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have you ever had bed bugs?


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I found a bug that I suspect is a bed bug and I'm  freaking out!  I plan on calling an exterminator.  If you have had them, did you have to actually bag up and seal off all your belongings for them to be sprayed?  Tell me anything I might need to know.  So gross, yuck!

 

  

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Yes, we did. Helpful hints:

1. Sprays are worse than useless. Any exterminator who suggests one doesn't know enough. Heat and cold treatments seem to work, but they have to get very hot or very cold to do the trick.

2. You want to pick an exterminator who is middle of the road with pricing. Too little and they're ignorant and don't know it. Too much and they're ignorant and desperately hoping you won't hire them for bedbugs.

3. Bedbugs have a distinctive odor when crushed. If this bug doesn't have a strong whiff, it's not a bed bug and you don't need to panic. If you're still not sure, check under the seams of your mattresses. They'll congregate there, and you'll certainly see back spots where they've pooped. (Also in baseboards, in the screw holes of your computer chair, in the lining of your car seats....)

4. The very best thing you can do, in conjunction with whatever exterminator protocol you use, is liberally apply an insect growth regulator, such as Gentrol, to baseboards, around and on your bedframe, and anywhere else that you linger for long periods of time. Gentrol needs to be reapplied monthly. It won't kill bugs but it WILL interrupt their life cycle. (Do not apply outdoors.) If you're convinced you have no bugs on the bed and mattress itself you can do worse than to put your bedfeet in bedbug traps.

5. The second best thing is to wash all of your bedding and clothes on HOT and dry in a HOT dryer and then steam iron. And yes, bag up and isolate anything you can live without for the next 18 months.

6. Also, daily vacuuming regimen, twice daily for bedrooms and anywhere else where you sit still for a few hours at a stretch. Remove the detritus immediately as soon as you've vacuumed.

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I thought we did, once.  I took very close-up photos of every bug I could locate and emailed them to a helpful etymologist at the county extension.  You might try there before you call the exterminator (if you can stand to make another call first; I was freaking out!).  We didn't have them.  I had been attacked by midges.  Awful, awful week.

Correction!  Entomologist!  Not etymologist.  That would be unhelpful.  Good grief.

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9 minutes ago, peacelovehomeschooling said:

I, too, live in fear of them.  Thankfully we never have had them.   I am really hoping you don't! 

 

I hope not, too.  I never realized how serious they are until a friend of mine had them.  It was an absolute nightmare for her to get rid of them and it took a long time.  She was so stressed and upset about it.  

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We had them, but we caught them very early, before they really became a problem.  Noticed the bites first (on ds's arms), and started looking.  Found exactly two bugs, and three poop tracks on the box spring.  Got rid of the box spring (there was nothing on the mattress).  Packed all the bedding in plastic and put it directly into the washing machine, and washed and dried it with hot water and hot air. Sprayed the carpet with bedbug/flea spray, starting with the doorway, then around all the walls, then working toward the center of the room and the mattress itself.  Stayed out of the room for several days.  Never saw another bug, and ds never got bit again.  

We think that one of ds's friends brought one or two in with his backpack, but we're not sure.  That was about three years ago, and we've never had any more problems.  It wasn't that bad, really, not like the infestations I've heard of.  But, again, we caught it early and dealt with it.    

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4 hours ago, Servant4Christ said:

 

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but do you mind updating? I'd love to know if you did in fact have bedbugs and what you did that worked to get rid of them.

No I did not. There are old threads about that too.  I ended up having bat bugs which are insanely close to bed bugs, well it's a LONG story.  Give me any details you want to share not questions because OMG I went crazy and I learned SO much.

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3 hours ago, Servant4Christ said:

What worked and how long did it take? We thought we were dealing with spiders until a google search gone bananas enlightened me to the difference between spider bites and bed bug bites.

Have you seen a bug yet or their waste? Little black specks on mattress or around baseboards. Any bloodstains?

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I agree, if you are getting regularly bitten, you should be able to find them if you really go looking. ours were mostly in our box spring and mattress. 

