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Bed Bugs in Apartment -- Going out for 24 nights, Anxious, Depressed

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  1. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Oct 28 2015 22:10:18
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    Hello everyone, I have been posting here for a few days.

    History: My 3 yr old got up for two weeks with bites and we just kept on wondering what they were. We found bed bugs in my apartment, 3 of them on different nights. I killed these but kept only one. PCO could not find any harborage and mentioned that these were probably hitchikers whom I found. He did a preventive treatment with Temprid SC a week ago. I continued sleeping in my childs room and got bit atleast once. Maybe more but I dont know if I react all the time and in which places on my body.

    My wife is pregnant. Doctor said No more chemicals.

    The PCO came again and does not feel that I have bed bugs. He barely checks, just looks under the mattress, walks around and looks at the baseboard (without bending) and says there is nothing. I found some fecal spots (i think) but he refuses to look at them saying those are too little proof.

    I told my apartment manager that I want heat treatment and I will pay. With my wife pregnant I am not fighting for who pays. However apartment manager will not conduct inspection in surrounding units because she believes those are bug free. So the heat treatment guy wont give any guarantees.

    Now in between all this I have to go out for 4 weeks for work. I have to and want to go because it is good money. I want my wife and child to accompany so that I can continue supporting my wife

    Main questions is: When I come back, I will do heat treatment. What should I expect when I come back. I know its difficult to say what exactly, but I wanted to understand the worst case scenario

    1. Major infestation because I will not be doing any treatments for almost a month?
    2. Bugs will migrate to neighbor apartments which will make me liable and I have to pay for their treatments.
    3. Bugs will just stay put and wait for me to come back?

    I am nervous, worried about the costs and worried about my family.

    Whats the best suggestion the experts here would give?

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2015 7:51:17
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    yikes_bugs - 9 hours ago  » 

    What should I expect when I come back. I know its difficult to say what exactly, but I wanted to understand the worst case scenario
    1. Major infestation because I will not be doing any treatments for almost a month?
    2. Bugs will migrate to neighbor apartments which will make me liable and I have to pay for their treatments.
    3. Bugs will just stay put and wait for me to come back?
    I am nervous, worried about the costs and worried about my family.
    Whats the best suggestion the experts here would give?

    It won't be a major infestation without a food source. In my opinion you'd need at least three months with a food source to move up to a heavy infestation.

    The bugs that may or may not exist in your unit could go in search of a meal elsewhere, not sure how you could be held liable since the opposite is not enforced.

    If there are any bed bugs in the unit some will stay put and be there when you return.

    Since this is not your property and you've been working with management to find a solution I would continue down that path giving them access to your unit while you are away in case they feel the need to inspect or treat. When you return and what you return to will allow you to form a plan at that point in time.
    You could install monitors at this point.
    You may also want to read up on Cirkil as a treatment option as heat treatments can be tricky in apartments.

  3. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2015 7:54:47
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    Without a host, the bugs won't be able to procreate. Depending on the number of bedbugs in the room, at three to four weeks, they could start to migrate to another unit. There's some degree of debate as to how fast dispersal can occur when a unit goes vacant.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2015 14:46:42
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    Active monitors may help attract some of the bed bugs, though in most cases, depending on type, you're probably lucky to get them to work for 6-7 days. Still, that might be worth doing for the first week of the trip (set up before you leave).

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2015 16:01:15
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    If I understand your history correctly, you have been bitten, but no bugs have been found since your first treatment.

    My suggestion is to hold off any additional treatment -- you mention heat -- until you confirm that you still actually have bed bugs. Bites can be very unreliable, so the best way to tell is either by inspection or monitoring. If you don't feel confident in your own ability, bring in another PCO or dog team for an inspection. Certainly a lot less expensive and time consuming than rushing into a heat treatment without knowing for sure if you still have bed bugs. And in addition to the economics, treating without real evidence can throw you into worm hole of uncertainty as to whether or not the treatment was successful or not.

    So keep things simple. First, find out if you still have bed bugs. If you find evidence, then treat. If you don't fine evidence, then don't treat.

