Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Detection / Identification of bed bugs

The Obstacles Low-Income Apartment Dwellers Face

(50 posts)
  1. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 13:04:24
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I had been homeless, forced to spend nights in a bedbug-infested shelter run by a staff too ignorant to know what to do and too arrogant to be told. I moved into a low-income housing project, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw there was a bedbug-treatment clause in my lease. What I didn't know: There had been a bedbug problem in the housing project for quite some time before I moved in.

    After just a couple of weeks, I began to feel bug bites. I contacted the landlord. She responded by saying she would send maintenance in to do a "light spraying, just for your benefit, but we don't have bedbugs here." They did spray something that was pretty strong, but it did nothing to stop the bites. They got worse.

    To make a long story short, the landlord sent a company called Smithereen Pest Management in to inspect for bedbugs. The dude representing Smithereen looked my bed over and said he couldn't find any bedbugs. I presented him with a bedbug carcass, identified by me from bedbug photos on the Web. He claimed it was just "a carpet beetle". I told him carpet beetles don't bite. We went back and forth and finally, he said there was no justification to exterminate unless I could present him with live, crawling bedbugs. And before I angrily demanded he leave my apartment, he stated that bedbug treatment wasn't "cost-effective" because most people can't feel the bites.

    I went to the Housing Authority. They referred me back to the landlord. I went to the Health Department. They told me they had no jurisdiction over privately-owned housing. When I told them I lived in public housing, they told me they had no jurisdiction over that, either. I went back to the Housing Authority and kept hounding them until they put me in touch with a representative of HUD (Housing and Urban Development). The HUD person referred me back to a local agency called the Housing Development Commission. The Commission contacted the landlord and was told the landlord had sprayed. I pressed to find out what the landlord had sprayed for, and was told it was German cockroaches. I don't have German cockroaches! I've seen nary a roach anywhere. I clean that apartment every day.

    I'm now getting notices from the landlord stuck in my door saying she'll be in to inspect for bedbugs, always when I'm away at work. The landlord is telling the Housing Commission that they are spraying for bedbugs, but I see no evidence of that, and my apartment is so badly infested it is painful to even sit at my desk and write a letter. I have begun hounding the Housing Commission, and their response is that they will close their investigation into bedbugs at my housing complex this week.

    "Your management says they are exterminating," I was just told. "If you aren't satisfied with what's being done, you are free to hire your own exterminator." If I could afford an exterminator, I wouldn't be living in a low-income apartment complex! What's more, my lease explicitly forbids me from self-exterminating.

    That said, I am spending so much of my income on moth balls, ammonia, alcohol, itching creams, a space heater, a steamer, etcetera, trying to keep the bugs off me, that I can no longer afford my utilities (which include gas).

    On top of those expenses, my landlord, after having me sign a lease for rent that I felt was quite reasonable, called me into the office two months later, said "we've made mistake on your rent" and demanded that I pay over $20.00 more per month. I had to agree or be put out on the street. My income was, and still is, the same as when I moved in. Adding insult to injury, the landlord demanded back rent for the time I was paying the amount that was "a mistake".

    Homelessness looms again. I don't see how I can avoid it.

  2. theyareoutthere

    oldtimer
    Joined: Sep '11
    Posts: 3,255

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Jul 28 2014 18:24:31
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Here's the link to your original post. I'm sorry you are going through this. ARe there any not-for-profit tenant rights groups in the KC area?

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bedbugs-in-low-income-housing

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT
  3. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 7:18:32
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I'd still like to confirm that we are actually dealing with bed bugs here. Reading back over your initial post what you were describing does not sound like a bed bug to me. Please provide photos when possible, it will make it easier for the folks on here to help you with a proper plan.

  4. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 9:55:37
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I am not well-versed in the use of camera phones, and these things are usually too small to see. Often, when I pull them off my skin, I can't see them, but I can FEEL them. They feel like tiny, hard peanut shells, and they are flat-bodied.

    I do not think there is any doubt about them being bedbugs; my neighbors tell me there was a bedbug problem in the complex before I moved in. It is astounding, to see the amount of upholstered furniture and bedding that some of my neighbors throw out. Late last week, a woman in an adjacent building told me she had to throw out her entire bed. I have also had to do that, it took less than two weeks for my new, inflatable bed to become infested. However, it appears not every building in the complex is infested, or there are a lot of people who are immune to bedbug bites. You would think they could feel them crawling, though.

    I will have to investigate tenant's rights groups in Kansas City, but I fear these negligent landlords and public officials would respond to nothing less than a lawsuit. I have spent a huge amount of time trying to find legal representation. Legal Aid? No go: "We don't have the funding." I even had a special referral service search out a private attorney. Again, no go. One lawyer I contacted said bluntly: "Low-income housing? We can't make any money off that kind of case."

