Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Reader questions (do not fit into other categories)

Taking the bus, using the library

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  1. lagirl31

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 15:00:26
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    We just had our third treatment on Friday and we've had one week without bites or sightings, so I'm cautiously optimistic that we're on the road to recovery.

    Now I'm thinking about how to avoid a re-infestation. I don't travel a lot and I read up on how to inspect a hotel room and take precautions when you get home, so that's fine. I'm not yet at the point where I'm freaking out about movie theaters and restaurants.

    But I do take the bus to work every day, and I love it. It means we don't have to have a second car, it's relaxing and I can read. Do other people on here continue to take public transit, knowing the risks? Do you take any extra precautions? I've been taking a look at the seats before I sit down, but I feel like I should probably stop sitting altogether (kind of a bummer, because I like relaxing on the bus).

    I also love checking books out from the library, but I haven't done it since our infestation. It seems like another easy way to spread them around. Does anyone still check out books? Do you take precautions? I'm seriously considering getting an e-reader (something I never thought I'd do), but then I would have to purchase every book I read!

    I know there are a million situations in our lives where we could get bedbugs, but these two are every day parts of my life that I really enjoy. I just can't decide how many precautions I should take, or how I should go about it. I clearly don't want to re-infest our apartment, but I also don't want to have a huge ongoing impact on my quality of life. What are you guys doing differently now?

  2. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 18:50:24
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    I have a "sliding scale" approach to what I do and don't do. It's a matter of
    - how important the activity is to me
    - how risky I percive it
    - what alternatives I can choose
    - how onerous the alternatives are

    Example:
    - There's a library in NYC I visit a lot. It has stuffed chairs near the front where people who look like they walk around with all their belongings camp out for hours dozing. I won't sit in those chairs. I will borrow books, especially paperbacks, but will inspect the edges, and apply weight on the book. (I'm not an expert, but believe I can smash any bugs/eggs in them.) I take out CDs and DVDs, but take apart the cases and inspect them and the discs. I might seal up the booklets until I return the disc. I have not taken out a hardcover in a while, not sure if i want to or not.
    - I use transit, taxis, planes, trains all the time. If I sit down, I will eyeball the seat, even run my hand around the edges and the cushions. I avoid placing my bag under the seat. When I stand up, I will eyeball myself, and flick my hand over my clothes. If someone does not look like they have their act together, I will avoid sitting close.
    - In a coffee bar, etc. I'll choose the simple chair over the couch, etc.
    - I used to be an avid dumpster diver. A good chunk of my home is furnished by found objects. That's over.
    - I used to shop second hand extensively. I won't buy anything that I can't inspect and treat.
    - When I buy something in cardboard, I try and dispose of the packaging as soon as I can.
    - I have not been a fan of going to the movies in NYC for a while. You pay a lot of money to be treated like crap. I might go again, but am less inclined, as I can get the DVD a few weeks later. OTOH, I would be more inclined to go to a play or concert, though it's the same risk, but the experience is more compelling.
    - My elderly parents are cared for by a rotating cast of helpers. I can't control what's in the aide's homes or how they live their lives. I worry and pray.

    Some people say "stop living", some say "you can't live in fear". To me it's like leaving your house in the morning. Bad things may happen, but probably won't, but fasten your seat belt and look both ways before you cross. That's just me.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  3. lagirl31

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 20:21:43
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    Thanks, Cilecto! I'm trying to use a sliding scale approach as well.

    Hadn't thought about paperbacks vs. hardcovers before, but what you wrote makes sense. I like to check out several books a week from the library, and may start putting them directly in a ziploc bag before I take them home and then checking them as soon as I take them out. I've considered buying a Paktite mostly for this purpose, but I hesitate to treat library books like they're my own.

