Bed bugs and parasitosis

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Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby TheNorm05 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:30 am UTC

I've been especially edgy for the last 3 hours. After deciding to sign off facebook from chatting with a friend on the couch, I notice a small bulbous insect crawling next to me. Intrigued I decide to smash it, and pop squirts about 2 drops of human(I assume mine) blood. Now if getting bitten was a one time thing, it'd be little more than a mosquito bite, and annoying... But I know it's much worse than that, even before this incident. My apartment had bee discovered my my roommate to be infested with bedbugs about a week ago. He threw out his bed because of it(Something I can't afford to do since my mattress was kinda expensive when I got it and I'd feel like a bad Mexican for throwing it...). Anyway, we promptly informed the management and they proceeded to send the regular maintenance guy with a can of Raid and he pretty much sprayed all over the floor and rug... it was a big sticky mess that I am still pretty pissed off about since we don't have a mop to at least clean the linoleum.

We assumed(wrongly apparently) that this would solve our problem as we had all washed our clothing and bedding so there should have not been any issue. Unfortunately after a relatively quick google search I learned that spraying aerosol pesticides has the effect of spreading these parasites around... which sucks for me because I had not experienced any contact with them before the spraying. About a day after the spraying I began to notice small bite marks, but dismissed them as mosquito bites, or even pimples(which I have gotten on different parts of my body at times), and culminated in a string of rash like breakouts on my right forearm. I have since been bitten many more times in utter denial until now, with the bloody proof staring me right in the face. Before I could at least try to fool myself, but now I know it's real... And I suspect it's starting to affect my brain a little bit...

I can't sleep because the thought of allowing these things to crawl all over me while eating me alive isn't very appetizing to say the least.. But I need to sleep. I feel things crawling on me everywhere and when I look there is nothing... I know they don't do any serious harm... but still. Anyway, I'm gonna have to threaten the management to send a real exterminator as well as charge them for the cost of washing all my bedding/clothing(which I suspect is also infested...), replacing/cleaning/sealing my mattress, and also to have checks done on the building itself(since they likely came from a neighboring apartment). I'm really pissed off though because it's 5:30 am and I'm REALLY tired, and I just fixed my schedule yesterday... only to be driven back into my sleep deprived insomnia... FML
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby Obby » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:57 am UTC

TheNorm05 wrote:I've been especially edgy for the last 3 hours. After deciding to sign off facebook from chatting with a friend on the couch, I notice a small bulbous insect crawling next to me. Intrigued I decide to smash it, and pop squirts about 2 drops of human(I assume mine) blood. Now if getting bitten was a one time thing, it'd be little more than a mosquito bite, and annoying... But I know it's much worse than that, even before this incident. My apartment had bee discovered my my roommate to be infested with bedbugs about a week ago. He threw out his bed because of it(Something I can't afford to do since my mattress was kinda expensive when I got it and I'd feel like a bad Mexican for throwing it...). Anyway, we promptly informed the management and they proceeded to send the regular maintenance guy with a can of Raid and he pretty much sprayed all over the floor and rug... it was a big sticky mess that I am still pretty pissed off about since we don't have a mop to at least clean the linoleum.

We assumed(wrongly apparently) that this would solve our problem as we had all washed our clothing and bedding so there should have not been any issue. Unfortunately after a relatively quick google search I learned that spraying aerosol pesticides has the effect of spreading these parasites around... which sucks for me because I had not experienced any contact with them before the spraying. About a day after the spraying I began to notice small bite marks, but dismissed them as mosquito bites, or even pimples(which I have gotten on different parts of my body at times), and culminated in a string of rash like breakouts on my right forearm. I have since been bitten many more times in utter denial until now, with the bloody proof staring me right in the face. Before I could at least try to fool myself, but now I know it's real... And I suspect it's starting to affect my brain a little bit...

