Anyone with bed bug experience? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-03-2007, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband's cousin is visiting from NYC. He took Greyhound to get here. He's spent 3 nights here on our livingroom floor (on our air mattress). The first night he woke up with a few bites on his neck. We thought they were mosquito bites, and thought nothing of it. The next morning, he woke up with a lot more. We were slightly concerned, but didn't think too much about it. I'm not sure at what point they got really bad. He was really itchy. Then last night at 1am, he woke us up and said he couldn't sleep because he was so itchy. Then we noticed bites all over his back. This morning, we took him to the ER, and they didn't know what it was. They gave him benedryl and cortisone cream and referred him to a dermatologist. The dermatologist didn't know what it was, but thought it looked like some kind of bug bites. Later, my husband was searching online and found pictures of bed bug bites and it does look exactly what he has. And he has been waking up with more and more every morning. I am freaking out. We have had guests and have never had a problem. In fact we had someone sleep in our livingroom 2 weeks ago with no problems. I searched every crevice of the air mattress and didn't see anything. I washed the sheets today, but not the blankets. I shook out the blankets and didn't see anything. I don't have any experience with bed bugs. Does anyone out there?

-Lauren
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Hmm I don't have experience with this either, but I thought bed bugs lived IN the mattress, which wouldn't be possible with an air mattress. Strange.
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did check every crevice of the air mattress and didn't see anything. I've read that they also live in the walls and that it is very hard to find them during the day. Since we've never had a problem before, I think we only have a few bed bugs that he must have picked up on the Greyhound bus. Last night, my husband volunteered to sleep in the living room. I told him that in the middle of the night when i wake up to pee (I'm pregnant!) I would rip the blankets off of him and turn the lights on to see if I see any bed bugs. I did this at 2:30am, but unfortunately, he said he had just gone to sleep 15 minutes before that. He's still sleeping, so I still don't know if he has any bites.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:21 AM
 
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I unfortunately have experience with bed bugs. I don't know how they would survive on an air mattress though because there are no crevices for them to hide in (although, granted, I'm not sure what type of air mattress you have). To get rid of the bed bugs, we cordoned off the bedroom and got rid of the bed--mattress, box spring, frame and all. We were going to have the house fumigated but I am pregnant right now and didn't want the exposure. Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of because they live on blood (not dirt or food like roaches). For months I couldnt sleep in my bed without uncontrollable itching so I was sleeping on the couch . . . no real words of advice especially if you have not been able to find any eggs or shed skins or any kind of evidence that there are bed bugs. If they are biting, they have to be in the nearby vicinity of the person(s) they would be feeding off so I should think you should be able to see some kind of evidence that they are present. So, maybe, hopefully, they are not bed bugs. Mosquitoes, maybe?

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Old 07-04-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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Oh, and not everyone reacts so badly to bed bugs so even if your DP doesn't have any noticeable reaction doesn't rule out bed bugs. I was the only one who couldn't sleep in the bed due to the itching and such. DP and DS had no problems until very recently which is why we started looking for the problem. I thought I had just developed hives or some kind of allergy to our mattress.

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Old 07-04-2007, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do they just stay in the room they are in? I know we still don't know if it is bed bugs. But it does seem likely. Our guest has spent 3 nights in our living room. Every morning, he has woken up with more and more bites. At first we did think mosquitoes, because the first morning, he only had 3 or 4 bites on his neck. Then the next day, there were bites all over his arms. Then the next day, all over his back. At some point his legs got hit too, I just don't remember when. His entire body, including a straight line of bites on his face, is covered in bites. And he is uncontrollably itchy.

Anyway, rootzdawta, do you know if bed bugs travel around the house? Because our bedroom is at the other end of the house. We haven't had any problems at all in there so I am freaking out that they might find our bedroom next. If they are just in the living room, it wouldn't be as big a deal. We just wouldn't allow visitors to sleep in there anymore. How did you find signs of the bed bugs (besides your bites)?

