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

life stinks now

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  1. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jun 2 2011 21:23:11
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    before last week I thought bed bugs only existed on the east coast. Now that I found out the truth I have barely slept in the past couple days, which I'm sure is quite is common for those on this forum. Anyway, I will be as breif as possible. My landlord which lives above me in an older (for Los angeles) wooden house turned apartment recently informed me that he had bedbugs. Bedbugs?! What!! No one here gets bed bugs! I freaked and years of dealing with cockroach problems pales in comparison.

    Ok long story short- the landlord is giong to fumigate the apartment (thank god) In the mean time I am completely squemish and freaked out and have looked at every possible picture of bed bugs on the net (waste, blood spots, the actual bugs, etc) There was no trace of any of these things in my apartment but I was still to wierded out to even stay the night there. I am especially concerned that my boyfriend brought a mattress there from our old apartment that may have had bed bugs which I thought at the time were roaches! OK- then one more thing.

    My parents live in a nice neighborhood and they are pretty old . ..they have some medical stuff going on and I am also staying with them until this bed bugs fiasco is handled. Anyway, being the freakazoid I am I started wondering if what if they have bed bugs and dont know it!! Because I have noticed that when you mention bed bugs to people in LA they usually have the totally wrong idea of what they are or dont really know what you are talking about. Anyway, I think my parents have them too! I have not found any case sheddings or eggs but I found small black spots on the lamps (something I didnt even find at my apartment) and I also found one corner (only one corner of their bed duster had small black ink dots on it!!!!) I am trying to upload a picture. Oh god life was so much better a few days ago when I was oblivious to bed bugs. I dont have the heart to tell mey parents. ): Sorr for the rambling, not sure what to do here. Oh boy, sorry there should be a word maximum.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 0:50:56
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    Try not to panic. It's not the end of the world, and your landlord is on board with fixing your building's problem. Many people find that is a huge part of the battle.

    Do find out, though, what the landlord means by "fumigate". If he is going to use Vikane gas to (techinically) fumigate the whole building, that should solve the problem in one go. Most people don't go this route because initial costs may be more expensive.

    However, many people wrongly refer to pesticide spray and dust treatments as "fumigation." This is incorrect and confusing.

    Sprays and dusts and steam work, but sprays/dust/steam regimens will likely take multiple visits. Other methods like structural heat -- another option which can be more expensive but is supposed to work in one shot -- are available too.

    It's a bit of a hassle but you will get through this. Try not to stress.

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

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 5:04:49
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    Take a deep breath, ohboyLosAngeles

    Consider yourself somewhat lucky. You were informed about a nearby infestation before (hopefully) your unit is infested. Understand that because of the stigma that comes with having bed bugs, most people will not inform their neighbors, which doesn't give them a chance to take action that could prevent infestation of their unit or, at least, a chance to know what it is and treat the spreading bugs fast.

    Protection and early treatment are way more effective than treating a wide-spread infestation.

    Use these forums to learn about ways to protect your home against infection and to spot early warning signs. If it's likely you don't have bed bugs yet I'd say that once you've taken precautions and know what to look you should NOT continue obsessing here on the message boards; this will only freak you out. I wouldn't want anyone to live a life as if they have bed bugs when they don't.

    It sounds like you live in "basement apartment." Is your landlord treating the whole structure (their house and your apartment below)? Not to worry you further, but if they only treat their home and not your unit the bugs might escape whatever chemical they use and seek a more hospitable environment (i.e. your apartment). You'll want to to speak with the landlord about treating the whole building.

    Either way, you should take precautions now so that even if your whole building is treated and even if your landlord eliminates the bed bugs, you don't get them in the future.

    I'd suggest all of the bed precautions (move away from the walls & maybe get climb ups), declutter your home, vacuum once a week, use light color sheets on the bed etc.

    Finally, look on the bright side: you've got a head start. Most of here on the forum only figured out what bed bugs were once they were in our beds--a learning process that sometimes takes month and many scars while the infestation grows and becomes more difficult to treat. You have a chance to stop them *before* they get to you.

  4. MadinMidAtlantic

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 5:08:25
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    By the way, bed bugs on the lamp shade, while possible, sounds unlikely.

    First step: move your beds and dressers away from the walls a few inches. Also, don't let any bedding touch the floor--this means the dusters or the sheets. And if the legs are small enough I'd suggest putting them in glass jars (like canning or mason jars).

