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NYC - Getting the run-around from building manager & PCO, input appreciated!

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  1. BuggedInCO

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 24 2019 12:29:34
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    tl;dr - What should I do about a possible apt building infestation and skeptical landlord/PCO? And how can I convince my roommates to take this seriously?

    I wish I could say I never thought I'd be here again, but as you all know, once you get bedbugs the fear and hypervigilance never go away! It served me well though, because after a bug-free year in my Brooklyn apartment, I found a bed bug in our bathtub about 10 days ago. I live with two other roommates who are blissfully unaware of the menace that are bed bugs, but who also are not well-versed in the signs of an infestation.

    I had an infestation back in Colorado in 2017 and again in 2018, where the initial heat treatment only held them off for a year. I'd narrowed down the source to the bathtub and, after knocking on doors in my building, found out that there had been intermittent infestations for 4 or 5 YEARS in the unit below mine and others throughout the building. The landlord was selling the place anyway, so after a second heat treatment in July 2018 I moved out to my grandparents' for a month before moving again to NYC (ditching all of my furniture and most of my clothes). And despite many scares - including the terrifying prospect of somehow bringing bed bugs with me - I hadn't had any problems again until a couple weeks ago. I knew immediately what it was, and it was later confirmed by the PCO hired by our building manager (Zappers, for those who may be familiar).

    Now, a couple things: Obviously I considered the possibility that the bugs had been dormant in my belongings for a year, but I have had ZERO bed bug bites all this time (until last night, hours after the first treatment). I react very strongly to bed bug bites, and distinctly from mosquito bites. If they were in my clothing or other belongings all this time, surely they'd be near enough to my bed to have a field day, right? Please let me know if I'm being naive here!

    Secondly, the bathtub. Weird place for bed bugs, right? Not if they are traveling! My roommates, as I've said, have never experienced bed bugs; not only do they not know what to look for, but I also have no idea whether they'd have a reaction to or notice anything unusual about any bites. Nevertheless, they swear up and down that they have not seen any bugs at all in their rooms or have had any bites. One roommate thinks he may have sent another in the tub while I was out of town the beginning of last week. I should note that I found the bed bug a couple days after a roommate had invited a friend to stay for a week or so, so there's a another possible (but unlikely, IMO) entry point.

    ANYWAY! Our landlord/BM seems convinced that someone brought it in and it's just a "one-off", but we got the apartment treated last night - spray, not sure what kind. While sorting through our bags of clothes after the spray, I got bit in the unmistakable triangle pattern on my ankle...first bites I know of in more than a year. The PCO said they saw no evidence of bb activity anywhere, but who knows how hard they looked? And they have all sworn up and down that there have NEVER been bed bugs in the building - contrary to an open complaint I found on a database filed back in 2012, citing bed bugs located - wait for it - on the floor directly below mine. 2012 was a long time ago, but I live in a poorer neighborhood with elderly tenants with potential language barriers who may not self-report an infestation, nor react to bites. To me, it's not inconceivable that there has been an unreported infestation moving about all this time...because that is exactly what's happened to me before. And I am particularly concerned about an elderly woman who has mobility issues, and she lives directly below us.

    The PCO will do a second treatment in 9 days, but they are skeptical there's a real problem. They think my bites are from a mosquito, FFS! BM refuses to check with other tenants, so I'll be doing that after work today. I'm probably going to file a report with 311, just for future tenants and especially if I find out other tenants are having problems too. So, I'm waiting and prepping and wondering if there's anything else I should be doing. Thak you for reading this novel!!!

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 24 2019 12:45:13
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    You have some mis-guided or misinformed views on bed bugs. The unmistakable triangle pattern only indicates a popular myth, bed bugs bite in no pattern, number or design. If that's what you're basing your current concerns on I would reconsider.

  3. BuggedInCO

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 24 2019 12:51:18
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    Thanks for the response! If it were the pattern alone you might be right, but I get pretty distinct marks from bed bugs - very red, splotchy welts as opposed to a single raised bump. You might still be right, but I'm still worried after having seen a live bed bug just 10 days ago. And having dealt with them for a year and a half, I know more about bedbugs and their habits than I could ever have hoped.

    Bites aside - do you have any other thoughts?

  4. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 24 2019 13:01:46
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    Hire your own PCO and see what they find.


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