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Do I still have BBs? Dog says yes, passive monitors say no, bites say maybe

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  1. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Jan 22 2019 22:37:57
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    Hi all,

    I need help figuring out if I still have bedbugs in my apartment since I have conflicting evidence and I’ve been stuck in this limbo for something like two months.

    The story is, back in October I found myself getting a few mysterious itchy bites on my hand and arm, so I hired a well-reputed independent inspector. He brought a K-9, and the dog alerted to my bed. The inspector found droppings on my bed slats which smeared with a wet paper towel. Bed bugs.

    Btw, around this time I saw my first and only ever live bed bug (in fact I’m not even 100% in retrospect it was a bed bug). But the point is, my case was never bad enough where it was obvious. At most I ever saw some casings, the fecal matter on the slats, and maybe 2 or 3 dead bed bugs, ever. Inspector said I had a mild case.

    Anyway: I worked with my landlord, they sent their PCO who did their own inspection, agreed with my inspector that I had a very mild case, and did two spray treatments. Of course I did the whole prep rigamarole as well.. Altogether I had nuvan, laundry/dryer, and heat chamber for various clothes/items, along with the sprays they did. Kept my daily clothes in bags which I’d change clothes when leaving/entering the house. I put an encasement on my mattress and put climb-up interceptors on the sofa and the bed. Regularly vacuumed thoroughly a handful of times in the weeks following, and tossed the bag.

    The thing is, in the past couple months I find myself still getting bumps, or “bites”, here and there. An average of maybe 2 a day. Some of them itch and some don’t, some fade away in a few hours, some in a week and some in 2+ weeks. They’re not that frequent; they aren’t usually in clusters. Only a very small number are “welt” like, and the rest are like pretty small red dots that itch for a brief period; I think at least some of these could be like little zits or clogged hair follicles.

    I haven’t found any live bugs in the interceptors… ever. I also haven’t found any poop stains on my sheets since the treatment, or the encasement, or any comprehensive evidence whatsoever that bugs remain in my apartment.

    But because I still was getting these little skin reactions, I hired my original inspector to come back a couple weeks ago. He explained that whatever he’d find would be inconclusive since it could be remnants from the original infestation… but I had been kind of desperate and frustrated not knowing if I still have bed bugs or not. So I had him look anyway.

    He arrived and spent close to an hour looking through my bed sheets, blankets, mattress, etc. He also looked thoroughly at my couch. All with a flashlight. All he could find was droppings on the bed slats which did smear, but he said it’s impossible to know whether these were from the original bugs or from a current situation. Anyway, he let out the dog and the dog DID alert again -- this time on my bed slats but also on my couch.

    I do know dogs can give false positives. I did some research, found out about the BB Alert passive monitors, and ordered a few. I put one on my bed slats and one on the couch. Here we are on day 8 now, and there are *zero* fecal stains on either monitor.

    Two “caveats”:

    (1) I cleaned up residuals from my bed frame last month the best I could with a household cleaner, but I think some or most remained. I probably need a stronger cleaner. I think I even can detect a faint whiff of them still if I get real close, so possibly the residuals could be repelling bugs from the monitor. But I am not convinced of that -- certainly the pesticides stopped working ages ago; my PCO said they only are effective for 15 days. HOWEVER, the monitor I placed on the bottom front of my couch is not near any residuals and also shows 0 evidence.

    (2) I had climb-ups on my couch the first 7 days, and I removed those today per what I read on this forum about them possibly interfering with monitors. I had climb-ups on my bed, but those weren’t isolating the bed anyway since only the foot of my bed has legs; the head of my bed is a solid wide piece on the ground. I took the bed climb-up off a few days ago. Still nothing on both monitors.

    To add even more fun-certainty, I found a dead mosquito on the floor behind my bed a week ago. I live in a cold climate so I doubt there’re a lot of mosquitoes, but I suppose a mosquito bite could’ve been responsible for at least some of my skin reactions.

    So I’m kind of stuck. Wouldn’t my bites have gotten significantly worse pretty quickly by now after like 2 months of intermittent inconclusive “bites”? Wouldn’t I have been seeing evidence of a bug presence by now? The dog could’ve been a false positive… but the same dog was correct in the original case. Yet, the passive monitors aren’t showing anything. Should I wait another week and if the monitors continue to show nothing, just move on with my life and ignore my skin reactions?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Jan 22 2019 22:41:29
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    Hi all,

    I need help figuring out if I still have bedbugs in my apartment since I have conflicting evidence and I’ve been stuck in this limbo for something like two months.

