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Uncertain on bugs and next steps

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  1. WorriedSV

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Feb 21 2011 15:34:31
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    I'm afraid I have bed bugs and am going crazy trying to figure out what to do next. I've found some blood spots but no hard evidence despite aggressive searching.

    Stayed in NYC hotel that probably had bed bugs on Jan. 8-9. If I have bugs that would be when I got them. I have barely left my house since then. In the 6 weeks since, I have:

    1) Found 1 rust-colored streak on bed sheets on Feb 2
    Half inch long and very narrow (like a line drawn by a pencil)

    2) Found 1 drop (sphere) of fresh blood on inside front of my shirt on Feb 4
    About an eighth inch in diameter. Slight smeared, and when I poked gently on it, it collapsed. It got there between 5pm-10pm before going to bed.

    3) Found 1 red smear on back of left hand near thumb on Feb 16
    About 1 inch long and quarter inch wide. No evidence of any cut or bite on my hand. It got there between 10p-midnight, most of which time I was using my PC. Somehow I didn't notice until I went to brush my teeth..

    4) Seen about 40 red pinpricks on my skin over past 6 weeks
    No significant itching; a little irritation sometimes. Often 2 pinpricks near each other but many by themselves. On chest, sides, hands, biceps, back, and a few on legs or feet. No redness around the pinprick; just 1 tiny point of bright red that fades away after 2+ weeks. I have a few other pimple-type spots but no red punctum in center. Seem to get a few pinpricks every 2-3 days (but might not be seeing them all).

    5) Crawly feeling
    Besides mental stress, I'm most affected by a crawly, slightly itchy feeling that is most common from 6-10pm while on sofa watching TV.

    I have closely inspected sheets, mattress, boxspring (exterior only), nearby furniture, and sofa. No signs. I made sticky traps placed around the bed legs and got no bed bugs, and a few climb-in talc traps (near bed legs).

    I have however found carpet beetles. I've seen the occasional caterpillar form of carpet beetle for past 10 years, but seeing more now (of course I'm looking very closely). And for first time ever I have found 2 adult carpet beetles (crawling on my walls).

    I had a canine inspection done Feb 16 and they found no bed bugs. This was an inspect-only firm, they seemed reasonable but not sure if they are truly reliable.

    I suppose the pinpricks might be carpet beetle reaction (though seems unlikely to get a bright red point), but the 3 blood findings don't match carpet beetle at all.

    Given the negative canine result, does it make sense to hire a PCO now or to try to get stronger evidence?

    I could start dealing with carpet beetles by vacuuming everything and tossing the bag. But will that risk delaying my bed bug situation by removing evidence needed by a PCO?

    And if I do have both bed bugs and carpet beetle, can I vacuum several rooms using 1 bag? How long can I vacuum (10 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) before I need to remove the vacuum bag to prevent bed bugs from escaping?

    Beyond vacuuming and continued mattress/sofa inspection, I'm thinking of getting ClimbUps and maybe trying the DIY dry ice trap

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts/suggestions, and especially on whether it makes sense to vacuum and de-clutter at this point in hopes it reduces the carpet beetle stuff (which might be my only problem).

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Feb 21 2011 16:19:05
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    I would think that passive monitors--like the Climb Up interceptors and the one from David Cain (the name of which is escaping me) would be your best bets.

    I think while you're actively vacuuming, you shouldn't be too worried about the bugs escaping the bag. Bed bugs aren't great climbers, and I'm thinking that them being able to climb while the suction is going would be pretty unlikely.

    None of your signs scream bed bugs to me. If you have carpet beetles for sure, I would focus on eradicating those and continuing to monitor for bed bugs--but I would expect to be surprised at this point to find bed bugs too. If I had to guess--which, obviously, is subject to some limits since we can't inspect your place from our spaces on the internet--I'd guess carpet beetles alone. So I'd move forward as if that were the case and be vigilant about other possibilities (rather than assume undiscovered bed bugs) until you have more bed-bug-specific proof.

  3. victimized

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Feb 22 2011 2:15:16
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    If they are not great climbers, then why are there so many reports about bugs on the ceiling and walls?? I for some saw a small nymph on my wall in plain sight and at eye level. It is in a piece of tape since, 22 Dec. I also have a matte paint finish on that wall which has a more rough texture.

    What of wood that is very smooth from a thich (super shiny) polyurethane coating? Shit. I'm itching again. A few new sore bumps just magically appeared behind my ear along the hairline, the highest one being sort of just outside the hair on the skin and that area of my head burns a little. That is what led me to feeling there.

    Why would they just be in my hair region, other than parachuting down from the ceiling fan above me which is surrounded by very suspicious clusters of brown staining? Am totally paranoid and itchy and tired of worrying all these burning, itching, bumpy, scratchy, pin pricky, things are from bed bugs.

  4. WorriedSV

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Feb 23 2011 18:03:34
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    buggyinsocal - 2 days ago  » 
    None of your signs scream bed bugs to me.

    Thanks - and I agree most of my signs are ambiguous. The part that really worries me is finding blood - especially on my hand/thumb area.

    And another development - yesterday after showering, I had a 1/4 inch red rash show up in the same area as that blood. It had been nearly a week, and then right after the shower this rash area appears. It disappeared this morning. So still confused.

    I'm getting the passive stuff, and will post separately some questions on their use.


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