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Depressed and Anxious

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  1. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 0:26:03
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    For the past month I have been waking up with bed bug bites. I reported the problem to my apartment manager who has pretended for as much time that I was a paranoid hypochondria. The PCO that she sent out to my apartment arrived skeptical and did a cursory and ineffectual inspection of my apartment. He concluded that I did not have an infestation.

    At the time, I had not done enough research to know to turn my boxspring over and look for the bedbugs. But when the bites started to multiply, scar my arms, and cause me to miss a day of work from the constant painful scratching, I became zealous and turned my whole bed over to find them all around the perimeter of my boxspring - where any competent PCO should have found them. I've demanded that my apartment be treated and I have taken sanitation measures to the point of lining the juncture between the carpet and wall of the entire perimeter of my bedrom with painter's tape and covering all the power sockets and lighting fixtures.

    I was almost optimistic until I woke up from a nap to find a blood spot on top of my new encasement. I'm reading all these stories of people fighting bedbugs for months and years. I feel like a disgusting person, and I can't have anyone over to my apartment. My best friend and aunt don't want me to sleep over and even if they did, I would feel guilty and anxious the whole time. I'm ashamed of this problem; it's wholly unfair and worst of all I am very pessimistic that I will get rid of it completely or ever feel fully confident that I have done so.

    To top it all off I have diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder. Someone cheer me up please.

    How do I know what level of infestation I have or how long I should expet it to take to clear up?

  2. Strabat

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 1:04:32
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    Hope you got my note.

  3. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 1:07:16
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    Strabat - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Hope you got my note.

    Sorry but I haven't got any note in my messages or email. At least not yet.

  4. Kieran

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 4:26:34
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    Sorry to hear about your bedbug troubles, I’ve had a similar problem.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel though, and sooner or later, one way or another, you will win! The fact that you react so badly to the bites is obviously not a great thing, but there is an advantage to this – you’ll know for sure when they are gone. I hardly react at all to them, and that has caused me to spread them, and it makes it very difficult for me to know if they are finally gone.

    If I could go back to when I first realised I had them, there is only one thing I would do – be much more thorough and meticulous in my attempts to rid them. Trust me; the more effort you put in to this, the better you’ll feel afterwards. You say you’ve taped up light sockets etc, but that should be just a part of your efforts...

    Get a decent PCO in, but in the meantime do loads of research, there’s a ton of good info out there on what you can do, and you can then make sure he’s doing a good job. If you can, keep the legs of your bed in tubs of oil or vasaline (you’ll need to rid your bed of all bugs before – you could do this by thoroughly ironing the whole bed with a full-steam iron, but you should look to encase it in a protector too.) bugs can’t then get you at night. I recommend doing this after you’ve had the PCO in, as if he misses an egg or two (chemicals can’t kill eggs, but steam treatment will), they will not be able to find food soon enough after hatching and continue the cycle. If he does his work and a month passes without a bite, then that may be a good time to take the tubs of oil away.

    I know it is easy to feel defeated by these little monsters, and I’ve been through all of that, but I’ve found it’s best to try to accept things as they are, and take super strong action against them. I’ve read plenty of success stories out there, and there’s no reason why you can’t be one too.
    One more quick tip – never scratch the bites – rub them only with finger tips and use tiger balm on them. You’ll soon get used to this approach and it means the itching dies down much more quickly.

    Good luck! ... feel free to message me if you have any questions

  5. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 14:55:54
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    Oh trust me, I've been insane about my attempts to get these bugs out. I have washed, dried and bagged EVERY piece of clothing that I own just about (I have a few more pieces in the closet that I have to dry out because I have a LOT of clothes.

    I have encased my bed and sealed up the zipper area with duct tape. I have vacuumed my apartment from corner to corner every day and dumped the filter outside, then treated it with boiling water and alcohol. I have put all the legs of my bed in tubs of alcohol but I will put oil if you say this is a better solution. I've vacuumed my entire car with a high powered vacuum and left it out in the sun. The PCO has been out once, and I'm insisting that he come out again. Also I've insisted on a steam carpet cleaning later this week.

    I hope that all this is good enough. I am continuing to do research. I even turned my thermostat down to 65 because I read somewhere that it takes the eggs longer to hatch when the temp is lower than 70 and I was hoping that this would slow their hatching cycle (Probably a pipe dream).

