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New from Denver, also vacuum purchase & furn disposal question

(5 posts)
  1. katgut

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    Joined: Mar '11
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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 18 2011 1:18:14
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    Hi,

    This is my first post. I believe that I have bedbugs.

    In the last (approx) 6 weeks, I saw 8-10 varied sores/bites/welts on my upper body. Especially at first, they were spread apart. I got 2 bites on my arm in the same night, a few inches apart the first time. Then nothing would happen for a week or so, and I stopped thinking about it, and then I'd get 1 or 2 more.

    There are 4 different possible ways I've imagined they might have come from: my boyfriend's friend said in mid-February that "some units in his building" had them, and that is why he was moving. In mid-Jan. I picked a small wood bookshelf up from the alley (did clean it the day after with Murphy's, but I'll never take that risk again). I spent 3 nights in 2 hotels over New Year's. Or it could be neighbors (no reason to suspect specifically, but that might be possible).

    I had a really bad day on Friday and spent from 8 pm to 1 am in bed, with the lights out. I was talking on the phone or on my laptop much of this time. The last hour I was just laying there trying to sleep. I got up at 1 and turned the light on, and there was a weird blood clot on my arm. I picked it off, and after looking on the internet at other people's pictures of bed bug bites, it seems to match what I've been seeing. That was the first time I saw a blood clot (was still wet around the edges), and not just the bite. I'm assuming it was because I wasn't sleeping and must have disturbed the bug while it was attached. I'm normally a pretty heavy sleeper.

    I didn't sleep at all between Friday and Saturday. I've been renting from the same condo owner for 7 years now, and have asked for very little in that time. I called him on Saturday, feeling pretty hysterical, and he was either very ignorant or playing dumb with me.

    He initially asked what home remedies I'd tried and acted like this was definitely my fault and I should pay for all of it. I had to send him links and educate him that this is not the sort of thing to go DIY on.

    I read about the expensive thermal treatments heating the apartment up to 140 or so on Saturday, and I loved the idea, but my landlord shot it down. The first guy I called said $1200-1400 for the small 2 bed condo, and he didn't care about seeing any evidence. The second guy was nicer, and on a job nearby that afternoon. He offered to stop by and look the situation over and give me a quote on the way home. He couldn't see any visual evidence in a quick 10-15 min inspection, but he said that his company would charge $750 if I could get visual evidence. And also that they had a dog, which would be $250 for an inspection. I asked him about CO2 traps, since I'd just been reading about them online. He directed me to a website to buy one. I put in an order that day and paid an extra $10 for rush shipping, which was supposed to get to me in 3-4 business days. I hadn't gotten it by 4 pm today, and I looked at my email receipt when I was going to send a follow up email: although the CO2 traps website had a different URL, the order email came from an email address at the same company as the guy who was at my apartment. I feel a bit ripped off that they're in my town and they couldn't get me my CO2 trap within the 4 days. I sent a follow up email asking for a refund of the rush shipping fee and tracking information (which they never sent). If I don't hear back from them tomorrow I'll post an update with their company name so no one else gets ripped off by them.

    So even though I'd read here that I shouldn't, I moved to the couch so I could get SOME sleep on Saturday and Sunday. I didn't do anything else drastic or stupid, though. Spent the first few days just reading here so I don't make too many mistakes.

    Spent a lot of Monday on the phone with my landlord and PCO's (my landlord agreed to pay for half of treatment). Got a K9 appointment for first thing Tuesday morning. I took a long bath after I got home from work on Monday and noticed two more bites near each other on my neck and the front of my shoulder...not there on Friday, so they must have already moved to the couch.

    The dog didn't find anything solid. There was a light alert regarding the mattress and couch, but the handler/inspector said unless he alerts twice and they find a sample then he doesn't count it as a positive. The company is called EnviroPest, and overall I was very happy with the guy that came. He spent about 1-1.5 hours in my apartment looking very carefully (about 20-30 minutes with the dog), and at the end since he found a black carpet beetle he said he could spray some chemicals. He used bellows to put DE in my boxspring through some of the holes in the fabric on the bottom, and also used some Propoxur PT250 near the couch and bed, and gave me a sheet with the info without me asking.

    He told me to get mattress encasings and white sheets, and a bed frame with climb-ups, laundromat dryer my comforter and pillows and call them if I keep getting bit. He also told me that I shouldn't wash and bag everything I own, that I should "try to live my life like normal".

    I've been doing a bit of washing and ziploc-ing my clothes anyway. I'm such a nervous wreck, I've barely been sleeping and eating and I've lost 5 pounds since last week. All I've been doing is smoking cigarettes. At least if I can take my clothes out of a ziploc bag before work in the morning I feel a little safer.

