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Overall panic and confusion

(17 posts)
  1. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2016 15:30:19
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    We're staying in the upper attic apartment of an apartment building and suddenly discovered we had other, unwelcome roommates. My boyfriend had gotten some bites around his ankles, but we thought it was mosquitoes or our new laundry soap. Then I started getting bit badly one day, and I moved the sheet, and screamed. We have no idea where they came from, we don't buy used furniture, we travel, but have only traveled recently with other people and they have not been infected, as far as they have seen.

    After about 4 days straight of crying, and feeling a little like a paranoid crazy woman while sloughing through all of the information out there, much of which contradicts itself, we're down to scared. Orkin is not able to come for another week and a half, and will be spraying because of not being able to bring the tools for heat treating up to our attic apartment, so we're trying to protect ourselves, our workplace, and our lives.

    We were instructed to get rid of the now 17 year old bed, as it was very badly infested. We sprayed it down with Steri-Fab and then wrapped it, moved it out, then vacuumed and put both vacuums that we used in garbage bags on the porch, because they are not the bagged kind (so hard to find anymore). Now we sleep on the metal framed daybed which sits about a foot off the floor in the living room. It had no signs of infestation, but we got a mattress cover for it and check it every night before bed. We have made a routine of changing clothes before getting in, and not sitting on it other than in clean clothes.

    We're looking for some answers on how to save anything in the apartment, because so many people are saying to just throw everything away. We have a large collection of books and board games, which we are hoping would be safe if we put them in totes, shrink wrapped them, and then put them in a storage room for at least a year.

    We're worried about his ties and suit, and some of my sweaters, which cannot be washed or dried on high. Also fearing for our DVDs and Video Games.

    Our apartment is also very angled, with corners in the tops of many closets and into the back of walls, and being an old building it is really not sealed well anywhere.

    We have not seen any signs of the bugs outside of the bed, but fully understand that does not mean much. We're just looking for some ideas of the best ways to get things cleaned and taken care of, because we are praying to get this epidemic out and move somewhere where we don't have to worry as much about others bringing them in and not reporting, or dealing with a less than helpful landlord.

    I just don't know how we are going to live like this for another month, let alone with the fear of them not going away. I apologize greatly for the long post, we've been very rattled and there are so many things that make it feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. bigbert

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2016 16:45:07
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    I'm going through my own crisis right now, so I can understand your frustration and hopelessness. First of all, I can say that you're at least taking the right precautions, which is half the battle. You don't have to throw out everything because some things can be salvaged. If something is extremely old and looks the part and you could potentially due without it, I'd say hit it with everything you have as frequently as you can (maybe once a week for the first month), then maybe every two weeks thereafter. If you, however, can afford to toss it, do that only after you've done all you could and you're still seeing evidence. Remember that just because you throw something out, it doesn't mean you've rid yourself of the problem. Your replacement furniture could very well get infected as well. As for your DVDs and Games, I think you should be ok. If it makes you feel better, open up their plastic cases and cover sleeves and do either a steam treatment or spot treatment with Bedlam or the black label version of Harris bed bug spray. That should do the trick.

    I wish I had more, but I myself am waiting for confirmation on my practices. I wrote the post titled HITTING THEM WITH MY BEST SHOT a few minutes ago. All I can say is good luck. Glad I found this forum. We're all in this together.

  3. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2016 22:15:43
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    We're not getting any new furniture until we know these things are gone. Our Daybed in our island right now, but from what so many are saying, they will follow us there eventually. Definitely not going to be treating things ourselves, we'll leave that to Orkin, who we hope know what they are doing, have heard good things about them from some of the locals.

    Going through my books and board games has been the hardest part. Only keeping the things that would be very difficult or expensive to replace, as we're not sure if our shrink wrapped totes will keep things out. We're not sure about anything, we're not sure anything will work.

    Hope your efforts are successful, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 1 2016 1:10:54
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    I wouldn't spray board games or DVDs. Hot soapy dishwater (Lou recommends Dawn) is a contact killer which would work on DVDs themselves, and their cases and the board games could be treated using one of the methods below.

    We have FAQs on treating items and you may one of several tools helpful:

    • DDVP (dichlorvos) strips can be placed in a sealed bag and items treated this way. This is likely better than 18 months of storage. Read about DDVP in Useful Tools.
    • Cirkil or Proof can also be used in a sealed bag using the "rag in a bag" method. Some complain about the smell of this Neem-based product, but it has been tested to work well. Read about Cirkil/Proof "Rag in a Bag" in Useful Tools.
    • Bed bug heaters or ovens (Packtite, etc.) are devices which heat your stuff to kill bed bugs. You need to monitor the temperature. Read about bed bug heaters in Useful Tools.
    • Steam is a great way to kill bed bugs. We have a FAQ which explains how to kill bed bugs with steam, and while it discusses home treatment, mainly, note steam is often used to treat beds, sofas, etc. to avoid having to toss them out.

