Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

Possible early infestation

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  1. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jun 13 2009 16:10:13
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    I thought I'd post about my battle with a possible (unconfirmed, but likely) infestation. The good news here is that if I have bed bugs, they were introduced exactly 1 week ago. I believe that the gestation period for eggs is 1 to 3 weeks, so worst case, I'd be seeing the first generation of fresh nymphs any day now.

    This all started a week ago while visiting a friend in San Francisco. I got seriously bit up there (seven grouped bites on the neck, eight on the arm, five on the back) over two days. We had spent part of the day lounging on the grass in the park, so I figured I'd gotten into something there and didn't really worry about it.

    After returning home (to Seattle) I didn't wash my travel clothes and bag (stupid, stupid, stupid) and continued to see bites on my arms. The problem is, I wasn't really paying close attention so I couldn't decide if I'd had those bites before or not. Again, I figured they were left over bites that took a few days to develop and didn't think anything of it.

    Yesterday morning I woke up with a bite on each leg. Just one, not the breakfast, lunch, dinner style that is typical. My mind reeled to think of all the critters that could be feeding on me in my sleep, so I made an appointment with my doctor, worked from home, and went about looking for some kind of trace of the little guys.

    In a rare moment of luck, I found this little guy squished between the pages of a book I was reading; a book I was also reading in San Francisco. I have no idea if he got caught in there during my trip or after my I returned, but here he is.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/67826241@N00/3622464327/

    I'm looking at this guy and at the pictures of bed bugs on this and other sites. They look the same to me except that this guy is pretty big. Normally adults only get to 5mm and this is more like 6. Chances seem to be that he died in San Francisco since I think that infestation is pretty serious. If it weren't for these new bites, I'd think I got away lucky. With fresh bites, however... Damn.

    I showed him to my doctor who admitted to not being an entomologist, but he believed that bed bugs were usually much smaller than this. He prescribed me some skin creme that would kill anything living on or in my skin, just to be safe, and told me to wash everything I've ever owned including the onesy I wore when I was a year old. Ok, not really; that's just what it feels like.

    I'd love to starve the little bastards, but I have two cats and I'm pretty sure that these guys are going to find a blood meal one way or another around here. I called a PCO and they recommended against treating without more evidence than a single squeeshed bug. So... I took my bed apart (there are WAY too many places to hide in there), dropped a thermarest in the middle of the floor and surrounded it with double-sticky carpet tape. I'll tape the ceiling tonight to remove that as a possible path to me.

    I keep hoping I'll find something on these forums that says, "Well, if you're lucky enough to know there's only a few around, then do this and you'll be set." So far, the advice seems to be: take precautions to keep from feeding them; wait for concrete evidence; hope for the best but if not, call a PCO.

    I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts or suggestions, particularly about the cats. I'm pretty sure the bugs can just live off of the cats in a pinch.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jun 13 2009 16:19:31
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    I have a cat, so I've got some experience with this.

    First up, that photo looks very much like a bed bug. Hopefully one of the pros on the board can take a look and confirm that for sure.

    Secondly, I had bed bugs for months without realizing it, and I don't think I ever had the breakfast, lunch, dinner pattern. So, for what it's worth, having or not having that pattern doesn't mean that much either way.

    Third, bites can appear for at least 9 days after having been exposed. You're still in that time frame. So it's possible that your "new" bites are bites that happened while you were exposed where you were.

    Fourth, you're right to be concerned based on what you've said, but it sounds like you're approaching it pretty rationally. Go you. Keep it up.

    Fifth, cats being furry and unable to talk in words we understand, are kind of annoyingly not helpful about telling us if they're getting bitten by bed bugs. Mine seemed to scratch more than usual, but it was also flea season, so like I could really tell!

    Sixth, bed bugs will prefer a human meal over other mammals.

    Based on all that, what would I do next if I were you? I'd probably look around the boards to see if anyone here also from Seattle has any good suggestions about a PCO in the area. Getting a pro who knows his or her way around bed bugs in for an inspection is probably the best next step in terms of putting you at ease about having a plan for what to do next.