  5. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 10:04:54
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi stuffedanimal,

    Would you be willing to post some samples so they can be confirmed?

    Having bedbugs in one apartment in a building does not mean all apartments have them.

    There are a few things in what you have said that confirm the need to get a positive identification before proceeding.

    If you PM me I will happily give you a postal address to send them.

    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
  6. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 10:32:46
    #



    Login to Send PM

    If I can figure out how to take phone pictures of these things (and I've already said that they're too small to make out, usually), what do I do with the pictures? I am not 100% Internet savvy.

  7. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 10:35:02
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    This is why I am saying send me something and I will take the pictures and upload it.

    David

  8. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 10:42:15
    #



    Login to Send PM

    stuffedanimal - 45 minutes ago  » 
    and these things are usually too small to see. Often, when I pull them off my skin, I can't see them, but I can FEEL them. They feel like tiny, hard peanut shells, and they are flat-bodied.

    I'm not sure what you're dealing with, but that is not a bed bug. Could be that the first PCO was correct in his identification of a carpet beetle.

  9. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 10:44:14
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi BD,

    An address has been provided to send samples, we will know what they are once they arrive. Lets hope its post haste.

    David

  10. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 13:15:31
    #



    Login to Send PM

    blockquote>
    I'm not sure what you're dealing with, but that is not a bed bug. Could be that the first PCO was correct in his identification of a carpet beetle.

    You are wrong. These bugs bite. And they leave bloodstains.

    Everybody knows that there are different species of insects. All cockroaches do not look exactly the same, and I'm sure bedbugs are the same way. I am really tired of showing people my scars and the stains on my clothing and having them assure me that bedbugs wouldn't do that. It's not helpful.

  11. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 13:39:15
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Since I bring biting bugs and itching skin to my workplace, and my co-workers have been complaining of bug bites, I felt it was my duty to inform my employer of the bad infestation in my apartment. Here, from an internal email, is the response I got today:

    We have received the report regarding the bed bug inspection at (the library). According to the report, an inspection was made of the lobby, restrooms, conference room, shelving for books, cd’s and dvd’s, employee break room, employee offices, desks, computers and chairs. Based on the inspection, there was no evidence of bed bug activity at (the library).

    We understand your concern about the risk of exposure to your fellow employees and library patrons. From the results of our exterminator’s inspection, it is apparent that the steps you have taken to eliminate or, at least, reduce that risk have been effective. While we cannot do anything as it relates to your infestation problem at home, we will continue to monitor the situation at (the library) and appreciate your continued efforts to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of exposure.

  12. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 14:49:57
    #



    Login to Send PM

    stuffedanimal - 1 hour ago  » 
    blockquote>
    I'm not sure what you're dealing with, but that is not a bed bug. Could be that the first PCO was correct in his identification of a carpet beetle.
    You are wrong. These bugs bite. And they leave bloodstains.
    Everybody knows that there are different species of insects. All cockroaches do not look exactly the same, and I'm sure bedbugs are the same way. I am really tired of showing people my scars and the stains on my clothing and having them assure me that bedbugs wouldn't do that. It's not helpful.

    I'd be willing to wager that I'm not wrong. Provide a sample, a photo, or some physical evidence. If the infestation is as large and long established as you say this should be simple. Otherwise you're applying bed bug tactics to an unknown irritant, which is getting you nowhere and wasting time and money.

  13. AshamedandScratching

    senior member
    Joined: Aug '11
    Posts: 659

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 15:24:56
    #



    Login to Send PM

    It sounds like David is offering to do the ID, so I think it's best to wait for him to do the id. Please do take him up on that, stuffed animal. Arguing whether the person's description is or isn't bed bugs won't help the problem they're dealing with & if they don't have the technology to post a picture is only frustrating.

    Obviously, something is bothering the OP, and hopefully an id and any additional information David provides will be helpful to the situation.

  14. theyareoutthere

    oldtimer
    Joined: Sep '11
    Posts: 3,255

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Jul 29 2014 18:25:22
    #



    Login to Send PM

    AshamedandScratching - 2 hours ago  » 
    ---duped. :-/

    To the original poster, A&S means duplicate posting that she erased. I second A&S and others who are recommending that you send a sample to David and don't worry about the phone.

    It's great that the library checked.

    Good luck.