-Lauren
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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IME, they did not move from the bedroom, i.e. they don't move from room to room in terms of infestation. I spotted one or two in the living room. We are all sleeping in the living room now on air mattresses for over a month while we renovate the bedroom. We figured out they were bed bugs by lifting up the mattress. We saw eggs and the shed skins. When we flipped over the box spring, we saw live bed bugs and dead ones, eggs and shed skins. If we never lifted the mattress, though, we would have had no idea. They really do not like the day time but I don't think they completely disappear during the day.

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Old 07-04-2007, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry to keep bothering you. But what do the eggs look like? I've seen pictures online of the bugs. To me they look like small roaches. At least that is what I am looking for. I did see white grains of sand or something under the flaps of the air mattress. But when I picked one up, it was hard and didn't squoosh. So I figured it was just sand.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:32 AM
 
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Hello there. I have a rather long thread on bedbugs on here somewhere I think its called "Something is biting me."

We are dealing with bedbugs and have had them for nearly a year now. Our landlord refuses to do anything about them and they have infested all of the six units in our apartment building.

I'll tell you my experiences with them.

They can bite on air mattrasses because 9 times out of 10 the bugs are not actually living in your bed at all. They are traveling out from the walls, baseboards, and rugs of your home. This is a big mistake I hear people saying all the time. "If they aren't in your beds, they aren't bed bugs." or "Bed bugs don't travel very far for a meal so they'll be right around your bed."

Have you ever seen a bed bug? They are FAST! And they most certainly will travel from room to room. If you move from where you are to another room, it won't take too long for them to track you down and follow you.

Its also possible that only one person is getting bit by them, and guests are not affected. Once a bed bug bites someone, they go back to that person every time. They simply prefer it that way. Of course, in cases like hotels and the like.. they will adapt, but in general.. one person CAN get all the bites and someone else not. At least at first. It might takes a few months, but eventually everyone in the home will get bit. Guests however are new blood, and they don't always get bit. We've had overnight guests for the past two weeks, (yes they know about the bugs and were warned.) and they woke up every morning totally fine. Had we slept where they did, we would be covered in bites.

Sometimes, a guest will get bit the first day. My sister in law didn't even sleep here, just came to visit and she got bit on her leg sometime during the course of the hour she was here. During the day. So there really is no rhyme or reason to when they bite, or who.

Some pictures

So anyway.. the best way to catch whats biting him is to plan to be awake between 3-4 am. Thats when they are generally out and about. You have to look really carefully because they can stick to any tuft in a blanket and they are VERY flat before they've fed. I've been able to find them by simply waking up early and moving stuff on the bed around.

No evidence of fecal matter, eggs, shed skins, or a crawling nest in your mattrass like all the Utube videos? DOESN'T MATTER! All you need to verify that its bed bugs is #1 a bite. and #2 one bed bug. We had nothing else and couldn't find any evidence of a bug at all until nearly 6 months after we starting getting bit. FINALLY we caught one strolling through the living room on the carpet.

Also, if they're hungry or they feel like it.. they WILL come out in the daylight. They are nocturnal.. but if they want to they will. Which means, you can get bit during the day. If you do, don't write it off as not a bed bug because it was during the day.

Also, you won't feel them bite you. Not even if its during the day. You'll only feel the itch some time after they bite. And even though everything says they feed for 5-10 minutes, I've found that sometimes its MUCH shorter than that. I've caught one in the action and watched it. (yes after nearly a year we get a bit cynical) It didn't stop at biting me three times in a row... it went on to sample my legs and bit me a total of 15 times! ONE BUG. And it still didn't feed all the way. But it doesn't matter because its the anticoagulant and numbing stuff they inject that causes you to itch, so once they poke you.. you're gonna itch.

A few tips. Wrap your bed in plastic. Make sure its completely air tight. If you can't afford a real cover you can use regular plastic as long as you seal with ends with duct tape. That will kill anything on a regular bed, or keep it so they can't get into any crevice.

Putting blankets, pillows, and clothes into the dryer for 5 minutes is hot enough to kill all live bugs, nymphs, AND eggs. So throw your stuff in the dryer before bed to eliminate there as a possibility. (again, most likely they are coming to your bed from walls anyway)

You can try double sided carpet tape on the floors around your bed, making sure no blankets or bed touch the walls at all. And you can try to catch them on the tape. My experience this didn't work but thats because we know ours are coming from the carpet too. (no bugs on carpet tape, wake up with bites anyway..)

