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£4k to evict the bastards & they still haven't gone!

(37 Posts)
4ForksSake Fri 02-Sep-11 11:31:03

Sorry this could be long & more of a rant than anythng & the bastards in question are bed bugs hmm

Found out we've got bed bugs [yuck emoticon]. We've had them for ages (been bitten etc) but only saw evidence about a month ago. We got the council in (who were bloody useless) & claimed (after the quickest daytime inspection of the mattress & leaving a bright light/heat lamp thing in the bedroom for a week with a sticky base that the bugs would be attracted to & get stuck on hmm) that there was no evidence of bugs & that DH had probably brought fleas in from his office. Knew this was very unlikely but couldnt do much without evidence. The bloke also claimed that as DH was being bitten on the torso & legs, it was unlikely to be bugs as they tend to bite the upper body/arms as they are the part out of the bed - that despite being told DH sleeps with his legs out the bed.

Anyway, month or so ago I was getting into bed & saw this thing crawling over the mattress. Caught it in sellotape hmm & after a v bad night sleep, DH stripped the bed the following day & found loads of the bastards in the bed base.

Got Rentokil out & they confirmed it was bugs & that we had them at every stage from eggs to adults & seemed like a bad infestation (not surprising when we've had them for so long). They said there were 3 options to get rid. Option 1 to use chemicals which need 3 treatments at about £400 a treatment & which would mean getting rid of bed & bedding after (& poss other things too, not sure) & no guarantee of getting rid. We didn't want to mess with chemicals with 2 little ones & with no guarantee of getting rid.
Option 2 heat treatment of just the room suspected of having problem (they get a tent & put everythng in the tent & heat to kill everything). Again, no good as they thought they could've spread to other rooms with being do many of them (although kids never seem to have been bitten). Not sure of the cost of this.
Option 3 heat treatment of the whole house. They bring in a generator with pipes that they put into each room & gradually heat the house to 60 degrees (which they said guarantees to kill all stages of the bug). We'd have to be out the house for over 24 hours at a cost of £4 GRAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We decided this was the only option to guarantee to get rid & although had to scrape the money together, we couldn't go on with sleepless nights & the problem geting worse (affects your mind as well as your body) so made arrangements to stay in a hotel last week (at our cost). They came in, did the work & when we came back, we found loads of the little bastards dead around the floor of the bedroom & there'd apparantly been one in the lounge too. Great we thought. We then went away for the rest of the week on hol safe in the knowledge we'd be back to a bug free house.

Got back on monday & DH checked the bed (become a habit of checking every night to get rid of any visible ones) & lo & effing behold there was one crawling over the skirting board. It had been dried out somewhat (obv by the heat) but hadnt died & had been there a week so could've laid loads of eggs etc. AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Called Rentokil who got in touch with the company doing the heat treatment & they now say maybe they were in the cavity wall (gone from a GUARANTEE of getting rid to a maybe they are somewhere the heat didn't get). So now we think there could be more eggs hatching (could take between 3 weeks & 3 months before we started to get bitten before we knew if there were any more alive) which I think they wanted us to do, no way jose!

So now we're having to wait to see if they can come up with another solution which will poss involve another nights hotel stay while they repeat the process they guaranteed would work the 1st time.

I'm so pissed off cos you only get a 7-10 day guarantee of the work (7 days of which we were away) so if we hadn't caught this one we'd have been up the creek. Also, they didn't tell us originally what things should be moved from the heat & although some of the things shouldve been obvious (jelly & choc etc arent going to survive in 60 degree heat) we didnt think to move things so we have had cupboards with tonnes of stuff in we've had to chuck. We're not even sure tinned stuff will be ok to be heated again & left (but that's another question). They did move some stuff into the garage (tv screens etc), but a reed burner was left on new fireplace & has melted to it, paint had gone claggy on some doors, new kitchen units have gone bobbly among other things & although we couldn't have avoided some of the things, had we been told in advance, we could've avoided other things being damaged/spoilt.

Also really pissed off at the council. Had they checked properly months ago the infestation wouldn't have been so bad & we probably wouldn't have needed the expensive treatment. Anyone know if it's worth a complaint letter to the council or would I be wasting my ink.

