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reinfestation and an uncooperative housemate

(2 posts)
  1. vanessakiki

    Joined: Jul '12
    Posts: 3


    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 15 2012 23:25:49

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    THIS IS MY STORY WITH MY PLEA FOR ADVICE/HELP AT THE END. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this "novel" I just felt it was imperative to list all the details.

    Sadly, I have rejoined the bed bug club and am wondering if I'll ever rent a house in Philadelphia without having to go through this. I currently have a landlord that doesn't want to pay for any extermination but is always willing to buy the products from the exterminator and do it himself. Which i don't trust. Here's my tale for this residence from the first infestation in Nov 2010 (noticed/"treated" in July of 2011) to our most recent realized in May 2012 untreated as of now.

    Our first mistake: couch from the thrift store. Took us 8 months to realize there were bed bugs in it...I discovered this last July (after living here since November 2010) while up late one night sitting very still drawing for hours. I looked over and it was crawling towards me and the next day i had numerous bites. We threw out the couch and began bagging up our lives. I caught the bedbug and put it in a jar to show LL and any exterminator. The landlord told us he wouldn't pay...PCO quoted our house at around 1200 ish (don't remember exact price i feel it was more) and we said we couldn't afford it and he said he couldn't either. He said the only thing he would do for us is buy this spray: Air-Devil HPX residual with cypermethrin.

    We cleaned the whole house- vacuumed, bagged up everything, flipped up our mattresses and stripped the sheets and he came in and sprayed that stuff all over the house and the carpet and our mattresses. we came back in and foolishly resumed our lives like nothing had happened after wrapping up our mattresses. I don't believe the bugs had spread to the upstairs at that time so we thought they were gone. No more bites. after cleaning all our clothes we just put everything back. I don't believe my housemates were as clean as me. The landlord said we had to buy more of the spray and respray in a month but we didn't have the money. that was the only time we sprayed.

    I noticed bites approx April of this year (9 months after spraying). I was only getting 1 bite at a time and very sporadically so i kept thinking it was an allergic reaction or spider bite. 2 weeks ago i looked at my back and had two bites right next to each other and one on my backside. I knew it was bedbugs. I informed my housemate and called the landlord. He said all he would do is spray the same spray. I told him that I want a PCO (for obvious reasons). I spoke with him today and he said that the exterminator that works with his rental service would sell him the chemicals and he could do it himself but it was too expensive to have the PCO do it. We cannot agree on this and finally he agreed to give me the number of the PCO that works for the rental company who i will call tomorrow.

    My landlord is foreign and speaks english okay but has a hard time understanding what we mean sometimes. I have a hard time educating him about bed bugs and i think he has gotten most of his information from friends, etc and doesn't seem to grasp the idea of multiple treatments etc. thinks they only live in the beds. doesn't believe me when i say they live in the house.

    Also, I have only one other housemate who isn't allergic to bed bug bites so he never shows any signs (we know this bc my other housemate who has since moved out slept in the same bed as him and lived in the house and had numerous bites as did i). due to this he doesn't really take it seriously. He understands that he has to wash his clothes and keep things separate but thinks I am a freak with the ziplock bags and keeping my "leaving the house clothes" separate from my "around the house clothes" and my "dirty clothes" he comes and goes in the same stuff. he hasn't started bagging anything up yet due to the fact that we haven't had an exterminator come but i feel as though he's not on board with this thinking its not that big of a deal. (i.e. after me telling him i will move out he calmly states that he wants me to feel comfortable so he understands if I have to leave and that he has tons of friends that could move in...WE HAVE BED BUGS!!!! ugh.)

