Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Tales of Bed Bug Woe

New and Scared

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  1. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 13:51:51
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    A week ago, I'd never thought bed bugs would ever become something that would consume me. No pun intended.
    I'd just moved into a new apartment last Saturday with my boyfriend. After we'd settled in a couple of days later, I noticed a couple of what appeared to be closely spaced insect bites on my knee. I never really gave it a second thought as I assumed they were harmless spider bites.
    The next morning, I woke up with about 10 bites on my body. I showed my boyfriend and she told me he had a few bites on him as well. "Maybe we have a mosquito problem.", I thought. So I decided that I'd call the apartment office to schedule a pesticide treatment. Stupid me. Stupid, stupid, stupid me didn't get around to it. Instead I ran errands less important. I was treating the situation too lightly... until the next morning. I was so itchy, I ran to the bathroom and looked into the mirror.
    To my horror, I saw alot of tiny little red bumps that had me wanting to scratch everywhere. I had them on my legs, my arms, my torso, my butt and even the
    soles of my feet and the palms of my hands. I stopped counting at 83 bites. My boyfriend still didn't have as many as I did. He had around 20. I searched on the internet and feared we may have had scabies. Then I read about bed bugs. I realized I only had new red itchy bumps in the mornings after I'd slept. I left all the lights out in the bedroom and went back in an hour later with a flashlight. I found a dead one, and a molted skin. I have bed bugs. I immediately went to the apartment office and notified them about what'd been happening. Although she was extremely sympathetic, it was a Saturday and nothing could be done until Monday when the main office was open.
    I would have to live with these things without any 'weapons' for two days. I got home and just broke into tears. My boyfriend was taking this entire situation very
    lightly, partially I assume because he wasn't bit as much as I was. That night, we foolishly slept in the living room on our futon mattress. With the lights on.
    I woke up that night and felt something tingly. I lifted the covers and saw the ugly little shit run across my futon mattress. I quickly caught it with a tissue and
    encased it in sticky tape to keep for the exterminator. I shot up out of bed and told my boyfriend who sleepily said, not to worry and quickly fell back to sleep.
    How could he sleep through this!? I went to the bathroom and saw another one running across the bathroom floor. I caught that one too and encased it in clear sticky tape.
    I turned on the light in our bedroom and investigated. I searched through the mattress, and sheets. I couldn't find anything. I looked on the side of the wall, where
    the carpet touched and lifted the carpet. I found alot of bed bug skins and black specs. I cried again and telephoned the apartment answering service. After telling
    me that no one was in the main office today (Sunday) I realized I'd really have to wait until tomorrow. I bagged all of my clothes of which I'm going to wash and sanitize
    after the extermination. I seriously hope they can come on Monday. The regular extermination visits are usually on Friday's, but I think; I HOPE my situation will be
    regarded as an emergency and prompt action will be taken. I now have over 160 bites on my body. 7 of which are on my face. I don't want to go out. I've gone through
    a good sized tube of cortizone and I'm finding it very difficult to sleep at night. I experience "phantom bites" as does my boyfriend and am very nervous about whether
    or not it will be possible to kill them all. I'm going to isolate our bed. My boyfriend want to create a trench of double sided sticky tape, or wrap it around all the legs of our bed. Today, I write to you scared. Trying to resist the urge to scratch as I read all about your stories and experiences. Trials and errors, success stories and tips about these horrific little blood suckers.
    Good luck to everyone. Any support or advice would be highly appreciated.

  2. scaredandstressed

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 14:43:55
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    I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this.I wouldn't wish bedbugs on my worst enemy!I to at first was scared and stressed the heck out when I found out we have bed bugs.I also went and slept on my brand new couch that i'm still paying for.

    Just know you are not alone in this we are here to offer support and information.Just try to keep it together until you can have a pco come in and evaluate the situation and see what would be the best course of action to take.Do read through the faq questions and the blogs there is alot of info in them.

    You can and will get through this!

  3. (deleted)

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 14:56:27
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    I'm so very sorry. You moved into an infested apartment.

    Here are some suggestions:

    1) Take photographs of the skins and fecal traces you found under the carpet and of any other evidence like that in your apartment -- just in case you need them later. Dated photographs.

    2) If it's an apartment building, you need now to go knock on doors. Are your neighbors also infested? Which ones? If they are not treated as well as you, you will not get rid of your bedbugs. All the adjacent units, top, bottom, left and right need to be professionally inspected. I would also knock on the neighbors' doors across the hall. Usually only the landlord or property manager can make that happen. You will have to make sure that it gets done.

