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Do I have bed bugs? I am going crazy

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  1. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 12:53:02
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    two weeks ago I was bit on my foot by something that caused two huge welts (spaced about six inches apart). The next day I found a tiny red bug on our guest bed. I panicked thinking we had bed bugs and called an exterminator who sent out a dog/handler team to inspect.

    The dog found 6 alerts. Three in the master bedroom (one on a bookcase, one by the foot of the bed on my side, and one by the foot of the bed on my husband's side). Two in the guest room (one on the guest bed) and one on a carseat in the closet. Also the dog found one on a carseat/stroller combo for my infant in the front hallway. The handler sent the bug to the entomologist who said it was definitely not a beg bug. The exterminator said we probably had them since there were so many alerts. Nobody uses the guest room bed (we had a caregiver sleep on it about 2 months ago) so we wrapped it up in encasements and taped shut the zippers and disposed of it. Same with the two carseats (i tore one car seat apart and could not find anything in it). We also sealed our own mattress and are in the process of clearning the books from the bookcase. We thought it was interesting that there were no bugs detected on either of my children's cribs, since they are used all the time. This exterminator said when I called later that it was likely we had bugs since there were so many alerts, but that it is possible that a bug could have left feces on the car seats and there was no live bed bugs in them.

    Another exterminator came the next day and flipped the remaining master bedroom mattress over as well as the box spring. There are no tracings of fecal matter, blood or casings on any of the sheets or mattress. The exterminator set out about 20 traps in our room and the guest room.

    Is it possible that this dog was wrong? Or does my family just not react to the bites? I am going crazy here. It is so expensive to treat and we already have thrown away about $1500 of stuff and paid $450 to hire the dog/handler team. How can I know for sure we have bed bugs before spending anymore money? Also, I found a bite on my newborn this morning, but my husband also found a mosquito in our room. I am going CRAZY!

  2. spideyjg

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 13:19:23
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    Proof is finding evidence. An actual bug, fecal matter, eggs, castings etc. The dog alerts are the areas to first focus on in the search for evidence.

    Capture any and all insects you run across and compare against BB pics.

  3. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 13:24:22
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    thanks spideyjg. how long after you started getting bites did you start to find evidence? i am wondering if it's going to take a while. i keep looking, studying sheets and wondering.

  4. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 13:48:02
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    Did the Handler do a visual inspection of the alerted areas?

  5. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 15:40:53
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    Hi LVK9,

    The handler did an inspection of the two mattresses where the alerts were. He lifted up the sheets and used a flashlight. My baby was crying so I wasn't able to watch his inspection too closely. He did not inspect the carseats. He said he could not find anything in the mattresses, but that the BBs could be deep inside. I was so ignorant on bed bugs and what he was supposed to be doing that I didn't even ask that he check the carseats. Now I know! The superintendent's exterminator came the next day and turned the remaining mattress (and box spring) up on their sides and looked all over them. Much more thorough. He didn't find anything though. I wish I had torn apart the second carseat before throwing it away, but it was already in a zipped bag and I was afraid the BBs could escape if I messed with it. BTW, the whole inspection with the K9 was 55 minutes for a <1400 sf apartment.

    Thanks for any insights.

  6. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 16:51:15
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    uesider

    I sent a PM to you with my contact info.

    Jim & LVK9 are correct... It is very important to capture a specimen to confirm any K9 alerts.

    I realize that you have placed sticky traps out, but I would recommend trying a set of Insect Interceptors on the legs of your beds & furniture to see if you can confirm the alerts with a physical specimen.

    Are the sticky traps flat pieces of cardboard or trays with a lip around the edge? Sometimes the bugs will go around or under the trays.

    The K9 alerts raise the index of suspicion, but unconfirmed K9 alerts need to be verified .... Consider the areas that were identified to be areas of concern, but it is important to keep an open mind until we have actually ID'ed a specimen

  7. sisterfaith

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 18:37:32
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    I was getting a bitten for 2 weeks. Never saw what bit me. Thought it was mosquitos because they were single bites. Not clusters. Then heard my neighbor below had BB. Still didn't think it was BB. Then I had a cluster of 4 bites on my ankle and thought ...it's fleas or BB. I stayed up for hours researching BB. Late in the night, almost dawn...looked over at my bed and saw a bug. Snagged it with a piece of clear packing tape. Stuck it on a piece of paper. It was a BB. That was 3 days ago. Even tho I tore the bed apart....I still haven't found another one...but I'm still getting bitten. I'm now debugging. I don't know if this helps you. But every time I thought I was going crazy...I'd look at that bug and thank god I found it.

    It's expensive and exhausting, make sure it's BB before you go down this road.
    Best of luck!!

  8. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 18:41:39
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    Hi Doug,

    The traps are Catchmaster traps like the link here:

    http://bug-guy.com/catchmaster%20glueboards_large2.gif

    The exterminator told me that they have caught bed bugs before. So far we have caught 1 small roach-like insect (yuck).