    If you haven't already washed and dried everything you took with you according to the protocols outlined in the FAQs, I'd do that. And then figure out how to deal with non-washable items you took with you.

    Hope that helps.

  3. EffeCi

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jun 13 2009 16:26:28
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    It's definitively a bedbug, sorry....

  4. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jun 13 2009 17:42:54
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    It's good to have that confirmed. My doctor was unsure (but it really isn't his area) so that helps. It also means I can call my SF friend and say "Sorry dude, but you definitely have 'em" instead of "I don't know, you might but I'm not sure."

    It's great to hear that I might be seeing old bites that are only reacting now. There's still a chance that I'm not infested. For the time being though, I think I'll move forward as though I am. No need to take chances.

    With all the activity I'm seeing, I'm tempted to pick up one of these newfangled bed bug traps and try to make my money back renting it out in the area. It seems like there is a rapidly growing need for helping people work through an infestation. It wouldn't be worth it for just me. I wish the results on its effectiveness were more definitive. I'm sure it kinda works but that's not really good enough... and I tend to not trust manufacturer claims.

  5. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 13:34:09
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    STORY UPDATE:

    Everything you bring back with you from travel is a potential concern for bed bug transmission. Everything. You know this. This is obvious. Still, there are some things that will not be on your radar. Let's say, for example, completely hypothetically, your friend loaned you a ball cap to help keep the San Francisco sun off of your pale face. That hat could have bugs in it. The non-hypothetical hat sure did.

    Don't get me wrong here. It's not that I looked at the hat and made a conscious decision: "There aren't any bugs in there." The hat was just so off my mental radar that it never even occurred to me to check. The hat sat on my bathroom counter for about a week. I then moved it to the living room where it lived for a few more days. Yesterday as I was obsessing over inspecting and bagging everything that wasn't as hard and smooth as a billiard ball, I glanced at the hat and thought, "Gosh, that'd be funny if there were some bugs in there." I picked the hat up, turned it over, pulled back the sweat flap, and there, engaged in high carnival, was a "harborage". I yelped like a three year old.

    Once I got the hat bagged in a nice, new zip-lock bag, I went into full panic. I'd like to comment a little bit on the psychological effects of an infestation using myself as the study subject. I'm a pretty calm guy. A survey of my choices of military service, engineering degree, and investment strategies paint a solid picture of careful, thoughtful consideration followed by conservative action. Bed bugs have ended that.

    I've never been able to understand obsessive compulsive behavior. It's so obviously irrational that I just don't get why an OC type person couldn't use their rational mind to override their obsessive tendencies. Now I understand. The anxiety associated with whatever the "thing" is compels you to act, even if it doesn't make sense, in the hopes of lessening the anxiety. Rationally, I know I don't have to start putting my shoes in the oven in order to ensure that they don't have any viable bugs or eggs in them. I know that a competent PCO will have a protocol for ridding me of these creatures with a high likelihood of success without me needing to bake my shoes. Nevertheless, my oven is preheating to 200F as we speak. Yes, the glues in my shoes might melt destroying my perfectly good footwear. I don't care. Rationality is gone. I'm going to bake my shoes. I'm going to bake my books. I might even bake my printer. It's not about what makes sense anymore. It's only about reducing my anxiety. I want to be able to look at something I own and say, "I am completely confident that there are no bugs in there." Baking is the only method I know of giving me that confidence. Bake it. Bag it. Move to the next item.

    I have contacted a local PCO as well, and will be reviewing their protocol with them. I will post a detailed review of their protocol, agents used, and the results here.

  6. bedbugsbad

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 14:19:21
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    Munched,

    Totally understand. I was a little OCD before, and the whole bedbug thing made it way worse. Be careful with the oven, it's dangerous and questionable on whether it is reliable. Get a packtite. It's been tested, is safe and works. Good luck and keep us updated.

    BBbad

  7. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 14:35:10
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    Yes, good advice. Packtite is on the way. I'm going to start using it whenever I travel now.