    3) You need to determine, as best you can, what the PCO intends to do for your infestation. Consider that if your landlord knew about the infestation in your apartment (which is possible but by no means certain) they likely already treated it, ineffectively. So, who is the PCO, what materials will they use, and what is the protocol? Follow-up visits? Try to determine all of that. It will be crucial.
    Many people who move to escape an infestation (which is one of the scenarios for the previous tenant in your apartment) do so because the problem is not being correctly addressed. It's certainly possible that the previous tenant knew nothing about the infestation, and therefore did not report it. Many people are oblivious, especially if they are not allergic to the bites.

    4) Read the FAQs about how to handle your clothes and your personal items when you leave for work or school. The PCO should give you further instructions about what to do with the rest of your stuff. Do NOT start throwing things away as that is a good way to spread bedbugs. You may have to design a system for your boyfriend as well if he is not as committed as you are to everything that must be done.

    5) You have so many bites, please be careful. Some people develop serious allergic reactions that require medical attention. Can you visit your doctor? Tell them about the soles of your feet and the palms of your hand. This doesn't sound right to me. Actually, this should be number 1 on this list.

    Above all, you will make it through this and we will help, so if you focus on the tasks at hand, you will feel a little better.

    Starting with the laundry is good.

    You can kill any live bugs you find with 91% alcohol.

  4. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 14:56:56
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    BBN, Your new apartment is infested,probably not unknown to the management.There's a way to check if this building has had complaints registered with the health dept. if you're in NY. I'm not sure about other locals,but someone here should know.From the numbers you're seeing and the amount of bites,this apt. has been infested for a period of time,and the bugs are very hungry.I would start knocking on neighbors doors to ask questions about this.If this isn't a new problem with this building,you'll find out pretty quickly I think.Take pictures of the bites while they are fresh,just in case you need leverage to get prompt treatment.If I were you I'd think about trying to strongarm the management to break the lease and have them pay for your belongings to be vikaned.It's possible (very remote) that this apt. was the start of the infestation and has not spread,but not likely.Go to the FAQ's on this site and you'll have some answers. Take this opportunity to arm yourself with facts before talking to the management tomorrow.Be advised if you have unpacked anything,it should be considered infested AND that if you go anywhere with anything infested you can give these bugs to others.They're excellant hitchikers,so you need to be very careful.The same applies to anyone coming in to the apt.Read the FAQ's for more facts and help. I'm so sorry this has happened to you,there's not an easy solution.Good luck and keep us posted.

  5. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 15:36:09
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    scaredandstressed: Thank you so much for your support, I already tend to be somewhat neurotic, so this situation just amplifies
    the problem. We were going to purchase new furniture for the apartment before this fiasco however, we're delaying it until we've
    had treatments done. I'm going to thoroughly read through the faq today, to be as equipped as I can when I speak to management tomorrow.

    hopelessnomo: Indeed, I believe I have moved into an infested apartment. I assumed at first it might have been my boyfriend's luggage. When he arrived a week ago, the airlines had lost his luggage. It took 4 days for them to find and return it to us, which was last Tuesday. It was Wednesday when I first began noticing the bites. However... upon seeing the molted bed bug skins and specs alongside the walls, it's led me to believe that it was a pre-existing problem in this apartment unit. I'm really nervous to knock on our neighbors doors as I don't want to cause alarm if they don't have these issues, but I understand it's something I have to do to prevent future infestations for all of us living in this building. I'm definitely going to pay close attention to the FAQ instructions on handling my personal items. I'll admit that I've been putting off visiting the doctor because I'm afraid he will misdiagnose me as I've read so many doctors do. I suppose I just don't want to be charged $100 + for a possible misdiagnosis. It's in the back of my mind however, and I will immediately go to the doctor if it gets the best of me. I already feel I'm close to that point.

    bugbasher: I really hope that management didn't know about this problem because I would freak if they knowingly assigned us this unit. Unfortunately, I'm in Texas and there aren't many reports of this problem here. I've checked two Bed Bug registries with no results. I'm going to have to post a complaint myself. I'm buying a disposable camera to take photos today. I've cancelled plans with friends and family because of this infestation, I wouldn't want to ever ever give this problem to anyone.

    I'm practically covered in Benadryl and Cortizone and I still can't stop itching! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!

    Thank you all so much for your comments and advice, I will keep everyone updated.