I can't sleep because the thought of allowing these things to crawl all over me while eating me alive isn't very appetizing to say the least.. But I need to sleep. I feel things crawling on me everywhere and when I look there is nothing... I know they don't do any serious harm... but still. Anyway, I'm gonna have to threaten the management to send a real exterminator as well as charge them for the cost of washing all my bedding/clothing(which I suspect is also infested...), replacing/cleaning/sealing my mattress, and also to have checks done on the building itself(since they likely came from a neighboring apartment). I'm really pissed off though because it's 5:30 am and I'm REALLY tired, and I just fixed my schedule yesterday... only to be driven back into my sleep deprived insomnia... FML


Well, first off, I'll say this: if you have bedbugs (which you probably do, if your roommate does), washing your clothes and bed sheets isn't going to do very much, because that's not where bedbugs live. There may be some that you find on them, but their primary place of hiding is inside the cushions of your couch, inside your mattress, stuff like that. An easy test to see if you have bedbugs or not is to grab a hair dryer and focus it on a certain spot of your bare bed for a short while. If you see dark dots start to appear (they're very very small), then you have bedbugs in your bed. Bedbugs are attracted to heat, so the heat from the hair dryer acts as if someone had just settled themselves on that spot. Now, if this test doesn't produce anything, it doesn't mean that you don't have bedbugs. It just means your infestation might not be that severe.

If this test confirms you have bedbugs, you most certainly would need to contact your landlord about getting a proper exterminator in there to get them removed. And, unfortunately, you most likely will have to replace your mattress. But I wouldn't suggest you do that until just after the exterminator comes. Replacing your mattress before the rest of the bugs are exterminated will just force them in to your new mattress.

In the mean-time, try this link:

http://doyourownpestcontrol.com/bed-bugs.htm
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby TheNorm05 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:24 am UTC

Obby wrote:Well, first off, I'll say this: if you have bedbugs (which you probably do, if your roommate does), washing your clothes and bed sheets isn't going to do very much, because that's not where bedbugs live. There may be some that you find on them, but their primary place of hiding is inside the cushions of your couch, inside your mattress, stuff like that. An easy test to see if you have bedbugs or not is to grab a hair dryer and focus it on a certain spot of your bare bed for a short while. If you see dark dots start to appear (they're very very small), then you have bedbugs in your bed. Bedbugs are attracted to heat, so the heat from the hair dryer acts as if someone had just settled themselves on that spot. Now, if this test doesn't produce anything, it doesn't mean that you don't have bedbugs. It just means your infestation might not be that severe.

If this test confirms you have bedbugs, you most certainly would need to contact your landlord about getting a proper exterminator in there to get them removed. And, unfortunately, you most likely will have to replace your mattress. But I wouldn't suggest you do that until just after the exterminator comes. Replacing your mattress before the rest of the bugs are exterminated will just force them in to your new mattress.

In the mean-time, try this link:

http://doyourownpestcontrol.com/bed-bugs.htm

Yup, I checked like all the first two pages of the google search "how to get rid of bedbugs" and ran into this article. We're gonna need a real exterminator and perhaps access to a really big freezer for a couple weeks(which may actually be do-able).. I was thinking that the infestation came form a neighboring apartment, but now I'm thinking it may be from my roommate's couches that belonged to someone else previously.
Yeah, I know my mattress is probably screwed anyway. I just wish I could force myself to sleep NOW as I had been sleeping normally for a whole day before this happened and reversed my miraculous progress... I swear it's always something... It's like being back in San Antonio without power all over again... staying up all night because mosquitoes are more active at night and by walking all night you avoid getting bitten as much... Bed bugs are supposedly a bit nocturnal, but it's not good for my sleep one bit... The worst part is feeling them crawling on me even when I KNOW they aren't there...

Anyway, got any tips for sleeping? I might try to look up how soldiers sleep during war, since being able to sleep under enemy threat probably trumps bedbugs any day.