  15. bedbuggedinwv

    newbite
    Joined: Jul '14
    Posts: 12

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 13:46:01
    #



    Login to Send PM

    At work today, I felt a pinch on my shoulder, which left a little spot like several I have been experiencing. I immediately went to the bathroom to scour through my clothing. I didn't see anything in the seams, but, as I was preparing to leave work, I looked down and saw something on my finger. It is tiny, and, fortunately, at work, we have Ziplocs, so I tossed it in. I am currently at the library. I have looked it over with a magnifying glass and can't really make any sense of it. It is so small. I know that there are some very talented etymologists here and am hoping that someone can help with the little that I do have. It may require a miracle. I have a horrible camera phone, and taking a picture with mine was worthless, so I went up to the copy shop and had them scan it to me. Unfortunately, it is very small, and I'm not sure that the picture is helpful at all. The other unfortunate thing is that I am very computer illiterate, and I can not figure out how to upload a picture out of the PDF file that they sent me. Is there any way that I can e-mail a photo to one of you guys that know what you are doing? Or is there a way to pull it out of PDF? Sorry again. Finding this bug freaked me out, as it is the first I've really found ON me, and so I'm trying to figure out what I'm dealing with.

  16. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 16:34:11
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I feel thankful we are getting treated, but this is one thing that can bankrupt you if you're already low on funds.

    Not only that, you can lose your apartment. My part-time, minimum wage income is spread so thin, I can't afford utilities (I have to pay gas, which is outrageous. While I was using a space heater to discourage bedbugs, my electric bill went sky-high, too). If your utilities get shut off, my lease says it's automatic eviction. I'm afraid it's just a matter of time, because I can't pay off the overdue balance.

  17. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 16:36:09
    #



    Login to Send PM

    theyareoutthere - 22 hours ago <a h
    It's great that the library checked.

    I'm not sure they did check, or are just saying that for my benefit. But co-workers are still complaining of bites, I'm still getting itchy hands from touching the library materials, and the administration appears prepared to do exactly nothing.

  18. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 17:01:49
    #



    Login to Send PM

    stuffedanimal wrote,

    Everybody knows that there are different species of insects.

    This is exactly why David is going to look at your samples and ID them. It may be a different pest is troubling you and needs different treatment.

    Hang tight and I am sure you'll have an ID soon.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  19. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 17:04:35
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I appreciate the encouraging words. I have heard so few over the year this nightmare has been happening. Yesterday, I went to see a new doctor for treatment of my bug bites. When I said "bedbugs", dude liked to have backed up against the wall! He looked at me like I had the plague. Shortest doctor visit I ever had, but I did get a prescription for steroid ointment.

  20. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 18:26:37
    #



    Login to Send PM

    stuffedanimal - 1 hour ago  » 

    I feel thankful we are getting treated, but this is one thing that can bankrupt you if you're already low on funds.

    Not only that, you can lose your apartment. My part-time, minimum wage income is spread so thin, I can't afford utilities (I have to pay gas, which is outrageous. While I was using a space heater to discourage bedbugs, my electric bill went sky-high, too). If your utilities get shut off, my lease says it's automatic eviction. I'm afraid it's just a matter of time, because I can't pay off the overdue balance.

    Utility companies can be very understanding if you just stay in contact. I know back in Baltimore it was almost impossible to have your gas turned off as long as you were willing to work with the utility company. It's easier to assist than to carry. Call them and just be honest about what you're dealing with; it's not as if you are intending not to pay.

  21. P Bello

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '11
    Posts: 4,863

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Jul 30 2014 20:38:34
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Dear stuffed,

    I'm sorry you're going through this and while David is capable of bed bug identification, shipping a sample to London will take time and be costly which may be of concern for someone with limited resources.

    A quicker way to get an ID would be to bring your samples to a local entomologist there in KC, where I think you're at from a post above, or mail to a local University Department of Entomology.

    If this sounds practical to you please respond and I'll refer you to some qualified folks in your area.

    pjb

  22. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 0:04:35
    #



    Login to Send PM

    That's a good suggestion from paul.

    Note you can also take samples to an entomologist at a county extension office in your area. There's a cooperative extension service finder in the resources page.

  23. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 10:00:03
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I've sent the carcasses I collected to David. I'll need to collect some more (unfortunately, that probably won't be hard to do), and then I can contact a local entomologist.

    I have only scratched the surface of the bedbug problem here in KCMO. It is a citywide problem that public officials and the media seem determined to play down. In a nutshell, I have yet to find any agency that will help low-income people to free themselves of this pestilence.

    Locally, I'm being advised by people (acquaintances, because all my friends fled when I told them of my infestation) to leave Kansas City and move somewhere with a sensible public policy RE bedbugs. It would involve leaving behind all my belongings (I can't afford storage), breaking my lease and being homeless for an indefinite period of time wherever I end up. It is tempting, because I've been tortured by bedbug bites for over a year . . . but a voice in the back of my head keeps saying: "Bedbugs are a natural phenomenon, and you can't run away from them."

  24. P Bello

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '11
    Posts: 4,863

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 10:00:53
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Whoa !

    Please note that not ALL county extension agents are equally skilled and this can be problematic.

    While we'd expect that the NY S Cornell Cooperative Extension county agents located in say Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx, NY counties may have actually seen a bed bug before, this would not be so in other less urban locations. This is so because such county agents in such locations are primarily agricultural extension type folks. And, while they are well versed at corn root worm, cabbage loopers and the like, good luck finding one of them that is well versed at handling urban structural pests such as bed bugs.

    Doesn't make this a bed idea, it's not. In fact, in a perfect world, these folks would be trained in such pests. It just ain't a perfect world out there kids.

    pjb

  25. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 10:58:00
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Stuffedanimal,
    I deleted your most recent message. Please do not post others' personal information (email addresses, names, or email messages to you) on the forums. See the terms and conditions of use and forum rules. Agreeing to these rules is required at registration for this site.

    This is the relevant section of the forum rules:

    Anonymity and posting personally-identifying or personal information

    Please do not post personally-identifying or personal information (yours or that of other users if they have shared it with you).

    Links to personal websites or photo accounts will identify you easily and should not be used unless you use your real name here and intend to continue doing that forever. Professionals may wish to use their own real names and tell us which business they work for if this is not clear or well-known. If someone has used their real name on the forums (e.g. Jeff White, whose username includes his name, or David Cain, who signs his messages as such, or Lou Sorkin whose handle loubugs is well known to forum users), it's fine to refer to them by name.

    Most forum users who are not entomologists or otherwise in the bed bug industry prefer to use anonymous usernames, and not to post private information, since this site is indexed by Google. If you post your information, someone searching for your name, email, etc. will be stumbling upon this website for a long time. (Note that automated bots search the internet for email addresses to use for spam, so posting your email address on the forums isn't even a great idea if you are a well-known industry figure.) Be sure and read what the Terms and Conditions say about posting personally-identifying information.

    Don't post private messages publicly.

    Thanks for your understanding!

  26. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 12:17:11
    #



    Login to Send PM

    This email exchange between myself and an official at the Housing Development Commission in the state that I live in has been re-posted minus any identifying information. Bedbugger administrators deleted the previous posting. I believe it contains important information of an educational nature regarding this forum topic. If you can decipher the thread, as background you need to know that I'm trying to get the HDC to compel my low income housing landlord to exterminate for bedbugs:

    Mr. (deleted),

    Let me respond to your responses:

    I did not misquote you. There was nothing in the statement you left on my voicemail to indicate you wanted me to "get with (my) manager" to determine a better exterminator to contract with. You suggested that I hire an exterminator myself.

    It is not enough for a landlord to treat public housing for vermin. The treatment must be effective. Whatever they are doing is not effective. There are termites and now cockroaches (I saw the first one today) in the building, in addition to bedbugs. All this treating for cockroaches that Ms. (deleted) confirmed appears to have done nothing but move them into my unit. I clean my unit every day by necessity as well as by habit.

    Most of the bedbug carcasses I've found were pulled off of my skin! My killing them in this way does not indicate effective treatment. As for their food supply, sir, I AM THEIR FOOD SUPPLY. They live on blood.

    If I am contacting you RE a Section 8 public housing unit that I live in, you certainly can assume that my income is very low. To assume otherwise would be absurd.

    Carpet cleaning is not enough to kill bedbugs or any other type of crawling vermin I know of. That is also absurd.

    In your reply, you have failed to confirm that (deleted) Apartment management treated specifically for bedbugs. I requested that specificity from you. Sir, I would like to speak with your supervisor. I find your communication to be less than professional.

    (stuffedanimal)

    On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:09 AM, (deleted) wrote:
    Thank you Mr. (deleted) for your response. As for your questions see reply below:

    · Why, when I informed your agency of the unreliability of (deleted) Pest Management and later of the alert posted against this company by the Better Business Bureau, did you respond in this way: "If you are not satisfied with the exterminating service that your apartment manager uses, you are free to hire an exterminator of your own choosing?" Are you not aware that apartment dwellers are forbidden by lease to exterminate their own units? And why, knowing that I am a person of meager income living in Section 8 housing, would you advise me to hire my own exterminator? Did you actually believe I could afford to do that?

    o As I previously explained, we do not mandate or steer an owner to a vendor just as we are unable to steer tenants to a development. They are free to choose whom they deem necessary just as a tenant is free to choose the development in which they apply.

    o My statement, though misquoted, was made to allow the possible option to choose another company to treat your unit but to get with your manager in doing so.

    o I do not have the pleasure of assuming in what I do. I cannot assume what your income is or what abilities you have or don’t have when it comes to your housing. I can only provide the adequate solution to the concerns presented to me by my superiors, tenants, and manager/owners.

    · Has (deleted) Apartment management told you, in writing or otherwise, that they have exterminated my building specifically for bedbugs? (If they did treat for bedbugs, it would have to have been in more than one unit.) Or did they merely say they had sent in an exterminator without specifying what he was treating the units for?

    o (deleted) has complied with all that I’ve asked thus far and have verified request as directed concerning this investigation.

    o Currently we have verified that your unit has been treated as late as June 6, 2014 and July 18, 2014 with a unit check on 7-25-14 as requested by our office.

    Now, you stated that you have found bug carcasses and that you are unable to catch a live bug. Carcasses would indicate that treatment is working. Not being able to catch them would also indicate that the treatments are working. Bed bugs tend to colonize an area conducive to growth and food supply. My proposal to management is that they have your carpet cleaned. This would allow any residual insects to be captured. Once it is scheduled you will be notified of the date.

  27. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 15:30:46
    #



    Login to Send PM

    In order to deal with termites the building would have to be vacated.
    Seems like pretty normal stuff in his responses, I must be missing something.

  28. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 16:17:45
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Some clarification:

    You can always tell when someone's been in your home when you're not there (at least, I can), especially for extermination, and on only one occasion have I confirmed the presence of an exterminator, back in February or March. The landlord is lying about treating my unit. On one occasion, my landlord claimed the exterminator was in my unit on a certain day, at a certain time. I was there. The exterminator was not.

    Furthermore, this same exterminator (whom I can't name here) came to inspect my apartment one day when I was at home, and told me in no uncertain terms that, unless I could produce "live" bedbugs for him to see instead of the carcass I presented him with, he would never exterminate my unit. After arguing with me, he allowed that there might be bedbugs but that it wasn't "cost effective" to treat since most people don't feel the bites. I have also received from my landlord assurances that bedbugs are a "clean" infestation that don't spread disease; therefore, I should just go buy "itch cream".

    As most people on this website know, a bug carcass is not convincing evidence of successful extermination. It may be evidence of molting. And it is absurd to say that an infestation can be stopped by cleaning a carpet. My carpet is vacuumed daily, and it doesn't do any good. Also absurd: Requiring tenants to "catch" live bedbugs in their hands. Would they expect a tenant to "catch" cockroaches or silverfish?

    Finally, I am dealing with an agency that oversees Section 8/public housing. Residents of those housing projects are aged/low income/handicapped, and in just about any apartment complex, DIY extermination is forbidden by lease. This official should know as much. And if he intends to carry on an intelligent conversation about bedbugs, he needs to know something about them. I told him in earlier exchanges that I had blood-sucking insects in my apartment. He obviously did not pay attention; or maybe he just doesn't care?

  29. P Bello

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '11
    Posts: 4,863

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2014 22:31:35
    #



    Login to Send PM

    BD said:
    "In order to deal with termites the building would have to be vacated."

    This would only be true if we were dealing with a fumigation type treatment which is usually done for drywood termites. It is not necessary to vacate the structure when treating for subterranean termites. Additionally, drywood termites are not indigenous to Missouri so, there's that . . . Florida and Gulf Coast states yes, colder states, not so much !

    Dear stuffed,

    Section 8 housing falls under the guidelines & requirements of HUD. These folks have specific language regarding pests and pest control.

    Unfortunately, the local administrators investigations can be limited to a phone call to a property manager inquiring if they've had pest control services done for bed bugs and the status thereof.

    As such, you may need to be persistent in your calls up the chain to reach a regional or above type HUD person.

    Sorry you're going through this, hope this helps ! pjb

  30. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 1 2014 1:10:30
    #



    Login to Send PM

    [Admin note:

    Stuffedanimal's thread was accidentally deleted and (unlike most deletions) can't be directly restored, for complicated reasons.

    I was able to find most of the missing posts and move them into this thread above. There are a few gaps.]

    My apologies for the error, go to StuffedAnimal and anyone whose posts are missing above. I have restored the title also.

  31. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 1 2014 1:27:58
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Just a follow-up: I think I have restored all of the posts now. Again, my apologies.

