Bed bugs can and DO cause mental stress as well as physical!
by Sheri Lorene
(Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.)
I've been living in an "extended living" building for two and a half years now. Bed bugs have been a part of our lives the whole time. I suffer from bi-polar disorder, and I'm telling you right now, I'm SUPER STRESSED from this disgusting infestation!
Just knowing that I am being bitten every night, and knowing that my family probably is as well, although I'm the only one who ever has visible bites all over. I feel ashamed, and I feel like I'm not a good mom because I cannot afford to get my kids out of this.
I know that these things can live anywhere; not just in motels or low income housing, etc., but when you actually HAVE to live somewhere that you know is infested with bugs, it plays on your mentality. A lot. I'm actually extremely depressed over this. I feel like a loser, like I'm beneath the rest of my family because I can't afford to get my kids a place to live without having to think about how they're getting crawled all over and bitten at night.
I'm crying right now, as I am writing this, because I'm feeling all of this right now. It feels like I'm starting to go crazy. So if someone tells you to "just deal with it" or "get over it", then they obviously have never had this problem. For the ones who know what I'm talking about, good luck to you all, and God Bless. Oh, and by the way, the treatments don't always work, and even the most recommended to us was the use of steam. It didn't work.
Editor Suggestion Regarding Living with Bed Bugs
Thank you for sharing this story that puts a human face on the bed bug problem.
I'd suggest contacting your local department of health for assistance. It sounds like the exterminator did not know what they were doing, since there are products and methods that can effectively kill bedbugs. Major companies such as bed bug exterminators that are part of the Service Magic network gaurantee their work, they don't treat and disappear.
Regarding treatment them yourself, steam is only one part of a treatment plan. While it is effective, it only kills those bed bugs and bed bug eggs that are in the line of the steam. Others that are hiding deeper inside an object would not be killed.
While I always recommend using a professional exterminator who has great references for bed bug treatment, you can do it yourself.
I'd suggest carefully following our step by step instructions for killing bed bugs . You'll need more than steam to get the job done including a knock down spray such as Sterifab and a residual spray such as Phantom that can provide some lasting protection against any bedbugs. Add to this mix the use of steam, thorough vacuuming and the use of diatomaceous earth (fossil dust) and you have a fighting change to get rid of the bed bugs. The use of mattress and box spring covers will also help to trap any bedbugs you miss.
Now I understand that you don't have much money. Be sure to also contact the local health and human services department and a local politician for assistance such as a city councilman.
Even without money, you can follow these tips to reduce the bed bug population:
1. make good use of your vacuum and steamer. Be sure to steam around all mattress tufts, and particularly around any labels. Steam the boxspring and all furniture including the bed frame and headboard. Use the crevice tool on the vacuum to get into hard to reach places. You can even go along seams with a hair dryer (just be ready to catch fleeing bed bugs in a rag).
2.Wash all linen in hot water followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer.
3. Dress the kids in long pants, socks and a long sleeve shirt since bedbugs go after exposed skin areas.
4. Dispose of all clutter as this provides more places for bedbugs to hide.
5. After treating a bed make sure it is at least 6 inches away from all furniture and walls. Keep blankets off the floor making it harder for bed bugs to climb up onto the bed.
6. Make your own bed bug traps as outlined here.
Best of luck to you and your family in fighting this growing problem, particularly among people that can't afford the $1000+ that is required for a professional exterminator (PS: professionals will negotiate price, particularly with people that can't afford their services - you can call bed bug exterminators listed with Service Magic (phone 1.877.233.1145) - to get an idea of how flexible they can be.