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It's getting worse, I'm freaking out!!!

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  1. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 12:59:51
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    Today I woke with numerous more bites. Now I'm getting a rash around all the bite concentrations as well. I am severely allergic to dust mites: when I was tested the Allergy Doctor (with 15 years of practice as an allergy Dr.) said I had the most extreme reaction he had ever seen - in any patient, to any allergy of any kind. I have had 3 episodes of Anaphylactic shock over the years (you read about this in the news when someone dies from eating food they are allergic to). I am also allergic to cockroaches and their leavings (he tested me just in case, I've never lived with roaches). But this ain't roaches biting me! I'm also allergic to bee stings but less severely.

    I am wondering if I don't have a similar allergy to Bed Bugs? These bites last for weeks (the original line of three bites from Christmas took 4 weeks to heal), and the rash is very troubling. I have no health insurance and cannot afford to get tested, so I have to go by my reaction to the bites.

    Today I am re-isolating my bed. I'm stripping it down to the frame and treating frame and triple-bagged mattress with the 40/40/20 alcohol/water/soap spray (no DE). I am not going to use sheets/pad/blankets anymore as it takes 3 dryer loads to sterilize them. I am buying a 0 degree sleeping bag and placing it atop the bare (bagged) mattress so I can sanitize the bedding in one load every night before going to bed!

    Is the vaseline treatment on the bed legs going to stop the bed bugs? There isn't enough room between the legs and the frame for containers of water/soap, unless I block up the legs somehow, maybe with 2x4 blocks, and place them in Tupperware-type containers.

    Can bed bugs jump? There is only about 2 inches of room between the metal frame and the floor, it's a fold-able "trundle bed" frame on wheels. If they can, I'm just going to continue getting bitten!

    My body can't afford any more bites! The rash developing is a possible symptom of a systemic response which will eventually lead to Anaphylactic shock - and no more me! The other times I was awake and able to go to an emergency room or a Dr's office and received emergency injections. But in my sleep I am afraid I will simply not wake up - ever! I can't use an Epi Pen if I'm not awake to use it!

    Is Cedarcide a repellent? I know repellents are to be avoided. But frankly, death ranks a lot higher on my list of things to avoid! Is there a repellent known to be the most effective? I need some guidance here.

  2. bait

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 13:12:46
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    I will comment on a few things.

    Vaseline isn't very effective. I think you are wasting your time and creating more work by applying Vaseline to your bed legs. Climbups are reportedly much more effective, but I will abstain from recommending them.

    Your mixture of 40/40/20 alcohol/water/soap spray is pointless. You're wasting your time; besides, you're still getting bites.

    They don't jump two inches, but they can be agile, so expect the unexpected.

    I realize everything I said above is a negative from your point of view, so I apologize that I am not being more helpful to you.

    Bait

  3. ActionK9

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 14:11:29
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    I agree with Bait and would also advise calling a professional. Would you eat chicken soup to cure cancer ?

  4. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 15:14:04
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    so sorry you are so allergic. i am getting there with sensitivity syndrome. and they made me anemic and i am petrified of iron pills. i also had to forego health insurance this month to pay for treatment.

    i would question your use of a sleeping bag. from my point of view, bedbugs like to nest. much easier to nest in something thick and fluffy (like a mattress or pillow or sleeping bag) than layers of thin cotton sheets and blankets (also harder for them to find you)---this is what i am doing and my bites are diminished. i sleep in a sweatshirt. i only launder sheets once a week (don't have my own w/d) and only get a bite or so a night now, sometimes none. i also called in a professional pco who did chemicals and encasements. they recommended interceptors. makes the most sense. you need something beneath your bed wheels that will kill them before they get to you---talc or alcohol in basins. and if your mattress is infested you need encasements. i went through your frantic stage and wasted a lot of money on useless encasements, gadgets, sprays, tapes, new pillows, etc. now i am doing as the pco recommends and some suggestions from the faq here am spending just a little more on him and not losing my mind as much. for today. i found a lot of suggestions from personal stories confusing. to beat the bug you have to think like the bug, not like a human who has battled the bug, which means you must read up on the bloodsuckers, which is extremely unpleasant and will make you possibly have a nervous breakdown. anyway if you can get past that stage and follow instructions (as I am not the best at myself) you will have much more chance at success. i am hopefully almost rid of them. i have had to throw out a lot of stuff (including clothes and furniture, even my lampshades), quarantine some items for packtiting later when i can afford it, do numerous loads of laundry very ill, and pay for pco on disability. unfortunately, you cannot home remedy this beast. i wish i had not read the web and called the pco right away. i had to sell my keyboard and bike to make treatment. if they come back i will be at a loss of what to do financially. i am suing my landlord in march but that won't be soon enough, they will need another round of spray. so in that case i buy DE and try to finish them off the stragglers myself.

