It took awhile for me to realize that my first apartment was cursed with bed bugs. The infestation was slow and the signs weren’t as obvious. The curse brought its own difficulties and not all my things couple be saved.
I had been living there for about two months without seeing any bed bugs. Mid September I was casually watching tv when I felt something crawling on me. I was able to pick up a tiny bug and isolate it in a cup. I had no idea what it was and let the issue go.
Over the winter months I noticed strange signs around the apartment. First while I was cleaning I found a few of the bugs on the floor. I even found a few in the bath tub which was strange since the tub surface was too smooth for insects to climb. There was only a vent in the wall that they could crawl from.
I looked up the bugs on online and stupidly convinced myself that these were harmless carpenter beetles. I got confused by the fact that I saw them during the day and infrequently. Part of me just didn’t want to deal with the issue.
There were signs in the laundry. On the bedding I noticed spots of blood. I found this strange but equated it to getting droplets of blood from small cuts on the hands. When doing laundry I found a dead bug on the mattress cover after it had been in the dryer as well. I also noticed the occasional dead bug on the bed sheets but didn’t really connect it.
I also noticed bugs were attracted to wet wash cloths in the laundry. I equated that to being attracted to moisture because the winter months are dry.
So I had a cursed apartment for months but was in denial about the situation and convinced myself otherwise. Next came my defining moment and a bit of panic.
The End of Denial and the Start of Action
The horrible realization that my apartment was cursed came in February. I had woken up in the early morning and it was dark all around. In my groggy moments of sleep I thought I felt something crawl near my shoulder. I swept the area and with this action I was able to grab something that crunched in my fingers.
When I turned on the light my fingers were dripping with my own blood and the insect culprit. I measured it and checked online and had an epiphany of doom: the apartment had bed bugs. I had to take action immediately.
Due to a variety of factors I had to move out. One of the biggest problems about a bed bug curse is that if it happens in one apartment the other apartments have to be treated as well. Our bed bug curse had come from another apartment. The other problem was the building was big and it would cost the management a lot to have the building fully treated. Chances of re-infestation are high as well.
Preparations for moving out and back with the parents were tiring. It takes a single fertilized female bed bug to start an infestation. Bed bugs are tricky demons who can survive more than a hundred days without a food source. I could not take a risk about bed bugs.
The easiest items to pack are dishes and pots and pans. These got immediately packed up and placed in the non contaminated moving van. My papers, documents and books got put into sealed bins and were placed in my car. Cars are great because they can sustain high temperatures help kill off bed bugs with heat treatment.
The more difficult items were clothes, furniture and the bed components.
To reduce the amount clothing that needed to be moved I sorted carefully through my clothes. I had to treat even the items that has been hanging in closet because I had found dead bed bugs in a bin beneath the items. As I mentioned before you do not want to take changes.
So I sorted things into three piles: donations, easy to wash and hard to wash. The donations were clothes that were worn out, faded, bleached or I was keeping because they were gifts. The easy to wash items were clothe I could immediately wash in hot water and high drying temperatures. The last pile was the tricky stuff that needed to be dry cleaned.
The problem is that dry cleaning is costly and potentially contaminated clothes can cause a pest problem at the cleaners. I sealed these in a secure bag to deal with later. So I donated a pile of shoes and clothes. I washed all I could at the laundry mat in one go. These clothes got sealed a bag and were immediately sent to the new dwelling.
The delicate clothes I ended up using cold treatment to eradicate pests. This involved me emptying the freezer at home, cleaning it and setting the temperature to -25 C. I placed a small quantity of clothing bags in the freezer and left them for four days. Then I put the next set of clothes and shoes. This was time consuming but it saved my clothes and shoes.
The difficult items to deal with were furniture pieces.
Bedding and Furniture
I couldn’t save my bed from the bed bugs. When the bed and its components were inspected the curse was too far along. The bed bugs had infested different areas of the wooden frame. They were also nestled into the bottom of the mattress. When I looked at it, it made me wonder how I had been sleeping in a cursed bed for months.
The bed had to be left behind and the pillows as well. You can’t really wash pillows in a washing machine. The material becomes water logged and it’s like you’re trying to wash a brick in there. You’re likely to damage the machine. These bed components were left behind and I had to go mattress shopping.
For the furniture we packed up what we needed and placed it in the back yard of the new dwelling. Then we called a pest control company to put a tent over the items and spray them. After the treatment all the items had to be cleansed and finally set up inside.
During moving I wore a simple set of clothes and placed them in the dryer immediately after use. This reduced the possibility of travelling bed bugs and kills off any that try.
The whole thing took a little over a month to finish. Afterwards you have to deal with the psychological effects a bed bug curse brings. I was hyper vigilant for bugs and there is a lingering scare that not all of them are dead. Even just thinking of them makes me feel itchy.
My experience has lead me to try to help others who have been inflicted with a bed bug curse. My case was mild but there are different degrees of a bed bug curse.
- Before moving into a new apartment check if it is listed on the bed bug registry.
- When viewing the apartment specially ask the management if there is a bed bug problem. If they lie they are liable and you can sue the management.
- Take protective measures for your bed. Place bed bug interceptors on the bed legs. Keep your bed away from furniture and the walls.
- Know what these pests look like. If you spot a bug capture it and a sample away as evidence.
- Place dirty clothes in a bin that doesn’t allow bed bugs to crawl up into it.
- Don’t pick up furniture or mattresses from the side of the road.
- Inform the management as soon as you see a bed bug. This will help prevent a larger infestation if the issue is dealt with right away.
Be mindful that it’s too easy for a bed bug curse to start. It can begin anywhere in the apartment building. The bed protection measures will keep you from being eaten at night.