So still can't have a decent nights sleep & waiting game to see what the next step is (thankfully the £4k doesn't seem to have been taken from account YET!)

Sorry for the V LONG rant shock, glad to get off chest & feel free to ignore!

mummakaz Fri 02-Sep-11 11:41:57

shudders I would be well pissed off too and shock at 4 grand!!! bloody hell, fingers crossed I never get bed bugs there is no way I could afford that shock

Birdsgottafly Fri 02-Sep-11 11:48:20

I got an infestation from childrens soft toys left in the loft, in a house i moved into. Did they mention the childrens toys and have you had them treated/frozen.

smalltownshame Fri 02-Sep-11 11:50:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mandy2003 Fri 02-Sep-11 11:57:14

That is awful. I hope you can claim for the damage, off the company not your insurance! Hopefully you have a lot in writing from them so you can show what they missed out (like the change from WILL get rid of them to MIGHT, and the non-list of things that should be removed).

I saw a TV programme about it a few months ago, some people were spending fortunes to get rid then being re-infested from neighbouring properties. Hope the council is willing to check this aspect for you.

LineRunner Fri 02-Sep-11 11:58:14

Re: complaint to the council. Success or otherwise will depend on what its pest control policy is. Download a copy from its web site and have a look. It will say what its statutory duties are, and what services it offers to residents. If you think there has been incompetence then you can complain, and if you suspect maladministration you can take any unresolved complaint to the Local Govt Ombudsman.

I would personally get Trading Standards from the council on your side and pursue the pest control company for satisfaction.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 02-Sep-11 12:01:18

Thats insane - what happens if you don't have 4 grand - are you covered on your house insurance?

Could you not have just chucked the bed?

<worries>

Gonzo33 Fri 02-Sep-11 12:02:42

I hate bed bugs with a passion. We got bitten by them whilst on a cruise. Turns out they were in our cabin.

Then we found them in our house because they had come back in our luggage. They sprayed through the house (and my Mum's) at the expense of the cruise liner, and then paid for a new bed for my ds and my Mum. They also refunded us for the cruise and gave my Mum and Dad a free cruise. Nevermind the fact that the cruise had been for my birthday..ha ha!

The thought of them makes my skin crawl.

You should definately go after the council on this, I would be devastated.

am86 Fri 02-Sep-11 13:08:57

Oh how awful!

I would second Mandy2003's post though about neighbouring properties (assuming your not detached). I work in a hotel, and Bedbugs found in a room automatically means you are not allowed to use the two rooms either side of the infected room, as they can migrate through walls, skirting boards etc.

At this stage, I would seriously consider getting rid of all soft items from your bedroom, including mattress, duvet etc to be on the safe side.

I'm itching now just thinking about it sad

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 02-Sep-11 14:09:18

I suggest you visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk and call the Helpline for advice.

Consumer Direct is effectively Trading Standards and they can advise you in respect of the money you have paid/are due to pay to Rentokil, who have failed to provide the service they promised, and your local council who failed to detect the extent of the problem.

I also suggest you browse the net for 'home remedies' to rid your house of bedbugs. It's my understanding that they cannot live in memory foam mattresses - perhaps a mf topper will enable you to get a decent night's sleep until the buggers have been successfully evicted?

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Fri 02-Sep-11 14:36:52

This link may give you some remedies that you haven't tried:

www.WikiHow.com/How-To-Get-Rid-Of-Bedbugs

Scroll down the page to find more suggestions on this site:
hotels.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=hotels&cdn=travel&tm=38&f=20&su=p284.12.336.ip_p531.54.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//bedbugger.com/2006/11/02/faq-how-do-i-protect-my-bed-from-bed-bugs-part-i/

Do you have a hand-held steam cleaner? That would be my preferred starting point, followed by encasing the mattress and the bowls around the bed legs (if the bed has legs).

4ForksSake Fri 02-Sep-11 16:28:02

Thanks for the tips & advice everyone. Thankfully we had the money cos DH is starting his own business & is hoping to leave work to do it full time so we'd been cutting back/saving but this wasn't what we planned spending the money on angry. He travels to london quite often & apparantly they're quite rife in some of the hotels so fairly sure that's where they came from but as we're not sure when he picked them up (yuck) or which hotel from (he has stayed at a few) don't think we can do much to appoint blame otherwise would've gone for the hotel & made them pay the bill!

