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Spreading bugs while travelling - how likely?

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  1. shawnkornhauser

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 1:53:33
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    Here's my situation:

    I started getting bites around this past New Years. They were very obvious, and itched. Neither of my house mates have yet to experience any bites, I even have a house mate who's room is connected to mine, with a door connecting the two...she has yet to get bit.

    I had Pest Control come spray once, I couldn't afford more than that). I didn't have too much faith in them anyway, and I had yet to educate myself too much. I then contacted my landlord, who spoke to a Pest Control friend who told him that there is a certain type of spray anyone can purchase which is exactly what any PCO uses. It's called BEDLAM INSECTICIDE. He told me to use it, and I've sprayed my room and a bit in other rooms once every two weeks for about 6 weeks.

    Here's my question:

    After I had just begun spraying my room myself, I needed to go on a trip. I packed very lightly, and treated all of my laundry very carefully. I live in Philadelphia, and stopped in New Jersey, then Virginia, Then Savannah, GA. I was nervous, but I was careful, and brought very little of anything into these homes. I've also yet to here anyone complaining...except for someone in Savannah, GA.

    She began complaining about itchiness a few days after I arrived. I looked at where she was itching, and it resembled bed bug bites...but it could have been anything.

    Now, about 3 weeks later, she says she's itching quite a bit, and has bites on her arms and head.

    I couldn't believe that they traveled with me all the way down the east coast, especially with how careful I had been, on top of the fact that I don't believe I've been getting bitten, and am hopeful this self-treatment ( I know, frowned upon) has worked.

    Is it possible that I've had them this whole time, and have just been reacting much much less? I mean, seemingly nothing...it had only been one month, and the bites were very obvious and itchy. I have red bumps on my skin, but I chalk them up to skin blemishes, pimples, spider bites at the most...none of them itch. And my house mates have yet to experience anything.

    Sorry to ramble...

  2. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 10:33:09
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    Hi Shawn -

    Your roommates could be getting bitten. Lots of people don't react to bedbug bites. A bedbug feeds on their blood, and their skin shows zero reaction. I encourage you and your roommates to inspect their rooms as well as all common areas in the house.

    Even if the bedbugs started out in your room, they might have spread to other areas in the house to avoid the pesticides that were put down in your room mostly.

    I haven't experienced this, but some people report their reactions change over time. I'm thinking of one person whose skin used to flare up at first, but showed no reaction later on. She didn't move, and bedbugs were still in her home; she would see them crawling on the walls. Obviously, they were still feeding off of her. I don't how common it is for reactions to change like this, but it does happen.

    Bedbugs hitchhike on humans and their stuff all the time. I'm sorry to tell you that this is common. It's how they spread. There could've been a few bedbugs in your suitcase, in your car, in packed clothing that hadn't been sealed up in an airtight way after proper laundering ... so many possibilities ... in clothing you were wearing when you left your house ...

    Did your roommates come along on the trip? They live in a home with bedbugs but it sounds like the presumption is that they don't "have" them. If they took zero precautions, then I'd say spreading them is all that more likely. All it takes is one inseminated female bedbug to spread the pain.

    If it turns out your friend in Georgia has bedbugs now, there's no way to say with 100% absolute certainty that you were the exposure source. But the timing and evidence strongly suggest that you probably were. I know that's painful to even contemplate ... I'm sorry.

    If you stayed with friends in those other states, there's a chance bedbugs might've spread to them also. But they may be non-reactors and so have no idea until the population becomes more visible.

  3. shawnkornhauser

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 11:06:45
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    Yeah, you're not telling my anything I haven't read...

    How terrible.

    What do you suggest I do? I saw evidence of them when it first started (blood stains, one actual bug) but have yet to see anything since then.

    I'm sleeping in the room it seemingly originated in....if I lay down a white sheet would it be more obvious if they were present?

  4. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 13:24:11
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    Just responding to the questions you asked.

    If you're still uncertain, read the FAQs again and follow them, so you don't spread bedbugs to more places.

