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I'm Sure I've Done It All Wrong

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  1. ClutterFree

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Jun 18 2010 19:15:55
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    At first I thought they were freaky mosquito bites. I'd bought a potted hyacinth for the house that was making my mother nauseous, so she put it in my room while I wasn't there. No big. I'd put it back in the livingroom before I went to sleep. But while it and I were in the room together, me doing my hair for instance, I'd get bit! I couldn't wait for my lovely hyacinth blooms to die and take its nasty flying biters with it. But then I was seemingly getting bit while in the livingroom, no hyacinth blooms in sight (or smell). I figured I was just staying up late enough to attract the night-flyers. And then I saw something small and red run across my bed one Sunday morning. (Gah! I'm itchy just thinking typing this!)

    That was about two/three weeks ago? And I'd already been being bitten for maybe a month? I thought I had an attack of killer red-bugs, also known as clover mites. Clover mites, by the way, don't bite. In their nymph-stage (chiggers) they do feed on skin, however. Strange but true. Don't ask my why it took so long to look up a chigger bite. Probably because I found myself having to do all my research on my smartphone. Anywho, if I'd looked it up I would have known immediately that chigger bites looked nothing like my round raised bumps.

    By then I was already slathering myself with pure shea butter as a deterrent to the mystery bugs, sleeping in long pj pants and socks, in spite of the changing seasons, and starting to wonder how to tell my mom. Telling her about the chiggers was easy. When I figured out it was bed bugs... I didn't sleep that night. I had such a horrible day and a worse night. My great-aunt had just died on Friday, though I didn't know it, and family was soon to come.

    I finally did tell her the next afternoon (last Saturday?! it seems like longer) and she was amazingly sympathetic. Why amazing? Because my room was such a mess. Omigosh. Clutter is not the way to describe it. She was furious enough when she thought my mess was harboring chiggers. I couldn't begin to imagine what she'd say to bed bugs. But she was remarkably cool. It helped that I'd done a fair amount of research (I've been lurking here since I decided to look up bed bugs and bites, etc.) and knew that the bb's probably weren't my fault--neither I nor my mother have been traveling lately, or done any of the things that might have given us bb's. She was, of course, unhappy that my clutter was helping to harbor the wretched things, but I haven't been disowned

    Now to the tragedy. In a mad rush to not freaking spread the bed bugs to either my mother or my visiting family members I began cleaning up, laundering, bagging....I bought a cheap vinyl mattress encasement--and discovered bb castings betw the mattress and the box spring--went cr-azy looking for a HEPA hand vac and just..... I have been bagging and cleaning up an cleaning out like a mad woman. That included putting on the mattress encasement. It's nothing serious. I don't think it even cost me $13, but I haven't been bitten since I did it. I called Orkin on last Sunday b/c I saw a runaway bb going towards my messenger bags on the floor and one actually in my does-not-zip work bag and had a total freak-out/melt down. Mom spoke to our landlord on Mon and he put us in touch w/the rental office who are now going to take care of the bb problem, so no more need, or expense, of Orkin.

    But did I totally screw up by putting on the encasement preemptively? I also cleaned off the castings that were on top of the box-spring and a single line of bb blood/fecal stains that were going up the side of one night stand. I caught one and had it in a baggy, but I killed and tossed it mid-week b/c I was too scared of tempting fate. I have not been bitten at all since doing the encasement, except by some random mosquito. (Those bites seem to have a life cycle of 1 day on me lately.) I also haven't found evidence of bb's anywhere except for where I've mentioned, very minor fecal stains under the little lippy things on the mattress, a mess of fecal stains on one leg of the headboard, and a maybe-stain by the baseboard. I'm terrified that my laptop, which is on the other nightstand that has shown no signs of bb activity or presence, is infested. I'm also now mildly terrified that the PCO is going to come in on Monday and decide there's nothing to do. I don't trust that! The baseboard molding is peeling away, I have now noticed, and I think that's where any unhatched eggs may be. There also seem to be eggs in the dust bunny colonies near the stained leg.

    If I'm freaking out unnecessarily, do tell me. It was days before I could eat properly once I figured out it was bb's. I am willing to admit I'm a little crazy. And what should I do about my lappy? If I don't see any signs of bb's on or near it, is it safe to use, or should I wait for my PCO to comment? And, omigosh, what the heck do I do with my shoes? I washed the 2 sets of active sneakers that I have, but what about my fancy shoes? If there's no evidence of bb's are they safe? I have a feeling the answer is no Any advice or coddling or gentle words of rebuke would be greatly appreciated.

    By the way, it looks like we/I got bb's from an infected neighbor, though the landlord won't say who it is.

  2. bushbugg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Jun 18 2010 21:05:52
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    We all make mistakes! We in NY all HEAR about how bad it is, but till we see that first one, we never really know. I saw my first and because my landlord was on vacation, didnt get a spraying for about a month!!! If I had been hard nosed, done my prep, and gotten a good PCO within the first 2 weeks, I would be in a lot better shape!!!

    Such is life. Youre doing the work now with a co-operative parent. Luck.

  3. kattybugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Jun 19 2010 18:40:12
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    Bushbugg: A "good PCO" hahahahahahhahahahahahhaah. pause. hahahahahahahahahahaha. I've had the self-proclaimed best PCO on the UES visit my small building no less than 50 times and we still have them big time!!! A "good" PCO is like a bad boyfriend ...they drop in every now and then...make big promises...but nothing ever changes.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Jun 20 2010 0:47:45
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    kattybugs - 5 hours ago  » 
    Bushbugg: A "good PCO" hahahahahahhahahahahahhaah. pause. hahahahahahahahahahaha. I've had the self-proclaimed best PCO on the UES visit my small building no less than 50 times and we still have them big time!!! A "good" PCO is like a bad boyfriend ...they drop in every now and then...make big promises...but nothing ever changes.

    I don't know what you mean when you say your PCO has visited your building 50 times. Do you mean every unit in the building has been sprayed 50 times? (I suspect not.)

    Or that the PCO has visited 50 different times, perhaps treating one unit here, another there, when each resident complains?

    But if individual infested units have had many, many treatments, then I suspect one of the following is true:

    You do not have a good PCO, and/or

    They are not finding and treating all infested units at the same time (which in many cases is because the landlord or owners won't pay for this!), and/or

    Tenants are not cooperating with inspections and treatment (and by this I mean every tenant, 100%), and/or

    Someone is reinfesting the building repeatedly.

    Every infested unit in a building must be located and treated in order to get rid of bed bugs, and follow-up treatments are usually needed at 2 week intervals (or so).

    In many buildings, landlords to not allow (hire) PCOs to treat units where tenants complain. (I wonder how many PCOs flat-out refuse to treat a building where only complaining tenants are inspected and treated. I suspect it's few.)

    Many homeowners, likewise, don't seek treatment, or don't get a professional in (I am thinking of condos and coops). And it is often difficult to convince adjacent or attached neighbors (above, below, all sides) to consent to inspections, if they have seen and felt no signs.

    In many buildings, follow-up treatments only happen when tenants say "I saw a bug!" or "I am being bitten!" This can be problematic since not everyone reacts to bites and since bed bugs are so rarely seen even if present. If the follow-up is coming after a sighting one month or more down the line, you are breeding and potentially spreading bed bugs all that time.

    Landlords, Owners, Coop Management, need to be more proactive if someone in one unit is suffering from bed bugs. If people in lots of units are suffering, they need to pull out all the stops.
    There are certainly good PCOs and bad ones out there, but it is certainly not as simple as "good PCO/bad PCO."

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

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