Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Psychological and Health problems caused by bed bugs (besides bites)

Numbness in feet & "Over it" feeling

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  1. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 17 2016 15:59:23
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    After having the PCO spray last weekend, two toes on my right foot felt kind of numb.. then Friday he came again (to re-do the spray because the first tech messed up) and now my entire right foot is often feeling numb (pins-and-needles). Anyone else experience this?

    --Unrelated, but I'm kind of "over it." I feel like this problem is never going to go away because even though I haven't see a Bb since the first spray July 9th.. eventually I am going to have to use my work-bag (which at one point I did see one inside of), books/notebooks (I did see one in one of the notebooks), shoes, and desk supplies. Even though I've ordered a steamer, I'm not an expert.. there's no way I can spot microscopic eggs or steam every page of every book. I think the steamer might even melt my jewelry. After they finally finish the spraying of the room, when I finally break into those bags to use my stuff, then I will undoubtedly release more and have to start this all again. I feel like my life is never going to be the same, and this is never going to go away. My property-manager/maintenance basically treat me like crap now that this happened (they ignore my emails, and I have been calling the PCO directly to find out about scheduled appointments because my property isn't giving me enough notice), and my family (about three thousand miles away) ignores my phone-calls because they "don't want to hear about it." I live alone, in a city alone, and I no longer want to socialize or go out at all because I feel contaminated. It's taken over my life, and I'm "over it"--I don't want to think about it anymore, I don't want to keep my stuff in bags anymore, I don't want to have to worry about it anymore, I don't want to research it to tackle it on my own anymore, I just don't want any of this anymore. I want to wake up and have a regular human life back.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 17 2016 18:28:40
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    Sorry you're going through that and I understand your frustration. Try to stay positive. I am sure most people who go through bed bugs feel frustrated and want to be done with it. Not seeing any bed bugs for 8 days since first treatment is a good sign.

    Numb and tingling feet: you are entitled to know what was applied, in what quantity, and where. You can ask the landlord for a copy of the slip which the PCO should have left when treatment was done, and take this information and search for labels online for those products to see what they say, and can tell the doctor what was applied, just to be safe. I'd see a doctor also because there could be an unrelated reason for the symptoms.

    Items in sealed bags: you're right to be concerned about bed bugs in those bags. The PCO should have a plan which doesn't involve waiting until treatment is over and putting infested items back. Read our FAQ on prep and bagging for some things to consider and questions to ask the PCO.

    Eggs are not really microscopic and I think you will be able to spot them on items in your purse, for example. A careful inspection may go a long way.

    Items like books aren't probably individually treated or inspected in most cases. It can help, but if you can't do it, may not be a big deal. If items are exposed before treatment has ended, bed bugs may come out, cross poison and die. Do you have reason to be concerned about the books?

    Some questions:

    How many bed bugs were originally found by the PCO or by you and where and when?

    Do you have bed bug monitors in place?

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 17 2016 19:04:28
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    With respect to the shoes, bags/purses, books, etc., the PCO said that Bbugs don't go into those things, but that I should leave the bags closed until after the treatment/spraying is over because they will suffocate after four weeks .. which is not true. That is why I am questioning what to do with everything in the bags (given that I cannot afford a Packtite) and ordered the steamer since it seems like I will be on my own to deal with the stuff. Given how faulty/error-ridden their first visit was (they were selected by property manager, I have no control), it seems like they may in fact bank on the fact that people open the bags and then BAM they get paid to come back and start the spraying/treatment process again.

    They never did an inspection. On July 3, I found the first bug on my mattress; in total I would estimate that I found about 7 adult bed-bugs; I killed all those that I could find. I put three in a sealed bag and delivered them to maintenance. Maintenance could not get someone from the (crap) pest control company until the 9th, on the 9th someone (apparently he had only been trained the month prior) came and sprayed for a total of 18 minutes, he put on a ripped encasement, and left the bug-covered bed-skirt in an open bag in the "safe-zone"/entryway of my studio-apartment. After complaining about the errors and ripped encasement, Monday they sent out a new person to replace the encasement. Then Friday that same experienced 'technician' returned to re-do the spraying. He said that he will spray again in two weeks, and I am not supposed to open any of the bags until after the treatment is over.

    They put black climb-up-type things on the feet to all of my bed, but those are the only monitors in-place.

  4. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Jul 18 2016 17:40:02
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    ^^PS. My steamer just arrived... and I also purchased a meat-thermometer to stick inside of whatever I am steaming to check the heat. If the PCO is not returning for 2 weeks and has no plan/directions for what to do with the currently bagged untreatables (shoes, books/notebooks, purses, dvds--the PCO actually said not to worry about those, that they don't go into those things.. even though I saw one in my workbag and one in one of my notebooks), then in the next few days is it okay to remove these items (maybe on-top of a giant white garbage bag) and attempt to steam them?

