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Bugs but no evidence? Possible to keep from spreading?

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  1. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Aug 18 2017 3:39:24
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    Is it possible to have just a very small infestation? Perhaps only one affected piece of furniture? I know it sounds unlikely, but I have seen 3 bugs over the course of 2 or 3 months (first time I didn't know what the bug was so wasnt concerned, second time I thought maybe a bed bug, but it was very little and pictures were inconclusive, and after tonight, I'm thinking what I saw was an early stage bed bug). I have inspected every bed and piece of furniture in the house, and have found no evidence of bed bugs - no exoskeletons, no feces, nothing. No one has experienced any bites. I can't even find evidence on the couch that I've seen the three bugs - except for the fact that I have seen 3 bugs on it in the last few months. Between the kids and I, no one has been home much this summer (kids have been with their dad, and I've stayed at my boyfriend's house more than mine), which makes me think (hope) that without a constant food source, and without people in and out, they haven't had much of an opportunity to spread.

    I know this is a lot of wishful thinking on my part, but I really can't find evidence of the little buggers anywhere. I'm getting a gallon of bed bug killer that has good reviews, and will give the infected couch a good dousing, as well as all the furniture in that room. I would fumigate the whole house if I could afford it, but I can't. Getting a gallon of pesticide is already digging into the back to school budget. I want to nip this in the bud, obviously. I'm just in one of those situations where I can't spend $200 to treat the whole house, when I only have $20 to my name. However, if it is possible that these guys are only in my couch, and I can keep things from spreading beyond that, then maybe I have hope! I guess I'm just looking to see if it's even a possibility, before I get my hopes up. I plan to spray down the entire living room, and all the mattresses, despite not finding any evidence of bugs anywhere except the one couch. Beyond that, and washing/drying everything, is there anything else I should do? Or anything else I can look for, besides just feces and exoskeletons?

  2. Slashcat

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 21 2017 17:03:01
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    from what i gather doing reasearch (i have no experience) dousing the sofa with insecticide or fumigating is actually the worst thing to do because it causes them to scatter and spread, so the opposite of what you want

  3. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 9:31:10
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    Well.... too late. I doused the couch. But I also doused the wall, floor, and carpet surrounding it. I have found two dead bugs - one on the floor underneath the couch, and one in a crevice of the couch.

    After doing more research, it appears that with the exception of the very first bug I found (which was an adult, which I didn't realize was a bed bug until after I had seen another bug), nothing has been bigger/older than a 2nd or *maybe* 3rd instar nymph. The second bug I found was definitely a 1st instar nymph. So in total, I have found one adult, 2 live nymphs (all before treatment), and 2 dead nymphs (after treatment).

    I haven't found any eggs or any shells. I'm still not finding feces. My hope is that the adult I found was a pregnant female, and the fact I haven't found anything else means that my infestation isn't too bad. I would think at this point, especially after treatment, I would at least find some more dead bugs if there had really been that many. I know this is wishful thinking on my part. And I certainly don't think my fight is completely over. But I am hoping that maybe it was just one female that hitchhiked in and infested my couch, and I killed her before she could lay too many eggs, and I'm killing off her offspring before they reach adulthood. That's certainly my hope, and definitely how things *look* with the evidence (or lack there of) that I'm finding.

    I have continued to use the couch to use myself as "bait" in case they're still here, and while I don't spray my furniture, I do spray the floor around it to help prevent the bugs from spreading throughout the house. I don't know how I got the bugs, but I don't want them to spread.

  4. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 9:59:26
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    You said you've been at your boyfriends most of the time, and the kids with their dad... is it possible the bugs started in one of those places, and you're finding some hitch-hikers?

