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Severe Reaction to Bite [ID needed; closely related species possible?]

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  1. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Jul 26 2014 23:50:38
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    Two nights ago I woke up at 2a.m., after being asleep for several hours, with intense heat radiating through out my body. My throat become swollen and it was difficult to swallow. My head started pounding and I actually had to get an ice pack to cool off my throat, chest and head. I noticed two bites on the back of my leg when I showered that morning. The heat from the shower intensified the bites. I own a small business where what I thought was a lone bed bug was discovered in late February of this year. It's a retail business with a lot of people coming and going thorough out the day. The bed bug was found in the break room. I called Orkin out to do an inspection of both my business and home as soon as the bed bug was found. The inspector spent about 2 hours at both my home & the business but was unable to find any live bugs, skin castings, eggs or fecal matter. He assured me it was most likely a sole hitch hiker from one of the many customers coming in in & out of the store. I freaked out none the less and paid professionals to steam clean everything in addition to myself cleaning; drying; encasing mattresses & putting down food grade DE. Back to yesterday morning, upon noticing the bites after showering, I searched the bed and found a huge mature bed bug. I ran to get clear tape, I know now I should have had it on hand, only to return and find it gone. I wanted to make sure I had a sample since a PCO would want to see it. I was wondering if I had a severe allergic reaction to the bites? I am currently cleaning, drying and bagging. I haven't slept in two nights. I know it's wrong but I moved to the sofa. I am not sleeping there. I just sit up all night with all the lights on. I can't stop myself. The thought of returning to bed is too scary. It's the weekend and the PCOs I contacted can't come out until Tuesday. I learned my lesson and will get several opinions and inspections. Is there any advice on what I need to do to make sure the inspections & treatments are thorough; how common is my reaction and lastly how to cope with the severe anxiety upon discovering a bed bug on your bed? I feel so disgusted, neurotic, stigmatized, etc. I am not sleeping at all and am exhausted. Apologies if anything in my post is confusing. It's night three and I still don't feel comfortable enough to sleep.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 0:10:32
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    I am not a health professional but it sounds like you may have had a severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is unusual after bed bug bites, but not unheard of. If you experience the signs of anaphylaxis, please seek emergency medical attention right away.

    People are usually encouraged to stay in their homes and beds during treatment for bed bugs but in your case, if you are severely allergic, this may be unsafe, because the symptoms can be more serious the next time.

    Sorry if this is alarming, but one early user of this site had such a reaction and went to the ER when she experienced her groat swelling and trouble breathing. She survived, I'm happy to report, but anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.

    It can result from all kinds of allergies, so be alert that there could be something else causing this reaction instead.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 0:16:14
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    Thank you so much for replying. I will most definitely go to the ER or Urgent Care if I experience a reaction like that again.

  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 3:51:24
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    Hi,

    Just to confirm the advice above. Such extreme reactions are very rare and in 12 years I have only encountered two such cases and in both symptoms more extreme than yours.

    Please try to sleep horizontal, vertical napping has it's own long term issues and is a Plath best avoided.

    I would also suggest you look at the resources section of this site to find the best way to educate the staff at work. A bedbug in the break room makes me thing other staff before customers, bugs on the shop floor away from staff stations makes me think customers but depending upon the type of retail monitoring might be advisable.

    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. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 6:37:02
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    The anaphylactic reaction is indeed quite rare. I am aware of one particular case that made the news here. I've seen bad reactions to bed bug bites, but not any anaphylactic reactions personally. Obviously, it's best if you don't set off the reaction and as in cases where the person has been diagnosed with bee or wasp sting anaphylaxis, he/she carries an epi-pen for such episodes. So, you should consult a health care professional in addition to management of the bed bug introductions and future infestations.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 10:08:20
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    I dug out one description of jessinchicago's experience of anaphylactic shock in this comment from 2006. This is the relevant passage:


    "I was seen by an ER doc, before I knew I was being bitten every night, because my throat swelled almost completely shut for no apparent reason after a few weeks of unexplained allergic reactions. I was put on Predisone and sent to an allergist, who diagnosed me as “allergic to myself,” even after I pointed out the red spots on my ankles that I woke up to every morning. I was prescribed Allegra and an Epi-Pen for the allergies."

    The episode also features in jessinchicago's famous Letter to my bed bugs, a "Best of Craigslist" pick, posted in August 2006, two months before Bedbugger.com was created.