    certainly you don't need doc confirming allergy to the bites. if you they are swelling wth rash and you have seen bedbugs, you can make an educated guess. do you have benadryl you can take at night? i would also be afraid as you are of waking up with anaphylaxis. i did wake up one night with awful tremors and nausea and dehydration and anemia and was brought to the hospital where they injected me with thiamine (they had no idea what was happening) and gave me iv fluids. i beleive it was systemic poisoning. i didn't even think to mention i had bedbugs as i had no idea the havoc they could wreak. when i came back from the hospital the next night i woke up in a severe asthma attack. i packed my things and spent far too much at a hotel and called in the pco. now i have a sinus infection from the chemicals. oh well, big deal. i have been eating red meat every day for months not understanding why: anemia. my ferritin is 7, supposed to be at least 15. when i get my period now ijust fall apart from the blood loss. i would be interested to find out just how much blood they can take from a person in one night.

    i have very bad dust mite and cockroach allergy also. i understand. you need to not get bit and the onlyway to do it is chemicals. sorry. i am also chemically sensitive and have worked as an environmentalist, but bedbugs have made me incredibly more able to tolerate a little asthma or agitation or sinus trouble or ethical dilemma. the only thing that kills them is poison. because we are not as small and stealth as bugs, we need to use our weapons: manufactured chemicals. if this doesn't work i am putting everything i'd like to keep in the back of my truck and starting over somewhere, from scratch, nothing on me, keep that stuff in my truck for awhile, maybe 18 months, buy a packtite and/or may try a last ditch effort to have my friend who got rid of his bugs with lawn chemicals (seriously, outdoor use only) spray the cr*p out of my place and not be in there for awhile. he tried everything. the only thing that worked was lawn and garden pest spray with a hose and a more mild spray on his bed and getting his kids and pregnant wife out for awhile while he went to war. he is a peace activist.

    amy

  5. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 18:29:37
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    Your mixture of 40/40/20 alcohol/water/soap spray is pointless. You're wasting your time; besides, you're still getting bites.

    Believe it or not, I have done a little homework. I've been reading posts by senior members of this forum, which is where I discovered mention of the formula. All the posts on this site say that the mixture is a very effective contact killer. I am using it to kill any bugs and/or eggs on the metal frame. There are no holes or hollow places for them to hide, so completely wetting the frame should kill them. Are the claims that the mixture is an effective contact killer wrong? I can use Murphy's Oil soap, which is also recommended as a contact killer. The formula (with DE added) was developed by a fairly credible entomologist. DE does not kill on contact, so I see no need to add it for killing bugs on my bedframe.

    I am indeed calling in a PCO. But until I present the proof of infestation (I just yesterday found some dead ones to show to the landlord), the landlord schedules a PCO visit, the treatments get scheduled, etc - I kinda need to stop getting bitten. And I have seen a Doctor to confirm that they are bed bug bites, not fleas/mites/etc.

    If anyone knows of a better contact killer that I can buy locally, I'll use it. I'm raising the bed on 2 inch blocks and placing them in a low but wide container, which I will fill with water and Murphy's oil soap (heavy cleaning ratio) to create a moat; that is what this site recommends. If the posts about bed isolation I have been reading are incorrect, please point me to the ones that have accurate information.

    The aforementioned Climbup interceptors are too small to accommodate my bed. Sadly so, as they seem to be very effective devices.

    RE the sleeping bag: my understanding (again from reading posts by senior members of this forum) is that bedbugs cannot burrow through tightly woven cloth and tightly sewn seams. If I run it through the dryer every night before bedtime, eggs and juveniles will be killed.

  6. canada

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 20:15:27
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    Hi, early days for me - just 2 weeks ago I awoke to terrible itching; huge red welts all over my shoulders and upper arms. We have 3 cats ad I thought it was fleas though it was the wrong time of year and they're all treated to good results anyway. I have severe reactions to mosquito bites, last for days and itch terribly but this was much worse. All was great for a week, no cats allowed in the room, clean linens. then exactly 1 week later, 3am wide awake - OMG! even worse bites. Saw a bug while changing sheets.

    The exterminator came and found no evidence of infestation which he said only meant he came early enough. My life is in plastic bags and I'm seriously worried.

    But I'm sleeping in the 'ground zero' bed to get the pests to get into the spray - but I'm wearing long johns, putting the sheets and pillow cases in the dryer on hot for 25 minutes just before bed and putting the pillows and duvet in clean bags in the morning for the day. No bed skirt and bed away from the wall.

    This way they'll still know I'm there and come after me allowing them to poison themselves but hopefully not really 'reach' me. A lot of work but I'm sleeping sounder and, knock on wood, no further bites. Good luck!