    Richard

  6. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2015 16:20:52
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    Thanks everyone. Good helpful suggestions

    I havent seen bed bugs since the first treatment. I think I may have seen some fecal stains but I dont know if these are really fecal stains. The one bite I felt surely seemed like a bug bite. It was similar to the one I had earlier, i.e. it pains slightly when I press near the bite area.

    I have climb ups all over. All my bed frames in both rooms have climb ups. The frame of the bed where I was bitten is new, i bought it recently to actually create an island with climbups under it. Earlier the mattress was directly on the floor. I dont know how the bug got on the bed with climb ups.

    I also made a trap with yeast + sugar (CO2) as shown on julesnoise.com . I dont know if it works. 3 weeks ago when I first made it I did catch a bedbug walking towards it. I have been using it the whole last week and I did not see one.

    I am thinking of getting another PCO or a k9. But these are expensive. The PCO will charge me 80 bucks but are not reliable but canine is 250 dollars which is really expensive. Still deciding on this one.

    Heat treatment is also running into issues since my apartment manager will not inspect nearby apartments and heat providers wont guarantee work without that.

    For now I am thinking I will just make another active trap and go for 24 nights and hopefully wont come back to a major infestation or neighbors freaking out.

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Oct 30 2015 17:22:21
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    Have you ruled out bat or bird bugs? These may be the issue if there have been bats or birds nesting in or on the structure. You and the pest tech may not spot the differences which are subtle.

    I ask because it sounds like bugs were found wandering around as opposed to near beds and with no confirmed fecal stains.

    Obviously don't get treatment if bed bugs aren't confirmed to be present, but if they are, heat treatment is risky in apartments because bed bugs often come from an attached unit. The attached neighbor may be hiding a problem or unaware. And then you dropped a bundle on a one-shot treatment which won't be one shot at all.

  8. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 11:48:37
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    These are confirmed bed bugs. No doubt about that.
    I am thinking of going with the heat treatment. I know there are risks but I am not risking chemicals during pregnancy

    Are there any success stories for heat treatment in apartments folks can share to increase my confidence?

  9. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 14:32:37
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    That would mean the adjacent units should definitely get checked. As for being worried about chemicals, you could consider some of the 25(b) exempt products that aren't conventional pesticides. The new one that shows promise is Eco Raider. There are also other botanical based products.

  10. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 18:14:02
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    jim danca - 3 hours ago  » 
    That would mean the adjacent units should definitely get checked. As for being worried about chemicals, you could consider some of the 25(b) exempt products that aren't conventional pesticides. The new one that shows promise is Eco Raider. There are also other botanical based products.

    Apartment manager says that the nearby apartments dont have problems. The one below has been renovated and the new owners just moved a week back. I am just believing her. Hopefully she is right.

  11. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 18:50:03
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    Bedbugs instinctively like to go up. Do you mean the lower unit was previously vacant while undergoing renovations and is now recently occupied?

  12. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 19:16:06
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    jim danca - 23 minutes ago  » 
    Bedbugs instinctively like to go up. Do you mean the lower unit was previously vacant while undergoing renovations and is now recently occupied?

    It was not vacant. The building is currently renovating any unit that gets empty before re-leasing it. So when it got empty, they renovated this one as well and someone moved in last week. Apartments throughout the building are getting renovated. This is a comparatively new building (2004) and they are updating it further to keep it on par with the neighboring apartments.

  13. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 1 2015 21:17:19
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    I had another question from experts, probably a difficult question to answer, but maybe some folks here have the answer or can at least conjecture.

    What happens when there are no hosts in my apartment?

    Currently at least it seems like only one room has the bugs, where my 3 year old got bit. She now sleeps in the other room and has not got bit since weeks. This is why we think its restricted.

    When we are all out for 24 nights, will they go around and infest other rooms, couch etc. or they would not because they cant sense CO2 or heat and will not move around to preserve energy.

  14. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2015 8:38:25
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    There's a lot of debate as to how fast migration/dispersal can occur when a unit goes vacant that has bedbugs. In most cases I've found, it's generally three to four weeks before the bedbugs get hungry enough to migrate to other units. Keep in mind, in a multi unit building, bedbugs are capable of both vertical and horizontal migration.

