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Long story /Home in Sweden after a travel that included a bedbug encounter

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  1. Laura.VDO

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    Joined: Aug '19
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    Posted 3 months ago
    Wed Aug 28 2019 6:13:19
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    Hello,

    I will tell my story so far, and would like to hear thoughts on how to proceed.

    Travelling
    In January, my partner and I travel to New Zealand. After some weeks we volunteer at a farm. We sleep in the volunteer house, in a private room. After a few days I have very itchy bites on my hand, in a straight line. They are raised, hard and red. There are many sandflies in NZ, and I think these are sandfly bites. I get more and more bites, My boyfriend doesn't have a problem. My ankles, feet, hands, and legs get more and more bites. I start to think about bedbugs and inspect the bed. I find a big fat bug, walking across the sheet. I am not sure if it is a bedbug. I inspect the ends of the sheets. I find 'stuff', I think the shells of the morphing bugs. There are many rust like stains in the bed, especially near where I put my hands in my sleep.
    I confront the owner with my suspicion. He tells me they never had any bedbugs, and the people who had slept in our room recently didn't complain about anything either.
    We are in the middle of nowhere, without a good laundromat or easy way out of there.

    We do several stupid things, prompted by panic. We treat the whole room with kerosine. We use a bed bug bomb. We leave garbage bags full of our stuff in the not-quite hot enough sun. The bites lessen, but continue.

    I cry a lot, panic a lot, and want to throw all of my possisions and fly home. Because I am so upset, my partner agrees to this. In the end I don't have the courage to see this through because we would have to throw away thousands of euros in electronics we brought with us.
    I also feel like we should fix this before coming home, to not let this ruin our travel or bring bugs home.

    We continue traveling, washing and drying all of our stuff in laundromats a few times when we think something is up. In the months that follow we never see a bedbug. I do have skin issues on my face, unusual to me. It seems like I have pimples but they 'behave' different from normal pimples, becoming red and not quite popping the same way normal pimples or blackheads pop. We say this is stress. I am on the look out for blood on sheets, bites on hands or ankles, and the bugs themselves. I have an itchy bite on my butt that I can't explain towards the end of our travel. We discuss the bedbug situation and decide we will pretend like we have them when we come home, so we will take precaution washing and freezing our belongings as good as we can.

    Coming home
    It's June now. Our appartement is not available to us yet, we stay with my BF's parents for two weeks. We are picked up from the airport by his mother, who brings us fresh clothing and big trashbags. We have just traveled for about two days and are very tired. We change in the airport toilets, put all of our belongings in trashbags, and drive home in the car.
    At home I bring all the bags outside and sort them in categories of washing, or freezing. In the days that follow we wash all textiles on hot, put our backpacks in trashbags on the attic to remain there for at least one year, and freeze everything except for;
    -some tupperware we traveled with
    -a piece of ceramic
    -electronics: several recording devices including fluffy microphone cover, laptop, ipad, phones, powerbank.

    After about two days I experience bites; three on my face/neck, and a very itchy one on my butt.
    I announce I believe we brought bedbugs home.
    Because I am the only one with bites and seem overly stressed, I am not fully believed. We call the exterminator for advice.
    Because we don't find bugs or conclusive evidence, the exterminator refuses to come. A bedbug exterminator IS on the insurance here in Sweden, but you have to mail them evidence first.
    We tape around and on the couch we sleep on. We look for bugs every day and find none. Nobody else seems to get bitten.

    Two months break from the situation
    It is summer. I had planned to visit my family in my home country. In this country, bedbugs are not on the home insurance. Out of precaution I fly home with only my passport and bank cards, which were treated by a week in the freezer, in a plastic bag.
    My family picks me up from the airport with new clothing. I throw away everything I was wearing. The notebook and pen I got at the airport and bank cards go into the freezer. At home I take a hot shower and wash my hair a few times. In the months that follow, there seems to be no sign of bedbugs. My skin clears up.
    I relax a bit, after months of stress. I still cry frequently, but less and less. I still think about bedbugs often, but less and less. At this point I gain back some weight I had lost due to anxiety. I feel capable of dealing with any bedbug situation back in Sweden, after calming down here at home. It is not the end of the world anymore.

    Moving back into our appartement
    Meanwhile my BF has moved back into our appartement in Sweden. He has bough new furniture, and has moved all our belongings there as well. The only non treated items are his electronics. His parents believe I was wrong and they do not have bedbugs.
    He himself experiences no bites and believes our appartement is bedbug free.

    I come home feeling optimistic. I inspect the bed. All looks good.
    After a few days I am sitting in the kitchen and get a bite on my hand. I decide it must be a musquito. A few days later I sit in the same spot, daytime, and get a bite in my neck. I become nervous. A day later, two bites in my neck during the day, sitting there again. When I am reading a book lying on my yoga mat in the bedroom a week later, I get bitten on my leg. A day later, again.

    Today I woke up with three bites on my back. We did have a musqiuto in the room.
    It's just that musquito bites have differed from bedbug bites. And these seem more like bedbug bites. I checked the bed, and there is no bedbug poop. There is a possible blood stain on my pillow.

    Situation right now
    I am the only one who believes we have a mild case of bedbugs. The exterminator will only come if you send proof. I am looking for proof, and ordered passive traps. In a few days I will get white sheets to better monitor the bed.

    I feel like while I try to find something, the situation will get worse and harder to treat.
    I want to order a big bag of DE or something similar, a steamer, and DIY. But I won't , because I'd be on my own and it doesn't seem rational and could make things worse. Or should I?

    The exterminator here in my city, only uses heat treatment. I am insecure about this method, but there is no other company.

    Questions
    Beause I am in such a panicked mindset about bedbugs, reading on this website doesn't go so well. I acknowledge there is a lot of info on the site, but I can't filer it into 'What I should do right now'.
    So I guess the questions are:

    -What would you do right now?
    -Does anyone have a good experience dealing with this as a couple not being on the same page?
    -We are still having friends over, and are visiting friends. Bad idea?
    -I start studying soon. How should I prevent spreading bedbugs to the university?
    -How do you use this website? There are so many contradicting advices.

    Thank you for reading this long story. I will update as time goes by and hope it will turn into a success story.

    Any help is appreciated.

    -Laura

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,199

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Wed Aug 28 2019 7:28:25
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    Hi,

    I would have a look at the protocol I wrote called TbyPMR which pretty much spells out what to do in this sort of scenario.

    Recent and small introductions can be dealt with quickly if you don't disperse the issue with chemicals and work with their natural behaviour rather than against it.

    Hope that makes sense.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  3. Laura.VDO

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    Joined: Aug '19
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    Posted 3 months ago
    Wed Aug 28 2019 13:32:13
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    Thank you for responding and being very concrete. I will update on how it goes.


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