OMFG we have BEDBUGS!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my god, I am soooo squicked out right now. The last four nights I've noticed that DS and I were getting bitten by something around bed. I suspected bedbugs, because I've had them before.

Okay, back up: 10 years ago, I was living in this crazy share house in Australia and we got bedbugs there. I'm horribly allergic to them and my whole body got covered in these huge itchy welts. Some were literally the size of my fist. My landlady was a hippie and first she tried some hippie exterminator who used dandelion oil or something, and we did the whole nine yards washing and bagging everything, and it didn't do a damn thing. We finally went out and bought the most toxic bug bombs out there and bombed the place into oblivion. But because of the bedbugs, I spent about a month of my life sleeping on the balcony (which overlooked the Pacific ocean, so it wasn't so bad). But I was seriously freaking traumatized by the bedbugs. They're the creepiest, nastiest little bugs out there. They hide out in your bed or walls, and at dawn they drop down to suck your blood. When you kill them by popping them with your fingernail, it's like a little blood explosion.

Anyway, the bites I was getting were seriously itchy. They weren't the huge raised welts that I got before, so I wasn't sure it was bedbugs. I noticed a few little bites on DS, but it's Texas in the summer and it could have been ants or whatever. Yesterday I actually went in and pulled up the fitted sheet looking for the signs of bedbugs, but I didn't see anything. 

Then early this morning, about 5:30, DS comes into my room. I had this sudden thought that he woke up because he was getting bitten, so I went into his room and saw the bedbugs crawling on his sheets. I saved a few in a little plastic container to show the apartment manager. I finally found their hiding place too, in the far back corner under the fitted sheet, the one side I didn't pull up (right under where I put my head when I put DS to sleep, ugh). It's definitely not a huge infestation, and I don't think it's been there very long, but it's definitely bad enough. I had been planning on replacing DS's mattress anyway, so at six this morning I dragged the mattress and box spring out to the dumpster, and threw away the fitted sheet.

No I'm freaking out that they're in my bed too. I noticed I was getting bitten while putting DS to sleep, so I'm hoping they're contained in his room, and with the bed thrown away, I'm hoping that it'll be easy for an exterminator to clear up any survivors. DS is asleep in my bed now so I'll go check as soon as he wakes up.

We're in an apartment, and the management team works on Saturday, so I'm going to go as soon as they open and not leave until I hear them on the phone with an exterminator who has promised to show up today.

Ugh. These little bugs have been feeding on my son's blood. *Shudder*


Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#2 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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couldn't read and not post. bedbugs are horrid. i am so sorry!

 

nak

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#3 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this.  It has been a subject of paranoia for a long time here in the city where I live, as everyone is super aware of the problem in recent years.  My brother and his wife and kids just moved out of this city to go raise their children in a more rural setting, and guess what happened?  The apartment complex they moved into has bed bugs, and they are infested beyond belief!  They broke their lease but can't find another place to live yet.  It is highly likely that they will have to get rid of all their furniture.  They can't prove that the bed bugs were there when they arrived, and the apartment complex only did one lame spraying but when my brother broke his lease, but because he broke the lease, he apparently couldn't get them to come back for further extermination.

 

That being said, regular extermination (such as for other pests) doesn't really work on bedbugs, especially if infestation has reached a certain level.  The only thing that bedbugs can't survive in is heat above a certain degrees.  For your clothes, you can kill them by drying your clothes on a high heat cycle.  For the rest of the place, you'll need steam heater.  Companies that come in with steam heaters charge up to $6k in the U.S. to clear the place.  They go through every crevice and book and cabinet and bed post.  Although I haven't had to deal with the problem, my first step would be to rent a steam heater/vacuum from a local hardware store and try to elimate them myself.  It would take a lot of hard work and patience.  The problem is, although they migrate to beds where people sleep, they can exist anywhere in your living quarters.  You have to literally steam them dead (sorry) in the entire place...especially in dark places like books, luggage, closets, clothes and linens.

 

Again, so sorry you have to be dealing with this.  It is honestly on the highest list of my worst fears.  Good luck and let us know what happens.


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#4 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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OMG this is my worst nightmare faint.gifI am so sorry you have to deal with this that SUCKS.

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#5 of 15 Old 08-13-2011, 11:25 PM
 
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do you have any idea where these came from? i'm alarmed that they can exist in books. makes me paranoid about taking used books, of which i have taken a lot. or used clothes. yikes!!

 

if you sleep in a hotel, can they hitch on your luggage? if you travel by air, can they hitch on your stuff?


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#6 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post

do you have any idea where these came from? i'm alarmed that they can exist in books. makes me paranoid about taking used books, of which i have taken a lot. or used clothes. yikes!!

 

if you sleep in a hotel, can they hitch on your luggage? if you travel by air, can they hitch on your stuff?



Yes to all the above.  :(   (with air travel it is less likely probably because it doesn't give the bugs time to transfer - they move very slowly).

 

A good thing to do before you travel is to  check out the hotel information.  A google search is better, as the hotel itself is not going to announce that it has bedbugs.  I've seen lots of reviews from customers about various hotels and it is informative.  Another tip when traveling:  encase your luggage in plastic sleeves when staying in a hotel to prevent any bed bugs (if there) from migrating.

 

I didn't mean to be alarmist in my last post, but yes, they will hibernate in books (my DH is librarian in a large public system and they had to sit through a seminar on bedbugs).  The library system isn't shelving any more book donations.  They put the donations outside in bins for the public to take (at their own risk).  


