Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed Bug Treatment

DIY, early infestation, pregnant and young children

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  1. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Feb 25 2014 14:14:18
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    First of all, thank god for this site! Thank you to the moderator/owner and all of the knowledgeable people who post here!!

    Second, I am 36 weeks pregnant. I really, really do not want to use pesticides (but I will if it is necessary). First, we want to try to get this problem under control without them.

    Origin of problem: We purchased on craigslist a used dresser that had been nicely painted/etc. We paid $100 for the damn thing, and I was glad it was a solid wood, good quality, nice looking, etc. I kept it in the garage for a while because it initially had a smell of smoke in some of the drawers. That's when I should have thrown it out. I would not have purchased it had I been the one to first see it, but had sent my husband to pick the darn thing up since I didn't want to meet a stranger. So, probably in about November/December 2013 brought it into the house.

    I noticed my first bites in mid January 2014. There were 2 on my neck one morning, 2 on my stomach one morning, then 2-3 on my arm. I was sleeping in a bed with my younger son, in a room with my other son who is in another bed. My younger son (in the bed with me) also had a suspicious looking couple of bites on one leg. I googled. I suspected bed bugs. These were welts, raised, red, angry, nothing like flea bites (I had lived with those as a child), even though we have a cat. I looked for evidence. I even looked at that darn dresser and wondered, "could that be evidence??" But, my inexperienced eyes did not do a thorough job looking, and I wasn't sure. I freaked out enough to buy a mattress encasement, DE, and climb up intercepters for the bed. I found the tips on this site about what not to do and kept sleeping there. I slept with lots of clothing including a scarf for the nights until the climb up intercepters came. My younger son and I stopped getting bites.

    Then in late January, husband and I switched sleeping places, and he slept with the boys in their room. He spent one night in early February in my older son's bed and got 4 bites. Suspicions began again. Mid-February, we were scheduled to get new carpets in the entire upstairs (3 bedrooms). Two nights before new carpet, my husband found a live adult. The next day he broke down my older son's bed to prepare for carpeting, we found all the evidence -- casings, fecal spots, eggs, and even a tiny live nymph. Confirmed bed bug infestation as of exactly a week ago (when he found the live adult). Apparently they had been living off of my older son who does not react at all to the bites. (I do vaguely remember seeing a suspicious red mark or two on him a while ago, but nothing in a long time, so I assume he does not react). I re-inspected the dresser and found what was now a very obvious infestation in the base of the dresser (near the feet).

    Here is what we have done:
    1. Removed and thrown away dresser, older son's bed, and entire carpeting upstairs
    2. Bagged everything that was in the bedroom where the infestation occurred (except for a shelf and books that I carefully inspected and were bb free, plus contents of a closet that is slightly off to the side and also appears bb free).
    3. Bagged everything that was in a small bedroom where my older son's bed pieces were stored for several hours before thrown out.
    4. Purchased mattress encasements for all 3 beds (2 in kids room and the master bedroom)
    5. Inspected all 3 remaining beds for evidence, found nothing, except one or two affected areas with possible fecal matter and eggs. "Treated" all of these with blow dryer (30 secs at least per affected area) on all pieces and in all screw holes, etc. Then vacuumed all the pieces. Then cleaned with warm soapy water. Then put DE in all the screw holes and where slats meet the rail of the bed, and reassembled. Placed encasement on the one remaining mattress in the kids' room.
    6. Cleaned all bed linens and dried for 30 minutes after dry
    7. Washed or bagged all clothing that was in the affected dresser.
    8. Placed climb up intercepters on the 2 beds in the kids rooms.
    9. Sprinkled DE in carpet and swept it in so it would not be airborn.