    Yes, putting things like paper in the oven (I'm doing books as well) is a bad idea in general and there's no way for me to know for sure what the inner temperature of the item is. I'm doing it anyway. I'm also marking each bag with the method I used to scrub it: 'I' for inspection, 'B' for bake, 'D' for dryer (possibly with a wash before), and 'P' for Packtite when I get it.

  8. DragonFlight

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 15:53:03
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    Munched, not that you already don't know but that is a Bed Bug. You mention you found the area where there were more ? Where was that ? Typically bed bugs do bite in a row, why only one bite, it's possible that you shuffled around so much that it got turned off ? Either way if it's red and raised as though blood was drawn to the surface of the skin, I suppose it can be a bed bug especially if it's happening frequently, compared to infrequent random bite.

    Hopefully you just have less then eight in which you can do self treatment, but they have already bit you, so they have had a taste of you, which IMO it's best if they never bite you but it seems that is only possible if there are only a few. You could could do self-treatment but since it's only been a week you don't know if more have multiplied that usually takes over 30 days to know that you have a small number or hopefully there all gone.

    BTW - There is someone on this forum, who is testing out a spray in hopes, now we don't know if it just keeps them away or if it kills them. Also remember use yourself as bait, when bed bugs sense a human they come out, regardless if it's day or night. Although if you have a low number they won't come out in the day they will wait until usually after 9-10pm. And newborn (sounds cute, not) bed bugs if you haven't read already, will seek you out to bite you right away they don't wait they need BLOOD, so if 20 days pass and you're not seeing nymphs then maybe no babies were born which is a good, good thing. Then you just have to find the adults and KILL EM..

  9. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 16:12:26
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    The bugs were in a hat that I brought back from SF with me. There may have also been some that hitchhiked in my bag, but I had been under the assumption that I was dealing with a very small number and that the only eggs I had were ones laid after they were transported. This was wrong. The hat had a fully functional harborage complete with adults, nymphs, and eggs. So I've probably been seeing a daily growth of the infestation of several new nymphs a day. It's been 10 days, so I'm likely to have a reasonably sized colony, especially if they've also been feeding on my cats. I've tried to isolate my bed with double sticky tape around each leg and another around the perimeter of the ceiling to keep them from dropping on me, but I still see new bites every day. My assumption is that they are getting inside the DMZ on my cats, and since they can't get back out, they are likely setting up shop in my bed frame. The mattress (no boxspring) is in a labeled bed bug safe case. Boo.

    I don't think I'm going to try self treatment. I've called a PCO and as soon as I get everything bagged and find a new home for the cats, I'm bringing them in. I'll keep posting on progress. Good times.

  10. DragonFlight

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 17 2009 16:25:40
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    It appears, that you can't do self-treatment, and if you check your bed I wouldn't be surprised if you found one or two along the seams of the mattress if so there hiding already within your bed frames. With the numbers your reporting, if you haven't already then you may start getting bites of three, maybe you are just not noticing them, as many here have gone though hell check your body you may find the rows. And it appears as though the nymphs have already started to bite you, you're going to have to check everywhere cause if ten days have passed they can get in anywhere, remember there flat and they can hide easy. Your bed and hat in the situation your in now is only the beginning.

  11. lil_bit_obsessed

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 18 2009 0:34:56
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    wow, in a hat. you're right, that would have been totally off my radar. although when i was going through my obsessive phase i was cleaning everything i could think of, even the picture frames. i was changing my sheets once a day and mopping (with murphy's oil soap) twice a week. i spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on laundry. i dryered at least two loads of items a day. it was absolute hell, and took over my life for a little while.

    i know that it is really hard not to let this consume you (man do i know), but it might be best if you could slow things down and think carefully about each activity before you do it. sometimes if you are moving things around the house a lot in the early stages of an infestation you might only end up scattering and spreading the bugs around. that's not to say you shouldn't clean things (especially if they are things that you are going to wear outside of the house in the next little while), but don't feel as if you have to clean everything. a) it's way too overwhelming to do that, and b) it might actually make it harder for your pco to treat if you spread them around.

    i say this only out of personal experience, i responded almost exactly the way that you are responding right now. take a deeeeeeeep breath. slow down a bit. you're doing the right thing by calling a pco. a professional will know where/how to treat. these bugs are not infallible, no matter how much they might feel that way sometimes. but if you try to *control* the situation by treating every single item you own you will be in for even more anxiety in the long run. the pco is definately the way to go.