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#7 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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What a mess!  I wanted to add that landlords in my area are also using heat - not sure if it is steam heat, but they are basically heating the apartments to 120F (I think) for an extended period of time.  A friend's complex was infested and he said it looked like they were bringing in large, specialized space heaters.  I would be much more comfortable with this than chemical extermination.


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#8 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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We managed to get rid of our bed bugs without chemicals... I will pop in later if people are interested and outline our method. It took time and patience.. but I was glad not to have to shell out large amounts of money and add the chemicals to our home. Maybe pm me if you want me to detail our strategy...  They do suck! I was so upset. Ours actually came in on bats that started to roost in our house walls. Bats commonly have bat bugs, which are just like beg bugs.

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#9 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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I'm familiar with one hotel's experience with bedbugs. Heat treatment was most effective. Heating the room & contents to a certain temperature for a certain length of time.
In an apartment situation, i would move over this issue.
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#10 of 15 Old 08-15-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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Oh, I am so, so sorry! We left NYC just as the bedbug epidemic was really starting to hit and since we've been gone, we've known so many people with bedbugs. They're everywhere now--it doesn't seem to matter how clean you keep your place or how careful you are. All it takes is one or two and you've got an infestation. I've even heard that they can jump on people from wooden subway benches, movie theater seats, changing rooms in clothing stores, people's pant legs (don't stand close to people in line!)...it's like something out of a horror movie.

 

I don't know if you've seen this site, but Bed Bug Registry lets you check apartments and hotels for bedbug reports across the world. I won't book a hotel room without checking it first. Please don't hesitate to report your own bedbugs there...the more comprehensive the database, the better.

 

My understanding is that even if you manage to exterminate them from your apartment, your neighbors might not be so vigilant. And if your apartment building shares walls with another apartment building (like New York brownstones do) then forget it. If I were in an apartment with bedbugs, I'd break my lease and get out. In a house, even though I'm pretty crunchy and try to avoid toxic chemicals, I'd nuke the hell out of the place with bug spray and do it over again as needed. Ugh!

 

I've heard that you can put your books in the oven at 200 degrees with the door cracked; it kills the bugs and eggs and lets you keep your books instead of throwing them away. People also use hairdryers on them but I bet the oven is faster and more thorough. We don't even borrow books from the library because I'm paranoid about unwanted hitchhikers coming home with us.


Good luck, mama! I hope you get some relief soon. hug.gif


Loving wife partners.gif and mama to my sweet little son coolshine.gif (Fall 2008) and a beautiful baby girl babyf.gif(Fall 2010)

 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#11 of 15 Old 08-16-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Great, now I'm getting itchy.  I've heard that bedbugs are getting out of control in this country.  

 

Now I think I'll go inspect our mattresses.  >shudder<


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#12 of 15 Old 05-16-2014, 03:15 PM
 
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They sure can hitchhike on your clothes, shoes, and luggage. The young ones can be the size of a pin head and transparent, so they are nearly impossible to see. They can run really fast, and they hide well, in the smallest spaces imaginable. They love to hide between the pages of books, for example.

 

We moved into a mobile home temporarily, and the landlords lied when they said it was pest-free. It has had a bed bug infestation for years, they later admitted, but they thought bug bombs would get rid of them all. What it did was make it much worse. They run from the smell, go deeper into the structure, breed, and come back in larger numbers than ever. We have been eaten alive for months, and two of use are quite allergic, with welts everywhere. 

 

We paid for Orkin to come and do a heat treatment, because the landlords refused to do anything. It didn't work. Oh, it killed many bed bugs (little corpses everywhere: GROSS), it just didn't get all of them. We did as they suggested and disposed of most of our belongings (properly, so no one would be tempted to take anything home with them), and we lost around $9,000 in books alone. It may help the heat treatment work better, and it will reduce the amount I have to pack and move (being disabled makes moving hard enough as it is). Orkin came and sprayed after the heat treatment but it didn't seem to do anything. They're coming back next week to honor their guarantee and heat treat again. Meanwhile, we're packing to move to a new place in a couple of weeks. 

 

As I pack, everything has to go through one of these processes:

Being heated in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour

Being washed in rubbing alcohol 

Being put through the clothes dryer for an hour on high heat

Being frozen in the Deepfreeze for three days

 

As soon as the items come out of the dryer, freezer, or oven, they go into a box that hasn't been in this house, and into our van. When we have a van full, we'll take it to the new place, unpack each item, wipe it with more alcohol or put it through the oven or a dryer at the local laundromat. Lots of precautions, I know. Maybe it's a little overkill, but I swear, if any of these vampires make it to the new house, I will go insane. 

 

Best wishes to everyone!

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#13 of 15 Old 05-17-2014, 08:48 AM
 
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I truly wish I had not read this thread this morning. My everything itches. Everything I own comes from thrift stores. Ugh!!!


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#14 of 15 Old 05-20-2014, 12:08 AM
 
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They suck. We had them last year. Tried cedar oil which caused me to miscarry.

The final solution for us was to have an exterminator heat our home up. It killed everything including any in furniture and beds. We didn't need to get rid of anything.

It wasn't cheap but so much better than the chemicals, which often don't work anyway. It was about $2000 and was completed in one day.

Apartments are trickier because if the whole building isn't treated they can come back. Good luck people!

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#15 of 15 Old 05-20-2014, 11:00 AM
 
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No suggestions, but had to post sympathy, and thanks for the bedbug registry link.  Good luck, MamaJen!


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), an underachieving Bernese Mountain Dog (2006-2014), and an overachieving mother (1930).  Married to DH since 1986.
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