Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

highly complex bed bug exposure case - attempt 2

(7 posts)
  1. giantmistake

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Mar 24 2017 21:25:29
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    I need expert advice as I'm driving myself crazy with worry. I am going to provide all the details I can but if you prefer a high level summary just skip to bolded part and the paragraph after it.

    2 weeks ago, I was moving into an apartment that I quickly realized had a "medium level" bed bug infestation. I never slept there but some of my stuff was in the infested room for as long as a week.

    I knew little about bed bugs and so at first took a more laissez fairre approach than I would knowing what I know now: the evening I found out I brought a few things I thought it would be unlikely for bed bugs to be on to my parents' house with me, in my car, and left them in a garage. Where they sat for 3-6 days until I bagged them. I did bring my leather purse inside the house - it had been sitting on the floor in a common area near the room for the 3 fateful hours I was unpacking my things before I discovered bedbugs in the room. I have since disposed of it since there was a tear in the lining. The PCO that treated the original apartment said there were no signs of bed bugs outside the room, but the person who used the room (and bed) before me had been gone for up to a month so they very well may have spread. I also brought my cat back on the same day I took her there - she was even UNDER the bed for a bit... She's pretty squirmy and very furry so again, low probability they got on and stayed on but still a risk. I brushed her with a very fine-tooth brush in white floored utility room inside the house right next to the garage and no bugs at that point at least. I left her cat carrier with its little cat blanket in the garage with the other few things I brought back that day :/

    Items that I brought in the house with me several days later, after the apartment got its first chemical treatment, were either bagged or heat treated in hot dryer. The only item I saw bed bugs on that I took OUT of the apartment was a gym bag that was sitting on the floor of the room's closet (I killed it, then bagged the bag and heat treated).

    I believe, based on the location in the infested apartment, length of time in the apartment, or nature of the items I brought home upon initial discovery of bugs (e.g. plastic bins which I visually inspected) there is a low risk, but a risk nonetheless, that I introduced a small number of bed bugs to my car and/or the garage in particular. The garage has electrical outlets and such the bed bugs could get into the house through. Here is the REALLY complicated part and I haven't seen anything like this in the forums so I am really hoping someone can advise:
    1. The house is LARGE, 3700 square feet not counting the unfinished basement, and built in 1990 so TONS of cracks and crevices for bed bugs to hide in. All wood and carpet, plush furniture. Easily a bed bug mansion.
    2. The house is full of stuff - my parents', who will return to live there there in a couple of months, and my brother and sister-in-law's as they're currently using is for storage. They have very nice stuff.
    3. My room in this house is on second floor, far away from where bed bugs would have been introduced into the house. My mattress is sitting on the floor.
    4. My brother lives part-time in the house, 2 weeks out of the month, on the ground floor closer to the garage.

    I have only the most ambiguous of potential signs, no clear bites. I got what could have been a pimple, in a strange spot on my face, for me. Upon inspection I noticed a small, faint brown mark on my (<1 year old) mattress underneath my mattress cover which is water resistant (no stain on the mattress cover). Unfortunately I did not inspect the mattress prior to this ordeal. I have since added a mattress encasement though I could not find any other signs on it. I also found what looked like a spot of dried blood on my chest (beneath my shirt), sort of large at ~6mm in diameter, but no visible bite/skin laceration. I am a dedicated side sleeper, I never sleep on my chest. I have not noticed any other signs. I was doing the waking up several times in the night with a flashlight thing until I realized this would not be effective for a low level infestation.