    I got an Allerzip mattress cover and got it installed tonight, but I had to buy the boxspring cover online...I did overnight shipping and it should be here tomorrow. I figured it would be best to wait to dryer the comforter and pillows until after both encasements are on, so I have them in big black trash bags all tied up at the top and ready to go to the laundromat.

    I've been considering moving to a smaller apartment for a long time, and now I'm feeling too disgusted to sit on my couch. I got it at a thrift store 7 years ago for $40, so I would have no problem getting rid of it, but I'd like to do it responsibly, and not spread the problem or put the rest of my building at risk. It's huge and I definitely need help getting it out, and I don't really have anyone to help me. Are there services or has anyone hired people for help with this sort of thing?

    I've got a crummy VERY old vacuum that came from a thrift store 7 years ago too, and I had just been trying to make do with that until I moved (before all this happened). I'm so beat, I was wondering if anyone has done some research lately on current vacuums that are good. One with bags and a "good crevice tool". Available on Amazon, at Target, or Bed bath and beyond would be ideal. I'm a little bit worried about spending the money on a new vac before moving...does anyone know the possible risk factor in carrying them to a new place in a vac?

    Thanks so much for reading everyone.

  2. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 18 2011 7:32:25
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    Hi, K. You sound distressed and that's understandable.

    Perhaps the PCO's advice is best. Try to live normal. Take care of yourself. I would hold off throwing things away, but if you need to, items can be wrapped in "pallet wrap" for transport. If your problem clears (and it likely will), you can move with little worry. If it persists, you can figure it out, and we can help you.

    One area to consider is if you're at risk of exposure from visitors (like your boyfriend).

    It's possible that while the company that makes the monitor you ordered is "based" locally, but that the product is "distributed" elsewhere.

    I'm (not an expert, but am) a fan of the Eureka Mity Mite Boss canister. They're small, simple (no fancy rug attachment), cheap, decent suction and the small bags are cheap, too. About $60-80 at major retailers.

    There's a great guide to BB that I recommend a lot. It includes great tips on inspection, including some handy vacuum tricks. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Bed_Bug_Manual_v1_full_reduce_326605_7.pdf

    Take care of yourself and treat yourself well. You'll get through this.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  3. katgut

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 18 2011 12:16:14
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    Thank you so much cilecto!

    I found this website http://www.eureka.com/MightyMite-3670G-canister-vacuum, that says I can buy that vacuum in-store from some local Wal-Marts. It's pretty cheap, and one less thing for me to think about. So I'll be getting that in the next day or so.

    The CO2 trap still hasn't come, and the company still hasn't responded to the email I sent yesterday around 4 pm asking for a package tracking number and a refund of my rush shipping fee. Whether it's coming from a distributor or not, I still think it's pretty crummy that they charged me an extra $10 and didn't get it to me in the promised 3-4 business days. The product is called "The Lure", and the website is bedbuglure.com.. The billing email I recieved is from "TheLureCompany.com" I just wanted to warn others here not to spend their money with them. I feel like it is a ripoff to take advantage of people in this awful situation when they charge an extra $10 and don't even get the product to me.

    I am back to sleeping in my bed the last 2 nights, with white sheets and the Allerzip mattress cover as of last night. Yesterday I had a few suspicious things. At the end of the day I noticed 3 marks in a triangle on my foot, right above the thick skin on the bottom of my foot. They look a little different than the other bites I've seen, so I didn't want to panic. But I am wondering if bite marks can appear different on different parts of the body.

    Then I had what I believe I can confirm is a single bite upon waking up this morning. I have been sleeping in a t-shirt and capri pants that I used to wear to yoga classes. I examined the sheets this morning and saw two tiny dark brown spots near where my legs were, so I examined my legs and found a bite mark on one calf. I'm not sure if the spots are bedbug excrement or blood stains, but I don't feel like it is too paranoid to say that this is definitely a bite.

    How many of these confirmed bites should I see before calling the PCO again? He told me to "call back if I keep getting bit", and I very much don't want to let this problem get worse. But, I don't have the bed isolated yet and haven't done vacuuming around the bed. And I understand that DE and chemicals take time to work. If anyone has any input I would be very grateful.

    Thank you,
    kat

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 18 2011 16:19:31
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    I don't think I've seen this device discussed here before. It's an "active" monitor, which generates CO2 through a chemical reaction. As I noted before, useful, but probably not critical for your situation. If they did not fulfill your order to your expectation, you could try and take it up with their customer service or your credit card issuer. David James, also of Colorado, invented/markets a similar device, the "Beacon". He participates on this forum. 

  5. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Mar 21 2011 7:55:35
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    Kat. I've read that it's normal to see some activity/get some bites after treatment as stragglers come out to feed. The bugs "cross the poison" and eventually die. It's also common practice to re treat in about two weeks "whether you need it or not", to pick off the next generation to hatch from eggs.

    Any word from your trap seller?


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