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Paranoia or bed bugs after confirmed bed bug exposure

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  1. paranoiddief

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 12:54:14
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    In mid-July I found myself staying in a studio with a roommate. We found an adult female bedbug (confirmed ID by a PCO) on the ceiling, promptly killed it, re-inspected the beds to find nothing, and remained staying in the place for another night, because we didn't have any other options at the time. Our suitcases remained on the floor; mine was located a foot or two away from the futon where my roommate was sleeping, while my roommate's was right up against the base of the bunk beds where I was sleeping. We returned home and informed our host of the problem; he said he had a PCO come by to inspect the location, and they concluded that the bug had come from a neighboring unit because they could find no signs of infestation in the studio.

    When I got back, I immediately set my suitcase outside on the front porch, went to my room to get a new change of clothes, changed in the restroom, went back out, removed all my clothes from my suitcase and transferred all the clothes and shoes I brought on the trip to a plastic bag, which I then tied off and left outside. I placed the suitcase in a plastic bag, tied if off, and left it outside. I did laundry three days after my return, putting my clothes into the dryer, then washing them on hot, then transferring them back into the dryer. The suitcase I left wrapped up in plastic in a friend's car trunk when the heat index for the city hit 112 degrees F for two days. (It remained outside of my apartment for quite some time before I felt mentally ready to inspect the suitcase and the items remaining inside. For what it is worth, I found nothing indicating bed bugs, but discarded them anyways due to the psychological trauma and the inability to inspect all the nooks and crannies of the items.)

    My roommate on the trip also took precautionary measures when she got home and says she does not believe she picked up bed bugs. She has had no bites and seen no indications of bed bugs in her apartment.

    It's now a little over a month later. Since the trip I've been feeling "itchy" and finding small red raised welts/rashes on my body almost daily, though I cannot conclude that most of them are insect bites (i.e. the summer has been very hot and humid, I'm prone to heat rashes and folliculitis, I'm also dealing with another big stressor in my life right now so I can't rule out the possibility that I'm getting stress hives, summer bugs may be getting in due to an open window, etc. Furthermore, it is possible I got these rashes before but simply never paid attention to them before now!). Because of my paranoia, I bought Climb-Up interceptors soon after I had returned from my trip and installed them at the bottom of my bed with liberal amounts of Cimexa mixed into the wells. I also dusted my mattress with Cimexa and portions of my boxspring (though I was not able to dust the bottom of the boxspring well at all), and I dusted the metal bed frame as well. (Note: my bed has always had a metal bed frame and has always been pulled away from the wall.) On the 8th, I called in a PCO to do an inspection for me, since I was moving on the 15th (the move is unrelated to the bed bug issue). He did a check of my mattress, boxspring, and frame (VERY cursory check of my boxspring and frame) and found nothing that suggested bed bugs so pronounced an "all clear" to my previous (relieved) landlord.

    Now I'm in the new place. I have had no indications of bed bugs, aside from these welts. I have caught no bed bugs in the interceptors, seen no fecal stains, seen no blood stains on the sheets, seen no cast skins, no actual bed bugs, no nothing. Just these small raised welts that sometimes itch for five minutes before stopping. They appear most often on my stomach, upper arms, and thighs which are typically covered when I sleep -- some are located at spots that are just at the edge of where the clothing stops -- but I infrequently find individual welts on my forearms/hands and lower legs/feet. I still haven't unbagged my laundry or books, still am unwilling to sit on any furniture except my isolated bed (though I cannot say 100% it's bed bug free having not inspected the inside of the box spring), and just in general am living as if I do have a heavy infestation... despite the fact that I've had no visual confirmation of any infestation at all. Just this itchiness, and these rashes/welts.

    All my friends, including the roommate on the trip, think I'm being neurotic (true) and am displacing my anxiety about this other big stressor onto these maybe-imaginary bed bugs (also possible). I would like to call in another PCO to do a more thorough inspection, but that may be unreasonable, considering everything.

    I guess what I'm asking is this: it's now a month since the trip. I haven't found anything. Just possible bites that don't even itch that much, all things considered. But the thought of bed bugs is just making my anxiety shoot through the roof. What are the chances I have bed bugs? Should I unbag my shit and get on with my life (while keeping the interceptors on and using plastic bins now for laundry)? Should I call in another PCO to do another inspection despite having no visual confirmation? Should I buy more interceptors/traps? Encasements (I'm leery of encasing before getting confirmed for bugs, and the cost of good quality encasements is a bit prohibitive)? How do I get over this?

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Aug 19 2016 14:19:49
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    Stop spending money. If you haven't ever found a single sign then I would imagine you don't have bed bugs.
    Many things can cause skin irritations; there are more things that aren't bed bugs than there are that are bed bugs.

  3. paranoiddief

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Aug 20 2016 12:56:08
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    Thank you. I'm trying to calm down, but every time I find a welt/bite that wasn't there previously, I find myself sinking into an anxiety-filled hole. Things seem relatively okay when it's light out, but as soon as it turns dark, I start chasing obsessive thoughts, and I'm still unwilling to sit down on my furniture. I've also been getting a LOT more welts at my new place, which is not helping (and the new place has more pests crawling around at night in general). I unbagged my books today though, which is some progress. I'd talk to a therapist, but I don't have coverage for roughly a month and a half.

    A few questions:

    1.) Assuming that one has a small bed bug infestation in the box spring, how long would one have to hypothetically wait to find one in the interceptors?

    2) Do bed bugs often leave blood streaks or fecal stains on the bedsheet, or is that an uncommon thing?

    Thanks!

  4. Buggoutz

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Sep 4 2019 23:17:07
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    1) I heard experts can find down to one bedbug. For commoners like us, it could be a wide margin from 2 months to 6 months.
    2) Blood stain isnt conclusive nor common imo. Fecal stain is what you want to look for. Everytime they feed, they pop, so it should be common.

  5. thissux

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Sep 4 2019 23:51:44
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    [ comment deleted] - I just realized this is a 3 year old thread.


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