    Relieved to hear that you do still take public transport. I've been doing the same thing - eyeing the seat, brushing myself off and holding my bag in my lap. I often change clothes as soon as I get home anyways, and I've started changing in the bathroom rather than the bedroom and hanging the clothes up in there immediately on hooks I've installed (on the assumption that it would be easier to spot hitchikers if they fall on the tile floor).

    It's hard to decide how far you can go to be aware without tipping over into obsessive or limiting.

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 20:30:42
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    I also meant to add to consider how difficult it would be if you actually faced a (bad) infestation. Twenty years ago, I lived in a one room apartment. Had one shelf of books and two file drawers of paper. A computer system and a bicycle. Futon. One IKEA "Poang" chair. Area rug. A TV, VCR, boom box and crate of 30 cassettes. Vacuum. My entire wardrobe could be cleaned in 4 loads. Had I had BB, the prep regimen would not have scared me as much as it does today: Multi-room apartment, clothes, gadgets, books, out the wazoo, crates and crates of personal and financial records and no time! My wife and I are de-cluttering and as we do, I feel less scared of what might be if we got BB here (my personal BB history is actually with my parents, who I look after, that turned out less bad than I feared).

  5. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 21:46:46
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    cilecto - 2 hours ago  » 

    - When I buy something in cardboard, I try and dispose of the packaging as soon as I can.
    .

    I see a lot of mentions of cardboard on this site but I'm not sure why. Is there something about cardboard which particularly attracts bedbugs?

    -rs1971

  6. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 22:09:45
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    Corrugated cardboard is full of nooks and crannies where BB can hide, undetected. They also add clutter to the home.

  7. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 23 2011 23:07:15
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    cilecto - 56 minutes ago  » 
    Corrugated cardboard is full of nooks and crannies where BB can hide, undetected. They also add clutter to the home.

    Ah, ok. Makes sense. I'm actually in the process of starting to pack for a move and I'm buying tons of cardboard moving boxes at Wallmart. I guess I'll just hope for the best.

    -rs1971

  8. veryscared

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 8:46:21
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    aside from neighboring apartments, hotels, movie theaters--how have people actually gotten bedbugs? An exterminator told me he got them from sitting next to a guy on a plane. Mine came from a neighboring apartment. How else? This has been paralyzing for me--I can barely leave the house.

  9. lagirl31

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 13:12:40
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    veryscared, I think there are a lot of people who might not know where they got them. I *think* they may have come over from our neighbor's apartment (we share a bedroom wall) because she traveled a lot and I noticed that when she moved out she got rid of a lot of her stuff. We had gotten sporadic bites over a period of several months (meaning, a few bites a month) but they suddenly increased shortly after she moved out. Hungry bugs wandering?

    But, I don't know if that is correct. I also ride the bus and check out books and either of those could have been a source of infestation. I can rule out travel and hotels and movie theaters on my part, because I've been working a lot and not getting out much for the last year. I also rule out my place of work, because I work in a lab and I have my own separate office directly off the lab. No carpet, all tile, few friendly harboring places for bugs. Also, I've never gotten bit at work and I react almost instantly to bites.

    It would be nice to know where they came from, but I'm just trying to identify my higher risk activities and then do my best to take precautions.

  10. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 13:53:09
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    veryscared - 4 hours ago  » 
    aside from neighboring apartments, hotels, movie theaters--how have people actually gotten bedbugs? An exterminator told me he got them from sitting next to a guy on a plane. Mine came from a neighboring apartment. How else? This has been paralyzing for me--I can barely leave the house.

    I joined here 3 years ago after discovering a single nymph at my parents home (I care for them). I made a list of possible sources and gave up at about 20.

    Just to clarify my above comments about cardboard boxes. I don't believe that they are, at this point, a major risk factor. (I'm also not an expert.) Just that dumping packaging is (in most cases) an easy step to take.

  11. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 15:34:10
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    I'm 99% sure that I got mine from one of two hotels I stayed at in March of 2008. I base this on the fact that at one of those two hotels, I found what I thought was a tick in my bed. Later, I realized that it wasn't.