    I have no furniture except a bed (mattress, bed frame, boxspring, no furniture), and a dining table with four stools. I really just want to move all my heat treated clothes and my dining table to another apartment and call it quits. My apartment doesn't even feel like a home right now.

  6. Kieran

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 18:22:16
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    Wow, you really have taken the bull by the horns, well done! You didn’t mention but I guess you know that you can rub down furniture with rubbing alcohol and that will kill them. I don’t think you need to change your bed leg setup, alcohol and oil will both stop the bugs climbing up. Slowing down their hatching cycle is probably a little pointless, as they’ll come out eventually. Remember a nymph cannot survive long before needing to feed, so if there are some eggs that are not in the bed, the nymphs will have trouble getting their first meal and the cycle will end.

    So are you still being bitten?

  7. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 21:10:27
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    Kieran - 2 hours ago  » 
    Wow, you really have taken the bull by the horns, well done! You didn’t mention but I guess you know that you can rub down furniture with rubbing alcohol and that will kill them. I don’t think you need to change your bed leg setup, alcohol and oil will both stop the bugs climbing up. Slowing down their hatching cycle is probably a little pointless, as they’ll come out eventually. Remember a nymph cannot survive long before needing to feed, so if there are some eggs that are not in the bed, the nymphs will have trouble getting their first meal and the cycle will end.
    So are you still being bitten?

    I had a couple itchy patches today but I won't really know if I'm getting bitten until I go off this rather strong antihistamine that I'm on. I have severely allergic skin (nothing that I use on my skin including laundry detergent has any perfumes or dyes in it) so it's probably not a good idea for me to go off it until I'm sure that most of the original bites are fairly cleared up. I did rub down my bed frame with alcohol and I need to do the same with my dining room table since it's so close to my bedroom. I'm also going to go get some DE from the store tomorrow and dust everything with that. Other than that I think it's just a waiting game.

    I have to say though, I'm not encouraged by my apartment manager's stalling, especially with regards to treating my neighbors. I'm thinking it may be a good idea to get out of here ASAP before the bedbugs come back from another apartment. This is especially true because I'm not sure that I introduced the bedbugs (it's always possible). If someone else in the building is severely infested and the apartment doesn't know about it and chooses not to investigate, I'm setting myself up for failure in the longrun. AS a matter of fact, I believe my next door neighbors have a lot of used furniture and I have been noticing them leaving book cases and things outside their door for a few days which may indicate an attempt to eradicate the bugs. Tomorrow I'm going to go walk around back and see if I can see any DIY bedbug eradication efforts going on on their balcony.

    I'm not trying to do the bedbug blame game at all because this situation has taught me that it can happen to anyone and that it doesn't mean they are filthy or there is anything wrong with them. But I do have to assess my risk for reinfestation because I'm considering suing my landlord to let me out of the lease early.

    Another question: I'm going away for the summer beginning in June and not coming back until the beginning of the next academic year. I'm sure that if I do that, the bedbugs iwll either go dormant or search for other hosts. Under those conditions, will it be more difficult for me to move before I leave for the summer or after I leave? If it's okay to move afterward, I won't even need to break my lease since I won't have to suffer for June, July, or August anyway.

  8. Kieran

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 23:29:49
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    Well, I’m inclined to agree with you, moving may be the best option, especially seeing as though you don’t seem to have a great affinity with your current place anyway. I have considered that option myself, but I love my new place, and I did bring the bugs here unwittingly, so I feel a kind of responsibility to stay and sort this out. Plus my landlord is really great about it.

    If you do decide to move, I guess I don’t need to tell you how careful you need to be when moving. If you live somewhere hot, you could leave all your stuff in a car or van for a few days in the sun. This will kill any bugs.

    It may be an idea to talk to your neighbours, then you can know for sure. If the apartment has a serious problem then it’s probably a good idea to get out while you can!

    With regards to your landlord, I’d advise the following steps if you want to leave ... firstly, ask him if it’s ok, say that given the circumstances you think it’s reasonable. If that doesn’t work, write a letter (an official kind of letter) stating your intention to leave and the fact that because you have a severe reaction (which can be backed up by your doctor), and there is a significant risk of re-infestation, you cannot stay on health grounds. There’s probably some legal act or legislation that you can quote (if you’re in the UK it’s something like the housing act – requirements for landlords to do such and such) and quoting that might be a good idea, but you’ll need to research a little. I think after that he’s very unlikely to take you to court, given the costs involved etc. Also, with regards to him stalling, this is evidence of him not taking reasonable steps to deal with the problem – clear grounds for a break of the contract.