  12. timetraveller61

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Jun 18 2009 12:45:21
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    Munched, had a good laugh courtesy of your story and laughs have been hard to come by the last few days! I was exposed in a hotel room Friday night and am still hoping that I didn't cross contaminate my apartment. Like you, I'm wishing I did a lot of things differently. I know hotels don't want to even breathe the word bb but I think there's an opportunity here. I would pay a premium to stay in a hotel that had aggressive bb prevention strategies. At the very least, I think hotels should treat a client's report of bugs with an immediate SWAT-like response. Information provided right when it happened could have done a lot to alleviate the heartache and worry I'm experiencing now.

    I counted 45 bites from the one night's exposure. The fact that they continue for days afterwards makes it so much worse ... are they really new bites or old ones revealing themselves? I guess it's just a waiting game now. The PCO was just here, didn't find any in the bed but of course that would be unlikely because I've hardly slept in the last 5 days. Talk about how this makes you psycho ... I finally made it to the bed two nights ago, prior to that I just stayed awake! So I sleep (if you can call it that) on the mattress pad, no covers, with a bright light shining in the room and fully covered in PJs and socks. I'm 48 years old and have regressed to where I'm afraid of the dark. I've always been a bug phobe but there's little doubt this has put me over the edge and is going to send me to therapy. I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to stay in a hotel again ... but that's a whole other story. For now, we wait, we launder, we clean, and we cry and if we're lucky we laugh!

  13. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 19 2009 10:53:38
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    STORY UPDATE:

    The Packtite arrived yesterday and I am impressed with it. In particular, it streamlines the cleaning process for things that can't go in the dryer. I dropped a load of shoes in it (about 8 pair) and kicked it off at bed time letting it run through a four hour cycle. Yes, it is possible that after the cycle a bug could crawl in there, but I'm feeling like that is very unlikely. My infestation is light enough that random stragglers aren't very likely to happen upon the small entry hole where the power cord comes through and there's nothing to attract them there. They're all coming after me on the other side of the studio. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone thinks I'm being naive.

    The instructions recommend against putting electronics in, but I'm going to try it anyway, starting with a few things I don't care much about. I'll let everyone know how that works out.

    The bites have finally stopped so I think that my tape barrier is finally working (that or I've managed to feed every bug in the house; which is actually fairly likely). It looks like I can get two to three days out of my two layer tape technique before the dust and cat hair build up on it. My technique is to put one layer around the physical leg itself. Since this layer is vertical, it accumulates dust more slowly. Then I put another layer on the floor in a square around the leg. It's certainly imperfect but seems to help. So far, I have never managed to catch anything on the tape itself.

    The last piece of the story is that I contacted my building manager yesterday. For those of you who don't know my whole story, I'm certain that I brought this infestation in myself. It was very tempting to just take care of the problem and hope that no one in the building ever found out. I just couldn't feel good about that though. The condo association needs to know the state of the building even though it is embarrassing for me to bring it up. The trade-off is that it is likely to cause a lot of emotional trauma to my neighbors when the likelihood of the infestation spreading is very small. This is a newer building with good isolation between the units. I'm sure that a bed bug could find some way to get to another unit if they really wanted to, but it's not like some units where there are holes everywhere. I'm going to ask my PCO if he recommends treating the adjacent units and will pay for those if he does.

    I feel SO fortunate to be in a financial position to be able to throw money at the problem. I really feel for those of you who of lesser financial means in addition to the well being of children to manage.