    "We have no idea where they came from, we don't buy used furniture, we travel, but have only traveled recently with other people and they have not been infected, as far as they have seen."

    You could have brought a pregnant female home and your friends didn't. Or you could have picked them up somewhere closer to home, like a coffee shop, school, library or office.

    That said, it's also quite likely they came from attached neighbors. Talk to your landlord about having the attached units professionally inspected.

    I hope this helps!

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 1 2016 2:11:42
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    It does, a bit. I looked at the FAQ a bit, and I will try to see if we can get some of the DDVP strips for things we're sealing up. We're totally prepared to keep most of the things in storage for up to 18 months. It's things like Board games we cannot replace, books that mean a lot, and family photos.

    The Packtite sounds great but I'm not sure it's something we can afford right now, nor can we get it here to be useful before Orkin gets here.

    The furniture we've been more than willing to part with. Our goal is to get them cleared out as thoroughly and quickly as possible so we can move. We realistically know this will be at least 2 months, but want to get out before any likelihood of them coming back if they just flee downstairs. We're not sure if the landlord will treat the lower levels or not. I do know he had someone check it out, but I'm not sure if he treated or not.

    Thank you for the tip on the DVDs and Games. Were not sure how much we should do to them, some people spoke about finding bugs in cases, some made it sound like they would be fine. There's just so much information out there it is overwhelming.

    Hoping not to feel so insane someday, because right now, all I want to do is move into a bubble, never travel or do anything, and bleach the entire house, after we've thrown out everything.

  6. bigbert

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 1 2016 12:37:20
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    I know what you mean about the information and it's frustrating when one person tells you one thing and then another one comes up behind them and says "Nah, that doesn't work." It’s extremely frustrating. I think you're DVDs will be fine. Obviously, I didn't mean to directly spray the actual DVD, but just the case. The point is that it's better to be safe than sorry. I found a dead one in my bath tub yesterday after being led to think they avoid water areas, so yeah. Lot's of misinformation. Unfortunately, you have to weed through it all and go with what the majority says.

  7. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Sep 16 2016 21:29:54
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    Update:
    We are one week after our first treatment, and I'm starting to feel worried because we have not seen anything. We found one on my laptop lap desk while we were cleaning out and throwing out pre spray, but nothing since then. The PCO made me so nervous because he sounded like he sprayed everywhere, but it only took about 45 minutes (Our apartment is fairly small, but still).

    We're just holding our breaths at this point, wearing clothes out of XXL Ziplocs, showering every night before getting into bed, washing the bed clothes once a week at a minimum. I am so scared that they are just hiding out somewhere, since the day bed we are sleeping in is metal framed and a ways off the ground, so it would be hard for them to get in. Every time our cat itches I get zittery and every dry skin patch I get from the hot showers makes me worried.

    Just want to get them gone so we can move, not comfortable at all with the way the landlord has handled this, nor with the number of outbreaks we are hearing about in our town since we started our battle. Definitely just ready to start piecing together my mental state again, because I would like someday to not live out of bags, and to go to the theater, or stay in a hotel...which just feels impossible right now.

  8. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Sep 16 2016 23:04:51
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    BuggedGeek,

    You will likely need 2-3 treatments spaced about two weeks apart. You should be using monitors to help tell when they're gone.

    Try not to worry-- it should get better after each treatment.

  9. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2016 13:59:13
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    Not sure where to place monitors, even if we could get them. No where around sells them, just the Bed Buggy lures/traps which I've read don't work very well if at all. We have a second treatment on Monday, just not sure what why we have not seen anything. More paranoid than anything close to comforted.

  10. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2016 14:23:14
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    Not seeing any bugs is good news. They don't hide out, they're not planners, if there's a host they will feed.

  11. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2016 18:43:13
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    Even if they cannot get to said host very easily? Our daybed is on a thin metal frame and at least a foot off the ground. We are making a point of not letting the blankets touch the floor, and showering and changing into fresh clothes out of Ziplocs before we get in.

    We're also worried they are feeding on the cat since they can't get to us easily, she has been scratching a bit and cleaning herself more than usual. This could just be because we've removed all of her toys and most of her hiding places, as well as having the dust or spray probably leaving a bit of residual on her (which she seems to have no reaction to, we've been watching).

    We're living pretty bare bones, so hiding places for them are pretty slim, just fearing that they will have fled elsewhere, and will come back rather than dying.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2016 23:22:08
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    BuggedGeek - 4 hours ago  » 
    Even if they cannot get to said host very easily? Our daybed is on a thin metal frame and at least a foot off the ground. We are making a point of not letting the blankets touch the floor, and showering and changing into fresh clothes out of Ziplocs before we get in. We're also worried they are feeding on the cat since they can't get to us easily, she has been scratching a bit and cleaning herself more than usual. This could just be because we've removed all of her toys and most of her hiding places, as well as having the dust or spray probably leaving a bit of residual on her (which she seems to have no reaction to, we've been watching).