    (Newbites should not be alarmed by Jess's post in other respects-- many of the issues she describes were much more common in 2006, when many fewer people were aware of bed bugs as a problem, a factor which affected how doctors, PCOs, and landlords responded -- and I note many do a much better job today.)

    There are several models of bed bug tent being sold now. They can keep you from being bitten if you go into them without bed bugs on you or your clothing, but you may be bitten if you lean against the outside. It's an imperfect solution, as is "isolating" the bed.

    My understanding is jessinchicago did stay in her home -- if the doctor can prescribe you an epipen, this may give you peace of mind. It may be worth telling your normal doctor about the reaction before one occurs again, as there may be things they can do.

  7. proactv

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 13:10:21
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    BedBugsCharlotte - 12 hours ago  » 
    Thank you so much for replying. I will most definitely go to the ER or Urgent Care if I experience a reaction like that again.

    Just from the perspective of a person in allergy treatments (shots), I have been warned that a reaction involving any throat tightening at all is considered emergency-level serious, therefore, please consider contacting a medical professional BEFORE, not if a reaction happens again.
    Also, if you can find a medical source that is both accessible on-call and familiar with your case, that can be very valuable when you are trying to decide how bad a reaction is and what you should do about it as it is first happening to you.

  8. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 13:45:48
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    Thank you all for your timely replies. David I believe you are correct in your assessment. I believed the first inspector when he said the bed bug came in through a visitor but now that I have spotted two bugs I know it's an employee. I own a small chain of stores and I had not seen any signs or bugs in my home or businesses since the initial sighting. I became an avid reader of this website after the first bed bug was found in February and followed all the steps to avoid bringing them home. I monitor my homes with inceptors, active and passive. I use the CO2 traps when I am at my other house in another state. I was busy all spring in another location and only these past few weeks have I been at the location the bed bug was found. Over the past 2 weeks I noticed my employees were complaining of being bitten in the break room. I did another search. I even ripped the bottom off my Pottery Barn sofa, where the majority of bites occur, but I couldn't find anything. I questioned and informed all of my employees about bed bugs. I am trying hard to stress to them that it's not a matter of cleanliness or socioeconomic standing. We are all women and it's retail so we can all be divas as well. No one is coming forward at this point. One employee I was keeping an eye on said she had a kitten that she adopted that may have fleas. She was covered in whelps on her legs. I also noticed the typical "breakfast, lunch & dinner" pattern. I know that bites are not a good tool for assessment but everything also coincided with me hiring this particular person.
    David I know I should lie down and sleep but I can't. I am worried about the new work week coming up as I work 60-70 hours per week and drive extensibly. I am worried about my workers and their families. I am worried about my family and friends. I am worried about the finical impact. I don't think it was anaphylactic but I am sure it was severe. I didn't eat anything unusual that day. I am going to consult with a doctor but there is no way I would go to my family doctor. I imagine myself to be a bed bug version of Pig Pen, sending off clouds of eggs and instars, where ever I go.
    I have contacted professionals and plan on treating both my Charlotte store and home in addition to scheduling specialists to check all my other properties. But just to give you an idea of the attitude here, one of the websites stated "comb your hair and have someone check it for bed bugs". That was on pest control company's website. I know bed bugs are out there in Charlotte because a Washington D.C. newspaper reported journalist taking them home from the D.N.C. a few years back. I did take my employees out for dinner and we have come up with strategies for inspections and treatments in their homes. If I took one home from what little bit I am there I am fairly certain there have been opportunities for hitch hikers to go to my employee's homes.
    Sorry Nobugsonme I should probably be putting all this in separate threads related to the topics. I checked to see if I could find any referrals for Charlotte, N.C. If anyone has any please feel free to pm me. I will make sure it's taken seriously this time. I live in a country club area and my employees keep my business clean. The last inspector gave me a wink, nod and told me that everything I had looked fine. I am thinking now since he positively identified the first bed bug he should have treated the retail store. I guess at that time I was still believing that something like this could not happen to me. I am a bit O.C.D. with cleaning and other aspects of my life.
    Lastly in closing, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their help and input. This website has been my go to bed bug resource over the past few months and it's extremely well organized and informative. I have no one in my personal life to discuss this with as I am extremely embarrassed at this point.

  9. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 14:02:53
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    BedBugsCharlotte - 7 minutes ago  » 
    I did another search. I even ripped the bottom off my Pottery Barn sofa, where the majority of bites occur, but I couldn't find anything.

    I feel bad that my previous post was so long and confusing. In regards to "the bites" above I meant at the store and the sofa is in the break room at the store. I believe I was bitten for the first time in my bed at home.

