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Please Help: Bed Bugs For Over a Year

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  1. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 15:05:58
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    Hi there, fellow sufferers/survivors.

    I've got a doozy of a story for y'all... I would really appreciate some ideas on how to solve this nightmare that has plagued me for over a year despite the fact that I have done literally everything I can imagine to get rid of the bed bugs. Grab some popcorn, because this is not a short story.

    March 2017 - My New Apartment:

    I had to move into a new apartment when my long-term relationship ended. I found something pretty quickly, and it was affordable, nice-ish, and the landlord seemed great. It was clear that the last tenant had left in a hurry, but given all of the collections mail he got, not to mention that the police came looking for him a week after I moved in, I still think bed bugs were the least of his problems. In any event, I was very happy with the place for the first 1.5 months I lived there.

    Late April 2017 - The Discovery:

    I wake up one weekday morning and my foot is very itchy. I look down and there is a big red blood stain on my white bed sheet and my foot has a few noticeable red bumps on it. I had bed bugs back in 2010, so I knew exactly what had happened. I took a closer look at my bedding and saw a a couple other much smaller blood stains. I assumed I had bed bugs.

    I knew from a friend who had bed bugs in 2012 that treatment options were "better" now. I knew that I could pay a lot more money for a quicker, easier heat treatment than going through the uncertainty and delays of several chemical treatments. I got my landlord to split the cost with me, and a very confident heat treater came in the following week and heated the apartment, my car and me as I left for work. When he saw the stains on my bedding, he confirmed that only one bug did that. (In the week between the discovery, I had several more blood stains, including a giant one on my pillow when I felt something on my ear and swatted it away as I was going to sleep).

    Afterwards, the heat treat guy told me he never saw a single bed bug during the treatment. He said that in about 1/3 of cases this happened, and not to worry about it.

    May-June 2017 - the False Honeymoon:

    No signs of bugs. I check my bedding every morning and never see anything. Sure, every now and then there is some kind of weird stain or itchy bump, but I would write it off that it couldn't be a bed bug stain or bite mark. I also hired a dog service to come at the end of May and he did not find any bed bugs. I was so happy.

    I forget what that feels like now.

    July - October 2017 - WAR:

    One morning, as I woke up smiling, thinking about how happy I was that the bed bugs were gone, I noticed a blood stain on my bedding. Panic set in, and I started rationalizing all of the reasons why there might be a blood stain on my bed other than bed bugs. But then days later there was another one. And then more...

    I asked my property manager who their go-to pest guy was, since I couldn't afford another heat treatment. She recommended someone who had helped a few other residents in the building, no problem. When I spoke with him on the phone, he sounded great and very knowledgeable. His reviews online were also top notch.

    So began the chemical treatment process, including all of the laundry and living out of bags for weeks at a time, etc. It's been a while now, so I forget all of the details. But to sum it up, we must have done four or five chemical treatments to the condo unit. And he didn't hold back - my couch smelled like poison. Everything smelled like poison.

    I threw out my new giant wooden bed frame and bought a cheap all-metal one on Amazon. I also started using lots of diatomaceous earth that my pest control guy gave me. There was a layer of dust surrounding the bedroom and the living room, not to mention piles of the stuff around each bed leg. The cheap frame had 12 bed posts, so I didn't spring for interceptors for each one. I figured the dust should be enough, anyways.

    And yet, despite all of that, every week or two a new blood stain would appear - generally in a new place on my bedding. And my pest guy would return and try again.

    I should note at this point that I, very unhelpfully, rarely seem to react to the bites. On a few occasions I have and will have a line of red itchy bumps. But most often I can't tell if what I'm looking at is a bite or a stress hive. All I can go by is the stains on my bedding.

    I should also note that at this point no one had seen a single bed bug in the apartment.

    November 2017 - Steam:

    Nothing was working, and I was going insane. I was thinking about doing another heat treatment, when I remembered that I could, for a lower cost, heat treat things myself if I bought a really good steamer. I ended up dropping about $1200 on a Dupray commercial grade steam cleaner. I excitedly emailed my pest guy and told him about my plan, and he said it might help. Once the steam cleaner arrived, I started steaming the hell out of everything. During that process, I realized that there were a couple of small holes in my mattress encasement. So, I ordered a new higher end one from my pest guy and put it on the next day.

    Two weeks went by and it seemed as though I had fixed the problem.

    Then more blood stains. More steaming, more dust. More blood stains.

    Never saw a bed bug.

    At this point I gave up and decided to just live with the problem until my lease ended in March 2018.

    December 2017 - February 2018 - Despair:

    I stopped checking my bedding because I didn't want to think about the fact that I was being eaten alive every night while I waited to move. I kept the dust down in giant piles around the bed frame. In January I inspected my pillow cases with a flashlight and saw what appeared to be a large number of small black bed bug fecal stains. I didn't look at that again.