    That said, in one of those two hotel stays, I had two roommates. Neither of those roommates, one of whom I shared a bed with, got bed bugs.

    Subsequent to that conference, I traveled to two other conferences--one in May and another in June. I had roommates at each of those conferences. Again, at one conference, I shared a bed with one of those roommates. (I have a job that basically requires conference presentations and general travel, but we do not get reimbursed for those all of the time as I'm not tenure track. As a result, to cut expenses, it's pretty common to share rooms with folks at the conference hotel. If the hotel rate is very high, or if I can't find just one roommate, we'll often bunk three to a room, which means someone ends up sharing a bed with someone else. I do realize that this makes it sound like I'm living a much wilder life than I actually am. )

    I also stayed at the home of one of those roommates prior to that conference. And traveled to the home of another friend on another trip.

    None of those roommates developed infestations, despite the fact that I stayed in their homes or hotel rooms without taking any precautions.

    Am I suggesting that people with bed bug infestations ought to crash with other people without precautions? NOT AT ALL.

    I am recounting this story because I think that a lot of us, having been exposed to knowledge about bed bugs, go to DEFCON 1 when it comes to bed bugs.

    I remember what it was like hard on the heels of the infestation. The entire world looked like bed bug infestation vectors waiting to happen. My thinking looked a lot like this:

    How dare public transit put fabric seats on buses! How dare the university use upholstered chairs in public places! Why did the library not run every book through a heat chamber before being reshelved! Vikane the airplane like you de-ice the wings--before and after every flight!

    (This was also about the time that I gave up one of my favorite nail polish shades because it was bed bug colored, and the flakes when it started to flake off--or even a glimpse of my nails in that color tended to shoot adrenaline through my body like I'd just jumped from an airplane. Oh, and flax seeds. Flax seeds looked too much like bed bugs, so I avoided anything with them in it.)

    After my infestation was successfully treated, and six months later I'd gone back to sleeping in my bed, and two more months after that I brought the CDs and DVDs removed for treatment back into my apartment (only after using DDVP strips on the containers that had sat outside through a hot so Cal summer--to be extra, extra sure!), I slowly got back to about DEFCON 3 when it came to bed bugs.

    I still travel for work. I've been back to the hotel where I found what I only later realized was a bed bug in my bed twice since then. I still stay there.

    I check books out of the university and public libraries all the time. I even use ::whispers:: interlibrary loan:: gasp!

    I continue to fly about 25,000 miles a year. I do not spray anything on my airplane seat. (I already grumble so much about the institutionalized stupidity that is TSA and security theater that I'm sure the other passengers would think I was trying to formulate some sort of plot if I sprayed my seat, to say nothing of the lack of effectiveness of such methods, and getting on the no-fly list would be a real bummer to someone who travels so much.)

    I take the bus on days when my car is in the shop.

    I put my gym bag in a locker or on the floor or in the cubbies near the stuff of others.

    But I'm not back to the state of ignorance I was before I got bed bugs. I do take informed precautions:

    I inspect hotel rooms thoroughly. Even though my flashlight has at least twice subjected me to extra special TSA screening at airports, which sets my pulse to somewhere north of bounding and my blood pressure to epic levels.

    I am vigilant while there and post trip for any bites.

    I keep a Packtite at home.

    I've made my bedroom less bed bug friendly (curtains do not touch the bed, bed positioned so I can inspect the whole thing once a month.)

    You know, the basics.

    I'm not generally the sort of person who does well with curtailing my behavior because something or someone is making me afraid.

