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Early phase of BB problem? Baby in apartment

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  1. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Mon Feb 5 2018 22:54:20
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    I'm seeking advice on how to deal with my situation. I’ve lived in my apartment in NYC for five years. For the last few months, I've been getting bites that look exactly like mosquito bites . . . but I never see or hear any mosquitoes. The bites always appear one at a time, never clustered, and weeks apart. Recently, the bites appeared more frequently-- still only one at a time, but only a couple of days between each one. Neither my partner nor our six-month-old baby has any visible bites.

    I checked our mattress for BB signs and found nothing. I then called M&M Pest Control, and they sent over a man and dog inspection team. The dog picked up a BB scent on one side of the bed-- nowhere else in the bedroom or the apartment. The man then did a visual inspection, but he found nothing on the sheets or mattress. All he found were a cluster of tiny dots on the wooden bed frame that he said were fecal stains. I was surprised that he didn’t find more evidence considering that I’d recently gotten quite a few bites, but he said the bugs could be deep inside the frame or the mattress, or they could be coming from another apartment. He advised us to spray rubbing alcohol on the bed frame and call M&M to arrange for apartment-wide treatment.

    So my first question is:

    1. Could it be anything other than bed bugs?

    Because of the scanty visual evidence, I would think that the dog got a false positive-- except for my bites. Is there any other kind of pest that could leave me with mosquito-like bites? I cleaned under the bed and found, in a bag of old clothes, a dead wood louse, some dead spider beetles, and a live spider beetle larva. But I don’t think any of those bite and any kind of dermatitis they caused wouldn’t look like a mosquito bite. A few months ago, I was lying on the couch and found some kind of tiny black flylike speck that I crushed and blood came out. But I have no idea what that could be-- it doesn’t seem like mites or fleas make sense here. (I don’t have pets.) And I haven’t seen anything since. Should I take apart the wooden bed frame myself and look for more evidence?

    If the answer is yes, it’s bed bugs, and I should consider myself lucky to have caught them so early, then my next question is:

    2. How do I protect myself, my baby, and my belongings, and not spread the problem, before treatment?

    After we sprayed our bed frame with rubbing alcohol, I read online that it also acts like a repellent— will the BB that survive thus leave the bed frame and move elsewhere in the bedroom or apartment? My baby’s crib is also in the bedroom, and I was relieved that the dog didn’t pick up any scent on it, but now it seems possible that the BB will move there! We bought a mattress cover and a metal bed frame (and we would throw out our wooden one), but similarly, I’m afraid to make any changes that could put my baby in greater danger of getting bitten and spread the infestation. (Or will the BB just climb up the metal and over the mattress cover to bite us?) I also bought ClimbUp interceptors and put them underneath the crib feet (which have metal wheels) and our wooden bed frame. (And pulled everything away from the walls.)

    M&M are coming this week to do a second inspection to see if the BB have moved elsewhere in my apartment. Should I throw out the wooden bed frame and cover the mattress before they inspect? Or should I leave everything as is to test if the first time was a false positive? or if the alcohol killed everything? I haven’t had any bites since then.

    3. What is the best treatment considering that this is an early stage and, most important, that I have a baby?

    M&M wants to treat my entire apartment, not just the bedroom, with a three-part “green” insecticide treatment. They don’t recommend heat treatment, for some reason (in part, I think, because apartments often don’t have the amperage necessary for the heat lamps, so they bring generations, which is expensive). Obviously, I don’t want to spend an insane amount of money, but I am not comfortable with any kind of pesticide near my baby, no matter how "green" it supposedly is.

  2. F. Pazos

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Mon Feb 5 2018 23:11:24
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    I think that the best you can do is to follow your PCO instructions as it seems they are doing a good approach... they are right to treat the whole apartment as that is the right thing to do.... about the chemicals, if they tell you that they are green and ok to use with your baby you should trust them, even with a heat treatment they would use some sort of chemical to ensure success.
    Yes it seems that if you have bed bugs (note that dogs and humans do make mistakes, we are not gods) it is a very early stage... again, follow the instructions that your PCO gives to you and you should be ok

    Professional PCO based in Hong Kong specialized in Bed Bugs.
  3. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 11:51:02
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    Leave everything exactly as it is, I would hold off on cleaning as well. It's much easier for me to find signs if the area remains undisturbed; frequent cleaning can make it harder to find signs.
    As noted above, do follow the advice of the PCO, and don't throw stuff out, the infestation hasn't even been confirmed.

