Post # 1
ugh i’m here looking for advice and encouragement from others who have had to deal with the hell that is bed bugs. 🙁
first started getting what i thought were hives the week before our wedding in June. assumed it was just due to stress, didn’t think much of it. after the wedding, they started to get worse. DH and i considered bed bugs, but checked for signs and didn’t see any, plus DH wasn’t showing a reaction and does react strongly to other bug bites, so we ruled them out. fast forward to this weekend (almost 3 months later!)- we saw a live bed bug on our sheets when we were getting ready for bed. removed the bedding, and found 20!! i was shocked and horrified that i hadn’t seen them until that point. i obviously couldn’t sleep that night, spent the next day researching into treatments and laws about whether i should tell my landlord to have them treat, or if i should hire someone myself. i ultimately knew that i had to tell the landlord, because i didn’t know how we got them and didn’t want to just treat our unit if they are in others… so i notified the maintenance, and found out the apartment ABOVE mine is badly infested. the tenants were evicted 10 days ago, which is probably why we started seeing more live bugs around (searching for new blood source). the exterminator was actually schedule to treat the apartment above mine today, and we just could not prep the whole apartment in time, but they did treat our bedroom today while they were out. the exterminator says he thinks it’s contained to the bedroom for now, but we will treat the rest of the apartment next week and the week after to be safe.
here’s what i need advice on: how to keep going with this. i have dissolved into tears at least several times a day because this is just so overwhelming. we are house hunting, and now i’m terrified to move because i don’t want to bring them with me! drying every piece of fabric in the apartment is a truly daunting task. we’ve only done the bedroom (not my closets or DH’s closet) so far, and i’m already swimming in bags that i can’t open because i don’t want them to get infested. i can’t sleep at night because i know i’ll be bitten, i can’t move to the couch because i don’t want them to follow me there, and i can’t stay in a hotel because i don’t trust them either. i just feel like this is so overwhelming, and i really can’t handle it. i’m under so much stress at work/graduate school, and the freaking laundromat around here is only open until 8 so i can’t just do the heat treating at night. i AM glad that my landlord is treating it, but they also said they aren’t going to notify the other adjacent units because they don’t want to “incite panic”… so we have no idea if our efforts are in vain. i try to tell myself that at least they don’t carry diseases, etc, but something about them has me totally shaken.
does anyone have any success stories? i need some motivation that there is life after bed bugs. :/
Post # 2
- Wedding: December 2014 - Loft
I am so sorry you are dealing with this! I would be losing my shit too. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things and everything you can be. Just try to take it one day at a time. So sorry
Post # 3
Omg I’m so sorry! I would be feeling the exact same way. Honestly, I feel like I would have to just start over completely. Move out and buy all new furniture and clothes! I’m sure that isn’t necessary because sooo many people get bed bugs and have successfully terminated them. Just follow the advice of the exterminator and do your research on how best to treat them as quickly as you can. It will all be okay.
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California
Gosh, I am so sorry you are dealing with this! My brother had bed bugs in his bedroom (at my parents’ house). The exterminator was able to determine it was only in there so they cleared all of his clothes & he slept on the couch until they could get rid of them in his bedroom. It was a challenge though & eventually, my parents decided on installing laminate floors in his bedroom before things got worse & spread otherwise. Not a cheap option, but it gave them peace of mind. They continues to treat it for months just in case & to this day all is well :). Good luck & I really hope things get better. I can’t even imagine!
Post # 5
high heat. wash your clothes and then dry them on the highest heat. then don’t bring them back in your place. can you bring stuff to your parents or friends until the bed bugs are gone?
Post # 6
thanks, everyone, for your sympathy! i really appreciate it. <3
MrsWBS: that’s exactly what i’m so tempted to do… it sounds extreme, but it’s the only way i’m going to feel comfortable. i think we are already planning on buying a new mattress when we move (getting an encasement for now, but we wanted to get a King size bed at some point), and i also think we will just get rid of our couch even though it hasn’t shown any signs of bed bugs. my bedroom furniture is all stuff i’ve had since childhood, so i could probably just get rid of them too. most exterminators say this isn’t necessary, but it’s definitely been going through my mind.
stephanie091512: i SO wish our apartment didn’t have carpet… i’m sure the carpet is harboring a lot of them. they sprayed it down pretty well today and will continue to do so, and we have to vaccuum every inch daily, and even then i don’t feel like i’ll ever feel safe. :/ i’m glad your family’s issue was contained to just one room! that gives me hope that we don’t have to throw away all of our wedding gifts in the spare room (we didn’t open them since we were planning on moving so soon, but cardboard is known to harbor bed bugs).
ajillity81: that’s how i’ve been treating all the fabrics so far, and i do feel like it’s working even though none of my clothes fit right. my mom is terrified of getting them, so idk if she would feel comfortable keeping the clothes there (even after treatment, double bagging, etc) and she lives about an hour away, so we probably couldn’t take them straight there. we might have to do this for some things though, because we just don’t have room to store all of these bags.