    (My emotional response to Sept. 11, despite regularly flying American between Boston and LAX--so regularly that that morning when my bedside clock radio broadcast news that said that it was an American Airlines flight from Logan to LAX, my first response was to realize that it had to be a terrorist attack. I knew that route well enough that I knew that the 7:45 am departure was a Boeing 767, which would be crewed with a minimum of two people who could fly that plane. I could not figure out how that plane would accidentally hit the WTC. It doesn't fly over lower Manhattan, and the pilot or copilot would have tried to steer it somewhere where it wouldn't hit people on the ground. If that plane had been out of control enough to hit a building that big, at least two pilots on board would have had to have been incapacitated, and that was no accident. Coincidences like that don't happen with two pilots. I knew this because American mostly flew 757s on that route, but I liked to book myself on the wider-bodied 767s whenever possible, but I am not a morning person, and 7:45 departures are awfully early to get to Logan.

    Even in the middle of that terrible morning, one of my earliest emotional responses was to wonder how soon i could get back on a plane to prove that the terrorists were not going to scare me into changing my behavior. No, seriously. If I'd had the money, I probably would have booked a round trip flight from LAX to Boston and back to see my family there the very next weekend. I am stubborn, and I refuse to be cowed or bullied by terrorists or anyone else.

    I was actually sad that didn't get to get on a plane until October 2001, in fact, not until the weekend of Oct 21, which was about five weeks later than I would have liked.

    So you may want to keep those general personality traits in mind as you read this.

    It wasn't even the first time in my life I had that response to a terrorist attack on airplanes. I reacted that way before I was even old enough to vote when a school group I was in was scheduled to fly to the UK less than 5 days after Pan Am 103 went down. So I have a pretty long history of responding this way. This may influence how I respond to bed bugs since it seems to be a pretty deeply embedded personality trait.)

    At any rate, we don't choose to get bed bugs. But how we choose to react to bed bugs is something that's in our control.

    When we're faced with traumatic, anxiety-provoking events that are beyond our control--like bed bugs or like terrorist attacks, a lot of people attempt to regain control by trying to be highly controlling of the events. We expend a lot of energy trying to make sure it never happens to us again.

    (I first learned about this dynamic when I was working part time at a battered women's shelter. The training we went through emphasized the fact that many women who survive abuse will expend a lot of energy trying to figure out why the batterers do it; doing so is a way to try to gain control over an uncontrollable event. We talked a lot about that because whether we were answering the crisis hotline or working with women and kids in the shelter itself, we needed to be emotionally ready for that focus.

    So we talked a lot about why people respond that way and what we can do. The answer to the second part of that is easier: not a lot.

    We couldn't control the behavior of the people who enacted the violence. We were trained to remember that if we focus on them, we're giving them attention, rather than focusing on the survivors.

    I took that advice to heart. I don't want to focus on the bed bugs more than necessary. I want to focus on the survivors. I don't want to give the bugs more power over our lives than they already have.)

    I can expend a lot of energy trying to figure out where I got the bugs from. I can expend a lot of energy trying to make sure they never enter my home again.

    But if I do that, I'm making myself miserable.

    I could get on an airplane later this week (as I'm going to do) and be statistically unlucky enough to be the victim of a terrorist attack.

    Frankly, I'm okay with that. I know that it's a possibility. I've known that for a long time. I'm not happy about it. I'm not looking forward to it. But I'm also not going to waste time and expend energy worrying about it. Doing that puts the focus on the terrorists. It gives them what they want.

    (Granted, the analogy falls apart a bit here. Bed bugs aren't setting out to terrorize us; that's a side effect of their need for food. But I do think the general principle: focus on me, focus on us, focus on what we can do, don't give your energy and time to the enemy --is a good one.)

    I could be unlucky enough to have a piece of luggage in the hold of the plane that sits next to a bag from someone with an infestation and bring a hitch-hiker home.

    I could also die in a car crash driving the 5 miles I drive to work. I could also get hit by a stray bullet in a freak shooting in my neighborhood.

