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Update from the Trenches + Questions!

(3 posts)
  1. Agoraphobia

    Joined: May '18
    Posts: 24


    Posted 8 months ago
    Sat Jun 2 2018 15:57:08

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    To recap my situation:

    Discovering There's a Problem & First PCO

    I got two bites on my neck about two weeks ago. When they didn't go away and were still extremely itchy a week later, I started becoming concerned. I searched my bed, box spring, night tables, baseboard, and carpet for bed bugs, but didn't find any. (Not surprising, I'm not an expert.) When my personal search failed, I called in the first pest control company I could find to inspect my place. We stripped the bed and he immediately found two black bugs around the rim of my box spring, but nothing else.

    He told me they were bed bugs and I must have caught it incredibly early because he couldn't see any signs of any infestation, nests, droppings, babies, anything - just the two bugs. He didn't invite me to see them at close range (all I saw were two dark-colored, unmoving dots) and he didn't kill or capture them - he just let them keep remaining there on the mattress while we talked. He then told me I'd need chemical treatment, how invasive it was, etc. He also said he would give me a discount (unprompted).

    At this point I'm completely freaking out and immediately agree to the treatment and tell him to come back Monday for the first spray. (It was Friday at this point.) He never showed me any paperwork and I didn't sign any contract, though, because he never gave me one. (All of this only occurred to me after he'd left.) In my panic I immediately began prepping my place for the chemical treatments and spent the weekend doing all the laundry; bagging up all my things; buying mattress, box spring, and pillow protectors as well as ClimbUp traps, airtight containers, double-sided tape, and giant Ziploc bags; and a ZappBug heater. (And crying constantly because I was so scared and overwhelmed.)

    As I did all this prep, I realized I live in an apartment and I'd probably have to ask/tell my property management company about this before I moved forward with treatment myself. The more I thought about it the more the first PCO began striking me as shady. (My boyfriend actually mentioned how the PCO sounded like a classic sales pitch right after the PCO left.)

    Second PCO

    I also remembered he told me to put my stuff in my hot car (I live in central TX and we're already hitting 100 most days) or outside in black plastic bags, which I know from reading this forum doesn't work. That immediately put me on my guard and I wanted a second opinion. I hired a different PCO from a different company to come in and check with her K9 to make sure the first guy wasn't trying to scam me. She searched the apartment with the dog twice and he never indicated that he smelled anything.

    She also visually checked the box spring, mattress, and upholstered chair in the bedroom herself and said she saw no signs of bed bugs anywhere. She said just because she didn't see anything it didn't mean that I didn't have them, and that if I've been getting bitten then I should keep all my things in bags for another few weeks, put down the ClimbUp traps, and call her again if I was concerned. She said it could be a very early infestation or it could be nothing.

    Third PCO

    So, then I had two conflicting opinions about whether I have bugs or not. I told my landlord of my suspicions of bed bugs and that I wanted him to send someone out to check. He sent his normal pest control guy out to look; this guy said he didn't see anything, but I also suspect he didn't actually look that carefully at all because everything was exactly where it was when I left for work, plus I think he has no idea what he's talking about since he doesn't specialize in bed bugs.

    Fourth PCO

    Then I called a fourth PCO out to look. This guy was the most thorough of anyone - he checked every room, both beds, and all upholstered furniture plus the baseboards, walls, ceiling - everything. He said he didn't see anything that would indicate I have a problem, but if I'm getting bites it could be a very very early, very very light, problem. He said it was up to me whether I wanted to treat or not. His company offers heat and chemical; he said that heat would be overkill at this stage if there is a problem and one chemical treatment should solve the issue. I ultimately decided to go with three chemical treatments just in case there's a very light problem no one is seeing and I could nip it in the bud before there's any breeding.

    I had received a total of maybe 5 bites during this entire month period, all of which occurred when I was asleep in my bed. Some of them occurred after I had put on the encasements and ClimbUps, which worried me.

    First Chemical Treatment

    I put encasements on all mattresses, box springs, and pillows, treated everything I can't put in the dryer in the ZappBug, and there are ClimbUps under all the legs of all upholstered furniture and both the beds in the house. The fourth PCO did a chemical treatment on the entire house using a growth inhibitor, a contact killer, and a residual spray. He treated all the outlets and sprayed my car as well, just in case. He will come back and do two follow-up treatments; this all should be over by the end of the month.

    My Questions

    What should I do in between treatments? How are you supposed to live? He said I may see some activity after the first treatment, but I've seen nothing. There's still nothing but tiny brown spiders (now dead after the first treatment) in the ClimbUps. They've been out for about 10 days at this point. I haven't received any more bites since the first treatment.

    How likely is it that I actually had the bed bugs the first PCO said I did if three others + a K9 trained at the Florida Canine Academy with over 1000 hours of training couldn't see/sense anything at all that would indicate any problems? I was being bitten, but not badly and not often. I'm treating just in case because I in no way want it to get any worse if that is the problem, but I want to know the likelihood that the first PCO was wrong.

    When should I begin counting down the two months of no sightings/no bites/no indications that means the bed bugs are gone? Should I begin counting down from the date of the last time I was bitten, or the date of the last chemical treatment?

    When should I take the ClimbUps off and put the passive monitors in place? After the third chemical treatment to see if it worked, or in the meantime to see if they're still around?

    I would so, so, so appreciate any advice/guidance. Sorry for the novel.

  2. westmoreland

    Joined: Jun '18
    Posts: 8


    Posted 8 months ago
    Mon Jun 4 2018 21:27:32

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    Hi A, you should ask your PCO for instructions, and ask those specific questions you have about the climbups etc. Best to do what the PCO expects once you are under the care of one. It’s reassuring that the 4th PCO inspected. Best of luck to you. Hope the bites have stopped.

  3. bugged-cdn

    senior member
    Joined: Jul '14
    Posts: 601


    Posted 8 months ago
    Tue Jun 5 2018 18:22:36

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    I would think a reputable PCO would want to confirm exactly what it is he's being paid to exterminate before getting started.

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