    March 2018 - A New Apartment, a New Hope...

    It was finally time. I found a place nearby, because I love my neighbourhood. The condo was only a year old and the landlord assured me there were no pest issues in the unit. When I moved, I threw out almost all of my furniture. Even the mattress, which was encased, because I was terrified what would happen if the encasement ripped. I spent thousands on new furniture, and laundered and/or steam cleaned literally every single item that came with me other than my kitchen items (e.g. plates, cutlery, pots, etc.).

    Less than two weeks later there were several blood stains on and around my pillow.

    Since then, I have done a chemical treatment one per week, for three total treatments. The mattress is encased in two encasements. The bed frame is almost all metal and has only four bedposts, which are in interceptors, and the interceptors have diatomaceous earth in them. I was living out of bags with laundered clothes for those 2+ weeks.

    In the three days since the third treatment on Friday, I've had one large blackish fecal smear on the pillow on Saturday, about three our four more red blood stains on and around the pillow on Sunday, and today I have bite marks on my wrist, which is rare for me.

    I bought bed bug blue last week, and none of the stains come up as positive. However, most of the stains are pretty small and dry before I tested them. Given all of the symptoms here, I am certain these are bed bug stains.

    On Saturday I took the bed apart to shoot steam into the hollow metal components where there wasn't any spray, in case the bugs were already inside the frame (and which would explain why they weren't being stopped by the interceptors). The metal got so hot I couldn't touch it. Nothing could survive that. Still, I had all of those blood stains on Sunday. And no bugs trapped in the interceptors or pheromone traps.

    I started taking pictures of the stains because my best friend started to think I am delusional, because there's no way this could actually happen. He saw the photos and so I have verified that I am not just seeing things.

    In sum, I have done one heat treatment, 7-8 chemical treatments, I have steam cleaned everything (including using a thermometer gun to determine items are getting to ~170 degrees), I have used dust, I have used interceptors, I now have two pheromone traps, I MOVED...

    I haven't had people over since this started. I have barely slept anywhere else (just a couple hotels for work, which I was very careful in). I work in a small, spacious head office environment with not much foot traffic in my actual office.

    I still have bed bugs.

    And I still have not seen a single bed bug. Not even one.

    Please help.

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 15:50:23
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    You don't have bed bugs.
    After a year there would be live activity, there would be cast skins.
    Stop spending money.
    Stop dealing with PCOs that treat without evidence, that's unprofessional.
    I'm sorry you spent so much money but at some point you have to realize that you're heading in the wrong direction. There are so many other possibilities, but mainly you have to understand that they're just insects. After any treatment, were there actual bed bugs you would have found dead bugs. You found nothing, the PCOs found nothing, therefore the cause must be something other than bed bugs.

  3. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 16:04:11
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    I would love for that to be true. Can anyone think of any alternative reasons why I have had blood stains - some blackish smears, some red drops/smears - on my bedding for a year? And itchy bumps?

  4. Pattycake

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 16:26:35
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    I’m in the same boat as you. Going on a year and half and I have never seen a bug or cast skin. I get bitten every day. It’s infuriating. I’ve also moved 12 hundred miles away and it didn’t help.i have also spent countless hours looking , cleaning ,steaming ,worrying and none of it has made one bit of difference. And I wish I had all the money I have spent on climb up steamer chemicals encasements Cimexa etc. oh yeah and the dermatologist and drs and meds. If you find a solution please share it with me. Good luck to you.

  5. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 16:52:40
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    Very sorry to hear that. I am so lost, because it makes zero sense how it could happen.

  6. Conwny

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Apr 2 2018 17:54:33
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    What signs do you have other than the blood stains on your sheets? Do you have a passive monitor? If not, I would HIGHLY suggest getting one and putting it on your bed. If you have bed bugs, they will leave signs on that.

    I get the fear and uncertainty. I dealt with the same feelings, but I really don’t think you have bed bugs. The blood stains could be from pimples, small scratches, etc. Are you marking the stains so you know which ones are old and which are new?

    I would passively monitor and ONLY spend money on bed bug treatment when and IF you see a bug.

    I agree that only a shady pest person would treat without positive identification.

  7. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 7:31:57
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    Thanks for the reply. I have ordered a passive monitor to put on the bed. Still no bugs in the interceptors or the pheromone traps.

    Yes, I very carefully track which stains are new. Generally, when I find blood/fecal stains, I scrub them out and wash all of my bedding immediately. The black-ish stains don't seem to come out.

    The stains are usually the only signs I have to show - again, many look just like fresh blood (i.e. red/brown), but many others have been black-ish smears. Going back to my original post, my pillow case was covered in small black smears before I moved last month. I have also found the odd bite on my body, but this is rare as I hardly react to the bites - they fade after a day.

