All You Need To Know About a Bed Bug Infestation

This is a true story and shows you just how bad it can get.
1. How did you discover that you had bed bugs?
We were surprised to be getting bites in late Spring to early Summer before it was officially “bug season”.   We were kind of on the look out for some sort of critter when we found a small centipede on top of the bed one night.  We googled it and ended up reading about bed bugs.  The next day we knew what to look for and found a bed bug hidden in the headboard behind a pillow.  It was now early June 2009.
2. Do you have any idea where you got them?
There are 3 possibilities:

    • the school I work in is in the inner city and a few of our children have bed bug bites
    • my oldest daughter and I went on choir tour to Grande Pe (oil rig country)and stayed in a hotel in March
    • oldest daughter was at a birthday party sleepover in Feb.

3. How bad was the infestation?
We only ever found 1 or 2 at a time but we kept finding them for a few months and then we were still finding bites on each other until late Dec.  Actually our very last chemical treatment was New Year’s Eve day … Happy New Year!!! … now get out of your house for 8 hours!  Sorry, I’m still a wee bit bitter about the whole ordeal.
4. How long did it last?
8 months that we were aware of but most likely close to an entire year.
5. How many are there in your family? Who was affected?
There are 4 of us; Mom, Dad, & 2 daughters, plus a dog that we had to find a day home for when they came to spray and a fish that survived by me covering it with plastic wrap each treatment.  We had to cancel our Christmas plans because my other sister and her family were supposed to come over.  There were other events planned that year that we canceled as well so that we would “infect” any of our friends homes.  We kind of became hermits in our own home, we didn’t want to go to theatres, restaurants or other public places for fear of infected them or re-infecting ourselves.
6. What steps did you take when you discovered the bed bugs?
We bought loads of garbage bags, rubber maid bins, bed bug proof mattress and pillow covers and new foam mattresses for the girls’ bunk beds.  We spent the weekend at the laundry mat putting ALL our clothes & linens through the hottest cycles they had.  Numerous items ended up shrinking/destroyed due to the heat. Cleared out all knick knacks, pictures. etc. in the bedrooms.  Packed everything that couldn’t go through the dryer into black garbage bags and placed them on the driveway in 30+ degree sun and rotated them every few hours, we did this for 2 hot days in a row and then left them in the garage until the next summer to be sure. We steam cleaned all the carpets upstairs & down.  All the clothes that we would need for the summer stayed in sealed bins in the basement so in the mornings we all “streaked” downstairs after our showers to get dressed so we weren’t carrying bugs with us to work & school. Our house looked like we were moving out and we parked in front until we felt safe to “move back in” the following summer.  We ended up buying numerous winter items because in our panic to clear out the house we didn’t label the garbage bags too well and couldn’t find things later.
7. What did the company you hired do?
They were very sympathetic throughout and gave us loads of tips for cleaning and clearing out as much stuff as possible.  They ended up doing 9 1/4 chemical treatments, 1/4 because the last one was just the master bedroom because my husband found a new bite but the rest of us had been good for a few weeks.  It may not have even been a bed bug bite but by then we didn’t want to take any chances.  Early on they brought in a bug sniffing dog who “told” us what to get rid of or where they should spray more.  Due to the length of the infestation they did end up giving us about 3 or 4 free treatments plus another free dog visit because according to them we were doing everything right.
[Editor’s note: Heat would have done it right the first time]
8. Did it work?
Eventually!  But was it us cleanning like mad or the chemicals?
9. How did you cope?
Cried, was very angry and just kept working at getting rid of the rotten suckers!  Both our work places knew what was happening and were very understanding in taking time off or coming in late.  It really was rather embarrassing but at the same time we did tell a lot of people about it so perhaps they could prevent it from happening to themselves especially when travelling.

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