    Oh, who am I kidding. I live in California. The big one could hit while I'm sitting in my car on the bottom level of a freeway overpass. One of the buildings I regularly spend time in--like 4 to 6 hours a day time in--is pretty much guaranteed to collapse if the big one hits while I'm in it. It was declared a major seismic hazard when I was still an undergrad on the other coast, and unsurprisingly, the state has been slow to fix this problem. (shocking, I know.)

    When I found that out, I called my family. I told them about the report. I told them explicitly that if I die in that building in a quake, I want them to sue the ever living crap out of the school (since, again, the school has known about this for nearly 20 years, had the money for retrofitting, and failed to spend that money in a timely fashion and so had to give it back).

    And then I walked right back into that building and resumed my job.

    I did make a mental note of every exit. I did play the game of "if the building pancakes, what would I do if I saw it coming."

    But then I went on with my life.

    Because I cannot worry about that every second of every day. Either it will happen, or it won't, and me worrying won't make it any more or less likely.

    Just as when I step on a plane, I count the number of rows to the two exits nearest me. I read an article when I was in high school that most people in plane crashes die in the fire that follows. If smoke fills the cabin, many people can't see the exits to get out, so it's wise to be prepared to feel your way to an exit. So I count the number of rows between me and the two exits closest to me, so that in a crash, I can feel my way, row by row, if I survive the impact, to the nearest exit.

    And then I proceed, other than reminding myself of those numbers a few times a flight, to go about my normal business: sleeping, if it's a red eye; working, if I have work to do; reading a book or playing a video game if I don't.

    When faced with danger, I have two choices:

    I can choose to live my life afraid of something that has only a tiny statistical chance of happening and in the process deprive myself of some of the most pleasurable aspects of my life: travel, work, books, not having to drive to work every day.

    Or I can go about my daily life, take reasonable precautions, have a plan for what to do if those precautions fail, and just enjoy life the rest of the time.

    I can visit with friends I only get to see a few times a year, in places I love to visit. I can check out books I don't want to buy. I can enjoy being able to get to work without having to beg a friend for a ride like I'm 15 again. I can marvel at how beautiful a sunset looks from 35,000 feet above the earth.

    I cannot tell other people how to live their lives. I cannot tell other people where to draw the lines. I realize that the fact that I have a certain amount of salary and access to a support network that could help me out means that I have access to some treatment options that others don't have. That's a privilege, and one I'm mindful of.

    It's why I advocate so consistently for the development of more and better treatments for bed bugs; I know there is no one magic bullet that will solve every infestation, and the more and the more effective treatment options we have, the faster people who don't have those resources will be free of these evil vermin.

    But even people with fewer options still have some choice; we all control how we focus on that fear. Fear is a powerful motivator. Yes, when you're broke, the fear of another disaster that you can't afford will grind you down when it happens day after day. (I'm not so well off that I'm not familiar with that fear. Trust me, I work for the state, and I'm going into the lean summer season.)

    But focusing the response to that fear on trying to eliminate every, possible, tiny source of infestation seems to me far less productive without assessing the likelihood that a particular vector is likely to be a problem seems to me like something that is more likely to be disempowering than to be the sort of thing that allows us all to make the wisest decisions based on accurately calculated risk.

    When I got bed bugs in 2008, I had no information. I'm a lot better informed now. I think making everyone better informed is important, and for me, part of being better informed is thinking about the statistical chances of infestation from a particular activity.

    Information can equal empowerment, if we're willing to accept that there is no such thing as being 100% safe from everything. I could die in a fireball of a plane crash on Thursday. I could die in a building collapse in an earthquake later today.

    I could also fly for 80+ years and never once experience so much as a near miss. I could also live in California for 60+ years and never once be harmed in an earthquake.

    Some people will do high risk things and never get an infestation; others will be scrupulously careful and still end up infested.

    None of us have complete control over much of anything. The one thing that we do control, in part, is how we emotionally respond to the things beyond our control that happen to us.

