Monday, January 13, 2014

confession is good for the soul...and it may help someone

I am writing this post because it came to mind the other day to share our past shame.  Our embarrassment.  I have no idea if this will help anyone or not.  If someone is out there going through the same thing we did and is too embarrassed to speak up.  If someone is just as frustrated and fed up as we were and nothing they do seems to help.  Take heart; there is a solution. 

Pictures of bedbugs

Do you know what this is?  This little critter above?  A bedbug.  That's right.  I bet some of you didn't even think that little nursery rhyme said at bedtime had even a hint of reality.  I didn't.

 Bed bug pictures

I found out 3 years ago that these things really do exist.  In fact, the last few years there has been pretty much an epidemic (don't believe me?  Google it).  Here in Pigeon Forge almost every hotel/motel had problems.  One even closed down an entire floor during the busiest part of the tourist season.  It's a serious problem.

Bed bug pictures
(disgusting, I know)

These little bugs are an annoyance.  Thankfully, so far, I haven't read anything about them carrying diseases.  But they are bothersome, gross, and downright embarrassing.  Yes, that's right.  When you hear of someone being infested (because that's about the only way to describe it - infestation), you tend to want to stay away from them.  There is a stereotype associated with bedbugs, with vermin, with anything even remotely connected to that.  You're unclean.  Well, I'm here to tell you that it isn't true.

Sometimes these things happen for a reason.  Don't ask me what, I'm still trying to figure that one out.  When we moved into our current residence we had no idea we would spend the next 2 years fighting these unwanted, unwelcome house guests tooth and nail. 

We moved in March.  It was still fairly cold as the winter before had been pretty cold.  By the way, these things are not very active in the cold.  But when the weather warmed up they invaded.  Oh how they invaded.  In a matter of a couple of weeks every one of us had been bitten at night.  We got rid of all of our furniture.  Beds, couches, chairs...we had dining room furniture, a rocking chair that I refused to let go of, and our blankets.  Anything a bug could hid in we disposed of.  We slept on the floor on pallets (blankets made into a padded sleeping area if you don't know what that is).  We washed and dried every thing.  We would run clothes through the dryer before we went anywhere so as not to contaminate anyone else.  We cleaned.  We scrubbed down the walls (they loved our log walls and could hide like a special forces team).  We had an exterminator in twice; he lamented with us over the walls also and described how they could basically hide and wait out the poison.  We tried every device and gimmick known to man.  Every marketable item that claimed to get rid of bedbugs - we tried it.  You know what happened?  It didn't work.  That's right.  It actually seemed to enrage them.  They would come back full force, seemingly with revenge on their tiny little minds. 

It was driving us crazy.  Finally, FINALLY we found out what would work.  No it's not a gimmick, it's not on an infomercial, and it's certainly not cheap!  But it worked!!  Praise God it worked!!!  No more bites, no more itching, no more killing the little blood-sucking creatures bent on making our lives miserable!

 Bed bug infestation
(dead! yay!)

We have been bedbug free for several months now and it is so nice to sleep in a real bed for a change (my kids will vouch for that).  It's a relief not to have to wake up in the middle of the night to scratch from the dozens of bites on your extremities.  It's wonderful not to have to dry everything before leaving the house.  It's a relief to realize that we can practice hospitality again. 

So what was the wonderful miracle cure?  Something so dangerous that only a handful of people in the whole United States are qualified and licensed to work with the substance.  It's worse than tear gas used in the military.  When they treat a house, the person has to wear protective gear, including a breathing apparatus.  They house is sealed up and a notice placed on the door.  The place is uninhabitable for 24 hours or longer.  We had to leave everything.  We even left purses and wallets and only took our necessary I.D.  We treated the clothes we were wearing and the ones we would change into.  We even left our vehicles and borrowed a van for the day.  They treated every building on our property that there was the remotest chance a bedbug could hide in.  (By the way, those things can live for a year without eating.  Pretty scary.  They can last longer than a cockroach.  *Shudder*)  Oh yeah, what was used?  Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.  Commonly known as DDT.  Wait, they outlawed that didn't they?  Hmmmm...wonder if there is a connection?  Outlawing DDT and bedbug epidemic.  Yeah, I think so. 

So if you have this problem or know someone that does.  Don't wait.  Find the nearest qualified exterminator; and it probably won't be the local Terminix or Orkin guy, and schedule an appointment today!!  I say schedule an appointment because the guy we used was so busy that's the only way he would treat anyone.  That was all he did and he worked 12-15 hours a day 7 days a week.  Pretty sad, huh?  He covered all of east TN and some of the surrounding states as well.  Don't hesitate.  Make the call.

The pictures on here were not taken in my home.  I tried to avoid all proof that such a situation existed.  I copied them from this website.  They have plenty more if you are curious or want to see what a bedbug infestation looks like.  As for me?  I've lived it thank-you-very-much.  I'll pass.

Until next time...



Kathleen w said...

Wow Jen what a nightmare! I am so sorry you had to live through that? I am wondering how you handled he DDT with being pregnant? Did you have to stay away longer? I am thankful we have never had such a problem. A sweet elderly friend of ours who lives in a retirement community had a terrible time about two years ago. It was just as you described. The entire apartment building was infested and she got rid of everything and they exterminated but nothing helped. Over time she was hospitalized on several occasions because her sleep was so badly affected she became ill. I am grateful you found a solution at last.

Betsy said...

Oh I'm so sorry you had to go through this. We haven't had the problem but I know it's epidemic in many parts of the country. What a mess you had to live with but I'm so happy that you finally found a solution. Praise God! I'll bet it wasn't cheap either.

Anyone who criticizes you for this has never stayed at a hotel. They say you should never even let your clothing or luggage touch the carpet in a hotel room but put it right into the bathtub. Ick!

Thank you for being brave and sharing. You know you probably helped someone tremendously today.


kristine barr said...

I have heard of the infestations in hotels. But I din't know it had advanced to private homes. Thanks for the info about ddt. If it happens here in California I'll know what to do.

JenT said...

Kat, I actually wasn't pregnant; this was before this pregnancy. It was a blessing in that regard. However, we had to stay away for 24 hours, plus the exterminator had to check it before he allowed us back in. It is alcohol based so it does evaporate. There was no residue once it dissipated.

Sammy and Missy Parris said...

What an awful thing for you to have to go through and I had no idea they were so hard to kill. I worried when my husband and daughter went to Mexico they would bring something back but thankfully didn't. I've always wondered can you see them? Or is it more of a just feel them and know they are there. We are going to Pigeon forge in a few weeks nad I always worry with all the people coming and going we will get something from the hotel. Glad this nightmare is OVER for you!

JenT said...

Oh you can see them. The first time I got bit I woke up and saw two on my bed right next to me. You do have to move fast, but you can see them. *shudder* Yuck!

Megan Noel said...

My 4 year old little brother has been getting what looks like bug bites all over him... we're not sure what it is because no one else is getting them. If it is bed bugs this would be the first time we've gotten them, the only other thing we dealt with a couple years back was a flea infestation... it was really bad!