    For the blood stains to have been from pimples and scratches, that would mean that is happening, on average, twice per week. FOR A YEAR. Which is something that has never happened before in my life and only started when I moved into the apartment last March. Also, if you saw the size of some of the blood stains I had before the heat treatment, you would not say they are from pimples/scratches. Especially when there are no corresponding marks on my body. And it certainly doesn't explain the black-ish blood smears that do NOT wash out of the bedding.

    I appreciate that there is a lot of crying wolf on these forums, and how unlikely it is that I wouldn't have seen a bug yet, but... there is no alternative explanation for the blackish smears and occasional bite marks that makes sense. If it was just the odd small red blood stain, sure. But not what I am describing.

  8. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 7:34:25
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  9. Conwny

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 12:56:59
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    I am not an expert on fecal stains, so I can’t speak on the image. I also don’t know how likely it is to never see a bug, but I have read some replies from the very knowledgeable experts here that if you had bed bugs for a year, they’d be everywhere. You’d see them. They’d have multiplied many times over. I am not criticizing you AT ALL. I know how those bastards can do a number on your sanity, but I’d start looking for other possibilities for the stains and such.

  10. Pattycake

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 13:49:24
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    So I have passive monitors on two beds my couch and chair in the living room. Been clear since May of last year. Would there really be many bugs after all the treatments have been done. I get that it would be out of control if no treatment of any kind have been done. Woke up with two new bites on my hip this AM. I didn’t have them when I went to bed. Phhh

  11. Pattycake

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 13:53:08
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    I sure wish David Cain would return to the forum. He was Fecal expert. You might be able to PM him with your images.

  12. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 14:52:05
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    Conwny - 1 hour ago  » 
    I am not an expert on fecal stains, so I can’t speak on the image. I also don’t know how likely it is to never see a bug, but I have read some replies from the very knowledgeable experts here that if you had bed bugs for a year, they’d be everywhere. You’d see them. They’d have multiplied many times over. I am not criticizing you AT ALL. I know how those bastards can do a number on your sanity, but I’d start looking for other possibilities for the stains and such.

    Sorry, I did not mean to come off as defensive in my post. I appreciate you replying!

    I think patty is right, in that after a year untreated I would obviously see bugs. But I've been treating this non-stop, in some way shape or form, for most of the year.

    I will take any credible alternative explanation for these symptoms as soon as one is offered. I still believe the problem is bed bugs, and that the continuous treatments have prevented the most obvious signs of infestation, since the infestation is constantly being mitigated.

    But in the meantime, I will accept the advice of halting any further spending on bed bug treatments and simply wait and see what shows up in the interceptors and new passive monitor over the new few months.

    But... if I keep getting stains and nothing ever shows up in the interceptors/monitors... I will probably actually lose my mind.

  13. Conwny

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 15:08:37
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    You don’t need to apologize! I’ve been in your same mental space. I get it. So, I would definitely stop treating, but continue monitoring. It would make sense that any treatment you’re doing would decrease their numbers, but as someone else said, you’d be seeing dead bed bugs. Just try to start living normally and see what happens. Have you considered seeing a counselor? It helped me tremendously to talk to someone!

  14. Pattycake

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 17:58:49
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    Wow living normal. What’s that? I haven’t treated anything in two months and still nothing but bites and fecal stains on the ceilings.

  15. KillerQueen

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Apr 3 2018 21:40:46
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    I'll second that - You don't have bed bugs. Time to move on.

    The picture of "feces" is NOT feces.

  16. LittleRin

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Wed Apr 4 2018 2:45:33
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    notpossible - I would strongly consider going to a doctor and talking about your symptoms. If it's not bed bugs, then maybe a doctor (maybe a dermatologist?) would help you narrow in on what the true issue is.

    Having bed bugs and being afraid you might have them again can really, really fuck you up psychologically.

  17. notpossible

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Wed Apr 4 2018 13:20:20
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    Well... if y'all are right, then my user name checks out

    Guess I'd better see a doctor about all of these blood stains.

    Thank you to everyone for taking time to reply.

  18. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Wed Apr 4 2018 13:28:16
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    If you find the cause come back and give us an update, please.

  19. Unsure0817

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jun 3 2018 12:08:34
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    About the pillowcase...I have bed bug anxiety that rears it’s ugly head any time anything weird appears on my skin or sheets, and after freaking out about pillowcases a couple of times, I realized it was eyeliner. Doh! (And I’ve plenty of blood stains over the years, too, but it turns out you can have blood stains and no bed bugs. Skin is weird.) Not sure if that’s what’s going on with you, but just a thought. Good luck!


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