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  • Started 11 years ago by Scarredforlife
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  1. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 10:32:42
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    Hi there fellow sufferers,

    I have been reading this forum for a few weeks now and figured it was time to come out of my hiding spot & introduce myself.
    I live in south Brooklyn ,in a building that is old and falling apart from neglect.But being that we have a rent stabilized apartment ,we aren't willing to give it up just yet.There's every other pest imaginable here,so I'm not too surprised that we finally got the dreaded bedbug.

    It was early December when I saw 3 spots on my 7 year olds's face.I assumed tit was an allergic reaction,and geve him Benadryl.But when the spots kept appearing after a few days,I took him to our pediatrician.He told us it looked like a bedbug bite & that we needed to search his mattress and his brother's crib for the bugs.When we got home ,my husband & I looked all over the mattresses/bedding in the room and found nothing.So we thought we were in the clear and tookmy son to a dermatologist to see what those marks were.The dermatologist barely even looked at him ,told me they were bedbug bites,without a doubt & "go look it up on the internet."

    I don't think I ever cried as much in my life than when I did the initial research on the bugs.My building is a bedbugs dream home.Lots of people from other countries coming & renting for a few months & then leaving,unsanitary conditions because my neighbors are disgusting,and too many cracks and crevices to possibly deal with.
    The next day we went into my son's room armed with new information & first ting we did was take off a poster from the wall.Bingo !!! There was a live bedbug caught on the tape .Moving on to the next poster we found about 5 more live adult bugs,which we vacuumed up immediately.Clothing was bagged and laundered,the furniture inspected and scrubbed.
    We put DE everywhere,used Sterifab & some spray a neighbor's PCO gave us (J.T.Eaton..useless stuff ) then called my LL for an exterminator.Which surprisingly enough,he sent right away.

    The PCO came & sprayed Suspend & Gentrol mixed together in my son's room.
    Of course,my poor son was still being bitten.And we found not a single shred of evidence of bedbugs.
    The PCO was back 3 more times,2 weeks apart each time.What a waste of time & effort.He would come in ,spray a little around the baseboards & leave.He even kept trying to insist that we had fleas because of our cat.We live on the 6th floor,our cat does't go out ever.And he has been seen by a vet during this whole process.We have had fleas before,years ago & know that this isn't fleas.
    But legally,my LL wa covered.My neighbors for the most part don't speak English & are hard to even try to talk to.And nobody wanted to let the PCO in to inspect their apartments.*Sigh*
    We eventually threw out (with proper steps taken to wrap & signs that this was infested stuff ) all the furniture in my children's room.There is now just a metal bunk bed in the middle of the room & that's all.
    What a horrible way for children to have to live !

    And on a side note..regarding children's toys...I had 3 different PCO's tell me that the bedbugs would absolutely NOT go live in my son's plastic toy bins that were overflowing with action figures & the like.Well....guess where I found 3 adult bedbugs ???
    Yup...in my son's toys.
    So I figure there's nothing about this bug's behavior
    that is for sure.Anything & everything is possible,and that makes our job to get rid of them so much more difficult.

    Meanwhile ,we were busy vacuuming every day,doing the massive laundry etc...when my neighbor down the hall found an infestation in their apartment .
    Of course,in a panic they threw everything out without any precautions.Probably dropping bugs all over the building the whole time.So now there's the fear of even walking in & out of my building as well as in my apartment.The downstairs neighbor from them also reported an infestation,and also just threw out furniture ,without wrapping it up.I hate my neighbors.Because now,that furniture is sitting in my basement,just breeding the little bugs and I'm sure they have
    gotten in the whole building & that it's just a matter of time before a huge infestation is going to errupt.But Nobody wants to listen to me.
    I've told the PCO( whose advice was .."just don't go there for a few days ) , Superintendent & LL...they think a quick spray will stop the bugs from getting anywhere else.
    HA !!!!

    I tried 311...they had nothing to offer in terms of getting rid of that furniutre.So i called the public advocates office yesterday.Their answer was to have the LL spray around the stuff until it could be removed.
    I am so angry that this is going on & nobody cares except other victims.