    You didn't describe anything right there that would keep them from walking right up the bed legs and feeding. They can get to you just fine, unless I am missing something. There's nothing to keep them from you or to force them to feed on the cat.

    We're living pretty bare bones, so hiding places for them are pretty slim, just fearing that they will have fled elsewhere, and will come back rather than dying.

    That's not how bed bugs work. Unless you did something to make them flee (which perhaps foggers or other inappropriate treatment methods might do), they won't go and hide out somewhere and come back later.

    They also won't leave you unless you've abandoned your place for a while. So in all likelihood they are being killed or are all killed.

    As for monitors, where you put them depends on the type. Packtite Passive monitors have specific instructions for where you place them depending on bed type. Interceptor monitors go under bed legs. See our bed bug monitors FAQ. They're really two different approaches.

  13. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 22 2016 0:17:58
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    We have read most places that they have a harder time climbing up smooth surfaces? Maybe that is wrong. This is just the only explanation we could come up with for the daybed not appearing to be infected when not two weeks before we found out we were infected I had drug the blanket out of the infested bed and slept on it, as well as having used my laptop desk on it, where we also found bugs.

    We definitely have not fogged, the only thing we did ourselves was spray down the bed heavily with Steri-Fab before we bagged it and removed it. The rest we have left in the (hopefully) capable hands of our PCO. Lots of what we have read make it sound like they will settle into wood or books or other areas and hide out until they can feed. Thus our rush to clean out our clutter and insistence on living without what we can.

  14. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 22 2016 0:27:11
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    BuggedGeek - 2 minutes ago  » 
    We have read most places that they have a harder time climbing up smooth surfaces? Maybe that is wrong.

    They do have more trouble with some surfaces, like smooth plastic, but I have never heard anyone say they could not climb a metal bed frame.

    This is just the only explanation we could come up with for the daybed not appearing to be infected when not two weeks before we found out we were infected I had drug the blanket out of the infested bed and slept on it, as well as having used my laptop desk on it, where we also found bugs.

    You mean you used an infested blanket and infested laptop on the new, not infested bed?
    If that's so, they would not have to climb the daybed frame to get in it.
    Maybe I am not following that correctly, sorry.

    We definitely have not fogged, the only thing we did ourselves was spray down the bed heavily with Steri-Fab before we bagged it and removed it. The rest we have left in the (hopefully) capable hands of our PCO. Lots of what we have read make it sound like they will settle into wood or books or other areas and hide out until they can feed. Thus our rush to clean out our clutter and insistence on living without what we can.

    They "can feed" right now. Each bed bug does so 1-2 times a week or so. If they're not doing so, that means they are probably dead. Of course, bed bug bites aren't the best way to tell if they are present and feeding and a monitor may help.

    People can have bed bugs in various places, but the most usual place is on or near beds and sofas. There's no reason why they would harbor in books when they could easily be near you.

  15. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 22 2016 3:09:48
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    You mean you used an infested blanket and infested laptop on the new, not infested bed?

    No, I'm sorry, I'm rambling a bit. That was before we found our infestation, but guessing from the amount of bugs we had, after we had been infected. Once we figured out what was going on, we checked the daybed thoroughly, and, having not seen any signs, got a bed bug cover, threw out the pillows without cases, bought new pillows with bed bugs covers, and have washed the bedding several times. Just amazed that it was not infected when our bed, which we have since thrown out since it was very old anyway, was definitely infested.

    Basically, the first PCO we spoke with (who we ended up not using because he claimed they didn't treat bed bugs because there is not much money in it), implied that we should treat everything in our little essentially one room (we have a bedroom but it has no door) apartment as if it has been infected.

    Anything we could bare to part with we've thrown out, other items have been put into totes in storage, duct taped shut and plan on keeping them there for a year at least. The whole situation has been one frustration after another.

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Sep 22 2016 23:55:48
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    It sounds like a frustrating experience. Throwing lots of things away isn't usually necessary. That said, it sounds like your treatment might be working.

  17. BuggedGeek

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Dec 18 2016 15:20:21
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    So, it has been about three months since this whole mess started. We tore apart our apartment, threw away so much, and have a lot of our possessions we couldn't part with sealed in a storage room for the next year or so, but we seem to have made it through. Orkin guy on our second treatment said he saw no signs, and we saw nothing since.

    We waited another few weeks after treatment, and got the heck out of Dodge. We're staying with family until we can recover from all of the costs of treatment and such, and would hope to get back to some semblance of a normal life... Except for the paranoia.

    We found out in the midst of moving that my mother somehow also ended up with them. She is legally blind and her place is cluttery, and says they "think they've got them under control." Now everytime I see her it's the routine: clothes off on the doorstep, straight into a shower, clothes into a knotted garbage bag, washed hot, dried hot ASAP. I bumped into some old friends... They also are fighting them also... Same routine. It's very cold out here, this gets old, but I can't do this again, and I couldn't bear it if we were the reason the family got them.

    Any suggestions on how to feel a bit more sane, and what to do with Christmas presents from mom?


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