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AIBU?

Bed bugs & money

25 replies

Wilhelminaaa · 10/07/2017 15:34

Back just before Christmas our landlord moved me, 10m DD, and OH, to a new bedsit as our previous one was being refurbished.

Within a week or two of living there, we were being bitten in bed... A LOT. So we stripped the bedding and checked the mattresses. We had bed bugs... They were on our mattress and pillows etc. The bed and mattress were already there when we got there btw, as it was a furnished property.

We never suffered from this at our previous address, so I'm guessing the bugs infested the room prior to us moving in, although landlord claims we are the only ones to have ever complained about bed bugs.

We sent the pics to the letting agent, who said they would tell the landlord and get it sorted.

We threw out our bedding, got new stuff, went mad washing and tumble drying clothes and stuff - we use launderette, so not cheap!

A few weeks later and the letting agent is ringing saying they have informed the landlord, and asking us what has been done about them... Nothing! Our landlord has form for putting off anything that will cost him money for as long as possible. I even tried sending him pics of the bugs directly, no response.

We ended up clearing out our savings account and borrowing money off family to sort the issue ourselves. We had a £500 super dry-heat steam treatment, as research suggested heat treatments were more effective than chemical - but so much more expensive! We bought a new bed and new mattress.

The letting agents never sent anyone around to collect the old bed before our new one arrived, and living in a bedsit we had nowhere to store the old bed. We ended up breaking it down into small parts and bagging it up outside, nobody collected it until two months later, despite us asking them to...

So, new beds and everything, treatment done... We still had bugs! Luckily we had a guarantee so treatment was repeated for free. All seemed fine... Then we started getting bitten again! Our guarantee had run out by this time, the pest control guy said we would need to pay again... We simply couldn't afford it. We asked why they kept coming back, PC guy said he would bet money on the bed bugs being inside the walls, coming out through skirting boards.

We asked the landlord directly this time to help us. He said we should find some quotes and then come back to him... Surely not my job!? I spent ages ringing up, getting quotes, finding the best deals, sending texts... Just for landlord to ignore all of them and call-out his standard pest control guy to do a chemical treatment.

While waiting for this treatment, we noticed a blood patch on DDs cot-sheet...Stripped and searched bed, there were families of bugs hiding in the wood and the screws that hold it together, we could see little white eggs and shed skin etc. It was vile. There was no saving that cot, they were inside the wood-work. We had to throw it out.

We also had to throw out our fabric suitcases that were under the bed, which contained winter clothes... A baby bouncer I was going to sell that had been infested, and our hoover. Plus, all the extra laundry is costing an arm and a leg!

We simply can't afford to be throwing out our bed and mattress again (we have wrapped it in 20 rolls of clingfilm), or to have DDs new cot need throwing away again... I cant afford to replace all the things that are being ruined.

Showed DM a pic of DDs new cot today... she replied 'very nice, hope your landlord footed the bill for it!' Now, I think she has a point?

He has refused to pay us back the £500 for the steam treatment we paid for, which I will accept (although its not like, he was doing anything to help us at the time...), but AIBU to think our landlord should be paying for the items that we have to throw away due to infestation?

OP posts:
DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 15:38

I don't know really, horrible as it is there isn't any 'proof' where the bugs originated from is there? What does a steam treatment involve? Wouldn't buying a steam mop be cheaper?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 15:41

Do you have anti bed bug bed protectors?

Alanna1 · 10/07/2017 15:45

I would call Shelter in your shoes.

Wilhelminaaa · 10/07/2017 15:56

Steam treatment they heat the room with dry-steam to a temperature that kills off all eggs and bugs. We've had it twice and they are still here, hence why the PC guy said he thinks they are in the walls of the building around our room, not just in our room. Not that landlord would believe that as it would be far to costly for him...

I'm 100% sure we didn't have the bugs before we moved, as we had no bites or anything. All started a week or so after moving in to new property, which hadn't actually been cleaned for new tenants as we had to clean it out ourselves when we arrived.

OP posts:
Wilhelminaaa · 10/07/2017 15:58

We don't have protectors, and cannot afford them right now. The way this is going we are going to be around 1k out of pocket by time they are finally gone... Sad

OP posts:
DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 16:00

I think you need to call back the company, they can't just take your money and not get rid of them.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 16:02

Have you seen this OP? Not too pricey.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 16:04
DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 16:06

Diatomaceous earth - I've heard good things about this stuff.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 16:12

And it's only £1.50 on eBay .

Wilhelminaaa · 10/07/2017 16:13

Thank you Dame for the suggestions

OP posts:
monochromeunicorn · 10/07/2017 16:13

I would be finding a new place to live asap. Is that possible?

JennyBlueWren · 10/07/2017 16:17

Call Shelter or go to Citizens Advice and find out the best course of action to take against your landlord.

