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Bedbug treatment when pregnant - a tad stressed out

(14 Posts)
nastylittlebedbugs Thu 20-Feb-14 22:20:17

I'd be grateful if anybody can tell me whether I'm unreasonable in feeling a stressed out about this situation…

The landlord of my building contacted all the apartments by email to say they were sending a bug exterminator guy around to potentially do some preventative work. They gave 48 hrs notice, didn't say what the problem was….I just assumed they were doing a check.

So on the allotted morning the concierge and the exterminator guy are standing at the door with a big spray machine. Turns out somebody in our apartment block, on the floor above, has had a problem with bedbugs. Apparently the apartment below them now also has a problem. They want to spray our apartment.

I lied, said I was asthmatic and could they come back to me last so I could arrange to go out (and remove the dog for 2-3 hours!). The night before I found I was pregnant (woohoo!). But after some quick emails back and forth with my husband and rapidly reading on google about risks etc I decided I wasn't happy them spraying the place until I knew what the deal was.

So I rang the landlord who was the first to find out about the pregnancy. Not what you imagine is it!! Anyway, he says fine and will come up with a new plan.

Today he phones my husband to say he's checked with the company and they say its non-toxic substances they use, mainly just a problem with the smell and they want to reschedule the treatment. He emails me the phone number of the company so I can call them myself.

I called and spoke to the most horribly patronising woman who kept saying that their substances were non-toxic but wouldn't tell me any more than that. I asked for the name of the treatment so I can check the relevant health-advice myself. She said she couldn't tell me what substances they were using, partly because the technicians wouldn't know until they got to my apartment and see what needed done. There is no bug problem in my apartment by the way.

Basically, they are coming to spray the apartment, where I spend the majority of the day (work at home), with some unknown chemical on Monday. They say all I have to do is leave the house for 4-5 hours.

Am I being overly paranoid about this?

All I want to know is what they are spraying the place with so I can find out the risks for myself. That's a reasonable request isn't it? I should probably mention I'm not a hypochondriac by any stretch of the imagination!

Anybody got any insights on bedbug spraying while pregnant?

nastylittlebedbugs Fri 21-Feb-14 19:47:03


PrincessPeashooter Fri 21-Feb-14 20:06:19

If you get bed bugs in your place it will be far, far worse, I know of someone whose flat got infested and in the end they dumped all their belongings and just started again. Things like books and photos were sealed into plastic boxes and left in storage for a year to ensure any bugs were gone. They can be horrific to get rid of and I assume that is why they want to spray all the apartments not just the ones that currently have a problem.

If you are worried can you not stay at a friends for a couple of nights while the place airs out?

Spookfish Fri 21-Feb-14 20:19:34

Ask them if they could heat treat - far more effective and I would assume non-toxic.

nastylittlebedbugs Fri 21-Feb-14 20:47:51

Oh I definitely don't want bed-bugs! I've had a nightmare encounter with them on previous travels and it ain't pleasant at all.

My concern is that they are coming to spray the apartment with some substance that I don't know about, so I can't look up the risks. They were very cagey when I called yesterday and refused to tell me what they would use.

Said they'd call me back today, and (surprise, surprise) no call.

I looked into the heat treatment but apart from the fact that it's more expensive and time-consuming it's also for actual infestations. There is no problem in my apartment, they are just doing perimeter prevention spraying at mine.

Should I be calling the company tomorrow, or just leave it?

I'm going to go stay elsewhere for a few days anyway so I suppose that's the best I can do in the circumstances. Would still like to know what chemicals they're putting in my house though...

PrincessPeashooter Fri 21-Feb-14 20:59:56

Maybe an email to the company would be better? Clearly state the address and the concerns over the treatment. Make sure you switch receipts on and store them all even if they don't reply. Copy in your Landlord too.

Definitely go away for a couple of days and get your DH to wrap up warm and open up the windows.

Congratulations on your pregnancy BTW smile

pancakesfortea Fri 21-Feb-14 21:05:43

We had five spray treatments for bedbugs a few days after returning home from hospital with our precious first born. It was horrible. We had actually had them for ages (we worked out in hindsight) but had only seen them when I was up in the night feeding. Horrible.

Anyway, we were told to be out for 8 hours afterwards. The treatment was done by the council (even though we own our home) and they were really good and helpful, coming to us first thing so we could be back in at a reasonable time. We also had to lock the cat in the kitchen.

When it was finally done I got the whole house steam cleaned. If you are worried about the chemicals, speak to the pest control company themselves or your local authority's environmental health department. They should be able to give you a full run down of what they are using and any sensible precautions.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 21-Feb-14 21:10:26

I think you're entirely reasonable to want to know. I bet if you phone the company they will happily tell you.

However, I suspect you're going to worry even if they tell you and you look it up online, so I think you should just go away for a few days anyway, if that's an option.

I don't know anything about bedbugs but I've been reading about woodworm treatments and there are things that are '1 hour return' now, ie it's safe to go back in an hour after spraying, so I'm sure the commonly used bedbug treatments will be safe after a few hours too.

But when you're pregnant you do tend to worry more, which is perfectly logical.

Emalushka Fri 21-Feb-14 21:10:35

We had bed bugs in our house when I was 8.5 months pregnant with my first. We had the treatment people in twice to get rid of them.

I have to admit, it never crossed my mind that the chemicals might not be so great for me or my unborn child. I was so desperate to get rid of the bed bugs - they were awful.

We all survived. That's not meant to sound flippant! But, we were all completely fine. I only left the house for 2 hours.

lerenardroux Fri 21-Feb-14 21:20:48

Thanks for your messages. It's nice to know someone is there on the other end of the internet smile That sounds like a nightmare pancakesfortea…I hope it's all sorted now.

I like the email idea but unfortunately they don't have one on their website, just one of those contact forms. I don't think I can face phoning them again at the moment. I'd rather be spending my first pregnancy days all happy, rather than getting the rage again at some patronising person.

I'm thinking maybe I'll just speak to the landlord and get him to find out what they are using. Since he's the one paying presumably they should be more accommodating with him. They can't withhold the information forever!

nastylittlebedbugs Fri 21-Feb-14 21:24:40

oops…last message was me. Name change fail!

Tunip…it's the pest control company themselves that won't tell me.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 21-Feb-14 21:28:55

oops sorry, didn't read your post properly!

nastylittlebedbugs Fri 21-Feb-14 21:33:14

No worries…I did write a bit of a saga didn't I?! That's what happens when you write a mumsnet post when seeing red!!

nastylittlebedbugs Mon 17-Mar-14 22:29:35

Just wanted to post an update in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation…

This bedbug business has been a huge, long, horrible saga.

After treating our apartment the pest control company still refused to tell me, my husband or my landlord what they had used. They were being very obstructive and it made us incredibly suspicious what they were up to.

We contacted the national environmental service here (not in UK) who managed to find out what they used. Turns out they had used an unlicensed product to spray my apartment. As it's an unlicensed, non-domestic chemical the environmental service are unable to say with certainty how it may affect me or my unborn baby, or DH.

Reducing the risks involved me staying out of the apartment for 5 days and organising to have the treated areas steam-cleaned to reduce the residues.

The government is going to prosecute and fine the company for the violation.

I just want to encourage anyone in a similar situation to trust your instincts (as always!). Extermination companies are not qualified to give medical advice (no matter how adamant they are that everything is OK)…if anybody is applying any chemicals in your home make sure you find out exactly what they're using and check with a medically trained person.

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