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Questions without answers

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  1. BugbiteRedemption

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 20 2015 5:39:22
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    Hi everyone!

    I first want to thank you all for clicking on this we are great distress. My mom, my dog, and I moved into an apartment the Summer of 2014 and in September or very early October, our dog got fleas from a neighbors dog after they were playing together. We treated the place for months and kept getting bit. We soon found out after our most recent and last flea treatment that the fleas had already been eliminated, and what was biting us were bed bugs (as we were spraying the couch where I sleep a very big bug crawled out from a crevice :() We believe our landlord knew of an infestation in the entire building or parts of it prior to discovering this ourselves!. And because our financial situation is very bad right now, we do not know what to do. We just found out a couple days shy of 2 weeks ago and have yet to tell the landlord due to still being in shock about the whole thing. We have never had a problem with bugs before, let alone bed bugs; and I never would've anticipated it considering I used to think if you lived fairly clean, which we do, that this would not happen. But I have since discovered firsthand that it can happen to anyone regardless of the conditions they live in. I have a quite a few questions, and if anyone could answer we will be very grateful! This is going to be a lengthy post so I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read and respond.

    1. I am a musician; I have an electric piano, 2 guitars (one steel string acoustic, one classical), and a mandolin. These are my most prized possessions as music is my hobby, passion, and livelihood. Can my guitars get infested? I always keep them in the case with all snaps shut and I have been to several of my friends houses overnight with them and nobody has gotten them as a result or been bit. The mandolin and, obviously, the piano are without cases; and all instruments are kept in a room where I don't sleep but my dog does. Do I have a reason to be worried about my instruments? If so, is there treatment options that will not cause damage? Will I need to throw them away? What about books of sheet music that are kept near the same place?

    2. Is there ANYTHING you can do to repel them? We have been using rubbing alcohol and putting it on our skin and the bites I've had are healing, but I am still seeing them pretty much constantly and I feel that I am still getting a bite here and there on my lower back and one spot on my neck. Does anyone have any success stories with any sort of repellent? I know that alcohol is a very big fire hazard, and being a smoker I'd hope that it or any repellent will be safe on my skin and clothes but I'm guessing this is not a safe or realistic solution to the problem. I'm not even sure that such a repellent exists, as we have tried 2 different sprays that say they work with little to no success.

    3. What are some of the best treatment options, and how much would they cost? We are on a very strict budget. However, we know that something MUST be done ASAP. What is the best way to go?

    4. We have many boxes of stuff from my and my brother's childhood, as well as my mothers and grandmother's (who has passed) childhood. Along with many small pieces of furniture we have accumulated in addition to our recliner, couch, bed, tv stands, etc. I have heard that boxes, as well as clutter (minimal in our place, but if the situation is as bad as it seems to me, i don't know if that matters. Even just sitting at my desk typing I saw a decent sized one crawling on a piece of paper next to me) , makes great hiding places for them. Can these things be salvaged? Will we need to get rid of any, most, or all of our furniture? We have a LOT of stuff in storage that is in the basement of our building. Is it likely that these things are infested as well, or would the infestation be only in the upstairs where people and animals are there to feast on?

    5. We are planning on moving in late July, maybe sooner. How can we make sure we don't bring any bugs or eggs to a new residence?

    6. I have heard that there are "levels" of infestation. How can you determine this? Do we need a professional to assess this? Will there be a major difference in price if the infestation is as bad as we expect, or is it not even worth worrying about right now?

    7. Based on things we have seen go on in our building (couches and other furniture being thrown out), as well as things our landlord has said to us ( I mentioned to the landlord that the dog had had fleas, but also we had also found a reddish brown tick looking thing (obviously a bed bug, before we knew it was bed bugs and not fleas that were biting us). He did not seem surprised, and he replied, and I quote, "they are in the same family; just use the same stuff on them as you do the fleas") Other than this, we have no indisputable evidence, but we believe that the landlord definitely knew of an infestation either in our apartment or the entire building all along and might have even tried to eliminate them without success. All we have is what has been stated above and, in addition, when we last moved we had gone through all of our belongings and had help packing and moving boxes, as well as a professional cleaner assist us. Also, I believe it is likely that many tenants of my building may have the same issue. Is there anything we can do about this? Will he possibly have to pay for treatment? Not much hope that anything can be done in regards to this, but I'm hoping somebody on here may know Illinois law. Is he legally required to tell us prior to us renting that the apartment has, or has had and been treated for a bed bug infestation?

