Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Desperate teenage plea--please, please just someone tell me what to do.

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  1. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2011 14:49:15
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    I've read all of the forums, and the FAQs, and I've googled everything you can google. But I'm going crazy, and I just need advice. I know how I sound, and I know it's probably annoying, but please.

    I'm a college kid, who came to NY from the midwest two months ago for an 11 week internship. Within a week of being in my subletted apt, I found some bed bugs. Very very low 'infestation'. I only got like 6 bites, and barely reacted to them. So I did the washing and hand inspecting and bagging and had a PCO spray twice. The day after the last spray, I had to move to a new furnished apt (lease problems). I had everything in sterile airtight bags when I moved, and everything seemed great.

    Then a week after being here (6 days ago), I saw a nymph in the corner of one of my plastic bags that I had my nail polish in. I had opened the bag when I came here, but never took anything out or put anything in. So I assume it was a straggler or fluke from my old apt, but now I am TERRIFIED that I brought them here. Clearly, if that one got through my hand inspecting, what else got through? Since then, I have spent every night crying, and obsessively checking my body for bites. I flip up my mattress 5 times a day and search under the seams and corners. I have sprayed Pronto bug spray everyday in the room. I still haven't seen any bugs at all, or skins or fecal stains. I even sat on my bed for 5 hrs last night, trying to use myself as bait, and nothing appeared.

    I don't think I have any bites, but that's the worst part. I didn't really react to the bites when I got them months ago, they just looked like slightly slightly red, slightly raised pimples here and there. But of course, suddenly I'll see a red, non-raised dot on my skin. Or a bump will mysteriously appear and then go away 2 hours later. Or I'll see a bump that I'll convince myself is a bite.

    Clearly, I am going crazy. OR maybe I'm actually getting bites!?

    I just...I just don't know what to do, because guys, I fly home in less than THREE weeks to go home. Yes. My roommate has no idea what's going on because I don't want to alarm her and she hasn't had bites. And I'M LEAVING SOON. I feel stuck. I can't afford to buy all of these expensive monitors that take weeks to tell me if I even HAVE an infestation. But I cannot bring these suckers back home to college with me.

    What do I do? Do I just focus on not bringing these (imaginary) things home with me? How do I sterilize stuff in a possibly non sterile apartment?! I just feel completely lost right now. I'm 19, I'm alone in this (I do NOT want to tell my roommate until/unless I find a bug) and I'm freaking out.

    I'm armed with Pronto bug spray, trash bags, and a handful of more hotshot strips.

    I don't have a plan. I always have a plan. I just don't know what to do.

    Thank you so much guys, really.

  2. blargg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2011 16:40:10
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    Hi,

    I think you posted a similar story a couple weeks ago. You only found ONE bug, right?... and none since? I think you're in a pretty good situation. I think you need to rest easy at night, that will give you more energy to deal with your situation.

    Okay, first of all, I don't think your apartment is infested, but you are moving home in three weeks. Look, I get bumps too. Zits, misquito bites, etc.... don't go crazy over those. I think the most important goal is to focus on your move home. I don't think you have a problem, but we want you to have a safe and non-worrysome trip home.

    Let me ask you this: What are you bringing home with you? Just clothing and suitcases?... or other items too? I'll post more after we get more details.

    -blargg

  3. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2011 17:37:10
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    Yes, I am so sorry that I posted a similar post twice, but I didn't know how to delete the first one.
    Currently I have a ton of clothes, (they take up 5 large air tight bags) 8 pairs of shoes, belts/jewelery, medications, and a lot of toiletrees (like 5 large ziplock bags).

    I wish I could afford to just burn all of my clothes, rebuy every toiletree and medication I own, and fly home naked....but I can't.

  4. Blue_Ox

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2011 23:14:30
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    Have you looked into getting a packtite? Using one on all your belongings would ensure your stuff is safe to return home, though it wouldn't uninfest your current apartment (if it is even infested at all).

    Or if you are going to return to your parents' house before going back to college, ask them to get one, quarantine your stuff when you get back and run it through there.

    Note: this is just a suggestion from a lay person whose only experience w/ bedbugs is reading this site!

  5. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Jul 16 2011 23:19:19
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    So, I just took all of my non ESSENTIAL non-clothing/shoe items, like hair products, books, bottles, hair dryers, and a doll (yeah..brought my doll with me...) in an airtight plastic bag and threw a Hot Shot strip in it and sealed it up. I plan on keeping it closed until I leave in 3 weeks. I don't think I'll ever trust that the stuff inside is sterile though, because I know the strips don't have a 100% guarantee.

