Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Reader questions (do not fit into other categories)

Experts, please weigh in.

(4 posts)
  1. WoopsBadIdea

    Joined: Jan '13
    Posts: 9


    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jan 12 2013 16:03:18

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    Woke up at 3:30AM last Sunday with bites that resemble bed bug bites. Have a history of similar bites over 3 months ago, but nothing in between and nothing since then.

    Just got a K9 and handler in to inspect. Handler and canine have been certified by NESDCA. Dog swept house and found nothing. Handler lifted a part of the mattress and a section of the sheets in the bedroom, didn't see anything. He told me that his dog scores at 95% during testing, but he has missed bed bugs before.

    Our handler saw the bites on my arm and told me that there certainly seemed like something had taken a bite out of me, but that bites can be atypical and he couldn't recommend treatment in good conscience without a K9 positive or any visual evidence, since it would cost about $1,600 to heat the apartment.

    He recommends that I talk to my landlord about inspecting surrounding apartments and buy an encasement, as it's possible that over the holidays absent tenants may have caused bed bugs to wander around. He also recommends washing all bedding and clothing on high heat. He said that rubbing alcohol IS a contact killer, and he sees no problem with using it to kill bugs that I do see, but to be careful with spraying it anywhere else as it is flammable until it dries (I don't see the point of using rubbing alcohol so I won't... once it dries, it doesn't do anything anyway). I asked about passives and he said that it's unlikely bed bugs will go for a passive if humans are around and he's skeptical of their usefulness. He also said he thinks a Packtite would be overkill, but that a steamer might be useful if I wanted it. If I get any more bites, I'm to call him and we'll talk about more steps there.

    Does anything here seem fishy or suspect in his recommendations? Do you have any other preventative measures to suggest?

    So far I'm thinking of putting tape around the bed legs and where the bed meets the mattress - we have one of those ikea wood slats type beds so no boxspring. I should place tape smooth side out right? So they can't climb? I can't buy real climbers because we don't have a 4 leg bed frame, it's just two boards (thats what I get for getting modern looking furniture, woops). I'm also inspecting, removing, and heating all the clutter underneath the bed.

    Besides these steps, I'm not sure what I can do to prevent these bugs from getting in the house.

  2. buggyinsyracuse

    senior member
    Joined: Aug '12
    Posts: 555


    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 14 2013 13:43:56

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    Hi, he actually seems like an honest PCO, given that a good PCO should not treat unless they can confirm that you actually have a problem. However, I don't think he understands how passive monitors work. They are actually meant to be used in occupied places. The goal is to put them in the optimum location so that the bugs used them as their home, and thus it's easier to detect an early infestation. Hope that's helpful.

  3. bed-bugscouk

    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 17,944


    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 14 2013 14:05:02

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    I am not usually a fan of NESDCA simply because of the lack of visual confirmation offered but it appears your handler may have wised up on at least that score.

    The checking with adjoining neighbours is also good advise and you can find communication sheets in the FAQ's to assist with that.

    I fear they have mixed themselves up with regards monitoring though. I say this because:

    • Mattress encasement adds no value and will add cost
    • Active monitoring would have issues if the room is occupied
    • Passive Monitoring is designed to be deployed in rooms that are occupied to encourage the bedbugs into the alternative harbourage where they can be isolated and removed

    I am not a big fan of bed isolation device or tape based either simply because if present it can drive bedbugs into more remote and harder to find locations. I am more of work with the insects natural behaviours and resolve the case faster kind of guy.

    To prevent bedbugs getting into your home, you have to work out what the source is likely / could be. Step 1 of that is neighbours but step 2 is reading the FAQ's to be able to check your work location , commute and other likely sources.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly declare my vested interest in Passive Monitoring as the inventor.

    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.
  4. buggyinsocal

    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431


    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 14 2013 14:21:41

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    I'm not an expert. I'm just someone who had a bed bug infestation in 2008 and who has hung around the boards to stay up to date since then--except for an absence I couldn't help.

    Here's what I think:

    1. Have you considered passive monitors? While there are differing opinions among PCOs, entomologists, and consumers about how effective passive monitors are in a given situation, your post makes it sound like one of the things causing you the most anxiety is not knowing early on about any bed bug visitors to your home. Properly placed passive monitors won't stop bed bugs from coming in, but they can make it easier to detect any that do come into your home early and can help contain the infestation to make one that's caught early much, much easier to treat.