    I choose not to be afraid of bed bugs. It was a hard won battle to get to that point, but I am not going to let those bastards grind me down.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  12. veryscared

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 15:49:28
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    thank you for your reply. my therapist actually used the analogy to terrorism and how some changed their lives after the 9/11 attacks. Oddly, as a NYC resident, the attacks didn't change my behavior--I flew 3 weeks afterwards. But these bugs have me in a PANIC.... my question about how others got them was twofold--one to help me 'avoid' potential hazards (as I work through the psychological trauma) but also to get another perspective on the problem. I can't help but wonder how cities will eradicate the problem. If you think about other epidemics--mostly illness--transmission is one point for intervention (think flu, HIV, the plague). So how we "transmit" BB around is important to think about--in addition to pesticides, education and full treatment of multi-unit buildings. i'm thinking if we can contain the bugs to the places of treatment we have a better chance of ending this crisis. do others think about this? is there any consensus on how to end this or is that not even possible?

  13. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 24 2011 16:16:03
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    my question about how others got them was twofold--one to help me 'avoid' potential hazards (as I work through the psychological trauma) but also to get another perspective on the problem.

    I'm all for conversations about how bed bugs are spread.

    But I've also seen a dramatic uptick in the number of people who don't have bed bugs but who are going to epic lengths to avoid exposure.

    Running about as if they aren't a threat is bad, but thinking that you cannot buy a new clock radio and bring it into your home because it could have bed bugs is also bad.

    I'm all for talking about what the vectors for infestation are. I do get distressed when we trot out the statistically least likely--although still possible--vectors for elaborate discussion without disclaiming them as statistically very unlikely (which I'm not suggesting happened in this thread, although I have seen it happen in others) because I know that highly anxious, sleep deprived, and despairing people will be reading those threads. I remember how entirely terrified I was;I remember how hard it was to sort out likely from unlikely in the information.

    In focusing on the possibility of my bag getting bed bug from sitting next to another bag in the cargo hold of a plane, the folks with money will shrink wrap their luggage and Packtite their bags, while doing nothing to agitate for better laws and better treatment options, and poor people will still get screwed. Meanwhile, that person with the inept or greedy landlord, might read that thread and think that he'll never get rid of the bugs, and despair even more.

    As curious as I am about the bugs and how they're spread, I do try to include info in my posts so that newbies (as long as they're willing to slog through really long posts, which I'm just prone to in general, not just here) will have information on how likely a particular vector is because I don't want people to be any more anxious or discouraged than necessary. Bed bugs do a good enough job of that on their own.

    And, again, I spent months sleeping on my couch after thermal treatment. It took me a long time to claw my way back to not being overly anxious about them. When I got what I'm convinced were bed bug bites (I suspect a movie theater), I got thrown right back into DEFCON 1 for a bit. So I'm not suggesting that I didn't overreact emotionally myself--didn't have trouble sorting that all out. It's because I remember what that feels like that I try to cue how likely or unlikely something is.

    But I'm also not the sort of person who's going to stop having sex because the only way to be 100% sure you don't get any sort of STD is to never have sex at all. Safer sex is a matter of making decisions about risk level based on a reasonable interpretation of information and taking reasonable precautions; this activity is potentially more risky than that one under these circumstances, and these are your choices for lessening that risk.

    In some ways, the analogy to HIV is a better one precisely because some activities are more risky than others. Just as with HIV, there has always been (and will likely always be) stuff we don't know. We knew, for example, as early as the late 1980s that lesbians had a very low rate of HIV. We didn't know exactly why because we still didn't understand exactly how the virus was transmitted. We knew the generalities, but we didn't know, a lot of the specifics. (This aside brought you by the fact that while cleaning, I came across my copy of Pat Califia's Macho Sluts, and I was rereading her bit in the back on safer sex and lesbians, and thinking back to the conversations about safer sex in my high school sex ed "classes" (and I use that term loosely because hoo, boy, were they bad) and in college.