    My roommate is also getting rid of my bed tomorrow because she bought a new bed for the room. So I guess it's good that the bed is getting thrown away--just in case it has bugs--but the bad thing is I'll have to sleep on an air mattress for a few nights.

    I'm still hardcore inspecting my hands and arms, and I swear I've developed new bites...or a bump of some sort...but I haven't even been in my room or sitting down. I think it could all be in my head. Sigh.

    I don't know how people live in NY.

  6. blargg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jul 19 2011 6:28:05
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    slowlygoingcrazy - 2 days ago  » 
    So, I just took all of my non ESSENTIAL non-clothing/shoe items, like hair products, books, bottles, hair dryers, and a doll (yeah..brought my doll with me...) in an airtight plastic bag and threw a Hot Shot strip in it and sealed it up. I plan on keeping it closed until I leave in 3 weeks. I don't think I'll ever trust that the stuff inside is sterile though, because I know the strips don't have a 100% guarantee.
    My roommate is also getting rid of my bed tomorrow because she bought a new bed for the room. So I guess it's good that the bed is getting thrown away--just in case it has bugs--but the bad thing is I'll have to sleep on an air mattress for a few nights.
    I'm still hardcore inspecting my hands and arms, and I swear I've developed new bites...or a bump of some sort...but I haven't even been in my room or sitting down. I think it could all be in my head. Sigh.
    I don't know how people live in NY.

    Have you been getting some better sleep lately? Remember, everyone at the forum is here for you, and wants you to have a safe move.

    -blargg

  7. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Jul 19 2011 9:09:15
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    Since you're in NYC you can borrow my PackTite (you won't be the first) just before your departure if you can come get it here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Send me a PM. Perhaps at some time in the future if you have to deal with bb's again you'll decide to buy one, but this will give you a chance to become familiar with it plus hopefully ensure a bugfree return home.

  8. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Jul 21 2011 20:30:43
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    OH NOOOOOOOO!!!

    Ok....so they got rid of my bed on Monday for my new roommate to move in, and she brought her bed from Pennsylvania on Monday as well, which is what I've been sleeping on. When I took my bed out, I cleaned the floors and baseboards in my room, and I didn't see anything. I also checked the seams of the cargo storage bags I had under my bed, and they seemed fine. So I've been relatively calm since Sunday, and have pretty much convinced myself that we're bed bug free. Then just now I was sitting on the couch and I happened to look at my legs and on the back of my thigh, and I have 5 bites on the back of my calf, and two on the back of my thigh. I inspected my body and found one on the back of my arm as well. I don't know if they're bed bug bites, but I'm freaked out nonetheless. I never had bites on my legs before, so I don't know how the skin there reacts to them if they are bed bug bites.
    So of course, FREAKING OUT. I played dumb and told my new roommate about the bites, and she said OH! I have them too! And shows me the ones she has on the back of her thighs. She said she doubts they are bed bugs, because she had them in Europe years ago, and she said she reacted HORRIBLY to the bites, so she would know if they were bites. But that doesn't make me feel better.

    I looked under the mattress and sheets and everything, and I haven't seen anything, but I don't know what to think. I leave in 2 weeks! Am I infested with bed bugs??

    I swear, I have the worst possible luck ever.

    THOUGHTS??

    and jrbtnyc-- WOW! I will definitely be sending you a PM!

  9. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 7:41:03
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    Scoured my body this morning and found another bite on my upper arm. BUT it could very well just be one I missed last night. Or it could be a new bite. Who knows. But either way, none of the bites are similar to the bites I got when I actually had bed bugs. GRANTED,those bites were only on my forearms and feet, but they were very very small and only kind of red, like an ant bite or something. And they didn't itch at all.
    These bites kind of itch and are rather large, like mosquito bites. But they aren't mosquito bites.

    Sigh, sorry guys....I just want this mess to go away. This is crazy. I know you can all relate.

  10. newtactics

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 9:20:32
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    hey,

    I also check everyday for bites/splotches etc, but from what I've read up on, bites are the least useful way of telling if you have bedbugs...

    My own experience is that I did not show bites for quite some time, then showed them, now I show them and they are very itchy when I get hot/sweaty.

