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#240328 - 12/14/11 11:12 PM Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite!  
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jm47 Offline
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We have been living in this apartment complex for over a year and a half. The folks across the hall have been here 12 years. Neither of us had been having pests, until recently, but late this past summer the roaches began to invade, and this morning, I smashed what I thought was a newly-hatched roach, and it was full of BLOOD!
This means that this bug (mite? Tick? flea?) had been sucking either on one of us, or one of the birds, and i'm not very happy!

I HATE moving! I especially hate it when it's done in haste, in winter, and with the necessity of going through everything, looking for pinhead-sized (or smaller, if that little critter was engorged) dark moving dots. . .And I REALLY hate the thought of going through the exterminator nastiness, with poisonous fumes, from which the birds must be protected, and which may cost far more than we have. . . aaaarrrrghhh!
Any practical suggestions?


Jody
#240332 - 12/15/11 12:07 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Volk Offline
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Can you provide a picture of one of these critters? (preferably non-smashed) perhaps I can help identify it and make suggestions for eradication once identified. Do you have a dog or cat? How many are you seeing and where are you seeing them? If it is fleas, the good news is that dog and cat fleas do not infest our avian friends =) Ticks are pretty hard to smush and mites are really hard to see so I'm leaning towards flea, but need picture to confirm.

-Dani and Fi

#240333 - 12/15/11 12:09 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Do you have any other animals? Have you been walking around outside? Hopefully it is just a tick that came in the door with you or a dog.


Mom to Annie B.,Molly,the Keet Family, Zeke the Pug, Ivan the Terrible, Edison and Einstein the Cats
#240342 - 12/15/11 04:54 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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I do walk around outside, and there are a multitude of dogs and cats in the neighborhood. There are several in the building. I hope and pray it was a flea. Haven't seen any more of the little critters; the roaches are nocturnal, and I'm not certain what this little fellow was, but it was about the same size as a new-hatched roach: pinhead size. I smashed him (her?) as soon as I spotted him, 'cause I do NOT want any of them around! (They are not polite enough to leave when you ask; death is the only way to keep them away)
The blood, of course, revealed my error, and by then, it was pretty much too late to try to find the camera.
The owner of the cat I see most often, claims that anything that is filled with blood is a bedbug, but I don't think so. my research indicates that bedbugs are bigger than a pinhead, and leave quite a nasty mark when they bite. One thine for sure, I'm bathing the birds, and myself, thoroughly and obsessively, because I ITCH!!!! Psychosomatic itching is just as itchy as poison ivy, for me!
If I see another one, I'll try to capture it live, and confine it in a glass container, where I can count appendages. . .and I guess I need to figure out how to really clean my shoes before entering the building, let alone my apartment, huh? I really pray it's a single, lonely flea. I wonder if they could be induced to self-mutilate. . .
(the fleas and maybe the roaches, I mean)


Jody
#240345 - 12/15/11 07:56 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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I'm with Volk, a picture of an intact specimen would be helpful.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#240361 - 12/16/11 03:39 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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OMG! I sure understand about the pyschosomatic itching!!! I hope this is an isolated incident for you....


Karen, Lucy (U2), BooBoo (CAG),Pina (BCC),Willie (Cockatiel),
Melody, Sonata, Penny & Dory(dogs)
#240364 - 12/16/11 04:56 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: Lucy's Mom]  
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I see you've looked up info. on bedbugs. They are VERY flat, on a horizontal plane. Flat like a turtle, only flatter. Fleas are flat the other way. On edge, like grass. Thin wedges with pointy backs and feet on the bottom. Bedbugs can be pinhead small. Typical bedbug bites are more than one itchy bite in a line. My reaction to a flea bite is a tiny blister-thing. If you are not getting bites, you probably smashed some other weird bug with red guts (I hope). I can see mites, but they are much smaller than a baby roach. Don't worry. You don't have to move!

P.S. I understand the creepy psychosomatic itching!! It's horrible!

Last edited by Birdfriend; 12/16/11 05:14 AM.

