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Bed bugs and Poor College Students

(4 posts)
  1. keldo

    Joined: Nov '09
    Posts: 1


    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Nov 6 2009 12:45:31

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    Hello bedbuggers, been lurking here quite a bit recently and I thought it'd be beneficial to make a post of my scenario and get a fresh perspective

    I, as mentioned in the topic, am a poor college student. I share a <650 sq ft. one bed room apartment with one other individual. About a month ago my roommate started to receive small welts, which a doctor confirmed to be bites (At this time I hadn't a clue because I wasn't being bit). We promptly contacted our land lords who (at their own speed) laid sticky traps to determine what precisely the pest problem is. The traps confirmed bed bugs. Fast forwarding to today, my apartment *should* be getting sprayed as I type this. Now I just have a few curiosities to be answered:

    The real estate company that owns the apartment complex is fortunately paying for this treatment. I assume because if nothing is done my building (imagine a sardine tin) would be at risk. They originally mentioned that if additional treatments were required (this one is done through 8 visits I believe) it'd be out of our pockets; Which I understand. Today, they said if the problem returned, they'd break our lease and evict us (I'm not 100% sure on the context i.e. threat or not, my roommate was the one at home). Now with the persistence of bed bugs in mind, I'm a smidge concerned and am curious to the legalities of this. I'm attending a large university in Connecticut to get a sense of logistics.

    Just to add a few things:
    My roommate and I are quite sanitary people. Our small space is vacuumed regularly, clothes laundered and dishes washed. We suspect the problem occurred from an overnight visit to a friend in Boston, who (after the visit of course) we found out was experiencing bed bugs (fyi this information was not disclosed to the real estate).

    I've already developed a great bit of dislike concerning my land lords from previous encounters but one thing that sticks out is that a week or so prior to informing them of the issue, they were suppose to "spray" (I think gel was suppose to be used actually) the base boards as preventative measures for 'spiders and roaches.' As the notice directed, we pulled everything out of the pantries, pulled all furniture and furnishings away from the walls, and waited for the pest control/maintenance crew to show. They were suppose to arrive at 11, they showed up at 12.30, as we saw them park out front. They then said they were doing each apartment in order, (I'm #11) so it'd be about an hour and a bit. I personally was home and waiting (in a disheveled apartment) for them to stop in, but they never came; actually witnessing them leave about 45 mins after arrival. So of course I called up the real estate company to figure out what was going on, and then said to "Not worry about it, and feel free to put everything back" (paraphrased). I did just that being fed up that they didn't understand why I was upset. The kicker of this whole story is that my roommate also called to talk to someone and the response he received was that "the maintenance crew came by and saw a sign on the door that said 'Do-Not-Enter'" and just proceeded to continue onwards (Odd they say that because they were suppose to key-in the Pest crew if no one was home anways). There was definitely no such sign on the door, and there was someone home the entire day, so that is completely false. Is this in any way relevant to any legal issue or just an example of terrible land lords?

    I can also try my best to provide any other details if anyone is interested.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that the level of infestation I imagine is quite low. Despite immense effort, I've failed to see any bed bugs or signs of bed bugs (black specks in tufts of mattress, blood spots on sheets, etc), just the handful of bites.

  2. BB_Slayer

    junior member
    Joined: Nov '09
    Posts: 64


    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Nov 6 2009 20:28:40

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    Roaches are attracted to garbage like chicken bones and bread crumbs but bed bugs are attracted to humans. The threat to evict you is stupid because personal cleanliness and housekeeping skills have no relationship to the bugs.

    If you're not seeing them then there probably are not a lot of them and you may be able to just manually kill them all, as I'm in the process of doing. I suggest you get up at 3 a.m. and turn on a bright light and watch the area around the head of your bed for at least an hour. Move the bedding and pillows around from time to time so you're checking each "layer". I've been observing bed bug behavior in detail for 10 days now and they are definitely the most active from around 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. You may not see any for 20 or 30 minutes, then suddenly one or two come scurrying out.

    The unfed adults move the fastest but even they are slower than most insects. After they bite and are full of blood they're sluggish and very easy to capture. The young small bugs are also fairly slow.

  3. cilecto

    Joined: Aug '08
    Posts: 4,085


    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Nov 8 2009 0:02:43

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    Welcome, keldo.

    I feel for you and hope that you can work this out. Thoughts and questions:
    - You might have crossed signals here. Will your LL evict you on recurrence or is he offering you escape from your lease. (Or, is he threatening you with eviction because he sees you as a difficult tenant, perhaps the PCO skipped your apartment for similar reasons.) In either case, please be sure to educate yourself on what you need to do to protect yourself when you move (or fo that matter, if you travel or have visitors).

    - Not clear if your LL understands that BB are different from other household pests. Those dabs of gel that people use against roaches are useless against BB, as BB avoid roaming and are not attracted to food sources other than blood. Note that "silica gel", which is often used in pest control is not a gel, but a powder (appropriate for BB, similar in application to Diatomaceous Earth) and this might be part of the program.

    - None of us can say for sure where they got BB. You can speculate, like the Boston trip, but there are many other factors that you are not aware of and do not control that may be the cause. NEVER VOLUNTEER THIS KIND OF HYPOTHESIS TO YOUR LL AND/OR PCO. IF ASKED, AVOID RESPONDING. IT'S NOT THEIR BUSINESS.

    - Check the laws that apply in your locale. Determine if the LL is legally obligated to provide you a bug-free place to live and to pay for it. As a student, you might have access to a school-based legal resource center. Use it. As a poor person, you may be able to access your local Legal Aid Society. If your arrangement is a sublet or illegal, do not assume you have no rights. Consider posting your story on (you can omit the apartment # while you're still living there, repost with it once you've left).

    - Regarding how you proceed with self-treatment, be careful. Someone suggested you get up at 3AM and hunt your BB one by one. Perhaps this worked for him/her, but seek advice from others here before you jump down a rabbit-hole of deliberately induced sleeplesness, with little guarantee of success (and conversely, the sense of failure if/when it does not work). And definitely do not use an open flame.

    Best of luck, we're with you.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  4. BugBoy911

    Joined: Jan '09
    Posts: 202


    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Nov 8 2009 19:16:53

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    Man, college is tough enough... Good news for you though brotha, because you have a small place it makes it that much easier to eliminate your problem. You should purchase 2 cans of bedlam from this site or an associate of this site. Also purchase a flashlight and do a thorough inspection of your place. Flip over the mattress and box spring, take off the black lining or cheese cloth of the back of the boxspring carefully with the bedlam handy to spray anything that moves. Bedlam comes with a straw to treat more precise and accuratly. Any furniture that is wood must be looked at thoroughly. Check the back of the furniture and underneath most importantly, you will find them within the cracks of the furniture, were the wood meets another piece or any crack roughly 1-2 mm in width. Spray these area's with a window open and wearing a respirator and rubber gloves. Every screw hole, piece of peeling paint on the wall, spaces in baseboards, and very important anything attached to the wall ex:posters, pictures, picture frames especially, and even a phone or clock thats hanging on the wall. Going threw this carefully and treating these area's will help control your situation. Inspect your bedding area weekly until the situation is becoming managed. Also, look at DE Dust and carefully apply this around were the carpet meets the wall if you indeed have carpet. Hope this helped. Always contact the company that makes the pesticide of choice to understand how to correctly apply such products. Good luck and hope ya kick butt on mid terms. BugBoy911

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