    Also, there are pics on bed-bugs.co.uk of a lot of bed bug bites that look quite different...but are mostly on the same person!

    so if I were you I would have a really really good look for blood smears so you'll know either way...I'm not a PCO though just a person with (or maybe without fingers crossed) bedbugs

  11. newtactics

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 9:30:39
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    btw, honestly,

    if I was in your position I actually would dump my clothes/stuff become going home. I would go to a clothes shop buy a new set of clothes and throw the old ones away in the store.

    I would definately not bring these things into my home if there was a choice!

    Your parents might think it's weird you've got no clothes...better that than giving them bedbugs (if you live with them). Also, might be worth talking to them on the phone or whatever, tough doing it alone.

    Just a thought

  12. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 13:17:29
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    newtactics wrote:

    if I was in your position I actually would dump my clothes/stuff become going home

    I would not ditch all my clothes over this. Why not? In some ways clothes are the easiest items to treat.

    We see many, many cases of people with bed bugs who regret throwing out as much as they did.

    I see very few cases of people who have tons of regret after an infestation who say "Wow, I wish I'd tossed more stuff."

    In every case I can think of from these boards, the only "Wow, I wish I'd thrown away more stuff" folks are people with long term infestations who'd been seeking professional treatment who didn't dispose more quickly of large pieces of furniture that were especially difficult to treat (like captain's beds or overstuffed couches or recliners ).

    Newtactics, I appreciate that you're trying to help, and I completely understand one aspect of your advice: a lot of us who unwittingly brought bed bugs home, knowing what we know now, probably would have been a lot more careful about what we brought into a home because we now understand how tough bed bugs can be to get rid of.

    Goodness knows I act very differently in hotels and inspect the daylights out of stuff, and to this day, the only time I put my luggage on my bed at home is when I'm packing my suitcase up to take it out of the house with me.

    But clothes really are the easiest items to treat, especially if the original poster will have temporary access to a Packtite, which it looks like slowlygoingcrazy will.

    Also, in general, I'm a strong advocate of people who've been exposed to bed bugs needing to tell anyone--friend or family--that they are planning to stay with post-exposure that they've been exposed to bed bugs. I had bed bugs for at least a month, and probably several, before I figured out what was going on. In that time, I had traveled out of LA for work three times. I had roommates (2, 2, and 1) on each trip with whom I'd shared hotel rooms. In one instance, I'd flown into the city my roommate lived in and visited her and her family at her home before we drove down to the conference in another city.

    Since at the time of each one, I didn't realize I'd had bed bugs, I didn't take any precautions. When later that month, I found the bugs and figured out what was going on , I had 5 people I had exposed that I needed to call and tell about what I might have exposed them to.

    It was awful. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.

    Obviously, if there are mitigating circumstances in a particular case, I don't think people should tell. (For example, if a person lives with family who are abusive to you, which I'm *not* suggesting is the case for slowlygoingcracy at all!, I don't think that the person who's been exposed has an ethical obligation to tell the abuser.)

    But other than situations in which a person might have to endure abuse or risks losing his or her housing, I do believe that it's vitally important, even though it's hard, to communicate clearly with anyone that you might expose, preferably before exposing them.

  13. newtactics

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Jul 24 2011 14:20:52
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    Ha buggy,

    You know, I conceed that you are probably giving more objective advice than I am...but I stand by my position, probably because I am still living this total nightmare! Maybe in a year's time (if I actually ever do get this sorted) I'll think the same way as you...until then I'd literally do anything to avoid bedbugs!!!

  14. slowlygoingcrazy

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Aug 3 2011 8:26:14
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    Alright guys, it's been 4 and a half weeks since I saw that nymph, and still haven't any signs of actual bugs. I haven't gotten any new bites, haven't seen shed skins or blood stains or anything. So technically I've been in this new apt for 6 weeks without any sign of bed bugs except for that stupid little sucker in that plastic bag.

    DO YOU THINK I'M OKAY AND FREE??

    I move back home early Wednesday morning, and I'm beginning to pack up all of my stuff.
    I'm shipping a giant box home first, filled mostly with clothes (in airtight bags) and a few pairs of shoes and toiletries that have been sequestered in the hotshot pest strip sealed bags for the past 3 weeks. That is going out today.

    The rest of my stuff will be bagged and put into my suitcase, which has been sitting in a hotshot pest strip bag for the past 7 weeks. So I know that sucker is clean.

    Jrbtnyc was so very kind to offer me a PackTite, but I'm wondering if it'd be worth it to use it, since the only things in my suitcase that may not be "clean" are some washable/dryable clothes, a few pairs of shoes (sandals and heels) and a ton of toiletries...which I don't think can be put in a PackTite?