    During the 3 nights of carpet install, when some of the items "treated" above were stored in the master bedroom, my mattress was on the floor in the master bedroom but I got no bites. Then, the first night we put the bed back together, and after all the above steps, I got a bite (this would be Saturday morning). So that same day, we:

    10. Purchased a new bed frame for the master bedroom (because the other one did not have feet), cleaned with pinesol and used DE where slats meet frame
    11. Encased the mattress in the master bedroom
    12. Replaced slats in other child bed, cleaned with pinesol first
    13. installed climb up intercepters on master bedroom bed
    14. Dusted some DE into floor in master bedroom, also on the floor of a closet we use the third bedroom where there is no bed and no one sleeping
    15. Started storing all dirty clothes in XXL ziplock bags
    16. Put double sided tape on wall around where two pillows from bed touch the wall (so he won't fall, he's only 3), so any bugs would have to go through tape before could get to bed

    So far, no bites. But I suppose I would be kidding myself if I thought they were not there.

    Our plan for next steps is to completely disassemble beds again in a week and do the same cleaning treatment. I will vacuum thoroughly all the carpet upstairs weekly and then re-apply the DE, sweeping it into carpet. I am continuing to treat the bagged items in the dryer that I can, this is an ongoing neverending process. Then I suppose we need to do the same thing 10 days later.

    Here are the things I'm worried about:
    1. the kids like to wear their pyjamas around the house after they wake up. They only put them on right before bed, are presumably safe in the beds at night with the intercepters, clean bedding, and mattress encasements, and walk straight downstairs from there. But maybe there is the possibility of a hitchhiker?
    2. younger son drags blanket around house. Again, sleeps with it in what is presumably safe bed, then brings it downstairs immediately
    3. laundry room is in the basement -- can't deny possibility of spread of bugs when I am washing bedding/clothing items

    And now for some questions:
    Is it necessary to place all clean clothing in bags, even if dressers in kids room and in master are not infested?
    Should we put double sided tape on the tops of the walls near the ceilings? I read they can climb up and jump down on you, is that true?
    Do we have a fighting chance at avoiding pesticides?
    Anything else we should do?

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Feb 25 2014 14:53:20
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    Hi,

    I would not tape the ceiling, bedbugs test the surfaces they walk on so rarely get stuck on glue unless they fall on it from above.

    Yes they can at times avoid interception and may gain access to beds from above as confirmed by people on the forum.

    On the plus side it sounds like you are being thorough and that it was not a massive infestation. I am not 100% convinced by the source as it would be odd for them to hang out with your son unless he played with the item of furniture a lot. I would hold back on making the assumption that was the sources unless you are absolutely certain and more signs are found on it than in the rest of the home.

    If you want to avoid using pesticides you might actually want to do less than what you have already outlined. There is a protocol I have written called Treatment by Passive Monitor Replacement which is a simple and easy way to deal with bedbugs in a non chemical way using bedbugs natural behavior and DE to resolve the issue. We have been using a commercial version of this approach since 2011 with hotels and have not felt the need to use synthetic insecticides since, its all hard work and DE but the benefits are rooms that are often cleared before we leave the room.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor but the protocol was created because of situations just like yours.

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  3. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Feb 26 2014 12:37:06
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    Thanks for your reply. We are pretty sure it was the dresser, since we never had a problem prior to that and its arrival is the only thing different. I will see if I can post a picture of what I found on the base of it. From what I understand, it is logical that the BB would come out of the dresser in search of food at night and found my son's bed first, then started nesting there. The evidence on his bed was clear, though much less obvious than on the dresser. I will of course continue to keep a look out, but I had just cleaned all the baseboards in anticipation of the new carpet and did not see anything suspicious there.

    We also have baseboard heating -- there is no way to seal off all those openings. But hopefully BB would not go there to harbor given how hot it can get?

    I also just read a post suggesting that the BB dropping from the ceiling is only seen in high infestations where they are already all over the place, not that they are intelligent enough to plan ahead and drop down. So, I think we can hold off on taping the walls next to the ceiling. This is good!

    This is just an awful experience and I feel for others on this site who have gone through it!!

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Feb 26 2014 13:11:39
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    Hi,

    It does rather depends on the finer details of the evidence present on/in both items. It would also help to have a timeline to go along with the pictures so I can advise with as much detail as available. Obviously when I visit homes I have the benefit of being able to asses all that I want, in this case you and your camera need to be my eyes.

    Normal bedbug behavior is to occupy refugia within 3 foot of the host and as such this worry of flooring and wall cavities it very much a "marketing tool".

