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new brooklyn apartment w other infested units, crossfire treatment

(4 posts)
  1. ruinedpsyches

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Apr 11 2019 16:06:37
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    never thought i'd be the bedbug expert i am right now. spend every waking moment after coming home from work exhausted, only to snap into bed bug paranoia mode

    my story so far:
    the minute i finish moving in one morning to my new, 287 sqft apartment (2nd floor), a woman comes into my apartment, says she lives above me and she has bed bugs and they won't go away. says that a few other units have them and that i should leave.

    i was exhausted from moving and this instantly killed all the joy i felt at finally having my own place. she was acting a little strange in general so i texted a friend who lives in the building (on the 4th floor) and she advised me to get climb up interceptors just in case. my friend never had bed bugs in her 5 years living there, but said the building was on the bed bug registry and it was a good peace of mind to have climb ups in old buildings. i spoke with the landlord immediately and he said my upstairs neighbor was just trying to break her lease and that there were not bed bugs now. he kept saying that my unit was newly renovated.

    i had already paid security + first month + movers and moved all my shit (bed, dresser, couch, desk, coffee table) so there was nothing i could really do but order the interceptors and pray for the best. there was a 1-2 day waiting period until i could get these interceptors on the bed AND couch. i bought a spray bottle and made a lavender oil + pepperming dr. bronner's spray in futile hopes of keeping them away.

    12 days later i spot the first live bed bugs. one in each interceptor by my head on the bed frame. one on the outside of my bathroom door which is attached to the bedroom. i put these three in a ziploc baggie.

    i had started noticing some bites, but have dry skin so am usually itchy, and tried not to be paranoid about it, but this confirmed the fears. i called the landlord and without asking for any evidence he says an exterminator is coming, but not for 6 days. i asked if they could come any quicker and he said no.

    i bagged up my clutter from the bedroom floor in black plastic trash bags, being sure to seal them off to be treated later and left the apartment until the day before the first treatment. that evening i found one under a floor lamp by my bed, and one dead in my closet.

    that night i went to bed fearful, and in the morning i woke up with definite bites and found two in my bed frame: one between the frame and slats by my head, and one hiding on the underside of the frame by my feet. there was another in a climb-up. by this time i've already found 9 live bugs, plus a lil nymph. these two adults in my bed frame must have climbed on right after i move in, before the interceptors, or come on via the wall

    the exterminator came and told me to open up the windows. he took the mattress off, took slats off the frame, and treated the frame with a mixture of insecticides--sterifab, crossfire, and something else i didn't catch the name of. he sprayed my mattress down, put the frame back together, put the mattress back and said the frame looked good, get a mattress encasement. my frame is light wood, cheap from amazon so it was easy to treat. he told me that he would put all my clothes (hanging and folded in the closet) in the dryer for 30 mins, that i didn't have to but that he would personally do it to be safe.

    next he sprayed down my couch cushions, flipped the couch over and examined for bed bugs. he said he didn't see any bugs, nor any eggs or droppings, but sprayed it down and put it back in the climb ups. we moved all the furniture away from the walls and he sprayed all the baseboards with crossfire. he

    i had spent all week prior reading up about treatments, so seeing him come in with all the insecticides worried me, but reading up on crossfire made me feel slightly better. he told me to sprinkle DE in all the climb ups for good measure, and that he'd be back in 2 weeks for a second treatment.

    i spent the evening shoving diatomaceous earth into my baseboard cracks with a credit card and spoon and clearing more clutter. vacuumed my couch. i found 2 dead bed bugs then by the molding by my bed and a poor dying silverfish crawling by my rug. there was a dead bed bug smushed on my foot too. i put a bed bug proof encasement on my foam mattress, and on my pillows, and slept a little better.

    the next day no bites, but found a live adult bed bug on my closet door and killed it.

    i haven't seen any since then (only yesterday morning) but i'm trying to plan my next moves of action. I've been shuffling launderable-clothes to the laundromat downstairs and keeping them sorted in clear trash bags and only wearing clothes from those bags, and keeping special "bed clothes" separate.

    i'm going to keep putting all my clothes through the dryer, steam treat those that can't be done with a handheld dryer, and figure out what to do with my shoes / other belongings.

    but now i'm stuck with what to do. i've talked more with my upstairs neighbor and now know she's had 3 treatments in the past 9 weeks (bug bomb + heat treatment). perhaps these bombs are what scattered the bed bugs?? she is also moving out may 1st so i dont want her bugs to keep coming down with her vacant apartment.