  6. pleasehelp

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 16:15:05
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    Hi BBN, I'm so sorry. Try pure tea tree oil for the itching. I tried a number of anti-itch creams, and it was the thing that works for me, and lasts for about 10 hours. You might want to get a diluted version for your face. Vitamin shops like GNC usually carry it.

  7. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 16:32:33
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    bedbugnewbie if your itching that badly try taking either benadryl in pill form (at night as it may make you a bit tired) or clariton for the daytime (it doesn't make you sleepy) I'm not sure how wise it is to keep your self covered in cortisonal/antihistimine creams as they say to use 3 to 4 times a day not all day.

    Get to the doctor and tell him about the bed bug problem you may need something that is presecription only if your reaction is that bad. I know many on this site don't lean toward the medicine approach but if it's that bad you really need to get into either a doctor or dermatologist and make sure to tell them about the bed bugs. The bites are very similar to a varity of other things as least that way they will not misdiagnose you.

    I would delay the buying of any new furniture for at least 2 months without any bites though.

    Just because there is nothing listed on the bed bug registry sites doesn't mean there has been no bed bug outbreaks in your area. Where I live there is nothing reported within 40 miles but when talking with a PCO bed bug reports in this area are way up. They are fielding anywhere from 7 to 10 calls every month and that's just one company here.

    I'm in agreement with hopelessnomo that the doctor/dermatologist should be your number 1 thing to do with so many bites.

  8. (deleted)

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 16:41:08
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    BedBugNewbie-

    Just to clarify, I did not suggest the doctor so that you can have a diagnosis of bedbug bites. Given the facts as you describe them, you don't need a diagnosis. You have actual bedbug samples.

    I suggested the doctor because some people can have severe allergic reactions to bedbug bites, and I don't mean to scare you, but I'm talking about reactions that require emergency care like anaphylaxis. What you described on your palms and soles of your feet is what worries me.

    So, please go to the doctor or a clinic, okay? They will evaluate your reactions and judge whether you need to have some medicine available to you in the case of an emergency or whether you're okay. But don't delay, please.

    I agree with IBB. If nothing else, you will get a prescription. But truly you must go, please.

  9. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 19:00:37
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    How horrible!

    Read the FAQs. About the bed isolation, follow the FAQs (mattress covers, wash bed linens frequently and don't let them touch the floor, possibly get rid of any comforters and get thin blankets instead, etc.). Different people do the legs differently. I had the cheap metal bed frame already and stuck the legs in large, empty yogurt containers, half-filled them with mineral oil (I found it at the supermarket, along with the 91% alcohol) and put the double-sided carpet tape (Home Depot) on the outside of the containers.

    And IveBeenBugged is right - even if the Registry isn't showing "hits" for your area, I bet your local PCOs will say something totally different!

  10. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 19:47:52
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    Hey guys, thank you so much for responding. This has helped loads for me.
    My boyfriend is finally coming around to the seriousness of the situation after seeing the rest of my bites. We went out shopping for plastic gloves, alcohol, a spray bottle, and fogger (but we read foggers weren't an effective option). It felt like we were preparing for a war. We're taking the advice 'hopelessnomo' and 'IveBeenBugged' and we're going to the doctor tonight to make sure our reactions are normal and to possibly see about getting some type of medication to help. I really need a break from bites, so we're taking a set of sanitized clothing and staying at a nearby hotel overnight. I've put double sided sticky tape around the legs of my bed as well as a strip along the sides of the walls around the bed. Tonight, I'll buy tree oil that 'pleasehelp' suggested. Thank you for that recommendation by the way. To 'fightorflight' I'm going to do what you did as well with the frame legs. I also have a cheap metal bed frame. I really really hope the PCO will know how to deal with this problem.
    I'll let you guys know what happens tomorrow after I've spoken with apartment management.

  11. bedbugsenigma

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Feb 10 2008 22:56:55
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    BedBugNewbie, I am so sorry for what you're going through! If I were you I would keep all the receipts, including the one from the hotel room. I would even start inquiring about the landlord's legal obligations in your state. I am not a lawyer and I have no clue but it seems unfair to me that you moved into an apartment, were welcomed with a really horrible infestation, and now you have to spend all this money on hotel rooms etc etc. Good luck and keep us posted!

