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They're Back (My Back)

Several years ago, my apartment was met with bedbugs - they'd come in with a nutbag philanthropist hippie, dressed like twenty different types of drug lords, and his dog (also in strange attire), who came looking to buy my house. I'd gotten sick that week, and had a bad cough and wheeze, so I slept on the couch. That's where they found me. I saw the first one days before the realization set in. I'd never seen a bedbug before, so I just assumed it was a random little insect scurrying across the cushion, as I tend to see in the summer in my old house. But I kept waking up with bites. I got over my illness and moved back into the bedroom where I had a few days of peace before bites started appearing again.

The internet answered, as Charles and I tried figuring out what these impossibly itchy hives were all over my legs and back. We stayed up and waited for them to appear, and right on time (according to the internet), we saw a couple crawling up the wall around 3am. Fuck.

We took evasive, defensive, and offencive action immediately. We found the only bug spray we had under the sink and went all-out to the wall, to the creases alongside the bed, to the carpet, but what else could we do? We hoped that was enough and went to bed. I didn't wake up with new bites, but after my much-needed shower, I sat on the floor with my laptop, naked on the towel, and Charles saw one crawling toward me - centimeters from my thigh! We had a bigger problem than we'd hoped. We bagged every single fabric on the bed, floor, and couch (leaving the clothes that were hung and put away to their own devices, with great hope), and we brought all the bags down, along with the couch. The couch went to the curb, the bags went to the laundromat. We went to the store. Came back with caulk, slip covers, proper spray, and sticky pads galore.

It took a few days to get the new couch over. The movers damaged our wall (but it was already damaged when we moved in). During the time we were couchless, we sprayed the everloving shit out of the offending areas - the carpet, the moulding, the little cracks and crevices nearby... After vacuuming, I also sprayed inside the still-running vacuum (and since it was a very old vacuum anyway, we decided to get rid of it after the war ended). I caulked every single gap I could find in the living room and the bedroom. We pulled the couch and bed from the walls, and put down sticky traps under the feet of them both.

The war had ended, but I wasn't the same for months. See, they only pick one host to feed off, and blood-type O has the most likely chance of being chosen. My skin crawled in tiny places around the bites, I felt phantom bites, phantom itches, I had waking nightmares, hallucinating they were still crawling up the walls. I didn't rest easy for a long time.

And now they're back.

My friend brought them over. He's also never seen them before. We'd recently spent the fall trying to debug his apartment of a heavy flow of fruit flies (with great success, thanks to me), and he assumed they were some flightless type of big fruit flies. Meanwhile, he'd come over several times in the past month to hang out and watch movies, and I'd occasionally find a rogue bite, which I attributed to spiders, as they were few and far between, and appeared to have a double puncture mark in the center. Maybe one of them was a spider bite, but lo, when he told me he had bugs crawling all over the apartment and in the couches and bed, I knew for sure...

"You!" I exclaimed, like a demon from the pits of Hell. "I've been getting stray bites for weeks, and YOU BROUGHT THEM OVER." We both laughed a little. We both knew the seriousness of it, but we were in mixed company at a cafe, and I didn't want to call him out too much, as that is a humiliating social stigma to carry (the others weren't paying attention to us in that moment, and I didn't actually shriek at him).

I didn't freak out much, as I had sprayed the shit out of my couch and bed areas (for spiders, and out of paranoia, bedbugs, for just in case), and I hadn't been bit since. Not until the next time he came over. Last night. Less than five minutes into our visit, sitting on the couch, and I saw a big bug crawling up his chest. I grabbed a tissue and nabbed it. It burst into blood when I squeezed. Yep. That's a bed bug alright. And a huge one at that. I luckily hadn't seen any full-grown adults last time I had to deal with this. But now I do, because they are quickly evacuating his body for the unmoving recesses of my couch!! I kept nabbing big ones, little ones, tiny ones, anything that moved! They were all over his coat, his pants, shoes, and bag! NO NO NO NO NO!!! I grabbed the spray can I had on the table, and I opened his bag. He grabbed out his cigarettes so I could spray inside. Those horrible pictures of bed-folds you see when you google bedbugs? That's what the seams of his bag looked like. Not a bug here and there. CLUSTERS of them!!! Holy. Fuck. I had to say, "I'm so sorry, but I can't let you stay. I gotta take you home." I sprayed down anything that moved on the couch until it didn't move anymore before we left. Thank goodness we're selling the other car (oh hey, we got a cute new car - a red Yaris!) because he infested the passenger, and I have to spray it down when I get home today.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
diello
Jan. 13th, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC)
Woo! Thank you for the tip! I think we're gonna try it this weekend. So far we've just sprayed the shit out of the edges of the room and the couch (I fuckin' drowned the couch in bedbug spray, but there's still spotting).
thistle_chaser
Jan. 10th, 2016 10:15 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's something out of one of my nightmares. Bedbugs are such a horror! And that someone could bring them over like that! ARG!

Good luck killing them all!
diello
Jan. 13th, 2016 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's awful. Because they're gonna be everywhere he was in my house, including my stairway. And come to find out, the school I work at is infested, too! So I have no idea if I'm getting bit because I'm at work, or because I haven't gotten rid at home yet. uugh
aphroditemf
Jan. 11th, 2016 11:28 am (UTC)
Oh my lordy, Scarlett gets those hives! I have worried for years that she has bedbugs but can never find any. Are they pretty easy to spot?
diello
Jan. 13th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
They usually come out at night (about 2 or 3 in the morning). Look at the side seams and folds of the bedding - usually they're hanging out in the seams, and I've never actually seen droppings (or noticed), but if you have bedbugs, their droppings look like someone dotted the fabric with a thin black marker. Usually they keep to one host, too. If she's allergic, she's gonna itch like crazy. I just today noticed dots on Charles, but he's not allergic, so they don't itch him, the lucky bastard.
touchofgr3y
Jan. 12th, 2016 02:27 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh NOOOOO! Are they back in force at your place now? I hope your friend is able to get his apartment un-bugged soon.
diello
Jan. 13th, 2016 05:51 pm (UTC)
He had an exterminator come in yesterday, but I don't know how easily he'll be able to get rid of them... he isn't very responsible about that sort of thing AT ALL. I fear he'll be infested again in no time.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )