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Got Bed Bugs at Camp: Threw everything away and moved, still bites?

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  1. MakeAmericaDeetAgain

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Thu Feb 1 2018 17:29:46
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    -Last weekend, Jan 19, me and ~100 other people went to a camp at Allaso Ranch in Hawkins, TX. At least 7 of us came home with bed bugs. We have confirmation from the Ranch-after we called to complain- that they went and checked our cabin and did find bed bugs.

    -One week later, so Sunday Jan 28, because my roommate who also got bed bugs refused to get an exterminator, I threw away almost everything I own and left. I threw out my mattress, box spring, furniture, clothes, suitcase, bedding, books, toiletries, purses, shoes...literally everything was triple bagged and dumped EXCEPT for some completely metal jewelry (put in ziplocs), laptop (put in garbage bag w nuvan strip), passport and medicine (also in double garbage bag). I went back to my mom's house with basically just the clothes on my back, then stripped in the garage and bagged those and threw them out, then ran in and took a scalding hot shower. Took nothing inside with me including my phone or car keys.

    -My car was where we had our luggage after camp so definitely cause for concern, so I had an exterminator look at it and he put in 2 nuvan strips and said to leave for about 4 days.

    - I have continued to strip before going into the house each day. If I set foot outside the house, I do not go back in without completely stripping first, then taking a HOT shower. I bag everything I wore and spray 91% rubbing alcohol in my car/on/around the garbage bags. I have been taking care to wear things I don't mind trashing so I've just been throwing away my clothes and shoes since I don't think the dryer is really hot enough.

    -I have some clothes that were really expensive (I work in an office so we have to dress up) that I laundered but still don't trust so triple bagged them and have nuvan strips to use on them when I have time to set that up (as exterminator advised me to do). Meanwhile they are in bags in garage.

    -DESPITE ALL OF THIS I have continued to wake up with more bites for about 3 days. The existing bites were focused on my wrists/forearms, and the new ones have been on my face, neck, fingers all the way down by my nails, tops of feet, and even a couple up on my thigh. I cannot find any bugs, or feces, or skins, or eggs, or rust spots on my sheets. I have a metal frame bed w/o a box spring. I have searched and considered everything. I don't even trust my phone. But I can't find them anywhere.

    -To be clear on the timeline, Sunday Jan 21 I returned from bed bug camp. During the week I got bites around my wrists/forearms. Sunday Jan 28 I threw out my stuff (may have been bitten in the process) and came back to mom's house. Now Thurs Feb 1 after trashing my belongings I STILL have new itchy, swollen, painful bites.

    -1) Based on the precautions I took, don't you think there is no way I took them into my mom's house?
    2) My new bites: Is it really a delayed reaction or do I still have bugs?
    2) If I did bring them, what else can I do to hunt them down, they don't seem to be anywhere???
    3) We know the ranch gave them to us, I have tried to report them to the public health office and TX State Dept of Health and Human Services. Anything else I can try to do for justice?
    4) I am extremely despondent over this. Can't sleep for fear of bugs, can't focus on work, paranoid that I see bugs/feces every where, the bites itch and burn under my clothes.....I would do anything to not have this.

  2. CourtsMagorts14

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Feb 2 2018 9:51:47
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    I'm not an expert, but it's possible you're having delayed reactions to the bites or you're having bite-like reactions induced by the stress of it all. It sounds like you went above and beyond in terms of taking precautions. (Again, not an expert, but that's just what it sounds like to me.)

    I definitely think investing in some passive monitors would probably help you feel better - ClimbUps, a Packtite passive monitor, or something similar. I sleep a lot better at night knowing I can check those.

    Does your former roommate live in an apartment/were you renting? If so then you probably could report him/her to the landlord. It's their responsibility to provide a safe living space. If you lived in an apartment then you should definitely report it so your neighbors don't end up with them too.

    If you haven't done so already, I would put the ranch on bedbugregistry.com. Not sure about legal recourse though, maybe one of the experts on this forum can help you there.

    If you don't mind me asking, where in Texas are you located?

    But regardless it really sounds like you did everything right. I wouldn't stress too much about it. Try to start the process of putting this behind you and invest in some passive monitors for peace of mind.

