Recently, I was hanging out at the pool with a friend and she was telling me about an incident where one of her children had head lice. I shuddered at the thought and thanked God none of my six children had ever had such an incident. What a nightmare that would be! Little did I know what would be in store for me a few weeks later.
A few nights ago we got home late from a swim meet. We were all hot, sweaty and tired. I was putting my youngest to bed, a task normally left to my husband, and noticed a lot of bloody dots on her sheets. Upon looking further I saw a bunch of black dots on her quilt and then I saw a bug. My heart sunk. I was in denial but I knew right away it was not good.
I told my daughter to go lay down in her brother’s bed and I hit the computer. I was right. We had a major problem — bed bugs! Where in the world did they come from? I called for my husband and we stripped the bed and threw everything in trash bags and put them outside. We closed the door and I tried not to think about it since I knew there was nothing we could do until the next morning. I didn’t sleep well that night. I was horrified that my little girl, who suspiciously had had a lot of mosquito bites lately, was most likely bitten and sleeping with those things.
The next morning I started calling the exterminator at 7:00 a.m. I finally reached someone at 8:15 and they said they could send an inspector over that afternoon. She asked me a lot of questions: Had we traveled recently? Did we go to a movie? Did we buy any used furniture or mattresses? The answer was no. Later it occurred to me that we had moved my son home from college about a month before. He had a futon we had put upstairs in the playroom to store. My daughter plays up there all of the time. Another son had already dealt with mice in his dorm room so why not bed bugs? I think we had our source.
The exterminator came and confirmed my suspicion. They were only found in the playroom and my daughter’s room. Somehow they were not in my college son’s room or any of the other bedrooms. We were going to have to pack up everything in those rooms and put it all in sealed black plastic bags. Then it all had to be hauled outside to sit in the sun. Heat kills the bugs. I also had to wash ALL of my daughter’s clothing and put anything I could in the dryer. Then came the estimate for the extermination. It was over $2000! There was a lot that went into the treatment. The bugs are hard to get rid of. While pricey, I didn’t care. I just wanted them gone.
So we packed everything up. Luckily there were plenty of helping hands to put everything outside. Meanwhile, our bedroom became full of excess laundry we couldn’t put away. I hate clutter. It has been driving me crazy!
The exterminators came. They asked a lot of questions. They decided we should probably clear the college boys’ rooms so they could treat there and I needed to wash all of their bedding even though there was no sign of bugs. Ugh! Another day of washing and drying, washing and drying. In the meantime, the regular laundry of eight people has been building up.
So the treatment has been done. We have the all clear to move everything back. I have been assured that everything is good now. But I’m so afraid to bring all that stuff back in the house. What if we missed something or something didn’t die? Should we throw away more stuff? But so much of it are my daughter’s toys and very expensive to replace.
I guess we’ll have to make some decisions as we open up the bags. I think it’ll be months before I can pull back the sheets on anyone’s beds and not look in terror for signs of more bugs. My husband is going to be traveling extensively in the next few months. I’ll worry about what he might bring home. I’ve been assured that in time, I’ll look at this as a distant memory and I’m sure I will. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone though. Not only the expense and work, but also the emotional drain. I would advise everyone to inspect hotel rooms, don’t bring home used upholstered furniture or mattresses and also be wary of anything coming from a college dorm. I certainly have learned my lesson.