    Could you keep your things in storage for a year? That would be the best way, then you’d know they’d be bug free when you’re back. If you go away for a year, when you come back the bugs will have died or gone elsewhere looking for food, but maybe just next door, and if the building does have a problem then you’re back to square one. Best thing is to talk to the other residents, I know you may think that is difficult, but it’s the best way for you to understand the scope of the problem.

    One thing I will say – watch out for scratch paranoia. I have that. Not everything that itches is a bug, and sometimes even thinking about them will make you itch. Only go by the evidence – actual bite marks – small black dots (blood spots could just be acne, especially on or near the pillow), and the pitter-patter of tiny bug feet in the middle of the night. Just kidding. Try to stay objective, given the lengths you’ve gone to, and your reactions to the bites, I’d say you have a good chance of success, and you will be able to know when they’re gone.

  9. cilecto

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Mar 21 2010 14:05:23
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    FML, Sorry. I've had to deal with GAD, too, unrelated to BB, so I'm with you.

    Having few belongings is a blessing in disguise. That said, what are the laws in your city regarding who's responsible to treat? I need to cut in on something Kieran said "... you can rub down furniture with rubbing alcohol and that will kill them...". This is not 100% correct. Alcohol is a "contact killer". This means that any bugs you hit with it ***directly*** will die. Contact killers have no "residual" power, and they do not affect eggs, so if you rub down an item with a contact killer and didn't access every nook and cranny (including the ones where the BB actually harbor), the bugs coming out (or hatching) later will not be killed. Also, as long as we're on the topic, many on the board have noted that 70% alcohol is ineffective, you need 90%. Also, alcohol will damage many surfaces. There are other contact killers you can use, many soaps and shampoos kill on contact, "Murphy's" vegetable oil soap is oft-cited and is gentle on wood and painted surfaces.

    It's understandable that people might get skittish about having you over. Please try to treat yourself nicely, though. Take some time to enjoy the outdoors, good food, music, whatever helps you through the night. Also, perhaps you can adopt some kind of protocol for going out and confidently let your hosts know that their safe, maybe things will loosen up between you and your friends/family.

    David Cain had a 1-9 scale posted here some time ago, perhaps you can search for it. That said, it did not indicate how hard it would be to treat. Also, you've taken some steps that (IMHO, I'm not an expert) can give you quick relief but could mask the level of infestation. (Example: you duct-taped some potential points of entry. That's great as long as the tape stays down and I'd counsel you to keep it there, but there may be untreated bugs behind it that may come into play if the tape is later compromised)

    Storage is tricky, too. Items placed in storage without being sealed can easily support continued infestation (as your bugs feed on rodents, if necessary) or can be re-infested by other people's items. The time for storage is also a point of contention. A bug's lifespan varies on stage and temperature. They tend to live longer at 50-60F than at 90-100F. So, one year may be overkill, but according to many sources, may not be sufficient.

    In any case, you'll find a lot of wise counsel and compassionate people here. Welcome and best of luck.

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

    (Not an pro)
  10. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Mar 21 2010 14:38:04
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    cilecto - 24 minutes ago  » 

    David Cain had a 1-9 scale posted here some time ago, perhaps you can search for it. That said, it did not indicate how hard it would be to treat. Also, you've taken some steps that (IMHO, I'm not an expert) can give you quick relief but could mask the level of infestation. (Example: you duct-taped some potential points of entry. That's great as long as the tape stays down and I'd counsel you to keep it there, but there may be untreated bugs behind it that may come into play if the tape is later compromised).

    See this is precisely what I'm talking about. I can't live in constant fear that if the tape is moved bedbugs will come scurrying out. However, since my landlords refuse to even investigate whether my neighbors have bedbugs beyond (supposedly) asking them, I'm wary of taking the tape off and potentially letting in more bugs from my neighbors.