  3. Fallthebedbugs

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Fri Feb 2 2018 22:55:29
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    It makes me very sad and scared to read this post. I am in this position right now and was planning EXACTLY the same thing as you except I was planning to get an Airbnb (or a slightly longer term rental unit) to do the stripping part and as an in between place and buying only essentials in the interim.

    Please do keep us posted on whether these are delayed flare ups or the bugs still travelled with you despite all the precautions you took. I really need to know. I will not be moving right away. I will do that probably in around April because I am going to be out of town for a while.

    My post here describes what you already did (aka my current plan) and I am literally trembling after reading this.

    https://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/throwing-away-everything-and-moving-strategy

    I am fortunate to be in a position where I can throw away furniture because it is pretty old. But like you, I have a desk job where I need to be dressed up and replacing clothing will be a big hit. I also just bought a brand spanking new car. The timing of this purchase could not possibly have been worse.

    So much for renting a crappy place to save up some money.

  4. thirdusername

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Feb 3 2018 1:29:44
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    I 2nd the idea to get passive monitors.

    I am NOT an expert.
    My opinions are just opinions, they may NOT apply to yours or any situation.
    My advice is to always do a LOT of research.
    A lot of what I read contradicts other stuff on the Interweb.
  5. MakeAmericaDeetAgain

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Feb 3 2018 14:57:52
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  6. MakeAmericaDeetAgain

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Feb 3 2018 15:00:07
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    CourtsMagorts14:
    Exterminator was here again this morning, inspected, didn't find anything BUT i woke up to a fresh blood spot on my comforter yesterday morning. He said it is definitely the size of a bed bug, so he was concerned. However, it could have been blood from a scab I have from a bite (I absent mindedly scratched a bite the other day, and it bled a lot afterward). So basically it's still possible I brought bugs home.

    My former roommate is a homeowner, it was a house. I have seriously considered writing something on Zillow because this person regularly rents out rooms or sometimes the whole house, and I think people should know that there were bed bugs and no exterminator.

    I tried bedbugregistry.com but the site was down. Will try again. The director of the ranch called me yesterday and said they only found 2 or 3 bugs. The exterminator took one look at my arms/hands/fingers/face/neck/legs and said that place must be completely infested if 7 people look like that. The battle is definitely not over with that ranch.

    Exterminator said passive monitors would be a waste because the bugs are would go for me. The monitor would work better in an empty space, but they will find the live body in the room if there is one.

    The ranch is located in east Texas near Tyler. I am located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It was about a 2 hour drive to the ranch.

    Thank you for your advice I really do appreciate it. Unfortunately based on what the exterminator said today, I'm not 100% in the clear. The next steps are to see if I get more bites and keep inspecting my bed for signs of them. I will contact him again in about a week and we'll go from there.

  7. MakeAmericaDeetAgain

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    Posted 2 weeks ago
    Sat Feb 3 2018 15:38:34
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    Fallthebedbugs:
    I read your post and yeah sounds like we're in the same boat. The exterminator was here this morning to inspect (to be clear, once again I am currently at my mom's house, so the new place, should not have bed bugs here). He didn't find anything, BUT I had woken up Friday morning to a fresh blood spot on my comforter. He said it is the size of a bed bug and was concerned about it. However, since he didn't find anything the inspection was pretty much inconclusive.

