We have bed bugs. Prior to discovering this on Wednesday morning, I thought we simply had a few random beetles roaming the house. See, like many, I believed bed bugs were 1) invisible to the naked eye, and 2) only present in homes that, for lack of a better word, are unclean. How could we possibly have these invaders in our home? We wash our sheets and vacuum every week, we make sure to wipe down our kitchen after we cook and eat. We bathe every day. We're clean people.
On Monday, my husband woke up from sleeping in the downstairs recliner and found four beetles on him. They looked somewhat like engorged ticks. We killed them, looked for more on the walls, blankets, and carpet, and came to the conclusion that they must have been random beetles that found their way into the house. We've already seen some spiders--a clear sign that spring is on its way (even though we have more snow predicted for today...ugh!)
On Wednesday, I woke up and found a "beetle" on my pajamas. I started investigating our bed. I pulled off the comforter and the sheets--nothing. I pulled off the mattress pad and to my horror, there were a few smaller "beetles" and some nasty black excrement between our box spring and our mattress. YIKES!
I ran downstairs, typed in "What do bed bugs look like?" in Google, and my case was solved. Simple.
Now that I know how to identify them (and their much smaller babies), I've become obsessed. Obsessed with finding them, killing them, vacuuming them, etc. etc. This weekend we will be laundering all of our bedding, clothes, towels, curtains, etc. in hot water and high heat and then placing them in plastic bags to be stored outside the house. All books, toys, and other household items will be wiped down/sprayed with rubbing alcohol before going into plastic bags, and every single corner and nook and cranny of our house will be vacuumed before the exterminators arrive for not just one, but two applications that will happen during the next three weeks. Yes, we have to live out of plastic bags for the next three weeks!
The first application, slated for Tuesday, will kill all current bugs, but the second application (about 14 to 21 days later) will be to kill a new cycle of bugs that may be hatching from their eggs.
I feel violated. These pests have been living in our home undetected for weeks, perhaps months, disturbing our sanctuary--our sacred, beloved, private place away from the stress of school and work! I can no longer sleep because I feel like they're crawling on me at all times (the imagination is a powerful thing), and I've been washing our pillows, blankets, and bedding like crazy before we go to bed each night. I woke up this morning at 3 a.m. after a very light, unsound sleep, turned on the light, and within ten minutes killed about 8 very tiny black dots. I was tempted to go into my son's room to spot and kill more but didn't want to wake him from his peaceful slumber.
For anyone that has gone through a similar situation, my heart melts for you. It's not your fault. It's not our fault. They can hitch a ride home with us from a hotel, plane, train, movie theater, dorm room, hospital, convalescent home, etc. They can come from clothing or a piece of furniture that we decided to buy and bring home from a thrift shop. They can even hitch a ride to your house from a new piece of furniture that was housed in an infested warehouse or truck. The possibilities are endless, and now after reading about bed bugs and talking to experts in the field, it seems that the number of incidences of bed bugs is on the rise. One exterminator told me that it's so common that it feels like one in every five houses has them.
This weekend is not going to be fun. I have to sleep with these critters for four more days!!!! The one light at the end of the tunnel is that our house will undergo a spring cleaning like it's never seen; it's a chance to get rid of old things and start fresh. I can do without the $1200 extermination bill, but if that's what it costs to have peace and not get bitten anymore, then it's worth every penny.
I used to sing to my little boy, "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite." I now HATE that song. These bugs are going down!