    So we know that a certain percentage of bed bugs seem to wander off from the main infestation. Scientists speculate about why that is, but nobody's really sure, nor is anyone sure how often it happens.

    But I also think sometimes because of the inevitable sample selection bias on the boards (people with acute problems who are in the most need of support are far more likely to be posting and posting more often), we don't read (or reread--I've posted similar thoughts before) posts where people talk about not being afraid or anxious.

    It can be just as important to read the success stories and the empowerment narratives to remind ourselves that it's possible to get to that point. I guess because it was so hard for me to get back to this point, I like to remind others that that part of the narrative is possible too. That's what I was getting at more than trying to discourage people from trying to find out where their infestations came from. Some time spent trying to figure that out is productive and useful.

    Too much time or energy in that direction, after a point, can definitely be counterproductive. Likely if I'd, you know, had lunch before posting, I would have included more qualification and nuance in my post, so thanks for catching that.

    And now, I really am going to go have lunch because clearly I need it.

  14. veryscared

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 8:32:57
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    I'm all for talking about what the vectors for infestation are. I do get distressed when we trot out the statistically least likely--although still possible--vectors for elaborate discussion without disclaiming them as statistically very unlikely (which I'm not suggesting happened in this thread, although I have seen it happen in others) because I know that highly anxious, sleep deprived, and despairing people will be reading those threads. I remember how entirely terrified I was;I remember how hard it was to sort out likely from unlikely in the information.

    exactly--this is why I asked the question about how are people "really getting" bed bugs. there will always be that one person who got HIV from a papercut...but if I want to have productive conversations with my elected officials it would be nice to offer something more than hysteria.

    and you're right--many people who just deal with them and get rid of them successfully, don't post--I know a few people who have gotten rid of them successfully and talk with them to temper what I read here. so I know it's very possible to get rid of the suckers (pun intended) but I want to see if there is something I can do on a larger scale.

    hope you enjoyed your lunch.

  15. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 11:16:50
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    BuggyInSocal. May you never cease to be achingly, beautifully, life-affirming.

  16. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 11:42:56
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    Cilecto,

    Aw, thanks.

    Veryscared,

    That's all true. It's just important to also remember that not everyone can track down exactly where their infestations came from. (Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not worth doing. That's not what I'm saying.) My case was pretty easy because, in retrospect, I saw a bug in a bed at a hotel. Even at that, though, I can't be sure it came from that hotel.

    It's likely. I had put my clothes into a dresser in the room. The hotel had a massive seagull problem (as in the seagulls hung out on balconies all over the hotel, and the birds would walk right into your room if the doors to the balcony were opened.)

    But it's also possible that the suitcase picked up some eggs or a hitchiker at the hotel I'd been at before that, and that the bug on the bed came from the pajama pants that had been in the suitcase but that I put on the bed before I put them on.

    You begin to see the problem.

    And I live in a city where many people never use public transit and that doesn't think it's got a bed bug problem like other cities with a denser infestation pattern.

    Again, I'm not suggesting that we not talk realistically about where people think they got their infestations and I'm not suggesting that such conversations can't be useful.

    But I also think that esp. when we're talking about stressed out, sleep-deprived people with newly discovered infestations too much focus on that can sometimes shift the focus to less useful lines of conversation. If people are trying to narrow down the possibility of reinfestation, for example, such conversations are vital.

    If people are worrying about that and seeking to blame neighbors instead of acting on their own infestation (which I've also seen happen--often including unfair scapegoating of people who are different than they are), then it's less useful.

    I'm not saying you're suggesting the latter and not the former. I'm saying that as awareness and fear of bed bugs has risen, I've seen a lot more false positives (Scares of bed bugs when the real culprit was something else), and so I've gotten maybe more cautious in where I encourage people to focus their energy.

