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Bed bugs in Tokyo and I don't speak Japanese, please help

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  1. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 3:57:04
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    Hi,

    So I live in Tokyo, I've had my apartment for about four months. My boyfriend and I went to Taiwan for vacation and on about day 3 I started to notice bites on my legs. I had a mild infestation of bed bugs way back in the day so I knew the signs immediately - classic bites in lines/groups of three all over my ankles and calves. Of course, we are staying in Airbnbs so I assume it must be from one of them - however, 1. these were highly rated places with absolutely no one mentioning bed bugs and 2. I know that it takes a while for the bites to show/become itchy... so I started to become suspicious that we brought the bugs with us. Day 4 of our trip we actually DO stay in a place that definitely has little bed bugs crawling around on the mattress, we only noticed our second night of staying in that particular place, slept on the shower floor instead the second night. The next morning, I find my passport crawling with what looked like 1st instar nymphs, along with some papers I had in my purse. Therefore, I'm thinking, why my passport? could I have an infestation back at home that is showing itself only now on this trip?

    Anyway, we are very careful for the rest of our trip, we don't see any more bugs in our bags or anything, but more bites are showing up (at this point, my legs and arms are covered in little bites in groups of 3).

    We get back to Tokyo, I bag up all my electronics, trash my nice Osprey backpack, my books, my shoes, my purse, and then we soak our clothes in 70 degree C water before washing it at a laundromat. We do all this at my boyfriends house.

    So, I get back to MY apartment and go straight to my futon (I actually have two futons sitting on top of each other). I check the seams, at first nothing, then I lift up the first one and I see a teeny tiny little thing walking along. I squash it with my fingers, but it was so small I couldn't even find it's squashed body on my fingers. I then find a few more of the same size that seem to be going in and out of the seam (with holes big enough to lead directly into the futon).

    I started bagging everything immediately. Got rid of both futons. All my bedding and clothes are now in bags. I'm continuing to clean things today and have found a few more of the little bugs - but am starting to wonder if these are in fact bed bugs. I only can find the small small ones - they seem to be all over my apartment in random places (like on the other side of my apartment amidst my files kept in a little shoe closet) or under a plastic figurine on my windowsill.

    When I was getting rid of my futon last night and bagging up stuff from under my bed I also saw more of these little guys - at the time I had no doubt that they must be bed bugs (I mean, they are crawling under my bed on the random pieces of fabric that I lift up - what else would they be?)

    The two things that are starting to make me skeptical are 1. I have not seen any adults (not even any large enough to inspect under my magnifying glass well enough and compare with a picture to feel 100% certain that they are bed bugs and 2. I had absolutely zero bites before going on this trip to Taiwan. Definitely none showed up, at least, in the four months I've lived here. I did get the second futon secondhand on craigslist, but still that was 2 months before my trip to Taiwan. No bites. Also, I'm very sensitive to bites. They tend to really flare up on my skin - regardless of what kind of bug they come from.

    I would like to attach a photo but 1. I'm not sure how to and 2. I can't really get one that shows them at all! I can't even really see them with my magnifying glass (which admittedly is small).

    Perhaps this is irrelevant, but just in case, there was also a tiny fruit fly infestation when I got back from my trip beside my trash can (from leaving a bit of trash before leaving). There were like 30 fruit flies and I could see the larva and the little brown things that they turn into after larva. At first I thought they were the bed bugs but with some research I can't imagine they were anything but the fruit flies (as this was beside my trash with, as I said, like 30 of them).

    Anyway, I'm writing a lot but I live in Tokyo and I can't find an exterminator that even does bed bugs and I can't even call them because I don't speak Japanese. I've exhausted favors from my few Japanese friends. The one that I found that said they do "mites" is about the equivalent of a grand - money I definitely don't have. At that rate, a plane ticket back home is cheaper.

    I just dropped about $400 on a steamer and nice bed bug spray online. I haven't gotten any sleep (I have no where to sleep really since I ditched my futons and took apart the wooden bed frame).

    Shed a lot of tears in the past 24 hours, I have no family here and only my boyfriend to give me emotional support. I don't know if I gave enough information for anyone to help me, but please please I am desperate for someone who knows what they are talking about to hear me out.

    Also its hard here because I dont have access to that diatomaceous earth stuff here in Japan. I bought a bomb. Should I use it?

    Thank you for this website.

    ps. to give the right picture, my apartment is SMALL. Japanese 1k apartment. the width of the apartment is the length of a normal twin bed, the length is... about 15 to 20 feet I guess.