    I have lost many belongings in this battle...and my peace of mind has been destroyed .Sleep is hard to come by these days,and I am always itchy.
    I get the phantom mystery bites,hives amd panic attacks now.My son's have lost their toys,stuffed animals,enjoyment of their own room.We had no holidays this past
    year,have had no visitors..have gone nowhere..I'm sure you all know the song...

    So before paying money we don't have to another PCO,we bought Bedlam,Drione & D-Force
    & have treated the room ourselves.So far we haven't seen any confirmed
    bites on my son for a couple of weeks.But there were a few marks on him that were usupect .So we aren't close to breathing that sigh of releif yet.I continue to vaccum,itch, have minor breakdowns..and still we haven't found any bugs,moltings ,or eveidence other than 1 poop stain on the wall by the upper molding.Which has since been dusted with Drione & DE.
    So far ,it looks like we have at least contained the infestation to the boy's room.We continually inspect the rest of the apartment & found nothing at all.
    We live in fear of that happening ,and try our best to not bring anything except the boys themselves in or out of that room.

    We did find 1 dead bug this past weekend,in the ceiling fan housing..which is on a piece of tape,waiting to mailed to Harvard for identification/I just can;'t tell if it's a BB or not.

    The room is due to be treated again this weekend.
    I am so sick of this taking up all my time,and energy.

    If I wasn't so squeamish ,I think I'd go back to school & become an entomologist.

    Anyways...thanks for listening to my story & I guess I'll be around & getting to know you fine folk as the battle marches on.

    Scarredforlife
    ***************

  2. angie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 11:26:23
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    Sorry you are here but this is the place to be for support and help! I know exactly what you are feeling right now. I lived in an apartment complex and had neighbors who didn't cooperate and we have lost everything. We had 6 treatments but without the other units getting treated, we were fighting a losing battle. The LL was not willing to admit that the bugs were in other apartments and so that didn't help us get rid of them. After 9 months of bugs and bags and cleaning and prepping for treatments and throwing out all furniture and storing all cleaned items in our garage and living out of baskets and no toys for our 4 kids and sleeping on the floor...ect, ect, ect...we moved! Now it has been 2 weeks and I haven't seen a bug and I can't be happier. My kids are excited that they can play with their toys again. I still don't have beds or any furniture, but we can sleep and boy does it feel good!! You will get through this and it will get better even if you do have to make the ultimate sacrifice and move with nothing. Just make sure that you always remember that your kids are your number one priority and don't get too carried away with the everyday bulls**t that you can't take the time to sit and enjoy the kids. I had my breakdowns and coming here was an extreme help and I still come here and see how everyone is doing. Don't let these bugs ruin your family! Or your sanity! Good luck.

  3. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 11:34:07
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    Thanks Angie
    It is really helping to know that I'm not completely alone in this battle.It's exhausting & so traumatizing .And nobody who hasn;'t gone through it can truly understand.
    I'm trying to make sure that I take time out to spend with my boys,no matter what happens .
    I just keep telling them and myself ,that as long as we have each other, we are lucky.

    Scarredforlife
    *****************

  4. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 15:42:49
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    Scarredforlife - yes this is the place for people who know exactly what you're going through when others don't get it.

    I'm curious about the ceiling fan. I know they will live in ceiling fixtures, but how did you find the bug? Did you unscrew something? I mean, it's easy to take down a smoke detector, but I'm not exactly sure how I would inspect a ceiling fan.

  5. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 17:31:55
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    Actually ,my husband was replacing the fan with a small fixture when he found the bug.
    Everything that was there from the inital finding of bb's in December has been removed from the room ,and my son was still being bitten.So we figured the fan had to go too.

    Scarredforlife
    ******************

  6. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Feb 21 2008 21:37:45
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    Scarred,
    Make sure you drione all the light fixtures and switches,electric recepticles.Make sure to switch off the circuit breakers first.Then I would get a lot of caulking and start trying to isolate your apt. as best you can.You can also get a dry steam steamer if you can afford it (around $400).Coordinate with pco as to when you can steam ,as not to undo his work.It's recommended to treat apts. above and below and on either side,see if LL will agree to this.Good luck,keep us posted.