    The ceiling drop down situation tends to only be advanced cases or where the bed is isolated and thus bedbugs have no other option to be able to access food. I first heard about this from a client in 2003 who had built an amazing structure to isolate his bed and yet they still got through. One sleepless night be sate awake motionless waiting to see how they did it. I was initially skeptical but later studies showed me its not the way forward regardless of how logical it may seem.

    Yes its unpleasant, it triggers some nasty phobias in people but the last person to die because of bedbugs was 1860's where the coroner recorded death through exsanguination. You will get through this and it may even be one of those tests that helps you in later life because it will show you how strong you can be.

    David

  5. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Feb 26 2014 14:27:25
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    Here is the dresser:


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr

    And here is the bed slat from which fecal stains, casings, and nymph retrieved (I will have to get a close up of the stuff we then pulled off with some tape):


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr


    Untitled by bbbgoneforeverplease, on Flickr

    The timeline is:
    Late October purchased dresser, placed in garage
    November/December placed dresser in kids room
    1/17 first suspected bites (on me and younger son)
    Following week possible BB siting -- I saw something running across my hand after putting boys to sleep, brushed it off before ID (oops), but thinking back, pretty sure it was a BB, encased younger son's mattress and put climb up intercepters on that bed (didn't think about other bed because hadn't seen bites on older son)
    2/14 first bites on my husband who slept in older son's bed one night
    2/18 first confirmed BB siting, walking across chair that touched older son's bed (captured and killed)
    2/19-2/21 took apart beds, bagged everything, replaced carpets, removed the affected bed, encased other kids mattress, etc.
    2/20 one bite in master bedroom
    2/20 replaced bed in master bedroom, placed climb up protectors and last encasement

  6. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Feb 26 2014 14:32:59
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    I did not see an option to edit, but just wanted to add in case it was not clear, we previously had wall to wall carpeting and were scheduled to replace the entire carpeting upstairs, which is what led us to break down the beds in the first place. Thankfully I already suspected BB so I had at least an inkling of what to do when we found the evidence. I didn't take a picture of the 2 live bedbugs my husband found.

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Feb 27 2014 7:40:12
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    Hi,

    Yes those images would support the assumption that the dresser was the original source as the level of activity is much greater on it than the bed. One of the advantages of only doing the one job in this world is that you build a personal knowledge base that allows you to relate signs back to age/duration of activity.

    I am also confident that given the level of activity on the bed the method I have outlined will work for you and you may also want to check into my documentation on optimizing furniture in advance of bedbug infestations which would also help you get a rapid non chemical resolution to this issue.

    David

  8. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Feb 27 2014 13:03:56
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    Thank you so much David for the reply.

    I checked the climb up intercepters and there was one lone bed bug (on the double bed, where 2 are sleeping). It was dead. Are they usually dead when found there, or does that mean the DE is working?

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Feb 28 2014 13:43:11
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    Hi,

    Probably, I don't use interception devices in my method because our field analysis showed it to delay the clearance of infestations. We prefer the principle that "free moving" bedbugs come into contact with treatment faster and thus die faster.

    I actually ran an experiment last night in a hotel I was working on, it had been treated 7-9 times with an assortments of synthetic products and silicon dioxide (which some claim is a form of DE). I will need to think about the best way to illustrate the findings in a short report but I was actually rather surprised at the results and it certainly proves that at times less intervention is in fact more effective.

    David

  10. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 14 2014 9:26:00
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    Coming back to post an update because I always want to know what has happened. We were doing okay for a while, probably got rid of all the live bugs. Then, we had the baby in March, and it was a lot harder to keep on top of the cleaning regimen for a while. We caught one small bug in the interceptor, then one got on my husband when he put on a sweatshirt (it had not been bagged) -- it was translucent so probably he was his first and last feed. As time went by, we found more. I also suspected bites a couple of times. Then, after noticing bites on my older son, I washed/dried everything in his bed and ran the hair dryer all over it. One adult escaped from the bed and got stuck in the trap. This was very disheartening as it indicated not only had they survived but had grown and multiplied. My other son started getting bites again, despite the bed being isolated, and I even found one crawling off the baby when I picked her up after a nap. We are now calling in the big guns and doing thermal on Friday. Fingers crossed that it will be successful. The company has great reviews and has done a great job allaying our concerns, but after coming back to this site I am now worried it won't work. I will update.