I tried denial first, and that sadly didn't work. I tried vaccuming them out on my own and some natural remedies. That didn't work. We tried a very well reviewed company that used a chemical treatment next. I knew from all my research that it wasn't going to work, but it was 1/10th the price of what did work, so I felt like I had to try it. It did not work. AT ALL. So the next step was heat treatment, which is what the internet told me I would have to do. I only did the master because my daughter did not go in our bedroom much, but the company "threw in" treatment of her bedroom (despite telling me that they agreed they did not see any sign of them in there) because they have so much bad luck with people only treating one room and then re-spreading it. It came with a  follow up and a guarantee.

The DAY AFTER we had it done, I found one on our couch. They came in and wrapped the couches in plastic and sprayed something in it. They had to stay wrapped in plastic for a couple weeks I think. We never saw a bedbug again, thank heaven. It was such a nightmare because I didn't feel safe sleeping in my own house and they are so notoriously hard to get rid of. 

If it ever happened again GOD FORBID, I would go straight to heat the next time. 

Just for the record, if anyone in our family has slept in a bed somewhere else, when they come home, they strip and put on fresh clothes (that have not left the house) in the front room, and any bags and luggage live in the front closet now, far away from carpets and bedrooms. It's not 100%, but I feel like it makes it very unlikely that we'll get an infestation again. I'm an evangelist about it. Make a bedbug prevention procedure BEFORE you have to learn the hard way.

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I had bedbugs years ago and posted here all about the horror of it as it was happening. 

We did go with a guy who used sprays and it worked like a charm.  I wonder though if maybe they’ve grown resistant to the sprays since we’ve had them?  I think we had them back in 2010.  

We are ridiculously careful when we stay in hotels. We put ALL of our belongings into big black trash bags and live out of those bags while we’re there.  It’s such a pain. Need a book? Untie the bag and find it. Need your socks? Untie the bag and fish for your socks.  

In the hotel room, no one sits down until they’ve changed out of their regular clothes into pajamas. And in the morning, once your regular clothes are on, you can’t sit down again in the room, unless you sit on a towel on a chair.  No sitting on the beds or the couch with regular clothes on.

 

We lived that way for years and years whenever we went on vacation.  Finally, the last time we went away I was so sick and tired of the bags and the changing the clothes, yadda, yadda, that I said, “Ok guys. Let’s unpack like normal. What are the odds there are bedbugs here?”

I woke up and found a nice red (from my blood) bedbug walking around inside my pillowcase the next morning.  

Fortunately, we are pros at not taking bedbugs home and on our 3-day vacation at the beach, we had to waste more than half a day by running to the store for big black trashbags and then wiping down every possession in the room that wasn’t cloth and put it in the bags, and then we had to find a laundromat and wash all our clothes and dry them.  But we didn’t bring any home with us.  

We haven’t been in a hotel room since and it has seriously curtailed any traveling we do because I’m just so sick of the whole bedbug thing.  

 

 

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No, they told me what kinds of things to get out of the room, (meltable cosmetics and aerosols) and absolutely nothing was hurt or damaged. Like I was able to walk into the room to check on it or grab something, but you would not have wanted to stay more than a couple minutes. 😄 It's freaking loud though. 

Pesticides do not actually work very well at all, so the idea that they'll protect you from "reintroduction" is umm...a lie. Pesticide companies will claim they work, but when I was researching, actual studies done by universities showed that they didn't really work at all. 

We were also told to sleep in our bed, because if you don't they will come looking for you and infest other areas of your house. The heat guys told us that in his experience that wasn't true and they didn't travel more than about 10 feet generally unless they're on you. I couldn't sleep in our bed once I knew, NO WAY. My first instinct (after burning the house down) was to move in somewhere else and starve them out. But they can survive for a YEAR without eating. (Burning it down was looking like a really good option.) I understand the desire to try other, cheaper, easier things first, because I did, but in the end, the research was right, heat was the key, and the money spent on other remedies was wasted. 

Find a good place though, with good reviews and a guarantee. While they were hanging out, the heat guys had a few stories for us about other companies that 1) did not reach the required temperature for a long enough time, or 2) weren't careful enough about exposing everything to the heat (they would come in and turn the furniture and stuff to make sure all sides were evenly exposed.) I had done a lot of research on them and they kind of pioneered the heat eradication for bedbugs in our area. 

