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Would you say something?
Old 08-30-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Would you say something?

Yesterday, after 3 months of getting mauled, we finally got a diagnose from a pest controller that we have bed bugs in our apartment. I suspected as much for nearly the entire time, but as we live in a rental and the corporation who own it are responsible for pest inspection were telling us they could find nothing. Over this time I have become an expert on bed bugs, the following page from Wikipedia tells the story.

Bedbug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I am sure many people will think like I used to, that bed bugs mean filth etc. however that is not the case. Bed bugs are on the rise and the way you get them is to bring them into your house, the most likely source being from hotel rooms.

My dilemma is I suspect we picked them up when we stayed with a friend, as by a strange coincidence the bites started a week after we got back and we had not been anywhere for the prior 4 months. This fits with the feeding cycle of the pest. The condo we stayed at was their rental unit. I feel we should say something to them, not accusing them but something along the lines of "I thought you should know that we have been diagnosed with bed bugs. You probably have nothing to worry about, but we are back tracking to everywhere we stayed the past few months and just wanted to let you know. I expect we picked them up when we went to Vegas the week after we were at your place, but it is probably worth getting an inspection as you can have them without knowing it." DH on the other hand says we should say nothing.

Ethically I believe this to be wrong. I have suffered significantly the past 3 months from the bites, Drs visits, the pain, (they never bite DH at all) and to remedy the problem is probably going to cost in the ballpark of $1,500 and I do not want anyone else to go thru the same thing I have.

So should I shut my mouth or am I obliged to say something?
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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Mention it. (Even while hoping it wasn't your friends' place)

If you had a TB test come back positive would you not mention it so you could spare their feelings?

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Old 08-30-2008, 02:56 PM   #3
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I'd read about a big US resurgence of these pests.. horrible.

I'd tell the person in the non-confrontational way you describe. If they are friends you will want them to have the opportunity to act on it. Make sure, though, that they aren't left with the idea you brought them..
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:20 PM   #4
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Tough decision. I think that no matter how you put it, if you say something, they may no longer want to be your friends. That's because however you phrase it, they will hear "We got bedbugs from you, you slobby pigs."

Do you think they have them too, or is the problem only in their rental unit? If they have them, maybe when you relate your experience they'll say "Hey, we've been getting bites too!"

Brainstorming: Is there any way to tell them anonymously?

Call them on the phone, use the "You've got mail!" voice, saying "You've got bugs!" then hang up.
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
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or you could just mention it in passing in a note attached to a bill for 1500 bucks.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:14 PM   #6
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Thanks for your responses. You know it never occured to me that they may think that we took them to their house. Whatever way I put it, I don't want them to think that I am accusing them of being slobs or expect them to contribute in any way financially to our situation. The way I see it, it is just one of those things that happened, and could so easily have happened to anyone.

I guess I will have to think some more on how to approach this before I say anything.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:16 PM   #7
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On the other hand they might think you brought the bedbugs to their place in your pajamas or whatever (after all those bedbugs had to get into THEIR place somehow) and give YOU a bill for $1500 for their own medical treatment.

You could say something like "My doctor said I have bedbug bites and that I need to tell the people whose places I stayed at," much like someone with an STD might be advised to do.
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:28 PM   #8
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Sounds like you need to outline (again in a very non-judgmental way) your peregrinations.. Start out with "dear friends.. we so much appreciate your having hosted us bla bla bla bla wonderful time, etc.. We wanted to make you aware of an unfortunate situation that transpired during our travels. We left our home on day A, visited with you on days B-C, and traveled in Las Vegas on days D-E. After returning home we found out, after a brief period of X days, we had acquired some unwanted guests/hitchhikers. While we have very little doubt that this is most likely due to an increased prevalence of these pests in US hotel accommodations, we've also learned that these pests can be harbored in any home, even those with a high degree of cleanliness such as yours. On the extremely remote chance that your home may have been the source of these unwanted little buggers.. in friendship we just advise that you have a qualified exterminator take a quick check, this out of concern for your own well-being. We have now taken radical steps against this new pest in our own home, and would not wish you to suffer needlessly. Again, it's MOST LIKELY that these hitchhikers came on board in Las Vegas, but we thought it would be unfair and in some sense letting you folks down if we didn't warn you of the possibilities, however remote, that they may have been hiding out chez vous. We just wanted to inform you to be aware of these newly-prevalent pests. Even though, again, we know it's most likely they originated in the LV hotel, we felt it would have been remiss of us not to inform you."

