Thursday, December 4, 2014. There is nothing about this post I WANT to write. Exactly how fun is it to be able to find a comparison between one’s life and BED BUGS? A week ago I had no idea AT ALL what a bed bug was! Oh, was I ignorant and naive!
I have become illuminated. Oh, great.
Life in a trauma-changed body due to infant-child abuse.
Life in a cramped apartment — with bed bugs.
Insidious. Trapped. Not to blame. Victim of circumstances. Nearly impossible to eradicate. No vindication! Any real hope of reprieve?
Looking back from my new informed vantage point I can see there were definite and probable signals that bed bugs were afoot around this low income apartment complex I live in. (They do not fly, are not known to carry diseases, are vampire blood suckers who do not alert their hosts they are being bit in the dead of night, and who can live 12-15 months just fine without food.)
Several hours ago I closed out of this page without publishing this post. WordPress saved a draft of this for me, so here I am – back again.
Scroll to the bottom of THIS LINK and you will see what I am fairly certain is coming up not only for me, but probably for at least the tenants of the other 32 apartments in my building.
Not good. Maybe if I were my younger self I could slide right over this nasty predicament as I found bed bugs in my apartment last weekend. I had NO idea what they were! At 63 years old perhaps I am just damn fortunate to have thus far been spared any personal encounter with these creatures. As it is — and the way things seem to be shaping up — I am finding the invasion of these blood sucking vampires VERY TRAUMATIZING!
They are not known to carry serious disease but they are known to spread like wildfire and are extremely difficult to get rid of. They have developed immunity to all the pesticides that used to be used against them. Now the only recommended treatment is the heat one described at the above link. 140 degrees for 12 hours. And lots of preparation before hand along with evacuation during the treatment time at a cost of $1000 per apartment.
If all ten buildings in this complex need to be treated that is going to cost someone over $300,000.
This is so upsetting I can barely regulate my thoughts enough to do so. I believe these bugs entered my apartment as the outside temperatures began to drop, probably from within the walls.
All tenants at move-in are required to sign a form at the office that says if an exterminator has to be called that they can tell whose apartment “caused the problem” and that person will be charged for the entire cost of treating the building.
I never THOUGHT of bed bugs when I signed that form, and of course I can’t even locate my copy of the form – assuming I was ever given one at the time I signed it a year ago.
This entire complex is filled with low income tenants. Most are either disabled (from what I have seen) or are immigrant and refugee people. Many of these people struggle greatly with English. Nearly all came from places with severe trauma. Starvation, war, people dying on the sides of the street. Bugs might not even get their attention.
And if they DO get anyone’s attention – the terror of the thought of having to PAY for extermination for a whole building is overwhelming! These are poverty people who live here, myself included!
I have to forgive myself for being so naive. Looking back — NOW I see some things very differently.
Last June I walked by one of the dumpsters for another of the buildings here. I thought someone must be moving out. There were couches, chairs and bags of cloth stuff all around the dumpster. There were mounds of bedding heaped ON the dumpster — that were so covered with moving brown bugs I could hardly see the fabric!
Yes, I noticed and was grossed out, but I walked away. I didn’t “report” this to management. I thought the bugs looked a lot like wood ticks, but I had never seen them before. I had NO idea what they were.
I have seen many beds, box springs, chairs, couches thrown beside dumpsters here and always I have thought they came from people who were moving and could not take these things with them. How many of them get grabbed by someone who needs furniture and hauled back into a building?
I know of two Nepal immigrant families who each had box springs and mattresses out on their upper floor balconies for weeks. In my Pollyanna kind of ignorance I thought, “Gee, these people must not have room in their apartment for that bed.” Or I thought, “These people must not be used to living in cities (like I am not) and like to air their beds out so they smell nice and fresh.”
YEAH!? You THINK?
The exterminator my daughter spoke with today said that putting beds outdoors like that is a very, very bad idea. The bugs just spread out and run for the nearest blood source. They are not at all picky where they find it, and can go 12 – 15 months without eating and be just fine.
And no, diatomaceous earth is not effective. I have that all along my baseboards, etc. Bed bugs don’t dehydrate fast enough….
Trauma-built people (from severe early abuse and neglect) do NOT tend to handle insane messes like this one smoothly. I am so much worse at it now than through my younger adulthood I don’t often feel remotely like the same person I used to be. I’ve handled bugs in the desert and never been this upset — or invaded. Being in an apartment means I cannot control for what happens in MY SPACE — which I certainly don’t really have.
This is all far from over yet. I am most blessed to have my brilliant and very clear-thinking daughter making the calls and contacts that need to be made right now. I cleaned all weekend – and I cannot end this infestation on my own.
What happens next? Whatever it is, I dread it.
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