    I don't want to live with my entire room taped up. Local laws say that I can break my leaVe if my landlord is not taking sufficient steps to eradicate the problem. The problem is that they have called a PCO, and this early in the game it may be difficult to prove that they aren't doing exactly what they are supposed to or making a diligent effort to address the problem. My only hope may be to ask the landlord and hope she'll be happy to see the back of me while tossing out the possibility of a court battle over it. I don't want any compensation, just to be able to move! If they had acted sooner, anyway, I wouldn't have spent so much money on doctor's fees and medicines so I hold them responsible for that at least.

  11. fmlbedbugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Mar 21 2010 16:20:33
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    Also, what are my responsibilities for telling my neighbors?

    My landlord claims that she has spoken to my neighbors to ask them if they have been experiencing bedbug bites but that they have all said they aren't. I don't know if this is true, or what kind of questions she asked them to verify an infestation (for all I know she just generally asked are you being bitten by anything?)

    I"m becoming more and more convinced that I need to get out of this apartment and if that's the case, then I may need to leverage my silence against my landlord to get out of the lease. If they are already treating my apartment and I agree to keep quiet about it so that I can cancel my lease, am I setting my neighbors up for infestation?

  12. strsstowt

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 17 2010 14:01:14
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    Hello,
    New member. Hopelessly stressed. Friends and family do not understand. No bedbugs yet, but two infestations over past two years due to faulty constuction of home. Almost done with the last one...almost clear, but seeing any bug makes me unreasonably (apparently) on edge. The thought of bedbugs and current problems in U. S. makes me just freak out. This forum suggested as perhaps you would help me understand how to handle the stress of bugs...I am so sympathetic to everyones stress and discomfort. I am hoping that somewill will talk to me about it.

  13. The Reluctant Entomologist

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 17 2010 14:29:55
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    Hey, strsstowt --

    Sorry to have to welcome you:( You've got a lot of company here, definitely! If you're really freaking out, be sure to look at the "sticky" above about anxiety. Personally, I didn't even have the strength to join the site until it seemed there was some possibility that maybe my bugs were gone...and until the Zoloft kicked in. (No joke).

    A lot of us have been trying to make each other laugh lately. (I mean, you've got to do SOMETHING to combat the stress, right????) Let us know if we can direct you to anything that might make you chuckle in spite of yourself.

    Hang in there!

    Reluctant E.

  14. chrisoto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Oct 18 2010 21:42:37
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    my story is very similar to the ines posted on this site.. My oldest daughter started getting bit 5 months ago.. sever reaction..went to the doctors and was told she had blocked pore... really? several nites later she woke me up in the middle of the night said she was itchy.. so I told her to sleep on the couch and went in her room to take her bedding off to wash.. that is when I saw them.. I freaked out. captured a few in a zip lock bag.. put her sheets in the wash.. the next day I tore her room apart including the bed frame.. threw it out started cleaning like crazy.. vaccuming spraying hot shot and putting DE down aroung the whole edges of her room.. continued this for 4 weeks straight.. then my youngest daughter in the room next to hers started to get bit.. as well as me across from theres.. I called PCO they have been out 3 times.. each of us getting bit in between treatments that lasted 21 days total.. I have had a professionsl carpet co. out to steam carpets and treat them and matresses and box springs for BB's.. fleas ect.. even though we have no pets.. 1 week later, I am still getting bit.. but not my daughters..or at least not noticeably.. I called PCO today.. he is comming back out this Sat. to inspect and treat and use a different chemical this time, and leave traps for them.. unlike the glue traps left prior, that did nothing.. I am so paranoid, stressed, physically, emotionally, and financially drained.. I am a clean freak as it is.. vac. every weekend.. and mop as well.. I don't know how much longer I can deal.. my bites are small..sometimes sting and itch..mostly upper back..neck and face along the jaw bone..I don't know what else to do.. did I mention our clothes are still in storage containers and trash bags in the garage.. been living out of those things now for almost 2 months after we washed and laundered everything.. I feel so sorry for all that have experienced this or who are still going through this.. I can't sleep and my work is starting to suffer too.. I feel so helpless.....

  15. chrisoto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Oct 18 2010 21:49:11
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    If anyone would like to message me please do so.. not sure how often I will be on this site....
    chrisoto@verizon.net...sorry for the previously long post.....

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 19 2010 0:36:08
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    chrisoto,

    I don't recommend posting your email address on the internet. It often leads to spam.

