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No conclusive evidence: Our story, what to do?

(2 posts)
  1. BuggledDC

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    Joined: Sep '12
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Sep 1 2012 13:08:35
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    Our situation:

    July 23:
    return from San Diego trip. Didn't notice any bites or anything while staying in the hotel for 5 days. Kept luggage on the floor about 3 feet from one of the beds

    August 8th:
    I woke up with a rash on my forearm. We thought it could have been a reaction to a plant since we had gone hiking 2 days earlier, but it started spreading on my forearm with a few more bumps each night.

    August 10th:
    My boyfriend woke up with a few bumps on his forearm that were similar to mine.

    August 11th - 13th:
    We washed and dried our bed sheets. We also bought some DE and put some on the mattress and some on our metal bed frame. We don't have a box spring, just a steel bed frame. Our bedroom is the only room on the top floor of the house. Our roommate who lives downstairs hasn't noticed any bites or found anything in her room so far.

    We had been storing stuff under the bed in plastic bins, but we cleared all of that out from under the bed, putting anything that was transported through the house out the door into plastic bags first. We through a lot of it away, but put some of it in storage.

    At this point it's obvious we were a little freaked out. After reading up a bunch on bed bugs we realized we may have done some things wrong in our haste to try and fix the problem. We decided to call up a pest control company (one of the bigger companies in this case) and have someone come out for a free inspection. We had also ordered a bunch of stuff online at this point because we were initially trying to DIY, which we now know is not the right call.

    August 21st:
    Our Climb ups came and we put them under all of the steel bed frame legs.

    August 22nd:
    There's nothing in the climb ups from that night. The inspector comes out and after looking in our room briefly says he found some evidence of fecal stains, but nothing else so the infestation must be very small at this point. He also checked our roommates room and said that he couldn't find anything there. We talked about the rest of the house, but he didn't really inspect much else (now I know this was kind of strange). We ended up scheduling a treatment anyways for our bedroom only but he said he would include our couches (2) downstairs as well for free.

    A few days later we put climb ups and a mattress/box spring encasement in our roommates room downstairs so we could monitor any activity in her room as well.

    August 25th - 27th:
    In preperation to have the room treated we went through the whole room gathering all the clothes to be taken to the laundromat to be washed/dried or just dried at high heat. Everything was dried on high (190 degrees F) for 60 minutes after being completely dried if it had been washed. It was then sealed in plastic bags and either brought back home or vacuum sealed, put in new plastic bins and put in a new storage unit (separate facility from before). Anything that was in our room that was unable to be dried we put in plastic bags and left it in our room (with the intention to heat treat through a packtite-like unit in the ZappBug Oven).

    Our clean and dirty clothes are all currently kept in sealed plastic bags and we only consider clothes clean that have been through the dryer for 60 minutes once they are already dry.

    August 28th:
    When the technician came out to treat, he said he could not find evidence of bed bugs, and that he didn't feel comfortable charging us for treatment when he really didn't think we had a problem. We gave him a couple of bugs we found in our Climb-ups, but he said he did not think they were bed bugs and that he would take them in for identification. He seemed very nice and didn't want to charge us if we didn't have a problem. He said sometimes the company is very aggressive with their pursuit of treatment and that he didn't agree with their policies 100%, but the treatment he described seemed very thorough so my boyfriend asked him for his personal card in the case that we decided to go ahead and get the treatment later.

    Now:

    What we're wondering about is where to go from here? We're still getting bitten, me personally about once or twice a night, but my boyfriend seems to be bitten less often (every 5-10 days, although he might be missing some). Sometimes we're both bitten and sometimes only one of us is. We still have not positively identified any bed bugs, although we have seen evidence of carpet beetles. We're worried about isolating our bed and having them take harbor in our roommate's bed or in our couches. We have family that lives next door and comes to visit often, we've so far kept them out of our house but we're also worried about transferring the bugs to them and haven't told them yet.

    Some Questions:

    • Should we take the stuff in our room (excluding clothing) out of bags?
    • Should we have a PCO with a dog come in since we can't find anything definitive with other inspections. If so, should they find something definitively before treating? We just want to catch this before it gets too far along.
    • Should we encase our mattress now or should we wait for another consultation/treatment from a PCO? We're still getting bitten which leads us to believe they are somewhere in our bed. We have vaseline on the legs of our bed as well as Climb-ups, but I don't know if this is good or bad and we haven't found any of them in the climb ups yet unless what we did find comes back from the PCO as bed bugs, but it doesn't seem like it will.
    • We bought a ZappBug Oven (similar to packtite) to treat anything else (the stuff that is currently in bags in our room), should we set that up now or wait? If we do it now should it be in our room, where we know the problem is, or should we set it up in another room and bring the stuff in bags to it?
    • If they came from luggage once it got back would they have all migrated from the luggage to the bed, or would there still be some in/on the luggage?

    Our major question is what are our next steps? We still haven't found any conclusive bed bug evidence, but it is driving us crazy knowing that if we do have them, we may need to let the problem get worse before we can actually make it better. At first we freaked out (my boyfriend a little more than me actually) and couldn't sleep as well, but we're doing a little better now. Our peace of mind is still sort of lost. Only those that have had this experience know what that feels like.

  2. KillerQueen

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    Joined: Mar '08
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Sep 1 2012 15:03:12
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    Sounds like you don't have bed bugs to me.

    Fact; 99% of the time when I do "inspections" I find evidence in the bed. The other 1% is usually the sofa, if not the bed. If you do in fact confirm an infestation then yes, they can be in other areas of the room. But they are called Bed Bugs for a reason and you will most always find them in your bed during an inspection.

    Your inspection is simple. If you don't have a box spring most of your evidence will be found on your mattress, pillows, or bedding. They will also hide inside the cracks of the bed frame but will most likely prefer the comfort of the fabric areas first.

    You may have poison ivy or some other type of rash. With two people having reactions the evidence of bed bugs should be simple to find with your setup.

    Sounds like you were about to be taken for a ride. I would listen to the tech who came to the house .... Don't freak out! ... Find proof before you spend a dime ... and stop doing all the prep work. Remember, if you think about bed bugs ... your skin will crawl so, remain calm and remember ... it has to make sense.

    Good luck!


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