    - should i move out may 1st as well, after the second treatment? do bed bugs ever *really* go away in situations like this, if they are just in the floors, walls, neighboring units?
    - is crossfire treatment really effective for bed bugs, especially in an old, rent-controlled apartment building?
    - i found 14 bed bugs total with just a few (10ish) bites, what is the severity of this infestation?
    - my sofa is a dark fabric and hard to inspect. i steamed all the seams and there are no bed bugs in the interceptors, can i possibly salvage it when/if i move?
    - should i throw away my wood dresser even though there are no signs of bed bugs on it?

    lots of questions but...there's a lot going on and would love any sage advice!! i hate living this way, spiteful of anyone who doesn't have to deal with bed bugs, thinking constantly only of how to live normally again...

  2. SalsaVince

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Apr 11 2019 17:25:18
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    That sucks man. Sorry you got stuck in that situation. That was pretty wrong of your landlord to mislead you like that. The only good thing I read is that it seems like your PCO is thorough and knows their stuff so at least you're in good hands. Is the same PCO treating the other units in the apartment? I'd like to know who used the bug bomb. That could definitely make the treatments more difficult and spread the bugs. Is it possible to completely wipe them out after it's gotten to this point? I've heard of worse cases that were solved but it will most likely take some time and a lot of coordinated efforts between you and your neighbors and transparency from your landlord. That last one is the big question mark after what they already did to you. My mom's apartment had them in multiple units but they were able to simultaneously treat them and seemed to get them under control building wide. So I don't know what to tell you as far as if you should stay or pack up. Hopefully, that same PCO is treating the other units now. That empty apartment is going to make it more challenging. An active monitor device would be useful to continue treatment there if needed after it's vacated.

    Regarding your stuff, unless it's really infested throughout, it's worth it to keep it and treat it. Even the dark sofa can be monitored with passive monitors attached to it that have a white background to make it easier. Try to keep other furniture and stuff away from your bed for now. That closet seems like it has a lot of activity. Is it near your bed? If not, maybe that's where the bugs are coming in from another unit?

    With your clothes, unless you really plan on wearing all of your clothes often, I wouldn't bother drying and bagging everything. Just the stuff you need to use for the next month or so. Just make sure it's not in the way for treatments. If there's any bugs hiding on a velvet suit jacket in the back of your closet that you haven't worn since prom, that jacket will be fine without drying and that bug will eventually leave the jacket and find a more fashionable place to live where it can more easily feed.

    If you do decide to move, you can research companies that offer special bed bug treatment while moving to protect your new place. Hopefully it doesn't come to that though.

    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
    Not an expert. Just a survivor who's still learning.
    Vince
  3. ruinedpsyches

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Fri Apr 12 2019 13:09:00
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    @SalsaVince thanks so much for writing that, really appreciate the sympathy. Glad to hear that it did get solved in your mom's apartment.

    The PCO is not treating other units in the building, and he was not the one who set off the bug bombs--my neighbor upstairs hired their own person to do it bc she has a tense relationship with our landlord (he's an older guy, doesn't speak english super well). I have a better relationship with the LL so at least he's paying for the treatments, but when I asked him if he was doing adjoining units he said no, only mine.

    I also learned from the LL and neighbors that the last tenant in my unit had been there for 30 years and was an old man, so I'm getting the sense that he probably had a significant problem that is lingering now in my unit. There are a few other older residents in the building that have been there for 15+ years, so that doesn't really comfort me in terms of active treatment to eradicate the bed bugs for good.

    The closet is kinda close to my bed, and I am thinking that the BBs are coming from cracks in the bed and baseboards near that area. I haven't found any live bugs inside of the closet yet, only the dead one on the threshold and the live one on the door, so maybe I can get away with not drying everything in there, at least the stuff that's hard to dry.

    I called my exterminator and asked him what he would do if he had just moved into a bed bug infested building and he said candidly that he would move, and that he couldn't guarantee the treatments would work over time since it's an old building with previous and current long-term residents. He said to wait until the second treatment though. So between that + my upstairs neighbor moving out, I think there's my answer in having to move.

    Next steps are to figure out how to get my security deposit back and not bringing any damn BBs with me...though I am not heavily infested, the count of BB's I've found now is up to 14 (5 of them being dead). At least the Crossfire treatment and DE seem to be working, but it's only been a few days, and I still have to make the hard decision of what to do with my stuff.

    Fingers crossed for better times!!

  4. SalsaVince

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Fri Apr 12 2019 15:13:08
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    Yeah, that's a tough call. Most of the time, you don't need to run away from bugs but that's a call you'll have to make. Since you're not really settled in there yet and there are some complexities with neighbor landlord relations, empty units, and the structure of the building, I could understand why you would consider it. If you do, just be careful and monitor regularly in the new place to catch them early if any hitched a ride. Good luck.


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