I don't know how close these friends are but if they are not super-close I might rely on a written communique just so that there is less room for misunderstanding.
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:31 PM   #9
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I would want to know if someone at my house caught bed bugs.

I would also want to know if they found a spare million under a mattress at my house.
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Old 08-31-2008, 04:57 AM   #10
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You are only guessing at this point that the bed bugs came from your friends house.I would say nothing until absolutely sure and then only broach the subject in a very tactful manner or you may end up loosing your friends.I can also see your DH view on not saying anything at all.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:13 AM   #11
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$1500 !?! Yikes! Why not just $15 worth of foggers (just flip the mattresses up on thier side). They are "bugs" ... right?
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:23 PM   #12
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tryan, they are really tough to eradicate..

“Bombs don’t work on bed bugs.” Citation, anyone? : Got bed bugs? Bedbugger.com
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:26 PM   #13
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Napalm works.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:45 AM   #14
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Heat works -

A friend moved into a place and then found there were bedbugs. No way could she afford to throw out/ dry clean everything. She did whatever bug-poison, and then ...

Last year was a stinking hot NYC summer - So, she put all the 'fabric things' - clothing, bedding, mats, etc - loosely into big black trash bags, sealed them, and let them bake outside in the 104 degree heat for 3 days. Inside the black plastic, the stuff really baked.

It worked.

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Old 09-01-2008, 10:09 AM   #15
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they are really tough to eradicate.
.
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
Yesterday, after 3 months of getting mauled, we finally got a diagnose from a pest controller that we have bed bugs in our apartment.
My dilemma is I suspect we picked them up when we stayed with a friend, as by a strange coincidence the bites started a week after we got back and we had not been anywhere for the prior 4 months. This fits with the feeding cycle of the pest. The condo we stayed at was their rental unit.
Ethically I believe this to be wrong. I have suffered significantly the past 3 months from the bites, Drs visits, the pain, (they never bite DH at all) and to remedy the problem is probably going to cost in the ballpark of $1,500 and I do not want anyone else to go thru the same thing I have.
So should I shut my mouth or am I obliged to say something?
Having been on the other side of this, I think you're obligated to speak up.

We went to a camp in March. Later our kid told us that at checkin she noticed what she thought were beetles crawling around the cabin bunkbeds inhabited by her and four teens from two other families. She said she woke up one night to find a beetle crawling on her arm. But being a teen she never thought to mention any of this to an adult while we were actually there. Bedbug bites don't hurt (they inject an anesthetic to give them more time to do their thing) and they don't always cause a reaction.

In June spouse started getting allergic reactions to bites. This happens a lot but these were especially itchy. (Anyone here hyper-allergic to bug bites? Any treatment issues?) In retrospect she realized she was sitting on our kid's bed during a room-cleaning session, with one of her pillows on her lap, and must've picked up the bites then. (Being a guy, I stay far away from my daughter's room & bathroom unless my presence is requested-- or the Board of Health calls us.) Luckily ('cause we were clueless) nothing hitched a ride back to our own bedroom.

In July our kid showed us some laundry/bedding and said "What's causing these little spots in the corners?" We started poking around and discovered dozens of the little critters. They're not especially speedy and they can be scooped into ziploc plastic bags. I looked them up in my copy of "What's Bugging Me?" and sure enough, spouse had bedbug bites.