  14. goawaybugs

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 19 2009 12:46:04
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    Have you had any problem with your cats being overly interested in the Packtite? I very much want to get a Packtite, but am afraid of the fabric getting ripped when an interested cat decides to leap onto it. My cat is already banned from the bedroom because of the encasements; I don't know how I can keep her away from the Packtite.

    But it sounds like you're dealing with the problem in a very calm and ordered manner, notwithstanding the baking frenzy a few days ago (which I totally get by the way. I'm the proud owner of a baked pair of boots from long ago). I'm sure you'll have it under control in no time.

    By the way, I'm fascinated by your hat story. It doesn't sound like you got bitten on your face, even though you were wearing the hat. From everything I've heard, they don't like to be too near the food source once they've eaten (well, near, but not usually on the person) so seems a strange place for them to be unless the hat hadn't been used very much (in which case I wonder if they became agitated when you started wearing it). It's also interesting that they don't seem to have dispersed once they came to your apartment, but stayed in the hat. If you're in a studio, perhaps the living room is near the bed? In any case, kudos on not dropping the hat when making your discovery, which I surely would have done. Good luck, and please keep us posted!

  15. DragonFlight

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 19 2009 16:15:56
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    You know what is great, that Munched is in a financial position and not just a financial position the willingness to pay for the other units in his condos to get treated so they don't get a infestation.

  16. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sun Jun 21 2009 10:47:42
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    About the hat: It was loaned to me by a friend in SF. He didn't really wear it and it had been hanging on a hook on his bed for quite a while. Really, it was a perfect little home for bugs. I wore it all day.

    No bites on the face, but I got about seven on the back of my neck. The worst part is that I was supposed to return the hat and forgot. Had I remembered I probably could have avoided this whole escapade.

  17. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sun Jun 21 2009 10:52:06
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    EQUIPMENT UPDATE:

    So far I have put shoes, clothes, a tripod, a file box, photos, and even a color printer through the Packtite. Everything comes out fresh as a spring daisy. The internal thermometer gets up to about 134F, which is apparently still low enough that most things won't be damaged. I'm going to brave my projector and desktop computer next. Wheeeee!

    A note on dryers: I decided to put even my finer clothes through the dryer rather than having them dry cleaned. I dried a full length cashmere coat, wool cashmere suit, and tuxedo for about 40 min each and they came out of the dryer looking as nice as they did on the way in. Check the pockets though! I almost put my tux in there with a ball point pen in the pocket. That would have been a shame.

  18. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sun Jun 21 2009 11:05:53
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    STORY UPDATE:

    I'm still bagging and cleaning EVERYTHING I own in prep for the PCO. So far so good. I've been using a two layer tape barrier (mentioned in an earlier post) that, so far, has been completely effective. I have received no new bites since using it. I replace the horizontal barrier every few days since it gets covered in cat hair fairly fast. The vertical barrier (around the bed frame leg) however holds up pretty well.

    In the interest of looking on the bright side, this process has forced me to evaluate how much I value everything I own. I, like most people, have clothes I haven't worn in years that I keep around with the idea that I'm going to wear it someday. Staring at my closet, I had to wonder: "Do I really need all these?" The obvious answer is "No." The follow on question is more interesting: "How much do I want these things?" Before the bed bugs struck, these were just things hanging out in my closet. The cost of holding on to these things was low. Post bed bugs, however, I can see the burden associated with all of these things. These things are now a burden since they must be recleaned, refolded, bagged, and then reshelved. The cost of keeping these things around just went way up, or perhaps I'm just now more aware of the cost that was always waiting for me.

    Some things I kept around anyway. I only get to wear my tux every few years, but I love to when I can, so I'm keeping it. That funky pink shirt with the big collars that I like to wear when I go swing dancing (which I haven't done in 3 years) is gone. All those worn out T-shirts that I keep for "knocking around in" but that I never actually wear, are gone. That ancient fleece jacket? Gone. Those books I'll never read again but keep for posterity so that other people will see that I have read them (really? Is that the only reason I've been keeping them around)? All gone now.

    Honestly, it feels great to be free of so much stuff. I'm sorry that it took bed bugs to force me to reevaluate my possessions, but I'll accept a gift in any form.

