Thursday, October 12, 2006

My first encounter with bed bugs

The purpose of this Blog is to provide the people who are currently battling bedbugs some information and knowledge that I gathered from the Internet and that I gained from my own experience. Since some of them are my personal opinions, you are more than welcome to make a comment or correct my mistakes.

Bedbugs are spreading rapidly in North America, and according to some pest control experts, in five years they will be more common than mice and roaches. I regard this as a war, a war that many of us are fighting and many more will be fighting soon, so let's help each other and fight it together, and hopefully we will prevail eventually.

I'll start with my story. I moved into this bachelor apartment in Toronto on Aug 1, 2006. About three weeks after I moved in, I started to get red bumps on my feet and legs while I was at the computer, and then more on my arms and shoulders after I woke up in the morning. In less than a week, I had almost 3 dozens of these bumps. They were like mosquito bites and were itchy like crazy. But I simply didn't see anything.

I sprayed Off and Raid first, but to no avail. Then I tried Creepy Crawly, which did help, but still didn't eliminate the problem. What bothered me the most was that I couldn't identify the cause of the problem. I eventually went to my family doctor for help, who suggested that I had been bitten by bedbugs. I was shocked but still wasn't convinced since I didn't see anything until Sep 2, when I caught a nymph in my bed. Since I bought both the bed and the computer desk from Ikea after I moved in, and didn't have any second hand furniture or clothes, I was quite sure that the bugs were in the apartment before I moved in. To make things worse, my parents also found an adult bedbug in their apparent, apparently it was me who brought the bedbug to their place. Luckily they haven't been bitten so far. After extensive research on the Internet, I realized that these suckers were extremely difficult to get rid of, so I decided to move out. I wasn't required to sign a lease so I just gave the landlord a 60-day Notice to Terminate Tenancy.

I had a few nights of good sleep after I put the mattress in a zippered cover, wrapped the bed legs in sticky tape and caulked the crevices and joints in the bed frame, until I caught another nymph on my blanket. This time I called the landlord and requested an exterminator, but he wasn't willing to do so until I called Toronto Public Health for help. Finally a technician from Orkin PCO Services came and sprayed some aerosol for no more than 15 minutes. As I expected, the problem persisted, and soon I got bitten again. Now I even have sticky tape on the chair legs. I haven't been bitten for a while but I am quite sure the bugs are still around. What worries me the most is that there is a good chance that I could carry the bugs with me to the new place as many others did.

6 Comments:

Blogger BensonBear said...

This is a serious public health issue. These things have been absolutely horrible for many people already. I don't think this problem can be dealt with adequately by individual landlords or homeowners or renters or whatever. Once you get them they seem almost impossible to get rid of and it is next to impossible to tell where theyhave laid eggs and it is quite easy to transport them elsewhere. The city has to do something about this.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank:

I found your blog today, just about 6 weeks after I discovered my first bedbug (or bed bug), which I guess hitchhiked home in my luggage on a business trip. Though I guess you've are weary of thinking and writing about bedbugs, I wanted you to know that people are joining this wretched club all the time. The information here, and your thoughtful consideration of the alternatives, continue to help others, like me, work through the possibilities for management/eradication and with luck, make sensible decisions.

I hope you're still BB free. Unfortunately, I'm not there yet. Out to buy some tubes of caulk tonight...

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a bed bug problem since I've moved into my new apartment. The first week was fabulous.The second week I convinced myself mosquitos were still around and the third week it was unexplainable. I used bed bug spray,covered my mattress, and I clean like crazy. I have nothing in my room oter than a tv and a mattress ( which is on the floor). Where are they coming from? Did I bring them home or did someone bring them to me? Were they there before I? Do they come from the floor? I pray that I dont carry them when I leave but most likely I will. Its aggravating, frustrating and just down right annoying.Is there anyone out there with a success bed bug story? Where are you?

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think of a horse or bird taking a dustbath to kill mites. Diatomaceous earth is silica dust that comes from the cell wall of a single-celled alga and has been ground to give it tiny sharp points. When a small creature like a bedbug crawls over it, it can cause enough lacerations to literally bleed the sucker to death -- poetic justice, in this case.

I lightly dusted my mattress and around and under the bed, and a while later had no more bites, and have not had another in the several years since. In retrospect, I should probably have left the mattress alone and set up a cot nearby with just a ring of diatomaceous earth around it, as the dust can dry your skin and manufacturers suggest avoiding breathing it in as there may be some risk of silicosis.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as an edit to my above comment, be sure to get "Diatomaceous Earth" (DE) intended for organic pest control. I don't know if pool-filter DE goes through the grinding to increase the sharp points.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can say nothing new...yes, it was absolutely dreadful. I still have nightmares. I threw out my bed and books and rugs...washed and dried and packed all my clothes. Put the stuff I cleaned in big plastic tubs out in my yard (under the July sun for 3 weeks). Ziplock bagged any papers I could not dispose of. I have moved to a condo and so far, so good. My big issue now is this- I have computer equipment that belongs to my company at my old house, as I telecommute. Next month, I plan to relocate the equipment but I am terrified of bringing bugs into my new home. Do they nest in computers? If so, is there anything I can do to salvage the equipment? -Chris

2:30 PM  

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