Bed Bugs?!?

I got back from my first year as a counselor at Teen Camp about a week ago. Another post to come on that soon. But first, I wanted to write about the little blood-sucking vampires that I seem to have been plagued by for the past few days: BED BUGS! I may or may not have gotten them at Teen Camp. I'm not completely sure, but I'm pretty sure I got more bites since I've been home.

It's kind of ironic because when I was a camper at Teen Camp, my friend Priscilla and I made it a tradition to write sunshine mail (daily notes of encouragement) to all the guys at camp. This year I discovered that's been our legacy...all the other counselors who went to camp remembered me as "Pristy Chong." (that's Priscilla and my names combined).

Anyway, I know at least one year we used to write, "Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the flesh-eating bed babies bite." Now we all know "bed babies" is supposed to be like bed bugs, but I never really realized what a problem bed bugs can be until this past week.

You can see the linear pattern of 3 on my bites on my leg.
Maybe I noticed this on Sunday (day after I got home from camp), but I definitely noticed on Monday that I had more red spots on my body. I dismissed them as mosquito bites. Then when I was talking to a coworker at work on Monday, I felt some more bumps on my arm. I also thought I may have been breaking out since they kind of look like pimples too. But then I wondered why I'd be breaking out so much and everywhere. Somehow I started looking up "red, itchy spots on skin" (thank you, Google) and as I read more, I learned that most likely, these were bed bug bites. Bed bug bites look a lot like mosquito bites (and the bites weren't too itchy for me at first), but bed bugs like to bite in linear patterns, which they call "breakfast," "lunch," and "dinner." Well guess what the meal is? YOU!

Let's just say, I've learned a lot more about bed bugs than I ever wanted to know. It's kind of gross to think about them crawling all over you at night and biting you. I searched for all the signs of bed bugs in my apartment--looking for the spots on my sheets, checking and vacuuming the mattress and box spring, looking in all the possible cracks they could hide...I found nothing. I washed all my clothes and sheets and blanket in HOT water. I even had Orkin come in and check for me. They also didn't find any obvious signs of bed bugs, but that doesn't mean they're not there. It would cost me about $450 (and that's a special deal) to chemically spray my apartment for the bed bugs. That's a lot of money, and I don't really want to spend that if I can help it.

This used to be a line of dots on my stomach, but they allmerged together.
So a couple nights ago, my mom bought me a mattress cover and we vacuumed like crazy all over my entire apartment (it's pretty clean), vacuumed my mattress, put my sheets, blanket, and stuffed animals on high heat in the dryer, and sealed up the box spring with the mattress cover. Then that night I marked all my bites with a washable marker so I'd remember if they were there or not in the morning, wrapped myself up in my blanket like a cocoon and then went to sleep. I woke up these past two mornings and didn't find any new bites. I'm hoping that maybe there weren't really any bugs and that I'm safe now.

Needless to say, this causes some paranoia. I come home & I immediately check my bed, mattress, blankets, everything for any signs of bed bugs. If one shows up, I'll know (hopefully). So I'm praying that I didn't bring any bed bugs home with me, and if I did, that they just died (which wouldn't normally happen). We'll see what happens when I go to sleep tonight. All I know is from now on, I'm washing my sheets every week and vacuuming often and ALWAYS checking for bed bugs no matter where I sleep. Doesn't matter if it's a really nice hotel. They can be anywhere!

Have you ever had a bed bug problem? How did you deal with it?


Anonymous said...

Yes. I traveled about four years ago to Washington, DC and stayed at a very expensive hotel. But it had bed bugs! Took four weeks to finally rid them from my body.

Christy said...

@exegete77 - Yes, I've read even expensive and nice hotels can have bed bugs! That's why I'm always going to check now whenever I stay somewhere new. My bites looked pretty bad for about a week, but I still have a few scars from them now.

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