Post # 7
- Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo
sleepyhead22: I am so sorry you’re going through this. I used to run group homes and we rented from an apartment complex that was awful and just infested so I’ve been through this several times. There IS an end. It’s important to get all of your fabric run through the dryer on high heat and bagged up. I know it’s a colossal hassle, but that will kill them and any eggs. I would recommend taking down fabric drapes, curtains, posters or paintings on walls. Empty dresser drawers, heat dry anything soft in them, bag everything up. You can buy bedbug proof pillow and mattress covers from Walmart. Make sure you get the right size and the ones that say bedbug–they have a pink label and have the chemical that kills them on the inside. Put those on your mattress, box spring, and pillows under any mattress pads or linens. Heat treat sheets etc before you re-make the bed, and I would throw out foam mattress pads if you can’t heat-treat them. Tape the zipper shut and DON’T OPEN THE COVER. Like, ever. It stays on forever. Once bugs are gone, you can replace the mattress and pillows. Pull your bed completely away from the wall. You can also put sticky pads like glue mouse traps under the feet of your bed and dressers to prevent them from crawling down the legs and around the apartment–they will get stuck in the glue and die.
To avoid spreading them around–they can be in your clothes–change your clothes standing near the door just before you go out. CHange into clothes that have been treated in the dryer and don’t sit on anything before you leave the house. I’d recommend keeping your purse in a trash bag that’s tied shut when you’re in your house so nothing crawls into it. It’s unlikely–they don’t move far or fast–but better safe than sorry.
Also I understand your landlord doesn’t want to panic his tenants, but they will spread through walls. As you said, that’s likely how they came into your apartment. So if they treat your apartment it will push the bugs into adjacent apartments. Once those tenants find bugs and their apartments are treated, the bugs could come back to you. You may want to discuss this with your landlord as he’s making more cost and hassle for himself.
When they treat your apartment, it should be a series of treatments. They should pull up carpet from the edges of the room, treat under switch plates and vents, and pull furniture away and treat along the walls. It’s a mess and a pain, but it is effective.
Again, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Bed bugs are unfortunately becoming more common and having them does not mean you’re dirty or anything like that. Feel free to PM me if you have questions or just want to vent.
Post # 8
I’ve had bed bugs. It was a nightmare and my landlord at the time refused to do anything and told me it was my responsibility. He also chose not to tell the other tenants in the building, so who knows if they also ended up having problems.
I ended up paying for the heat treatment because it’s much more effective than spraying, but it was over $2000 for just my 2 bedroom apartment at the time. I scheduled the heat treatment to take place right before I moved out so that if the other apartments in the building also had them they wouldn’t get back in my place. This eliminated my bed bug problem and I did not bring them to my new place (thank God).
The exterminator I used also leant me CO2 machines after that I could put by my bed that simulate human exhalation (which attracts bed bugs) and then captures the bugs. We used these to prove that the bugs were really 100% gone and then not present at my new apt because no bugs showed up in the traps.
You also need to get those trays for under your bed legs that contain the powder that kills the bugs. This combined with never putting luggage or clothing on your bed will help keep bugs from reaching your bed if you ever bring them home again and will alert you if you ever get them again.
You can also spring for a packtite which will heat treat your clothes, luggage etc when you return from trips in the future. Also, make sure to strip the beds when you get to a hotel and look directly at the mattress
I wish you luck. Getting bed bugs is incredibly expensive, time consuming and mentally & emotionally devastating. I pray never to deal with them again.
Post # 9
I’ve never been through this myself, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about diatomaceous earth. You can buy it on Amazon. People said to basically cover your entire home in a layer of it. Cover EVERYTHING. Then vacuum it up. Is it a pain in the ass? Yes, absolutely. Will it take a while to clean up the mess? It will.
Will it get rid of the bedbugs in a very effective and comparatively inexpensive way? HELL YES.
So that’s something to look into!
