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Exterminator says Bed Bugs don't spread.

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  1. danphi

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2011 5:44:31
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    Hi All!

    I live in an apartment complex in San Diego. At the end of September, I saw what I thought was an adult bed bug, in my living room, on the arm of the couch hardly 5 foot away from the front door. Despite knowing I should keep it some how, I squished it. Never the less the exterminator that works for/is contracted by the complex came by, checked all the couches thoroughly and also our bedroom and mattresses and didn't find a thing, onto top of that we weren't experiencing any bites (although I know not everyone may react to a bite)

    Very beginning of November, I saw another one in the exact same spot, this time I kept it. The exterminator said yes it's a bed bug, and that they must now treat my apartment. Something I was not about to stand for without further inspection/confirmation. Especially because that guy did not seem to know what he was talking about. Because of where I found them, I'm concerned that they are coming in from another apartment from my door. We told our manager, if we have bed bugs, and we need treatment, then that's fine, but what if they're coming in from someone else who has an infestation? What's the point of going to all the trouble and expense of a treatment if it's possible it will just happen again? This is where the exterminator says "That's not possible, Bed Bugs don't move that way"

    So I contacted a company that uses K9 detection, a very popular and highly rated company. The dog found interest on the side of the couch where I had seen the previous two but no actual confirmation, but absolutely no where else in my apartment. My couch was inspected by person again (although at this point I have my doubts that the first guy would even actually know what other signs of BB are) and still nothing. I gave the paperwork to my manager (paperwork stating that there were no bed bugs) and they said they'd have to check with their high ups (the company that actually owns this property about it) and that they'd probably want to talk to the company I had check my apartment about it. I haven't yet followed up with my manager since (this was very recent)

    My question is, what can I do about this? We were told that they can't go inspecting other apartments if they haven't complained. So basically that they would not be checking other apartments in light of this situation. Is that the appropriate action for them to be taking? Is there anything they are legally bound to do about this? My line of thinking is that someone else could have them, and not know why they're getting bitten up, or be seeing the bugs and not knowing what they are, or know that they have a problem and are reluctant to report it for whatever reason. And I do not feel like it's the management being intentionally neglectful, just that they're getting bad advice from a professional who doesn't seem to know much about bed bugs.

    Obviously I can move, as inconvenient as it may be it would still be better then getting bed bugs if my complex refuses to be proactive about the potential problem. I'm looking for anything else I may be able to do before I take that measure, if there's anything thing the management should be doing that they're not.

  2. VictoryIsMine

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2011 6:11:59
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    Hi Danphi,

    I don't know about the laws concerning inspecting other units, so what I'm going to say is based on suspicion. When I told my LL about my bbs, he told me not to tell anyone else in the building, said I was the only person ever to report bbs to him, assuring no one else had or ever had them. Thinking back, I think he just wanted to avoid anyone else pressing him into action, in case anyone did, does, or comes to have bbs.

    Some people have success moving, others, staying. You'd need to treat your place or at least your belongings in either case, unless you're planning to move au naturel. Whatever you do, don't do or allow any DIY treatments, do not go for over the counter sprays, stay away from foggers, and try to stay put and resist the urge to do something about it, unless that's been directed by a professional. I speak from the experience of someone who made all those mistakes and is now paying the cost.

    I found this to be a good resource when it comes to bb legal stuff when dealing with landlords. Just a tiny bit late, in my case, but hopefully not in yours.

    It's a tough territory, this you're entering. Not many experts around and those who know little spread their misconceptions to the very people who need to be educated to help. It's our job to make that change.

    Best of luck. Keep us posted.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2011 8:36:13
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    Just to say I looked briefly at the site Victory liked to, and I am a bit concerned. (I am not a lawyer.)

    First, you do not need to pay money to file a complaint letter with your landlord, something the site seems to be trying to sell people.

    Second, even if you do pay for such assistance, I don't see how it would necessarily help you get the landlord to hire a better PCO or get them to inspect adjacent units, unless perhaps if your local laws require this.

    In many places, the law says landlords need to get rid of bed bugs. In practice, it seems that many get away with just trying, if that is what they're intent on.

    Some have tried to educate the landlord about how bed bugs really work and some have had great success with this. After all, most reasonable people don't want their properties to get more infested in time and become more expensive to deal with.

    However, for someone whose head really is in the sand, I am sorry to say that it can be a losing battle.

    That said, why make a major and expensive decision (like trying to move without taking bed bugs) if you don't have to? You would probably have to treat all your belongings with Vikane gas or heat in order to ensure you don't move bed bugs to the next place.

    I would say that in this case, you have some evidence of bed bugs in your sofa area. It might be an idea to let them treat and hope for the best. You or a guest may have brought bed bugs in from somewhere. If they are only in your unit, it really is not worth the trouble and expense of moving.

