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My bed bug war has begun. Next move? [a: adult female (?) and nymph bed bugs]

(6 posts)
  1. godspeedlightning

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2016 18:46:26
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    Hello, Bedbugger.

    I'm more than sure I have bedbugs in my "new" apartment. I'm looking for (ideally professional) advice on next steps, and what people's experiences have been with landlords.

    Here are pictures (details below):

    http://imgur.com/a/lEdvO

    Here's a detailed summary of events:

    August 12th, 2016 - Move into a 1,200 square foot apartment with my roommate. It's on the third floor, and is really more like the third floor of an old house. The original house was built in the late 1890s. My floor was added sometime in the 1930s. So it's an older property with many nooks and crannies.

    September 5th, 2016 - Roommate and his girlfriend find one bedbug, by their account alive, take a photo of it, then flush it down the toilet. I have the photo he sent to me. I was dismissive and skeptical (bedbugs don't happen anymore, right?) and ignored it as there was zero other evidence.

    November 6th, 2016 - Have a particularly itchy spot, kinda where my left glute (butt muscle) meets my hamstring, discovered while visiting my girlfriend. Chalk it up to nothing more than a localized insect bite, nothing out of the ordinary.

    November 10th, 2016 - Bite from the past weekend worsens. Start to notice other small bites nearby on my body, that are slowly getting itchier. I live in PA, so in November it's cooler and there's no way this can be poison ivy, especially in a spot that was definitely covered. Start to research insect bites that look similar. This is how I discover my bites are likely bedbug bites. As I try to fall asleep that night, I begin reading more and more about bedbugs and the pieces start to come together. An unfortunate side effect was that I was unable to sleep that night as a result.

    November 11th, 2016 - Call my girlfriend in the morning to express my concern about having bedbugs (and warn her of my sleeplessness). She was due to visit that evening (from a town 2 hours away) and we had to get a hotel last-minute (which actually turned out to be a lot of fun :lol:). That night I notice more bites. Ones on my opposite side of my hip, butt, and my right ankle. I also notice some above my waist, on my right side. I buy lots of isopropyl alcohol and anti-itch cream to prevent their itchiness and infection.

    November 12th, 2016 - The last night I spent in my apartment. My roommate had been spending lots of time away at his girlfriend's, and his parents, which was peculiar in itself. I was able to sleep but thoroughly checked my bedding, furniture, baseboards, and other spots in my room. I found none of the evidence I had read about in serious infestations, so I went to bed.

    November 13th, 2016 - Treating the bites (now very itchy) continues. That afternoon, while in the bathroom, I actually found a bedbug (dead this time). I immediately put it in a plastic cup and took a picture for evidence. Now it was official: I had the bites and the bugs. Reality sets in. I begin reading more, and develop a plan to call my roommate and my landlord in the evening.

    I call my roommate first. He tells me he found one on his shirt the previous week but didn't want to tell me since I had dismissed the first finding in September. He had reported no bites like what I had had. We decide that our landlord has to be asked about some kind of treatment, at the very least. We talked about moving out, and what the costs of that might be, and where to go. In the meantime, we pack up some immediate clothing and take it straight to the dryer to roast 'em dead.

    We call up our landlord and introduce the problem. He offers aerosol "foggers" (here is the product link: http://www.hotshot.com/products/bed-bug-control/bedbug-fogger.aspx) and comes over immediately. I relay my intent that at the bare minimum, he consults a professional exterminator. I setup the foggers (but do not open them) and go to my parents' house 15 minutes away to stay indefinitely (no luggage was brought inside, I "dryer roasted" all my clothing).

    November 14th, 2016 - I return to the apartment before work and set off the foggers (all 3 of them), but not before stripping my bedding off my bed, upending my mattress, flipping couch cushions, and the like. My landlord comes by a couple hours later to vent the apartment. He does, then turns the heat back on. My roommate visits the apartment briefly to grab a few things and notes that he only finds one dead bedbug on one of our couches.

    Later that night, I return to inspect what the foggers have done. I discover at least 6 - 8 confirmed kills in the kitchen (mostly by the window and baseboard) and 2 dead on the couch my roommate mentioned. I didn't inspect my mattress or my room quite as thoroughly, since it is carpet and there is baseboard heating and other obstacles, but in any case, I didn't find any dead ones there.

    My roommate meets me at the apartment and we head to the laundromat with more clothes and bedding to be dryer-roasted. I actually both washed and dried a lot of my clothes and bedding at the highest hot water / heat setting available in the commercial dryers, and had them in the dryers well past midnight to ensure thermal death of the buggy bastards. Sleep at my parents, again.

    November 15th, 2016 - That's today. So far I haven't heard from my landlord and haven't returned to my apartment.

    Here's what I've done thus far:

    - I've read as much as I possibly could about different methods of treatment, and realities of living with bed bugs.

    - I've looked and inquired into other apartments in the area.

    - I've explored professional treatment options.

    - I've placed an informal ban on all persons except residents/landlord in and out of my apartment (sorry, girlfriend).

    - I've dryer-roasted a lot of my clothes. I don't bring luggage or bags into my parents' (where I am now temporarily sleeping).

    Here are my questions:

    - While the foggers definitely killed some of the bed bugs, I'm skeptical it killed all of them, especially the way my apartment is. I definitely want to get the building treated by a professional, but what if my landlord refuses? I don't feel safe sleeping there until it's been thoroughly heat treated (and I've bonfired half my shit).

    - How long does it take my bites to heal? My reaction is probably worse than the norm. I'm not worried about infection, but how likely are doctors to back up that they are bed bug bites?

