's another issue. We usually recommend running an active monitor (many in N. America use the Bed Bug Beacon type) for 2 weeks or so. A week may be sufficient if the home is unoccupied and not colder than usual. (I'm not an expert but I understand they are less active in cooler weather.)

    The dry ice monitor may also be a lot of hassle for running over a long period, and there may be costs involved. If you can get a hold of a passive monitor (such as David Cain's, currently sold as BBAlert Passive), it may give you peace of mind now and going forward. It's low-cost and would probably be easy and relatively cheap for someone in UK or USA to ship to you (see this FAQ for more on it).

    [Disclosure: we do run affiliate ads for this product, see more in our disclosure policy.]

    Note that 30 minutes in a hot dryer is sufficient for already-dry items. I wasn't clear if the items you're drying after washing were already dry. However, the sequence of boiling then drying, and dry cleaning then drying, assuming dry items go into the dryer, certainly seem sufficient if not overkill if the items were exposed.

    Though there may not be any information you need in them, you may find it interesting to read other stories from people with bed bugs in Korea. The others in that boat are likely long gone from our forum, though that itself should be some comfort, because my impression is that people with persistent problems usually come back to us.

    I hope this helps!

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

    newbite
    Joined: Jun '13
    Posts: 2

    offline

    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Jun 13 2013 2:35:04
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Thanks for your quick and thorough response!

    If I understand correctly, any action we take right now should be continued monitoring to determine whether there are bugs, correct?

    I figured we would need to keep running an active monitor but dry ice is very expensive for us to obtain. Minimum $20 for about a pound, as we have to get it by buying ice cream cakes from a certain ice cream establishment known for its 31 flavors. I'm also not sure it's safe to leave out while we sleep in our small apartment.

    Is it true I can just use yeast and sugar to make an active CO2 monitor? What are the drawbacks to this? I understand that the Bed Bug Beacon is essentially the same thing.

  4. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,262

    offline

    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Jun 13 2013 3:01:22
    #



    Login to Send PM

    thekingofcheap - 20 minutes ago  » 
    Thanks for your quick and thorough response!
    If I understand correctly, any action we take right now should be continued monitoring to determine whether there are bugs, correct?
    I figured we would need to keep running an active monitor but dry ice is very expensive for us to obtain. Minimum $20 for about a pound, as we have to get it by buying ice cream cakes from a certain ice cream establishment known for its 31 flavors. I'm also not sure it's safe to leave out while we sleep in our small apartment.

    Yes, there are safety concerns with dry ice, and the cost and availability is often a big issue.

    Look, I'm not an expert, and maybe some will also respond here, but skin reactions don't prove bed bugs are present, and so we're always told you need a visual verification to know if bed bugs are present (bed bugs, fecal stains, eggs, cast skins). Fecal stains are often the first thing people see when looking. Or bed bugs. But every time they feed, they will defecate, so there will be stains if you look closely enough.

    The BBAlert Passive monitor is supposed to offer bed bugs an attractive convenient harborage on or near the bed, with a cover that will show fecal stains if bed bugs are harboring in it. So while it's a fairly simple idea, it may give you peace of mind.

    I'd also get rid of the oil traps.

    Is it true I can just use yeast and sugar to make an active CO2 monitor? What are the drawbacks to this? I understand that the Bed Bug Beacon is essentially the same thing.

    The method I'm aware of has been dismissed by the experts here. See this thread for one discussion which explains why.


RSS feed for this topic


Reply

You must log in to post.

295,897 posts in 49,843 topics over 154 months by 21,812 of 22,278 members. Latest: jls954, bedbbg, Bolshoibooze88