    Let me give you some advice, which is only based on my own experiences thus far (I am by no means an expert):
    -The car is absolutely a cause for concern. Every exterminator I called blew me off about the car, said no one treats cars just vacuum it. If vacuuming isn't good enough to kill bed bugs in a house, why would it work for a car? My saving grace has been finding a local bed bug expert. This company specializes in bed bugs, it's all they do. He sold me some Nuvan strips to hang in the car (I am using 2 strips because I have a big SUV). I was also told that 91% rubbing alcohol kills them on contact so I spray that in the car regularly/on my shoes/on my desk chair at work. Good thing I don't smoke. He also said he will be getting in the equipment to heat treat cars in February. SO what I am saying is don't stress/regret buying the car, just keep hunting for a specialist exterminator who will treat it.
    -BUT obviously it would be a waste to treat your car if you are getting in it wearing clothes that were in an apartment with bed bugs. I would say stick with Nuvan strips for now and get the car heat treated when you move.
    -About throwing everything away: it hurts man. It hurts. There were things of sentimental value that I tossed that I am still kind of mourning. But let me tell you, when I was in Walmart looking for some cheap clothes to buy especially for the purpose of cleaning out and moving so that I could throw them away afterwards...The bites were burning and itching under my clothes. I was wearing some ancient ill fitting things I pulled out of storage. I was exhausted from not being able to sleep because of fear that bugs would come out to bite. I was stopped by the store manager on my way out because I changed in the bathroom and put everything I had bought inside a black garbage bag (to make sure the new stuff I just bought would stay clean). I had to carry the black garbage bag home because I wasn't using my car because I knew it probably had bugs in it and hadn't found anyone to treat it yet at that point.
    When I threw away all of my stuff, it was because that was literally the lowest point of my life and there was nothing in this world that I wanted more than to not have bed bugs. (just for reference, I had emergency surgery to remove a chunk of my small intestine a few years ago. Yeah, even that wasn't as bad as these bugs). It was hard, but every time I considered backing out and keeping some things, I just looked at my arms covered in bites.
    -BUT the desk job fancy clothes: these were some of the few things I kept. Not only are these clothes expensive, but I'm a 6 ft tall woman. It's really hard to find clothes that fit no matter how much money I have. The exterminator says that the Nuvan strips will work. Even he was kind of blown away at the precautions I had taken. He said I went above and beyond what anyone normally does. But I would say for you, launder them, bag them, but don't trust them til you've treated with the Nuvan strip or whatever your exterminator recommends. Keep them in double or triple bags til then.
    -In conclusion: I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure I didn't infest my mom's house, because if that happened I would never forgive myself. This has been horrible, but no matter what happens at least I will know that I did everything I could. I think your plan sounds great, seeing as it's the same thing I did. I know for me personally I wouldn't be able to stand staying in an apartment with bugs. If you can afford a temporary living space between the current place and the house you hope to buy, you should totally do it. That way you can know for sure after a month or so if you are clean of bugs, and THEN move into a new house to start fresh. But I know your question is now, does that method of trashing everything actually work? I will definitely keep you posted on my progress. If I continue to get bites this week, I plan to call the exterminator on Friday and tell him I want a heat treatment...by which I mean set the house on fire.
    Just kidding.
    Sort of.
    But I will spring for the heat treatment if I keep getting bites because the window of delayed reaction should be over soon. This week if I'm still bitten then I know I still have bugs. In which case, I would say that doesn't totally negate your plan, it just means that you should definitely get that temporary place between apartment and house to be absolutely sure. Good luck my friend. Here's a true and entertaining story of another bed bug refugee like myself, which is where I got the inspiration for the course I took: http://abigfatwasteoftime.blogs.com/a_big_fat_waste_of_time/2004/09/im_sure_youve_n.html

  8. Fallthebedbugs

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    Posted 5 days ago
    Tue Feb 13 2018 1:37:04
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    Thanks for this post.

    Is two nuvan enough for a car? I was thinking it would be more like 10-12! I just have a small sedan. I have tried my best to not get bugs in there. But since I am still living in this place, my best efforts may not be enough. I would need to put them in the trunk as well.

    Can you please tell me more about this heat treating for the car? Heat is the one thing everyone seems to agree works. I have not heard of this and would like to know more about it. Do you know where I can get it done? I will pay a solid chunk of change for the peace of mind if I need to.

    One of my problems is that since this is a major problem in the building (my neighbors on both sides and at least one floor up and one down have the same problem). I am confident I was not the original source. I don't really go to places where you normally hear that you pick up the bugs.

    I tried a mattress cover and I still got chewed up. I have bugs in the couch too but it's not as bad and I have been sleeping on it for about a week now!

  9. Fallthebedbugs

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    Posted 5 days ago
    Tue Feb 13 2018 1:43:42
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    Thanks for your post.

    Do you mean steam cleaning the car by heat treatment? If not could you please tell me a little bit more about it? I have done my best to not get bugs in the car but given I still live in this hell hole my best efforts may not be enough.

    I have leather seats... I don't know if that's good or bad in this scenario.. I will pay through the nose for whatever will work.. my kingdom for a horse.

    I tried a mattress cover but it didn't work. I got completely chewed up. My couch has bugs too but not as bad. Been sleeping there for a week ☹️


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