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Double checking: is this an instar with casing and feces?

(9 posts)
  1. murielandthebug

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Thu Sep 6 2018 23:34:58
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    Hey everyone. I'm new here. I drafted something I wanted to post before registering, then thought better of posting the 2,000 word screed I wrote! I'm going to try breaking it up into more manageable posts over several subforums.

    First up: is this a bedbug?

    I'm fairly certain it is, since emailing this image to my landlord instigated 2 visits from a PCO.

    Then again, I'm pretty certain they're using a PCO with no experience in dealing with bed bugs, which I'll talk about in other posts. So I wouldn't put it past them to misidentify a bug.

    But based on my own research and the bites we're getting, I'm pretty confident.

    I caught this specimen by running a plastic collar stay between the joints in our wooden Ikea headboard. I managed to bag him in Ziploc. I switched to the other side of the bed and scraped out 2 more of the same size and appearance. These I didn't save; I simply squished them on the frame leaving dark black stains on the wood.

    I took the photo a few days after catching him. It looks like he molted and scatted in the interim.

    Aside from these 3, I have spotted maybe 2 tiny, unfed nymphs on the top of our mattress. One before and one after our first PCO treatment. They're so small that they're hard to describe or even photograph. I still have one bagged though. Also I think I found and cleared 2 nests of eggs (one pictured here: ). In the past week and a half, we have spotted no more bugs, but bites continue (despite 2 PCO visits). I've yet to encounter an adult, and we haven't had any rust red or black stains. Other than the nests, I haven't found any signs of harborage. They're really elusive!

  2. murielandthebug

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Thu Sep 6 2018 23:37:07
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    I'm realizing now, that black spot in the second picture might be feces. There are some other black spots on our headboard, but they're so spaced out that it's hard to tell if they are natural marks in the unfinished wood. I haven't seen anything clustered around a harborage, but I realize I don't really know what I'm looking for.

  3. loubugs

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Fri Sep 7 2018 11:25:40
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    You have bed bugs. As you thought, nymphs, shed skins, feces. The PCO needs education in bed bug remediation.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  4. murielandthebug

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Fri Sep 7 2018 11:45:37
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    Thanks @loubugs. I hope their education isn't on the job in our apartment.

  5. loubugs

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Sat Sep 8 2018 9:05:31
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    murielandthebug - 21 hours ago  » 
    Thanks @loubugs. I hope their education isn't on the job in our apartment.

    I agree with you.

  6. murielandthebug

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Oct 4 2018 18:00:03
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    UPDATE!
    After my posts in this thread, bites continued. Our climbups and passive monitors showed no signs, but I did dismantle our bed frame at one point and found several fecal stains on the unfinished wood (they streaked with a wet Q-tip). I also believe I found one smooshed carcass on the frame. Not quite sure how that untimely demise happened. I might have gotten lucky and hit it with my bumbling hands while I wrangled my Ikea puzzle apart.

    After the bed dismantling (which involved some careful Cimexa application) I was hopeful that I fixed the problem myself, because we went about a week with no bites. We then left the apartment on vacation for more than a week and returned to receive bites on our first night back.

    It took us nearly a month to get a 3rd PCO treatment due to scheduling issues and that intervening vacation. We got double inspections this time, first from the owner of the PCO company ahead of treatment, and then by the treatment team. Both made us feel crazy, as they kept telling us they saw no signs and they weren't sure if treatment was necessary. I even gave the physical specimen that was pictured in my original post in this thread to the owner during his inspection and he told me, "That's not a bed bug." He took it with him to look at with a microscope, and I initially felt stupid for giving up my only physical proof.

    Despite their misgivings, they proceeded with an application of Crossfire ( because of our repeated complaints that we wanted something more effective than Suspend).

    And it turns out we were justified! About 12 hours after treatment, while making the bed, I found this sucker just hanging out on the floor below the bed:

    Even to my layman's eyes, I know what that is. Could I request an expert give a more detailed ID? Is that an adult female, or not quite?

    The photo does not capture the fact that it wasn't quite dead. I easily picked it up with tweezers and bagged it, but on closer inspection its legs were still moving about very slowly.

  7. HifromChi

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Oct 5 2018 12:45:41
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    I'm not an expert, but have had bed bugs, and that's a well fed nymph you have on your hands. It appears to be a stage or two away from an adult. I would get a 2nd opinion if I were you, if the PCO your building is using is looking at the actual specimens you've already provided and still doesn't know what they are looking at, you're going to be in for a long itchy battle.

    Hoping things improve for you soon, keep us posted!

  8. murielandthebug

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Oct 5 2018 18:13:23
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    They apparently saw the same image from the very first post and thought it was bed bugs. At least they agreed to start treatments based on that, way back in August. I think their recent reluctance is based purely on the fact that they couldn't find any evidence of infestation beyond the bites we were experiencing.

    I'm pretty sure there is no denying the latest find is a bed bug!

  9. loubugs

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Mon Oct 8 2018 7:04:28
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    Crossfire works really well. PCO should be familiar with all stages of bed bug life cycle. They need more education (but not at your expense).


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