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Need Help! Losing my mind! [a: not bed bugs]

(4 posts)
  1. chrissy0218

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 1 2017 20:40:23
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    I feel like I'm losing my damn mind over here so any help would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.
    I'll start by saying that I'm a college student who recently went home for winter break in December. About three weeks after I came home, I noticed bites on my arms and hands and later discovered there were bed bugs in my room at home. Long story short, we cleaned that room, put protectors on and whatnot, and I put all the clothes I brought home with me in the dryer on high to treat them. I also bought a Zapp Bug heater and treated all the belongings I was bringing back to school with me in that for extra safety.
    We also had two exterminators come to check the house and they inspected my room and the surrounding ones and did not find any evidence of them, but I knew I had been getting bitten by them (I had thrown away my pillows and a lot of my bed stuff by the time they came out, so the source of the bugs could have easily been thrown away by then).
    Fast forward to early January. I'm an anxious wreck, not knowing where the hell these bugs came from, and anxious that I was going to return to my dorm only to find out they had originated there. It was a possibility, even though my roommate's things were fine and she was not getting bitten by anything at her house. She moved out of our room to be an RA, and her things are still fine, leading me to believe that they didn't originate in our dorm room.
    It's been a whole month since I moved back in, and upon my return I slept in my bed in the dorm for the first night and woke up with absolutely no bites whatsoever. I had not sprayed anything as precaution, or cleaned anything either, leading me to believe that I didn't have any bugs in my dorm to begin with (so I must have picked them up somewhere from home).
    It's been a month and I have not been getting any marks or bites from what I was used to from a month ago from home. Despite this, my anxiety has been out-of-control and I have cleaned the whole room as a precaution. I vacuumed the entire floor and every crevice in the room (twice!), including spaces in my bed. I put pillow protectors on the night I moved back in, and put a mattress protector around my bed and mattress topper. I even put on new sheets and completely washed my bedding and dried it on high (this was about a week ago I did this).
    I still have not even unpacked my clothes or items from home, as they are still sealed in garbage bags inside clear storage bags as I am so paranoid of bringing anything in (even though I treated all the items I brought). I even treated all of the clothes originally in my dorm room in the dryer when I moved back in in January as another precaution.
    To add insult to injury, I developed contact dermatitis from a polyester blanket I was using (which made it look like I had small red bumps on my arms and they itched) so I honestly thought I had brought something back with me. However, I realized my skin was super sensitive because I was using highly concentrated tea tree oil as a repellent before I went to sleep, and my skin was reacting to polyester blend fabrics. So, those bumps were out of the question (and they didn't look like or act like the bed bug bites I had before).
    Fast forward to this week. Two days ago, I was looking under my bed with a flashlight (because my anxiety was out of control) and found a tiny black bug crawling around. I basically shat myself right then and there because I was terrified that this meant there was confirmation of bed bugs in my room. However, I've received no bites before seeing that tiny black bug, and upon closer look it looked more like a springtail than a bed bug. Additionally, I had been leaving my window open in my room a lot recently and have a plant close to the window, so it is possible it could have crawled in from there. It most closely looked like one of these:
    After I saw that bug, I reacted and immediately vacuumed the entirety of my room again, especially the areas under my bed and surrounding my bed (like the crevices in the wall, etc.) The next day I woke up with no bites or marks.
    Today, however, I woke up with a tiny marking on my right thumb that is the slightest raised. It looks like a mosquito bite and is unlike the bed bug bites I have had before, leading me to believe it isn't a bite but maybe a scratch or something else. It has not reacted like my other bites either - there is minimal redness at all, and does not itch. There is a tiny pinprick at the center and feels a little scabbed over. Additionally, there is only one "bite." However, I am extremely paranoid and need some assurance and confirmation.
    Ignore the other mark on my hand in the pic - that was from a scratch.
    Basically, can someone identify the mark on my thumb and tell me if there's a big possibility that I have any bugs in my dorm room? And is there a chance that I have bugs even though it's been a month without any indication of any? I'm terrified to go to sleep tonight. Please help!

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 1 2017 21:11:53
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    Okay, take a deep breath. Now take six-thousand more.
    There's nothing in those photos that looks bed bug related. There was never any live bed bugs, no cast skins, no fecal marks, no evidence discovered, so it's completely possible and logical that the skin irritation that you've suffered had a cause other than bed bugs.
    Bed bugs will feed if a meal is present, they don't lie in waiting.
    Bed bugs also tend to harbor in the seams and piping of your mattress, the frame of your box spring and the bed frame itself, and while some stragglers may be caught and removed with bedding there's not much chance of getting rid of an infestation by throwing away the sheets.
    Okay, take a few more breaths.
    You might want to pick up a passive bed bug monitor or make your own, check it once a week for a few weeks, then check it once a month just for sanity's sake.
    You've mentioned no evidence in your post, so I think you've just given yourself a hell of a scare and nothing more, but if something were to turn up please post an image of the bug, cast skin or fecal marks so that someone here can ID it for you.

  3. chrissy0218

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 1 2017 21:25:21
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    BigDummy - 8 minutes ago  » 
    Okay, take a deep breath. Now take six-thousand more.
    There's nothing in those photos that looks bed bug related. There was never any live bed bugs, no cast skins, no fecal marks, no evidence discovered, so it's completely possible and logical that the skin irritation that you've suffered had a cause other than bed bugs.
    Bed bugs will feed if a meal is present, they don't lie in waiting.
    Bed bugs also tend to harbor in the seams and piping of your mattress, the frame of your box spring and the bed frame itself, and while some stragglers may be caught and removed with bedding there's not much chance of getting rid of an infestation by throwing away the sheets.
    Okay, take a few more breaths.
    You might want to pick up a passive bed bug monitor or make your own, check it once a week for a few weeks, then check it once a month just for sanity's sake.
    You've mentioned no evidence in your post, so I think you've just given yourself a hell of a scare and nothing more, but if something were to turn up please post an image of the bug, cast skin or fecal marks so that someone here can ID it for you.

    Thank you for giving me some assurance. I already have bad anxiety, so this whole situation has only made it worse.
    I should also mention that my mattress is your typical dorm mattress - the vinyl, flame-retardant kind that is supposed to be able to withstand a nuclear war. It is also covered with a bed bug mattress protector too so it's protected now. I will post again if any new markings or bites show up tomorrow or if I notice anything else. Thank you again for the assurance.

  4. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 2 2017 11:26:03
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    chrissy0218:
    "I put pillow protectors on the night I moved back in, and put a mattress protector around my bed and mattress topper."
    ---- Please realize that "protector" is the wrong word to use. They do not keep bed bugs off a pillow, mattress, or box spring, but only makes it easier for you to see any since a well fit encasement doesn't leave any creases, roll-overs, crevices. It keeps bed bugs from crawling under and inside a box spring. I really wonder about pillow encasements; a pillow case over the whole thing just creates harborage area within.

    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.

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