  15. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2015 9:44:21
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    BD:

    You may also want to read up on Cirkil as a treatment option as heat treatments can be tricky in apartments.

    I would be tempted to try this method given you plan to vacate your apartment for a month. The only rap against Cirkil is the odor, but after a month, the odor should be dissipated enough for things to be livable upon return. Since Cirkil works partly on vapor action, after a thorough treatment I would close all windows and seal any large gaps. Alternatively, there have been some threads recently on using DDVP strips as a treatment in a sealed and vacated apartment.

    Not a pro, but one problem I could see with heat in a multi-unit building is that unless done properly, some bugs could escape to a neighboring unit with the possibility of making a return trip after things literally cool down. Maybe this is what "BD" termed "tricky". Perhaps he, or some of the pros will comment on this concern.

    Another heat treatment issue in an apartment could be the heat source. Depending on what floor you live on, and local regulations, propane for example, may not be allowed, which then would leave only electric systems which may or may not be optimized for bed bugs.

    Richard

  16. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2015 17:28:14
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    Read about Cirkil. Very promising but concerned about the smell. I am wondering whether I should try it in just the corner of the room where I believe the infestation is. Does anyone know if its available in a store rather than buying online.

    An update: One of the companies I was talking to about a heat treatment came to my apartment and did a very thorough search. He said he could not find a single sign of bed bugs and hence would not recommend heat treatment. He is a very knowledgeable guy with 12 years of bed bug experience and said he would have noticed something. I mentioned if they are hidden under the carpets and he cant see. He said there had to be a few signs outside especially with the Temprid SC treatment I had, he would have expected to see at least some exoskeletons or dead bugs or a fecal stain or two. He said 'All I can say is you are clean'

    I dont know what to read into this. I am thinking of holding on the heat treatment plans for now and revisit it when I come back after a canine inspection.

    What to experts opine? How good are PCO's in detecting bed bugs especially one with 12 years of experience. Just knowing this will make me sleep better.

  17. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2015 17:36:47
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    In my opinion, I would run CO2 in the room for two weeks. Send me a private message. Bedbugs may or may not be under the carpeting.

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 2 2015 23:49:28
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    yikes_bugs - 6 hours ago  » 
    An update: One of the companies I was talking to about a heat treatment came to my apartment and did a very thorough search. He said he could not find a single sign of bed bugs and hence would not recommend heat treatment. He is a very knowledgeable guy with 12 years of bed bug experience and said he would have noticed something. I mentioned if they are hidden under the carpets and he cant see. He said there had to be a few signs outside especially with the Temprid SC treatment I had, he would have expected to see at least some exoskeletons or dead bugs or a fecal stain or two. He said 'All I can say is you are clean'
    I dont know what to read into this. I am thinking of holding on the heat treatment plans for now and revisit it when I come back after a canine inspection.
    .... How good are PCO's in detecting bed bugs especially one with 12 years of experience. Just knowing this will make me sleep better.

    Put yourself in his shoes. If this heat treatment pro sees signs of bed bugs, he stands a great chance of selling you a treatment that costs thousands.

    It stands to reason that if you had signs, he'd be motivated to find them.

    We do hear of some pros who say there's evidence where there isn't, to make a sale. On the other end of the spectrum, I can't imagine anyone saying you have zero signs when you do and when he's highly motivated to make a sale.

  19. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Nov 3 2015 4:38:00
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    Nobugsonme - 4 hours ago  » 

    yikes_bugs - 6 hours ago  » 
    An update: One of the companies I was talking to about a heat treatment came to my apartment and did a very thorough search. He said he could not find a single sign of bed bugs and hence would not recommend heat treatment. He is a very knowledgeable guy with 12 years of bed bug experience and said he would have noticed something. I mentioned if they are hidden under the carpets and he cant see. He said there had to be a few signs outside especially with the Temprid SC treatment I had, he would have expected to see at least some exoskeletons or dead bugs or a fecal stain or two. He said 'All I can say is you are clean'
    I dont know what to read into this. I am thinking of holding on the heat treatment plans for now and revisit it when I come back after a canine inspection.
    .... How good are PCO's in detecting bed bugs especially one with 12 years of experience. Just knowing this will make me sleep better.

