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Sad bride needs a hug and advice. Couch? Books? Shoes?

(8 posts)
  1. Sprout

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 12 2012 19:51:02
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    Greetings.

    It's been just over a week since my fiance and I became aware of our bedbugs, and it's like life has completely stopped. I'm consumed with paranoia and obsession over the problem. I think I'm posting because 1) I could really use some reassurance because I'm sinking into real hopelessness that's affecting my relationship 2) I am wondering if I can hang out on my couch, as I'm prone to doing (not sleep on it), and 3) I want to know if I should unpack books that have been in boxes since we moved in. Seeing conflicting situations regarding books during treatment. 4) I'm trying to gauge how bad our infestation is.

    Back story:
    We moved into this apartment just under a month ago (going from Tampa to the DC area). I immediately disliked the place for various reasons and was trying to remain positive for my fiance, who'd picked it out without me. We spent several days here with no stuff while we waited for the moving truck; so we've been here with furniture for about 3.5 weeks today. The odd, unidentified bites began appearing on my arms and legs after a week of having our belongings here. I was rarely leaving the house, so it had to be something within. When a particularly bad bite appeared in a cluster of three, I suspected bed bugs (knowing very little about them), and I ripped apart the bed twice, inspecting every seam and crevice to see if we had them. I found nothing. I still kept a passive eye out for any bugs in the apartment, but I was trying to also set up our new home, beginning to job hunt and acclimate to our DC suburb, and was quite busy with wedding planning. This blissfully ignorant period lasted about one week, and then we found them.

    We found two freshly gorged bedbugs on the mattress sides in the early morning of July 4th. Spent the day calling pest companies and leaving voice mails because of the holiday. I was freaking out. I didn't sleep that night, and I spent the next couple nights in the bathtub (fiance still in the bed). Got a PCO over July 6th for Treatment #1. (The company manager is a friend of our very concerned landlord, so we hope that means effective treatment.) I had found one more live bedbug on the living room floor the morning of treatment while vacuuming the couch, and I found two dead ones in random spots. The technicians said our mattress specimens were adults, so the infestation had to be 36+ days old...longer than we've lived here. Though we can only guess, we reason that the bedbugs must have come from either the moving truck or the low-end hotel we'd stayed in in SC on the drive up from Florida. OR a neighbor in an adjacent condo has them. No way to really know for now.

    Treatment #1:
    During treatment, the PCOs actually found ZERO bedbugs and no physical signs of infestation. They located no eggs, waste, or specimens. They are familiar with bedbugs and told us they are in our neighborhood vicinity daily treating for BBs; so it sounds like they would know how to spot them. Chemicals used were Onslaught and Nyguard. They sprayed the bed, bottom of couch, luggage, crevices, some carpeted areas, and, I think, the baseboards. Next treatment is 13 days from the first one (this Wed.). In the meantime, I ordered DE and Cedarcide Best Yet. I'm soon to get mattress encasements.

    Couch:
    I've vacuumed the couch twice (so thoroughly that we joke that I am "violating" it). Put DE under the cushions, inside the seat cushions, near the pillow zippers, and in every fold and crack. We slept on it just one night, July 5th, until we learned better. I was bitten twice that night--this was before the DE application. Haven't been bitten while on the couch since then. Neither I nor fiance nor PCO has seen any visible signs of infestation on the couch. I've taken off covers and inspected stuffing. No stowaways. DE was just to be safe. But I do wonder, is it okay to sit on the couch for a lot of the day? There really isn't anywhere else to hang out in this apartment. I have a couple wooden chairs, but they get uncomfortable quickly. I don't want to worsen an infestation. Like I said, we don't sleep on it at night. I would love to hear an informed opinion on whether I need to stay off of the couch or not during the day/evening. Especially since we've now had the bed treated, I wonder if I should hang out on it instead...but there's nothing to do in the bedroom, and it kinda freaks me out right now.

    Books and Unpacking:
    I'm an English teacher. I have a million books. Some have already been put in basement storage bins (prior to the realization of BBs). They were probably okay because they went straight from boxes to bins...I hope. Our bookshelf books are in 15 long, flat boxes in our living room, packed in Tampa, and have not seen the light of day in the new apt yet. Sitting in stacks on floor. PCO says to unpack them...but I've read people's forum posts about actually packing up their books during BBs. And I've read forum horror stories about having to hunt through every page, microwave novels, etc. So do I have to take them out of boxes?? My current best idea is to alcohol clean the bookcase, surround it in DE, then unpack the books and place them directly on the shelf. Hopefully, they just don't have any bugs; and, hopefully, even if they do, the little bastards would have to walk in DE when leaving the books to come get me. Thoughts? I also have knick-knacks and art still to unpack, same situation. It *feels* safer to leave these items in their current boxes, but I know cardboard boxes are not impervious to BBs. I can't put chemicals on paintings