    Please click "Flag post for moderation" under your post if you want it deleted (and please include a note explaining that!)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  17. Ihatebb9215

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Dec 3 2010 21:32:00
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    Until my husband found this forum I felt totally alone. We found the bb's about three weeks ago. We just had our third treatment today, only after I call my landlord last night because my husband saw one bb climbing the wall in the bedroom. They did a aggrusive treatment today so we will see. Just w wanted to say to everyone, I felt like me world was coming to an end about three weeks ago. I cried almost everyday wondering why this was happening to us. Like all of you we are clean freaks. At least we all have each other and we can talk it out. We have not told anyone of our problem because we are afraid of the reactions. So beside my landlord and all of you know one knows. There are still days were I start to tear up but I cannot let these bugs ruin my life. We are not alone, and I am truly thankful for this site. Hang in the bb's will die!

  18. Insane

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Feb 26 2011 9:43:01
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    Like all of you I too am going Insane. My son found a beg bug right out in the open on his sheet after coming from work. He is a police officer and had an altercation with a vagrant type that same day. When he showed me the bug my world caved in. We turned the mattress over, the box spring, the slats, the headboard, foot board and steamed everything. We did not find any bed bugs, shells, or poop. then we steamed baseboards, pictures, curtains. Went into the next room and did same inspection - nothing. But we did have the one bed bug - no doubt about it. I bought in exterminator for inspection - once I told him I had a specimen and he saw the room was torn apart he really did not look. I brought in a dog and told handler which room had the bug - mistake on my part - needless to say all rooms were found clean except that one. My husband and son wanted to take a wait and see attitude. I could not. I had the adjoining rooms exterminated and took all clothes to laundromat - 50 dryer loads for 48 minutes each. The treatment was 3 days ago and I am still airing out one room and my son went back into his room. I am so paranoid, depressed, and afraid we still have them. Been taking medication to stop crying. I am glad I can vent on this forum. Good luck to everyone.

  19. squashedbedbug

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Feb 26 2011 11:12:42
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    These freakin' bedbugs have taken over my life...I have a big allergic reaction to them. I got bit in the eye and it looked like I had been punched, my eye was swollen shut. I can't stop scratching, I have scabs from bites all over my arms and legs & on my butt!! I'm paranoid when I lay on my bed, can't sleep well at night thinking if they're bitting me,or my sons .. I wake up in the middle of the night lookin' to find bedbugs on my bed, my sons bed..And I'm so mad that I squash them.. I was pregnant when i found out i had bed bugs. Now I moved and brought them to my new home, I'm looking for an exterminator to get rid of these bugs.. I have a new born baby that seems I can't lay anywhere!! I'm sad about this because my son's are being bit and embarrassed about bites on my body. does anyone know about how much it cost to get rid of them???

  20. Insane

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Feb 26 2011 14:12:36
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    Sorry to hear of your problems Squashedbedbug. I too am living in hell. I do not have bites and just recently saw one bed bug and freaked out. I have the dog come in that was $475.00 and not too sure it was legit. Then I had 2 room exterminated and it cost $1,100.00. I used an exterminator that had very good reviews on blogs. Check out reviews because some companies get many bad ones.

    Good luck to us all.

  21. THIS IS GODS WILL

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    Tue Mar 1 2011 22:22:42
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    It is disturbing to me that in todays day & age and with all the sophisticated high tech we now possess, humans (top of the food chain) are unable to find a fix for this. Furthermore remedies which one would think to be effective are unavailable.

    The following is a collaboration of ideas I believe could help eliminate this affliction. Please leave your thoughts..

    An Electric Bug Fence, possibly even solder wire running of a charge too low to hurt humans but deadly to bb's. Similar to electric flea combs. Till then we can always barricade our beds and sofas with a wall of electric flea combs.

    Automatic sprayers running on 5 - 10 minute timers. Allowed to be refilled with mixtures of our choice..cold pressed neem, virginia cedar ect and placed where most needed. Under you desk or chair. Refill and replace batteries when required.