    Killer of bed bugs for Homeless Empowerment Program
  4. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 13:30:28
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    Hi BigDummy-- I'm a little confused! The advice of the PCO is to throw out the wooden bed frame and cover the mattress; the PCO also advised me to spray alcohol all over the bed frame first. According to the PCO, the infestation IS confirmed.

    BigDummy - 1 hour ago  » 
    Leave everything exactly as it is, I would hold off on cleaning as well. It's much easier for me to find signs if the area remains undisturbed; frequent cleaning can make it harder to find signs.
    As noted above, do follow the advice of the PCO, and don't throw stuff out, the infestation hasn't even been confirmed.

  5. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 13:41:49
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    I didn't read that they advised you to throw out your bed frame and install mattress covers.

    From what you've stated the dog hit on the bed but the inspector found nothing other than possible fecal. I would expect to find cast skins and live bed bugs in the same area. Maybe the situation just isn't being conveyed in text so well but I would be suspect of anyone willing to treat if the only thing found was possible fecal matter and no other signs. That in itself would not convince me of a current infestation, but I'm not there to view the evidence.
    A second opinion wouldn't hurt. At the very least I would expect a thorough inspection to produce at least a single, live bed bug of any stage.

  6. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 13:53:22
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    Yes, this is exactly it: I expected them to find more than just a scent in one location and some fecal stains. But I AM getting bitten, and I can't figure out what else the bites could be. And I've had this frame for several years, and never had bites before. That's why the PCO said perhaps the bugs were coming from another apartment . . . but then, treating MY apartment won't solve the problem.

    After I read that alcohol might not just kill the BB but repel them and send them elsewhere, I demanded that the PCO's company send a second canine inspection team to my apartment to determine if the BB have moved on to my baby's crib. They said that alcohol would ONLY kill, not repel the BB, but they agreed to send another dog tomorrow afternoon.

    And this is why I don't know what to do now! By the way, I rent my apartment, so I'm trying to determine what's really going on before talking to my landlord. Because I doubt he'll agree to get the whole building treated without more evidence.

    BigDummy - 3 minutes ago  » 
    I didn't read that they advised you to throw out your bed frame and install mattress covers.
    From what you've stated the dog hit on the bed but the inspector found nothing other than possible fecal. I would expect to find cast skins and live bed bugs in the same area. Maybe the situation just isn't being conveyed in text so well but I would be suspect of anyone willing to treat if the only thing found was possible fecal matter and no other signs. That in itself would not convince me of a current infestation, but I'm not there to view the evidence.
    A second opinion wouldn't hurt. At the very least I would expect a thorough inspection to produce at least a single, live bed bug of any stage.

  7. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 14:31:57
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    Alcohol is only a contact killer. Spraying onto a frame without bed bugs right there will do nothing but make your bed flammable.
    At any rate, bed bugs are unaware that there's a meal just down the hall, so if they weren't already present on the crib I don't believe spraying your bed with alcohol would cause them to relocate to the crib.

  8. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 16:03:19
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    Ugh. Now that the alcohol has dried, is my wooden bed frame still super flammable? If so, maybe now it really IS time to replace it.

    I thought BB could smell our CO2 emissions, no? And while they might prefer a big two-adult feast, if they can't get to it, they might head for a small baby. My son has a couple of tiny red spots on his face today, and I worry they might be bites. Are BB bites generally proportional to the body? I.e., does a baby get tiny bites, or not really?