    To me it makes more sense to try to treat them, and then if the bugs come out then the PCO will kill them with the next spraying.. but I need advice if this makes sense. And when to do so. (Also it's getting really hard to live without my workbag (a bug--maybe a Bb--was spotted in there) and Timbuk2... when I take my laptop out of the apartment then I wrap it in a garbage bag and put it in my washable tote bag because I live where it rains a lot.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Jul 18 2016 23:59:56
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    bitemelady - 6 hours ago  » 
    ^^PS. My steamer just arrived... and I also purchased a meat-thermometer to stick inside of whatever I am steaming to check the heat. If the PCO is not returning for 2 weeks and has no plan/directions for what to do with the currently bagged untreatables (shoes, books/notebooks, purses, dvds--the PCO actually said not to worry about those, that they don't go into those things.. even though I saw one in my workbag and one in one of my notebooks), then in the next few days is it okay to remove these items (maybe on-top of a giant white garbage bag) and attempt to steam them?
    To me it makes more sense to try to treat them, and then if the bugs come out then the PCO will kill them with the next spraying.. but I need advice if this makes sense. And when to do so.

    I am not an expert.

    As the FAQ I linked to notes, most people aren't told to bag everything for the duration of treatment and remove it a month after. Instead, in most cases, I understand people leave items out. (Treating and bagging clothing and linens is more common, but not universal). The idea is that they will be exposed to poison and die.

    If you not only unpack the untreated items before treatment is done and try to treat them? It seems like it can't hurt.

    You've ruled out a bed bug oven (like a Packtite) and I believe you've also ruled out DDVP in another thread, unless I am confusing you with someone else.

    So if you can treat some items with steam, that's great. If there's some way to do this in a contained area like a bathtub or large sink, it may help you keep an eye on anything that is trying to get away.

    Some items can't be steamed. You can inspect books/notebooks one by one with a flashlight. Look at the spine inside and out, and you can look at the endpages and quickly flip through every page (depending how many you have). There was a NYC PCO who supposedly used to tell customers to vacuum books page by page-- that's unusual. I think most of us would not go so far. Again, we're assuming bed bugs exposed to air will cross poison and die.

    DVDs can be washed in warm soapy dishwater. The cases can be inspected carefully with a flashlight if you have a good eye. You can even inspect shoes with a flashlight. When you breathe into something, we're told a bed bug might come running out, attracted to CO2. They've been deprived of food and won't be too shy. If you're holding a shoe over the sink and breathe into it, see what happens, and you'll be in a good spot to trap the culprit.

    Again, I am not an expert or a pro and at the end of the day it's a judgment call you have to make, but I hope this helps.

  6. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Jul 19 2016 12:50:38
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    Nobugsonme, thank you for all of your help and suggestions. It is so helpful especially because the PCO gave me no direction as to how to treat those items. The bathtub is in my one "safe zone" place--the bathroom. It kind of creeps me out to contaminate something that I might take a bath in, in the future. I am not sure I could bring them into that one 'safe place.' At this point I am thinking about either doing the steaming on top of a white plastic garbage bag, or buying a piece of white poster board, or .. if they make them, trying to find a white Rubbermaid tub. It seems like they only make clear and it seems like the big ones are all dark colors.
    So I'll probably be opening and steaming the items on top of a white trash bag to see if I can see anything. I don't have a flash light but maybe I'll try using the one on my phone.
    Thanks for your advice. I feel like I'm going to release the bugs if I even open the bags.. so hopefully my big fear will not be realized.

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Jul 19 2016 23:13:31
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    If you're really concerned about that, there are ways to be more confident what's in the bags is bed bug free, but they are costly.

    You have to accept there may be bed bugs in untreated items you expose.

    I understand about the tub, but it's one place you can inspect to see bed bugs getting away before they do. They can easily be spotted and killed or washed down the drain. Think about a bed bug scurrying off a poster board and you will see why that's not a good plan.

    A large clear plastic tub might work well.

    Make sure also that treatments continue. You don't want to stop before unpacking the bags.

    I stress that I am not an expert and I don't know if these are great suggestions or if there is better advice, but your PCO hasn't been helpful. Frankly, if it were me, I would consider calling and talking to a manager who may have more experience.

  8. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jul 20 2016 20:46:54
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    Thank you for your help and advice. Today I constructed the steamer and then attempted to steam four bags (a Timbuk2 messenger bag, my workbag, and two small purses) beside/above the bathtub as you suggested. Despite all of the positive reviews online for the steamer that I ordered, which is supposed to reach 150-250 degrees, when I stuck in a meat thermometer it often said BELOW 120 degrees. I think they may have sent me one that someone returned because certain parts of it (as I was assembling it) looked used. I could however get it to 130 sometimes.. so I just went over and over the bags. I did the Timbuk2 and my workbag twice... I did not see any bugs. None.