    In terms of preventative measures, as mentioned I did heat treat (via laundering) or bag the majority of my things - I didn't bring any furniture to the infested apartment. I created an island for the master room bed where my brother sleeps with climbup inspectors which I surrounded with a thick line of DE (more interested in preventing bites than detecting in my brother's case). I put a light dusting of DE using a paintbrush around my bed, furniture, and baseboards in my bedroom. Also double sided carpet tape around my bed. Since my bed is on the floor I set up dry ice traps two nights in a row with climbup interceptors - I also did this in the garage. I stopped doing this as I live far from dry ice supplier and it's getting expensive but I've done a few nights in my room only using yeast-sugar-water concoction as well and - I've caught nothing so far. My mattress has shown no other signs (no fecal matter, no spotting), but bed bugs would probably not be living there anyways due to the encasement. There are plenty of places for bed bugs to hide in my room: I have a wicker chair close to the bed and three, ~20 year old wood furniture pieces. I did examine a couple of the furniture pieces but there are crannies that are impossible to inspect; the wicker chair being just one example.

    So basically the situation is this:
    -2 weeks ago I may - or may not - have exposed my car and my parents' huge house to bed bugs especially in the garage.
    -The house would be a bed bug mansion with a bunch of stuff that's not even mine. Even the garage is 4-car size and FILLED with stuff.
    -I have no clear signs of bugs, yet.
    -I have taken some reasonable steps to detect and prevent but nothing comprehensive because, well, I don't know if I have them and they could literally be anywhere in the house right now. For up to 18 months, is what I'm hearing but would like not to believe.

    What in the world am I supposed to do in this situation? I talked to two local PCOs and they basically told me, you've done pretty much everything you're supposed to and now you just have to wait and see. I honestly don't trust their judgment because they haven't seen this house and probably deal mostly with people that definitely have an infestation. I actually wish I had just bagged everything and thrown it away, knowing what I know now. It felt like too big of a financial and emotional loss at the time but in relative terms it would have been far less than what I might now be faced with.

    Additional complicating factors are the fact that I would like to move away from this house ASAP (bed bugs aside, I'm a working professional and have no desire to live in the suburbs or my childhood bedroom). Also my parents will likely try to sell this house in the next year or two.

    Please help! I can't believe these bugs are besting us. The fact that they can live so long without feeding is the worst part.

  2. Livingagain

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Mar 24 2017 21:41:02
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    They can, but they won't if people are in the house for them to feed on. + the 18 mos. is in ideal conditions, cold and undisturbed. Keep checking. If you think they would have a ways to go to get to you you could booby trap their path to you or your brother with Cimexa, it's more effective than DE, but just keep checking. You could get more monitors, but it does seem like you've done what you can do.

  3. bugged-cdn

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Mar 25 2017 8:08:11
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    The size of the house isn't as big a problem as you think IMO. Bed bugs stay close to their food source (humans). The garage wouldn't be attractive to them for the same reason.

    Watch for confirming signs: live bugs, cast skins, fecal matter.

  4. giantmistake

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Mar 26 2017 15:49:34
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    Ah, thank you both! I had heard that about CimeXa! I might get a monitor for my room as well since my bed is on the floor and maybe I'm just not reacting to bites...

    A lot of my non-launderable stuff is in garbage bags still. I have heard that Nuvan Prostrips and airtight bins can work well for this purpose. I was going to treat when it was consistently warm out. I can transfer to bins at the park... just in case. I also have a dryer shelf for shoes and other things that could take the heat. Thoughts? Also what to do about my car?

    I know I am making a big deal about it (at least that's what my friends and fam are telling me), but I want to do this right and avoid major regrets... Thank you!!!

  5. jim danca

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Mar 26 2017 16:45:58
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    Unless you were sleeping in the car, the bugs don't really want to be in that environment. Too many temperature changes.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  6. Proudmommyto3rottenboys

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Jun 7 2017 20:37:15
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    Was wondering if you had found anything yet.

  7. sleeptitesoon

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Oct 30 2017 2:00:18
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    same here, very worried that I got my moms big house infested, although 2 PCOS inspected and didnt see anything. Ive decided to put an active monitor in the room I stay in when I go there, then check it after 4 nights when Im not there. Its nerve racking.
    I guess this post is to old to find out what happened.


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