  17. lomographic

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 13:04:34
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    I know exactly what you mean! Those were my biggest 2 problems too. I Got BBs six mo ago, don't know how, and got rid of them 6 mo. ago. movies, i could do without. I've been to the movies twice since and am still creeped out afterwards and avoid them. i havd the internet. screw planes, screw hotels. but the bus, my sole mode of transport? I just sucked it up. I take the bus about 4 times a day, on average, and i sit down. my city has plastic seats though. i still switch seats sitting next to someone sketch. i hate not yet become re infested. the library, i try to only check out newish looking books. if i really need to see it, i'll put it on hold, read at it for a couple hours at the library if I'm unsure, and if it looks old and I really can't decide, I'll do a thorough inspection of the book for bug parts, eggs, and blood spots and if anything resembles a smudge, I'll drop it on the spot. I'm also kind of discriminatory genre wise. bed side reading material? not unless it's pretty close to brand new. once i quarantined a stack of library books i really wanted to take home in a 5 gallon ziploc with some neem oil and cedar sticks, in direct sun, for a week.

    i used to cross the street from moving vans, only go to low density neighborhoods, kept my outfits for each day in plastic bags and boil them every day afterwards ( actually that was a pretty good idea.) good luck with the paranoia!
    good luck with the paranoia.

    I still avoid upholstered chairs in public.

  18. Bugbitten Meg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 22:45:52
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    lagirl31 - 2 days ago  » 

    I also love checking books out from the library, but I haven't done it since our infestation. It seems like another easy way to spread them around. Does anyone still check out books? Do you take precautions? I'm seriously considering getting an e-reader (something I never thought I'd do), but then I would have to purchase every book I read!

    I do still take books out of the library, but about the e-reader... many libraries including mine have 'loaning rights' for a bunch of books in e-format. Check with your library to see if they have this, and for details, *before* you buy a reader, since they may not support both kindle and nook (our library's e-books work with the nook but not the kindle; I wouldn't be surprised if some other peoples' were just the opposite.) Also, gutenberg.org has a huge number of older books from the public domain available for free. Think of classics you've enjoyed and go look up the author for more. You definitely don't have to purchase every e-book you read.

  19. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed May 25 2011 23:16:27
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    cilecto - 11 hours ago  » 
    BuggyInSocal. May you never cease to be achingly, beautifully, life-affirming.

    What he said!

    You're in really good form in this thread, Buggy, as always.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  20. prephelpny2011

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Aug 6 2011 8:08:22
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    Thanks for asking this question, these are my concerns too. We might be overreacting, but we have stopped taking books out of library and DVDs. We're considering putting library DVDs cases into 1 ziplock bag not to be opened in our apartment and the DVDs in another zip lock bag. We're freaked out about going to movies or plays. And are still wondering about taking taxis or sitting on subways. This was excellent thread, thanks. Have been reading books in Barnes & Noble, rather than taking out of library, though we're aching to go back to library books.
    We think we got the bedbugs from our neighbor, share a bedroom wall.

  21. AlphaCrucisRadio

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Mar 17 2014 2:15:25
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    <quote>

    But I do take the bus to work every day, and I love it. It means we don't have to have a second car,</quote>

    Why dont you get that second car and quit taking public transport. Problem solved.

  22. ITortureBugs4Revenge

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Mar 17 2014 2:32:02
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    I refuse to take the bus in this city for a few reasons, bedbugs being one, but i continue to check books out of the library without too much worry because the chances of actually bringing bugs home in library books is rather small to almost nonexistent...however there is a much greater chance of bedbugs lurking in library furnishings like couches and recliners, a problem that is easily avoided by not sitting in them or placing any personal belongings on or near them. When visiting the library to check out books i always bring along a folding shopping cart and i keep the books i plan on checking out and any personal effects i bring with me (Backpack, jacket, e.t.c.) in that for the entire time I'm in the library.

    .....I am NOT an expert.....

    Any advice i give here is based solely on my own personal experiences in dealing with bedbugs & other household vermin.

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