As Matthew was making pancakes on what was a normal Sunday morning, things took a turn for the worse. Around nine-o’clock, I got this call from our landlord:
“Hi, I just wanted to let you know that [the people downstairs] found bed bugs in their apartment. An exterminator came out and treated it yesterday.”
It felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach.
First, bed bugs?!?!?! BED BUGS??? Those which are very hard to get rid of, can go to ground and hide without a blood meal for months, only to resurface later, and are increasingly resistant to pesticides? Those bed bugs?
And second, someone came in and chemically treated the first floor of the building I where I live, with my toddler, and you’re informing me AFTER the fact? When it’s too late to pack a bag and spend the night elsewhere???
So, yeah, bed bugs. I spent most of Sunday in a serious funk, researching bed bugs, trying to get Gabriel outside as much as possible, and airing out the apartment.
At that point, we had not noticed any obvious signs of bed bugs in our apartment (no bites or stains on the sheets or mattress), but I feared it was only a matter of time. At the very least, I felt I would be constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Turns out I didn’t have to wait too long. This morning, not ten minutes after I peeked at the bed bug info from NYC’s health department and noted with surprise that adult bed bugs are relatively large (about the side of an apple seed), Matthew spotted something on our wall.
He commented that he was going to try to catch it because it looked “unusual,” though probably “too big to be a bed bug.” Um, yeah, except for the whole being as big as an apple seed thing.
At the moment, Ms./Mr. Potential BedBug is hanging out in a container, and we’re waiting to hear from our landlord, who asked an exterminator to come take a peek at our little friend (and inspect our apartment in general, which they really should have done when they were here dealing with the downstairs apartment on Saturday).
So, yeah, fun times over here. It’s not the end of the world, but, uck! I feel like I should walk through a decon unit every time I exit our apartment to avoid inadvertently sharing our little friends with the world (though the odds of them spreading this way are actually fairly slim) and perhaps walk around with a large scarlet “B” on my chest.
I’m not sure that we’ll be able to avoid treating with pesticides, since that is the most common method (and much cheaper, and perhaps more realistic for entire buildings(?), than heat treating).
No matter what happens at this point, I feel like I’ll never be convinced that they’re completely gone and aren’t waiting to resurface at some point in the future. Le sigh.
Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Safely, NYC Health Department
Bed Bugs: Integrated pest management in and around the home, University of California
Bed Bug FAQs, CDC