Post # 10
soontobeMrsBoo: thank you so much for all of your advice! we are trying our best to follow everything you said and ordered the climb ups, mattress encasements, etc (they aren’t due to arrive until next week tho, and no one around my location had them :X). do you have any experience with the things in boxes? our exterminator said we probably don’t have to worry about them, and they will spray around that room.. but i don’t want to risk negating all of our hard work by not disinfecting the gifts. i understand that they hide in walls/clothes/etc, but i haven’t found anything too conclusive about other inanimate objects, so if you know anything then please share your experience! and i will likely PM you as we go along, because i just don’t know anyone IRL who has much experience (or people who talk about them, because there’s just such a stigma around them :/).
esk716: ugh i’m so sorry that you dealt with them, too, and that your landlord was not responsive. i don’t get how they can think something like this can be treated on a unit-by-unit basis… i feel torn between a couple ideas of thought- just accept that i’m going to dispose of my couch/mattress/other furniture and do a thorough job on everything else with the dryer, or finding a pest company that heat treats the moving truck with all of your things after you get them out of your apartment. for now, i’m just doing as thorough of a job as i can, but if they’re in another unit aside from the other one being treated, then my work might be for nothing. that’s awesome that your company used CO2 traps as well- they sound awesome. do you mind if i ask where they are based? i’m in Ohio, so if they aren’t close then no need to share your location. i just think i’m going to have to do more than the exterminator my landlord hired, so i’m trying to find someone reputable in the area.
iarebridezilla: thanks! we have heard about DE as well, and aren’t putting anything on the ground until after the treatment our landlord arranged is done (since they are spraying, vacuuming, etc), but i’ve read good things about it as well and plan on getting some!
Post # 11
soontobeMrsBoo: This +100.
Also seal with caulking the baseboards and around the electrical and plumbing outlets. This is a common entry point.
Get rid of everything fabric. Bag it up and don’t open it for 6 months. Yeah it sucks. But so does a re-infestation.
If you haven’t properly prepped your place there is little point in spraying your place. Get the covers, and use them religiously. The double sided tape around the legs of everything is great too, you can also put the legs in plastic tubs. Remember they cannot jump.
Post # 12
sleepyhead22: I’m in Buffalo, NY and I can’t say enough good things about Buffalo Exterminating, but yeah, they’re probably out of your geographic range :/. I definitely threw out my bed, mattress and couch when I moved and got new ones. I probably didn’t have to, but the mental association was too strong. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it truly was horrible. Good luck, I hope you are rid of them soon!
Post # 13
- Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo
sleepyhead22: Feel free to contact me with any questions. I’ve been through this in a helping other people way. Here’s the deal with boxes: Yes they can get into them. But if the boxes are in another room that no one is sleeping in, they don’t have any incentive to move over there. So you’re probably ok, although I would unpack everything outside your new house and throw away the boxes and bring just the gifts themselves inside. FYI DE does not work on eggs, and not on all adults. Something about the stages of molting. So you can still carry eggs, then they can hatch again in your new house. Also the females tend to hide up in the ceiling so sprinkling on carpet will not help them. So it’s effective mostly as a preventative, but not an alternative to professional treatments.
On a happier note I have spent kajillions of hours in apartments with bedbugs, helping people do their laundry and clean everything. This includes one infestation where they were literally falling from the ceiling. I have never taken bugs home with me, nor do I know anyone who has. They’re tough to spread. Just change and wash clothes before you leave the house. I’ve also found that, after a day of cleaning and washing and stress, taking your beer into the shower tends to clean you inside and out at the same time. 🙂
Post # 14
soontobeMrsBoo: LOL to your last suggestion! i have to admit that i’ve considered just drinking wine before bed in the bathtub where i know i’m safe. 😉 my exterminator said pretty much the same as you- if no one is sleeping or spending much time in the spare room, there wouldn’t be a reason for them to go in there. i like your idea of opening them all outside of the home we move into, so based on how overwhelmed i am with all the clothes/other stuff, i might leave those aside for now. if i feel very motivated, then i might as well do them just for peace of mind. i even get worried about if something could be on the outside of plastic bins, so i’ve been spraying compulsively with isopropanol (i know it has no residual effect, but at least it kills anything on contact).
it makes me so glad to hear that you/coworkers have never taken any home! i’m being so so paranoid, not even hugging my mom when i saw her, because i’m terrified of spreading them. i am taking off my “non sterile” clothes in the bedroom, doing a quick shower/inspection before getting dressed in the kitchen right before the door, so i think i need to allow human contact lol.
Post # 15
Bed bugs are a real bugger to clear. Luckily I haven’t deat with them in my own home, but I feel your pain.
The best thing you can do, TBH, is to completely move out for 3 days and have the place completely sealed and fumigated with all of your clothes and possessions inside. I know lots of people who have had them, but the only people who have really been successful in removing them in the long term are those who moved out completely and had the house sealed and professionally sprayed before moving back…. would your landlord consider this?