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Experts: Bat bugs, bed bugs, condo, and success.

(5 posts)
  1. FThat

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Oct 9 2009 23:36:46
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    All -

    After finding ONE bedbug in my condo (weeks of random bites) and having the top two pest control companies in Minneapolis come tear my place apart (and identify it as a bed bug in a lab), they found NOTHING. They ripped into my couch and mattress/boxspring (with my encouragement) - NOTHING. They turned the place upside down. NOTHING. I have lived here for NINE years. NOTHING. I can not communicate the thoroughness of the search. Bites started two weeks ago.

    I only found the one BBG after doing insect "foggers" all over my condo, thinking I was being bitten by spiders seeking fall shelter. After the fogger, and my scrupulous eye, there it was on its back next to my bed, ew. However, because my condo is at the top of the building., there was some question by the PCO's about it being a Bat Bug (we have many bats in the rafters).

    Sadly, it was not.

    BUT. IF YOU LIVE IN A BUILDING THAT HAS BATS OR MAY HAVE BATS, BAT BUGS ARE A VERY REAL POSSIBILITY. THEY LOOK EXACTLY ALIKE AND CAN NOT BE DIFFERENTIATED WITHOUT A PROFESSIONAL AND A MICROSCOPE.

    HOWEVER. I was not so lucky. My bites started two weeks ago. I have lived in my condo NINE years. I do not travel. I do not have guests. I do not bring in used items. According to the PCO: friend or neighbors.

    Now. I have read SO many accounts on this site about people dealing with neighbors who had bed bugs. I asked for the scoop from the pros twice, and was given the scoop twice. Here is the reality: A neighbor's infestation would need to be RIDICULOUS before the bugs would come find you. To the point of law suit. The number of insects that can feed on 1-to-2 humans is massive, and would have to be a problem for so, so long before another host was needed, that these people either vacated or ignored the issue. It's NOT COMMON.

    If you get ONE, or TWO BBGs that you or PCO can find - and no more - after scrupulous searching, it is far more likely that a) there is an infestation "starting" around you. If you are a condo/apartment owner, demand inspections for all surrounding units, and/or b) you traveled/stayed at a friends' home recently (I did not) and brought a few back, or had a friend stay with you (I did not) who brought a few with them or c) had someone in your home briefly that brought them. Note that this last scenario is so rare as to not really be a reality.

    Know though, that once there is one, there will be more.

    Next step? Ensure there is not an infestation near you. It would be next door or below/above you. If none of the scenarios above is possible, screw your pride and demand your landlord/association do an inspection and as needed, a thermal-heat treatment to all units - AT THE SAME TIME. Or, alternatively, move, naked, leave all of your belongings behind, and start your life over.

    Targeted pesticide treatments do not cause them to spread, but do not keep them from coming back. Items bought at the drug store do NOTHING.

    Thermal heat treatment is about $1200. From what I have read about the people on this site NOT doing this, they must be insane. It will kill EVERYTHING. If you are in a position to know that someone else will not re-introduce them, do it. WHY NOT?? Take out a loan!

    If you have few and can not identify a source (travel, hotel, guest, neighbor) DO IT. Otherwise, they WILL spread - lots more to you, and then to others. Be responsible. If you have more, again, DO IT. What, I ask, is stopping you????

    There is NO scenario other than potential neighbor infestation where thermal heat is not THE solution.

    Do NOT let your landlord/association tell you that pesticide will work, unless the problem has been 100% identified as your unit only. Even then, not guaranteed.

    I feel like I have read a lot of posts where a) someone has not spoken to a pest control professional, b) has spoken only to a pest control*inspector*, and not an remediation expert, or c) has spoken only to pest control *experts* assigned by their landlord or association.

    All three are just ridiculous. You CAN combat this. Take the situation into your own hands. DEMAND the units around you be inspected, by YOUR inspector. And take it from there. If they are infected, DEMAND thermal heat treatment all around. Pay for it, and sue them if you have to. If it is just you, do the thermal heat, and get a good night's sleep for the first time in FOREVER. Then decide what you want to throw out. You have given your neighbors fair warning. If they choose to ignore, they can not come back at you weeks/months later and say you infected them. They may have traveled, etc.

    Do not throw out/buy new furniture before you do any of this. You know that much, right?

    It is solvable. I see so much hopelessness on this site, it makes me sad. Take charge.

  2. Strabat

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Oct 9 2009 23:54:39
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    Wow. You've got strength!

  3. hathead

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Oct 10 2009 9:27:31
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    first of all i am a big fan of thermal
    even though our first treatment failed
    and we had to have them to come back a second time
    which they did willingly
    we are now (about 60 days after 2nd treatment) cautiously optimistic
    still got mysterious bites, but could have been mosquitoes
    or other things
    will know more now that the weather is turning colder
    and we are not in the garden as much

    but here is what i want to say:
    we have a large (3200 squ. ft) victorian single family
    they quoted us $10,000-15,000 to treat the house (over the phone)
    when they came to see it, we got a much better quote of $8000
    which looked good to us in view of our situation
    and in comparison to where they started

    i would do it again
    but those of you who have access to thermal for $1200??
    no-brainer!!! go for it and thank your lucky stars you don't live
    in our area where only rich people could possibly afford this treatment

    we are not "rich" by most standards (I'm a schoolteacher and my partner was laid off 9 months ago)

    and in a related thought, re: the prejudice that only poor people have bedbugs
    everyone can get bedbugs
    it's just that poor people often cannot afford effective treatment
    so they end up living with them more longterm - IMHO
    the health boards and government should get involved in this
    and offer affordable (and competent) thermal remediation
    so that everyone of every income can deal with this problem

  4. buggyinsocal

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    Joined: Jun '08
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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Oct 10 2009 11:21:39
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    FThat,

    The only thing I would take issue with is your PCO's assertion that bed bugs almost never spread from unit to unit unless it's a massive infestation.

    I would think that that would not necessarily be true depending on a lot of factors like the construction of the building and the strategies used by people with the infestation.

    My experience is that condos are often much more solidly constructed than many apartment buildings. In the condos that I've been in, you don't really hear your neighbors. In my apartment, I hear my downstairs neighbors snoring and my next door neighbor peeing in the middle of the night. Not the toilet flushing afterwards, the actual peeing.

    And my apartment building is better constructed than some I've lived in.

    If condos have that much more soundproofing, I'm betting that they're also more solidly built with more barriers between units. In older buildings with, say, radiators, it would be a lot easier for bugs to move from one unit to the next.

    We also know that when some people self-treat, they use foggers that release chemicals that cause bed bugs to scatter as they run away from the chemical. Use a fogger like that in an apartment building without the solid construction of a condo . . .and, well, you get the idea.

    I myself had bed bugs for several months before I realized what was going on. When I was out of town, my cat was still here for them to feed on. I didn't self-treat or disturb them much so they didn't migrate.

    So my personal experience suggests that it is a bit harder than people think for them to move from one unit to the next.

    But I've also seen enough stories from people here to believe that the exact likelihood of them moving will vary widely based on building construction and resident behavior.

  5. entropy8098

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Oct 13 2009 12:32:34
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    FThat,

    If you're still curious about your inspections, there is a new company in the Minneapolis area that uses the bed bug sniffing dogs - Minnesota K-9 Detectives (http://www.mnk-9.com/). It might be worth the money to pinpoint the location of or determine once and for all if you have an infestation.


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