  10. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Jul 27 2014 14:18:27
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    proactv - 52 minutes ago  » 

    BedBugsCharlotte - 12 hours ago  » 
    Thank you so much for replying. I will most definitely go to the ER or Urgent Care if I experience a reaction like that again.

    Just from the perspective of a person in allergy treatments (shots), I have been warned that a reaction involving any throat tightening at all is considered emergency-level serious, therefore, please consider contacting a medical professional BEFORE, not if a reaction happens again.
    Also, if you can find a medical source that is both accessible on-call and familiar with your case, that can be very valuable when you are trying to decide how bad a reaction is and what you should do about it as it is first happening to you.

    Thank you for replying so quickly. I read anaphylactic responses to bed bugs are rare. Initially I felt an extreme burning radiating up and down my body. Then it felt as though my throat and head were on fire. It did become difficult to swallow but my nose was also becoming stuffy. My eyes turned red and watery too. I will go ahead and go in but it's the weekend so I need to go to Urgent Care. I was hoping the bites had just triggered a normal histamine response. They are now angry, red and sore. I can feel them when I walk. I have been hanging out in the great room and avoiding my bedroom other than cleaning and inspecting. Again I know I am running the risk of spreading them but decided to err on the side of caution until I spoke with a doctor about my reaction. I will also be beginning professional treatment this week and the cost of shock outweighs any benefits of keeping the bed bugs contained at this point especially since I plan on treating immediately. So far I do not have any new bites or bites that I am reacting to in the same manner.

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 1:53:10
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    Sorry Nobugsonme I should probably be putting all this in separate threads related to the topics. I checked to see if I could find any referrals for Charlotte, N.C. If anyone has any please feel free to pm me.

    BedbugsCharlotte,
    Not sure if you found a PCO yet but you may find relevant suggestions in threads tagged "NC": http://bedbugger.com/forum/tags/nc

    Keep in mind many PCOs will work in an area much larger than one city. Don't be afraid to call those in other major cities in your state or nearby states (if closer). They may service your area or recommend someone who does.

  12. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 11:15:46
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    Everybody has already said it, but take proactive steps to protect yourself.

    I had serious allergies to the bites, but no signs of anaphylactic shock The one thing I learned is that no one reacts the same to the buggers. Just take care of the situation you find yourself in.

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 11:39:48
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    Hi BedBugsCharlotte,

    What you describe is not too far from what we see in hotels where the room staff are both potentially exposed and also potentially the source of the issue. The solution which we tend to roll out is based on staff education of the facts with a focus on ID and confirmation and a camera phone / email confirmation of the status of the monitors in their phone conducted weekly at the start and then dropped back to monthly.

    This is to make sure that their homes neither become and issue from work as well as ensuring nothing is brought to work. It does not rule out the modes of transport that people take in order to get to work but again a systematic and monitoring lead strategy at the work location cuts out the transmission risks.

    I will happily send you some free copies of my book so you can use then in the staff rooms to start sensible and open communication between people. It is far better that companies adopt a proactive and staff education based approach to bedbugs from the start than to get a bad reputation and try to recover from that. If you PM me I will reply with an email address and message to send to have them shipped.

    David

  14. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 14:56:32
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    David I sent you a pm with my email and address. I have contacted a lot of PCOs today in the Charlotte, NC area. I have read a lot of different information on the internet and this website. If memory serves me correctly the general recommendation of professionals is to treat with an integrated approach. I find that companies either want to heat/thermal treat or use pesticides, not both. Also they are only treating areas that show signs of bbs, either through dog alert or human inspection with a 30 day guarantee. I know that dogs and humans can both be infallible with detecting bbs. To thermal treat an entire home and/or office space here in Charlotte costs $3-$5k without pesticides or I can spot thermal treat. No one, not even the pesticide PCOS, are agreeing to come back in 2 weeks which is what I thought Nobugsonme recommended. What to do???

  15. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 15:11:17
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    Hi BedBugsCharlotte,

    The point of the FAQs and detailed options is that you can evaluate what the local options are given your situation. I personally would most likley spec the job in a completely different way to most but that is because with "projects" I am always more systems and processes driven rather than treating and working it out from there.

    What I do is also an integrated approach but I have evolved what we do beyond spraying chemicals through methods designed to eradicate immediately and then through the use of aerosol DE and Passive+ Monitoring and a detailed instruction manual the steps needed to eradicate the infestation are detailed.

