My name is Melanie, and I'm here to tell you that if you have bed bugs you can get through it. How do I know? I've been there. I've done it. In 2011 we had a major bed bug infestation in our home.
I want to share our experience with you so you know that you're not alone in what you're going through and that it is absolutely possible to overcome a bed bug infestation - even if you have no other choice than to do it yourself. For us, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions and strategies: denial...desperation...education...well-planned action...and ultimately...victory!
Not too long after we moved into a new town-home in a new city, my husband came to me with a very worried look on his face and said, “I think we might have bedbugs – something has been biting me and the neighbor told me there's a problem with them in this area.”
My immediate response was, “No honey, I think you are over-reacting. Maybe it’s mosquito bites or an allergic reaction to the new laundry detergent I've been using.”
“It couldn't possibly be bed bugs”, I thought - or hoped.
My husband found this strange looking, flat brown bug crawling on the side table. I was a little freaked out, but sure I was right. After all, I was convinced that bed bugs were microscopic and couldn't be seen by the naked eye. More on that and other bed bug myths later…
Here's a picture of one of the bugs we found early on. Yep, that's my husband's blood on the tissue.
(Sorry for the quality of the photo - we took this pic on the fly with my cell phone. You'll find lots of good quality bed bug pictures here) I'm a little embarrassed to admit that squishing the life out of them is morbidly satisfying. But, there are much more effective methods of killing bed bugs ;-)
So, I went into our home office and did a quick search to find out something that would prove my point. Suddenly, I was hit with that terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My denial turned to fear, as I realized that we did indeed have bed bugs.
My thoughts began to whirl...
Actually, that's my solution to just about any problem that rears it's ugly head. Okay. I'll admit it. I’m an information junkie.
I learned that having bed bugs didn't mean we'd moved into a rat-hole of a place. They don't discriminate and they're not dangerous - good news!
I also learned that we were living in the 3rd most bed bug infested city in America, and that getting rid of them was a lot easier said than done - not so good news.
Then came a flood of new questions...
After days of endless research, I had replaced my denial and fear with a complete sense of overwhelm at the complexity of the situation, the wide variety of treatment methods, and seemingly contradictory advice.
What should we do first? Which treatment options should we try? Where am I going to get all this stuff?!
This is a picture of the pile of bedbug research I printed out from everywhere imaginable. Enough to make anyone a little crazy! Did I mention I might be a bit info-obsessed?
Please understand me. I'm not recommending this by any stretch of the imagination.
We were very strapped for cash. We had recently moved, but our previous home had not sold yet. Two properties, two house payments, and a tanked real estate market. Need I say more?
As I sorted out all of the information I gathered...
It took a few months of persistent work (we made a few mistakes early on). But we did win the battle. And thankfully, we've been living bed bug-free since 2011.
Just to be clear here, I am not an expert. I'm neither a scientist nor a pest management professional. And I am definitely not some sort of guru.
Actually, I'm a writer.
Just a regular person...with naturally geeky tendencies...that kick into high gear when I'm faced with a problem.
It's part of my coping mechanism.
Prior to our infestation in 2011, I never dreamt that the words "one of my favorite entomologists" would ever come out of my mouth. I'm not sure I could have even told you what an entomologist (insect scientist) does back then. And I certainly wouldn't have guessed that I would still be keeping up with scientific advancements and innovations in pest control today.
The good news is that there have been some major improvements in the tools and techniques for getting rid of bed bugs have since our battle 2011. The better news is that my nerdy-ness is your gain.
You don't have to wade through pages upon pages of government publications and jargon-filled research documents to get the help you need. The goal of this site is to to make the critical information about bed bug prevention, detection, and pest control as accessible and digestible as possible, then provide links to reliable resources for more information where you might need to go deeper.
Whatever part of the journey you're in, please know you're not alone. And rest assured, your situation is not hopeless. If you take the time to get educated so you avoid making critical mistakes, it does get better. I promise!
Dealing with bed bugs is stressful, and it can be very isolating due to the perceived stigma associated with them. A safe place to share what you're going through really helps! If you are stressed out and need some support, I recommend the bedbugger forums.
Enter your email address below, and I'll send you the link to download it for free right away! Want to know more about it first? click here
You can also find the most recent content and news updates on the Bed Bug Answers blog...