Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed Bug Success Stories

My Success Story.

(8 posts)
  1. BugsUpInFlames

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 1:49:21
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    Copied and re-pasted here [from here], as per nobugsonme's request. This is more of an outline of the full story, but I was tired when I originally typed it, and I figure I can add more details later on. The point is, I suppose people around here like success stories.

    First off, let me say that the entomologists and PCO's who frequent this website, as well as anyone else who's amassed experience...you're all great. The advice and tips I read here all those months ago helped save my sanity. A very smart PCO did the work in my case, but I applied some of the self-help methods in the meantime as well.

    I can't help but feel there are times you get a quality professional AND a willing union of all tenants in an apartment house in order to destroy those pests from Hades, in order to get the best results.

    But every place is different.

    Back in late March I noticed my pinky swelling near the base, but no pain. Slightly itchy. Didn't know what it was, but I swell up with spider bites (I react distinctively to those and this house has a lot of them; I know what to look for). About a week later, a weird hive rash on my arm. Then on my knee...the sole instance of one somehow getting under my clothes. Then, gradually, I'd start finding a new one every two or three days, then every day. Never suddenly in large numbers, and reacting differently depending on where my body they bit me....on my hands or arms I'd get this swollen lump under the skin as well as the rash, and on my hands it hurt like hell! I also reacted quickly.

    After a short time and some internet searching I did suspect bed bugs. I visited this forum as a silent lurker for the first time long before I knew for sure. But I had no proof, and I kept my unease to myself. It was sheer dumb "luck" (if you can call it that) when I found, to my utter horror, a single juvenile specimen. I was on the phone to my landlord that very day.

    What was strange to me was that in all the years and all the properties he's had, my landlord had never run into bed bugs before. He contacted the local PCO, who came and confirmed I had a very mild case. Before he even checked, I gave him the baggie with the bug in it, as I'd kept it as evidence.

    It was upstairs that he found them in bigger numbers, and the source of the infestation. Turns out neither occupant reacted to bites and thus, didn't know until they had gotten numerous enough to seek other prey...me. I did react, and badly. They were not yet in the apartment across the hall.

    Landlord hired a trash bin to be parked, and there was a massive decluttering of all apartments. Guy across the hall was glad I reacted and, in a way, "sounded the alarm" before really warm weather hit. Everyone cooperated because nobody wanted to deal with those little vampires any longer than necessary.

    Local PCO came back five days later. I was dismissive at first, but it wasn't long before I realized I had some real experts on my hands...and thank god! They don't just spray with chemicals for fifteen minutes and call it a day....I left for work shortly after they began on the upstairs apartment and when I came home five hours later, were still hard at work in there. They make extensive use of steam as well as chemical combos, and basically alter their approach to suit each individual case. They were in my apartment for about an hour and a half. The entire apartment house was treated, even the uninfested one across the hall.

    I was a nervous wreck, most of my stuff as I deemed I didn't absolutely need (twelve years in that apartment amasses useless clutter) tossed, no sleep for days, and eight pounds lost in five days. My landlord helped me get a new bed and my stuff was sealed away for a LONG time afterwards. Some of it still is, to not be touched for about another year just to be safe...and even though they were only in my bed and then, only a few. I made good use of 91% alcohol on certain items and the bed frame (metal) and ordered encasements for my new (smaller) bed. I had nervous rashes still appearing for days afterwards, but no further signs of bugs....in all that time, I found not one physical sign, anywhere. Only the PCO saw a few fecal matter droppings on the wood frame of my old box spring.

    PCO was set to return in a month...but I came to understand he does it mostly as a precaution. He has a lot of pride going on his methods. Landlord said it is his laurels and has been for the last thirty years.

    He did come after a month, inspected and sprayed again, but said that in truth, the whole house had been bed-bug free ever since his first treatment. Everyone had obeyed his instructions to the letter and took a few other precautions as well. He sprayed for peace of mind and even did a little ant treatment for free on the guy across the hall, who gardens.

    So, what is my bottom line for all of this? Some PCO's are a cop-out, other PCO's are massively over-priced for what they do, and others...along with a decent landlord and willing tenants, mind you!....can really pull results, as long as everyone cooperates.

    The one thing nobody could treat for me was the emotional trauma. I've been dealing with that on my own.

    Formerly BeenBuggedMidoriBird
  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 1:53:07
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    Thanks for posting your success story!

    I am glad the bed bugs are gone. The emotional stuff does get better. For many, it just does. Some others have sought help from a therapist or other mental health professional and said this helped.

    All good wishes going forward...

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. BugsUpInFlames

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 2:13:20
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    Yes, it took quite a while for me to start to relax, and about three months to really accept the idea that just maybe they really were gone. I still check my bed every week, and can get worried from every little itch or red spot.