    Either way, it's been over 4 weeks and I haven't seen ANYTHING. I'd be seeing something, right??

  15. NJ-BITES

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Aug 3 2011 10:15:43
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    slowlygoingcrazy
    “TERRIFIED that I brought them here.
    Since then, I have spent every night crying, and obsessively checking my body for bites.
    I feel stuck.

    WOW Crazy. Some ordeal. I feel ya.

    slowlygoingcrazy
    “I fly home in less than THREE weeks to go home.”

    ?Do they have things there you can use while visiting?

    Everyone!! Infested or not should have their mattresses in, bedbug bags.
    Interesting home coming gifts!
    LOL –hugs-

    I am not a professional but this is what I would do.
    Take as little as possible, in zilocks.
    And keep them in the ziplocks as much as possible.

    Make sure what you do take has been treated, sufficiently.
    (This includes your purse and shoes.)

    Don’t forget..
    We can pick these things up from airplanes.
    And every were else. :/

    Leave the luggage outside.
    Shower ASAP. Bagging what you had on. ‘In The Tub.’
    Just in case. Put that outside also.

    Educate your family!
    Maybe, they don’t know enough about BBs.

    buggyinsocal
    I would not ditch all my clothes over this. Why not?
    In some ways clothes are the easiest items to treat.

    I agree….
    I do keep my things in plastic, for life now.

    slowlygoingcrazy
    My roommate is also getting rid of my bed tomorrow because she bought a new bed for the room.

    Don’t forget to put a bedbug bag on the mattress and pre-treat the rest, carefully.
    READ FAQ’S
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/faqs-about-bed-bugs-for-bedbugger-forum-users

    slowlygoingcrazy
    Either way, it's been over 4 weeks and I haven't seen ANYTHING. I'd be seeing something, right?

    Not necessarily.
    Not to scare you more nor cause you to become obsessed like I am but..

    After, my DIY treatments.
    I did see some stragglers running about after words.

    I called bedbugsupply.com
    (Where I got my kit.)
    They said it takes time for some to find the poisons.

    I just keep cleaning and looking.

    3-months later…
    Everything was fine for a long time that I could tell.

    A year later…
    One must have escaped my DIY treatments or a new one came because I got them a 2nd time.

    Through education.
    I believe, I caught this new attack in time.
    (Last week.)

    I can’t seem to be able to find any evidence of spread to the dressers and closet. Yet. :/
    Whew~

    Thank God! I didn’t unpack everything!

  16. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Aug 3 2011 11:29:20
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    Everyone!! Infested or not should have their mattresses in, bedbug bags.

    Actually, the use of encasements--either as a preventative measure or as part of a treatment program for an active infestation--is not something that all the experts agree upon.

    In some cases, encasements can prevent certain aspects of infestations, make inspection of a bed easier, and/or be helpful.

    However, in other circumstances they can increase the chances of a reinfestation and/or generally make treatment harder. (If you have bed bugs inside your box spring, for example, and you encase it before they're all killed, that encasements needs to stay completely sealed for at least 18 months to avoid reinfestation.) Also, as an example, people with pets that have claws that might puncture the encasement (like, you know, cats) can radically decrease the effectiveness as part of treatment or prevention.

    The thing about bed bug infestations it that infestations are different. In terms of prevention--which I hesitate to call prevention since it's really more about minimizing your chances since no one can really entirely prevent exposure--everyone's circumstances are different too.

    Because the specifics of any particular situation are often so different in key ways from other situations, one size fits all advice rarely works for all circumstances.

    People without bed bugs who put encasements on but who don't do monthly inspections aren't doing anything effective to minimize their chances of a bed bug infestation. People with pets who will puncture the encasements probably shouldn't waste money on them.

  17. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Aug 3 2011 12:57:05
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    This is a bit anti climactic, but a few points:
    - bags with hot shot strips must be packed loosely enough to allow air circulation
    - label precautions must be followed when using hot shot strips, especially those regarding use indoors
    - easiest way to treat clothes and fabrics is the dryer (wash only if they need washing).
    - PackTite for items that would be awkward in dryer (that can take it)
    - carefully inspect items that can't be treated the above ways (or hot shot strips)
    - be mindful of the boxes you ship in, these can carry stragglers.

    If planning for an internship, consider bed bugs in advance, live light, take precautions from the start.

    Our travel FAQ offers hints on how to protect yourself when traveling and how to protect others if you have or suspect bed bugs and need to travel (or go home).
    http://bedbugger.com/faqs/travel/

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

    (Not an pro)

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