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#240370 - 12/16/11 07:13 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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There is a pin-head size bug called a clover mite. They squash easily (unlike a flea, which is almost impossible to squash) and leave a bright red streak that resembles blood. These insects can show up unexpectedly in a home, especially in late fall or early spring, but they are totally harmless. Search little red bug, or clover mite. I bet you this is your culprit!

#240392 - 12/17/11 01:25 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Well, the exterminator came today, and tore up my bedroom, after a description of the smashed bug, and says we have bedbugs. I'm awaiting management's response. Well, that and itching and rolling my eyes, and reading the weather forecasts to find out when it will be possible to bag up all the yarns and fabrics, launder every thread of clothing and bedding, and put it all in the (unheated, uninsulated) garage for freeze-killing those little monsters. ( Also dealing with one of my "not-so-good" days when the old digestive system doesn't work properly)

According to this guy, there are 2 different "treatments" for bedbugs: heat, and spray. Theoretically, the heat thing is "infallible" because the bugs are attracted to the heat source, and it kills them. "None of them can possibly get away". Ummm hummmm. (Forgive my skepticism)
Spray is spray. I'm scared of it, for the birds. Not certain how long they will have to remain out of the apartment, and I don't (again) really trust that it will really do the little critters in. Anybody have any experience?


Jody
#240401 - 12/17/11 02:57 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Oh No. I learned quite a bit about bedbugs from watching a show on Netflix, about an exterminator company in Ca. Do you happen to have Netflix ?
It is my understanding that you will not be able to freeze them to death. And apparently the eggs can survive for many years. I am pretty sure any exterminator that claims heat will kill them, plus by attraction ?! is full of you know what.
Maybe he does not even really have the right diagnosis for that matter.
The show's exterminator diagnosed bed bugs by looking closely in mattress stitching areas, behind bedboards, and around the boxspring underneath, up in the frame.
Apparently they do squash out blood when smushed. They do vary in size, up to 1/4 of an inch. They are white until they have a blood meal. Then they appear brownish, black.
Whatever it is, I hope you are able to eradicate them!

#240406 - 12/17/11 04:03 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: tonitoo]  
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I am also skeptical of your exterminator. He decided what you have based on your description? Ha! I also have never heard of attracting bedbugs with heat. As my friend Bill says, "What if it doesn't feel the heat? You don't want to miss any of them." Fleas are attracted by traps, usually by a small bulb above a sticky trap to provide the heat. Your exterminator COULD guarantee your place "bedbug free after treatment" if he's sure you never had them in the first place. Call me cynical.

I don't have direct experience (thank goodness), but I work in Manhattan which is Bedbug Central of the universe right now. We use bedbug sniffing dogs (trained beagles) and treat by freezing with CO2 (although Bill claims it is liquid nitrogen and I am too lazy to look it up). HOT water washing of bedding and excessive machine drying is used. They even make a special desiccating machine to dry up the bugs on things that can't be washed. It heats things to 120F or so for a few hours. Drug stores sell bedbug detection kits for hotel patrons, although I've never examined one. I would look at your mattress seams and piping really closely, even using sticky tape to try to capture anything in the cracks for examination. Bedbugs really do leave streaky, reddish stains. The scientist in me would pour hydrogen peroxide on any stains. If bubbles form it is protein, probably blood (not a good sign). Check chairs, upholstery, draperies and dark cracks in things like that for bugs. I wouldn't peroxide them, though.

Everyone in Manhattan is afraid of bringing these buggers home. If you use any "communal" laundry facilities, check the top of the washing machine "tub" as it fills with water. I have heard horror stories of creepy-crawlies from other people's stuff in the machines. Putting stuff in plastic bags is a good start... Good luck...

Last edited by Birdfriend; 12/17/11 04:12 AM.

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#240417 - 12/17/11 06:48 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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What this guy did was lift the mattress and check under it, on the frame and slats, after removing all the bedding and pillows (and strewing them across the room. . .) and he said he saw one. I didn't see it. I was having some difficulty all day today, trying not to toss my oatmeal (hadn't been eating cookies) after forgetting my Ranitidine twice in three days.

My skepticism is partly rooted in the fact that the apartment across the hall was "heat-treated" for them about 3 or 4 months ago; the fact that they are now showing up in the adjoining apartmants does NOT support the "nothing can escape" statement!

