Now you may be thinking to yourself, "as far as personal catastrophes go, a bedbug infestation sounds fairly minor". You might even wonder why it pops up in the headlines so often, alongside all of the other "real problems" people have...
Until, that is... it happens to you!
Then you find out it's A FUCKING NIGHTMARE.
I did, when bedbugs infested my home. I didn't even know they were real until someone told me what they were. I honestly thought it was just something people said to kids at night. (The phrase has a whole new dark meaning to me now.)
Bedbugs were first brought into the US by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades. However, by the 1950's, bed bugs had been all but eradicated in the developed world, thanks to the availability of new pest control products, coupled with the widespread use of vacuums and washing machines which helped to control the spread of infestations in living spaces.
But bedbug infestations have now been on the rise since in the late 1990's. So much so that's it becoming an epidemic again. A big reason for this ihmo, is because so many people are just like I was before I got them, which means there's a lack of public awareness about bedbug prevention methods.
(Increased international travel is also thought to be a main contributing factor in the rise of the bedbug epidemic.)
Nobody likes bed bugs and due to social stigma, nobody wants to talk about them, but it’s time we start. It can only get worse if we refuse to address the problem head on. I myself, feel like I'm on the brink of madness here. I'm too paranoid to get a good night's sleep, and I fall in the percentage of people who just so happen to be allergic to bedbug bites, and I have disgusting itchy red welts and scars on my body as a result.
The anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation that this has caused has resulted in me not being on cam much lately.
I've been so afraid that someone will notice them and know what they are or simply find it such a turn off to look at, that they decide they'd rather not hang out in, or return to my chat room. I think it's horribly unfair that anyone should have to go through this and live in secrecy for fear of being looked down on or judged. So fuck it. I'm making an attempt to try to end the stigma, educate others, to help aid in prevention, and to let others who maybe going through the same ordeal, (but are to afraid to tell anyone) know that you are not alone.
Now before I go any further, let me debunk some rumors:
First of all, bedbug infestations have nothing to do with how clean you are. All classes of people, from all walks of life have experienced bedbug outbreaks. Even multimillionaires like Howard Stern aren't immune.They can infest everything from train seats to wallpaper to baseboards to your fucking alarm clock.
Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter.
Bedbugs can live for up to a year and a half without feeding!
Bedbugs' s saliva contains an anesthetic that it injects into your body while they're feeding, so you can't even feel it when they bite you.
They will routinely travel as far as a 20-foot radius from their hiding places (and back) in one night to take a blood meal. Bedbugs are very adaptable. They move quickly, and can pass through much smaller openings or cracks, than most people expect. Even Ph.D. entomologists who work with live bedbugs for the first time are often surprised.
The amount of false information out there about bedbugs makes things much more difficult in eradicating the problem.
DON'T use foggers/bug bombs in an attempt to get rig of the problem all by your self. YOU MUST GET AN EXTERMINATOR!
(Foggers/bug bombs will only make things worse.)
You're going to need to do a lot of housekeeping and cleaning, because bedbugs can hide anywhere and everywhere, and pesticides can't be applied to everything you own. You'll need to get rid of ALL clutter, and launder everything that's washable in hot water.
You're also going to have to clear out all of your cabinet and dresser drawers for the exterminator to treat. And because of how long they can live (a year and a half) without feeding, you can also expect to be keeping ALL of your clothes, and other fabrics stored in air tight bags for the next 18 months.
Taking the necessary steps to rid yourself of a bedbug infestation is going to cost an "arm and a leg". You will have to run everything you own through the dryer at least once a week, and you need to get the proper mattress, box spring, and (maybe) couch covers, specifically designed for bedbugs, which is expensive, but you have to do this if you truly want to give yourself a shot at beating this.
I'm trying my best right now, but I am truly at my wit's end, and this whole experience has left me feeling more alone than I have ever felt in my whole life.
This truly is the kind of shit that nightmares are made out of...
BED BUG DETECTION & PREVENTION
*Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
*Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
*Consider bringing a large plastic trash bag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
*Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
*Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation if you are untrained.
*Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
*Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation.
If this post sounds familiar, well then it's probably because you might have already read this when I posted this anonymously on ACF. Yes that was me. When I first posted about this I was too embarrassed to come out publicly, but I realize now that I have nothing to be embarrassed about.
I have since moved from the last apartment that I lived in when I first wrote about the subject. I now have the problem again in my new place. I'm not sure if the place was already infested before I moved in, or if I brought them with me from my old place. When I moved in, I pretty much started over from scratch. I threw away almost everything I owned before moving in here for the specific purpose of not bringing those fuckers with me. But I suppose it's still possible that I could have over looked a bug or an egg on one of the few items I did take with me. (That's all it takes)
So now it's back to the drawing board... Things are a little bit easier though now that I have my own washer and dryer in my new apartment. So I'm thankful for that. But I still have to get new beds (the beds I have now are "captains beds which are the worst kind of bed to have if you have bed bugs) , mattress encasements, bedbug traps, and a shit ton of vacuum lock bags to store all of my belongings. Hiring an exterminator is only half of the battle, the other half is on me. Unfortunately times are tough right now, and I need a little help. If you've enjoyed this blog, or my other blog, MyFree MFC Profile Help, and would like to show your support, I have a wishlist on Amazon with the things I still need to get to help me fight this infestation. Or just retweeting this post for me would also be a big help as well.
For anyone who may be dealing with a bedbug nightmare of your own, check out this youtube channel I found that has lots of good info on how to get rid of them and what you will need.
I would just like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the angel who bought me the items I needed from my amazon wish list. I was crying tears of joy. Literally, I was blubbering like a baby.