    "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras" Theodore Woodward

    I am, by no means, a pro. I'm simply a person that has had unfortunate luck, and somehow acquired the little guys.
    Any/all 'advice' I have to share is based on my own personal history and/or things I've read from the professionals on this site.
    My profession is medical, which is where I am confident in any advice I give, however rare it may be.
  5. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 12:10:14
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    There are a few places they could have come from. Work being a small possibility (although I am careful, there's always a chance of a hitchhiker coming off of a client at work in the van, and coming home on me or my purse. I do look quickly every day before I go home, but the buggers can hide!), my bf's work being a small possibility (he changes his clothes every time he leaves, and they go right into a Rubbermaid tote, and that stays at work... his mattress has an encasement cover, and I am VERY reactive to bites (which I have gotten since my first post) and I've never been bit at his house), and as far as the kids, I has that same thought, but I could never bring it up with their dad because of the strained relationship. They do change clothes as soon as walking in my door, however. I also considered that maybe I had a hitchhiker from the piano I just moved in here (right next to my couch). I haven't seen evidence of bed bugs in/near it, and did spray around it and under it when I sprayed down the couch and floor.

    So there are a few possibilities, but I can pinpoint it, and will probably never be able to. I just want to keep the issue under control as best I can. To me, it's obvious I have bugs in my couch. I don't seem to have many, and I haven't found any anywhere else. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

  6. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 14:50:27
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    I can completely understand and appreciate the need to step lightly around an already strained relationship with the ex- what should be an 'easy question' becomes more fuel for an already raging fire... do you know if any of the children react to the bites as you do? Or are any old enough that you could ask them some roundabout but somewhat direct questions that may help you get an answer regarding his home?

  7. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 15:13:47
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    All of my kids are very reactive to any bug bites, and two of the three are like me, and seem to attract them... if people around us get bit once or twice, we will be covered in welts.

    They are old enough to ask round about questions, and I did. They all have brand new mattresses that were kept in plastic until they recently put in new encasement covers a few weeks ago. They didn't have beds before that (thankfully, this form isn't a parenting form, and is just about the bugs. Haha). I don't know about the state of other furniture, but it sounds like the mattresses definitely wouldn't be the source of any hitchhikers from his house.

    Regardless of where the bug came from, I can't stop bugs from entering my house. I can't be 100% sure my bf or I won't pick one up when out doing our jobs working in the community, I can't be 100% sure a kid won't bring one home from their dad or a friend, and I can't be 100% sure that a friend won't unknowingly bring one in on their clothes. I mean, if there was a repellent, I'd be all over that - but I haven't seen anything like that in my research. I'm really just hoping someone will say, that even if unlikely, it's possible I don't have a huge infestation.

    I just bought encasement covers for all of the beds, so even though there are no signs of bugs, I'm going to err on the side of caution. Pillows are next. I am even debating encasement covers for the couch and loveseat, since I have a microfiber covers I could put over them to make them look nicer if I wanted to. I'm serious about getting rid of the issue and preventing it from happening again, I am just unfortunately in a situation where I can only do it one step at a time (hence why hiring a professional is out of the question). I was hoping for words of encouragement, that even though we all know ideally a pro would take care of the issue, that perhaps my issue was small enough, and I'm taking enough measures to keep it under control.

    Or maybe I'm not, and I'll just turn into a giant bed bug in the middle of the night. Who knows.

  8. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Aug 26 2017 15:29:42
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    I super hope you don't turn into a giant bed bug. That would be horrible. And hey- no judgement on the beds/parenting from me... my kid still sleeps in my bed at 5 years old.

    I do agree though- I have given up on finding out where our little 'friends' came from because I'd drive myself crazy with it. I turned all my energy to eradicating the issue from my home, as I also cannot afford a professional. I got DE, basically took out stock in 91% isopropyl alcohol, got a few cans of either Raid or Hot Shot Bed Bug/Flea killer, a couple lint rollers, a huge box of big black trash bags, and some air tight storage containers. I spent a week vacuuming and spraying alcohol on anything I saw, took the lint roller to the affected furnature a few times a day, and washed/dried all the clothes and linens on hot hot hot then bagged them. After 2 weeks digging in bags every day and killing my back, I got the air tight containers- way easier to find things, plus they can be folded now!! I wash my sheets every other day, and put the blankets in the dryer on high heat for an hour every morning (then bag them and tie it tight until bed). I also got mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements for us, and since I couldn't afford ClimbUp's, I got a huge tub of Vaseline and completely covered the bed legs.