  7. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 9:03:28
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    Bugbasher....

    We definitely used Drione & DE in & around the light fixture ,moldings switches,etc.The whole floor has been treated with DE & Suspend in fact.The caulking has been done,but this is very old and un-cared for building and it is humanly impossible to get ALL the cracks and crevices.While we were caulking new holes popped as we were working.When we painted & plastered,it cracked right after drying.I think this building actively works against us
    My neighbors below don't speak any English & I can't talk to them.
    As for my other ones...one allowed the pco to spray only the adjoining wall of our units ..and only once.She will not allow him in again.
    My LL doesn't care,being one of the biggest slumlords in Brooklyn.
    The other neighbor did his own search,since he remembers them from the 40's..and was appalled at what I've been going through.We have a good relationship,and I have no reason to mistrust his word.

    We've given up on the pco the LL has sent.The tech wanted to use a fogger,and was very surprised when I said no. His boss insisted the he only uses the "best" technology and chemicals.I guess Suspend and Gentrol are the "best " in his mind,because that's all he will use.The tech didn't even recognize the nymph I caught as a bedbug.I had to show him the pictures online.
    He never mentioned ANY protocol( I did that on my own ,without his advice ) ....left the glue traps for me to put out,and keeps insisting that it's not bedbugs biting my son ,but fleas.Which it is not.
    Oh...and he barely speaks English,as well.So who knows how much of what I said to him even was understood.

    Thanks for the advice of a dry steamer,I will look into it asap !

    If we keep seeing bites without any comfirmed proof,we are thinking about hiring a K-9 to help in the search.

    Scarredforlife
    *************

  8. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 9:39:19
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    Scarred,
    I know this may be a bit of a dirty trick,but I would do some under cover sluething as to the question of is this person treating your place from a licensed firm and does he have his certification.Legally it's illegal to treat unless you have passed these criteria,and the fact you say he didn't speak english very well makes me wonder if this person is certified at all.As a general rule it's easier to speak english than read it to pass a test.If your LL is such a slumlord,maybe this is a relative of his or something.When he comes back to treat make a note of car or van.Does it have a pco logo that says the name of co. on it?If not it doesn't mean he's not from a valid co. but I would take down the license plate anyway.When he gets there I would innocently ask for a bussiness card so you can call with questions if neccessary,just don't let on that you suspect anything.You're probably thinking that no one in their right mind would take a risk like that,but I'm not so sure.I'm not trying to scare you or anything but a pco that doesn't give any instructions at all is very suspect to me.Remember even if the company is licensed ,the person in your apt. still needs to be certified.I personally am sick of these shoddy pco stories,and I think something needs to be done about it.There is a thread on the forum about how some companies are just sending anyone out to spray peoples homes,this needs to stop.I hope I'm wrong,just being careful.Even though you're not paying it's still your living space being treated.

  9. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 10:20:27
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    Am I crazy or am I the only one who insisted on seeing identification when they came to spray me apartment?

    Just ask him right out for ID and the name of the company he works for. If he is hesitant or does not comply he is most likely not certified. If you have doubts about his qualifications call the company and ask if he is ceritfied.

    I'm not in NY but here you need to be licensed and carry id stating it.

    You have every right to know who is spraying your place and if they are qualified.

  10. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 11:05:52
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    Thanks for the suggestions

    I know the name of the company,and they are liscenced.However,I doubt the tech that came here is.He couldn't even identify a nymph.*sigh*
    And when I asked him for a business card,he said he conviently left them in his car.Which was of course unmarked and probably his own personal vehicle.
    We are not letting him back into our apartment,and will hire our own pco if necessary.

    It is outrageous to me that LL's don't care what happens to their buildings .
    But there are almost no penalties to them if they break the law,so why should they ?
    For instance,I have called 311 since it started fror complaints of no heat in the wintertime,year after year.
    Finally I asked what could be done after there were too many complaints to count,and we still had no heat.
    The city's reply was that I could take him to housing court myself,at my own expense.

