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My poor baby boy... I am going crazy...

(11 posts)
  1. JackieP

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 23:53:41
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    We (stupidly) bought a (secondhand) 'really awesome big-boy bed' for my 4 year old about a month ago. A captain's style bed, nonetheless. (I know... great...)
    **I've learned my lesson. I will never buy second-hand furniture as long as I live. The a-hole who sold it HAD to know he had bedbugs. I still shake with rage when I think about it.

    Anyways, within a week or less, my little boy started getting red welts on him...doc was mystified... I Googled it... looked like bedbug bites. Tore his bed, mattress, bedding, whole room apart. Found nothing. No black fecal spots, no cast shells, no bugs, no blood spots... no eggs...nothing. That night, I went into his room in the middle of the night and lo and behold I discovered an adult bedbug hiding in a crack in his headboard. I hardly slept that night. Throughout my periodic guard-dog checks all night, I discovered two other nymphs, and two clusters where eggs had been laid (I torched them with a blow-torch style lighter). All were on his headboard.

    So I knew. The next day, I called a PCO who, himself, found no signs of bedbugs but I had saved the one adult that I had killed and he verified that yes, that was a bedbug. He treated my son's room with Phantom, but no other rooms in the house...yet. (It's a large, old house...and I am 8 months pregnant, and very chemical-conscious anyways. To be able to effectively treat every nook and cranny in this house would take ALOT of pesticide.) That was 3 weeks ago. We followed all the protocol... vacuuming, bagging and washing all bedding, clothing, encasing both the mattress and boxspring (and pillow) etc... took apart the bed and caulked every damn crack in that bazillion-cranny-captain's-bed....and quarantined the room. Yes.. I know... you're not supposed to...but we really didn't know what else to do. I figured my son was already walking around the house, etc... so it wasn't increasing my odds of carrying a hitch-hiker to let him sleep in another room.
    Periodically checked for the stupid suckers. No sign at all. Anywhere. 2 weeks later, PCO comes back... says he sees no sign of them, treats again, tosses some glue-boards down just to see if anything pops up.... chats for awhile and says it looks really good in there.... 'must have been a very small amount of bugs'...asks if I want to set up a third treatment, I say let me see how al lthis goes and I'll call him.... he agrees and leaves.

    We got over-confident. That was Wednesday-ish, and we moved my son and his clothes back into his room last night (Sunday). My poor baby boy ended up with about 30 bites today (his swell up to huge, hard welts after about 12 hours). I feel like a jerk-mom for putting him back in too soon. For not having one of us sleep in there first. We just honestly thought it had to have been such a small amount, and they seemed to be nowhere in sight. (ah ha... in sight... I know...damn devils...)

    So--I have a few questions:

    1. After only 2 treatments of Phantom, and it having only been less than a week from the second treatment...was it just a matter of bad timing, and I just need to be more patient? (or is it not working?)

    2. Is there absolutely no possible way for Phantom to be effective unless someone is in there as bait? I am NOT leaving my son in there, my husband has severe allergies so I'm guessing he'll react as badly to it as my son does, and I'm 8 months pregnant and hate the idea of sleeping in a room full of pesticide (and bugs!! ahhh!! I won't sleep a wink!!)

    3. If my son was bitten approx. 30 times, likely how bad is the infestation? They have NOT spread to any other area of the house yet and it's been a good month...although I hope last night's move-in and this morning's move-out didn't grab a hitchiker... uggggghhhhh.....

    4. Is there any way to tell by the look of the bites whether he was bitten by an army of adults, or a bunch of newly hatched nymphs?

    I'm beside myself. Every time I look at my swollen, spotty, itchy baby boy I am tortured...and I'm SO FILLED WITH RAGE that some asshole decided to SELL his bed, knowing he had bedbugs...and we were stupid enough to not question a stranger selling a cool wooden captain's bed. Ugh. Help.

  2. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 6:48:03
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    Please don't beat yourself up over this. Lots of people buy used furniture and the majority of it is probably just fine. But most of us who have delt with bed bugs know it's unfortunately not worth the risk. I'm sorry someone was so so selfish and senseless to sell it to you.

    The effectiveness of chemicals used depends on the skill of the person applying them and the resistance-level of your bugs. Yes, sleeping in the bed does help resolve the problem faster. There are methods of active monitors (Bed Bug Beacon) that replicate a human. It releases CO2. I put a hand warmer under mine to create "body heat." If you isolate the bed (I'm not sure if you've already done this) with ClimbUps or another similar product (make sure the bed is not touching the wall an no items touching the floor so bugs can't escape) it's possible to use the beacon in the bed to help lure them out into the poison. The only risk of doing this is if they're not all in the bed, there's no way to be certain they will attempt to climb into the bed to get to the beacon. I'm not sure if the amount of CO2 is great enough for them to detect it at a distance away from the bed. They could just decide to wander into another room...It's just an idea. I'm not sure experts will agree with this ideas as it does have risks.