    Now I am freaking out more b/c I found a black ink like stain on my baby's bloomers that she is wearing. It's a few black spots with what looks like a little ring of oil around each of them. I tried to take a photo, but my camera is horrible. My husband was babysitting her when it happened I think. The bloomers were fine earlier today. I have the outfit soaking in hot water now. My husband said he wasn't holding any pens today. I think I am slowly losing my mind...

  9. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 18:53:12
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    uesider if the marks you saw are BB fecal matter it should react to Hydrogen Peroxide. Fecal stains from BB are digested blood meal. Or next time you see stains you can wet your finger or paper towel and smear the stain. If it turns rust color it is likely BB fecal stains.

  10. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 18:59:34
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    thank you LVK9! i can't believe all of the intricacies of bed bug detection.

  11. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 19:11:48
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    LVK9, I just tried your hydrogen peroxide suggestion on my baby's bloomers. The stain stayed the same color (dark black). Yay! I was so scared they were in her new stroller.

  12. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 20:15:58
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    Okay, you have verified a specimen .... The sticky traps may capture more specimens.

    The K9 team that you utilized is highly experienced & reliable ... I would proceed on the presumption that the K9 alert locations are areas of recent activity & utilize that info to help formulate the treatment plan ...

    The Climb Up Interceptors will help track activity during treatment & provide long term monitoring to detect any future activity.

  13. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 20:39:02
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    I actually haven't verified a specimen yet. We just caught a roach. I will buy those interceptors though and see if I can catch a BB.

  14. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 21:02:07
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    Sisterfaith, Thank you for sharing your experience. I can't believe how sneaky those BBs are. I am glad you finally caught one. I hope you have a very low infestation and they are eliminated soon! P.S. have you found fecal matter or blood at all? I am frantically searching for it and coming up short. I have new neighbors and wondering if this is just the beginning...

  15. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:03:40
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    Uesider
    Excuse me, I confused Sisterfaith's comment with a response from you.

    I have a lot of confidence in the K9 team that you used, but we are still dealing with unconfirmed alerts for now ... The interceptor devices should help capture a specimen & settle the question.

    Here is a link to an article about testing fecal traces
    http://newyorkvsbedbugs.org/2009/06/22/phenolphthalin-test-as-inexpensive-surveillance-tool/

  16. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:32:50
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    thanks doug. a couple long winded questions, i sealed and disposed of three of the alert items (guest bed and two carseats), and encased two alerts (the two on my mattress). the one remaining alert is my bedroom bookcase. i am in the process of sealing and storing all the books and rubbing the bookcase down with murphy oil soap. do you think these actions helped at all? what else can i do proactively until i find a bug? i am in the process of hot washing/drying and sealing clothes in the vacuum space saver bags from bed bath and beyond. i am not vacuuming the air out of them (so as not to introduce any bed bugs from my vacuum), just sealing them. one more question, my bed is on wheels that are sitting in 6 inch plastic risers. do you think bed bugs can climb up those? i am guessing yes, but wanted to get your thoughts. thanks!

  17. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:41:31
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    uesider, I was in a hurry the last time I posted. If the fecal stain was small an absorbed into the clothing, It may have a very small reaction if at all. This is only a way to test, but a negative result on your daughters clothing should not be the definitive answer to bed bugs or no bed bugs.

  18. uesider

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:44:39
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    LVK9, thanks! I definitely did not declare that victory, as you can see I have been on this website all day and night:( Just a hopeful victory of no bed bug crawling on my daughter at the time.

  19. KillerQueen

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:52:13
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    I sent you a private message uesider

  20. LVK9

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 22:59:38
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    Other than having proof (bed bug, cast skin, fecal stains, blood spots) all you have right now are two bites from what you do not know. I would not start throwing everything out until I had proof. I would take precautions by wrapping furniture that the dog alerted to and removing it to say the garage for now if you have one. I woke up this morning with a red mark on my inner arm, looks close to how I react to bed bug bite but not quite, this is not proof it is a red mark.

  21. sisterfaith

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jul 25 2009 23:28:12
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    uesider - 2 hours ago  » 
    Sisterfaith, Thank you for sharing your experience. I can't believe how sneaky those BBs are. I am glad you finally caught one. I hope you have a very low infestation and they are eliminated soon! P.S. have you found fecal matter or blood at all? I am frantically searching for it and coming up short. I have new neighbors and wondering if this is just the beginning...

    this is my second night of wiping down my mattress & boxspring with Murphy's and alcohol. I checked between them...and tonight I saw NOTHING. I know that doesn't mean they aren't there....but I am hopeful that it will be low. Just 2 more nights of wiping down the bed. After the PCO comes on Wends they will be encased. Phew! I've also got it standing in ss bowls of murphy's. I also washed the floors again with Murphy's. I bought airtight boxes from Staples ($15) and will start to wash things soon.
    Hang in there! Don't panic. It sounds like you're doing the right things...and it could turn out that you don't have BB!


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