    Creatures - How many creatures are their that produce pheromones & neurotoxins. Having the ability to ward, warn, paralyze and bring death. This may have been achievable in past times as man was his own hunter gatherer. Today science decides the source of our neurotoxins and corporations decide what they will market. Whether or not it is in our best interest. I'm not saying it's in our best interest to kill every box jellyfish and bluering octopus but in the best interest of mankind I would have a clearer conscience knowing people are not running around with poisoness flamable sprays and a heat gun!! >.<

    Co2 Traps - One that actually involves the human as the bait. A breathing apparatus to your mouth that leads a tube to the trap maybe a few meter's away from the bed... Sorry to all you belly sleepers.

    Residual Neem - This speaks for itself. Difficulties I am having with this is finding a mixture that will not evaporate and is mix friendly with neem considering neems compounds are no longer active either 12 hours after being mixed or 10 minutes after being sprayed due to evaporation. Possibly a lubricant mix? I hear Gel Based lubes don't evaporate? Any thoughts are appreciated...

  22. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Mar 1 2011 22:40:22
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    TIGW:

    There are decent solutions out there, problem is that there's not enough good information getting to the people who need and can use it and too much mis-information propagated by well meaning, and not-so-well meaning people. Let me try and address a few of your ideas:

    > An Electric Bug Fence...

    This exists, more or less, in the form of "interceptors" (climb-ups) that you place bed legs in. There's no reason they can't be manufactured in any size/shape, including the entire perimeter of the bed.

    > Automatic sprayers

    These things exist today (check the produce case of your supermarket). It's just up to someone to make the connection and find an effective, but benign-to-humans and pets contact killer to fill the system with.

    > Residual Neem

    We had a recent thread about Neem and two things came up: It's a contact killer, meaning, you need to hit the bug direct with it, it has no residual power. It's repellent, so even if it lasted, bed bugs would avoid stepping into it. Remember, also. bed bugs have no way to ingest neem into their bodies.

    > Co2 Traps - One that actually involves the human as the bait. A breathing apparatus to your mouth that leads a tube to the trap maybe a few meter's away from the bed... Sorry to all you belly sleepers.

    This has long been my fantasy gadget. I'm not sure what it would achieve, but I can imagine the bed bugs arriving at the end of the snorkel and the Simpsons character "Nelson" going "hah-ha!"

  23. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Mar 10 2011 14:57:27
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    When friends ask how I am, I reply "don't ask". I've dealt with this since late summer. I got rid of mostly everything, moved carefully in January, but the bugs came with. I used to be a happy person. My joy is gone. My spirit is crushed. When I moved, I doubled my rent, and the new building management is worse than the place I moved out of. Luxury apartment, my a**!!!!!! They are heartless jerks!!!! Their favorite hobby is waiting for the old people to die so they can re-do the apartment and jack up the rents. They stopped exterminating after three treatments, even though I still have the bugs, and am bitten nightly. They said I couldn't possibly have bugs because it is a newly renovated, sealed apartment, and they can’t find any. They hired an incompetent company because they were the cheapest. They sent an old fart with a spray can who looked around for 5 minutes, didn't see anything (of course he didn't-he didn't look), sprayed while I was still in the room, and left. Both the building super and the exterminator told me I was crazy. I sent emails to building management, which they ignored. The incompetent extermination company didn't return my calls. The only time that management got right back to me was to tell me to pay my ridiculously high electric bill, which was was almost $200 for a small studio apartment, for one month (!). They seem to think if they ignore me, I’ll suffer in silence. Not to mention they are putting the entire apartment complex in jeopardy. Before I moved in, they assured me that they treated the tenants well. I feel like a sucker. I acted out of bed bug induced madness. I hate myself because I never should have moved. I can’t afford the rent and storage costs. My apartment is freezing. The drafts are so bad my hair blows. I'm afraid to watch TV, or keep the light on when the bugs scare me, or run my space heater, because I can't afford the electric. I'm counting the days until I'm out of the lease. I feel like getting on a train and never coming back..

    I have no choice but to pay for extermination myself. I’m terrified. There are too many companies that charge a fortune, and are worse than used car salesmen. They hire unemployed actors and dogs that aren't properly trained. Their websites are filled with $$$$ products. It's a nightmare. After everything, there's a chance it might not work. It will be worse to have failed treatments, having paid for them myself with money I don’t have. I wish I could hold off until a sure remedy arises, but that seems unlikely.