    I hope this is over for you soon

  3. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 6:56:14
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    Hi, I'm not an expert. Again, don't beat yourself up over this. From reading the paper, it's happened with new furniture. There is a great document called "Online Document" recently posted on the forums by David Cain on how to prep a bed to monitor. Captain beds and platform beds can be tough to monitor (if I understand correctly).

    Again, from what little I've read, Phantom takes 10-14 days to kill (it's not a contact killer), so that was part of the issue. Isolating a bed is "controversial" here. You can read the FAQs and get an idea about it.

    So sorry you are going throught this....

    They
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  4. JackieP

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 11:08:06
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    Thanks... I know I shouldn't necessarily beat myself up over it...it's just so infuriating when I think back to the day my husband came home with that bed...and I know that we wouldn't be dealing with this if it wasn't for that one thing.

    Isolating the bed seems near impossible, as it's a captain's bed (which means it's also a platform bed). We aren't talking about 4 legs.... the entire perimeter of the bed touches the floor. If I could isolate it (anyone got some ideas...?) that would certainly help, as I have turned the bed upside down and inside out and see no evidence of the suckers, aside from the occasional fecal spot on random spots on the wood of the bed, which confirms to me that they've been there, but I think I've counted a total of 3 spots on the entire bed, so I don't think they're living or nesting anywhere in the bed. We've also caulked every crack and joint we can find on the bed. So... my best guess is that they are hanging out in the baseboards, etc... in the perimeter of the room. My son's room is pretty bare right now, there aren't things like alarm clocks, picture frames, etc.... plus I cleared an isolated everything that was in there... if it was cloth I bagged and laundered it, if it was not cloth I isolated it all in one plastic bucket and kept it in the room so that the treatment would get to anything that could be hitching a ride on a toy, etc... but there just wasn't much in there to begin with.

    So... if nobody acts as bait, should Phantom still work, just more slowly? Perhaps with a CO2 lure or something?
    If, in reality, somebody needs to act as bait... will it be effective if I:
    --get some sleep in my own bed until around 4 a.m. or so (long before dawn around here), then go into his room and spend the next few hours sitting on the bed to draw them out? (shudder)

    By putting him in there and disturbing the isolated nature of the room, did I just mess up the possible effectiveness of the Phantom treatments?

    Lastly, we've ordered some DE powder...though my husband ordered a brand name (I think it's called "The Original BedBug Powder") powder...is that just as effective (though probably ended up more expensive and gimmicky) as just generic DE? And.... can I lay DE after we've been treated with Phantom? I know not to steam anything after Phantom so I don't wash it off the baseboard... but can I / should I lay the DE powder around the perimeter of the bed?

  5. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 12:09:41
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    I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was a platform bed. No those can't be isolated. Yes, isolating is controversial and I think I mentioned experts may have a different opinion. It was just an idea...

    The beacon could still be used. I think having something is better than nothing at all. Without anyone sleeping in the room, your chances of them leaving the room to go into another room are pretty high. Does the Beacon emit enough CO2 to keep them in there? I am not sure of that. I think you said something earlier about isolating the bedroom...please remember that they can travel through electrical outlets and inside the most tiny cracks and crevices (under the door, the door frame, cracks in the walls, under the baseboards, through the light fixture etc.) to escape the room and find where the blood source has relocated. So it's very difficult to ensure a room is 100% isolated. Your best bet is to have someone or something emitting CO2 in that room.

    As far as DE - it must be dusted in cracks and crevices, not simply sprinkled around. There's health concerns with inhaling DE and also if it's not applied as a dust, the bugs will just walk around it. Read this thread for more information: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/the-truth-about-diatomaceous-earth

    Having your son sleep in the room probably did more good than bad. It means that at least some of the bugs were lured out into the poison when they bit him. I think some people confuse isolation with bed bugs with isolation of sickness. These are different methods. When you have bed bugs, you want to make sure they stay in the room. The only way to make sure of that is keep a food source in the room and don't take anything out of the room to avoid hitchhikers - which probably means removing all clothing worn in the room and leaving it there until it can be bagged and put directly into the wash. As long as they have an available meal and you don't carry one out on accident, they will peacefully live in that room until the infestation is so large they feel the need to move to find a new food source.

    Please let me know if I've confused you.

  6. scaredpea

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 13:43:22
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    hey,

    I'm so sorry to read your story.