  12. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 11 2008 13:55:24
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    Hey everyone, I visited the doctor late last night. He prescribed an oral medication and a cream for my boyfriend to control the effects of the bed bug bites. We stayed at a hotel last night and I felt safe knowing I wouldn't be bitten.
    The next morning we came back to speak to the property manager. The apartment management team was extremely cooperative. They told us to keep all of our receipts as bedbugsenigma had suggested and will present them to the property manager. The exterminator is due to arrive any minute now, I'll have a talk with him and get all the facts of what he's intending to do and what I can expect.
    I was told we'd have to be out most of the day as the exterminators do their job, so we're just going to keep ourselves busy for the remainder of the day. I'll let you guys know what happened either later today or tomorrow. I really appreciate all of your support. I hope everyone's situation is getting better.

  13. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 11 2008 14:02:20
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    I'm glad you went to the doctor and got something that should help with the bite reactions.

    I hope everything starts to turn around for you. It will probably take more than one treatment though just so you know. It wasn't until after the 3rd that I got my bite free week and I'm not sure if that will last.

    Hopefully it will though.

  14. bedbugsenigma

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Mon Feb 11 2008 23:46:13
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    Sounds like you're making good progress, Bedbugnewbie, and that's great news! Also hope IBB will stay bite free!

  15. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Tue Feb 12 2008 12:26:15
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    My boyfriend and I came home several hours after the exterminator left. We were both very reluctant to come home because of what we'd been through, but we kept reminding ourselves that the apartment was now treated. I took my bagged clothes and linen and ended up doing 10 loads of laundry at the laundromat last night. I re-bagged them and they are still sitting on my counter. I'm too nervous to put them away as I know they're all clean and bug free. We stayed up putting double sided sticky tape around the bed and on the bed legs. I kept a tape roll with me in bed. I found it ridiculously hard to sleep. I felt I had to be on the lookout for these things. We kept a lamp on in the bedroom while we slept. I've never felt this paranoid about anything in my life. I repeatedly woke up and scanned our walls and bed sheets. Collectively, I found and encased 7 bed bugs in my sticky tape. 6 of which were crawling up the wall and 1 of which I found under my pillow. It was so disheartening, but I know it takes time for the treatment to take effect as IveBeenBugged mentioned. I just now got off the phone with the apartment manager, and they've scheduled another treatment on Friday. I'm going to really stress that they do the entire apartment head to toe. I think they only did our bedroom and living room. I want them to do the bathroom and closet too if they hadn't done already. The drug prescriptions are kicking in a little as my bites are becoming a little less itchy and less noticeable. Still not enough for me to want to go out without a long sleeved shirt on, though. Anyway, as always I'll keep you posted.

  16. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 1:20:00
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    At Lowe's, I just bought a dust mask, a pair of gloves and "Safer Brand Ant & Crawling Insect Killer" Diatomaceous Earth. It says no where on the 4lb bag whether or not it's food or pool grade. I'm assuming it's the correct one, however I will dare not apply it until I know whether or not it's the correct one. Originally, I went to Home Depot, but all they had was pool grade DE, so I went to Lowe's, all they had was this unidentified Safer brand. Bleh. None of them understood what I was talking about when I'd arrived and explained the situation. I haven't seen a bug all day today, which is a record. I shouldn't count my chickens before they've hatched and I'll still sleep with my sticky tape just in case. It's really late over here right now, so I suppose I'll research all of this tomorrow morning. We also bought Bengal UltraDust 2X Fire Ant Killer because it contains an ingredient called "Deltamethrin" which my boyfriend told me he told me is supposed to be effective against bed bugs (according to his internet research). Again, we'll see tomorrow morning whether or not they're safe and/or correct to use in our situation. I most certainly hope they will. I'm sleeping with the lights on again, tonight. Goodnight, everybody.

  17. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 1:40:49
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    > so I went to Lowe's, all they had was this unidentified Safer brand. Bleh. None of them understood what I was talking about when I'd arrived and explained the situation.

    Ha - I got the same reaction when I was buying the 2x sided carpet tape at Home Depot.

    About the clothes, two things:

    - You must put your laundered clothes in fresh bags. I hope you have been doing this. (And then ideally dump the used bags in a dumpster or something outside the laundromat.)

    - You should probably keep living out of bags until two months have gone by without "symptoms." Limit your outifits and keep the rest in bags for the duration. I possibly had a problem with disinfecting shoes so I am thinking next time, I will just buy another pair of shoes for leaving the home and bag them immediately.

    Whew - lots to do and think about.

  18. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 1:46:26
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    I guess I should clarify - limit your outfits but still bag them. You will have less to wash and dry. The other, clean stuff, keep bagged and sealed for the duration.