    I can't afford to get my hair done. I have to wear the same clothes. All my favorite clothing is infested or at the dry cleaners until my apartment is safe, and then I have to pay $$$$ to get it out. My apartment has a debilitating disease, waiting for a cure; my clothes are in jail for the crime of harboring bugs, serving a sentence until I can raise bail. My other stuff remains in storage, at $500 a month. If I go to the storage facilities, I'm afraid I'll get hit with more bedbugs. I'm single, female, and feeling older than my years. How am I ever going to meet anyone? Wear a t-shirt that says "my nice clothes are in storage"? Hide under a hat that says "Coming soon. . . Highlights and trim"? What a wonderful pick up line: "How'd you like to come to my apartment and hunt bedbugs? I'm a catch-literally!"

    I feel like the biggest loser on the planet, having made the biggest mistake of my life. I have not slept peacefully since the summer. I miss my stuff. I miss my carefree days, before bedbugs, when I had a home. I have never felt more alone. Thanks for letting me rant; nobody else will listen. Good luck to all of you.

  24. healthimpacted

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Mar 10 2011 21:33:39
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    stressedinthecity, I'm sorry you are going through this. It is very isolating, yet through the forum I feel less isolated knowing others are in similar circumstances. I feel that I've aged a good 10 years. What city are you in? From what I've read on the forum, some cities have good laws to protect tenants. As for pickup lines, I'm using "Hey baby, your packtite or mine?"

  25. BBGen0cide

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 8:12:09
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    I hope things work out..

  26. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 9:39:14
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    Thanks for your replies and support. I really appreciate it. I'm in NYC. I'm considering a Packtite, but I fear my electric bill will skyrocket or I'll start a fire in my small apartment. Am I overreacting? Is it worth it?

  27. healthimpacted

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 12:24:09
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    I'm only repeating what I've read here: call NYC 311 for help. Try searching the forum for 311 or nyc. I've seen some good posts on the topic. I live in PA.

    I love my Packtite. I use it mostly for bras (which get destroyed in the dryer) and shoes. I've done some jewelry, books, and have a backlog of stuff (games, papers, etc) to do. It's safe to use as long as you have clearance (3 feet). I'm not sure how much it costs to run. When I washed and bagged all the clothes in my drawers, my landlord came to check for leaks cause my water bill was so high. My electric bill was too, but from the dryer.

  28. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 14:28:37
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    I reported them to 311. I haven't heard back yet. Thanks for the advice. I'm originally from PA. My friends won't let me visit, not that I blame them. I wonder if my life will ever be the same. . .

  29. healthimpacted

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 16:27:36
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    I look at life as pre-bug, bugged, and post bug. I am bugged now, but hoping the last treatment is getting the last of them. I never knew how good I had it pre-bug. I agree that life will not be the same but I will adapt. I have no choice. This week I learned a friend has cancer, and I know she given the choice she would rather have bed bugs.

    First, tell your friends how lucky they are to learn from your experience and not the other way around. Second, follow the precautions outlined in the FAQ section on not spreading them further. I have felt like a leper at times and friends have joked they wouldn't hug me, but they do. I had to call ten friends to tell them that I had bed bugs and they may have been exposed cause I had them over (no one went upstairs and no coats on bed - thank goodness!). Not fun calls to make. I was more concerned than they were. I visit my family, and they generally aren't concerned. They know they are potentially exposed at the movies, public transit, work, school, planes, hotels, etc. I'm headed out tonight to see my favorite band. I'll take precautions when I leave the house and precautions to not bring home any bugs(leave coat in the car, no purse). I understand your friends' concerns, but I am more concerned with a friend of mine who buys used things and refuses to take precautions. It will take me a long time before I let this person in my house. As long as we do the best we can and take precautions, we should go out and have fun. Maybe you could meet your friends in a public place.

  30. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 17:06:44
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    Thank you for your great suggestions and for putting it in perspective. I wish I could feel comfortable in my home. Meeting in a public place is a great idea. I guess it's time to get used to life without a purse.

  31. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 11 2011 17:59:54
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    stressed,

    Sorry you're having this problem.

    In NYC, calling 311 is an option if your landlord does not hire a PCO or hires one that does not solve your problem.