    I know people here say you can save furniture, but since the bugs came in so recently on the bed have you thought about just getting rid of it? following all precautions recommended. if there's a chance they're only still hiding in the bed then you may be able to eliminate or reduce the problem

    you can get a decent basic big boy bed relatively cheaply, and at least you'll be removing the initial source.

    other than that no help but lots of sympathy,

    from one mom of a 4 year old to another

  7. JackieP

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 21:03:18
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    Bugsmustdie-- I do know that they could leave the room... I only meant I "quarantined" the room in the sense that nobody and nothing is going in and out to carry hitch-hikers and spread them around. Again...at the time, I was just so freaked out and didn't know WHAT to expect, but felt pretty confident that we had caught it so quickly, there must be very few, etc... that I hoped with all my might that by treating the room, we'd eliminate the problem. Just now, I'm not so sure. I mean, as I said, so far they haven't found anyone else anywhere else in the house and it's been a month... I'm just afraid it's going to happen. And once it does, I'm so screwed. Like I said, this is an old, craggy, cracky, LARGE wood and stone home. With lots of furniture. Sigh.
    I have read the cautions about DE and the proper ways to utilise it...and I plan on being incredibly careful-- my son and my husband both have asthma issues, so I will be the one who needs to carry out the treatment and spend any needed time in the room. I was just curious if it's ok to use after Phantom, if there's any point, etc...
    SO then, do you think that my cute little "sleep shift" plan could be effective? i.e. Getting my own sleep until the wee hours of the night, then moving into his room for the remaining hours until dawn to lure them out? Do I have to be asleep, or just occupying the room?

    Scaredpea-- I have considered it. Ooooh, that first night that I put the pieces together and understood what was happening and where it came from, I wanted to burn that sucker to the ground. However, most of what I've read seems to say that getting rid of the bed is not only ineffective, but poses a HUGE risk of spreading the problem to other areas of the house.
    On top of that, although I know that's where they came from, I'm not convinced that's where they're hiding anymore. . As I said, we took that bed apart, flipped parts over, caulked cracks and joints... I mean, if there are enough bugs to cover my son in 30 bites in one single night, where the hell are they hiding if they are on that bed?? There are no signs of them on the bed apart from the night I first discovered them. No fecal spots, bugs, or cast shells on mattress or boxspring (which are now encased in bedbug encasing anyways). A total of maybe 3-5 single fecal spots in random spots on the wood of the bed.

    I can only believe that they MUST be hiding in the baseboards/walls. Ugh. I just don't get it.

  8. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 21:17:16
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    Sorry, I didn't mean to sound preachy (sometimes I tend to do that) I just wasn't sure how much information you had read about isolation and DE.
    If they're hungry enough, they will come out while you're awake. People have been known to get bit during the day and they didn't even know they got bit. They know this because they've found the bugs in computer chairs and other furniture where people wouldn't necessarily sleep, but do spend a lot of time in. So it could work...

    We chose to dispose of our platform bed (because they are said to be more difficult to treat). We just made sure to wrap the pieces in contractor's garbage bags and sealed the seams with duct tape. So that is an idea if you do choose to get rid of it.

    I would discuss all of this with the PCO - your plan and the use of DE - and see what he thinks.

  9. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 21:29:05
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    I guess I would add that they may be in the bed frame even if you've taken it apart.

    There was a guy named Lietenant Dan or something like that a while ago and he searched for months after various treatments. It was a couple of years ago and things are better now in terms of treatments since some of the PCOs are more experienced. He found one in a screw in the inside of the bed...and he had taken the bed apart once a week or something like that...

    But, the advice I always read here is ask your PCO...hopefully you can or someone with more experience can answer.

  10. JackieP

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 21:57:58
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    Hm... I'm thinking my PCO is useless. Tomorrow I'm going to hunt around for one that instills more confidence. This PCO came in and did a walk-through of my house and went onnnnn and onnnnn about how difficult it was going to be to eradicate them...my house was soooo big and soooo old and I have sooo much furniture.... they've probably spread EVERYWHERE... this could take more than a year....and promptly brought up an annual contract with me. >:-( He said there's NO WAY they could only be isolated to the one room, regardless of how recently they were introduced, etc...etc... Well, at some point when he just wouldn't shut up and made it sound SO hopeless, and discussed that I needed to leave my son in the bed as bait, I burst into tears (forgive me, I'm 8 months pregnant thus hormonal, and my little tiny son, who seems to get the brunt of everything, is crying and scratching and bleeding.)
    Well, upon me bursting into tears, he changed his tune.
    Suddenly, he's "pretty confident we caught it early"...we're "probably safe just treating the one room"...he wouldn't leave his son in there either... I don't really need to... let's just see how it goes...

    ??

    He really didn't discuss a "plan" with me. Aside from laundering techniques and encasements for mattresses and boxsprings. When he came back the second time, he was very nonchalant, said he saw absolutely nothing that indicated they were still there... said give it a little time after this treatment, tossed down some glueboards on the floor, and gave me a smile and a wave.

    And obviously, they are NOT even close to gone. Not when my son gets 30 bites in a night. That's at LEAST...what... 10-12 bugs that fed on him?

    Hmmmm... I'll do some searching and interviewing tomorrow until I find someone that I feel really is a partner with me in this battle.

    So... you think that my being awake while in the room during what would be normal sleeping hours would only be somewhat effective? I have NO idea how to get myself to fall asleep in there. Sigh.

  11. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 22:06:38
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    I'm sorry. I just don't know how effective it would be. Chances are you could get bit while you're sitting there wide awake.

    Best to you. I hope you find a PCO who is dedicated and thorough.


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