  5. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 18:03:44
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    thank you so much madinmidatlantic and nobugsonme, I really do appreciate it. Im sure just like many people on here, the broken sleep and waking up in the middle of the night in a crazed mania is not helping lol. I sort of wish I never knew about this, but I suppose its better to know so I can get it handled. I am going to make sure that my boyfriend talks to the landlord and ensure that he gets the vikane or other one you talked about. I think once I started looking for bedbigs everywhere I just got really freaked out when I drove to my parents house (miles away) and saw what may be black fecal stains on one of their old dusters.

    That was the only sign I saw and I checked the seams of their beds and my bed that I was staying on as well and saw no other signs. . .sounds kind of crazy but im pretty sure I saw the black fecal stains on a lamp (hoping to god that I am wrong though) . . . .is it possible that the duster is old and that the bed bug problem is now gone ? Wishful thinking I suppose. Just started to feel surrounded if you know what I mean. My dad is also ill and has to have surgery on the 8th of June and so I dont even want to mention anything to them until after.

    On my apartment, my greatest fear is that we brought the bed bugs in the house with an old mattress which was not our own that I allowed my boyfriend to bring (against my wishes) I fear that the box spring of that old mattress is housing bed bugs. and Im just waiting for the landlord to get back to me about the fumigation and I cant go home because I'm too scared to sleep on my own mattress I am waiting for some checks that are really overdue and as soon as they come the first thing i am going to do is buy a new mattress and then there will be the fumigation (praying to god the fumigation will take place because I seriously cant sleep there right now and now am also uncomfortable sleeping at my parents too since I saw the black spots on the duster :()

    My boyfriend is putting off getting rid of the mattress but because of my concerns I would rather sleep on nothing than be anywhere near that old mattress possibly spawned from hell. little side not is that the old apartment we had before had a roach problem the new apartment we have is nice, etc but I nearly fainted when I realized that that roach problem may have been a bed bug problem from looking at photos. Which leads me to conclude that that mattress that came from the possibly bed bug infested house could be. . .infested . . .oh god im gonna faint.

    Is there anyway I could get rid of the mattress quickly before I lose it? Mind you with no money right now. . .uggg. . .I should have money in about 3 days.

    anyway, so if I could just get a new mattress or atleast get that old mattress out of my apartment I would feel better. . . .): . . .oh boy this does not help my already existant sleep problems. Thank you so much for listening I really do appreciate your help.

  6. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 18:11:15
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    oh, I'm sorry one last really quick thing. . .how can I make sure that he is doing the right thing, for instance if he is going to get a "tent" put on the house, can I rest easy or is it possible that its not the right kind of gas or that it is not going to get to my room? Just want to make sure. Thank you so so so so so much.

  7. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 18:13:03
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    I wouldn't buy a new bed until you're 100% sure you're clear.

    Since realistically, that probably means several months after the last signs of bugs, you might consider buying a good airbed in the mean time.

    I get that for a lot of people, sleeping in the place with the bugs is basically impossible. (I am one of those people. I had insomnia *before* I got bed bugs, so add bed bugs . . . well, it's just not a good mix, right? Right.

    That said, most chemical treatments are much more effective if someone is sleeping in the bed in the infested room. And if you aren't, your PCO needs to know that so that things can be changed accordingly.

    I kept my bed that had the infestation. My apartment was treated, the bugs went away, and it still took me ::counts:: over 4 months before I went back to sleeping in the bed, and my anxiety peaked again once I did so, until I spent several nights, and then several weeks, sleeping in the bed without getting bitten.

    Thus, I really do get that you may not be able to sleep on that bed. But you will get a lot more anxious if you buy a new bed and then become convinced that you can't trust it's bug free either. And air bed is a fairly comfortable stop gap measure in the meantime.

    Also keep in mind that those black fecal marks on the duster could be anything. I had several near panic attacks over what was grease from my bicycle chain.

    As for MadinMidAtlantic, I would guess we're talking about a duplex, not a basement apartment. Basements are very, very rare in Los Angeles.

    Just something to think about.

  8. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 18:17:24
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    oh my god, sorry one very last thing- my landlord said something about how we would not have to move any of our stuff (for the tent gas treatment) but apparently the Vikane causes people to have to move their stuff? If we do not have to move anything is there a possibility that it is not Vikane?

  9. lagirl31

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 18:36:20
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    If you've already inspected your mattress carefully and found no signs, then I don't think you need to throw it out and buy a new one. It sounds like you've done a lot of reading here and looked at the pictures. If your mattress had bedbugs, you would probably be able to find some signs of them, especially if the infestation had advanced far enough to spread to your landlord's house (not sure if that's what you were implying in the previous post).

    Take a deep breath and try to re-group. If you do have bedbugs, it's good that your landlord wants to take care of the problem. Make sure you talk to him and the PCO so you know what the plan is.

