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General Bedbug Questions

(5 posts)
  1. AmandaM

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 31 2015 20:50:48
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    Hi All.

    To be forthright- I am not to my knowledge experiencing a bedbug infestation, more than I am experiencing anxiety about acquiring and / or spreading bugs.

    I work as a vet technician and pet sitter/house sitter, so I travel to lots of houses and sleep over at many clients homes. I think the idea that I could potentially bring something to a clients home really frightens me.

    Ever since watching a documentary on Bedbugs many years ago, I became very fixated on checking my hotel rooms (matress, sheets, seams etc) and keeping my suitcase in bathroom etc. My friends / fiance thought I was crazy.

    About a year ago we had a guest stay at our house and something bit her approx 10 times- I was mortified. She suggested bedbugs- but I really had never even considered it because I was so careful when traveling. After that I had the house sprayed by a pest control company. Recently I got a couple of bites, so I a bedbug sniffing dog come and sniff the house and furniture, as well as they did a visual inspection and saw nothing. I sprayed again.

    Ive checked every nook and cranny I can think of, lifted box spring, no signs of stains on walls headboard etc. Pest control said could be a flea (I have dogs, who are on monthly prevention), a mite, a mosquito, etc.

    But even after getting an all clear- I still think about these bugs non stop. Any small mark on my skin makes me obsess that it could be a bite. My friends say "it's summer, bugs are out right now, calm down." This morning I saw a tiny bug in my shower and it put me into a frenzy.

    I saw a tiny bug on our bed recently- but when I tried to grab him he jumped away. Do bedbugs jump? (We also have some bugs ID'd by pest control as "springtails" which have been coming in our window- I think it was one of those but it happened so quick I couldn't be sure."

    How do people deal with this anxiety? I just wonder when is a bite or two by a bug ok, and when should you start to panic?

    Even though I've been given an all clear by the pest control, I can't seem to relax about this. Are there special precautions I should take when traveling to clients homes?

    Any advice would be very appreciated.

    Thank you so much in advance,
    Amanda

    Also- what do you think of these?

    http://www.bedbugsupply.com/Bed-Bug-Alert-Pheromone-Monitor-And-Trap-By-Bird-X-_p_169.html

    I bought a pack and will use, just wanted to hear if they were junky or not.

  2. bbnewbie123

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 31 2015 22:05:50
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    Hi there!

    I'm not an expert but I can relate. I had bed bugs before and even after I haven't seen a sign of them I'm still paranoid and worried about spreading them.. It sucks!!

    BUT, the only way you can determine bed bugs is by visual evidence, which it sounds like you haven't found, which is a good thing.

    As far as spreading em goes, you need only worry about that if you have an active infestation, which it sounds like you don't. As far as precautions go, you could heat all the clothes you would be bringing in the dryer on high heat for at least a half hour and there are more in depth protocols here on the website under Travel FAQs.

    Mainly, I can relate and it's really stressful worrying and thinking about spreading em when we both as far as we know of don't even have em! Mainly just wanted to say I can relate and let you know you definitely can only verify you have em with visual confirmation... Bites could be other skin reactions

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun May 31 2015 22:13:39
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    One thing that's important to remember is that you can't diagnose bed bugs from a skin reaction. If you think you have an insect bite, it could be from lots of different insects, or it could be from a non-insect cause.

    So your guest had 10 skin reactions. There's no proof they were from insects. If they were from insects, there's no proof they were from bed bugs. If they were from bed bugs, there's no proof the bites happened in your home.

    I say this because people jump to conclusions when it comes to these things. Bed bug bites can appear anywhere from hours to days to a week or more after one is bitten. So when people have skin reactions "appear" while being in a certain place, they assume they were just bitten. It's not necessarily so.

    Instead of looking at skin reactions, then, it's important to look at signs you can link to bed bugs: bed bugs, cast skins, eggs, fecal stains. Fecal stains are usually the first thing people see, and you can post a photo of them (or any signs) here for ID if concerned.

    FWIW, I don't think we've heard heard any professionals recommending those monitors you mentioned here. We have a FAQ on inexpensive, commercially available monitors recommended by experts here, which includes links to instructions for a homemade active monitor, and there are some posts in the forums from experts suggesting methods of making homemade passive monitors too (I mean to add those to the FAQ as time permits).

    Note that your work exposes you to potential sources of bed bugs among your clients, and you should be more concerned about this than about spreading bed bugs (when you haven't had any visual signs of them). The resources page links to articles on things you can do as someone who visits clients homes (see "For Home Visitors and others who work in potentially infested homes").

    We also have FAQs on not spreading bed bugs to others and not picking them up from others when you travel, which may be helpful also.

    I can't stress enough that skin reactions shouldn't make you think you have bed bugs, but instead should send you looking for a visual sign of a cause.

    In my experience (having pets) it's not too hard to bring home the odd flea from a dog park or even a park with tall grass, so even if your pets are on preventives, they could get into your home and have bitten you or your friend.

    I hope this helps!

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

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 1 2015 0:03:10
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    Thank you both.

    All of that information was very helpful. I'm going to start traveling with plastic bins, and I am going to look into the monitors that are mentioned!

    I am appreciative of the feedback, and the reassurance. What a wonderful forum and resource for people.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 1 2015 1:28:19
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    You're welcome!

    Note that most plastic type bins aren't airtight and have obvious holes and gaps. If you want something you can seal stuff in, there are "watertight" trunks and containers sold by the Container Store in the US (made by Iris, and probably available elsewhere also). They have gaskets where the box closes, which is what makes them special.

    This is an example of one of the totes. They're pretty good.

    The larger trunks are awesome for people with active infestations (who might otherwise bag their clothing), but they're surely overkill for what you need. For anyone else who might be interested, the trunks are here. They have a similar but perhaps even more sturdy gasket and more sturdy closes.
    I have some of both the trunks and totes and they're great for off-season storage once you don't need them for bed bugs.

    Iris also makes more products with gasket seals. One user used a tote on wheels made for pet food. They seem to also have ones sized for file folders and that might be a handy type for carting something around (with a handle).

    These Iris totes and trunks may not technically be fully airtight either, but they are a lot more secure than something like a Rubbermaid bin.


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