    The story is, back in October I found myself getting a few mysterious itchy bites on my hand and arm, so I hired a well-reputed independent inspector. He brought a K-9, and the dog alerted to my bed. The inspector found droppings on my bed slats which smeared with a wet paper towel. Bed bugs.

    Btw, around this time I saw my first and only ever live bed bug (in fact I’m not even 100% in retrospect it was a bed bug). But the point is, my case was never bad enough where it was obvious. At most I ever saw some casings, the fecal matter on the slats, and maybe 2 or 3 dead bed bugs, ever. Inspector said I had a mild case.

    Anyway: I worked with my landlord, they sent their PCO who did their own inspection, agreed with my inspector that I had a very mild case, and did two spray treatments. Of course I did the whole prep rigamarole as well.. Altogether I had nuvan, laundry/dryer, and heat chamber for various clothes/items, along with the sprays they did. Kept my daily clothes in bags which I’d change clothes when leaving/entering the house. I put an encasement on my mattress and put climb-up interceptors on the sofa and the bed. Regularly vacuumed thoroughly a handful of times in the weeks following, and tossed the bag.

    The thing is, in the past couple months I find myself still getting bumps, or “bites”, here and there. An average of maybe 2 a day. Some of them itch and some don’t, some fade away in a few hours, some in a week and some in 2+ weeks. They’re not that frequent; they aren’t usually in clusters. Only a very small number are “welt” like, and the rest are like pretty small red dots that itch for a brief period; I think at least some of these could be like little zits or clogged hair follicles.

  3. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Jan 22 2019 22:43:16
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    I haven’t found any live bugs in the interceptors… ever. I also haven’t found any poop stains on my sheets since the treatment, or the encasement, or any comprehensive evidence whatsoever that bb's remain in my apartment. Except: In Dec, I found one dead larva with its legs crossed in one of the sofa interceptor. Since the pesticides had worn off 1.5 months prior I assume this one had died ages ago and just fallen out of a crevice or something into the trap.

    But because I still was getting these little skin reactions, I hired my original inspector to come back a couple weeks ago. He explained that whatever he’d find would be inconclusive since it could be remnants from the original infestation… but I had been kind of desperate and frustrated not knowing if I still have bed bugs or not. So I had him look anyway.

    He arrived and spent close to an hour looking through my bed sheets, blankets, mattress, etc. He also looked thoroughly at my couch. All with a flashlight. All he could find was droppings on the bed slats which did smear, but he said it’s impossible to know whether these were from the original bugs or from a current situation. Anyway, he let out the dog and the dog DID alert again -- this time on my bed slats but also on my couch.

    I do know dogs can give false positives. I did some research, found out about the BB Alert passive monitors, and ordered a few. I put one on my bed slats and one on the couch. Here we are on day 8 now, and there are *zero* fecal stains on either monitor.

    A few “caveats” on the monitors:

    (1) I cleaned up residuals from my bed frame last month the best I could with a household cleaner, but I think some or most remained. I probably need a stronger cleaner. I think I even can detect a faint whiff of them still if I get real close, so possibly the residuals could be repelling bugs from the monitor. But I am not convinced of that -- certainly the pesticides stopped working ages ago; my PCO said they only are effective for 15 days. HOWEVER, the monitor I placed on the bottom front of my couch is not near any residuals and also shows 0 evidence.

    (2) I had climb-ups on my couch the first 7 days of passive monitoring, and I removed those today per what I read on this forum about them possibly interfering with monitors. I had climb-ups on my bed, but those weren’t isolating the bed anyway since only the foot of my bed had legs; the head of my bed had a solid wood plank on the ground. I took the bed climb-up off a few days ago. Still nothing on both monitors.

    (3) My monitor on my leather couch kept falling off the bottom since the bottom is fabricy, and so I just put it on the bottom front part of the couch. I saw a picture in bedbugs UK flicker gallery showing the monitor mounted similarly in backseat of a car so I figure this is ok -- any reason it wouldn't be?

    To add even more fun-certainty, I found a dead mosquito on the floor behind my bed a week ago. I live in a cold climate so I doubt there’re a lot of mosquitoes, but I suppose a mosquito bite could’ve been responsible for at least some of my skin reactions.