    Infestation Level and Self-Treatments:
    I know people are always asking how badly they are infested and trying to get feedback on theirs. I wonder how bad my BBs are not only because I am currently obsessed with this, but also because it is perplexing to see NO bugs anywhere. Today I took apart the bed for the first time since treatment a week ago. Ripped fabric from box springs. Saw what I think was one dead bug, plus several very tiny black specks. Don't know if they are bugs...they don't seem to be droppings because they don't smear when wet, and they look like dead baby fleas. Gonna buy a magnifying glass soon because they don't look like any life stage of BB (but please correct me if I'm wrong). Vacuumed the crap out of the box springs and mattress, then under the bed and throughout the room. Saturated box springs with cedar spray and gave king-sized mattress a good all-around light spray. DE'd perimeter of room and closet. Bed legs are sitting in plastic dishes of DE. The last bedroom frontiers to conquer are going to be one large unpacked box of plastic hangers--maybe I can dunk them in something in the tub?--and one large unpacked box of shoes. I would take some advice on the shoes. My current best idea is to sort them into bags based on their fate: shoes that I can pour boiling water onto (lol...not fancy ones); shoes I can maybe dunk in alcohol; no idea what to do with the remainder. I can't buy a huge expensive heater. I kind of envy people who have gotten them, but I'm unemployed and paying for a wedding here...

    Being consumed with this obviously sucks, and it's a rotten situation for an anxious, over-analytical person like myself. It wasn't long ago that I was excitedly focused on our upcoming wedding, and now I barely care about it. (In fact, my dress arrives this week, and I'm terrified to open it here.) This takes a toll on a relationship. My fiance does not react to BB bites, only I do. Who knows how long this would have gone on unnoticed if he lived alone? I've gotten two total big, puffy bites (each in clusters of three), plus a few small ones early on, and I don't believe I've been bit since treatment a week ago. I've had some little itchies, but I suspect they are a combination of paranoid phantom itching and a little irritation from the loads of DE. We've only seen a total of maybe five or six bugs altogether in eight days, and just three have been alive. There are still no obvious droppings or blood spots. I would love to find out that the infestation was very small. Mattress appears as normal. I'm doing constant laundry on our unbagged fabrics, cleaning a lot, reading way too much on bedbugs... Fiance thinks I should chill out, but he does none of the maintenance stuff; all the cleaning, vacuuming, spraying, and DE are just me. A methodical nature is not the worst thing in the world to have when fighting these horrible ninja bugs, I figure, except that there is a fine line between attentive and obsessed. And last night I was randomly afraid of the bed again and slept in the tub, covered in deet, while my man slept in the bed to be bug bait. I don't remember the last time we cuddled. These bugs are ruining my life. Getting used to a new town, finding a job, planning a wedding, and battling bedbugs...

    I appreciate the great information and genuinely helpful people in this forum, so thank you very much for the knowledge and reassurance I've already gained here.

    Sprout, the sad bride

  2. batbugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 12 2012 20:23:03
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    Sorry about your bed bug issue. Try to get some rest. You'll be fine you found out head on and got treatment so you should be fine. Just try and relax. Now that you are aware of the problem and getting treated I sure you are way ahead of the bbs and you will find them before they find you. And welcome to Maryland! I just moved here 8 months ago and I hate this state!

  3. Sprout

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 12 2012 21:47:21
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    Thanks, batbugger Relaxing is easier said than done at the moment, but I keep trying (often with beer ). This area will take some getting used to. We're in Alexandria, VA for now. We'll be scoping out areas to settle and buy a house in the next few years, though, and I have liked parts of MD. What don't you like about it? VA greeted me with bed bugs, so it's gonna need to try a little harder to win me over!

    batbugger - 1 hour ago  » 
    Sorry about your bed bug issue. Try to get some rest. You'll be fine you found out head on and got treatment so you should be fine. Just try and relax. Now that you are aware of the problem and getting treated I sure you are way ahead of the bbs and you will find them before they find you. And welcome to Maryland! I just moved here 8 months ago and I hate this state!

  4. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 12 2012 22:04:09
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    Follow your PCOs advice. If you do have bugs in the books, the goal is that they will be lured out to feed, cross poison and die.

  5. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 12 2012 22:06:11
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    Also, have a hug. ;-).

  6. Sprout

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 13 2012 13:34:26
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    I suppose it makes sense to remove packed items for treatment. I finally got some sleep last night, and it seems to do wonders for one's sense of logic! haha. And, thanks for the hug

    AshamedandScratching - 15 hours ago  » 
    Follow your PCOs advice. If you do have bugs in the books, the goal is that they will be lured out to feed, cross poison and die.

  7. batbugger

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 13 2012 14:18:41
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    Sprout - 16 hours ago  » 
    Thanks, batbugger Relaxing is easier said than done at the moment, but I keep trying (often with beer ). This area will take some getting used to. We're in Alexandria, VA for now. We'll be scoping out areas to settle and buy a house in the next few years, though, and I have liked parts of MD. What don't you like about it? VA greeted me with bed bugs, so it's gonna need to try a little harder to win me over!

    batbugger - 1 hour ago  » 

    I guess all of Maryland isn't bad. I am just not happen with the county laws were I am. Also the cost of living is high and the rice you have to pay to rent in a decent are is ridiculous. We also planned on buying our own home soon but the issues I have been having with lanlord, lawyers and the bugs is taking from our savings! Good luck to you Get it under control. Much beauty rest for wedding!!!

  8. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 6 2012 22:21:26
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    How's it going? Hope you are still getting some sleep.

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT

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