    It's been a month since this all started, and 2 week since I've been bit. I also react REALLY badly, and I'm the only one in the house that does. I had to 'sacrifice' myself for a week or so to see if it was working, as my bites were the only indicator... it was awful.

    But....... it CAN work. Our situation was like yours: not super bad. And we are doing pretty well so far with no pro's called in to treat. All the 'pro/expert' we have is what I've gotten from the few pros on this site. And if I can do it- with young kids and a hubby that thinks 'it's not a big deal' then I fully believe you can, too!!

  9. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Aug 27 2017 7:52:17
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    It sounds like I have hope! I will admit to not being as thorough as you, quite yet. But I'm waiting for things (like covers) to come in the mail. Unfortunately I can't get it done in one day. So spraying a nice circle of hot shot around my furniture before bed to at least contain them to downstairs will have to do, if my initial treatment didn't work (I was able to get a gallon of it for $10 on Amazon, and with the carcasses I found immediately after treatment, it clearly works!). I have hope, but clearly realize that less than a week after treatment, I'm not even close to out of the woods.

    I do feel I should specify, the kids have always had beds at my house... they didn't have beds at their dad's house. But now they have covers and such. I wondered why he kept them in plastic and why he got encasement covers - I've known the man 15 years and he never would've slept with sheets on his mattress if it hadn't been for me! So I'm curious as to why the sudden protection of things.... but I digress. If he has an issue there, I can't do anything about it. I can only take care of things on my end here.

  10. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Aug 27 2017 10:01:16
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    It sound like you've got a good handle on things so far- and you're right- it does take more than a day! I remember being 4-5 days in thinking it would never end, and the only solution was gasoline and a match... thankfully I didn't go that route!

    When your covers arrive, be sure to vacuum the bed and boxspring as best you can, then dust/spray. Let it dry (if spraying), then apply them and you'll be one step closer! I made my bed 'an island' per expert recommendation, and found it also helped. (I'm looking at my headboard 50 yards away in a pile of trash- I've only taken things to the curb little by little so as to have no one take any of it).

    I forgot to say, in my earlier post, that I also sprayed the raid or hot shot stuff all over. I don't recommend what I did (as I emptied a full can all over my carpet and breathing was difficult for a few hours) but it helped. Later that evening, when there was no furnature in the room, I steam shampooed the carpets. I don't know if the spray or the steam shampooing was the kicker- but after that things drastically got better. I think that's when we truly turned a corner.

    I know how lonely this all feels, as we can't just call some friends and vent or post a status and let it all out, so if you need to chat, feel free to click 'PM this user' and I'll get back to you with contact info I am currently packing the kids and I for a little beach getaway before school starts, but I'll be available!

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Aug 27 2017 19:10:33
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    Do you have any trouble with birds or bats nesting in or on the house? If so, it's possibly a closely related species. You are unlikely to be able to tell them apart, but they might be coming in and the evidence may seem different or not in the usual patterns. A close image is needed for ID but the presence of bats or birds would make it a distinct possibility.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  12. bugged-cdn

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 28 2017 18:25:41
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    Is it possible to have just a very small infestation? Perhaps only one affected piece of furniture?

    Well, yeah... that's how an infestation starts.

    Make sure you follow the pesticide instructions carefully. Especially with kids around. Some of that stuff is not to be messed with lightly.

    Careful with the alcohol. It's highly flammable.

  13. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Sep 13 2017 19:27:01
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    Since it's been a few weeks, I thought I'd update everyone. About a week after dousing the couch, I found one live nymph crawling around. Same stage/size as the dead ones I had found when I treated. I lightly sprayed the cracks of all my furniture again, but kind of assumed I wouldn't have been able to kill everything, anyway. No one has had any bites. I got DE, and its in all the cracks (so it's everywhere! Annoying, but I'm paranoid), and I had a good circle around the affected furniture (it is still behind the couch, and will continue to be). My son just woke up 5 minutes ago from a nap on the chair with a bite. Obviously not conclusive if it's from a bed bug (the chair is next to the couch, and I've treated it right along with the couch), or if he's gotten it from playing football, or elsewhere. I'll be treating the couch and chair again tonight, but just lightly... the DE is messy, but I'd like to let it do its job. I feel like there's progress.