    Put yourself in his shoes. If this heat treatment pro sees signs of bed bugs, he stands a great chance of selling you a treatment that costs thousands.
    It stands to reason that if you had signs, he'd be motivated to find them.
    We do hear of some pros who say there's evidence where there isn't, to make a sale. On the other end of the spectrum, I can't imagine anyone saying you have zero signs when you do and when he's highly motivated to make a sale.

    The PCO was a great guy, honest and knew his stuff. I have no doubt about him, my concern is how bed bugs are avoiding detection and if I should be relieved that they are gone.

    I have created a CO2 generated like julesnoise.com . I dont have time to get the beacon shipped so I will just try with this and see if it attracts any bugs tonight and/or atleast keeps the bugs from moving around by keeping them interested while we are out

  20. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Nov 3 2015 16:01:42
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    yikes_bugs - 11 hours ago  » 

    The PCO was a great guy, honest and knew his stuff. I have no doubt about him, my concern is how bed bugs are avoiding detection and if I should be relieved that they are gone.

    When the expert says you have no bed bugs now, and you say he knows his stuff, then I would not assume that there are bed bugs which are avoiding detection.

    I would tentatively assume they're gone.

    As Jim said, running a CO2 monitor (as it seems you're planning) in your absence is warranted. Treatment isn't right now.

  21. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Nov 23 2015 21:52:54
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    Update:
    ----------
    I am back today after my 3 week break from the apartment. I had a homemade active CO2 monitor using yeast that I had kept on climb up interceptors but the interceptors were clear. So either I dont have bugs or the detector did not work because of lack of heat. I know it was giving out CO2 because I had tested it before I left.

    I also called a canine unit today. It was expensive, she charged me 215 dollars. The canine did not detect anything although she showed some interest in certain areas. Overall I was not happy with the handler as she seemed to be in a hurry and was not very helpful when I asked questions on the 'strong interest' part. My concern is that because of my absence for 3 weeks most of the bugs (if any) would have gone into dormancy and hence more difficult to detect. So I am not sure if calling the canine unit today was a great idea. Probably I should have slept for a day and made them active.

    The handler said that she feels I am probably 98% in the clear and to keep my interceptors ON for 90 days at least.

    I will start sleeping again today and see what happens (if I can get any sleep). I really wish we had a better approach to detect bed bugs.

  22. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Nov 24 2015 9:09:40
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    If you start sleeping again in that room, you should know within 2-3 days whether there are any bugs present.

  23. yikes_bugs

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    Tue Nov 24 2015 21:15:25
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    Thanks Jim. I doubt that my bed or frame has any bugs since three PCO's (2 humans and 1 canine) have checked it and the frame has interceptors on all legs...but then again who knows.

    I slept in the room yesterday. Not sure if I got bit but I slept with lights ON and got up multiple times to check if there are bugs on the bed, but could not see any. The interceptors are empty. I really thought that after 3 weeks the hungry bugs will come running when they sense heat the CO2.

    I was really hoping that canine inspection will give me the confidence. But the handler just blasted my confidence. My sixth sense tells me that bugs continue to be there...hopefully it is wrong.

  24. jim danca

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    Tue Nov 24 2015 21:38:44
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    I love dogs. But don't waste your time thinking that dogs can help solve bedbug problems.

  25. yikes_bugs

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    Tue Nov 24 2015 22:31:40
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    OK...I just found something new which is really concerning. Actually I dont know what I am supposed to deduce from it.

    If you see my initial post, my PCO came to look at the apartment after I found 3 bugs, but he could not find any harborage. When the canine person came yesterday, she said she was surprised that there was not harborage even though my daughter continued to get bit. She asked me if I was sure someone just did not clean it.

    I got curious and remembered that during those days a cleaner had come to my apartment. We use a cleaner because my wife is pregnant and needs help. I called up the cleaner today. She cant speak english, so I called another person who could translate. She mentioned that she had cleaned a bed bug nest on my daughter's mattress. I am blown away by this information and asked her how could she not inform us. She said it was normal in her culture/country to have bed bugs so she did not care. WTF?

