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long, weird infestation/difference between instars

(3 posts)
  1. ughhhhh

    newbite
    Joined: Apr '19
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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Aug 14 2019 9:42:12
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    i'm fighting a long and intermittent infestation (one live bug found every three weeks? four weeks? since last july, with a break from september-january) and haven't been able to isolate the source. i did watch a full grown bed bug crawl out of my bathroom sink drain last month, so that was fun. my neighbors swear up and down that they've seen no evidence, and the building's PCO (who's confirmed my infestation and treated me four times in the last year) was just in everybody's place last week to spray for roaches and said that he didn't see any signs of an infestation, especially not one large enough to send them through the plumbing. i have never ever heard of bed bugs in plumbing and don't know how to begin to parse that particular event. i'm assuming, at this point, either that my neighbors have a horrible infestation they're lying about or are not aware of and i need to move OR that that someplace i visit regularly has a moderate infestation, i'm bringing home hitchhikers, and moving will do nothing. at any rate, i'm doing the bag-at-the-door, change-into-house-clothes thing, my laundry's bagged, and i use my zappbugg oven on just about everything, but the bugs just keep on coming. there's never anything in my passive monitor, nothing in my climb-ups, never found a harborage.

    i'm the only food source in the apartment and my bite reaction is immediate and insanely intense, such that i haven't had a bite where i didn't immediately find and kill the bug since april. i _have_ found unfed bugs without bites, e.g. an unfed one dying on top of my bedspread in the morning, but no bites without bugs. i found this little guy biting my foot right after getting home, and figuring out whether it's homegrown or a hitchhiker/coming from another apartment would be helpful. if it hatched and i was its first meal, fine, it's probably homegrown, but because my bite reaction is so intense, i've only had three bites in the last three months, and i found the bug on me each time, i feel relatively confident that if it's second instar i can assume it fed on someone else --> it must have come from elsewhere --> i haven't had a bite coming from my own apartment in two months, which is at least a useful data point about the infestation dynamic.

    so -- how can one tell the difference between early stage instars?

    https://ibb.co/0q9qJqJ this guy had a pretty transparent head before i squished him but seems too wide, proportionally, for a nymph. i'm pretty sure he did not get a full meal, if that changes anything. this is the only photo i have, apologies.

    alternately: could different specimens or different instar phases produce different bite reactions? is there science on the factors that affect bite response, and do those factors change from bug to bug or as the bed bug molts? i've been treating my bite response like a constant just because it's so immediate and dramatic, but i guess it's possible that i don't react to some bites.

    thoughts? suggestions overall? i am honestly bewildered by the length and complexity of this problem, but i'm reaching the end of my chain and need to decide about moving.

  2. BigDummy

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    Joined: Dec '13
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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Aug 14 2019 16:03:17
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    My guess would be a neighbor that's possibly self-treating, but without being there I can only guess. I don't think a bed bug would come through the plumbing in that sense, they tend to travel on the outside of pipes.

  3. ughhhhh

    newbite
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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Aug 14 2019 18:29:56
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    Thank you for the input. Yeah, the plumbing thing was WILD - it was 3am and I was about to turn on the faucet to brush my teeth and buddy climbed up out of the drain, like straight out of the pipe itself. I'm pretty sure the other apartment on my floor is clear -- the tenants let me do a check -- so I'm guessing if it's an adjacent apartment it's the people above me. The only thing I can think of is that he maybe dropped from a gap in the ceiling into the sink, sought a protected spot to hide, and came out when he sensed my breath/heat. Either that or they've learned to swim, in which case I'm just going to self-immolate and be done with it. He did have a lot of trouble getting traction on the porcelain before I killed him. I did deep clean/alcohol spray/DE the whole vanity, including pulling out the drawers, disassembling them, and brushing DE on all the joints/corners/edges. No fecal/eggs/cast skins/live bugs.

    Is it possible to tell from the photo which instar the little guy is?


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