    My biggest concern at this moment, is how to prevent spreading them (if we still have them), now that the kids are home. I don't want to scare them, or make them paranoid. Nor do I want to make them strip every time they leave the living room. But.... I am confident there are NO bugs upstairs. I'd like to keep it that way. How do I accomplish this without making my kids as paranoid as I am about the whole thing? It's something I constantly think about and look for, and this new bite (whether from a bed bug or not) has driven that paranoia into high gear tonight. I don't want to do the same thing to the kids, but I absolutely cannot deal with a widespread infestation.

  14. Myworstnightmare

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 14 2017 12:18:27
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    I understand, I have been trying to protect my girls from the anxiety as well. I told them we have spiders - but this is dragging on longer than I imagined it would and that story is wearing thin. My situation is a little different in that the problem is in their room (so far confined to there, with the exception of one death frenzy bug running around in the middle of the day). So they aren't allowed in there. I told them it was because the exterminator was focusing the chemicals in there because that is where the spiders were found. Their clothes are in bins in the living room.

    I am just trying to brainstorm here for your situation - I have heard that there is such a thing as encasements for couches. Maybe you could look into that? That would ease some of the anxiety about them sitting on the couch and then going to their rooms. Or what about starting a new laundry routine? Clothes basket is downstairs - change into your pjs before you go up so that you can put your clothes in the basket? Anything to keep them sleeping soundly at night (unlike us moms - I think I have slept 8 hours in the last three days!)

  15. psychologically_messed_up

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 14 2017 14:57:08
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    I've done the same- my kids believe that 'the carpet beetles are why we spray and dust'. I've also moved the dirty clothing to the living room. I've got clear airtight bins for clean clothes, and one big black air tight bin for dirty ones. They know that 'the carpet beetles can be on our clothes' so we have to take the dirty clothes off and put them directly in the sealed black bin, then put our new clothes on from the clear ones. I've also basically banned 2 chairs, because I'm not sure if they have BB's, and told the kids that they have chemicals on them, so they don't sit there. We have 'safe chairs' (yes, that's what we call them lol) that they are allowed on. And our new rule is that no one goes on ANY bed in the house unless they've got fresh clear bin clothes on. Does it make for a lot of laundry? Omg yes. But.... so far, it's keeping the situation at bay. We also have a school bag rule now: the bag is either on your back or on the school bag table (a long, hallway runner table) that I spray with alcohol every other day, and Lysol wipe on opposite days.

  16. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Sep 15 2017 21:44:11
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    Another update: two of my kids now have two new bites. Of course it's not conclusive if they are from playing outside (where we seem to have a new influx of bugs), or from bed bugs... but I'm suddenly very discouraged. One is on my daughter, who almost never sits on the "infected" couch. Which would mean my love seat is in trouble, too! (It does have DE in every crack, and was treated with pesticide when the other was, but admittedly not as thoroughly).

    I still have not seen any more bugs, nor any signs of any bugs... but I'm definitely starting to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.

    How long is DE effective? The bag said until it got wet, which it hasn't. I guess I assumed any bugs living in the furniture would eventually have to crawl through the DE to get out of the couch, considering it's everywhere (and yes, ends up on our clothes), and therefore would eventually die off. The DE has been there two weeks. Do I need to reapply? Or pesticide again, and then reapply?

  17. blissful323

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Sep 15 2017 21:49:36
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    My kids are in the teen/tween age... I get questioned about everything, and I can't get anything past them. They have straight up asked me about bed bugs - even when they got these new bites. I don't know how to approach it. I'm still sitting on the "infested" couch all the time, and haven't been bit, so I hate to be overly anal retentive if I have it under control... but with these new bites on them, I'm in full paranoia mode. I assume bed bugs. However, the day they got the bites, both kids were outside, and both areas bit were on exposed skin when outside (and the area my son was bit, was an area that was covered when he was in bed, and most of the time when he was on the couch).

    Ugh. Who knew such tiny things could cause such panic.


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