  19. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sun Jun 21 2009 11:35:44
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    @goawaybugs

    Forgot to respond to goawaybugs' question about cats and the PackTite. My cats haven't been interested in it at all, not to say that yours won't. The casing is pretty tough nylon cordura, so it should be able to handle some scratching. I'd be more worried about it's ability to support the weight of a cat. As in, it won't. It uses a pretty weak metal framing to keep the nylon case open. The wires across the top are particularly flimsy. For its own purposes, it's plenty strong but I can imagine a cat jumping up on it and bending those wires. You'll have to make the call there. To me, it doesn't look like something a cat would be excited to leap up on, but maybe you have one of those cats that is always saying: "If you're doing it, I'm sitting on it."

    Cheers.

  20. goawaybugs

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 23 2009 19:50:12
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    Thanks for the feedback--that was really helpful. The support issue wouldn't even have occurred to me. It's good to know your cats are leaving it alone but anything warm seems to be an instant magnet for my cat. I do pine for my very own magic box o' heat, though, so I'll have to figure something out.

    I hope things are progressing well for you.

  21. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 11:02:55
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    It's good to know your cats are leaving it alone but anything warm seems to be an instant magnet for my cat. I do pine for my very own magic box o' heat, though, so I'll have to figure something out..

    How about if you just slide it under a table when it's in use?

  22. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 11:05:35
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    STORY UPDATE:

    PCO came out yesterday for the first round of spraying. She said she needs me to keep living in the current state (everything in bags; everything moved away from the wall) for another two weeks. After the second treatment I can go back to normal living. Then there are is another treatment two weeks after that, and a final one after yet another two weeks. It seems really thorough.

    One bite on my foot this morning, but I understand that the bite might be a few days old and it takes a little while for the chemicals to work their magic anyway.

  23. amysee

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 11:18:14
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    Hi Munched,

    Thanks for posting your story-- I'm in Seattle too and it seems there are very few of us here with bed bugs... at least so far (cue ominous music).

    Just curious, who is your PCO?

    Good luck, and thanks for your updates!
    Amy

  24. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 11:29:38
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    I went with Bug Busters and they've been great so far. I called around to a few agencies and didn't get the kind of answers I needed to hear. For example, I asked some of them how they felt about diatomacious earth and they would pause, and then say that I should be using my own chemicals since they can get them at a much higher concentration than I can as a consumer. Um... what? DE is a white power that you can buy over the counter. It's not very effective by itself, but I wasn't looking for a recommendation. I was looking to see how he responded to the question.

    Keven at Bug Busters knew about DE, knew that there was a new product on the market that combined DE with a residual pesticide that was looking promising but he felt it was too early to use it with confidence of success. He said that he adhered to the protocol suggested by Dr. Potter of the U. of Kentucky. That's when I had decided that I had found the right person. Don't be put off by his hokey website. He's not a web designer. He's an exterminator.

    Best of luck to you.

  25. amysee

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 11:58:30
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    Munched - 22 minutes ago  » 
    I went with Bug Busters and they've been great so far.

    Me too! I asked because your treatment situation sounded pretty similar to mine. I had to laugh at your comment about their website-- in a town where it seems like everyone has a web design business on the side it's sort of a shock to see a site that's somewhat reminiscent of early Geocities. But the Dr. Potter thing sold me, too.

  26. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 13:56:16
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    DragonFlight - 6 days ago  » 
    Hopefully you just have less then eight in which you can do self treatment, but they have already bit you, so they have had a taste of you, which IMO it's best if they never bite you but it seems that is only possible if there are only a few. You could could do self-treatment but since it's only been a week you don't know if more have multiplied that usually takes over 30 days to know that you have a small number or hopefully there all gone.
    ...
    Although if you have a low number they won't come out in the day they will wait until usually after 9-10pm. And newborn (sounds cute, not) bed bugs if you haven't read already, will seek you out to bite you right away they don't wait they need BLOOD, so if 20 days pass and you're not seeing nymphs then maybe no babies were born which is a good, good thing. Then you just have to find the adults and KILL EM..