    Remaning:
    --Shoes: I have two bags of shoes that I want to steam before they spray again at the end of next week (they said two weeks until the next spray and came last Friday).
    --Books: I have three giant bags of books... I think I better go through the ones that I will need for my Thesis research+library-books and then leave the other two bags closed for as long as possible. I don't think that I'll have time to go through the others before he comes on the 29th due to a research deadline.
    --Desk supplies: I have one giant bag of desk supplies. I am not sure what to do with those except inspect them and maybe hose them down with isopropyl alcohol.
    --Bulletin board: I have a small bulletin board covered with pinned ticket-stubs and cards and letters and pictures... not sure if I should just leave this for the next year in a bag or try to inspect every piece on there. It had been sitting on my desk, leaning against the wall.
    --Jewelry: So far I've been taking out whatever pair of earrings that I need and spraying them with isopropyl alcohol and cleaning them off. I hope this is sufficient. They were all inside of unzipped plastic bags inside of the luggage that was under my bed.. and I did see a bug of unknown type inside of the luggage.

    Speaking of the luggage, I am a little worried because the second tech that came (to re-do the first) said they only spray the outside of the luggage not the inside. I wanted to throw the two large pieces of luggage away, but my dad said, No--that I've already lost hundreds of dollars, that I should stop throwing things away. I'm thinking that maybe I should order some JT Eaton spray on Amazon to spray the inside of the luggage myself, but otherwise I guess the company is banking on the fact that they will crawl out and encounter the spray on the outside.

    Thanks for your help and ideas so far. I've been researching Bb and watching videos and doing everything possible, but Nobugsonme: you have been the most helpful resource of all.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jul 21 2016 0:33:15
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    Sorry, but if the steamer is supposed to reach 150-250F and is not consistently reaching 120, it sounds faulty. It may not be killing any bed bugs and you may be wasting your energy. I'd get in touch with the retailer as you're right you may have gotten a faulty or returned unit.

  10. bitemelady

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2016 12:03:34
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    Yes, I will have to return it. I hate returning items--especially to Amazon, but for $150: if it does not function then it is no use. Now--to my knowledge--I only have one choice: I would have to get the PackTite because I live in such a small studio and don't have air-space/room (it wouldn't be safe) to do the strips. The only PackTite I see available is $329.. although I think I remember seeing a Zappbug for $169. Is the Zappbug not recommended by people here? --Am I correct to think the Packtite/Zappbug is my only remaining option?
    .... Or if I just inspect the shoes/books and don't see anything, then I shouldn't worry about treating them at all?

    In the meantime my laptop died yesterday. They took it apart for 6 hours at the Apple Store trying to figure out the issue.. they could not fix it (although it was presumably unrelated--makes you wonder if the bugs went inside and screwed it up). Not only is this another loss (of $2k), but I just cannot handle any more tragedies. If I had a car, I would be waiting for it to get damaged (my mom always said things come in threes: apartment, computer, car)--however, since I don't have a car, I suppose I should be waiting to see if I get hit by a bus soon.

  11. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2016 15:21:36
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    Hmmmmm, presented with those possible outcomes I'd suggest buying a car posthaste and sacrificing it immediately, a much better option than being hit by a bus.

    As for the PackTite or ZappBug they are similar. I have used only the Packtite but can't imagine the Zappbug not working just as well. Either is a good investment, a quick solution to any possible thoughts of contamination in the future.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jul 23 2016 0:45:51
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    bitemelady - 12 hours ago  » 
    The only PackTite I see available is $329.. although I think I remember seeing a Zappbug for $169. Is the Zappbug not recommended by people here? --Am I correct to think the Packtite/Zappbug is my only remaining option?
    .... Or if I just inspect the shoes/books and don't see anything, then I shouldn't worry about treating them at all?
    In the meantime my laptop died yesterday. They took it apart for 6 hours at the Apple Store trying to figure out the issue.. they could not fix it (although it was presumably unrelated--makes you wonder if the bugs went inside and screwed it up). .

    Sorry about the laptop. I do not think the bed bugs could have done anything to it. It's bad luck though, and hopefully that's the end of it.

    I use a Packtite and I don't have any personal experience of the Zappbug. Zappbug and Thermalstrike both have options for under $200 which you can find described in the Useful Tools page here.

    Generally speaking, treating items is a much safer option than just inspecting them. My previous comments did recommend inspecting but were based on what you said you'd be able to do and not able to do. It may also be overkill, but it's hard to know and you will probably feel better afterwards, since this is causing so much stress.


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