The idea with the treatment we opted for is that the heat dries them out & they lose their moisture & die so any bugs/eggs in soft toys etc will be dried out. They try to escape the heat at first but then die (hence having loads to hoover up where they fell) so although they will still be in the mattress/bed etc, they will be dead. Sleeping in a bed when they are still there isn't appealing so we'll eventually probably get rid of the bed & mattress too (more cost). You're not supposed to get rid of mattresses etc before you've treated the problem cos they don't just live in the bed, they get into all sorts of places & can just be transferred onto new furnishings. Smalltown, we'll look into the latex mattress thing when we get new one. Will also check our insurance although I doubt they'll cover infestations & will dig out the documents from Rentokil about the damage.

Rentokil haven't said they won't rectify the problem so don't want to completely discredit them YET, but get the feeling they want to wait to see if we get bitten again (up to 3 months) before deciding what to do & we just want the peace of mind that they've gone (which we don't have as at least one of them survived what should've been armageddon to them) & that then puts doubt in your mind how many others there could be lurking (shudders). Think it's the psychological damage it does to your mind that's the worst. I've been bitten loads on hol etc by mossies & as much as it's a pain, it's never bothered me to think of the flying about, but the thought of having things in the bed (shudders again).

We live in detatched house so really don't think they are coming from elsewhere (I also watched the Sarah Beeny prog where they were coming from neighbouring house).

Will check the councils pest control policy & would advise anyone who thinks they might have bugs not to bother with the council. The rentokil guy said they come out to check at night (when the bugs appear) & that you rarely see them during the day (when the council came out) but there was no mention of this from the council who are supposed to know what they are looking for (now we know, there was evidence for the council to see but they didn't spot it - won't go into what that was cos it's gross!). It's just so annoying that had they checked the bed properly (we didn't know what we were looking for at the time), this would hopefully have been resolved sooner & at less cost. Will also look at trading standards.

Thankfully we havent been bitten since the work was done but can't wait up to 3 months thinking 'is tonight the night' hmm so probably not worth the home remedy treatments (none of them work apparantly) although will look into getting a mattress they don't like & see what else we can do to prevent them.

Grrr!

IwasHere Sun 04-Sep-11 02:08:39

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with bed bugs. We have jusg discovered bed bugs in our house after months of getting hives and thinking we had allergies. They are a nightmare. We were thinking of the heat treatment too, but 4k is well over what we can afford, unfortunately we will have to rely on the free treatment from the council.

I second the suggestions of trading standards too. Waiting for three months for a bite sounds absurd, that way they will continue to multiply. I hope that is not the case for you.

jasper Sun 04-Sep-11 02:15:33

genuine question - what has this got to do with the council?

Cannotthinkofaname Sun 04-Sep-11 02:33:33

I am sorry you sare going through this.

Can I ask whatt bed bug bites look like as dd is comming our in little red spots that are not goin away though treatment off the dr (for dermatitus sp? ) The spots are on the inside of her leg at the top of her thigh near the nappy area and on the very inside of her leg ifykwim, The spots are no where else and as the bed is second hand I am just ruling bed bugs out.

DD also itches the spits as soon as she gets a chance to get to them. They are not chicken pocks as she ha had them all summer sad

IwasHere Sun 04-Sep-11 23:10:05

Our local authority offers free treatment for bed bug infestation

IwasHere Sun 04-Sep-11 23:13:06

Cannotthink, ours range from small pimples to massive hives. We have resorted to sleeping in the lounge until it gets sorted out as we are covered in itchy and irritating hives. Hth

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 04-Sep-11 23:19:51

omg. omg.

i thought bed bugs were microscopic and every single bed in the land had them? hence the "sweet dreams, sleep tight, dont let the bed bugs bite" thing?

wtf are bed bugs then?

i thought they were those microscopic little things that lived off dead skin cells discarded in the night.....microscopic - as in not even visible....

i am itching now.
<scratches>
<scratches more>
<shudders and scratches>

sunshineandbooks Sun 04-Sep-11 23:34:31

vicar you're thinking of bed mites and you're quite right that they exist in pretty much every bed across the land and are microscopic and generally harmless (unless you have asthma).