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Love thrift stores, but now am terrified of used furniture. Whenever my best thrifting friend sees something on the curb or in a thrift store I'm like, "BUT BEDBUGS." It ruins you. 

We got ours from a cruise though.

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No matter what you do they can be re-introduced. That's why we're so paranoid after sleeping away. They do make these cups that go under your bed legs that they can't climb up (and we find all kinds of dead bugs in there so they definitely work), and then the bed-bug proof mattress covers on the mattress and box springs, but keeping luggage and clothes that could potentially be infested out of living areas is the best insurance. And everything that comes out of a suitcase or overnight bag gets washed and dried even if it wasn't worn. 

I had PTSD. And the worst part is that since they can lie low for so long, I didn't feel 100%, truly, completely sure that we had won until a year after the heat treatment. 

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We were also told we had to stay in the bed or the bugs would travel around our house to find us. I was unable to go to bed without DH right next to me (I used to go to bed earlier than him back then).  And then I’d just sort of lie there whimpering until I fell asleep.

I also wore earplugs because the thought of them crawling into my ear....

It was just awful.

We bagged up stuff that we didn’t want treated (we were using chemicals 10 years ago) and kept the stuff in the attic for a full 18 months just to be sure that there weren’t any hibernating bugs in there that would reinfest the house.  (Things like leather jackets that couldn’t be washed.)

 

I did get over it. And when we were at the beach 2 years ago and there was that bedbug in the pillowcase, it didn’t even really phase me, insofar as feeling the PTSD from it.  I was more annoyed at the thought that we might bring one home and be out of the money to treat them (we didn’t bring them home). But the fact that it had been crawling on me all night didn’t bother me as much as it did when we had the bugs in the house.

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My brother got them. He fought them for at least 6 months.  He recently moved and left behind most everything.  I am thankful for the moment that Covid keeps me from inviting them here or me going there.  I passed by his new place when I went to see my sick and I visited with h8m in the yard.  
 

I did talk to a pest cmtrol guy here in my town who said the chemicals they have now do work.  Who knows though.  

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1 minute ago, Servant4Christ said:

This is the type of reaction I fear, becoming the town leper if someone finds out when it was out of our control and likely brought home from the hospital when we recently had our baby. We aren't inviting guests over PERIOD. And we are self quarantining until we get them eradicated.

Well it is what I would do.  I wouldn’t feel obligated to tell anyone unless you think they had been exposed somehow.  Did you call the hospital?

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It was 135-140 that our people used, because they have a higher success rate at that temperature. The length of time wasn't in the email and it was 5 years ago, but 90 minutes sounds in the ballpark. 

All the pest control companies that don't offer heat will tell you that their chemicals work, but unless there are new studies backing them up, I wouldn't believe them. And there very well could be. I haven't looked into it in about 4 years. 

I didn't tell anyone except my mom and best friend. My kids continued to sleep over at mom's house, and we had that friend over with no issues to anyone. 

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From what I've gathered over the years is that you need both heat and chemicals.  Heat to do the bulk of it and chemicals to catch any stragglers.  Bedbugs can crawl into outlets and such and avoid the heat and survive and then one crawls out a week later and you are back where you started.  There are many chemicals that don't work well and some newer ones that do.  One that comes to mind is crossfire.  DH had a co worker that got them and based on my research I was able to help him diy it.  You can actually buy the very same chemicals the pros use.  https://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/bed-bug-kit-treatment-bedrooms Crossfire is a good one though.  

 

The youtube channels Bed Bug TV and Green Akers Pest Control LLC are sources of lots of great info.  The second one is located in th same state as me, but not my area.  But I contacted him on his page and he emailed me tips for diy.  What chemicals he uses and how to do it and all that. I ended up not needing it, but he and his wife were super nice each time I contacted him.  They homeschool their kids too lol.  

Pretty much everyone in the bed bug world says if you do heat, you still need chemicals as a back up.  Please be very confident with the company doing the heat treatment.  There is a list of questions to ask them because if they don't know their stuff, they can wreck your house.  Google that.  Damage done to houses from bed bug treatment.  

Also, if you can find a bug, make sure your exterminator or the local county extension agency confirms it to be a bed bug.  I spent thousands in treatment just to find out I DID NOT have bed bugs.  Is there ANY chance you have bats in your attic or outside in the eaves or the walls? 