  32. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 10:24:13
    #



    Login to Send PM

    With all identifying information deleted, here is the email response from my employer that I received this morning to an email complaining of terrible itching and burning when I touch certain items that I work with every day. I also warned my employer (a customer service-type organization with maximum daily interaction with the public) about the likelihood of my transmitting bedbugs to co-workers and patrons.

    Since you initially brought your home infestation problem to our attention over a year ago, (deleted) has consulted with licensed and certified exterminators and had the Branch physically inspected for bed bugs on three separate occasions, with several intervening periodic inspections on a bi-monthly basis. Each inspection revealed no evidence of bed bug infestation at the (deleted). We have also talked with a number of employees at the (deleted), none of whom, other than you, having expressed any concern whatsoever about the presence of bed bugs or bed bug bites. Therefore, we have fully investigated your complaints and consider the matter closed.

    My response:

    The matter can not be closed as long as there is danger of bedbugs (or whatever this horrible infestation is) being transmitted from my untreated apartment to the (deleted), and that danger definitely still exists.

    I don't know who you talked to . . . you don't name names. I told you specifically who had complained to me about bug bites; are you telling me they denied it? But you are still holding me at arm's length! Nobody in the administration has talked to me personally since I brought this problem to your attention again. I even offered to show you the insect bites and scars on my body, as humiliating as that would be.

    Is it that the people downtown just don't care, Ms. (deleted), about the health and welfare of staff and patrons? What is it about the words"transmission" and "infestation" that I can't get across to you? What is it about the burning and itching I feel at work when I come in contact with certain materials that you feel is insignificant enough to be dismissed?

    When I previously exchanged emails with you, I noted that my supervisor (deleted) was the only one who showed any concern about my well-being. That is still true! And it's still a shame!

  33. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 10:40:02
    #



    Login to Send PM

    "complaining of terrible itching and burning when I touch certain items that I work with every day"

    That does not sound like a bed bug-related symptom.

  34. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 11:14:52
    #



    Login to Send PM

    What people are experiencing in my workplace are burning and itching sensations and bug bites. So it could be a combination of things. I am convinced that bedbugs is one them.

    There is such a stigma attached to the word "bedbugs", I'm going to try just omitting it. I'm just going to say: There is something here that needs to be identified and exterminated. I have a sick feeling that approach won't do much good, either, but I'm going to try it.

  35. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 11:46:18
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    I strongly suspect that this workplace exposure is in fact "paper mites" which can also be called the following names:

    • Cable mites
    • No-see-ums

    It is also triggered by carpet beetle larval hairs and is the reason why I always say "bite like" when discussing CB's. In essence it is the immune response to the body having been pierced with a fine needle like object.

    Sadly the education of the industry in this area is shamefully lacking and while is is technically a "non pest" issue it is a situation that pest professionals do come across and usually rack up to "head bugs" or some such unprofessional rubbish.

    It is an issue that can be resolved with environmental remediation and controlling the dryness of the air.

    David

  36. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 12:41:56
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Well, if I give my employer that information, my employer is just going to ignore me. My administrators are already hostile to my alerting them about a workplace hazard. Besides, they know that I'm not an expert on these matters.

    At the end of the day, it's not my job to identify the offending insect correctly. I've done my part already. They've simply got to get some exterminators into the place who can correctly evaluate the problem. But first they need to be willing to admit there's a problem, and not dismiss complaints of working conditions that are so unpleasant as to the point of being painful.

    However, paper mites doesn't appear to be the right explanation for what's infesting my apartment so badly. Not when I'm peeling tiny insects off my skin, getting rashes and suffering bite scars!

  37. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 13:13:22
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    But nothing in the sample you sent me is insect based. There is a variety of organic and inorganic material but nothing that could "crawl or walk".

    While I fully appreciate that you symptoms are guiding you towards an insect based problem the data I have evaluated would point towards an environmental issue. I am happy to look through some sticky tape lifts for mites or anything similar but that's the closest it could be to insect.

    The ID thread is here:

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/stuffedanimal-you-samples-arrived

    David

  38. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 14:13:02
    #



    Login to Send PM

    bed-bugscouk - 58 minutes ago  » I am happy to look through some sticky tape lifts for mites or anything similar but that's the closest it could be to insect.

    Please do. Because my imagination certainly cannot produce burning, itching skin and long scars all over my body.

  39. bed-bugscouk

    oldtimer
    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 16:42:10
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Hi,

    I am not saying and have not said it's your imagination. I am offering to look at more possibilities but part of that process is being open to non insect issues such as the ones I have listed above.

    I have seen too many people refusing to accept it's not bedbugs to contribute to thoughts down that path.