    BTW, I've always had a sort of controllable phobic reaction to all insects which certainly hasn't helped - thanks for this site; it's scared me! but helps me feel less isolated as I don't want to share this with anyone.

  7. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 22:26:43
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    "Bait", I am curious: on what data are you basing your statement that the 40/40/20 alcohol/water/soap spray is not effective as a contact killer? Everything I have read about it on this site indicates the opposite. If you have information that contradicts that, please share it with me so I will be better informed. If possible, post links to any studies or research that indicates that bed bugs (eggs or any other stage) will survive being thoroughly wet down (directly sprayed and soaked all over) with the solution.

    I just treated my mattress frame (there is no box spring, it's a Trundle Bed - a Day Bed that collapses to roll under a high Queen-size bed which is in storage in my garage). I highly doubt any living organisms at all survived, bed bugs or otherwise.

  8. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 22:39:27
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    Canada, I know what you mean. Connecticut is a very conservative (some say anal retentive) state, with the upper-middle class mindset that "decent and clean people don't get bugs" - especially bed bugs. I beleive Lice will get you exiled.

    I don't mention this to anyone. I know I should call the previous tenant and share info, he is a friend of mine. I know he took in a couple of used couches from Freecycle or Craig's list. That may well be where the bugs came from. I also know he slept in the living room and used the bedroom I sleep in for storage (I forget why). That's probably why it took the bed bugs almost 4 months to find my warm, tasty body.

    I'm glad your exterminator found no infestation. I suspect mine will though.

  9. spideyjg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Feb 6 2010 23:48:57
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    BuggedOutInCT - 1 hour ago  » 
    "Bait", I am curious: on what data are you basing your statement that the 40/40/20 alcohol/water/soap spray is not effective as a contact killer? Everything I have read about it on this site indicates the opposite. If you have information that contradicts that, please share it with me so I will be better informed. If possible, post links to any studies or research that indicates that bed bugs (eggs or any other stage) will survive being thoroughly wet down (directly sprayed and soaked all over) with the solution.

    DE is the only element of that mix that is a known proven BB killer. Alcohol is too but only at 91%. You stated your mix will not have DE so no reason to believe it will have any efficacy.

    Contact that "Ask the bugman" guy who cooked up that idea for his take on a DE free mix.

    Jim

  10. wchicago

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Feb 7 2010 11:19:17
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    i'm with spidey and bait on this one
    if you want a cheap effective contact killer -use 91% alcohol in a spray (fumey, but effective)

    if you want a spray that will help you easily lay down a residual of DE in places, use the water, alcohol, soap + DE mix. i'm pretty sure its not meant to be a contact killer, its meant to allow the DE to be distributed more easily to difficult to reach places. without the DE, you've just got soapy water and squeaky clean bed bugs

  11. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Feb 7 2010 11:36:36
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    Thanks Jim.

    From what I have read, the DE is not a contact killer. My understanding is the DE mix is to be misted along baseboards, closet corners, and other out-of-the-way spots where BBs may be traveling. They walk through the layer of DE which abrades their "skin" and eventually kills them; it takes days for them to die. I'll stick with the alcohol as a contact killer.

    I used about 60 percent alcohol instead of 40, and I doused the frame very thoroughly. I also inspected before doing so: I found one bit of detritus that may or may not be a molting, otherwise nothing. The frame is entirely steel angle iron riveted together, so there are literally no hiding spaces on it. I can't imagine how people with wood frames isolate with all the cracks and crevices. Glad I never set up my queen size bed: it's a waterbed frame with a 4-drawer pedestal, but I used a standard mattress instead of a waterbed bag. I like a firm bed and it's very comfortable, but isolating it would involve a moat that would make King Arthur proud.

    I get the impression the Bugman is a bit unorthodox, and something of a publicity-seeker. Not a lot of useful stuff on his web site.

  12. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Feb 7 2010 12:14:23
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    Beth: Thank you for sharing your story. Your situation sucks (pardon the pun) more than mine, or at least as much. At least I have a landlord who is known for being responsive and maintaining his properties (especially this one) very well. I only hope he doesn't try to use his own staff to exterminate, but calls a PCO with bed bug experience.

    RE your moving and keeping your belongings in the truck for 18 months: I don't know if this is possible for you, but here in CT you can rent a portable storage unit. They look like miniature (about 8x8x12 feet) shipping containers. I am considering putting everything in the garage in one (parked in the driveway) and adding the maximum number of Nuvan strips. That should kill everything within 2 weeks but I would give it 2 months before returning stuff to the garage. Most of these services will "park" your unit on their property for a small fee (if you are in an apartment it's the only way). That may be a better solution for you. The Nuvan leaves no residue at all, so the "stuff" does not get contaminated. If you bag everything in plastic (Contractor Bags are the biggest and strongest I have been able to find) and drop a Nuvan strip in before sealing the bag, it's supposed to be as effective as a Packtite.