Bed bugs are still small but clearly visible to the naked eye once you know what you're looking for.

Ugh.

I thought DDT was the mainstay against bedbugs and used very successfully post-war in this country when bed bugs were really common?

makachu Mon 05-Sep-11 00:03:45

Oh we had the bastards too...

Vicarinatutu, I think you're thinking of dust mites...bedbugs are little horrible, bitey, bloodsucking beetles. They were nearly eradicated due to a lot of inappropriate use of horrendous pesticides, but these days the understanding that the pesticides are as bad for people as the bugs are, plus the fact that people don't wash things on a high heat any more means that they're back with a vengeance and spreading because people travel more and are less likely to even realise they have them until the problem is massive.

My advice is to wrap the mattress up in cling film and get rid of it. After 3 chemical treatments during which our entire room was soaked with horrible pesticide we still found live ones in the bed frame. Once we got rid of the bed we had no more problem. We slept on air beds for a little while so as not to re contaminate a new bed. I think it was worse because we had a divan though. Wash ALL soft furnishings that can be washed, on as high a setting as the machine will do. Lots of advice says that you need to put clothes in the dryer for hours too but we didn't find this necessary as the hot water kills the bastards instantly. Soft things that can withstand heat but won't go through the washing machine - pour boiling water over them in the bath; we did this and actually saw the dead ones floating out- very disgusting but quite satisfying.

We also bought a steam cleaner which was great- useful for getting heat into all the corners of the room, the carpet and for treating the linings of bags and things like that. We put wool items and delicates in the freezer and left them there for months. We also packed up the treated clothes and things into vacuum bags. Which broke, but at least the "clean" stuff was out of the way so the blighters couldn't stow themselves away. Great for cleaning the oven after too and for the occasional reassuring go over when you get a mosquito bite and the fear that they might have come back. It sounds like a lot of work, but in some ways it was good because it encouraged us to get rid of a lot of stuff we didn't need. It cost us a few hundred pounds, rather than 4K. I think you should be seeking a refund for a treatment that hasn't worked and has damaged your stuff when with bed bugs a combination of approaches and a more targeted strategy is always best. I think they were just trying to sell you the most expensive thing they can do, knowing full well that it was likely to cause damage and not actually work. The buggers are notoriously difficult to get rid of and they hide ANYWHERE. It might even be that the heat treatment just temporarily drove them out, spread them to someone else's house and they'll come back again.

Sorry about writing such a terribly long post...anyway,

YANBU.

makachu Mon 05-Sep-11 00:05:31

Ooops, the steam cleaner is great for the oven, not the vacuum bags.

Wabbit Mon 05-Sep-11 00:30:37

Scratch - scratch... oh I feel so sorry for you all having had these horrible things.

Nasty.

4ForksSake Tue 06-Sep-11 10:58:08

Jasper. The reason I'm narked with the council is that we called their pest control out in April & even though all the signs were there that we had bugs (bites - particularly bite marks in 3's - they apparantly eat for breakfast, lunch & dinner so oftem get a line of 3 bites on you, poo marks on bed (boak)), the council didn't properly check the bed (they should know what they were looking for, we at the time didn't) & had they checked properly they'd have seen we had a major infestation & that could've been dealt with sooner (& possibly at less cost). They however were adamant that we didn't have bugs & that they were flea bites & we had to believe them cos at the time, we didn't know what we were looking for. So we left it, kept getting bitten for 4 more months before we saw one & got rentokil in.

Cannotthink - they are red spots which do itch a lot & you often find them in a line of 3 bites (not always though). Search on google & you'll find pictures. Check her bed for little black marks on the bed covers & mattress (it's possibly worth putting white sheets on the bed so they show up easier). The marks look a bit like a black ink pen has blotted on the sheet (IYSWIM) & we also used to find little blood streaks where we'd squished one while sleeping (urgh). If you see any of this get in touch with someone in pest control. Hope you don't have them!