Oh, I just read that a solution of 1 part water and one part white vinegar kills bedbugs as well. Can anyone help me confirm this?
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby Midnight » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:18 am UTC

i know it might be expensive, but I was watching some entomologist or whatever talk about bedbugs, and he pretty much said "call a professional. You won't be able to get rid of them yourself."
uhhhh fuck.
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby Woopate » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:50 am UTC

Eech, my sister moved into a rather unhygenic situation a while back, got bed bugs and they followed her to a new place. Took two visits from an exterminator and the tossing of most of her worldly possessions to get rid of 'em. Eliminating bedbugs can be a living hell, and I wish you luck. If they are isolated, you can put ground up silica crystal beads on the ground as a barrier for them (like at the base of your door, or move your bed away from the wall and put a ring of the stuff around it). Until you can replace your matress, you can get a plastic matress bag that covers the whole thing and zips up tight to prevent the buggers from getting out. Obviously this doesn't help if it's in your couch or somewhere else.
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:13 pm UTC

First off, I know you know how serious this is, and I know the physiological stuff that comes with it. My last apartment had bedbugs and it's awful.

I'd get a bedbug cover for your mattress. That will stop them from living in the mattress and coming to bite you at night. It will also stop any new ones from coming in.

Heat will kill bedbugs. A standard dryer gets hot enough, so everything that you can throw in the dryer is good. As for everything else, a standard freezer won't kill bedbugs as it doesn't get cold enough. Also, it takes something like 18 months for bedbugs to die if they're not getting food. There's this relatively new product that heats up your belongings to the required temperature to kill the bugs, but it's kind of expensive. I think it's called the pack-tite or something like that.

If you can't afford a professional (which is what I recommend - one that knows what they're doing) you can try to rent a steam cleaner. The whole point is to get above the temperature that will kill the bedbugs, so a standard rug doctor cleaner won't work. You need to find a steam cleaner. First, put everything that can be put in the dryer in the dryer and then put that stuff in plastic bags so bugs won't get in. Garbage bags will work, just seal them up tightly. Everything else that you can bag, bag it so that the bugs can't get out. If you get the pack-tite, use that before bagging. After that, get your steam cleaner and go over everything. I mean everything. Try to steam clean your furniture, your carpet, anything that you can. That's the best you can do by yourself. If the infestation is particularly bad, it won't work, and you'll have to do it multiple times.

Also, the bugs themselves aren't hard to kill, but the eggs they lay are. I think the vinegar will kill the bugs, but it might not kill the eggs.

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Best of luck!
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby Enuja » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

Oh, I wish I'd seen this earlier! Bedbug are really annoying. But they are not the end of the world, and (at least where I live, in Chicago) they seem to be a fact of life again, like they were for thousands of years. Only now we've got lots of really good ways to control them!

Bedbugs do not transmit diseases, although it can be really hard to sleep while you are worried and thinking about bedbugs. They scared me a lot, too, at first, and grossed me out. But now I think about them like fleas and mosquitoes: insects that suck my blood, which are annoying, but which are not particularly gross or intimidating.

I hope you've had professional extermination, and shame on your landlord for spraying RAID around. My property manager has been able to get the professional bedbug sprays, and does the spraying himself. Not as good as a real professional, but at least he is looking up real bedbug treatment information, and using treatment methods that actually work. I didn't have to throw anything I own out (although I want to throw out a patched old chair that has lots of hiding places, my cats and my spouse like it, and we're keeping it, at least until we move out of here -- I just don't sit on it anymore), and we've essentially solved our bedbug problem, even though we keep getting new bedbugs from neighbors (because my property manager is not up to treating the entire building at one time, and people keep bringing in old furniture). The property manager spraying got rid of the bedbugs entirely for 5 months.

My current solution is food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and vacuuming the wall-to-wall carpet every 2-3 days. Hopefully you don't have carpet. Also, hopefully your bed frame has four feet, and doesn't touch a wall or floor elsewhere. My bed touches the ground all along the headboard and with two long feet at the bottom. Once your bedframe has been been treated for bedbugs and you've encased your mattress in a bedbug mattress cover, keep new bedbugs from crawling onto your bed by using heavy-duty double sided tape or, as I do, by surrounding your bed legs with a moat of DE. Putting each bed leg in a bowl of water should also work: bedbugs are not aquatic, and can't survive in water. I'd put a little soap in the water to cut down on the surface tension of the water (like I do for fleas: when flea combing cats, I just put the fleas in soapy water and go back to combing), but putting water around bed legs is an old-fashioned way to keep the bedbugs from biting.