    I ask because what the PCO referred to as passives (i.e., bed bugs will totally go for a human over a monitor) sounds more like an *active* monitor than a passive one. An active monitor does something to attract bed bugs: it may give off CO2 or heat or both or something else (like I said, I've been away a while, so for all I know, there are new actives out there now.)

    It is absolutely true that active monitors work best when no humans (and maybe even no mammals or other warm blooded animals) are in the home.

    Passive monitors like the Bed Bug Alert provide a place that bed bugs love to hang out when they're not feeding. Now, I know that that sounds totally counterintuitive. After all, the last thing you want is to attract bed bugs into your home, right? Well, that's now how the BBA works. What the BBA does is provide a place that it located in the kinds of places that any migrating bed bugs would be that's friendlier to them than the stuff that's already in your home. If the bed bugs do show up, you've got a much better chance of spotting them if you provide someplace that they are likely to hang out. As many posts here attest, and as it sounds like you know, the most frustrating part of many a person's bed bug fight is finding the buggers in the first place.

    2. Encasements are like many other tools in the fight against bed bugs; not everyone agrees on how effective they can be.

    Everyone does agree that encasements must be manufactured to a very high standard to be effective at all, so if you choose to use them, they can't be the cheap $20 kind. (In addition, the cheap kind do not breath at all, so they're far more uncomfortable, btw.)

    Encasements can make regular inspection easier, and they might put your mind at ease. Personally, I'd feel a lot better pairing an encasement with a passive monitor--the encasement would keep any newly arrived bugs from setting up shop inside my mattress or box spring, and the passive monitor would be both an early warning system, bed bug detection aid, and tool to help localize any invading infestations to make them easier to treat.

    3. I don't recall your story in detail, but I can tell you the following important things about my story:

    *post bed bugs, my skin was a little more reactive for a while, and I was spectacularly more vigilant for a lot longer. I was convinced for a while a few months post treatment that nymphs were biting me just behind the knees, so somehow eggs had clearly survived on my desk chair despite having apartment-wide heat treatment.

    Luckily, I waited it out, and with a little detective work, I discovered that it was related to shaving my legs. No, really. I kept a log of when these alleged nymph bites would appear, and I realized it was a consistent number of days post leg-shaving.

    My "nymph bites" were basically the stubble growing in and irritating my hyper sensitive post bed bug fiasco skin and making me itch.

    (There's a whole boring backstory here about how my skin is generally supersensitive, and I am spectacularly prone to ingrown hairs, so I cannot shave my legs as regularly as I wold like, so triangulating the right number of days to prevent ingrown hairs and avoid stubble irritation is ridiculously complicated, but I'll try to spare you the details.)

    *My other big post treatment scare happened a few months after that. I was so traumatized by the bed bug infestation that as of four or five months post treatment, I was still sleeping on the couch instead of the bed. (I have insomnia anyway, and the thought of going to sleep on the bed where I had been fed on by vermin wasn't doing wonders for my ability to sleep, shockingly.)

    One day, I found three bites on my leg that seemed *exactly* like bed bug bites in terms of their size and itch scale.

    I was still under warranty, so I called the PCO out. He did a thorough inspection and found nothing.

    Either, they were mosquito bites that either I perceived as itchier than they were or that were itchier because of a hypersensitive reaction OR I'd been bitten by bed bugs somewhere else because they sure as heck weren't in my home, and I hadn't been traveling.

    I had gone to a movie theater that wasn't one I'd normally go to. (I was trying to see a documentary in very limited release that was only playing at one or two art houses in Orange County or up in LA, so I drove WAAAAAAAAAAY out of my way to see it.)

    I suspect I may have gotten bitten by something there as, frankly, I still was a lot gunshy about going anyplace that might be bed bug threat at that point.

    I've mellowed a lot since then simply because I've had to resume my normal travel habits (for work, family, and friends), and in five years, I've not once run across bed bugs again.

    I still have a Packtite in case I do. I still inspect hotel rooms, although with less zeal than I used to (because I have a Packtite at home and know I react to bites).

    But I wanted you to remind readers that you can have other things that make you afraid you've been bitten by bed bugs that aren't bed bug bites, and you can get bitten by bed bugs somewhere and not bring them home with you. All of those possibilities should be ruled out before investing in treatment--esp. an expensive treatment like heat (which I'm a big fan of since it's what I had on my apartment.)

    Hope that helps a little! Or, at least, that something in there helps a little.

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