    As for my bites, as I say in my original post, I don't know what else they could be. I know people don't ID bites on this forum because it's too difficult, so I haven't posted any photos. But they really look like mosquito bites: red circles that are itchy, and when I scratch them, a red dot appears in the middle, which I assume is the bite mark. That's why it doesn't seem to be another kind of allergic reaction or hives. I know the bites are coming from inside my apartment because I got one on my elbow, one on my back, and one on the bottom of my foot, all of which have only been exposed inside the house. But I haven't gotten any bites since the PCO came and I sprayed the bed frame. I have found woodlice and spider beetles in the apartment, but they don't bite, and they've been here for ages anyway so I wouldn't suddenly have a reaction. I haven't seen anything else.

    Do you have any other idea of what the bites could be other than BB?

    BigDummy - 1 hour ago  » 
    Alcohol is only a contact killer. Spraying onto a frame without bed bugs right there will do nothing but make your bed flammable.
    At any rate, bed bugs are unaware that there's a meal just down the hall, so if they weren't already present on the crib I don't believe spraying your bed with alcohol would cause them to relocate to the crib.

  9. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 17:05:13
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    NYCfamily - 58 minutes ago  » 
    I thought BB could smell our CO2 emissions, no? And while they might prefer a big two-adult feast, if they can't get to it, they might head for a small baby. My son has a couple of tiny red spots on his face today, and I worry they might be bites. Are BB bites generally proportional to the body? I.e., does a baby get tiny bites, or not really?

    It's a tiny insect, not a wolf. If your baby is in another room that's a bit out of their detection range.

    It might be time to contact your landlord and see if they have a PCO that they prefer to use.
    Maybe post a picture of the suspected fecal deposits if they're still intact.

  10. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 17:14:08
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    Unfortunately, the crib is right next to our bed. We have since pulled it away from the wall and put ClimbUp interceptors underneath the crib feet (metal wheels on a wood structure).

    BigDummy - 6 minutes ago  » 

    NYCfamily - 58 minutes ago  » 
    I thought BB could smell our CO2 emissions, no? And while they might prefer a big two-adult feast, if they can't get to it, they might head for a small baby. My son has a couple of tiny red spots on his face today, and I worry they might be bites. Are BB bites generally proportional to the body? I.e., does a baby get tiny bites, or not really?

    It's a tiny insect, not a wolf. If your baby is in another room that's a bit out of their detection range.
    It might be time to contact your landlord and see if they have a PCO that they prefer to use.
    Maybe post a picture of the suspected fecal deposits if they're still intact.

  11. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 17:30:44
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    Aha, yes that would be a concern if there are bed bugs in your bed, a close proximity.

  12. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 19:03:04
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    I just found some crazy-looking bug-- not a bed bug-- in my bedroom. How do I add a photo?

    BigDummy - 1 hour ago  » 
    Aha, yes that would be a concern if there are bed bugs in your bed, a close proximity.

  13. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 20:12:18
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    Never mind, it's a (dead) house centipede.

  14. NYCfamily

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    Posted 1 week ago
    Tue Feb 6 2018 20:29:08
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    So, should I still replace our bed with a metal frame and cover our mattress? Or will the BB head on over to the crib? Will the ClimbUp interceptors be enough to stop them?

    M&M Pest Control had recommended that we either cover our wooden bed frame with 3-mm plastic or get rid of it. The former seems pretty difficult, so we just bought a cheap metal bed frame to replace it with for now. M&M instructed: "If you are planning on discarding the bed frame we recommend immediately sealing it in plastic as you disassemble it (such as a 3 mil contractor bag and sealing it up after you put the parts in). Disassembling it, sealing up, and removing it is a recommended step and will not in itself cause a bed bug problem to become worse as long as the parts are sealed up in that room prior to removal."

    As I said, the bed is the ONLY place the dog smelled BB, and the inspector found NO signs on the mattress or bedding, ONLY on the wood frame. (If I ever figure out how to post photos, I'll post images of those stains tomorrow morning.) Maybe there are BB on the floor underneath the bed, but there seems to be no way of knowing until we get the wood frame out of there and cover the mattress. So we would like to do that immediately, before the canine inspection tomorrow afternoon, AS LONG AS this won't endanger our baby further!

    BigDummy - 2 hours ago  » 
    Aha, yes that would be a concern if there are bed bugs in your bed, a close proximity.


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