As we brainstormed how this could have happened, our kid said "These look a lot like the beetles at camp" and the whole story came out. I spoke with the other two families, one of whom said "Oh, yeah, we noticed that when we got back." (Hey, thanks a lot, shipmate!) The other family said "Whoa, appreciate the call, this explains a lot..." The camp has neglected to respond to phone calls & e-mails.

Since then we've thrown away a couple of pillows that couldn't be washed or or internally heated (they're probably full of eggs). All the bedding has been through the hot laundry cycle (at least 113 degrees F) several times. All parts of her bed have been taken apart and sprayed with an insecticide (to kill the young bedbugs). We've had some migration-- our kid left some laundry on the garage floor and one of the critters managed to move over into my taekwondo gear bag. (Nice little surprise when I geared up at the dojang for Friday-night sparring.) She's now an expert at checking the nooks & crannies of her furniture & bedding. We've been bedbug-free-- as far as we can tell-- for a couple weeks now.

So tell the other family. Tell them it can take months for a bedbug infestation to appear at a new location and that you're just notifying everyone you've had contact with in the last six months. I wouldn't get into where or when, and if you're asked then you could just stick with "We don't know where/when".

If they're still renting out that condo, chances are you won't be the first to tell them.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:35 PM   #17
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I'm definitely going to say something. I am going to send an email in response to their latest updating them on what has been going on in our lives the past couple of months. Somewhere in the middle I am going to let them know of the hassles we have had with bed bugs, describe all the symptoms and let them figure the conclusion along with the line that don't know where they came from, but apparently they are on the rise blah blah.

For some reason I have a really bad reaction to their bites. It's not immediate, but when they do flare up, I end up with welts that are incredibly itchy for 3 days or so. Only thing that helps is cold compresses. Dermatologist gave me spray to deaden the pain which had no effect, Dr gave me hydro-something to stop the itch, which took the edge of but no real effect.

Costs comes from the treatment which we are getting done professionally because the apartment complex we live in did tell us if anyone else gets them we would be responsible for the cost. Add in we threw out all the pillows in the house plus mattress protector, had the duvets dry cleaned already. Now we have to do take 2, duvets will have to go back to the cleaners as well as pillows. Every scrap of clothing in our house has to be washed at hot temperatures and me being the slacker I am a lot of it is dry clean only. So today will be spent packing all clothing, books etc. in plastic storage bins to keep on our balcony for the next 10 days. They will only be brought back into the house after washing. Hopefully it will be a hot 10 days as I believe the little buggars don't like the heat at all.

I will add that after this experience I will never leave a suitcase on the floor outside of our own apt. Also when at a hotel it is best to close your suitcase and never throw your clothing on the floor.
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
For some reason I have a really bad reaction to their bites. It's not immediate, but when they do flare up, I end up with welts that are incredibly itchy for 3 days or so. Only thing that helps is cold compresses. Dermatologist gave me spray to deaden the pain which had no effect, Dr gave me hydro-something to stop the itch, which took the edge of but no real effect.
Same with spouse, who has had relief with the alcohol-water icepacks (applied externally, with a slightly different formulation applied internally). We've also rediscovered Campho-Phenique.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
... had the duvets dry cleaned already. Now we have to do take 2, duvets will have to go back to the cleaners as well as pillows. Every scrap of clothing in our house has to be washed at hot temperatures and me being the slacker I am a lot of it is dry clean only.
I don't know if this will ruin a beautiful friendship with your drycleaner, but have you discussed bedbugs with them? I don't know if drycleaners use heat on delicate fabrics, and I don't know if the solvents are toxic to bedbugs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
Hopefully it will be a hot 10 days as I believe the little buggars don't like the heat at all.
Can't starve them to death-- they can go a year without food. "What's Bugging Me" recommended 113 degrees F, and Wikipedia mentions 120 degrees. So unless it's really nasty hot in your neighborhood, you'll probably need the black plastic wrap mentioned by another poster.

Bedbug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (caution-- yucky photos)
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