    This is not great advice.

    Dragonflight, you suggest if someone has "less than eight" they can self-treat. Do you mean less than eight bed bugs?

    If you SEE eight bed bugs, that is a LOT. You probably have many more.

    Also, you can have quite a lot of bed bugs and you are still unlikely to see them (daytime or otherwise). They hide well. And though they prefer to feed in deepest night, not 9-10 pm.

    If you are seeing ANY bed bugs, you probably have more. Many people have bed bugs for a while and do not see ANY.

    I would NEVER assume that if someone does not SEE nymphs within 20 days that there are no eggs/nymphs being born. You are unlikely to see them.

    And many people do not react to bed bug bites. Even if they do, they cannot determine from the bites whether they came from adults or nymphs. And bites are not always in groups of three as you also imply.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  27. goawaybugs

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jun 24 2009 23:41:38
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    How about if you just slide it under a table when it's in use?

    Well, she can wriggle into the smallest of spaces, but that's an idea to consider. Thanks, Munched.

  28. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 26 2009 16:04:40
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    STORY UPDATE:

    One treatment down, three to go. So far, no bites since the first treatment. Of course, I'm still using my tape barricade, so it's hard to say which is helping. Probably both. I'm just glad to not have fresh bites on me anymore.

    Living out of bags is a pain, but you just do it. My dating life has suffered. Honestly, I'm not sure where in the process I can feel safe having someone over for dinner, or God forbid, stay the night. I can imagine the scene now: "Oh that? That's just a bed bug bite. Nothing to be afraid of. Your overnight bag, however, you should be afraid of that. We'll just stick that... and um... all your clothes in my PackTite in four hours you'll be good to go." Yes, that would be smoooooth.

  29. lil_bit_obsessed

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jun 26 2009 16:57:56
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    Munched - 51 minutes ago  » 
    I can imagine the scene now: "Oh that? That's just a bed bug bite. Nothing to be afraid of. Your overnight bag, however, you should be afraid of that. We'll just stick that... and um... all your clothes in my PackTite in four hours you'll be good to go." Yes, that would be smoooooth.

    HAH! sounds like a new advertising scheme for packtite.

  30. versatil

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat Jun 27 2009 1:47:18
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    Hi Munched.

    What else have you tried using the Packtite for? How about cd/dvd/bds and the likes?
    How long do you have to leave stuff in there? (Basically how frequently can you use it?)

    I was hesitant about putting down for a Packtite but honestly I'm tired of the psychological ups/downs (and I already suffer from fatigue issues).

    thanks

  31. stricken

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Tue Jun 30 2009 21:43:42
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    Munched, your descriptions are great, and I hear you on revisiting your reasons for keeping everything. Not to mention the dating. I am in a new relationship that for a number of reasons may be grinding to a halt. Having nothing more to offer than an air mattress (had to chuck the bedframe, it was zoned for bedbug condos) and the promise that I am mid-treatment is not an inducement for overnight guests. I mean, I might as well put up chicken wire and declare the place a flophouse!

  32. Munched

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Wed Jul 8 2009 10:12:58
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    @versatil

    I've put tons of stuff in the PackTite by now: CDs, electronics, even files. I have not put any magnetic media in there (i.e. tapes, floppy disks, etc.) as I think the temps could damage those. Nor have I put in anything with a low melting point (candles, makeup) or a liquid (lotions, shampoo, etc.). Those kinds of things got a rigorous visual inspection instead.

    Most things I put in for the full four hour cycle, although that's overkill. According to the instructions, put the thermometer in the thickest part of whatever you are sticking in there and wait until the temp reads 120F. Then leave it there for at least an hour. Most of the time a two-hour cycle would be sufficient. I even folded and rolled up a large rug in there at it still managed to get all the way to 134F at the core. It's not fast, but the PackTite is pretty effective. I have pillows baking in there as we speak.

