How bed bugs nearly ruined my friend’s life

I remember this day in particular, about a year ago, when my friend Terri Lynn went to an Atlanta Braves game with some friends. It was a special day because they were going to be joining up with some family and friends they had not seen in several years.

The meeting place, Truist Park – Home of the Atlanta Braves, was going to be the highlight of the trip. The group ended up being about 30 people total. The drive to the park was filled with talking, laughing, and music of all genres. The sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful clear blue. That evening the game was everything that everyone had anticipated and more. After a long day of travel, a Braves victory, some stadium hot dogs, soda, shakes, and drinks, everyone was tired and ready for a relaxing evening by the pool. 

Unfortunately, no one in the group had given any consideration to the fact that hotel rooms would be in high demand that weekend and reserving rooms in advance should have been a top priority of the organizer of the family trip. Needless to say, that evening turned into a late night that extended far beyond the closing hours of the hotel pools. Nearly 50 miles north of the stadium, my friend and her two sons were finally able to get a room in an overpriced, rundown motel. Although the property was in desperate need of repair, at the first glance to a very tired set of eyes, the rooms appeared to be acceptable enough. By the time the three finally got into bed and went to sleep, they were exhausted, as it had been quite an active day all round.

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ast forward four weeks in my friend’s life. One of her sons started complaining of red bumps on his arms and legs. The bumps appeared to be bug bites of some sort. A week later, all three in the family were experiencing the same identical bite marks. After two visits to the Urgent Care and a trip to the local Emergency Room, my friend was determined to find out what was causing the plague that had come on their family. Upon searching the house closely, they were horrified to find little bugs on the mattress & box springs, on the headboard, and in the sheets. . 

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Terry Lynn called the local pest control office to have someone help her. The technician did an inspection of the house and advised that there were bed bugs in the house. Terry Lynn was embarrassed of the finding because she had always associated bed bugs with people who were unkept, dirty, messy, or homeless.  Secondly, she was astounded, dumbfounded, flabbergasted, shocked and stunned to receive an estimate in excess of $5000 to treat the bed bugs. She did not sign the contract and decided to tackle the bed bugs herself. 

This is where the story takes a turn for the worse…

Terry Lynn went to the local box store and purchased some bed bug spray and a three-pack bed bug fogger. A week later, it seemed that the spray and the bed bug bombs actually increased the number of bed bugs. At this point, she realized that their home had been sabotaged and overtaken by the terrible insects, and she needed professional help. She drove to the local pest control office and signed the contract without asking any further questions. The technician showed up at the house the following day and sprayed for bed bugs. Sadly, the story does not happily end after that treatment. Yet another week and $5,000 later – bed bugs are still infesting their house. So, Terry Lynn calls the technician who came to the house a second time and sprayed more chemical in the house. Still the bed bugs were winning the battle. After having the technician treat the house for a third time, she was told that the only way to get rid of the bed begs permanently was to burn her furniture, her sheets, and her curtains. At this point, she was nearly about to have an emotional collapse along with clinical depression. She was too embarrassed to tell her friends and family the reason for her reclusive behavior. She was frustrated beyond expression about paying the exorbitant fee for a chemical treatment of her residence that was ineffective. She was always fearful of where the next bed bug bite would surface on her body and what her co-workers would say if they saw the bite marks. And, she was devastated after burning some family heirloom furniture in the back yard in an all-out effort to reclaim her once happy life.   

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Well, the Braves went on to win the Pennant and Terri Lynn finally was able to have the bed bugs eradicated. However, the emotional scarring and horrible memories of that terrible bed bug experience will not soon be forgotten.

Here are some lessons we all learned from Terri Lynn’s personal experience: 

  1. When travelling, always check your hotel bed and room for bed bugs.
  2. If you think you may have come into contact with bed bugs, take precautions not to allow them to hitchhike back home with you.
    1. Do not bring your luggage into your residence.
    2. Wash and dry all clothing.
    3. Lay open suitcase in a hot car on summer day.
  3. Bed bugs can be found in a 3500 square foot luxury home in a wealthy neighborhood just as easily as they can be found in the sleeping bag of a tented shelter in a homeless camp.
  4. If you have discovered that you do have bed bugs in your residence, do not delay in taking action.
  5. Bed bug bombs (foggers) will most times drive bed bugs further into cracks and crevasses to avoid exposure. The pesky bugs will emerge back safely when the threat has subsided.
  6. Many bed bug sprays that can be purchased in a hardware or department store may be able to kill bed bugs upon contact; however, they are not effective as a residual to continue killing or preventing bed bugs from reemerging.
  7. Never burn your possessions to eradicate bed bugs.
  8. Do some research if you choose to hire a pest control company.
  9. Many times, a chemical spray treatment for bed bugs can be ineffective due to a resistance factor or incorrect product usage. Therefore, you will need to verify that the pest control company you hire uses heat to treat bed bugs. A properly conducted heat treatment for bed bugs will have a 100% kill ratio with no chemical resistance issues.
  10. Call us to see if we have a heater that can help you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a similar situation as to what Terri Lynn went through, please feel free to call and speak with one of our professionals and let us help guide you through this stressful time. Furthermore, if you are a pest control service provider and would like more information on controlling bed bug infestations with heat treatments, we welcome your calls as well.