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When you have a bad case of the headbugs (spoiler: poison ivy)

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  1. ellebelle1031

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Thu Aug 29 2019 19:56:39
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    First time poster here.

    A little bit about me: my roommates and I discovered we had bed bugs in February 2019. While we're still not totally sure how we got them, we suspect it was from a used painting I found in a pile of free stuff on the street in Washington, D.C. Now of course I know that bed bugs love paintings, but before this experience I assumed you were fine if as long as you didn't take anything upholstered from the street...Ultimately the bed bugs spread to my boyfriend's place and we shelled out thousands of dollars in treatments, but we only ever found maybe 10 bugs total at both apartments.

    A few months later, my boyfriend and I are moving in together soon. I discover what appear to be two fecal stains on a new duvet cover. Cue total meltdown: new round of spraying, lots of tears. I invest in Nuvan Pro-strips and heavy duty trash bags and fumigate nearly all of my possessions prior to moving out. I force my boyfriend to do the same for his couch, but he refuses to dry all of his clothes again because there have been so few signs. Neither of us has ever had a bite. In fact, of the four people who lived in our two apartments, only one of them ever got any bites.

    We've now been living in the new apartment with no issues for 2 months. Last Thursday, my boyfriend absent mindedly complains of really itchy mosquito bites. I look at his chest and see large, red bites. Cue meltdown #2. In 48 hours suddenly he has around a dozen "bites". I obsessively clean and find something that is maybe an exoskeleton.

    A mediocre exterminator comes, spends five minutes looking at our mattress and says he doesn't see anything. He agrees the exoskeleton is maybe from a bed bug, but isn't totally sure. We decide to get sprayed. We dry all our clothes. I cry. I start thinking that either 1) bed bugs are totally invincible as well as invisible or 2) we have the worst luck in the world and somehow got exposed again within six months.

    Last night, I look at my boyfriend's chest and say: that looks like poison ivy. I had had poison ivy two weeks ago. Poison ivy isn't contagious, but the oil spreads easily. I was exposed Wednesday, August 14th and started getting symptoms two days later. The following Thursday, the "bites" showed up on my boyfriend. Upon some googling, I realize that it can take up to TWO WEEKS for poison ivy to show up on your skin. The "bites" are actually small patches of poison ivy caused by oil spread on fingers.

    Recovering from bed bugs, even a relatively manageable case like mine, is a process. The paranoia is real. But the moral of this story is, don't rule out other explanations. Don't jump to conclusions (especially where money is involved). Bed bugs SUCK and they're common. But not everything is bed bugs.

  2. Headbug

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Thu Aug 29 2019 22:03:02
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    Wow thank you for your story... helps and a good reminder everything isn’t always that one cause

  3. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 months ago
    Thu Aug 29 2019 22:14:48
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    Hi,

    Well said.

    Its heart breaking when you can see so much suffering in the world and to also see so much waste through needless treatments.

    Between that and looking at pictures of peoples dirty beds in the middle of the nights its a wonder I ever sleep.

    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
  4. ellebelle1031

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    Posted 3 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 21 2019 11:00:48
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    Following up on this thread because, of course, my boyfriend has starting itching again and I’ve found a blood stain, so I’m a bit on alert.

    Revisiting this thread and the blog to remind myself to stay calm until I find actual conclusive evidence. I’ve ordered some bed bug blue to test a probably fine mysterious black stain and give myself some peace of mind.

    Looking at fecal ids, however, has made me realize that there are stains that I’d have definitely thought were fecal and according to people on this blog aren’t! So I’m curious to hear what people have to say about the stains I found last spring that convinced me that the bugs were back right before I moved. First time using Flickr so hopefully this works...I assumed this stain on my duvet cover was fecal, but curious to hear others’ approval.

    https://flic.kr/p/2hNRh5g

    Also - out of curiosity, does bed bug blue work on laundered bedding? My assumption is not but I’d like to just confirm.

    Thanks in advance!

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 21 2019 12:55:45
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    Hi,

    No need to test that, it’s not faecal. The fine detail of how it sits on the high points of the threads.

    Bed Bug Blue should not be used on laundered stains as both red blood and faecal turn the same colour.

    Hope that helps.

    David

  6. ellebelle1031

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    Posted 3 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 21 2019 15:21:31
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    Huh! From my perspective that looks like a quintessential fecal stain. Now leading me to question whether the bedbugs I thought were back before I moved ever even existed...Just need to breathe and remember that my boyfriend has sensitive skin and that's why he's itchy...

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 weeks ago
    Thu Nov 21 2019 17:46:43
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    Hi,

    I would say monitoring is clearly more effective than repeated cycles of anxiety.

    Those marks have never passed a bedbugs bottom.

    David


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