    A two week or 14 - 16 day return if needed is pretty sensible in terms of bedbugs because it takes into account any egg hatching. Int he case of the service we provide we do not do an automatic return visit but prefer to educate our clients on how they know if they need a revisit and when that needs to be arranged for.

    Increasingly we only require a single treatment visit to resolve an infestation and the lighter cases are resolved using something akin to the TbyPMR protocol I have linked in other posts.

    David

  16. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 15:42:59
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    Thanks David. I wish we had better choices for bb control in my city. I am worried about the garments my clients purchased. I own a high end clothing boutique and this is not good for business at all but I do understand it's a problem that all modern business owners must learn to cope with. Thanks again.

  17. AbsolutelyFreaking

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 15:46:21
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    Dear BBC,

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation and the stress you are enduring!

    BedBugsCharlotte - 1 day ago  » 
    . . . I haven't slept in two nights. I know it's wrong but I moved to the sofa. I am not sleeping there. I just sit up all night with all the lights on. I can't stop myself. The thought of returning to bed is too scary.

    .

    Nobugsonme - 1 day ago  » 
    People are usually encouraged to stay in their homes and beds during treatment for bed bugs but in your case, if you are severely allergic, this may be unsafe, because the symptoms can be more serious the next time.

    As Nobugs stated and advised above . . . while it is usually recommended for one to stay in their bed so as not to spread the problem, it sounds like a very bad idea for you (to put it lightly).

    Since you are not, cannot, and probably should not, sleep in your bed, I wanted to suggest that you run an active monitor in your bedroom to perhaps "catch" any bed bugs but also so they will hopefully be attracted to the CO2 produced and not go questing for you.

    There are several different monitors available; retail and DIY. The Bed Bug Beacon is a retail monitor that I believe runs for seven days at a time.

    I am in no way associated with the Bed Bug Beacon but merely wanted to offer you a suggestion. Also, if you click on the ads at the right of the page and order through U.S. Bed Bugs, a small amount goes toward funding the site.

    Again, I am so sorry you are having to deal with bed bugs! Good Luck!

  18. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Mon Jul 28 2014 16:02:18
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    Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and concerns. I had purchased both the attractive and passive monitors for my home and business. They have been in use since February of this year. I am not finding anything. I had a PCO do a visual inspection at that time as well. I don't know if the use of DE, painted on lightly with a make up brush, has caused them to scatter. I am not finding anything except for an insect identified as a bb in the office and a rogue one at my home. I am looking into purchasing a tent, constructed in the U.S., to make sure I don't get bitten anymore. I will also be purchasing a dry steamer to help control things in my business as well in case there is someone bringing them in my business. I will be meeting with my business attorney this week to go over what I legally can and can not do in regards to a small business environment. Again I am worried about the litigious aspects as well as not spreading the bbs to my clients or unsuspecting employees. Thank you all again. You all have been my beacon of light in a time when the economic climate is not the best for small business owners.

  19. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Tue Jul 29 2014 13:24:52
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    I am addressing my allergic response to bed bug bites. I scheduled with my family doctor today and was so relieved when they told me a person in their office had treated bed bugs in their home. I plan on seeking allergy treatment as well as something for sleep at a time when rest is imperative.

  20. Nobugsonme

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    Tue Jul 29 2014 19:20:20
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    I had a PCO do a visual inspection at that time as well. I don't know if the use of DE, painted on lightly with a make up brush, has caused them to scatter. I am not finding anything except for an insect identified as a bb in the office and a rogue one at my home.

    I don't think we've heard that DE can cause such effects under such use.

    Your notes that you have found two bed bugs (one at office, one at home) and zero visual evidence of other kinds, may mean as you suggest that they are rogue individuals.

    However, it is unusual to see bed bugs since they hide so well. Seeing both right after they arrive (and before they get settled in) would seem very lucky, though not impossible in a minimalist environment.

    Two "bed bugs" with zero visual evidence could possibly suggest they are actually bat bugs or bird bugs. Can you check whether there are any bats or birds nesting in, on or near the office or home?

    If so, you could have seen bat bugs/bird bugs. These are very closely related species and the typical PCO tech who inspects may not have the experience to tell the difference. They behave a bit differently, and don't harbor in or leave signs in the usual places bed bugs do. Treatment also requires a bit of a different approach (including removing bat or bird nests).

    If you have a sample, experts can ID from a good photo or Lou has invited people to send samples for ID. If not, try and catch the next one if one comes along. And definitely look for the bats and birds or bats' or birds' nests.