    David

  40. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Aug 5 2014 17:01:44
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I'm not wedded to the bedbug thing. I just know it's SOME thing. It would be a blessing if it turns out to be an infestation that's easy to treat, after all these months.

  41. JustChecking

    oldtimer
    Joined: Nov '13
    Posts: 782

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Aug 6 2014 17:35:17
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Stuffedanimal, sorry to hear about your agony. I have a mysterious condition, too. I have experienced the burning and itchy sensation. However, it’s tough to say how often, etc., as I may be a bit of non-reactor.

    You’re brave to let your workplace know about your situation. The mysterious situation is somewhat complex as there could be a number of causes. However, you mentioned that other co-workers complained to you about bug bites as stated earlier:

    “I don't know who you talked to . . . you don't name names. I told you specifically who had complained to me about bug bites; are you telling me they denied it? But you are still holding me at arm's length! Nobody in the administration has talked to me personally since I brought this problem to your attention again. I even offered to show you the insect bites and scars on my body, as humiliating as that would be.”

    That may narrow down the causes to a certain degree provided your life is not ‘complicated’.

    Your employer rep replied,

    “We have also talked with a number of employees at the (deleted), none of whom, other than you, having expressed any concern whatsoever about the presence of bed bugs or bed bug bites.”

    The workplace is sensitive. Maybe others know that their skin reactions are not from bed bugs specifically or they don’t want to get into trouble. It is a problem when other people do not communicate openly. Whatever decisions people including employers make will have an impact on the lives of those affected. The thing is not everyone knows how to best handle the ‘mysterious’ situation. Well, you did your part. Pressing further at the workplace may not be the best thing to do.

    It’s very nice of David to look at your samples. Don’t worry about finding various kinds of things on your skin as there are stuffs flowing in the air. After all, we are talking about 60X magnification. I may have more stuffs on my skin than you do.

    Hope you will have your problem ID and find a solution soon. Be strong.

    JustChecking, not a therapist / bug pro
    Please click my user name on the left for these threads:
    (OR go through my thread starter list OR use the search engine)
    --->stress busters --->energy boosters
    --->songs of hope and faith --->help U sleep tonight
  42. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Aug 6 2014 17:40:19
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Thank you for asking . . . the situation is not getting better. I'm pressing my employer to act, using words like "potential health hazard", and getting increasingly hostile responses. I can truthfully say my employer and I (as well as my landlord and I) are at a standoff. One of my co-workers, who volunteered information to me that she was suffering bug bites, now denies that she told me anything.

  43. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Aug 7 2014 14:17:53
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Thanks to my former employer, Catholic Charities, I have some revealing information to post about bedbug policies in a major midwestern urban center, in this case, Kansas City, Missouri. The information you're about to read underscores what daunting odds low-income sufferers of bedbug infestation face:

    1. Health Department will be no help. I have seen on their website and others quotes from (the supervisor of rat control, who appears to be the official spokesperson for the KCMO Health Department). There is no funding by Health Department to deal with these problems.

    2. Housing Dept website said no help in dealing with (bedbugs) because they can’t spread disease, and Housing Dept says landlord not legally obligated to act on bed bugs because they don’t spread disease.

    3. EPA has no funding to help with these problems.

    Website with some info: http://www.kshb.com/news/health/no-laws-in-place-to-remedy-bed-bug-problem.

    4. I checked under housing codes and laws. Found a web site for Rental Protection Agency where you can file a complaint and possibly get some help. There is a $35 fee. http://www.rentalprotectionagency.com/tenantrights/landlord-bed-bugs

    General Info. They want to see live bed bugs before they exterminate. They are so small they can hide in places the thickness of a credit card, They prefer darkness but will come out in daylight, Not caused by being dirty, come in in used furniture etc. They live off blood and seek warm places. Main place mattress, bed springs, headboard and frame of bed, but will spread to other areas.

    Basically no public help available, second web site seems to be only hope. Attorneys want a small fortune to help.

    Let me add that in KCMO, there are many attorneys, the vast majority of them corporate attorneys. Corporate or not, these lawyers will bend over backwards to avoid representing an impoverished citizen in a bedbug case; I know this from trying repeatedly to hire one. I even had a referral service look for me: No attorney wanted my case.

    I would like to solicit from all Forum posters possible options for low-income people with bedbugs in a city like Kansas City, Missouri. Please remember that even small amounts of discretionary income are hard to come by for those like me: Still searching for a full-time job but, presently employed in part-time (20 hours a week), minimum wage work.

  44. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Aug 7 2014 16:18:13
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Stuffed animal,

    Considering your specific situation for a moment, it's my understanding that your skin reactions may be coming from some source besides bed bugs.

