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This is doable, right?

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  1. bb02139

    Joined: Aug '19
    Posts: 3


    Posted 4 months ago
    Fri Aug 2 2019 11:40:42

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    Well, I would rather not be in this club at all but I’m very grateful for the many of you who have shared advice and experience and commiseration on this site. It’s been a huge help.

    (I'm long-winded, but I appreciate the details I’ve gleaned from long-winded stories so I'm just going for it...)

    BB bites
    About a month ago, an hour or so after coming home from the movies I noticed 4-5 red, moderately itchy welts on my forearm.

    I have some minor autoimmune issues, as well as asthma and seasonal allergies, and I’d been camping a few days earlier so I had plenty of mosquito and chigger bites—all of which I am super reactive to. I figured any of the above was a trigger for these new welts.

    But this lasted for close to a month—anywhere from 3 to 8 new, moderately itchy red marks every day, mostly on my forearms, occasionally on my upper chest, neck, chin, one on my eyelid. All of these red marks seemed to flare and wane over the course of the day. They were frequently in a line or circle and I even said, "Man, this looks like a bug was just strolling around and dining on me." But my husband had no marks, and there were still plenty of other reasons to think it was related to my allergies.

    After about a month of this—itching getting worse, patience getting thin—I saw my doctor who also thought it was allergy related and ordered skin-prick testing. I made the first available appointment… not until October.

    Fortunately, at least for my itching, the next morning I noticed similar marks on my husband's arm. With trepidation, I went back to Google. Then, with even more trepidation, we searched our platform bed.

    IDing BBs
    We found nothing in the seams or tufts of the mattress, but saw a blood smear on the wood frame... uh oh. We pulled up the bed slats and saw some dots that looked like felt tip marker… ohhhh nooooo.

    Pulled back the bed slats and there they were: 3 of what I presume were late-stage casings (looked like adult bugs but didn't move), some earlier casings, maybe 5-6 eggs, and a couple dozen dots of fecal stains. All at the joint closest to my side of the headboard.

    We found more fecal stains and blood smears along the rail and sheet on my side of the bed and a few on my husband’s side of the bed. And more fecal stains and maybe 5-6 more eggs along a joint on the back of the headboard.

    The highest concentration of stains and eggs and the only place with castoff casings was under the slat in the corner closest to my side of the headboard, which I hope means that was their main harborage. Everywhere else the evidence was much lighter and less clustered.

    Starting treatments
    So. We bagged, sealed, and/or washed and dried all the linens, the clothes that had been stored under the bed, and the curtains. Found two dead male bugs or late-stage exoskeletons in the mattress pad when moving it from washer to dryer.

    Immediately bought a mattress encasement and put that on; we don’t have a box spring. Immediately started pulling up our carpet (total overkill but we planned to do that this summer anyway). Vacuumed the mattress, frame, slats, baseboards, floor as thoroughly as possible.

    Everything went straight outside and into the trash. I’ve never liked having a door from the bedroom to a 1st-floor deck until now.

    I scrubbed every surface of the bed frame with water and dish soap.

    Here's the part that may have been a big mistake. We sprayed the joints of the bed frame and the slats and webbing with Raid foaming spray. It's targeted and not a fogger, but in retrospect I worry about having spread the infestation elsewhere.

    Dusted with DE and ordered Cimexa.

    Pros so far:
    Our bedroom is so small that all we have in there is the bed and an upholstered bench (no signs of infestation there).
    Found no evidence anywhere but the bed frame and some fecal spots on sheets.
    I'm super reactive to bug bites generally, so I think the onset of my bites is a reasonable estimate of the timing of the infestation.

    Both slept in another room that first night; I slept in another room the following night, too. I know, not a long-term solution but I was so grateful for a break from the bites! And if my bite reactions are part of ongoing monitoring, I wanted things to clear up a little bit.

    On Tuesday the Cimexa arrived so we pulled everything apart again to inspect and vacuum. Found one live (but slow moving) bedbug in the middle of the bed on top of the slats. No blood when my husband squished it with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

    We vacuumed up the DE and dusted everything with Cimexa (mattress, bed frame, bench, floor cracks, baseboards, behind and around some framed things on the wall) using a cheap makeup brush.

    Today we marked the 5-6 fecal stains on the sheets and pillowcases w/ orange Sharpie to be better able to ID new ones.

    Tomorrow will be:
    5 weeks since I first noticed what I now know are BB bites
    1 week since IDing the bugs and beginning treatments
    3 days since the last thorough inspection
    3 days since seeing a live bug

    Not sure if I’m getting new bites, if old bites are flaring up, or if it’s something different altogether, but it’s only 1-2 spots every day now so it’s markedly less than it was before. That feels encouraging even if it proves nothing.

    This weekend we’ll do another thorough inspection and will probably scrub the bed frame with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Can’t hurt, right?

    We live in an 1880s house that is now three condos. Neither of the neighbors have seen any evidence of BBs. Everyone either has direct past experience with BBs (not in this building) or have friends who have, so no one is panicking and they’re all cooperative and know what to look for. I’m very grateful for that!

    I’m cautiously optimistic that this is a small infestation, caught relatively early, limited to our bed frame, and something we can eradicate within a few weeks.

    Is that even possible? Anything we’re missing? Am I delusional?

    At what point would you start using passive monitors? We can’t do interceptors because the frame touches the floor along the length of the headboard and footboard. If our bed frame is itself a cozy harborage spot, are BBs still likely to prefer the monitor?

    We'd rather not get rid of the bed frame or pack it away for 18+ months (not really any room to do so), but those are options we can live with if that's what it takes.

    At what point would you feel confident moving things back in to the bedroom? We’re assuming it will be at least a few more weeks of living out of plastic bags and bins.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you!

    Good luck to everyone who is dealing with this!

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