Kickhiminthenuts · 10/07/2017 16:21

A friend had them, it cost her a fortune. They moved out, had the place fumigated, she had to have every item of clothes dry cleaned to kill the bugs. All soft furnishings had to be done.
I'd talk to shelter this shouldn't be on you.
If you move your still going to have a lot of the cost as your clothes etc will still have them.

It sounds a nightmare I'm so sorry

SpringTown46 · 10/07/2017 16:42

You need to contact your local environmental health officer!

AppalazianWalzing · 10/07/2017 16:43

You have all my sympathies, having bed bugs is one of the worst things that has happened to me and I don't say that lightly.

I have to say I think you've been badly advised - steam treatment that would killl all eggs as well as bugs sounds very suspect to me, I was told it's basically impossible to heat homes in the UK to the temperature required to kill eggs. Especially some I assume this is a normal home, not one that is somehow airtight. And you didn't need to throw your bed or mattress out- the bugs, as you've discovered, don't actually live on the bed/mattress: they hide in cracks and crevices in nearby walls etc and come out at night to feed. Cleaning them with a hand held steamer was probably the best course of action.

In terms of your landlord, I would take advice from shelter as others have said. I'm not sure what the legal position is as it's so hard to prove liability.

In terms of the bugs: I was living abroad she I got them and thankfully didn't have carpets or that many belongings. I ended up paying to have every item of clothing I owned dry cleaned, then having the house fumigated twice: once to kill the bugs, once after I think a two week interval to kill the eggs that would have hatched. The issue with your treatments is their life cycles: if the steam
Killed adults I'm v suspect it would have killed eggs, and really you needed to have second treatment at exactly the point where all eggs laid would have hatched but before they would have matured to the point of producing their own eggs. I think that's about two weeks.

If I were you, I would take all clothes to a laundrette. Everything that can be dried, tumble dry for twenty minutes when it's already dry, as that kills bugs and eggs. Then bag up in ziplock bags and store with someone else. Keep a v pared down wardrobe until this is sorted.

Then- I'd go with different exterminators, but try to get landlord to pay this time. I found a US forum called bedbugger v helpful to understand what I needed to do. The thing is bedbugs are very very hard to get rid of, and you need to get them all, and their eggs. Good luck- and remember, if you're a flat then basically you need adjoining properties to be treated at the same time or they'll just go next door and come back when time has passed.

SpringTown46 · 10/07/2017 16:43
Weedsnseeds1 · 10/07/2017 16:56

Diatomaceous earth really works for fleas, so well worth a try for bed bugs ( just be careful not to inhale when putting it down, it's not toxic but can irritate if you breathe it in)
A relative lived in New Orleans for many years, where bed bugs are endemic. They used to rub vaseline into all the joints of the furniture and beds as it smothers them and stops them being able to crawl around. Also stood the legs of beds in empty cans with an inch of liquid paraffin in it ( bit smelly).

AnaVanda · 10/07/2017 16:57

I had this problem last year. There is no point in throwing away mattresses or bedding or even steaming as the bugs will travel and hide in skirting boards or even plug sockets. I spent a fortune in sprays etc and nothing worked until I bought a big bag of diatomaceous earth. Buy food grade as it's non toxic. It works by damaging the shell of the insect as it crawls over it. Use a paintbrush and spread it round the edges of your mattress and around the legs of the bed. Make sure there's no way of the bugs getting to the bed without going through the dust. No sheets hanging to the floor etc. You must keep sleepong on the bed though or they'll just follow you to another room. The bugs only move slowly and can't fly. Every time you see one, crush it. This method can take a couple of months as more will hatch but you will notice the numbers depleting until there are none left. It's a horrible ling process and very stressful but the only effective way of eradicating them completely. I have had none for over a year now but still dust the edges of my mattress with the earth. Good luck

Weedsnseeds1 · 10/07/2017 16:59

With diatomaceous earth, make sure you use food grade, not the stuff for swimming pools

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 10/07/2017 17:16

The stuff on eBay says food grade.

Wilhelminaaa · 10/07/2017 22:18

Thank you everyone. Unfortunately I don't have any savings anymore for deposit etc, we won't be able to move out until next summer. Sad

I know we probably could have saved the bed, but it was a double bunk bed and it had loads of holes in the metal, so I just became paranoid thinking what could be hiding in there and for how long...

Will definitely try the dm earth! Sounds perfect.

As for needing adjacent flats to be fumugated, our landlord doesn't own the flats on the other side of our wall, and as far as I can tell nobody lives in them.

OP posts:
DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen · 11/07/2017 00:07

The thing is moving will not solve the issue as you'll more than likely take them with you. Try the earth stuff . Best of luck x

Aquamarine1029 · 11/07/2017 01:50

OP, I don't have any advice, I'm afraid, but I feel so so awful for you and your family! I can't even imagine dealing with this nightmare!

SpringTown46 · 11/07/2017 07:40
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