  5. MixedFeelings

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 13:30:34
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    If you haven't already, please inform the people you stayed with that they may have been exposed to BBs.

    MF

  6. shawnkornhauser

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Mar 26 2008 23:37:09
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    Oh, I didn't mean to sound prickly...I was pointing out that I know all these things, and that I think I've just been in denial. I appreciate you responding very much.

    I'm a little unsure of how to proceed at this point. My landlord has given his "support" by buying some OTC spray for us to apply ourselves...

    It seems that even if it appears to have subsided, the only way to be certain(?) is to get a PCO that knows what they're doing to spray 2-3 times over the course of a month or so.

    Would you agree? And if so, should I insist that my landlord pay the expense?

    Thank you again.

  7. bugbasher

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Mar 27 2008 8:04:22
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    Shawn,
    You would need to contact your city to see if the LL is responsible for eradication or not.I believe there is a number to report them there,it might be 311 like it is here in NYC.I'll assume oyu have read the FAQ's already.Depending on the size of your building,he may or may not be responsible.At least he seems like he wants to help,that's good.First, Bedlam is a very good product.Second,it's only as good at getting rid of them as the person using it.Unfortunately ,a lot of pco's know less about these bugs than you do.If it's a small building and you can coordinate efforts,you might be successful on your own.But I caution you,everyone must be totally cooperative for this to happen.If everyone is on the same schedule,they would be unable to ping pong back and forth between units(which is what normally happens).You should also get some food grade DE to treat electrical outlets,switches,and pipe openings since this is where they may try to hide while everyone is treating.The DE can be used anywhere it will not be disturbed (you don't want to breath it)and caused to become airborne particles.You need a thin layer of it,not clumps,as they will avoid large amounts on the ground by walking around it.There are excellant websites that explain where to apply the bedlam and DE,and how often to do so.It has a residual,so a 2 week schedule should work,if applied in the right places(ALWAYS READ THE CAN CAREFULLY AND FOLLOW THE MANUFACTERS ADVICE).The DE lasts forever,so no need to reapply in all those areas every 2 weeks.Hope this helps.If you feel after reading this that certain people involved(other tenants)may not cooperate,ask the LL to call in a pco to treat all units at the SAME time(this is crutial to avoid the ping pong effect discussed earlier).You may also want to encase your mattress and boxspring.Good luck and keep us posted.

  8. persona-non-bugga

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Mar 27 2008 9:17:59
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    Shawn,

    For whatever reason, it seems you're reading a lot of information and not processing it. And having trouble turning that information into appropriate action. For instance, you already know that some people don't react to bites. But you kept repeating that your roommates aren't getting bitten suggesting that means there are no bedbugs in their room. You know sloppy pesticide application can scatter bedbugs to other spots in the house, but you don't seem to appreciate the risk of that having happened in your house.

    READ the FAQs on this site. When you read something that seems overwhelming, resist the temptation to go into denial. Trying to fish for other answers/shortcuts on the forums that will support your denial isn't helpful. Just take a breath. Read the info again and accept it.

    I'll repeat what I already suggested you do: INSPECT YOUR ENTIRE HOME. That means living room, ALL bedrooms, closets, etc. There are videos on this site that show how to conduct a search (in a hotel room). Use a flashlight, magnifying glass and a crevice tool - like a business card or toothpick and hunt the bedbugs down. You'll see on the video: inspecting will require taking furniture apart, emptying shelves & drawers, checking molding. It's a lot of detail work.

    If it turns out to be necessary, TREAT YOUR ENTIRE HOME. Treating your room only is not going to work.

  9. LifeGoesOn

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 20 2012 5:37:12
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    Hey Shawn!
    I can't imagine if you took precautions that you would spread the bed bugs that easily. If that were the case they would spread even faster than they do now. Were you talking with your friend about them before the trip or during? I wouldn't tell all the people you visited that you have dealt with them because it can just cause unnecessary panic and anxiety.

    -Sam


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