    For later, when the money situation is better, you might consider mattress encasements. Not everyone on here likes to use mattress encasements, but I personally love mine. I have a good AllerZip one and it is bright white and easier to inspect than a mattress. It gives me some peace of mind because I like knowing that bugs can't get into my mattress (I didn't use it lock them in, but to keep them out). It's a relatively small investment, financially, and it might give you some peace of mind. I also have passive monitors that I hope will give me peace of mind in the future, because I know I'll continue monitoring for bugs. We live in a city! We're going to be exposed to bugs.

    In the meantime, don't do anything but inspect until you've talked to the PCO. Don't start throwing things out, don't panic. Try to stay in your own bed. If it makes you feel better, you can wash your sheets and heat treat your comforter and pillows every couple days (I do this twice a week and it does make me feel better, mentally).

    I'm in LA too and I think we're lagging behind a lot on bedbug knowledge, but trust me, they're here and you aren't the only one (if you even have them!). We'll eventually catch up to NYC and become more aware, I think. Just hang in there!

  10. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:04:32
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    thanks buggyinsocal, that is very helpful. I may use the airbed for the time being as I cannot bring myself to come near that mattress or box spring. My situation with bringing the mattress from somewhere else is what really gets me about the mattress and box spring. I did have a question though, if the landlord treats with Vikane within the next few weeks, would that mean it would still be months until the bed bugs are gone?

    yes it is a duplex, you are right. I also have no idea if there are even bed bugs in my room but a small part of me fears that the last apartment was bed bug infested and that WE actually brought the bed bugs to my new apartment via the box spring, make sense? OK thank you so much!!! Very helpful info! I wish I could stay in my room to make the treatment more effective but Im sure I wont be able to until that old mattress is out ! Im sure you understand what with the insomnia and all. . . .and now a real reason to wake up in a nightmarish sweat. . . . .boo hoo

  11. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:13:21
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    thank you lagirl! Yes I believe that when I told my parents that I might have bed bugs they pretty much looked at me blankly and had no idea what I was talking about. Most people here believe it is impossible to get them here! I believe I will get a mattress encasement this sounds like a great idea. Although I understand that I should probably be staying at home, Im not going to lie, I cant right now!! I know, its bad, but I would go crazy. I think that the possibility of having bed bugs in the box spring is what is really getting to me (mainly mental, I know but I get so little sleep as it is) I know its utterly silly to throw out my mattress and box spring, but, good god I have to. as soon as I get some money I will definitley invest in a mattress encasement. I havent thrown anything out yet but I did declutter. I know you are right about the fact that I probably would have been able to tell if we brought the bugs in the box spring (and yes that was what I was implying lol!) but it still freaks me out to high hell that the last apartment we were in had a bug problem and looking at the photos.. . .I realized it may have been bed bugs. . .like a SERIOUS problem. Like I looked under the sink and nearly fainted because there was serious infestation of something which at the time I thought was termites or roaches. . . .!!! hoping that my theory is wrong, of course but as it is I cannot go near that bed. WIll get a mattress encasement though.

    I think also because of the fact that I saw a nightmarishly bad infestation under the sink of my last apartment. . .there is a littl ebit of trauma there because. . . .what is seen can't be UNSEEN!!

  12. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:20:37
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    oh and madinmidatlantic i will definitley move things away from the wall, thank you.

  13. lagirl31

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:22:05
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    I totally get the difficulty of sleeping in your bed at this time! I'll be honest - I was taking benadryl and xanax to get through the night for a while. I was determined to keep sleeping in my bed because I didn't want them to move anywhere else in my apartment.

    I'm not an expert, but seeing bedbugs under the sink (in your previous apt) seems really weird. Is there any chance it was something else? They wouldn't have easy access to feeding from under the sink, and they tend to like to be really close to the bed. Don't assume that you had them!

    You have to do what you have to do to stay sane. I did a lot of decluttering (carefully!) and it helped. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For me, the very worst part was where you are right now + the prep for the PCO (which it sounds like you might not have to do much of!). Once you have a plan in place, things don't seem as scary, even if they get discouraging and frustrating.

  14. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:22:54
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    And as a side note, I have no idea why but thinking about the nesting location i.e. the actual nest (faint) is so much worse for me than thinking about the bugs themselves. Possibly because of what I saw under that sink that one time.