120F is not so awfully hot; I think even wool yarn ought to be safe at that temp. . .it is when it's on the sheep, anyhow. I will try to capture a bug, and count legs, measure it (don't have a camera that works well enough to send pics) and then smash and peroxide. May take a few days; I'm not really up to a lot of extra "projects" these days. And then, of course, I need to try to find a whole raft of really heavy-duty plastic bags. . .thank you for the heads-up on washing machines! I generally use the huge front-loaders at the laundromat; they rotate so that all parts are rotated through the soapy water; would that work to drown the little buggers? (the dryer ought to cook 'em up, though) This guy told me the eggs are viable for about 5 months, but that freezing for 2 weeks would kill the adults. Does this mean we have to bag up everything we want to keep, and throw away anything we wear or use for the next 6 months? I am a bit overwhelmed right now. I know that the human race has survived despite these creatures, but I certainly don't know how!
(scratch, scratch)
And of course, there's the question of the year: do they bite parrots?


Jody
#240479 - 12/19/11 09:03 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Well, I did find bedbugs.
I also found, by doing a net search, that an enzyme cleaner will dissolve their exoskeleton, and DE will keep on doing so as long as it is in the appropriate places: crevices, windowsills, heat registers, openings in the walls where plumbing comes through, at c, et c. I now need to search this site for safety info on the enzyme stuff and DE. Does anybody know if these little monsters bite parrots?

I did, just out of curiosity, smash a couple of them. The "bug juice" was brown, not the bright red of the bug i killed in the bathroom the other morning, so that must habe been something else. I also used peroxide, and it foamed, but then, any "bug juice" has protein, right? Anyhow, I'm doing some phoning around, since De is also deadly to roaches. Seems logical (and elegant) to use something that will do harm to both of the current invaders. . .IF it's safe for the birds. On to the "SEARCH"!


Jody
#240482 - 12/19/11 09:46 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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This is a good article you may want to read.
http://www.discoverneem.com/bed-bugs-neem-oil.html
It talks about a natural product called Neem Oil but as you read it also talks about the safety and use of diatomaceous earth.
Good luck
Nancy


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#240489 - 12/19/11 10:43 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Thanks, Nancy. I went back into things I hadn't read in years, thinking I remembered soembody saying something about DE . . .and the results of the "diatomaceous earth" search didn't do me much good, since every post in which the word "earth" is used was on the result list. I'm looking at a lot of difficulty, I see, and more hard physical labor than I thought possible. . .just tossed out some lumber with the bedbugs living in a knothole. . .now I need to get that board into the trash, I guess. I can't believe I had any (unfounded) hope that the exterminator who told me "Oh, we will get them all" was telling the truth when they treated the apt. across the hall. (sigh) Guess I'd better get to vacuuming, and call around to see if I can get some DE and either NEEM or "Kleen Green" NOW!
(scratch, scratch, shiver)


Jody
#240590 - 12/22/11 05:23 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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I've been watching extermination shows for...god-knows-what reason, and it's true that heat will kill pests. It basically sterilizes your furniture/belongings. Some animals can survive the cold, especially eggs, but in heat, you can only go so long without water and shelter from the heat before dying. A few exterminating companies have this heat room that they put infected things in, and the heat gets slowly jacked up for up to days at a time. Basically, the bugs get..um, cooked? Die of heatstroke? Dehydration? Take your pick. Note that every kind of insect has its own heat tolerance level. AKA Some insects take longer to kill with heat. So even if you toss your stuff in a dryer, I'm not sure if it'll kill them because no one takes over twelve hours to dry their clothes.

Btw, your exterminator's nuts. If it gets too hot, ANY living thing will run the other way!

It is also true that bugs and insects are attracted to heat sources. In a roach infestation, you'll notice roaches will migrate to things like outlets during cooler seasons because it provides heat.

Note: Heat treatment won't work if the bugs have places to escape to so 'at-home' treatments are, in my opinion, useless. Companies that will take your things to their own 'heat room' are best.