Iwashere - our council offer free treatment too but it's the pesticide treatment & you need 3 separate treatments & even then it usually doesn't work with such a large infestation. It might've if we'd caught it sooner. Also, you literally have to move EVERYTHING out of each room, tumble - wash - tumble & bag up all clothes & soft toys / furnishings, take off wall sockets & plugs, each time the treatment is done, then you have to get rid of bed & bedding anyway cos of the chemicals used. & like I said, this probably won't even work hmm. It's a real PITA!

Vicar, yes think you're thinking of dustmites (which I'm also bloody allergic to!) but you can't see them. We used to use that saying to DS1 at bedtime - never again! (to add insult to injury & kind of off topic, I had to watch bloody Humph on tv the other day. The title of this particular Humph episode 'Humph & the bedbugs - grr)

Thanks makachu, we'll try the cling film to get rid of the bed & sleep on something else before we buy new bed. This treatment is supposed to be guaranteed to work (unlike all other treatments) & they use it in hotels, hospitals, cinemas etc as it causes much less disruption. Looks like theres a flaw it the guarantee though so we'll see what the next step is.

Update on the situation. The bloke from the heat company says they could come out & repeat the treatment but if they've got into the internal wall, this might not work. They need to see if we get bitten again so they can try to source where they might have got to cos if we still have them & they are in the walls, they then have to start taking the plaster off the walls angry. Funny how we were never told this to start with. They also said that although the treatment was usually successful (think it's been about for 2 years or so) there have been a few problems (again, convenient how we weren't told of this before). We've spoken to the guy at rentokil who's really unhappy with the way we've been treat. They outsource the heat treatment & he's not happy with the damage they've done & that we might have to wait 3 months for a solution. He's going to hget back to us by the end of the week having escalated it to his seniors so we'll see what that involves. They haven't taken the money yet & DH has told them they'd better not. Let's see what the solution may be.

Bloody critters angry

IwasHere Tue 06-Sep-11 22:13:52

4forks - So pleased to hear that they have escalated it to their seniors. For that amount of money they should do a good job. Alarming that they might have gone in the walls, didn't think that an infestation could get so bad. I hope that is not the situation for you. If the council come up with such nonsense that there are no bugs then I will be livid. Since we have resorted to sleeping in the living room there haven't been any more bites (yet). I am now worried about the council treatment as they never highlighted that we would have to throw things away. I thought we would have to just take things out of the wardrobes, empty cabinets etc. We just cannot afford to pay 4k, and three treatments is a lot sad. I just want to get rid of these bloody critters, they are absolutely horrendous. Thank you for all the information everyone

4ForksSake Fri 09-Sep-11 17:02:38

Iwashere, hope you manage to get your problem sorted too, can't believe you're having to sleep in another room til the problem is sorted. Do you think you've had them long? Make sure the council search thoroughly. Have you seen any evidence of bugs or just the bites? What kind of bed do you have? We have a divan which splits in 2 at the base & has drawers in, with a blac mesh like material covering the base. DH completely overturned the base & ripped off the mesh which is when he found them, hidden in nooks & crannies, so if need be, make sure you get them to dismantle the bed & check everywhere. We were told by rentokil that you should check at night for bugs (which is a pain in the proverbial but that's when they appear) so if you don't find anything in/under the bed, get them to come back at night. The council didnt tell us we'd have to get rid of anything (they just told us of the upheaval of moving everything out of every room) again it was rentokil that said that. Maybe it's worth you getting someone like rentokil (or another pest control) to come out & see if they can find anything & give you advice (think they'll do this for free), the you could get the council to come out to do the treatment.

If you still wanted the heat treatment, there are other companies who offer it & might be cheaper elsewhere so might be worth looking around. Also, rentokil did a cheaper treatment if you think you've only got the problems in one room, where they just heat treat the specific room (didnt ask the price cos we were fairly sure we had them in more than 1 room), but might be worth enquiring about.

As for them getting into the walls, apparantly they can get in through light sockets, plug sockets, gaps in skirting boards so even with the council treatment, they said sockets etc would have to come off (presumably to spray into).

Do you have any ideas where yours came from? Its such a PITA isn't it? sad

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