  15. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:24:29
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    suppose my worst fear is opening that box spring up by tearing the fabric off the bottom and seeing what was under the sink of that apartment

  16. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 19:28:51
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    thanks LA girl, yeah being "without a home" for a few days is a real bummer ):

    i read something on a website that said it is possible in really bad infestations that they can even live near water pipes (which was what was under the sink) I am praying I am wrong on that one, but my gut tells me it may have been them. Almost wish I knew at the time so I could have reported it, but I had no idea what it was. All I can say is that if it was bed bugs and not roaches or termites. It was BAD, REAL BAD.

    As soon as I know more about the PCO plan im sure i will feel better, you are right (:

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 23:27:57
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    To answer your question about Vikane, I don't think you should assume the landlord was going to do this just because he mentioned "fumigation." Most people who do are just using the term incorrectly.

    If the entire building is tented and gassed with Vikane, then there is a small amount of prep involved. I am not one to advise you on what it encompasses (the service pros would have to do this), but it would include removing items which would be dangerous after being gassed (like food and medicine) and would also involve making sure nothing was sealed in bags, for example, so that the gas could not penetrate. There might be more to do.

    Vikane gas fumigation can also be done on the contents of a room, which entails moving those items to a truck or offsite location. (If a building is having this done, one firm -- Bed Bug Fumigation Services --brings what they call a Fume Cube to the location where the fumigation is done onsite; other firms load your stuff into a truck and take it to their location.)

    This method does not treat the structure itself, which also has to be treated (usually with some combination of steam/sprays/dusts as in a traditional treatment). That's usually done once while the items are out of the room being gassed, and then again in a follow-up, in my understanding.

    Note: if the structure is treated with Vikane, it is supposed to work in one shot. The same is true of structural heating, which is another nice option. (Both should work in one go, but there are humans involved so errors can occur and firms may not be equally skilled or in terms of heat, may use methods which are not equally good.)

    If your landlord goes for a traditional treatment (sprays, dusts, sometimes starting with steam), don't worry. This can work too. It can take longer, but it can work.

    Experience is important in a pest management professional.

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 23:33:57
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    A couple other points:

    Unless I am missing something, you have not found any evidence of bed bugs in your apartment. Is this correct?

    Do not get rid of your bed or anything else. Doing so may be a pointless waste of money.

    If the landlord has discovered his problem and you have seen no signs yet, it is likely you may have no bed bugs at present or a small infestation.

    Even if you have bed bugs, throwing your bed out is not usually necessary. And it can spread bed bugs to neighbors which means that you may eventually get them again.

    Decluttering is okay and can help if you feel you need to do it anyway, but in case there are bed bugs, I would not start moving things around. You can make your problems worse by moving bed bugs to more locations. (If decluttering, putting things into a bag on the spot and taking it outside, sealed, is okay, but again, only do this if it is stuff you really do not want.)

  19. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jun 3 2011 23:52:07
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    Drive by post, as I've got places to go, but . . .

    I had bed bugs for at least a month and probably more like two before I figured out I had an infestation. I live in a fourplex of one bedroom apartments. Despite having an untreated infestation for that length of time, and traveling extensively during that time period, which mean that my apartment was devoid of human food for up to a week at a time, the bugs never migrated into any neighboring units.

    While some apartment buildings are definitely constructed in ways that make the travel of bugs from unit to unit very easy, it's not inevitable that bugs will always move from one unit to the next.

    Obviously, if i'd known I'd had bugs, I would have behaved differently. I'm not suggesting people wander about and leave bugs with a less ideal food source (I suspect my cat was being used as food while I was away--poor thing).

    I am posting about my experience because I think in the early throes of panic, people go to epic DEFCON, somewhere below level 1 (maybe like DEFCON Negative Eight) and assume that if a neighbor has bugs, than they will get bugs too.

    This is FAR more likely if people aren't getting good professional treatment.

    I would definitely be in contact with your landlord about when the PCO is coming out, what kind of inspection your apartment will be getting, exactly what the nature of treatment is, and if there are chemicals involved, thorough lists of exact prep instructions, a clear set of instructions about what you can do to support treatment, and a list of any and all chemicals used in your apartment.

    But . . .

    You have to have reached a point at which you can digest that information without being at a level of epic panic. I know it's hard, but if you haven't seen bugs or evidence of bugs in your unit, there is no reason to assume you will end up with bed bugs in your apartment. Remember, three of my neighbors eluded bed bugs despite a likely 6 week minimum infestation. I had heat treatment, and the bugs got wiped out in one treatment, and they never migrated to anyone else's apartment.