    Keep in mind that when 311 sends an inspector (assuming they do), they need to see evidence of bed bugs. Some have reported they wanted to be shown live bugs in your home (crawling around, not in a jar or bag). I am not sure if that is true of all inspectors, or whether this has improved -- to where they actually look for bed bugs and signs themselves.

    Some people worry that calling 311 will mean they are "blacklisted" on landlord lists and will face trouble when they try to rent again. I don't think we've heard any reports about this actually happening after reporting bed bugs, but it is a possibility which one should be aware of.

  32. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 14 2011 13:52:56
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    I called 311 last Saturday, and reported it. What bothered me the most was that neither the landlord nor exterminator bothered to return my calls and e-mails, requesting follow up (or at least some sort of response as to how to proceed) after the 3rd treatment because I was still being bitten. I've been advised that 311 inspectors will only assist if I can find a bug, which I cannot. Now I am afraid the management company will retaliate by increasing my rent (I am not rent stabilized) to a ridiculous number or not renewing my lease. They are true penny pinching slime. I haven't yet been contacted by the inspectors, but my complaint is listed on the website. Should I withdraw the complaint, or is it too late?

  33. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 14 2011 19:16:26
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    stressedinthecity - 3 days ago  » 
    ...but I fear my electric bill will skyrocket...

    See...

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/packtite-electricity-cost#post-96583

    ...because evidently each 4-hour PackTite run in NYC costs less than 25 cents.

  34. Nobugsonme

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    Mon Mar 14 2011 23:12:13
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    stressedinthecity - 9 hours ago  » 
    I've been advised that 311 inspectors will only assist if I can find a bug, which I cannot.

    . . . .I haven't yet been contacted by the inspectors, but my complaint is listed on the website. Should I withdraw the complaint, or is it too late?

    What was the source for the information that they will only help if you can find a bug? (I mentioned having heard something similar, but this was at least a year ago and things may have improved.)

    You could employ some detection techniques.

    I can't say if you should withdraw the complaint or not.

    However, I would suggest calling Met Council on Housing, if you haven't yet. They may be able to tell you about the legality of the landlord retaliating in these ways, given your situation.

  35. stressedinthecity

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Mar 15 2011 9:32:09
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    Thank you!!!

  36. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Mar 15 2011 12:14:14
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    stressed,

    What was the source for the information that they will only help if you can find a bug? (I mentioned having heard something similar, but this was at least a year ago and things may have improved.)

    Thanks!

  37. stressedinthecity

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    Tue Mar 15 2011 12:36:15
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    I was actually going by what you wrote. FYI for those thinking of calling 311: When I reported it, they said that someone from housing would call and set up appointment for the inspector. They didn't call, but an inspector randomly showed up on Sunday afternoon. Inspector did not buzz my apartment, but left a card saying "call for an appointment". I left a message at the number on the card, but have not heard back. If and when they call and/or show up, I will keep you posted. My management company is the worst, as I learned last night in a tenants meeting. They don't care how many times they get fined, and have not yet acknowledged my complaint. They are greedy slum lords in every sense of the word, masquerading as luxury building developers.

  38. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Mar 15 2011 13:38:41
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    Thanks, stressed.

    As I said, we have heard the report from some people in the past that inspectors wanted to be shown live crawling bed bugs. The last time anyone said this was a while ago, and it is hard to know if this experience is or was typical. We do not often hear from people who have an inspector come, so your notes on the experience will be very helpful.

    Now that the Bed Bug Advisory Board report has been out for a while, I would hope that some changes have been made to the way the HPD inspectors operate -- that they now, for example, look for signs of bed bugs themselves, and take signs seriously, even if they do not spot a bed bug.

  39. stressedinthecity

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    Tue Mar 15 2011 14:31:38
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    I have a feeling I'll be lucky to get a return call, or ever get through to a live person. I'm going to keep trying, if for no other reason to enlighten everyone about the experience.

  40. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Mar 15 2011 14:35:51
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    stressedinthecity - 2 minutes ago  » 
    I have a feeling I'll be lucky to get a return call, or ever get through to a live person. I'm going to keep trying, if for no other reason to enlighten everyone about the experience.

    Yes, I have heard of other "surprise visits." This may be the way the city works, but it does not seem like it would be the best use of time.

    If they came all the way to your home to try and visit unannounced, one would think they would also follow up on your return call (less expenditure of energy). Good luck and thanks for keeping us posted!


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