PhD student on 10/13/2012
I had a serious problem with bedbugs when I lived in an apartment on the second floor of the building operated by Trinity Management Services. The apartment building manager, Patrick, did nothing to rectify the situation at the time, in fact it seemed as though he was not in the least bit interested in what was going on, so my last month and 1/2 living there was spent sleeping on the living room couch covered head to toe with clothing (pant legs tucked into socks, shirt tucked into waist of pant
s, sweatshirt with hood on, all covered except for my face so I could breathe) while a fan oscillated next to me. Blankets weren't necessary; it was summer. I stopped sleeping in my bed when I was 100% sure that bed bugs had infested it.
It all started one night when I woke up itching from what I thought were mosquito bites on my fingers - the worst kind in my opinion. I couldn't go back to sleep, the itching was so bad. I ended up getting up to look for something/ anything that would relieve the itching. I tried using anti-itch spray, benedryl anti-itch cream, benedryl pills. Nothing helped. It was a rough night. I managed to scrape enough skin off of the bites to make them burn rather than itch. The next night I went to bed with my blankets pulled up to my neck. I didn't think the night would repeat itself because I had the windows closed this time. I was wrong; I woke up the next morning to trails of hive-like welts on my arm; one going down from the top of my shoulder and another along my forearm. This time the bites were much more pronounced - larger than any mosquito bite could be. In fact, the ones on my fingers seemed to have been a little too large to have come from a mosquito, now that I was thinking about it.
Over the course of the next few mornings I woke up to trails of 2 to 3 bites in a row on different parts of my body. One morning there were 3 on my right hand forming a triangular shape of sorts. Another morning I discovered a couple on my wrist, the next I discovered a bite on my collar bone. I had woken up to bites along on my shins, even one that was on my waist under my clothing! Whatever it was, it could get under the elastic waist of my pajamas! I had no idea what was attacking me. I cleaned the apartment thoroughly thinking they could be dust mites; I closed all the windows every night in case it was coming from outside; I vacuumed insesantly - all hoping to catch the critter or keep it away. I talked to my mom on the phone and told her about what was going on. She later called me and said that she talked to my grandmother and my grandmother said that all her life San Francisco was known for having bedbug problems and from my description of the bites, that could very well be what it was. I looked up images of bite marks on people who had been bitten by bedbugs and read information on bedbugs from articles online. My mom found an article on bedbugs that had been published in the newspaper in her mailbox; it had been circled by my grandmother for us to read. Everything started coming together. The photos of bites looked just like mine. The descriptions of how they felt - the worst itching imaginable - matched my own. My experience of them only coming out at night and in the dark matched what I read about bedbugs. I was 90% sure it was bedbugs who were making life in my apartment hellish, but without seeing one, I didn't know for sure for I didn't have the evidence to accept it as fact. I decided not to say anything to the apartment manager just yet. I feared he would ask, "Well did you actually see it?" As it turned out, having 5 of them locked tight in a container still wouldn't make him a believer.
One night I was in bed with the lights off watching tv and I felt something itch my arm. I went to itch it and look down, and there running away from the itchy spot on my arm, was a big bedbug! I thought they were microscopic in size, but this thing was the size of a ladybug, dark brown, and running fast! I grabbed him without thought, grabbed a plastic bag, put him in it and that in a tupperware container. I could now inspect him to my heart's content. I examined the bug, brought pictures of bedbugs up online and enlarged them, and brought the container right up to my eye, and what I had on my hands was a bedbug indeed. I was relieved only because I finally knew the source of what had been plaiging me ever since that first sleepless night. Not knowing what is sucking your blood while you sleep every night is kind of a creepy problem. Not knowing what to tell people when they look at your arm like their terrified half to death and then not being able to tell them what happened is not fun either. Every night that I slept in my bed I was bitten but I didn't know where the bug was coming from, so I finally had to accept that I couldn't sleep in my comfortable bed anymore. The alternative, however, was sitting up on my bed with my arms around my legs, not wanting to spread them out and down into the sheets. Every night since I had been scared to fall asleep, and every night I eventually did when exhaustion would take over. Once I learned who the culprits were I could work with what I knew was for sure. For example, I knew that bedbugs only came out at night/when it's dark. From my own experience, I could validate that this was true, so one night I decided to play a trick on the bugs and see if I could catch one. I turned all the lights off in my bedroom, walked out and shut the door behind me. I waited about 20 minutes, opened the door, quickly turning on the lights. I couldn't believe my eyes: right there on the corner of my bed spread was one of the big brown bugs. I always thought bedbugs were hard to see, like lice would be, but it was easy to spot the one on my arm and the one on my bed stood out like a sore thumb. I grabbed him with a piece of toilet paper and put it in the tupperware container with his family member. I would catch 3 more this way and keep all in the same tupperware container. I eventually told Patrick, the apartment manager, and Patrick said, "Those aren't bedbugs. Bedbugs are tiny. You can't see bedbugs."
Okay Patrick. I gave my notice and told Patrick that the bedbugs were 1/2 of the reason why I was moving out. I had another reason too but if the other reason wasn't there, I wouldn't move it if it weren't for the bedbugs, and the other reason was something that COULD be fixed, but neither issue was even a concern, at least to Patrick and/or Trinity Management because nothing was ever brought up. Not what could be done about either solution - well apparently the bugs I showed Patrick weren't bedbugs and even if they were, I didn't tell him about it before giving notice so there was no time for it to be fixed. That was his only comment about that. Or anything. Oh, well he did send me a bill for cleaning. My deposit wasn't enough to cover it even after I scrubbed and cleaned everything in sight, and to anyone who knows me, that means the apartment was better than it was when I moved in and yes, I have to say it was cleaner when I left than when I moved in, but I didn't get any money back. Nope. Just a big bill and a slap in the face (figuratively speaking). It's also worth mentioning that the rent I paid for the apartment was higher than the amount they put it up for in an ad on craigslist. I forgot to bring the ad in when I came to look at the apartment so when I got home to see that I ended up asking for the same apartment that was in the ad for the price I originally came in thinking that it was (but the man showing us the apartment in person said that it was not that one, it was a different one in the ad when really it was the same one) - they wouldn't adjust the price for me. I knew what I was talking about but he tried to tell me the apartment wasn't the same as the one in the ad. When I went home and saw the ad, the pictures were of the very one I decided to rent which was showing on the ad for $250 less but when I called and told him that it was the same one, he said it was too late. What a bunch of crap! I would never do business with those people again. Not to mention, every time I called Trinity Management Apartments I was either told someone couldn't get back to me because they were sick or weren't coming in and didn't know when they would be in, or just extremely rude and not helpful whatsoever. Forget helpful, at the end of the day, all I really care about is talking to someone polite. Well you can't even get that, or I couldn't even get that - not even a smile - during any of my interactions with any of the people who worked there for the year that I rented an apartment out there. It is truly for shame. I would be embarassed to act how any of those representing Trinity Managment acted. The bedbugs were just the topping on the cake!
One word: YUCK!