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Moved to Costa Rica, need help please

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  1. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 9:56:46
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    A month ago I moved to Costa Rica and my new home is infested with bed bugs. My place is "as is" so it is my problem. I spent a week steam cleaning the mattress, couches, and curtains and sprayed 96% alcohol on EVERYTHING (went through about 10 gallons). I bought an American-style washer and dryer and washed everything (drying for 4 hours per load). I thought I had beaten the bed bugs and killed all of their eggs.

    The past 4 days I have been getting bitten again--everywhere. So I re-steam cleaned the couches, curtains, and mattresses and applied Vaseline to all the legs. I am spraying alcohol everywhere again. I have never seen a single bed bug but have seen a few empty encasings and the local doctor confirmed that my bite marks are from bed bugs. She gave me Loratadine 10 mg pills to take to relieve the itchiness (not working). I am now having nightmares about bugs.

    As far as I know they don't have professionals which deal with bed bugs here. Even if they do, my Spanish is nowhere near good enough to get this kind of help. What else can I do?

  2. freakedoutandbroke

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 20:17:10
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    That is a unique problem... Can you order Sterifab and other products to be shipped there?

    BTW, i've visited Costa Rica and I'm a bit jealous you get to live there.

  3. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 21:13:53
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    freakedoutandbroke: Thank you for your response. As far as getting items shipped in, importing anything is VERY expensive. Is there any advantage to Sterifab over 96% alcohol? Both only work until they dry and thus need to be sprayed directly on the bugs/eggs.

    I saw my first bed bug today--at the gym. Come to think of it, I didn't start getting bit again until AFTER I joined the gym. Wouldn't it be heaven if I unknowingly "returned" the one bed bug who must've hitched a ride to my house? I know, I know, wishful thinking....

  4. bait

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 21:40:56
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    Quick question. If you buy over the Internet, is it more expensive for Costa Ricans than it is for New Yorkers? Does that constitute importing?

    Personally, I bought Sterifab early on and I didn't particularly like it. It ruined my shoes.

    Since you don't see the bugs, in my opinion you'll need a residual, gas, or thermal treatment.

    Don't go back to the club. It sounds like it may be the source of your problem.

  5. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Feb 8 2010 22:30:49
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    bait - 47 minutes ago  » 
    Quick question. If you buy over the Internet, is it more expensive for Costa Ricans than it is for New Yorkers? Does that constitute importing?

    Yes. Costa Rica Customs opens everything and then assesses taxes and duties, 50-100% of value.

    bait - 47 minutes ago  » 
    Since you don't see the bugs, in my opinion you'll need a residual, gas, or thermal treatment.

    Like what? Where do I get it? What do I look for? I have 4 animals. Are these types of treatments safe?

    I have been reading about Neem oil. I'm not sure if it is possible to get here but it sounds like a good alternative.

  6. wchicago

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 0:04:33
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    hi!

    ooh i LOVE costa rica, was only there for a 2 week visit - but i too am jealous you get to live there! gorgeous place, friendly people, whats not to like?

    if you have not seen a bug in your place, then are you absolutely sure its bed bugs and not kissing bugs?
    kissing bugs have been moving into the cities in costa rica because of an influx of people from rural areas -and like bed bugs, they move hidden in people's stuff.
    unlike bed bugs, they carry chagas

    i'm sure given you live in costa rica, you know about chagas, but just in case

    http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/A62/A62_17-en.pdf

    so. . .maybe get a test for chagas unless you are SURE it is regular old bed bugs in your place and not kissing bugs. chagas only rarely causes symptoms in the early stage, but if you test positive, a course of antibiotics will cure chagas if caught early. if allowed to get chronic, it can be really nasty.

    and i hope its regular old bed bugs, and that you find a way to control them soon.

  7. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 9:02:43
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    Last night I woke up at 1:30am, armed with alcohol and quickly turned on the light to find a bug on the bed. I sprayed it! (suspicious bug #1)

    Also, yesterday I saw a lot of ants yesterday transporting a dead bug so I took a picture. (suspicious bug #2)

    Here are the pictures: http://cid-b723f882d33305cf.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/bugs
    Are either of these bed bugs? Kissing bugs/chagas sounds much worse.

  8. bait

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 9:09:05
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    Those bugs look harmless to me, but I defer to the experts.

    Good thinking, chicago. Kissing bugs have been found in the southern U.S. too.

    Gringa, don't panic, better safe than sorry.

    Bait

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 9:31:06
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    Hi,

    Non of the images are bed bugs. I am not sure what the one with the ants is but the other is either a ground or grain beetle.

    I would suggest that you collect a few and do some research to either identify them online or to ask the local university if they have an entomology department that could help.