    All this being said...I made the rookie mistake of spraying that chemical the landlord gave us (air-devil) around the perimeter of my room last Tuesday after finding two overturned dead bed bugs on my floor. I had been gone for a week on vacation and left the windows shut without any air-conditioning...outside temperatures were 103 degrees for multi days (fried?). I went up there today (five days later) and found another overturned dead adult bed bug in almost the same spot....(?) I have bagged all of the clothes and shoes that were laying on the floor (was messy) and left them in the middle of the room in the bags. stuff (clothes/shoes) is still in the closet (unbagged) and everything else is staying in that room (considering them quarantined until i can wash them and airtight seal them). My roommates room is on the other side of the house and i have a craft room (SUPER messy right now with just clothes or mattress) that is directly next to my bedroom. I have not found any evidence in the mattress (it has been wrapped since the last incident) or anywhere else in the house besides my bites and the overturned bugs on the floor.

    Whats even worse is.....i can't bring myself to sleep in there. i just. can't. do it. i stay up all night with my heart racing feeling psychosomatic and itchy and feeling like they're crawling on me now that i know they're there. i fear that scene from an indiana jones movie where the bugs just flow out of the crack in the wall like in the jungle or something. so i've been sleeping in clean clothes with clean sheets on the couch. which i know will just bring them downstairs.

    I'm paralyzed with fear/stress/disbelief. I feel like bed bugs are the same as the stages of grief/loss. after you're done being in denial its a whole other ballgame. i only got as far as bagging up that stuff in my room and starting the ziplock bag system for things to wear to work and to friends houses (i work on a locked psychiatric hospital unit...i'm so embarrassed to tell anyone and afraid they will deem me a hazard to my patients and the environment) and i don't want to bring any with me to hang out with people. beyond that i just change when i get in the house to my "infested around the house clothes" since we haven't exterminated anything yet. I haven't done anything about the clutter in the craft room and i haven't cleaned anything bc i read on here that you want the inspector from the PCO to see EVERYTHING before you vacuum/etc.

    I've already decided I need to move out (bc of housemate lack of concern and landlord) and decided to buy a packtite and plastic zipper bags off site for clothes. i bought a con air fabric steamer that has continuous steam for 60 minutes and 1600 watts and claims on the box it kills bed bugs but now i'm unsure of it...will wait for packtite?

    i know that was long. but i don't know what to do. i guess my question for anyone/everyone (if you have even made it this far since i wrote a novel) where do i go from here? should i start cleaning before anyone comes? Should i be proactive or just continue to exist the same way i was before i knew? what should i do about the clutter in the craft room...what do i do with it (spray paint/sketch books/sewing stuff/jewelry making/text books/electronics/records/crafting supplies). What do I do with the rest of my house stuff? do i have to put all that stuff in zip locks? should i do anything before we figure out the PCO situation (if they're coming, if just my landlord is going to try and exterminate himself)

    SO STRESSED I CAN'T MOVE. I feel like my whole life has been ruined. i fully intend on throwing away my bed when i can finally move to a different spot (i'm on a month to month) and i don't own anything else big...just tons of "clutter": a book shelf, record player, tons of jewelry/cosmetics, books, records, some storage containers, lots of craft and art supplies, and tons and tons of clothes. HELP.

  2. Koebner

    senior member
    Joined: Aug '10
    Posts: 747


    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Jul 16 2012 4:30:15

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    Before you get all pointy-blamey with your housemate, you need to go carefully & calmly through the Bedbugs 1:01 section of the FAQs here;

    You're confused on a number of points - eg; to bag or not to bag; which depends entirely on how you're going to treat things; bagging is, as you say, just quarantine. There are a variety of effective treatments. None of them are magic bullets; it's understanding the problem & approaching it in a calm & methodical way that makes treatment effective.

    Once you've rgot the basics under your belt, the FAQs on self-treatment & moving without moving bugs have lots of useful info. Again - it's the calm & methodical application of that advice that will optimise your effectiveness.

    The Packtite is a great idea but seriously, decluttering is your friend. I know it's hard for many artists & craftspeople to contemplate but it will make life much, much easier for you.

    I suffered years of re-infestations due to my neighbour's dilatory landlord but eventually I was able to move & successfully moved without bugs, so be of good cheer & all that; your problem can be resolved.

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