  11. buggyinsyracuse

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 14 2014 9:43:30
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    Good luck! I'm sure it will work and everything will be back to normal soon.

  12. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 14 2014 11:01:43
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    Thanks! What is so disheartening is that they must be living in/on the beds because they are isolated (except for an occasional lapse of the bedspread, which is probably what allowed them to get there in the first place), but I have taken those beds apart multiple times and have found nearly no evidence -- just a couple of casings and not even any fecal material. I just have no idea where they are!! But, noticed 2 sets of 3 bites on my leg this morning, so they are certainly living somewhere. I have been unbagging what we bagged and put in the attic to expose it to treatment, plus getting rid of as much clutter/stuff as we can. Fun times. I can't wait until this is behind us. Luckily, the crazed freak out and depression are long gone and now I just want them gone. The PCO has a 60 day guarantee, hope that's long enough!

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 14 2014 12:34:06
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    Hi,

    Sorry but:

    Bites does not equal bedbugs!

    You might want to look at how we use Passive Monitors to relocate the bedbugs into a device that can be isolated and treated or replaced. Its a lot more logic when you sit and think about it to use the insects natural behavior against it rather than put yourself through stressful other methods.

    David

  14. jewlzak

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 15 2014 14:00:53
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    Hello,

    Thank you so much for your story and update. I am twenty eight week pregnant and am trying to get rid of bed bugs before we bring our new baby home. We tried a DIY treatment as well but they came back six months later and we also decided to have a PCO help.

    Just finished our second treatment and they want us to do three. But we cannot afford and I feel like it is too close to when baby will be born. I need to put my house together and get our clothes out of trash bags.

    My next step is to do monthly checks of all beds and couches along with vacuuming bed frame and mattress. We are also going to purchase passive monitors. My husband wants to try carbon monoxide test he saw on you tube to see if they are still in home. But I am pretty confident in passive monitors. Please continue to update.

    My story is on here too!

  15. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 21 2014 13:35:17
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    jewelzak, I'm so sorry to hear you are in the same boat!! What a nightmare! I was also very hesitant about the chemical treatments, which is why we tried DIY in the first place. I think vacuuming is not enough -- is there anyway you can try renting a steamer? That is the one thing we did not try that I think might have really helped, since the heat will kill both the the live bugs and the eggs. But, as always, the trick is knowing where they are. It was so stressful for me (even though my attitude improved substantially over time) to deal with the bugs throughout pregnancy and then with a newborn. It was so hard to find time with young children around to do all it takes -- constantly cleaning bedding, vacuuming, etc. And, I cannot tell you how RELIEVED I am to have the heat treatment done and to feel confident that they are gone (and if they aren't, the PCO will come back, but it's not my problem to solve anymore). But, of course, thermal is very expensive -- we paid $2100 for a 2000 sq ft house. And I think that's a pretty good price as I have heard people quoting more. For us, it was worth it for the peace of mind. Are you in an apartment or condo? If they were back 6 months later, it sounds like reintroduction or that they came back through electric lines? Or, maybe they were back before then but you did not see them? I will look up your story. Good luck!! I hope these are gone from your lives soon!!

    David, thanks for your post on the passive monitoring system. So I like the idea of the passive monitor, but I did not want to try because of the following concerns: how does that deal with eggs?? Eggs are laid all over the place and won't there always be more? Also, how do I know they are all in there? Won't they naturally harbor in various locations? Also, wouldn't I have to buy many of these and keep throwing them away to get rid of the bugs? How long could this go on? Those are the concerns I had. Not sure if others have similar ones but just in case you need that feedback! Also, I know that these bites were bedbugs, they were the typical 2 or 3 bites in a row, with typical skin reactions.