  33. SFinfested

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Jul 17 2009 17:41:08
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    Fist an apology to munched; I am the friend in SF he visited. You’re a graceful friend, and I’m just sorry this happened to you.

    I don’t really react to bug bites – it seems like I am one of those “lucky” few who don’t have an allergic reactions. Unfortunately, this means the infestation was pretty bad by the time Munched told me. A quick opinion on telling someone they do/may have bedbugs: I know 1st hand it is awkward to hear, and I imagine it isn’t any more fun to do – but it really was a favor to me. Fact is I don’t react so I wouldn’t know until it became visible. And by that time it is bad bad bad. The problem was only going to get worse, so best to deal as early as possible. I really wanted to deny there was a problem, but even a few days of this seem to make a huge difference.

    I have a very small studio apartment in Chinatown, San Francisco – one of the densest populated areas of San Francisco. I’m somewhat of a minimalist: a loft bed, desk, dresser, couch and a few folding chairs is the only furniture I really have, and I like to keep my living space tidy (this is only relevant to the ease of treating my belongings, bedbugs do not care about clutter). The infestation seemed to be primarily on the loft bed, mattress and couch. I was reluctant to involve the landlord for the fear that my unauthorized cat would expose me to liability (this proved ungrounded). I am quite sure my mental state did not contribute to the best judgment I could muster, but it seemed like my only option was self treatment. The couch and mattress seemed like they were just too far gone, so both were removed. I partially disassembled the loft frame and cleaned it thoroughly for several hours with isopropyl alcohol, then sprayed with Roseguard (which contains neem oil). The alcohol seemed to kill the insects, but the oil did not seem to have any effect. I bagged all my clothing with standard black yard bags ran everything through a commercial drier for 2 hours minimum. Even with my minimal lifestyle this process took several days and was mentally and physically exhausting.

    This first battle crashed the population, but the battle wasn’t over. My OCD and insomnia armed with a flashlight found several strays over the next few weeks. Taking no chances, I repeated this process each time (keeping my clothes in sealed bags definitely made this easier), but the real punch line here is that someone in my building moved a HEAVILY infested mattress into the refuse area a little over a week ago. Due to the degree of the infestation, I believe the infestation is in the building. At this point I got the landlord involved, who much to my surprise seemed as eager to address the issue as I am. Yesterday, A very experienced PCO treated my apartment, and I got my 1st solid sleep in a few weeks.

    So what can I offer from my experience? Below are my opinions:

    There may be no way to get rid over these pests in one go.

    Talking with the PCO was very helpful to my mental state. After the 1st self treatment, I was incredibly discouraged to find tiny bugs on the bed frame about 10 days later. According to the PCO, Isopropyl alcohol does not kill the eggs, and the gestation period seems about right. Had I talked to him earlier, I might have expected this. He told me my method was very effective, although I felt like a failure.

    Shame made me assume it was only me, but the problem was the whole building (although no one complained to the land lord). Fear made me believe I had to deal with the issue on my own. Sleep depravation fed both. My emotional state was as much a part of the effectiveness of this process as my choice of insecticides.

    Isopropyl alcohol seems like the most effective way to kill adults; neem oil seemed useless. But because the eggs are so resilient, expect to find little ones when they hatch. Kill these before they can lay eggs. Heat seems to work well to sterilize smaller items (I am ordering a packtite as soon as finances permit).

    They may seem immortal, but a simple trash bag seems to isolate them. Divide and destroy them.

    Munched is a good friend. This one isn’t an opinion.

    That’s all I have time to write for now.

  34. twitchyscratchy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Oct 29 2009 11:52:25
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    Munched, SF,

    Did you have any problems getting your belongings sprayed by a PCO because of your cats?

    I'm extremely cautious to use permethrin-based sprays as I have a severely immunocompromised cat. I know permethrin is really bad for kitties at the best of times. I'm also scared to stress him out by moving him for a few days- he needs meds every day and we have nowhere for him to go.

    It kills me to think I could hurt him by trying to get rid of bed bugs!!

    Any thoughts?

    Hope your struggle is going well.


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