    So I’m kind of stuck. Wouldn’t my bites have gotten significantly worse pretty quickly by now after like 2 months of intermittent inconclusive “bites”? Wouldn’t I have been seeing evidence of a bug presence by now? The dog could’ve been a false positive… but the same dog was correct in the original case! Yet, the passive monitors aren’t showing anything.

    What should I do? Wait another week and if the monitors continue to show nothing, just move on with my life and ignore my skin reactions? Or, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  4. Leila

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Tue Jan 22 2019 23:50:09
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    Only red the heading not your post BUT: here you go . We ended up doing vikane tentet.
    First dogs said no! I pit everything into place ! Got bites :
    Second dogs said YES! Trust your bites. In 9 months i only found 2 bedbugs. But bites daily .
    So hey our dog companie when there are bites send other dogs to check for free!!! Insist on it.

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Jan 23 2019 8:39:34
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    Hi,

    OK a long post but well structured and gives all the details in a clear fashion, thank you, it makes it so much easier to help you.

    Also thank you for reading and researching before hand, it will make it so much easier to reference things.

    Yes Passive Monitors work better without isolation, by a factor of 7 days or thereabouts. They can work together but due to the isolators potentially changing the bedbugs behavior it slows down time it could take for a bedbug to start using the monitor as harbourage. Its why I say 7 days is good sign and 14 days is all clear in non isolated and add 7 days to each with isolation.

    If the skin reactions continue while you have the passive Monitor in place after 7 days the greater the level of skin responses the more faecal you can expect. If you have 20+ skin reactions and nothing on the detection plate the odds are extremely low.

    From the description I would suggest you look for the FlickR images of the sofa turned onto its back showing a front edge install rather than the vertical. While both will work one is less obvious and therefore more functional. The fit and interior of cars is also different to sofas and that needs to be taken into account.

    If you get 7 more days and no signs then you can rule out bedbugs as the cause and can decide what options are left but you might find that dropping from BEDBUG DEFCON 1 can reduce the symptoms.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) 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 products.
  6. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Jan 23 2019 9:59:47
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    Thank you both for the replies!

    David,

    Thank you for your patient reply. Having found another “bite” on my stomach this morning as well as some mysterious particles on my bed sheets (photo1, photo2, hopefully nothing concerning but a case of Bedbug Defcon 1 ? ) I find myself feeling grumpy today so I appreciate your helpful response.

    Here is where I mounted the monitor on my couch (photo). I put it there because when I apply it on the underside as in the photo in your Flickr gallery, it keeps falling off the fabricky underside of the couch -- it's not sticky enough. Do you recommend I leave it where it is, or get some strong adhesive (glue? Velcro? Strong double sided tape) to move and mount it on the underside of the couch?

    Here’s where I mounted the monitor on my bed (photo1, photo2), following an example from the flickr gallery. Note: the mattress is not crushing the monitor, in fact there’s hardly any weight on it since the monitor is at the corner. Would you also agree that any leftover residuals that I couldn't clean off are unlikely to have a repelling effect nearly 3 months past application? I know it's probably impossible to speak in absolutes, but I'm just hoping to get some extra peace of mind that the monitors as I've placed them are the best barometer of the situation I could reasonably have.

    With gratitude,
    a1

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Wed Jan 23 2019 10:17:07
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    Hi,

    Skin reaction on stomach are extremely unlikely to be bedbugs as they would be covered while sleeping and as bedbugs prefer not to walk on their food source to feed its a highly unlikely location anyway.

    The couch install will be fine. Sometimes even just under the cushion in the front edge works.

    Equally the bed is fine.

    David

  8. Leila

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Jan 26 2019 1:21:56
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    David how màny of your passive monitors do you need for : 2 rooms. Each with one double bed and one babybed. 150 cm long. ?
    Where do u put them if the beds are isolated. But they eventually do manage to get in?
    They prefer my head so i guess where my head lies. We have a matress and box spring. Intbeween the matress and box spring? Under bedsheet?