  19. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 8:12:17
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    BBN,
    Why would you self treat while being treated by a pco? I think this is a bad idea for 2 reasons: 1)Chemicals mixed in the same area may cause any number of things to happen eg:create a toxic living space,cause the bugs to run away(which you don't want to do,you want to kill them) or they may cancel each other out,rendering the pco treatment useless.Please consult with pco BEFORE spraying anything yourself! The DE I think would be ok but I would still ask first.I would also ask if they treated the wall voids since this apt. seems to be highly infested AND the units adj.(sides and top and bottom of it) should be inspected by pco and treated if neccessary.I agree with you the whole apt. needs treated and the wall voids also,if I were you I would make that very clear.If they in any way don't comply tell them you want everything vikaned at their expense and get the h**l out of there.Let me be clear,unless the whole problem is addressed at the same time,they will be back.Also, vikane has no residual effect,you would only use it if you were leaving the premises never to return.You can't vikane stuff and return it to an infested apt. as it will get promptly reinfested.Good luck

  20. BedBugNewbie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 12:30:41
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    fightorflight: I did bag them in new bags, I threw the bags they were originally in out right away. We're going to leave everything bagged as you suggested. I'm actually doing a load of laundry per day at the moment. Washing anything we've used the prior day, the very next day. We only had a three month lease here to begin with. It really sucks that we've just moved in, and we'll have to be living with this problem our entire stay in this Texas city. My boyfriend and I don't own very much, so we're probably going to bag and toss everything in the garbage once our lease is up so we can start fresh somewhere else.

    bugbasher: I always hear horror stories about pco's treatment not being effective. I'll admit I've let myself get a bit paranoid and foolish by wanting to buy anything and everything that would help erradicate these bugs. But as you said, it'd be a toxic living space. I haven't been thinking very clearly about this; I'm glad you brought this up. I won't use any of it if it isn't neccessary. I'll talk to the pco Friday to see what he recommends I do. He really put me off the last time he came. He seemed like he was in a hurry and it was hard to get much out of him when I asked him questions. He was replying very generically like, "Don't worry ma'am, we'll take care of the problem." I felt like he was shutting me up. It really caught me off guard and I wasn't being very aggressive. The more I think about it now though, the more I become frustrated.
    So I'm not letting that happen again when they return. I'm also going to bring up the inspection of the other apartments.

    In other news, I found only one bug yesterday.

  21. nightshirt

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 14:29:47
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    bbn i hope that you know that you must be treated every 11-14 days. 5 days in between treatments is not advised. the chemicals need to work. when i was going through this anguish i emptied my dresser and washed and bagged all my clothes then put them back - a NO-NO. keep the clean stuff bagged for months. i didnt unpack for at least 5 months AFTER i had stopped getting bitten. this is a lengthy process and it seems you have a rather large infestation. you need to be hyper vigilent all the time. you bag your clothes at night the minute you come home, put on clean jammies until the next day, bag them, shower, put clean clothes on for the day and repeat, probably for months. i know laundry is a huge gripe on this site - everyone does thousands of loads and everyone hates it. the activities this entails will take up most of your time for the next few months. you are describing absolutely normal feelings about this. it is isolating, expensive, time consuming and a money pit. but if you follow protocol exactly you will be able to rid yourself of them.

    keep us posted and take care of yourself

  22. nightshirt

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 14:33:10
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    also do not self treat. you should know your facts and actually interview the pco and make sure they give you the correct answers before hiring them. bad pco treatments are a waste of money and time. do you know what you need to know about how they shuld proceed with the extermination? is not read tha faq's and ask people here. i will be glad to answer any questions you have.

  23. MixedFeelings

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 14:52:01
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    Good for you BedBugNewbie!! You've made a lot of progress in only a few days!

    As the others say, be prepared for multiple treatments. And even when you think you're in the clear, maintain the infestation protocols for another 1-2 months (I will, if and when we ever get that far!)

    Again, you've made great strides in a short time, good for you! And keep going!

    MF

  24. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Feb 13 2008 21:26:46
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    nightshirt,
    I believe the pco that's treating bbn is hired by the management company of her building,which is probably why they're reluctant to talk to her.That's not right ,but seems to be the way it goes.I still think she should make sure things get done properly whether they like it or not.Good going so far, bbn.Hoping you'll be bb free soon,but unfortunately it does take some time.The reduction in what you're seeing is great and you're off to a good start.The other adjacent apts. are key as well as the wall voids.Keep us posted


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