  2. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 4:37:23
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    Sorry about your situation. It would be good if you were able to post pictures of what you are finding. You can use tape to capture any specimens and then take pictures. Set it to highest resolution and largest picture size. Your Japanese friends would be able to supply you with the Japanese name of what bed bugs and certain mites are called. Clothes dryers are very useful, even more so than hot water washing. Steamer used effectively could certainly help. The insecticide bomb will cause bed bugs to crawl around and this will get them into places that they might never get into. Not advisable to use bombs for bed bugs. Possible fruit flies, yes, but there are other small flies.

    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.
  3. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 5:34:41
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    Hey thank you so much for responding Loubugs.

    Okay I tried my best to get pictures of two the little guys I keep seeing. Hopefully this works.

    So the first picture, this is just some bugs I found on some tape I already had on the wall. The one in the top left I'm pretty sure is not a bed bug. Doesn't look like one right? but then there is a little spot just down and to the right centered on tape. That bug looks like the ones I've seen. Maybe a little darker than most I've seen.

    Then the second picture, most of those marks are from the tape itself, but if you look at the lower group of markings and in the middle of that, you'll see a little spot. That little spot was crawling around on my bedside table, and looks like the ones I saw crawling around on my futon.

    Thanks for the advice about the bomb. I'm not going to use it.

    Since these bed bugs seem to love my paper, and I found them in some important paperwork that I can't get rid of (like my apartment contract, sentimental pictures) do you have any advice on how to get rid of the bed bugs in papers? or in books?

    Also, I have an electric keyboard leaning against the wall in my apartment. It was expensive, is there any way of salvaging that? And how can I be sure my laptop is safe?

    Again, any advice is appreciated. Thank you so much.

  4. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 5:36:16
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  5. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 6:31:14
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    ericatokyo - 54 minutes ago  » 
    If that doesn't work, here are the direct links:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/30124652@N05/28463063714/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/30124652@N05/29051402186/in/dateposted-public/

    Images are only 640x480 and picture is far from subject. One picture looks like silverfish type insect.

  6. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 6:36:50
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    Okay I just took a video of another one that was by my front door on a pair of socks that have been sitting there since before I left for vacation, so like 2 weeks at least:

    [+] Embed the videoGet the Video Player

  7. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 7:43:39
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    Too dark, can't see anything.

    From your above description it doesn't make me think bed bugs.

  8. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 9:56:03
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    Thank you again so much for your response. Ok I took screen shots of close ups on my phone. It's the best I can do for now.

    https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/30124652@N05/28466839104/

    https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/30124652@N05/29087972805/

    I just feel like, with everything i've read, bed bugs are the only thing that would be in my futon and scattered around my apartment. Everything else seens to be found in inly very specific places.

    Ugh what a nightmare. There is a chance I will have to move back home because I can't afford the treatment here, but obviously I want to exhaust all ny other options first. This is ruining my life and my life plan

  9. Bedbugsgoaway

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 17:58:58
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    Not an expert - If you have tatami mats in your apartment they may be tatami bugs/mites , ダニ 壁蝨 in Japanese. When I lived in Japan a few years ago, I had been getting a ton of little bites and I was paranoid that it was from bed bugs but it turned out they were the weird tatami mites.

    If they are the tatami bugs/mites, you can pick up a spray can at the store that has a little needle that injects into the tatami mat and treat the tatami every few months, I also used it to spray my carpet. That helped get rid of my tatami bug/mite problem.

  10. Bedbugsgoaway

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 18:09:02
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    If they are tatami mites, this wiki has a list of useful tips and products
    https://ishikawajet.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/spring-cleaning-prevent-tatami-bugs/

  11. ericatokyo

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 18:42:12
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    Unfortunately I don't live in a place wity tatami mats. I wish that was an option!

    For anyone still reading, I have some questions...

    What is the average amount of time it takes for a bed bite to show?

    Are there any other bugs that are visible to the human eye but bery very small that could be living in my futon?

    Is it normal to have an infestation where you'd find about 30 first instar nymphs around your apartment (mostly close to the bed) with no adults around? (No adults or even in between adults and 1st star nymphs)

  12. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 22 2016 8:07:08
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    ericatokyo - 2 days ago  » 
    What is the average amount of time it takes for a bed bite to show?
    Are there any other bugs that are visible to the human eye but bery very small that could be living in my futon?
    Is it normal to have an infestation where you'd find about 30 first instar nymphs around your apartment (mostly close to the bed) with no adults around? (No adults or even in between adults and 1st star nymphs)

    Bed bug bites can vary from person to person and location of bite as well. I don't react at all.

    There are plenty of other things, various mites, springtails, book lice, just a few of the normal culprits that pop up instead of bed bugs.

    No, not normal at all. Suggests that your problem isn't bed bugs.


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