    If bed bugs are present , it should be possible to find visual signs (at the very least fecal stains).

    In the absence of visual signs of bed bugs, I think you need to explore other possible causes, as David suggests above.

  45. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 8 2014 11:36:13
    #



    Login to Send PM

    What is so frustrating, only with a bedbug infestation are the people suffering expected to bring undeniable evidence of bedbugs. Most of us are not bug experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we are expected to tell the exterminator exactly what the culprit is; otherwise, no extermination of any kind. It's not enough to simply say: "I'm being bitten constantly, I'm itching constantly, I'm pulling small insect-like bodies off my skin, I have scars on my body and blood stains in my clothes, and there's a strange tart smell in my apartment that shouldn't be there because I clean constantly." Frustrating. To say the least.

    I find it also isn't enough to tell your employer: "I have these problems, I'm coming to work with terrible itching and I'm feeling bites, I'm concerned that I might inadvertently be infesting my co-workers and the customers; people have come to me complaining that they feel bites, too." The result of that has been a hostile response from my supervisor ("you interrupted my vacation to talk about this?") and getting put on a job performance plan that could end in my termination.

    Ask for help with this kind of problem, try to prevent others from suffering, too . . . it doesn't do any good. No good at all.

  46. BigDummy

    oldtimer
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 4,721

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 8 2014 11:57:28
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Go to a mechanic, they'll ask you what the problem is and if you can duplicate it. The more information available the easier it is to fix the problem. Providing/finding a sample, either living or dead is the industry standard; you're not being singled out.
    In your case you were certain it was one thing but turned out not to be. Insisting someone provide for you for a bed bug infestation without confirmation, and not accepting the original identification of carpet beetle or whatever it was by the PCO moved you no closer to solving the problem.

    Not sure if it's been asked yet but have you talked to your doctor about possible side effects from medication? It might be part of the problem, especially with the skin crawling sensations.

  47. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 8 2014 14:10:36
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Stuffed animal,

    I know it's frustrating but we are really trying to help you, even if it doesn't feel that way.

    No one is saying your symptoms aren't real. What we're saying is skin reactions alone are not "evidence" of bed bugs. They could be caused by something else.

    Bed bugs defecate every time they bite, in the area near where they bite. An inspection should find these. In the absence of them, and other visual signs of bed bugs, assuming careful inspections have been done, you need to accept that there may be other causes.

    Remember that if bed bugs are not the cause, then bed bug treatments will not solve the problem.

  48. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 9 2014 11:36:49
    #



    Login to Send PM

    I have seen dark residue on my bedding. But this thread has gradually become about me and my infestation problem. That was not my intent in posting this topic. Could we please shift the focus back to resources for low-income people who are unquestionably facing bedbug infestation?

  49. stuffedanimal

    newbite
    Joined: May '14
    Posts: 31

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 25 2014 12:10:46
    #



    Login to Send PM

    Update: Keeping to the topic of this thread, I must inform you that I have been evicted from my low-income apartment. My last day of housing will be September 30. There were no issues at all with my tenancy, and no reason given for the eviction. The landlord phrased the eviction letter in such a way as to make it seem we had mutally agreed to terminate my lease. There was never any such conversation. So evidently, this is how low-income housing landlords deal with tenants who complain too much about infestations.

    I know what you're going to say: Don't say it! I've already investigated the option of hiring a lawyer; even using a referral service, I've not found one willing take my case; and agencies like the Housing Authority and even HUD have either given me the run around or just declined to respond to my requests for help. An official from the Missouri Housing Commission told me to just hire my own exterminator (excuse me . . . the unaffordable cost? The clause in my lease forbidding me to self-exterminate?) So I'm looking at homelessness in another month, and as I'm still being devoured nightly by (???), it certainly isn't worth it to fight to stay in the apartment. I'm in the process of trashing my belongings, nearly all of which are infested with (???)

    I have some more specimens of (???) that I've pulled off my skin after feeling bites and itching. Didn't someone on this thread offer to put me in touch with a local etymologist? Even if it isn't bedbugs that have been plaguing me for over a year now, I'd like to know what it is.

  50. mangycur

    senior member
    Joined: Sep '07
    Posts: 423

    offline

    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 25 2014 13:09:14
    #



    Login to Send PM

    P Bello is the one who offered to help you find a local etymologist. PM him. Sorry you are going through all this!


RSS feed for this topic


Reply

You must log in to post.

297,196 posts in 50,137 topics over 155 months by 21,918 of 22,413 members. Latest: Peachyy92, Bigworm, Cain69