    - Even if my landlord does fumigate the building via a professional, I'm still gonna be uneasy sleeping there. Problem is, I am not financially able to absorb breaking the lease and putting a security deposit on a new place at the same time, and neither is my roommate. How should I express this to my landlord? How can I get him to waive the penalty? If he doesn't waive the penalty, but I leave anyway and don't pay, how likely is it that he will pursue legal action?

    I can't live at my parents forever. I am an adult and have a personal life, and my own belongings (that would have to be treated before moving anyway) that I would like to maintain. Looking for any and all words of wisdom.

    Thanks for reading.

    Here are links to pictures (again): http://imgur.com/a/lEdvO

  2. CleaningToDeath

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2016 20:01:21
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    I'm not a professional, possibly lou or bedbuguk will stop by to confirm. IMHO, it does look life a female bb- but again, I stress, I'm not a professional to identify them.

    If it is confirmed, you need to read the FAQs thoroughly to set a plan in motion. I can state that foggers can most likely make the problem worse. It is covered in the FAQs.

    Some here have understanding landlords, or live in states that hold landlords responsible for professional treatment, other states do not. Might want to mention the state you live in-before you approach your landlord since you may have a very good case of them calling in an exterminator instead of hotshot foggers. Do you know if any tenants on first or second floors are infested? From some of the pictures, you are right lots of nooks and crannies, and perhaps your landlord also will need to caulk around baseboards, window sills, etc. prior to treatment. If they call in a professional , there are usually prep sheets prior to treatments, removing clutter, bagging clothing, furniture away from the walls.

    As far as healing it just really depends on each individual, and I'm sure that also depends on how many bites one receives and how often. Might be hard, put they tend to only bite exposed areas of the skins, so if you can handle wearing a light long sleeve shirt, and some type of pants, and thin socks while you sleep, it will help. Try to stay in your apt where you sleep, both you and roommate, or they will spread looking for another host (maybe more in your room) or vice versa.

    Be extremely cautious going to your parents, as they can hitch a ride on your clothing, jackets, shoes, then it would two homes infested, have your girlfriend also do visual inspection of her home.

    If you plan on moving, or will be able to, please post your plans, you definitely do not want them to go with you.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Nov 15 2016 20:18:57
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    Foggers are not an effective treatment for bed bugs. Treatment may now be more difficult due to their use and it's even more important than ever to have a professional treat the problem.

    Here's a FAQ with a research citation on this so you can educate your landlord: http://bedbugger.com/2012/06/04/why-are-foggers-and-bombs-still-being-marketed-for-bed-bug/

    Actually, laws that pertain to treatment of pests in rentals are not necessarily state-wide. You need to know the laws that apply in your city or county. Your best bet is to check with a local tenants organisation, as they will often be aware of this. They're also often the best people to ask about whether you can get out of a lease and how. Otherwise, try a local legal clinic. Advice about those issues given by others on the forum may not apply where you are.

    I changed the title of your thread to alert the experts that an ID is needed.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. godspeedlightning

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 17 2016 19:51:38
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    Some updates on my situation, and more questions as I move forward into treatment:

    I understand that foggers won't really do the trick, but now that is besides the point.

    November 16th, 2016 - I had an in-person conversation with my landlord. He is waiving the penalty but keeping my security deposit. It was actually not as much of a conflict as I thought. I can talk about that in detail but at this point it's not really necessary.

    I've looked at new places and I have one picked out.

    Now I need to know what my best method of treating my stuff is.

    I can get rid of a lot of things, but what about stuff like electronics? There is also some furniture I would like to keep.

    I've read about commodity fumigation and other heat treatments. I called my local pest control place (JC Ehrlich) and they're gonna have a rep / tech call me back soon, since I am not treating the property (unless I have to) I need to treat my belongings.

    When I read this article (http://www.cracked.com/article_20909_6-horrific-realities-living-with-bedbug-infestation.html) on Cracked, the author said:

    But our ordeal wasn't over: To make sure we didn't bring any of the vermin with us, we had to conduct a "truck-based treatment," which means we rented a U-Haul and turned it into an insect abattoir -- and, somehow, "loading everything you own into a truck and then baking it" is even more complicated than it seems.

    First, we needed a propane permit, which meant we had to explain to a bunch of skeptical firefighters that this process wouldn't combust our crap. Second, we couldn't just throw our stuff in the U-Haul and be on our way -- we had to pack the truck carefully, making sure the air would be circulating and there would be no cool pockets for the flesh-eating bastards to hide in. And finally, we had to park a truck on a busy Boston street and hope no curious Sox fan wandered in and died of stupidity next to our mattress.

    It looks crazy, and it worked. The guys hooked up the machine, we all took turns watching it heat, and then we got a pizza and just hung around for eight hours. Once we finished, we let our newest best friends drive off in their pickup and moved into our new apartment.

    I want to do something like that if possible.

    What are my other options? Is this the best way to procede?

    I do look forward to burning / having a bonfire with some of my non-essential stuff...

  5. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Nov 18 2016 7:27:09
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    Yes, bed bugs. Adult and nymphs. Looks like an adult female but picture is fuzzy. Moving is a large undertaking and you have to make sure the new place really doesn't have a bed bug issue.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Nov 19 2016 1:23:35
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    Well, foggers can actually spread bed bugs and make the situation worse. So it may not be irrelevant.

    In any case, I wouldn't try to DIY heat treatment on a truck. It's actually not an easy thing to do. You can pay someone to treat a pod or truck with Vikane (which may be more effective) or heat (which may be less so), and that is one way to move without taking bed bugs.


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