The minute you catch one, contact a professional.. because the problem will only get worse and home remedy's don't do too much to help. They are extremely resistant to most everything. They can live for a year and 1/2 with no air or food. So even if you move out and back in 6 months later.. they'll still be there. The only things that kill them well are extreem heat and extreem cold. Cold takes about 48 hours. So you can put something in the freezer for a few days. Heat is only about 5 minutes in a hot dryer. A VERY hot day and you could put furniture etc.. in the sun.

Anyway, hope that helps!

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Old 07-04-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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Wow . . . Nature, thanks for that. I learned quite a bit from you.

So, do you think we should get the place fumigated even though I'm pregnant?

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Old 07-04-2007, 01:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post
Wow . . . Nature, thanks for that. I learned quite a bit from you.

So, do you think we should get the place fumigated even though I'm pregnant?
No prob.

You know, the fumigation while pregnant is a good question. Especially since I'm pregnant as well.

Honestly, the chemicals are not safe. They really aren't. Pregnant women ideally should not be exposed to it. Unfortunately we already are everyday in this country because the government allows those chemicals to be used. They certainly don't poll the neighborhoods to see if anyone is pregnant before they spray pesticides, or fumigate the town hall for example.

So I guess it gets put into the 'you have to make your own choice', category. For me? I think that if we get the oppurtunity to finally have the place fumigated, that we will. BUT, I will not be staying here for quite awhile while it happens and afterwards. Heck I'm more worried about my babies crawling on carpets and licking things that have been sprayed.. but there isn't much choice.

If the bed bugs were not a big problem then I wouldn't do anything.. but honestly, they have been a HUGE problem for us. From the itch, to allergic reactions I have to them, to the psychological issues that living in a house with bloodsucking bugs will do to ya.

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Old 07-04-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef636.asp

This article has great information, too. It sounds like knocking the house down is the only solution. Yikes.
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:34 PM
 
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Is it possible they are fleas?? I'm just wondering that since your guest got bitten when he was sleeping down near the floor. Even if you don't have pets, if you've recently moved in, there could have been fleas there before?

Some more info on bedbugs is at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/bedbugs/

I've emailed the one guy on this page (Richard Pollack) about head lice and he emailed back and was helpful so you might be able to contact him for info on fumigating while pregnant or other questions.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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We have bedbugs. We actually have reason to believe they came through the building.

They certainly do move from room to room, eventually.

The wikipedia page has a lot of information on them.

They tend to live in wooden bedframes and basket-like material, rather than mattresses. They may also live in the mattress, it depends what sort of material your mattress is made of, but they prefer wood etc. However they will also walk from the place where they're living to where the sleeping body is. So, while they prefer to breed near sleeping areas, they don't have to. Throwing out the furniture may solve the problem but it is not guaranteed, and it tends to spread bedbugs around the apartment building or neighborhood. You can put a zippered plastic cover on your mattress, keep it on for a couple of years, which is the maximum length of a time a bedbug can live without feeding.

Unfortunately with bedbugs it seems like fumigating is the only choice. I wish we had done it earlier--I spent ages thinking we had fleas, until finally I started to see them. I would suggest that you at least get the best pest control person you can find and have them look your place over and give you some advice. Do this as soon as possible, because they get worse with time.

When your guest leaves he should wash and/or dry everything he has on a hot setting, including his bags if possible. That kills them. Even one run in the dryer. That way he can make sure he doesn't carry them around.

I wish you much luck. We actually had the pest control guy come and spray, and they came back. My DH doesn't feel the bites but I do. Of course in the end it doesn't kill anybody or anything, but it's really unpleasant.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:01 PM
 
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i saw a lady on tv that was bitten by bedbugs so badly in a motel that she required plastic surgery on her torso!

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Old 07-05-2007, 06:15 AM
 
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i would have to wonder about fleas as well.... i've expereanced horiable flea bites sleeping on the floor
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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Fleas would be biting the ankles, and with an infestation to produce those bites.. you would see them bouncing around the carpets and whatnot.

I had several people tell me that my bed bug bites were from fleas as well. If you've had infestations of both, its pretty easy to tell the difference.

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