    I suspect that in smaller buildings like the ones more common in LA, the construction is such that it's harder for bugs to migrate from unit to unit than is the case in a lot of buildings in big cities back east. I suspect it's partly size of the building (we have a lot more very small apartment buildings) and partly construction (every apartment I lived in back east had hot water tanks in the basement with pipes running to each unit. In my fourplex now, every unit has its own hot water heater that is housed inside each unit, so fewer shared pipes. We also don't have any central heating or AC (I know, the people back east are probably like Bwah? over that, but really, many places in so Cal, the apartments only have wall heaters in one room or two.), so fewer shared ducts. Those kinds of factors make a difference.

    We see many, many more cases of people who regret throwing out items that they didn't need to throw out. I can think of maybe two or three cases in three years where people say "Hey, I should have destroyed and thrown out that sofa sooner since it went through four treatments but I don't think it ever got bug free." On the other hand, I can think of dozens of people who regret throwing out as much as they did.

  20. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 3 2011 16:16:53
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    thank you nobugsome and buggy insocal sorry about the delay. I did get vikane gas. Everything seemed to be going well but I am having some trouble re-adjusting. I know it may sound silly as there was a dog that came through after the vikane gas was done and we were told we did not have bed bugs only the upper floor did. Well, anyhow, I just cant seem to cheer myself up because today I was cleaning and saw a brown small bug run away. It was too fast for me to be able to identify it unfortunatley. I have researched alot about bed bugs and I just dont know what the odds are that you would be cleaning RIGHT near your bed and see a small brown bug. anyway, I'm just feeling so bad right now I want to cry. maybe its all in my head but like I said I dont know what the odds are of that ): I posted a similiar post earlier today and I apologize I could not figure out how to post it here instead. Thank you so much for anything.

  21. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 3 2011 16:19:19
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    One last thing is that what I meant to say is I have researched their size and everything kind of alot. I have never seen blood spots or eggs, cases anywhere. Its a mystery to me but I swear what I saw today fit the description pretty well, only it ran away too fast to identify it. Its possible that it was too big? It may have been roughly bigger than the size of an apple seed. . . .is that too big for a bed bug. Gosh im not going to be able to rest easy for a while now.

  22. Dionyseus

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 3 2011 17:54:36
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    About your earlier post about fecal stains, there are other insects that leave fecal stains that can be mistaken as bed bug fecal stains.

    As for the bug you saw today without a picture it's impossible for us to say what it was. I suggest keeping a roll of scotch tape or a similarly sticky tape nearby, and if you ever see an insect that might be a bed bug quickly cut a piece of tape and 'tape up' the bug. It's a lot easier than it sounds, bed bugs are actually quite slow and clumsy compared to some other insects, and they can't jump or fly, so by the time you grab the tape and come back to the scene chances are the bug is close-by to where you last saw it.

  23. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 3 2011 19:03:12
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    Do you mean that your entire building was treated with Vikane gas?

  24. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Mon Jul 4 2011 4:41:03
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    yes it was treated with Vikane gas, nobugsome. Hmm, I read at one point that bed bugs could be fast, I suppose that maybe what I read was wrong. I'd say this bug that I saw was somewhat speedy, that is making me feel better just knowing that. I know its impossible without a picture, I was just desperate. Thanks for your help. Oh, one last thing I was going to say was this bug was the size of a bed bug, maybe not reddish brown more of a brown brown, it was also a bit dark though. I later saw a june bug in my room (positive on that one) but the earlier bug was much smaller than a june bug but was gone before I vould get it, it seemed actually somewhat fast.

  25. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jul 4 2011 13:55:41
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    Other bugs are mistaken for bed bugs all the time, and they're often found in the bed, so that alone should not alarm you.

    Having the entire building treated with Vikane should have eliminated the entire problem, unless something was done incorrectly (and I would not assume this unless you had a definite bed bug sighting, which it does not sound like you are sure about). It can happen but I would not worry unless you definitely see a bed bug.

    The other option is that someone brought them back in to the building again. In this case, if the upper floor were the ones who had bed bugs originally, it seems more likely that they would be exposed and bring them in again (rather than you), and I would think it would take some time before they came back to you -- so while that's all speculation, it does not sound like a very likely reason why you'd be seeing a bed bug again so soon.

    You might consider implementing a monitor like the BBALert Passive, which can be installed and checked once a month for signs. (More about monitors here.) That might just give you peace of mind going forward (since bed bugs are a fact of life these days).

  26. ohboyLosAngeles

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jul 4 2011 16:58:29
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    Nobugsome, thank you for your response. I think I will get one of those monitors just for peace of mind. Everything you say makes sense to me. Of course not being able to catch the bug will haunt me until I know what it was haha. . .life was definitley easier before I knew much about bed bugs, but I guess ignorance is bliss (: Thanks again.


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