    If you search the area and can't find any of the following signs its unlikely to be bed bugs:

    • Live samples, although good hiders a finger tip level search will usually reveal something
    • Cast skins, paper think out casings left as they molt during development
    • Faecal traces, black pen like marks

    If you cant find any of those signs it is unlikely to be bed bugs if you are getting more than an occasional bite.

    Spraying alcohol only works as a contact killer so spray it when you see things not to try and stop them moving around, it simply does not work that way.

    If you can post images of the casings you mentioned me can have a look and id them but I hate to say no medical professional is capable of diagnosing the species of insect from the bite. It may be that they more accurately assumed something is biting you in bed but it does not mean it is "bed bugs" as in Cimex species.

    Once you have identified what is causing the reaction you will be in a better position to say what needs to be done to deal with it.

    Hope that helps.

    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
  10. spideyjg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 9:43:23
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    The non beetle could be a type of biting fly. Big time guess though. The body is structured like a flying insect but is missing the wings.

    How mosquito proof is the place?

    Jim

  11. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 11:39:57
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    Again, thanks to everyone who is responding.. I should be enjoying paradise and instead I am battling the invisible enemy.

    Asking a University isn't easy. I live in a small town where I am the only gringa, Spanish is the norm, and I do not know how to communicate well enough yet to ask such questions. The only reason I knew bed bugs was because the doctor (who didn't speak any English) saw the bite marks on my belly which created a short trail. I haven't seen the casings since the first infestation. I read somewhere that alcohol also kills the eggs, which is why I sprayed it on everything. At that point I had over 60 bites on my left arm alone (didn't bother counting the rest of my body). I wasn't wise enough to take pictures.

    As far as mosquitoes, no place is completely mosquito proof. I do, however, sleep with clothes on, wash the sheets daily, and sleep with the doors/windows shut.

  12. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 11:57:02
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    Hi,

    With that extra info I would suggest either a mattress encasement or pallet wrapping / saran wrapping the mattress for a 3 or 4 days. It may be that the change of climate and other factors has made you susceptible to dust mite allergies, its a simple thing to rule out.

    The pointer towards academia is partly because academics tend to communicate a lot in English and thus you are more likely to be able to get help in a native tongue.

    Although alcohol may kill eggs it is again through contact. Spraying the area as a preventative will not actually do you ant good in this situation and given the level of response you are getting you would find bed bug signs about if you look hard enough.

    On the plus side though if you want to pay for the flights and a week after I will happily come over and inspect (I could do with a change of scenery).

    David

  13. wchicago

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 12:24:12
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    hi gringa

    not bed bugs in pics -yay. and neither of those bugs are kissing bugs . if you want to know what kissing bugs look like, there is a pic here

    http://dermatology.cdlib.org/DOJvol7num1/centerfold/triatoma/vetter.html

    and more here (they aren't always so dark in color, and sometimes they have pretty patterns)

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&rlz=1C1RNNN_enUS349US349&resnum=0&q=kissing+bugs&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=xplxS7_PJM2pngfI9NGQCw&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCIQsAQwAw

  14. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 12:59:36
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    Hmmm, I thought it was bed bugs but from what I'm reading here it seems likely to be something else. For weeks I have searched and haven't found ANY proof of bed bugs. Yes, I have multiple itchy bites that happen while I sleep.

    Reading about other alternatives.

    Bird bugs? I wonder if it's that. This nest is close to a ceiling which borders my bedroom floor: picture
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig086

    Also, for the past few nights I have seen a solo dead black (carpenter?) ant on my bed. Not the same one, of course, as I always remove it. Do they attack?

  15. Gringa loca-l

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 20:33:29
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    Several hours more of searching the house. Previously I had concentrated my efforts on the bedrooms and living room. This afternoon I searched the kitchen and think I found bed bugs. Here are pictures: http://cid-b723f882d33305cf.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/bugs (this photo album keeps growing). Can someone please confirm?

    After reading about chagas and bird mites, I think I would rather have bed bugs.

    What's my next step? Should I caulk the trimming all the way around the floorboards to trap them in? Houses in Costa Rica are made from cement (except for the wooden floorboards).

  16. bait

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 20:37:05
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    Gringa,

    You'll be getting a lot of comment that you probably don't have bed bugs. That may be true. I hope it is. Then again....

    Don't completely turn a blind eye to bed bugs. You already think you may have made contact with them at the club; the local doctor gave you a diagnosis of them; your bites fit the bed bug pattern (your arms are exposed at night, right?); and most of all you have instincts that you shouldn't ignore.

    Good luck.

    Bait

  17. upagain

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Feb 9 2010 22:49:42
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    I'm not expert, but the pics don;t look BB related to me.

  18. spideyjg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Feb 10 2010 0:54:14
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    You'll be getting a lot of comment that you probably don't have bed bugs.

    All I'll say is you have way too many insects in your house.

    Jim


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