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New, trying to live with bed bugs

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  1. AuroraInsomniac

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    Joined: Sep '17
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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Sep 17 2017 4:44:50
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    We've actually had bed bugs for a year now. Last fall, I found what I thought were a couple of dead ticks on my bed. I have two indoor cats who get flea and tick treatments every month. I found the "ticks" on my pillow and thought they came in on my hair after I was in the flowerbed under the bushes, got on the cat who sleeps on my bed, and died from the flea treatment. Then we got a roach infestation. We got rid of the roaches with bait traps. Then the "tick" population exploded. I compared a dead one to bug pics from exterminator sites and realized they were bed bugs. In all my bed bug research, I found out that roaches eat bed bugs, and I think that by getting rid of the roaches, I left the bed bugs with no natural predator inside.

    I'm in my mid-40s and live with my 70-year-old mother. The infestation is worse in her room, I think, because she's a hoarder. Our basement looks like a house on Hoarders. The hoarding is "controlled" upstairs to her room and the spare room. She doesn't have Alzheimer's or dementia. She is just shut down from depression and she won't clean her room, even though I told her that I will help her. I'm very strong. I can lift things. I can reach things. But she won't work with me. She just washes her bedding over and over.

    I'm 99.9% certain that we got the bed bugs from our neighbor. She bought the contents of a rental house. The renter was evicted. My neighbor bought beds and used mattresses. She came over to our house two or three times a week. She also has bed bugs but won't admit it...she just talks about bugs and bug bites and cleaning her house all night and her husband yelling at her to clean the bedroom. My mother and I haven't spent the night away from home or had anyone spend the night here in three years. At any rate, I believe that's how we got them.

    I had a cheap bookcase headboard that wasn't real wood. When I realized we had bedbugs, I took all the dolls (I collect dolls, perfect, eh?) off the back of my bed and put them in a plastic bin. I put all the books in my headboard in another plastic bin. THEN, I found nests of bed bugs in a few holy candles that I had saved! I threw the candles away. The headboard had a piece of particle board stapled to the back. I realized that they must be in there also. It was bolted to metal slats. I spent hours working on the last nut. I wouldn't budge. I sprayed WD40 on it multiple times. I finally got so furious that I started shaking the headboard and the wood around the stuck bolt cracked, but the box springs also fell ON MY HEAD. I had stupidly propped them at the foot of the bed. No injuries! When I got out from under the box springs, I used a hammer to beat the cracked wood away from the bolt and dragged the headboard out to the curb. I wrote BROKEN on it with black Sharpie. The sanitation workers picked it up, thank God, not some person like my neighbor.

    I kept the metal slats. I have a lot of dolls and books in Rubbermaid bins. I got allergen/bed bug covers for my mattress and box springs, but the bugs just nest in the corners and seams. Once a week, I take my mattress and box springs off the slats, vacuum them, wipe them down with Clorox Clean-Up with bleach, vacuum the carpet under the bed and then the entire room, wash my sheets (I'm down to sleeping with two sets of sheets so that the bugs won't ruin my other bedding.)

    I have paneling on the wall behind my bed. The bugs have moved into the nail holes in the paneling, and the crevices between the paneling. I had a print in a frame over my bed. They were in the frame. I threw out the frame and got a sealable plastic sleeve large enough to protect the print because I have my limits and I AM GOING TO HAVE THAT PRINT OVER MY BED.

    This is an old house, over 100 years old. There are crevices where each ceiling tile meets to the wall. I vacuum the walls.

    I tell my mother that we need to throw away things like threadbare chairs. "But they belonged to Mama." If she were just capable of working with me, it wouldn't be SO bad.

    I'm very sensitive to mosquito bites and, apparently, bed bug bites. Periodically, they get out of control and I wake up with triangles of bites on my face.

    We never had roaches before my neighbor moved in, either, or rats, two summers of rats in the yard.

    I've started catching roaches in the house and putting them under my bed. Am I insane?

    I'm up writing this at 5:26 am EST because I dread going to sleep. I have to take Singulair for my asthma when I go to bed, and now Zyrtec for allergies because it knocks me out. I was already working remotely so I could take care of my mother. Now I can't imagine having to go into work every morning after a night of sleeping for an hour, waking up, sleeping for 40 minutes, waking up. I also have OCD. I flinch if I see movement out of the corner of my eye. I flinch if a hair touches my face, and my hair is short.

    Things I've learned that the bugs don't like: lavender essential oil, Gold Bond powder, especially spray powder, and A&D ointment. Also hair dye. When I have my hair colored, they disappear for a couple of nights.

    I suppose that I should end this here as I am "just" introducing myself and giving you an overview of my situation. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


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