  9. PNW_photogapher

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Jan 26 2019 8:46:28
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    Oh my god I totally feel for you. I’m in the Walmart parking lot right now with a bunch of OTC PC sprays. My story literally mirrors yours, woke up one day with 4 bites in a row on my left hand. Thought it was scabies but didn’t have the intense itching. Nothing for almost a month and now I’ve had bumps pop up on my knee, ankle, arm, back and side. Like yours they look like pimples. What’s odd as well is some of the bumps will stay while others go away. And this is now happening every night, not quite sure what is going on. I used to work in a hotel and had extensive training to spot these guys in guest rooms. Normally they almost always reside in the headboard and or box spring. We’ve only spotted them in night stands when it’s become a substantial infestation.

    I’m frustrated because I can’t find a single sign. With this many bites I know there HAS to be a sign. I haven’t even found fecal stains. I want to just move out and sleep I’m my car. Grr

    Anyway if it’s any consolation, I used DE the first time I’ve experienced this and it worked EXTREMELY well. I hadn’t been bitten until I vacuumed it up from along the border of the carpet because my aunt freaked out about it being there. Anyways along with that and the “Harris toughest bed bug killer” I was able to see a decrease in bites. Maybe try those things?

  10. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Jan 26 2019 12:29:33
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    Hi Leila,

    The answers to your questions can be found here:

    https://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/passive-monitors/

    They are used one per bed, I am sure you can appreciate other common questions have been answered in the static content of both this site and my own which again I would recommend you read more thoroughly than you appear to have done so far.

    David

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sat Jan 26 2019 12:32:19
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    Hi PNW_photogapher,

    I would recommend you also stop treating until you confirm what your trying to kill, otherwise you should not be shocked nor dismayed by your lack of success, it’s blindly obvious why that approach fails. After all it’s akin to randomly pressing the button on your camera and hoping to get the perfect shot.

    David

  12. Leila

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Jan 27 2019 0:34:22
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    Ok. Will take the risk of spreading the DE more thinly.
    And install your passive monitors on each bed.
    The children beds are neither slat nor divan. They have a wood sheet like slats without the slats. Its just one wood sheet. Do i put it on the wood like on slat example or on side like on divan example?
    How thin for DE and cimexa? like you can still see it? or like invisible thin?
    I guess will take longer for monitors. so if i am able ( psychologically) to remove climb ups.
    This will go faster? can i leave them? actually great difficulty sleeping knowing they can come more easily.

  13. Leila

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Jan 27 2019 0:45:10
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    Ok having a really cowardly idea. But sorry this has been taking psychologal toll over 9 months.
    In the spare room the dogs marked. I could set up bed with no climb ups. But monitors. And have my husband sleep there. because he really doesnt care about bites.
    Will they bite him- if i am not there. Knowing they prefer me and the kids.
    And me and kids just stay put with climb ups in other room ..

  14. Leila

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Jan 27 2019 0:47:27
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    Or will thses things crawl 10meters + to get to me and children? how lazy are they? will they start biting husband or crawl the extra 10+ to get softer skin and more fancy blood?

  15. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Jan 27 2019 1:53:05
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    Leila - 1 hour ago  » 
    Will take the risk of spreading the DE more thinly.

    There is no "risk" in using things correctly, the "risk" comes from not going things correctly.

    When the instructions and manufacturers say to use something lightly then it is correct to use it lightly. The risks come from people not using things correctly and not following logic.

    Bedbugs will not crawl past an opportunity to feed to find another, it's simply not in their nature.

    David

  16. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Sun Jan 27 2019 9:54:16
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    PNW_photographer,
    Sincerely wishing you good luck from one confused person to another!

    Not all of my "bites" look like pimples but some do. But even still, some of them go away really fast. I found one on my forearm a few days ago, but today it's almost completely invisible. I found one this morning after the shower and it looked really red after showering (when the skin is warm) but now having cooled off it's kind of faded and not that prominent. It's like one or two a day at most right now. The last few days were pretty good to me and I've been trying to move forward and not think about this stuff too much, which definitely helps.

    So far in my case - day 14 since installing the BB Alert passive monitors on bed and sofa (though 6 days since un-isolating the sofa) and still have no fecal stains on either. Knock on wood and fingers crossed that I'm almost out of the woods here.