    So, here is the update: Just in case this is relevant to anyone, and maybe for my own records, the timeline from above continues as follows:

    2/27 caught maybe 3rd instar or so in interceptor
    3/5, 3/8 found a bug in interceptor
    3/12 - child had bites
    3/38 - husband found a nymph (transluscent) on his hand and watched it fill with blood. Fun. Killed it.
    4/20 more bites on kids
    5/21 Older son has a bite, so I go to deal with his bed -- drive out one adult with a hairdryer; reisolated bed, washed all bedding, etc.
    6/3 my pajamas fell on floor, having been worn once, I put them back on that night (big no no, but we kept relaxing since we hadn't seen obvious evidence) -- 3 bites on leg next to groin that morning -- yuck!!
    6/15 picked up baby after a nap and fleetingly saw a bug -- killed it before I could id it (what can I say, mama bear took over); cleaned bed again and found live bug in trap -- inner ring
    7/7 younger son had 10 bites all over legs and bottom (he had been wandering around naked for a while the night before)
    7/13 paid our deposit for thermal
    7/18 thermal done!!

    We had the thermal on Friday 7/21. The prep was actually very depressing!! Even though it wasn't all the work of bagging everything, it was still quite a bit, plus we had already done the bag everything approach so it was not fun to have to do both. We had to move all furniture at least a foot away from the walls, leave drawers open, take down any and all pictures off the walls, remove all switch plate covers, remove alcohols, candles, deoderants, fresh foods (to fridge) and anything flammable. We also chose to remove all batteries, oils, crayons, and some other things as a precaution, though we left our musical instruments (they can go out of tune -- we didn't care). You wouldn't believe how many things have batteries in them in a house full of children! We also had to get all the laundry done that we could, and treated with extra heat and bagged and left in the basement (because too much clutter and clothes around make it harder to get to the right temp everywhere). Then, we went to a neighbor's house for the day (we had told only one other family what had happened -- unfortunately, this was not them, so we told them we were having some work done on the house). The guys came promptly at about 7:45 am, took a look, said we had done a good prep job, and then asked if we had any questions. I had read so much here that I didn't! They called about 2:10 pm to say they were done and that we could go back in at 6:10 pm. I snuck in to grab something at 5:30 and it just felt like being in a hot car after being parked with windows closed on a hot summer day. But I was out very quickly. We opened up the windows, and then went for a drive for the kids to fall asleep since they were not going to be able to sleep in there! At about 8:00 it was still about 100 degrees. At that point we got the fans in the windows to blow in cooler air (luckily it was a cooler day), and had the air conditioner running. It cooled down to a not awful 92 degrees or so by about 9:00. We brought the kids in from the car to their beds about 9:30. As they had forewarned, the place looked like it had been ransacked, all the furniture moved, turned over, couches and chairs all taken apart, etc. It was pretty awful! Luckily they didn't dump out the drawers, but they did jumble everything around inside all of them!

    Anyway, for now, it is over. I really, really, really hope it has worked! I am confident it has. But will update again to confirm.

  16. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 17:14:34
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    Two weeks out tomorrow and so far so good, no signs of anything. If anything survived and then hatched it should be coming out now so we are keeping our eyes out! Bummer there are so many Mosquitos around now--I keep wondering if bites on kids are Mosquitos or something else, but none have had the 2-3 bite pattern we saw before. Fingers crossed!!

  17. bbbgoneforeverplease

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 15 2014 13:20:50
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    Update! I think we can say we are bedbug free! It has now been 4 months with no bed bugs! There were a couple of mysterious bites on my son so I called the guys out. Their guy pointed out that these new bites were not typical bedbug because they were under his clothing. He put out traps anyway. That was just before the guarantee period was going to end, but he said, don't worry, we are with you until they are gone for good! Yay for a great company! It was expensive but so worth it! The guy also id'd some carpet beetles that I had caught, along with the old bed bugs. What joy!

    I'm just soooo glad this chapter of our lives is over!!

    This post should probably be classified as heat treatment success stories!

  18. Daylight

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 15 2014 13:52:19
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    Congratulations on your success!! Thanks for sharing your good news!


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