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Please help! Longtime reader who finally needs your sage advice

(6 posts)
  1. keepinghopealive

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 10 2019 16:48:20
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    Hi everyone - future friends, brave souls, fearsome warriors:

    I've poked around Bedbugger since 2013, since someone I was dating told me they had a BB infestation (it turned out to be bad for them - like nightmare-bad throughout the entire huge house). Other things in my life were hard at that point, and hearing the news sent me into a full-fledged panic. Bedbugger was the thing that truly saved my sanity. Lots of other resources exacerbated my anxiety, but this site had such useful advice, supported by experts and friends, coupled with kind people sharing their success stories and reminding us to keep living our lives, that I was able to take reasonable action. I dried everything, searched everywhere in the bedroom, started drying clothes before leaving the house, etc. I won't tell you about the part where I was staying up to 4am with a headlamp searching disassembled bed frames... Luckily, I never got them then, and have been sending any friends with BB issues here, telling them what great support & information is available. So - thank you to this amazing community, and the work of nobugs and all the contributors

    Now, here's where I need advice. I've woken up 2 days with unusual itchy bites that look a lot like BB bite photos. (I've read all the FAQ about how having bites does not equal having bed bugs, and I'd still like to ask questions even though there's not 100% certainty that what I have is BB, though I'm fearing the worst). In my BB scare in 2013, I bought Protect A Bed Allerzip mattress covers w/ BugLock for my mattress and box spring. I had them on for a few years, and took the covers with me when I moved to a new city in late 2015 (well past 18 months after the initial scare!). I put the covers on my new mattress and box spring, and have had them on since. But here's the problem - I've noticed a few small (slightly bigger than a pinhead) sized holes in the covers. A couple I covered with duct tape, but a couple are uncovered.

    So here's Question 1 - ***do I take off the covers to see if BBs made their way inside, to help me search for fecal stains, eggs, bugs, etc to help identify if I really do have them? I don't see signs on the outside of the covers or on the walls near my bed.
    Or, do I leave the covers on because maybe they provide some benefit? I guess there's really no benefit to them now if they're torn, and I assume duct tape doesn't cut it in terms of a repair solution, and I'd still love to hear some opinions from you guys!****

    Also, my bed right now is box spring + mattress + memory foam on top, no frame or headboard. Before finding the bites, I was already planning on buying a metal frame and getting rid of the box spring, because I know what a haven for BBs they are. Question 2 - ***Is it a silly idea to get rid of the box spring now and buy the bed frame and use something like ClimbUp on the legs? Or should I wait to get the frame until I'm months out with no BBs so there's no chance they could hide in it? I'd rather buy the frame now and save the $70 on an Allerzip for the box spring that I want to get rid of anyway. But would introducing new nooks and crannies in the frame give the bugs new hiding places I don't want to provide?***

    I was already planning on buying new covers and the frame in a month with my first couple paychecks after this tax season, but now I'm trying to decide if I should borrow some money to buy those items sooner.

    Thank you, whoever is still reading, for bearing with this long post! One more question. I have bookshelves less than 2 feet from my bed, with around 150 books on them. I don't have the money for a Packtite. I read a bunch of forum posts about books in the microwave, oven, freezer, etc. and I think the approach I want to use is to examine behind the books and all in & around the bookshelves, and then to put the books back where they are. A few posters on books threads said that if the BBs are in your books, eventually they need to come out to feed on you, and hopefully in the future I'll have a plan to have some sort of residual pesticide out to get them when they do. Question 3 - ***if it was you, would you deal with the books any differently?*** We don't have storage to be able to put them away for 18 months, and I just sorted through my books making sure I want to keep all of these, and again, don't have money for a Packtite.

    Whew! Thank you for reading! Any advice or answers for Q's 1, 2, and 3 is SO APPRECIATED!! You all are rockstars.

  2. SalsaVince

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 10 2019 18:46:40
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    Hi Hope,
    Coincidentally, you have almost the same user name (minus the "ing" in keeping) as the person who really comforted me on here when I was going through my bed bug fight. But anyways...on to your questions.
    Although you start off by acknowledging that you can't confirm bed bugs strictly by bites but then you go on to ask 3 questions that indicate you're ready to start throwing out furniture and buying new items on the assumption that you have a full out bed bug infestation based on 2 days of skin lesions. I just wanted to point that out to let that sink in for a minute. It sounds like you've been very traumatized by your friends experience in the past and that fear is affecting your decisions right now so I hope you can take some time to take a breath and get out of a state of panic before taking any actions. That's good advice even if you do end up confirming bed bugs.

