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08 June 2012 @ 09:55 pm
Bed Bugs Update  
I still don't have a confirmed answer. Last I posted, the landlord had called someone to come.

Landlord decided to talk to someone who used to be in the pest control business and they told him to try this company nearby- Professional Termite and Pest. He didn't get that taken care of until yesterday. So that company calls me and sets up an appointment for today "before 10". It was 11 before he got here, which is fine. I know with stuff like this, lateness is expected. That wasn't my issue.

The guy was an utter hack. Even if I didn't know the things that make a good PCO for bed bugs, this guy would have still sent up red flags. He basically looked at the bug in my bag and was all "bed bug". It was a quick glance, nothing more. I told him that swallow bugs and bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs unless analyzed closely and urged him to do so. Both can look like a bed bug in different stages. He was all "lol nope. not likely here." I even pointed to the birds nesting outside of the house and mentioned there might be bats in the attic. Wouldn't listen to me.

He didn't do any kind of visual inspection at all. He did not leave the living room at all. Did not check around the baseboards. He didn't look for signs of casings, fecal matter, blood stains, or bugs. He didn't even check the bed. Uhhh.. correct me if I'm wrong but... bed bugs kinda says... check the bed first and then other areas. He looked at the couch somewhat... closely with his flashlight. Then goes "Yep, look here." And so I do. And ask what I'm looking at. He points to casings on the fabric. Only problem? They're carpet beetle casings. I knew this from looking it up because I'd found a whole bunch already in various areas around the apartment from my own brief searches. Carpet beetle casings look nothing like bed bug casings and are very distinct when you know what you're looking for. I would expect a PCO to know one easily from a bed bug casing. He looks at me like I'm spouting nonsense and then pulls one off the couch. "Oh yeah." is all he can say. By this point I'm very, very angry at this man's incompetence, and trying to be calm about it.

At this point, I keep pushing for him to do a visual inspection, asking if he'll check through the rooms. He says no, because I have furniture against the wall and unless I moved some of it, he wouldn't. He still wouldn't check the spaces where there was nothing. Protocol for bed bug inspection is to not disturb much of anything because you might disturb hiding bugs and cause them to hide deeper or find new places. One is to wait for the inspector.

I had purchased food grade diatomaceous earth over the weekend, which is a physical killer. Gets on the bugs and tears at their outsides, which causes them to dehydrate and die. It was placed around the bed in my room (which he never set foot in), and around the legs of the couch and along the baseboards behind. He had no idea what the stuff was or what it did.

He was gone within 20 minutes of arriving. His conclusion? You have bed bugs, but you're not getting bitten, so don't worry about it. Nope, buddy, don't think so. I finally convinced the landlord to contact the company I had wanted in the first place. He hadn't because they're an hour and a half away, and he didn't think they did free inspections if they had to travel that far, even though they serve our area. -_- I'm hoping for a lot more thorough PCO this time around.

So two days later, the guy I wanted from Ehrlich comes to inspect.

This guy was much better. He was friendly and willing to discuss everything. He seemed to know his stuff, and was very informative. He thought bed bug at first and then began comparing it to another specimen with a strong magnifying glass before considering it may very well be a bat bug. He also let me look between the specimens. He said he could not be sure without confirmation. Stupid me slipped my mind to show him the dead bug from under the bed I'd found when cleaning up. He had checked my bed and found no signs though on anything. He said that I should have it looked at by an entomologist. I had considered Lou Soukin, an expert in the field. Lou's on bedbugger's forums, so he's seen my posts already.

This morning, I woke up to find a raised bump in the crook of my right arm and then two small dots near it, forming the shape of a C. In less than an hour, there was no red spot left where the raised bump had been, and the two dots had faded to nearly nothing. This scared me. I had a different PCO coming, one I'd contacted before getting the landlord's permission for Ehrlich. I also sent an email to the Ehrlich inspector and he was concerned, but told me to contact him after the other inspector had come.

The PCO came by this afternoon. He looked around and closely examined my apartment. He did not have a strong magnifying glass with him. Only a flashlight. He looked at both bugs and said bed bug. It did not matter that one was hairy or that I mentioned bat bug. He said they were rare cases. As he inspected, he stopped in the tiny hallway (if you could call it that), outside of my bathroom. He looked up into one of the corners and found a spider web, and another bug trapped in the web, also dead. There is a gap between the wall and ceiling. It also looked a little hairy. PCO collected that specimen as well.

He's taken all 3 to the entomologist at the company. I have asked for my specimens back. I won't find out until Monday what any of them are. I hate not knowing and having to go another weekend like this. It's hard for me to handle the anxiety that comes with it. I plan to mail the specimens to Lou as soon as I get ahold of his address. If Lou will not look at them, the PCO from Ehrlich said he will pick them up and have them looked at. I don't get it. I can't find any other live bugs and 2 PCOs have found no live ones or traces (we won't count the first) Each found one has been spread out- live one on the couch (dead within less than 24 hours, which is what people would love), dead one in a plastic bin under stuff under the bed, and then one caught in a spider's web near the ceiling outside of the bathroom.

I don't even know what to do at this point. Should I be laundering clothing and beginning to live from Ziploc bags? I know I should be decluttering. I'm afraid of transferring them to other people's houses if it is bed bugs.