  21. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 9:58:26
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    BedbugsCharlotte has sent me a link to this photo which can be posted:

    IMG_0240 by mahoneyfifi, on Flickr

    I am thinking this may not be enough detail to rule out closely related species, but let's see what Lou says. Do you have access to the sample?

  22. loubugs

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 10:24:30
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    That's a weird picture. Brown and glossy but looks very small. Appears to be missing all appendages. Too bad there aren't more specimens and better photograph.

  23. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Wed Jul 30 2014 18:48:18
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    Hi Lou and Nobugs. It's the only photo we have. The staff that photographed it said the bug would pull its legs in when she pointed the pen at it. Is that some thing bed bugs do? OK so to make this post up to date, I had a K9 team come to my business and home Tuesday and today. I thought I had found bed bug eggs in the inventory. The Inspector said it looked like moth larvae. He did a visual inspection first and could not find any signs of bed bugs anywhere. He said the body of the bug in the photo posted does look like a bed bug or possibly a bat bug. He said he couldn't be sure though. This is the second time a PCO has told me the photo does resemble a bed bug. Work was all clear. I was getting nervous that I was unknowingly harboring bed bugs in my home and bringing them to work. Last night was a bad night with very little sleep. This afternoon the K9 inspection came to my home. They also found nothing with the dog and visual inspection. I was able to relax more and it was actually a very good learning experience. The dog handler showed me all his dead mature bed bugs, nymphs, eggs and fecal matter. He also showed me how the dog worked. We hid the samples throughout my home, gave them time to "cook" and sure enough the dog hit on the samples. The Inspector said either it is not a bed bug at all that is biting us or a few are coming in and not surviving. He said the DE was the correct brand and maintenance has been applying it properly in the correct places. The inspections were a hundred a piece. The inspector spent 4 hours with me. I really liked that he allowed me to watch him work and the whole time explained his perspective of bed bugs and their hiding places. He assured me I am not scattering them or pushing them further in hiding with the DE and obsessive cleaning. I felt a lot more comfortable with this Inspector than the previous one from Orkin but that's just my opinion. This K9 crew is with Mr. K Bed Bug Inspectors and his name is Kendall Alexander, the K9 is Lady. Since the issue has been going on & off since February I still want to get a second opinion with Joysie, another K9 Inspector. Also I still need to figure out what is biting us. The bites started in winter and went away only to start back up over the past two weeks. As soon as I started working at the Charlotte location I got bites too. Thanks for taking the time to read.

  24. BigDummy

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    Wed Jul 30 2014 19:03:08
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    BedBugsCharlotte - 1 day ago  » 
    I am addressing my allergic response to bed bug bites. I scheduled with my family doctor today and was so relieved when they told me a person in their office had treated bed bugs in their home. I plan on seeking allergy treatment as well as something for sleep at a time when rest is imperative.

    That's great to hear. My ex had severe reactions to fire ants and had one episode that started to close off her throat. Two years of shots and no more issues with fire ants. It sounds like a long time but I'm just coming to a close on my series of shots myself; at some point a few years back Florida decided it wanted me dead and gave me severe reactions to all things plant and fungi-based so I had to start with the shot therapy. Just today I graduated to one visit a month where I receive a shot in each arm, by the end of the year Florida will have to find a new way to kill me.
    So how about that Epi-Pen, pick one up yet?

  25. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 19:39:21
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    No! My doctor looked at me like I was crazy. I am wondering if they are bat bugs and if the reaction to their bites are worse. The bug I found in my bed looked like the one in the photo but with 6 legs and antennae.

  26. BigDummy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 19:59:23
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    You had an allergic reaction to something that caused your throat to swell and your doc was against the idea of an Epi-Pen?
    Bees are my worst enemy, but they're easy to avoid and we have had an agreement from early on; They don't kill me and I won't kill them. With a reaction as severe as yours I'd think having one around might be comforting. What was the reason for not giving you a prescription for the pen?
    Sorry to hijack the thread.

  27. BedBugsCharlotte

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 11:37:08
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    I think he was under the impression I was blowing it out of proportion because most people don't react so severely to bed bug bites. He gave me a sleep antihistamine pill, Atarax. I called them back this morning and told them I'm not certain it's a bed bug. Now they are calling in the epi-pen. Either I do not have bed bugs or I have a very unusual case. I hope I can find a live sample. That's how I lost the one in my bed. I was too afraid to pick it up and it got away.


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