    If this lasts until April I am going to Nuvan the whole basement/garage myself (I have a lot of things larger than a Contractor Bag). The fumes are very bad for humans but come April I can keep the upstairs windows open 24/7 (one reason I chose the sleeping bag; it's designed for zero degree camping). Theoretically Nuvan is safe for closets and unoccupied spaces, but the warning label and side effect description curled my hair. My furnace picks up air from the basement and some of those fumes will be circulating in my living space 24/7 during winter. I can nuke the upstairs with something else, so if they flee up here they will hit a "wall of death". But that's MY "last resort" backup plan. I am going to hope a good PCO wipes them out long before then.

    Here's wishing us both luck!

    PS - If you find a need to seal a garbage bag or poly sheeting with duct tape, the regular stuff does not stick well at all. Scotch makes a product called "Tough (Extreme Hold) Duct Tape" that will stick to poly extremely well.

  13. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Feb 7 2010 14:54:37
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    hey bugged out,

    nuvane strips, is that dvvp? my pco said i could spray hot shots into the bags and seal em up and that should kill them but all here like the strips so i think i'll get them when i have the money, as well as the packtite, and do both strategies when the time to bring stuff back in and do the rest of my laundry comes. for now i'm comfortable without my books andmost of my clothes, etc. waiting for them to die inside. my new landlord doesn't know, he may do something but i have no lease so cannot risk. it is my old landlordi am suing.

    best of luck to you-
    amy

  14. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Feb 7 2010 22:56:08
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    BuggedOutin CT,

    91% isopropyl alcohol is, in fact, a very effective contact killer for bed bugs. It will probably work better as a contact killer than any mix you can put together.

    As far as I know, there is no OTC contact killer for eggs (other than heat--which you'd need a dry vapor steamer to deliver safely). Cedarcide has been shown in lab tests to kill some eggs, but there's a lively debate about whether it's the cedar oil (probably not) or the chemical the cedar oil is delivered in (probably so) that does the killing. Since you'd have to order it, I doubt it's going to be terribly effective for you immediately. There is one chemical pesticide that kills some eggs; however, no one pesticide or substance has been shown to kill all eggs. That is one of the major factors that makes bed bugs such a difficult pest to eradicate.

    91% isopropyl alcohol is readily available and cheap. It does have a tendency to "melt" some plastics, but it can be sprayed on most other things with impunity.

  15. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 7:43:55
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    Buggy: Have a handheld dry steamer, use it on upholstery and cracks. I've filled a spray bottle with 91%. Calling Landlord today, hoping for a good professional exterminator (rather than the landlord's idle workers), wish me luck!

  16. bb_gave_me_ocd

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 17:16:34
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    Good luck, BuggedOut! I hope you get the good professional you deserve.

  17. BuggedOutInCT

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 17:58:34
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    Thanks bb_gave_me_ocd! (Love the moniker)

    The Landlord is sending out a professional!!!

    My call to their office did not bode well. I was quizzed about "where they came from" and "how I got them". One comment (quickly withdrawn) was "wouldn't that be your problem?" When I asked who they used for pest control, I was told they had never had to do pest control. I remarked "with all your properties, none of them have ever had any insect problems, not even ants?". The response was "well sometimes our crew will spray the perimeter".

    After hanging up, I pondered this. In CT the landlord is responsible for Bed Bug extermination; UNLESS the lease states otherwise (in which case you are, well, you know). So I called the office back, told them I wanted them to know I never had bedbugs until moving in here, and asked for a copy of my lease. I also stated that in CT it is the landlord's responsibility to deal with bed bug infestations.

    10 minutes later I received a call back. The landlord DOES have an exterminator they use and I could come anytime to pick up a copy of the lease. The lease says nothing about insects, bugs, extermination, etc. So they are indeed responsible. And their attitude was a 180 from my first call; they assured me the exterminator would be out within a day.

    The Landlord is an older man who has been managing his properties (he owns a construction company as well) for many years. I suspect he has dealt with this issue before; the office staff just didn't know.

    I don't know if they would have responded with professionals had I not stated my expectations up front. He does have a good reputation, keeps up the property very well, and is a decent guy. Plus he is planning on moving in to the house next door to me (he'll sleep better knowing they aren't creeping up on him from next door). But stating expectations is just good communications practice, and it couldn't have hurt.

    I'm getting a PCO!!! Tonight I will pray for Vikane. Not likely to get it, but a guy can dream...


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