    8. I am a very social guy; almost constantly going to one friend's house or another, one social gathering after another, as well as going to work and to visit members of my family. I am worried that I could bring bed bugs to their homes, however I feel it would have happened by now if this were a possibility. Do I have reason to worry? I would NEVER be able to forgive myself if someone I care about, or even anyone I'd come in contact with for that matter, got these horrible things because of me. If it is possible that I could bring them somewhere, what are some ways to prevent this? I always wash and dry my clothes hot and normally put them in the bathroom and change into them after I've showered. I also have put them in 2 gallon ziplock bags. Is this sufficient enough?

    9. Final question (and again, thanks for sticking with me!); Does anyone have any success stories, or advice that could be helpful or that can offer any peace of mind or encouragement? It has kept me up late at night (I'm sitting at my desk and it is now 4:30 a.m.) and even caused me to spend one panic-filled night sleeping in my bathtub after finding several all over my couch and pillow. I also know that it has caused my Mom FAR more stress than I, as she is extremely embarrassed and refuses to discuss the matter with just about everyone other than her sister and insisted I not tell anyone either, including my immediate family whom I am close with and frequently visit. She hasn't even been to church since we found out, and my Mom sometimes doesn't even miss out on church when she's sick; so I know this is taking a great toll on her mental state.

    Once more, I thank you all for taking the time to read this seemingly never ending post! Your replies and advice are appreciated; and while they will certainly help my situation, they will also give me the information I need to assist and encourage others in the future as you have done for me

  2. robinsmom

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 20 2015 6:48:40
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    Hi, sorry to hear about your troubles. I'm sure an expert will be along in time to help.

    Meanwhile I did look up this:
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/tenant-rights-in-illinois

    Might be helpful.

    If the infestation is as bad as you describe I wouldn't self treat. You need a pro in there IMO, but I will defer to the experts here. You might want to read on the site here how to handle traveling without bringing them with you. Education is key.

    Can you post pictures of some of what you have found? The experts like them so they can confirm.

    I'm not an expert just a dumb struggling bed bugger like every body else.
  3. BigDummy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 20 2015 9:05:29
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    Read the FAQ section, many of your questions will be answered there.

  4. BugbiteRedemption

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Feb 20 2015 12:05:02
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    Thanks to you both! I will definitely take some pictures and post after work as well as do some reading in the FAQ section

  5. anxietybugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 2 2015 16:30:00
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    I wonder about the instruments as well. We have multiple guitars and the amps and pedals that follow. We also have a couple of keyboards, a ukulele and a cello. I am most concerned with the cello.

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 2 2015 16:39:18
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    Musical instruments can be treated if needed and a careful inspection is warranted. However, a problem with instruments is more likely if you have an absolutely enormous bed bug problem (which most people do not have), or if you sleep near your instruments, or both.

    I expect it's unlikely that an instrument stored in a room where a dog sleeps across the room is not likely to be in danger (even if the dog's bed is a harborage, which it may not be) unless it's a big infestation and they're everywhere.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  7. anxietybugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 2 2015 16:50:41
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    My husband keeps his guitars about 5 feet from the bed, and though we don't seem to have a major infestation, it's definitely worth inspection. Thanks

  8. Richard56

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Mar 2 2015 19:14:48
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    BBR: Even just sitting at my desk typing I saw a decent sized one crawling on a piece of paper next to me)
    -------------------------------
    To put yourself at ease, if treated, bedbugs invariably are eliminated. The horror stories you read about are the exception and not the rule. In most of those cases, either things were neglected, or mistakes made usually in self treatment. That is not to say that self treatment isn't an option, But if you are going to self treat, do your homework. At a minimum, invest a couple of days (not a couple of hours) reading here and elsewhere on how to self treat.

    The other thing, you rarely have to throw anything out. Of course if you're going to throw some things out anyway, then this is a good opportunity.

    For example your musical instruments could be bagged, And then treated with something called DDVP strips or "rag in the bag". The former you can read about in our FAQs, The latter is newer, but you could Google it.

    Almost forgot, you saw "a decent one crawling...". Are you 100% sure that it was a bedbug? Unless you're certified PCO or entomologist, or have consulted with one, the answer is "no", you're not 100% sure.

    So what you do Is find one, then take a picture, and then post it here for our experts to take a look. That would be the first thing I would do. Because the first rule of treatment, Is to be 100% sure what you're treating.

    Good luck.

    Richard


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