Last edited by clowangel; 12/22/11 05:25 PM.
#240592 - 12/22/11 08:15 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Volk Offline
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Bed bugs SUCK. Exterminators, also mostly suck but there are a few honest to goodness decent ones out there. As far as I know Thermal Remediation is the best way to treat them (ie: heat) However, if you are in an apartment building I believe the whole building will need to be treated to eradicate the pests. You may want to watch this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HozbZy5Dgo&feature=related

Keep up the research, the more you know the better equipped you will be to deal with them. I wish you the very best of luck with this.

-Dani and Fi

#240623 - 12/23/11 08:12 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: Volk]  
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Originally Posted By: Volk
Bed bugs SUCK.
I know. That's why I'm itching!

I KNEW that you couldn't just heat up a room or two, or one apartment in a building, and actually "clean them out". They are, according to what I've read, so flat, they can get into places like behind switchplates! Okay, so those places need to be "filtered" with steel wool, preferably with some DE, to damage their nasty little exoskeletons, so they dehydrate and die.
Shortly after reading about DE, I remembered that DE is the basis for most scouring powders, so I took a couple of old cans of scouring powder we've had for years (literally; hardly ever use it) and cleaned thoroughly under stove and fridge, then sprinkled the powder around, and in the morning there were dead bugs on the floor. Voila! Then we put vegetable tins (with scouring powder in them) under the bed legs, after scrubbing the frame and vacuuming the mattress, and now there are dead bugs on the bedroom floor. . .there may be hope, after all. . .I've read that enzyme cleaners also will cause their exoskeletons to disintegrate, so that they die of dehydration, ao will be trying that, too. Busy here. . .
Still don't know if bedbugs bite parrots! Anybody?

Last edited by jm47; 12/23/11 08:23 AM.

Jody
#240629 - 12/23/11 05:56 PM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Volk Offline
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I goggled it and looks like yes, they can and do use birds as hosts. However it's not limited to birds. Looks like they will go for any warm blooded host. There are also specialized species of bedbug that prefer birds, or bats.

http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/entomology/entupdates/Indoor_pest/bed_bug.htm

http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/can-birds-get-bit-by-bed-bugs

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbedbugs.htm

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2105.html

http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/bedbug.html

"Bed bugs feed on warm-blooded animals. They have a normal host with which they live and on which they feed, but they will feed on other species. For example, bed bug larvae and adults feed readily on humans, bats, and chickens, and they do so when the host is at rest. Thus bed bugs living with humans typically feed at night while a person sleeps, but they also will feed during the day in dark structures such as infested theaters with upholstered seats. Male and female adults usually feed every 3-4 days and become engorged with blood in about 10-15 minutes.

Bed bugs detect carbon dioxide emitted from warm-blooded animals and respond to warmth and moisture as they approach the potential host. On humans, they tend to feed on exposed surfaces such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. Again, the bites are painless, and the host typically is not disturbed while bed bugs feed."

#240649 - 12/25/11 09:10 AM Re: Aaaaaarrrggghhhhh! Parasite! [Re: jm47]  
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Okay, I guess the bird area needs to be enzyme-cleaned, the lighting improved, bathing more stringently observed. Anybody know if it's safe to dust a floor with DE, then put plastic down, probably in the form of a "drop cloth", under cage areas? Our birds don't usually go to the floor, and can do without it entirely, if necessary. The jungle cage has the plants sitting about 2 inches above the floor, on trays, and plastic underneath.

Incidentally, I enzyme-cleaned the bedroom today, and it was sort of a thrill to watch the very few live bedbugs we encountered just "freeze" momentarily, then drop to the floor twitching, and die in a few seconds, when hit by that cleaner! I worked with the door closed, mostly, and when finished, actually sprayed my whole body down before taking a shower! (NO WAY was I wanting to have "refugees" riding around on me) The concentrate is used at different dilution rates for different things, and the strongest solution (except for industrial drain-clearing) is for bedbugs and roaches; that strength is "safe for external cleaning of human skin, even for pregnant and nursing moms. . ." and is used for lice and mites!
Have witnessed both roaches and bedbugs dying within a minute or so, today, both from the spray, and from contact with DE, and am hopeful!


Jody
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