Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Battle Continues…

M recently found a tiny cluster of bed bugs in a black plastic bag that had fallen into a space between my solid wood armoire.

Three weeks ago we already got5 rid of a very nice wooden dresser because we found bed bugs living upside down in the underbelly of the dresser’s drawers themselves. This week we determined that our other wooden dresser needs to go as well, as we have spotted bed bugs crawling in and around the dresser.

Our solution? Plastic dressers. We already purchased a three-draw plastic dresser for about $30 at BJ’s Wholesale Club, but because they are smaller than the two wooden ones we need two more to replace the old dressers. Currently, our washed clothes are lying in stacks on the living room coffee table because there is literally no place to put them away in our bedroom.

The clusters of bugs we found in the dressers were tiny, and could hardly be compared to the teeming colonies I discovered more than a year ago and chose to throw out my mattress, bed and headboard. But I learned my lesson: take care of a small problem before it grows into a bigger one. Perhaps if I had followed that advice a year ago, I might still have my bed furniture today.

So continues the war between bed bugs and the urban dwellers seeking to drive them out of their home.

Until next time…


Anonymous said...

You do not have to throw out everything you own!

Wash all your clothes, keep them in plastic bags and then get rid of the clutter in the bedroom and then: This product will kill your bedbugs and a monthly application after that will keep them from coming back. Of course you cannot have it shipped to New York so ask your friends in NJ if you can have it shipped there.

duchess said...

HOW do I post a question to your site? I signed in, but I can't figure this out. Anyway, my question is:

Can anyone recommend a good exterminator in NYC?

We recently discovered bedbugs in our tenant-run building in Manhattan. The family on the top (5th) floor got them and tried home treatments and now have had their 3rd visit by a professional exterminator using Suspend. But I found one in my 2nd floor apt, and another guy found 2 on the fourth floor, so we want to exterminate the whole place at once.

any advice is mucho appreciated.

The exteriminator the 5th floor folks chose seemed a bit pricey--$300-plus per room for treatment with a followup-visit, so I'm looking around.

And should we also exterimate the hallways and unoccupied basement, or just apartments?

any advice is mucho appreciated!


Bugged Out said...

Hi Duchess,

Actually, dropping a comment is the best and only way to post a question to this site.

There are several ways to approach this problem. What I've learned from many sources on bed bugs is that when an infestation of bed bugs occurs the entire home and all structures physically attached to the home (i.e., garage) should be fumigated, ideally with a large fumigation tent. Otherwise the bugs will run through the walls to said attached structures.

This becomes a problem with apartment buildings, because you simply can't throw a fumigation tent over a five-story apartment building.

Killing bed bugs completely in a building is also more complex than killing them in a traditional house because an apartment building is basically a structure with 300 or 400 rooms attached to each other, all of which can become infested as bed bugs have been known to crawl through electric wiring and plumbing to travel from one room to another. This includes bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, basements, custodian's closets, LITERALLY every area of the building.

The greatest, most expensive exterminator in the world will not be able to rid an apartment of bed bugs unless the entire building is treated at the same time, or at least within a reasonable time period to ensure that survivors are not simply jumping from one apartment to another to escape the pesticide treatment.

Because bed bugs will eventually migrate to every single room in the building, the infestation is potentially the problem of every tenant in the building. Every single space within the building will have to be treated (with follow-up visits) to ensure that bed bugs have been completely eradicated from your building.

Now you mentioned the family on the fifth floor originally got the bed bugs. If you can come up with solid evidence that can prove that they were the ones who (unknowingly, of course) introduced the bugs into the building, the rest of the tenants can file a law suit against that family and force them to pay for damages (i.e., furniture that had to be thrown out as a result of the infestation, any nights spent in a hotel room because of the infestation) and of course for an exterminator to treat every possible room within the building.

This scenario is kind of iffy, because even with evidence, your case would probably be compromised by the fact that the family did not know about the bed bugs until it was too late. Also, with the court system as backed up as it is, it may take a year or so for your case to even be heard, more time for the case to be decided upon, and don't me started if the defendants file for an appeal. By this time, the infestation may have progressed even further, and many tenants may have simply left the building altogether.

The more realistic solution would be to simply have all the tenants pool some money together to have an exterminator treat every single room in the building.

I've heard of the high fees exterminators can charge for treating bed bug infestations, so perhaps with all the rooms in your building, the tenants can arrange some sort of discount with the exterminator. I doubt the exterminator would have a problem with that given how much business you're giving them all at once.

I must emphasize once more that ALL rooms in the building should be treated, even an unoccupied basement stairwells, elevator shaft, compactors chute because once the treatment takes place, the bed bugs will go ANYWHERE in the building to escape the treatment and can live up to a year without feeding, so they can easily outwait anything you throw at them and then return to the apartments once the coast is clear.

Good luck!