It all started about two months ago when Ben kept getting bug bites all over him. With the stories in the news about bedbugs at UT Medical Center, he was convinced we had them. I was not getting bitten and was tired of him complaining and spending hours on the internet researching bedbugs so I told him to go to the dermatologist. He went and the dermatologist told him he believed, based on the large size of the bites, that they weren't bedbug bites but instead were likely bird mites or some other kind of mite. We found this believable as we did have a bird's nest in the garage just below our bedroom. We removed the nest and Ben felt better for about a day. But then he kept getting bitten. I still showed no signs of being bitten.
We searched the bed for bedbugs several times, removing the mattresses, looking at the seams, etc., as I had been taught to do by my Hall Director training on bedbugs. We never saw any. Ben even vacuumed the bed and surrounding and saw nothing. By this time he was washing the sheets twice a week and started sleeping in the other bedroom sometimes. And he continued to get bitten and get hives.
One morning he found a bug in the bed, very tiny and red. Nothing like the pictures of bedbugs. I put it in a ziploc bag and took it to the UT Entomology department (to Dr. Karen Vail- who was the one who did my bedbug training as a Hall Director). Dr. Vail was really excited. It was still alive and she rushed it to the microscope. It was running around trying to get out of the light. It was a cimicid nymph. Meaning it wasn't yet fully developed and she couldn't really tell what it was. She went to the other room and got out this tray of dead bugs on pins, trying to identify it. She had her assistant on the internet looking up various bugs. It was a bedbug. And this is where the nightmare really begins...
We use Russell's Pest Control for our regular pest control service so we called them out to look. Sure enough they found one or two adult bedbugs and several eggs on the back of the headboard of our bed. At first they said it would be $200 per room and recommended treating at least William's room and our room and probably the guest bedroom too. I can handle $600. Then they called back and said they would have to treat the whole house and it would be $950. So I called Dr. Vail who couldn't recommend a specific pest control company but told us to get estimates. So we did...Orkin was $600 for the first room and $300 for each additional. Cooks was $1,500 for the house plus you had to buy a mattress cover FROM THEM for every bed in the house and we have 4 beds. I didn't even ask how much that would be. Then Allied came out and said it would be $350 per room but we could just do our room and William's room, so this was really the cheapest option we had at this point ($700). We choose Russell's for $950 for the whole house simply because they offered a year warranty and the other companies only offered 30-60 days.
Russell's came out Friday (Ben and I both had to take the day off work) and started bagging up every soft thing in our house for us to take to the laundromat and dry (and some to wash). Evidently drying kills the bugs. Anyway, we have a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is soft. Stuffed animals, tons of clothes, curtains, sheets, comforters, towels, etc. It was literally 500 lbs or more of stuff. The bed of our truck was overflowing with trashbags and the double cab was full too. I had to drive separately. Right before we left it was time to sign the contract. I told Ben, in front of the Russell's manager, to make sure it said we got a year warranty. He immediately says, "Oh. We don't do year warranties on bedbugs. 60 days is the max." I'm like, "We chose you because of the warranty. You were not the cheapest option. We also have our regular service through you. Call the salesman and put the warranty in the contract or leave and we'll get someone else." They had just spent two hours bagging up all this crap and we still hadn't signed the contract. So the manager calls the salesman and he confirmed that he did say it was a year warranty. (Ben had asked him like 4 times so we knew he had said it.) The manager decided to honor the warranty, we signed the contract, and off we went to the Family Bubble on Sutherland, which was recommened because it's fairly new and has free wi-fi.
I naively brought my computer like I would have any time to get on the internet. When we got there the place was full of Mexican women taking up almost all the machines, likely doing laundry for pay. Ben wanted to leave but we decided to stay and luckily they left after about 30 minutes. We spent the next 6 hours or so taking up every dryer in the place, folding sorting, re-bagging our soft stuff. My mom even came to help. I was dizzy and exhausted from being on my feet all day. It was what I imagine hell to be like.
And worse, I had posted on Craigslist that we would be having a garage sale the next morning (which Ben thought was unethical considering our bedbug problem). We had been advised to keep William out of the house for the night due to the chemicals used to treat the bedbugs. William and I went to mom's house while Ben went home and stayed up half the night putting all the stuff back where it went. I got up and left mom's house at 5:45am the next morning to get ready for the garage sale. I was already physically exhausted from the day before but got it together. And we sold lots of junk. We didn't, however, sell the problem bed (which, by the way, was the only place in the entire house they saw evidence of bedbugs...so did we really need to pay $950?). If you are interested in a queen sized leather bed, queen boxsprings, and queen mattress give me a call. I'll give you a deal.
Ben is still getting bitten. Stay tuned.