    That basically means I had a full blown infestation that I was not aware of. I dont know what I can do with this information now. This is like a suspense movie. I dont know how this changes the scenario because the current situation is what it is. The PCO and dog could not find any bed bugs.

    I am getting really concerned. Dont know what to do.

  26. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 29 2015 8:58:55
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    Jim et al, Unfortunately the suspense ended today. After coming back to the apartment after 24 days and sleeping there for almost 5 nights, i was starting to feel a little positive. I was also concerned that I maybe not reacting to bites. Hence I started having my daughter sleep with me. In the middle of the night she wanted to goto sleep in the other room with her mom. I took her off the bed and started changing her into dryered clothes (since she was going to the other room) and while changing she saw a tiny bug in the carpet (which is dark and hence very difficult to spot bugs). It was a nymph. I will post pictures letter after sun rises.

    Dont know whether the nymph was already on her clothes or was just in the carpet. Its unfortunate if it was already in the clothes because the bed is so well protected with climbups, mattress protector, a bare bones frame that I steam cleaned today.

    So after spending almost $900 on 2 PCO's, a canine inspection, mattress protectors, steamer and so many other things, I am back to square one.

    We cant use chemicals (wife is pregnant) and I am having a hard time finding a reputed heat treatment in Seattle. Any recommendations?

  27. jim danca

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 29 2015 9:47:43
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    Please post photos. If it was unfed, that would be a good sign.

  28. yikes_bugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 29 2015 10:22:10
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    Not the best but here are the photos. They are all of the same bug. I am not an expert of course but looks guy this guy hasn't eaten for a while

    http://imgur.com/a/RcmgT

  29. jim danca

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    Looks like a male. You had said earlier that it was a nymph. I interpret nymph as being an unfed baby bedbug. Agree that is doesn't appear to have fed recently.

  30. yikes_bugs

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    Sun Nov 29 2015 13:37:04
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    jim danca - 12 minutes ago  » 
    Looks like a male. You had said earlier that it was a nymph. I interpret nymph as being an unfed baby bedbug. Agree that is doesn't appear to have fed recently.

    Thanks. I thought it was a nymph by which I meant its not ready to reproduce yet (adult). Is it an adult? Sorry if I have got my terminology wrong.

    It has probably not fed in the 6 nights I have been back. You had mentioned that this could be a positive sign. What do you mean by that?

    Please help me here. My reading is that finding an unfed male should not give me any indication other than that I still have live bed bugs. It does not mean that there are no adult females or eggs somewhere in my apartment. Is that correct?

    Thanks for your continued support. This forum has really helped me a lot

  31. jim danca

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    Sun Nov 29 2015 15:10:53
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    How many treatments have you had? I've noticed that as the bedbug population drops, older bugs that haven't fed recently do seem to come out into the open. Even during daylight hours.

  32. jim danca

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    Sun Nov 29 2015 15:11:39
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    Also, are you sure there are no issues with the neighbors?

  33. yikes_bugs

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    Sun Nov 29 2015 15:19:52
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    jim danca - 5 minutes ago  » 
    Also, are you sure there are no issues with the neighbors?

    I am only as sure as what my apartment manager tells me. I am going to talk to her again today. She said she will have them checked but I am not sure if she did. She is very unhelpful and always mentions that I got the bed bugs and its my problem.

  34. yikes_bugs

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    jim danca - 9 minutes ago  » 
    How many treatments have you had? I've noticed that as the bedbug population drops, older bugs that haven't fed recently do seem to come out into the open. Even during daylight hours.

    I have not had any treatments per se. The first PCO only did a preventive spray of Temprid SC. After that no one wants to treat because they cant find signs. Ofcourse I dont want anymore chemical treatments because of wives pregnancy and a 3 yr old at home.

  35. yikes_bugs

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    Sun Nov 29 2015 21:13:06
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    jim danca - 5 hours ago  » 
    How many treatments have you had? I've noticed that as the bedbug population drops, older bugs that haven't fed recently do seem to come out into the open. Even during daylight hours.

    The fact that the bug was still unfed even tough I came back from vacation six nights ago makes me think that the isolation plan I have created is working and the bug had not fed since I came back. I am sure he was hungry all the while but just could not reach me on the bed. Hopefully thats the case and my isolation plan is working


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