DE is just the glass shells of long-dead diatoms, and it kills insects by mechanically abrading the waxes on insect cuticle. These waxes cover insect exoskeletons and keep from from drying out. Once coated in DE, an insect will die, usually within 24 hours, by simply drying out. The huge advantages of DE are that is completely non-toxic to mammals (to me and my cats) and that it is persistent: it's just a powder that hangs out on the floor. I have all of the wall/floor corners covered in DE, my table and bed legs surrounded by moats of DE, and I vacuum the floor to keep any bed bugs from hiding in the carpet. It works. Occasionally, I'll see a bedbug (or catch one biting my foot as I sit in front of my computer), but I don't get bitten while I sleep anymore (except that one day when I had bed sheets drying on a chair and brought them with me to bed: apparently I brought a bed bug or two with the sheets, but the DE around the bed and in the bed frame meant that those beg bugs died when they went to hide after biting me).

As far as tips for sleeping, when the beg bugs were still biting me, I slept in long underwear even when it was warm. I still got bites on my hands and face, but I wasn't getting huge numbers all over my body any more. But it is not that hard to keep them from biting you while you sleep: have an encased mattress (no need to replace it, once it's encased), all of the seams and cracks and screw holes of your bed frame covered with DE, and a moat of DE around your bed. Once you know that bedbugs can not survive on your bed and you will no longer be bitten, you will be able to sleep again.
Last edited by Enuja on Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby pooteeweet » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:30 am UTC

Holy bejeezus, bedbugs have been my worst nightmare ever since I started hearing about their resurgence. I haven't had them (knock on wood) but what I've read about their tenacity just terrifies me. Parasites just fucking suck so much. I caught lice and worms as a kid, and scabies once in college. All were highly unpleasant, inconvenient, and frustrating experiences but at least we didn't have to worry about them infesting the furniture/walls/woodwork etc for God's sake! Good luck dude.
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby TheNorm05 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:56 am UTC

Well, I thought I'd update on the war front. My roommates are really careless. While I was out vigorously washing bedding, they just said "it looks OK, I don't need to wash this." Professional came and sprayed and for the most part they are gone, but not "gone gone". I still get a bite or two every now and then and I catch them when I can in plastic bottles. Fortunately the apartment management paid for the exterminator, but with things the way they are, I'll probably find my own place next semester because these guys just don't care. I'm planning to get some DE when I get financial aid(which should be any day now) and at least putting it where my stuff is, and around where I sleep. The hardest part is washing bedding often because it costs quite a bit at the laundry place here... that and the fact I'd feel guilty about having friends over and sending them home with bedbugs.
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Re: Bed bugs and parasitosis

Postby Enuja » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:10 pm UTC

I'm so glad to read the update! I'm also glad your management called and paid for a professional extermination: since you are still finding living bedbugs, you should ask them to do it again. If you're going to leave, though, maybe it would make sense to simply have the manager spray right before you leave, to make it easier to move without moving bedbugs with you. Are you getting better sleep now? Is your bed on legs that you could cover (or have covered) with double sided tape or put in a bowl of water? Is your mattress encased?

DE is pretty cheap: I order food-grade DE on amazon.com; this one in particular, although, if you're only going to be living in that place for a few months, 10 lbs is probably way too much for you.

As far as having friends over, tell them to put their bags in your bathtub (since bed bugs drown, they can't hang out in bathtubs long term, and people don't usually hang out in bathtubs without water, so bedbugs aren't attracted to them), and it's very unlikely that they'll get any bedbugs. Alternatively, if they just come with themselves, no baggage at all, it is quite unlikely they they will pick up a bedbug. Usually, bedbugs bite people and then crawl away from the people, to something that doesn't move. Begbugs can hitch a ride on people, but this usually only happens with a really overwhelming infestation, and it is fairly rare. I did see a bedbug on my shoe once, when I was out of my apartment (when I wasn't getting bitten, surprisingly), but I'm pretty sure that the bedbug settled on my shoe while it was sitting in my closet, not while it was on my foot. Having friends stay the night is problematic (what with luggage and leaving their clothes somewhere while they sleep), but you should be able to have friends over for dinner.
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