    Go figure.

    Scaredforlife
    ****************

  11. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 11:36:35
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    scarred,
    Are you telling me that they didn't send an inspector to verify a no heat complaint?Those are supposed to be top priority...and rectified within 24 hrs. WHAT IS GOING ON? I guess we're now a third world country and someone forgot to tell me! If that's how no heat complaints are handled ,then there truly is not much hope for bb complaints I guess.This is a very sad state of affairs to be sure.By the way,taking them to housing court should not cost you anything, except lost work time if not on a day off..Last I remember you don't need a lawyer.If anyone know specifics,please advise...BTW,there is a list of every certified pco on the dec website in case anyone is interested and pest control businesses as well.

  12. angie

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 11:37:51
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    Call the housing inspectors!! If you'll local 311 number won't get things done, give them a call cuz no heat in the winter is a clear violation of housing codes. That is unthinkable to have no heat in the winter when you pay rent to live in a co-habitable dwelling. I would be bit**ing so much that they wouldn't like me anymore! Even having a biting bug is considered un-habitable in my city!

  13. Scarredforlife

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 12:05:43
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    The housing inspectors come days after the complaint is made,and all they do is ask if you have heat at that precise monemt.They claim that with all the reports they get ,they can''t send one outon the same day.Being that they notfy the LL about the complaint,he will send some up for a few days ,until after the complaint is dismissed.

    Such a helpful government we have,eh ?
    It wouldn't cost me more than filing the paperwork and time ,to take him to court.But
    he is breaking a CITY law. And I truly belive that they should be taking him to court,not me.
    I have complained and bit***d from the rooftops ,so to speak
    Nobody cares,nobody listenes.And I live in a very residential,middle class neighborhood.I can't even imagine what those in impovrished neighborhoods go through.

    This year has been somewhat better,with only a few coomplaints being necessary.

    Yes,it does feel like we live in a 3rd world country,indded !!!!

    I contacted the office of the NYC Public Advocate this past week,about bedbug infested furniture that has been rotting away in my basement for weeks.
    They sent me the Borad Of Health pamphlet,and advised that I have my LL "spray around the furniture ,to prevent the bugs from crawling up the wall "
    That's it,have a nice day.
    Housing doesn't care,government doesn't care....but I suspect they will when the city itself,turns into one huge bedbug harborage !
    *sigh*

    Scarredforlife
    ****************

  14. parakeets

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 12:35:22
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    I relate to the problems here. Bedbugs and bad landlords and no heat. We don't have heat at night in our building but the housing inspectors work 9 to 5, so when they come to our building, there's heat. Our LL doesn't even tell us they are treating for bedbugs, so we can't even talk to the PCO. I have to watch for signs that they have been in, which are legion. I find we bedbug victims have become very observant because of bedbugs.

  15. Bites44

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Fri Feb 22 2008 12:37:52
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    Just wanted to say that I am so sorry about your predictament. You have a lot to contend with. One of my friends here was having the same problem with the LL's, and they refused to treat because they had no money. Thankfully, here in my Province, we have a health department that got involved, and they are trying to repair the problem by forcing the landlord to treat. Otherwise, she will have a PCO do the work, and pay the cost herself.

    Do persevere as much as you can, I am sure many of us are thinking about you, and wishing you success and peace of mind.

  16. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Feb 23 2008 4:44:09
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    I'm in Colorado now, but I lived in NYC for 15 years prior to that (funny I had to come out west to get the bugs). Anyway, when in New York, I called the housing hotline multiple times for no heat in various places I lived. Each time, it got my landlord riled up, so I knew the city was sending some kind of notification, but now that I think about it, I don't know if it totally solved my heat issues. One thing that's improved since leaving New York is that now my apartments are usually heated. With bugs, but heated.

  17. fightorflight

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Feb 23 2008 4:46:16
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    Oh, and I never had any housing inspectors come out for a heat complaint. Maybe some things have improved.


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