    Before you do anything, focus on confirmation. Do you have any monitors? If not, I would start there. That's a minimal investment to either put your mind at ease or quickly confirm what you are fearing so you have time to react. You mentioned climb ups. Those worked well for me too for monitoring. I like them for sitting on the floor near beds and sitting furniture to keep an eye on things down there in addition to the passive monitors I would use attached to the furniture.

    I understand you were planning on making some changes to your bed eventually which is fine but you might not want to do it while you're panicked because it will affect your decisions. After you've dealt with this, you can think with a clear head and decide whether you want to keep stuff or start fresh.

    Regarding the mattress covers, I think duct tape is fine to plug small holes as long as you tightly press it down on the cover and don't have creases on the edges that would invite bugs into them.

    Bottom line is, monitor, monitor, monitor. Daily if it helps you keep your sanity, then eventually weekly and so on. You can't fight a problem without knowing what you're fighting and where you're fighting it.

    Good luck and I hope this helped.

    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
    Not an expert. Just a survivor who's still learning.
    Vince
  3. keepinghopealive

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed Apr 10 2019 19:36:02
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    Hi SalsaVince,

    Thank you so much for your kind & thoughtful reply. What a coincidence about the user names - I appreciate you paying their kindness forward and sending some of that comfort on to me. Also, I read your success story in your mom's home earlier today. Congratulations on winning the battle for you both!

    You're right - I'm not thinking completely clearly. The bites sounded the alarm inside me because I don't remember seeing any like these on me before, and they really match online photos of BB bites. I can usually tell spider bites, mosquito bites, and flea bites apart on my skin and these new ones made me nervous (I've got lots of spider bite experience particularly - my childhood bedroom was the unfinished attic of a 100 year-old house. Spooky!) I wanted to ask about the mattress covers, bed frame, and books to hopefully head off a potentially bad problem before it got too far, and be able to find them wherever they could be hiding, but you're right that I need to know what the situation is before taking bigger action.

    I'll start with what you suggested - monitors, duct taping the holes, and Calm. Thanks again so much.

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Apr 11 2019 7:22:01
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    Hi,

    A1: No - no need to remove it.

    A2: Yes - it would be a waste of money to replace the bed when it’s not needed.

    A3: Yes but we are not at that stage yet.

    I would focus on confirming bedbugs through:

    • Live samples
    • Cast skins
    • Faecal traces

    This avoids the anxiety stopper wave of assumed bedbugs and enables you to focus on calmly dealing with things if there is actually an issue.

    This way you can take your precious time spent on the issue as preparedness but equally with the lack of evidence to support them it may be something else.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  5. keepinghopealive

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Sat Apr 20 2019 17:45:39
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    Thank you David for your reply! I really appreciate it, and all the great knowledge and advice you post on this site.

    I spoke with my mom after posting, and she reminded me that I had cleaned out a closet with mouse nests in their house the day that I got most of the bites. Then we googled about bugs on rodents and found out about rat mites. Pics of rat mite bites look the same as the bites I had, and matched other people's descriptions of what they felt and looked like.

    That same night I put some ClimbUps around my bed and a BB Passive at the head of my bed and my 2 roommate's beds. I've been checking all those monitors and finding nothing. The only other bites I got were 2 bites 2 days ago, and they really look like spider bites. So, I'm going to keep checking the monitors and conclude that rat mites were what got me, unless you all have different advice.

    Thank you SO MUCH SalsaVince and David for your help and wise words!!

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Sun Apr 21 2019 2:57:30
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    Hi,

    I would say mites might (excuse the pun) be the issue but equally for most people the combination of the emotional stress and exposure to allergens from the mice is also enough to create a temporary skin reaction on the hands.

    Well done for missing the rabbit hole / black hole of the biting mites sites. There is no finer examples of “misery loves company” than that site and the few times I have attempted to engage I am met by a wall of intractable pseudoscience and some deeply scary advice which exemplifies the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    The lack of BB signs is great, hopefully the acquired knowledge will help you to avoid in future and “may it never be an issue for you”.

    Thanks for coming back and updating and thanks for the comments. I would also echo your comments from SalsaVince, a valuable and logical addition to the forum, clear calm advice which is fact and reality focused. A better understanding of bedbugs than most of the “professionals” I have met.

    Take care.

    David


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