    One thing I didn't mention was the fact I was, and still am, on an extremely tight, limited budget. I am a PT worker who must live on what she makes (there isn't much else around here). The landlord was generous in helping me get a new bed, and of course he paid for the CPO and the trash bin that was parked outside for five days, but the cost of dealing with all of this about broke me utterly. For someone like me, all that alcohol, those encasements, the bags, etc, etc, etc....cost a fortune.

    My mom and stepdad were the ones who took out the couch and recliner which I never sat on anyways. (Cat declared those her territory.) However, they were both old and had rips and tears everywhere in them. They were almost certainly not infested yet, but they were taken away and burned. I warned them both about the dangers of transmission, and I know my mom has ceased her curbing habits as a result of my own experience. They put plastic tarps in the back of the truck the day they hauled my furniture away, and as soon as they got home they stood in the doorway and stripped, and washed and dried their clothes immediately on high heat. Overboard? Probably. But I took no chances. I voluntarily put my own apartment under a six-month quarantine after all signs of the bugs were gone, too. I wasn't going to be responsible for infesting someone else.

    My office chair was the only other thing I sat on besides my bed, and it was far, FAR away from it in the next room. They weren't out here but the carpet was treated anyways. PCO wouldn't take a chance. I sprayed the office chair down weekly for about two months afterwards with 91% alcohol.

    The bedside stand and the chest of drawers in my bedroom were, surprisingly, not infested. They still got treated...the drawers by the CPO and the bedside stand two or three times with alcohol, by me, even after inspection. (I did tend to go a bit overboard.) I had pulled the bed away from the wall. My bedstand was one of those metal frame ones that can adjust to any bed size.

    One thing that stymied me a bit at first was the vacuum. It is the cyclonic type, and only new last year. I could not afford a new bagged one. I read over many tips on these forums to come up with my own solution. Every time I used it, I'd empty the cup outside into a plastic bag that immediately got tossed in one of the outside garbage bins, and then every detachable part went into the sink to soak in boiling-hot, soapy water for at least an hour while I hosed down the entire vacuum otherwise with alcohol and then taped the ends of the hose up tightly. It took months before I felt I no longer needed to do this.

    When the PCO first met me, I could tell he thought I had snapped. By then I was so zoned out from no sleep and no food, I suppose I couldn't think too straight. I was on the verge of ragged panic. It showed, because I was asking a million questions and saying "but what if..." a LOT.

    When he came back a month later for his follow-up, and asked what I had done on my own in the meantime, he grinned at what I told him and showed him and he said he was pleased that I had rallied...because quite frankly, when he first saw me, he thought I had become a basket case. (Honestly, that probably wasn't too far from the truth.)

    My greatest sadness? I had to give away my cat, because with her claws, she'd have put rips in my encasements, which cost me a lot of money and I couldn't afford to replace.

    Anyways...as of this typing...seven months with no signs of bugs. *Knocks on wood*

  4. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 2:19:43
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    Oh, I'm sorry you felt you had to give away your cat.
    I mean that sincerely, and I don't judge on that.
    If you were nervous, it would make her (?) nervous.

    It's tough to be PT .... congrats again on your well deserved success.

    They
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  5. BugsUpInFlames

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 2:26:53
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    theyareoutthere - 1 minute ago  » 
    Oh, I'm sorry you felt you had to give away your cat.
    I mean that sincerely, and I don't judge on that.
    If you were nervous, it would make her (?) nervous.
    It's tough to be PT .... congrats again on your well deserved success.

    Thanks.

    My cat had the unfortunate tendency to be kind only to me.

    The landlord bent over a ways for me because I'm his longest-lived tenant and I've never been late on rent and my bills are always paid on time. I am usually very frugal. I have to be. I just don't live outside my means. He is an extreme DIY type of guy who fixes almost everything with his own two hands...but he'd never dealt with BB's. I know he wasn't all that pleased with the $850 bill it cost to treat the whole house (it included the followup visit) and my one concern now is his talk of obtaining the chemicals and professional steamer that the PCO used and doing it himself next time, if there ever was one. I can't seem to dissuade him from that action. He's cleared out infestations of other pests on other properties he's owned...from rats to roaches to ants....but I can't get him to understand that BB's are a class by themselves.

    Oh, my original post on the other thread was actually prompted by the back-and-forth I saw on the issue of exterminators. I could see why some people would not have a high opinion of them, but I felt that there are ones out there who aren't in it just for the $$$, hence the "here's why I think that" angle. Cooperation is key, sometimes.

  6. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 2:29:35
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    Oh, yes, there was a DIY thread a while ago where the couple were DIYers.

    Thanks again for contributing.

  7. Mellisa

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 4:57:25
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    ohhh,,
    so sorry about your cat

  8. robinsmom

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Dec 9 2014 5:22:33
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    Since you have been successful , is there any way you can get your kitty back! :'(

    I'm sorry you had to go that but how wonderful to hear a story with a happy ending, we needed that here. Thank you for posting.

    I'm not an expert just a dumb struggling bed bugger like every body else.

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