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We had a bed bug scare. Dh was getting bites but I wasn’t. He was allergic to something. Of course we tore the bed apart and didn’t find any evidence.  There’s a lot of bugs that can be mistaken for bed bugs. 


I did apply Cimexa behind every outlet. You need a really good respirator, sealed goggles and a painters suit. It’s a super fine silica based powder. It lasts for 10years if left undisturbed and helps prevent termites along with a bunch of other insects that can live in walls so I thought why not? It dries out insects shells within a few days. It’s like a professional strength DE. 
 

I second Crossfire. Same safety setup as the Cimexa. It only works on bedbugs though. 
 

Oldest still loves to shop for clothes at thrift stores but now he knows he needs to wash anything he brings home immediately on hot and dry on high heat for at least 40 min. I know my dryer gets hot enough cause I checked. Lol.
 

Bed bugs are the worst. It’s like psychological warfare. PTSD indeed. 

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1 hour ago, Plum said:

We had a bed bug scare. Dh was getting bites but I wasn’t. He was allergic to something. Of course we tore the bed apart and didn’t find a lot of evidence.  There’s a lot of bugs that can be mistaken for bed bugs. 


I did apply Cimexa behind every outlet. You need a really good respirator, sealed goggles and a painters suit. It’s a super fine silica based powder. It lasts for 10years if left undisturbed and helps prevent termites along with a bunch of other insects that can live in walls so I thought why not? It dries out insects shells within a few days. It’s like a professional strength DE. 
 

I second Crossfire. Same safety setup as the Cimexa. It only works on bedbugs though. 
 

Oldest still loves to shop for clothes at thrift stores but now he knows he needs to wash anything he brings home immediately on hot and dry on high heat for at least 40 min. I know my dryer gets hot enough cause I checked. Lol.
 

Bed bugs are the worst. It’s like psychological warfare. PTSD indeed. 

Also, check your water heater.  Most people do not have theirs set high enough to kill bed bugs.  

Yes, I 100% have PTSD.  It is lessening as the years pass, but I no longer sleep in my bedroom due to HAVING to sleep there with the potential of having bb.  You have to stay or you will spread them. Yes, cimexa can be great.  I forgot about that.  It's been a while.  

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7 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

Also, check your water heater.  Most people do not have theirs set high enough to kill bed bugs.  

Yes, I 100% have PTSD.  It is lessening as the years pass, but I no longer sleep in my bedroom due to HAVING to sleep there with the potential of having bb.  You have to stay or you will spread them. Yes, cimexa can be great.  I forgot about that.  It's been a while.  

We got bedbugs from someone no longer living with us now. Spread to one of the grown kids household too. Absofreakinglutely have PTSD. Wiped out our savings completely and 8 months of hyper vigilance to finally get rid of them.  I swear if a anyone even scratches a mosquito bite my entire family will nearly knock each other down to get the hell away from them just in case it is bedbug bites.

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On 9/14/2020 at 10:49 AM, Scarlett said:

Remember the Friends episode?

 

On 9/14/2020 at 8:59 PM, KungFuPanda said:

I must have blocked that one out. Ewww 🕷 

I drove myself insane tonight trying to find the episode.  Dh told his young engineer coworker ‘she traced my ancestors to the 1700s but can’t find the Friends episode.’  Engineer friend laughs and says, ‘ that was a Big Bang Episode.’  Check.  It was indeed.  Season 5 episode 2.  

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We got them on vacation several years ago. It was several weeks before we figured it out. The suitcases were in an  adjacent bedroom closet by then. 

we stripped our room, washed everything and treated with a bug  bomb. 

I don’t recall what we did with the suitcases.

That took  care of it for us. .we never had another issue.

 

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3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

 

I drove myself insane tonight trying to find the episode.  Dh told his young engineer coworker ‘she traced my ancestors to the 1700s but can’t find the Friends episode.’  Engineer friend laughs and says, ‘ that was a Big Bang Episode.’  Check.  It was indeed.  Season 5 episode 2.  

🤣 I do this all the time and my kids do not understand how. I have seen all of friends but not all of Big Bang. 

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