    PNW_photographer, have you tried installing passive monitors? According to David if you have anything detectable in terms of bedbugs these will indicate it. I'm guessing you're in the US like me, I ordered them online from this website "bed bug supply" that shipped from FL for free and I got them relatively quickly (though I live closer to FL)

    Best,
    a1

  17. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Feb 11 2019 7:42:59
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    Hi again,

    So I've had the monitors installed for 3+ weeks now on the sofa and bed. Still no fecal stains on either monitors. However I still wake up with bites every few days or so. For instance:

    • this morning I found these bites (photo) on my left arm.
    • Similarly, a few days ago I found this bite on my right arm (photo)
    • And also a few days ago I found what looked like *maybe* a dried blood stain on my sheet (photo) -- not sure if it was or wasn't, and I was able to scrape it off with my fingernail. Does anyone have thoughts on that?

    Also, I got a bit spooked by threads like this one and this one which imply that while not necessarily likely, it's still possible for passive monitors to miss infestations in some cases.

    And I keep thinking back to how the dog which correctly detected my original infestation also alerted to my apartment last month... and so while it's possible this second detection was a false positive, if I'm still getting bites that appear overnight, is it really more likely that something else is happening or that I still have bb's?

    I'm having a really hard time reconciling my personal experience, vague/unclear signals, and somewhat contradictory evidence on this forum it doesn't feel productive to spend hours scouring this forum trying to analyze my way out of this so maybe I should just get a more experienced PCO over here and just treat again. It would be tough emotionally to go through a treatment process again. But I still am getting mixed signals here.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks,
    anodyne

  18. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Mon Feb 11 2019 8:18:42
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    Hi,

    The image of the suspect blood spot is 100% not blood. Its far too orange in nature to have come out of a person.

    So we still have no confirming signs but skin reactions.

    To offer a response to the two threads you linked to. Since we started to use them in 2009 we have found them to be a useful tool, if they were not we would not use them, if there was something better I would use that. Since 2009 I seen less than 10 cases were the monitor failed to detect and confirming proof of bedbugs was found, those are odd's I am going to say are acceptable after 10 years, less than 1 per year, given than more than that win the lottery each year i am going to say those are acceptable odds.

    Equally while I do have some naysayers its always the same limited few and sock puppety types and in reality I would rather look at the opinions of credible people such as the authors of Advanced in the Biology and Management of the Modern Bed Bug which confirms the products, processes and methods we use work. To put this into context that includes hotels who detect bedbugs once a month before their guests do, it was not until we had clients into their third year did we realise that when done correctly guest reports simply don't occur. Given that the house keeping staff have less incentive to get this right than you do in your own home its a very robust approach.

    Yes, some people do get sucked into reading too much, this can often be the case if you are prone to "misery loves company" and get sucked into a story that sounds similar to your own. In the case of the "glass is always half empty" you are going to fall on the side of "I have skin reactions, they cant confirm bedbugs but what else could it be", all I ask is that you are mindful of that subconscious bias and try not to let it control you.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  19. anodyne194

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Feb 14 2019 0:57:38
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    Hi all,

    Welp, tonight, sadly I found what looks like a fecal stain on my light blue sheets.

    - zoomed in photo
    - zoomed out photo

    Can anyone please confirm whether these look like what a BB fecal stain would look like?

    This is a pretty tiny spot. I think I found a couple other spots on my sheets (may post later) but which seem less dark than this one. Altogether, it begs the question of "how do I know this wasn't already here from months ago before my initial treatment?" Do BB fecal stains come out in laundry with detergent and high heat water?

    Also I found a weird hard yellow thing on the sheet. It doesn't *seem* bug related, but I'm not an expert so might as well post it here in case anyone wants to look: photo.

    This despite the monitors continuing not to have fecal stains. I wonder if residuals on the bed frame from 4 months ago, despite my past efforts to clean them off, still resulted in bugs being repelled away from the monitor on the bed. Either that, or this isn't BB stains, or it is an old stain that was not removable in the laundry.

    Anyway, if that is a (new) fecal stain, is that a strong enough signal to suggest treatment?

    Thanks again,
    a1

  20. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 months ago
    Thu Feb 14 2019 4:57:53
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    Hi,

    No that is too small and does not sit on the fibers as a faecal trace would. Equally as covered in the "blood spots on sheets primer" washed stains when read blood or faecal both turn a jet black colour which this is not so its not washed in.

    If I had to guess I would say its a "dust fiber" such as the sort you often find around air went or on the blades of fans used in dusty environments.

    If you concerned test it with Bed Bug Blue but expect it to be negative.

    The yellow item is not insect, very similar to a lot of "skin tag / scab" material you often find when looking.

    Hope that helps.

    David


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