    If in time it becomes clear that you have a bed bug problem which isn't going away with the landlord's treatment, then the steps for moving will be the same. I would not assume this is what will need to happen.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2011 10:59:25
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    danphi,

    I would get in touch with your local tenants rights organization. (Ours in the greater LA area is called Fair Housing. I'm not sue what the one in San Diego is called.) They will have the most up to date information on what landlords in your city are and are not--can and can not--be required to do by law. As you deal with the landlord/property management company, it helps to be well-informed.

    It is *possible * that bed bugs are coming from an adjacent unit. However, finding a bug or two on the couch is just as likely to suggest that someone who leaves the home and returns each day (works outside the home, is a student, etc.) might be being exposed to bed bugs outside the home so that what you're finding is the occasional hitch hiker.

    My general sense of southern California is that people here are not as aware of bed bugs as people in hot spot cities like NYC and Cincinnati. It's possible the folks in charge of the building are genuinely poorly informed. They may also be covering up a costly problem. Sadly, it's going to take a while to figure out.

    Passive monitors might also be a good fit in this situation. They'll help detect any bugs early on--whether the bed bugs are hitching a ride with a person or coming from an adjacent unit.

    However, regardless of the source of the problem, I would definitely get in touch with your local tenants rights group to see what the local laws are. Now that I think about it, spideyjg may know since I think he's SD based.

    Hope some of that helps.

  5. danphi

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Nov 16 2011 5:33:35
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    Thanks everyone!

    @VictoryisMine, I checked out that link, It may be legit but I find the information suspicious, I couldn't find anywhere on there saying what anyone would actually *do* if I paid them. I'm not sure if you just meant it to be informational but the only thing any of the "legal" people on the site had to say about anything was "pay us and we can help"

    Of course I wouldn't move if I had them, that doesn't solve anything. I'm completely confident that I do I not have them yet (as I said, as well as that the inspection turned up clear). I would get another K9 inspection before moving to be sure.

    @Nobugsonme, if I had seen one absolutely anywhere else, or coming from any other direction, I wouldn't have hesitated to get a treatment. My reluctance stemmed from thinking what is the point, if the cause is from essentially next door? I have a problem with chemicals, a big one. Again I wouldn't hesitate to get a treatment if needed, but afterwards I would find my home about 10x more disgusting then just the presence of bugs would. I cringe at the thought. In fact I find that the most troubling thing personally, not that I might become infested with little blood suckers, but that their presence would cause the need for chemicals to sprayed around in my home. I know there are alternative treatments, but the research I've done has led me to believe that it is even more expensive and also not as successful.

    @buggyinsocal, thank you for that info! I will keep it in mind. I followed up with my manager today and she is currently in the works of writing a letter which will be posted on all tenants doors about bed bugs in the area and what to look out for, and will also be contacting the company I used for a K9 inspection to see about using them for future pest control here in the complex so I'm optimistic.

    I happen to have the misfortune of having furniture with fat legs! lol The passive monitors I've looked up and the climb ups seem like they would be awesome but I don't think wouldn't be able to use them on the couches or my bed. The XL sizes seem like it might work for my bed, but I'll have to break out a measuring tape to make sure.

    Thanks again for the advice! From everyone! It's really great that this forum is here with so many people who've had similar problems! As a Navy wife I know just how comforting it can be for any and everyone dealing with something difficult to find a place where at least they're not alone, not the only one!

  6. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Nov 16 2011 11:27:40
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    BB Alert Passive monitors don't go under the legs of furniture. They're small rectangles that provide an ideal home for any bed bugs. They have removable covers. That way, you can lift the lid, so to speak, and see if there are bugs or fecal marks inside. They should work on any furniture--no matter how fat the legs.

  7. danphi

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Nov 16 2011 18:28:28
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    Ah! Thank you! when I googled "passive monitors" I just got directed to things that look like upside down climb ups that were apparently sticky, thanks for clearing it up!

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Nov 17 2011 2:55:05
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    danphi - 21 hours ago  » 

    @Nobugsonme, if I had seen one absolutely anywhere else, or coming from any other direction, I wouldn't have hesitated to get a treatment. My reluctance stemmed from thinking what is the point, if the cause is from essentially next door?

    Since you found a bed bug in the sofa area, I am not sure why you are so certain they are coming from neighbors.

    I am not an expert and would defer to them on whether you should treat or not based on finding one live bed bug on your sofa. Perhaps some of the experts here will weigh in.

    However, my understanding is people do sometimes bring a bed bug in (on their clothing, from a bag). It could have entered via something placed on the sofa, or come off someone's clothing. It could have been walking to the sofa because you were there and it wanted to feed. You could have picked one up at school, work, on transportation, in a cafe or theater.

    I'm really not clear on why you're sure it came from a neighbor.

    Yes, bed bugs can spread, but they can also be brought in accidentally.


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