Mattress bugs: The nightmare which retains on coming again


OPINION: I really thought it might be over.

Bed bugs had been the bane of my life for a fortnight when the pest control lady came in her protective suit and fumigated her.

I stayed out of the room for another 24 hours so the little sods could get. . . I don’t know, deaf?

But then I returned all the hot-washed and dry-dried beds and slept there. Back in my own comfortable bed with my nice fresh sheets and my favorite duvet.

* Bed bugs make me hate life
* Compensation for Auckland students who rented a room with bed bugs
* What to know and what to do if your hotel room has bedbugs

I turned on my rain sound app, closed my eyes, snuggled into the perfect position, and fell asleep.

Well that was the plan. Actually, I was eaten alive.

While I used to have bites on my arms, legs, neck and wrists, I now had them all over my stomach – like a happy little red mosaic and on my neck.

Bed bug, politely known as Cimex lectularius or Cimex hemipterus, but not mine.


Bed bug, politely known as Cimex lectularius or Cimex hemipterus, but not mine.

When another friend sends me a message that says, “Good night, sleep well, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” . . Well, I cannot be responsible for my actions.

A friend of a friend from Auckland was the most personable. Actually empathetic because she was there.

She says she thinks of bed bugs every day “and has been for four and a half years since I got the first lot”.

“Bed bugs have ruined my life and there are sooo many ways I can describe how. Last but not least, the fear of returning that never leaves you.

“I’ve thrown so much stuff away including a really expensive bed, toys, nice bedclothes, clothes, suitcases etc and spent hours and hours and so much money in laundromats, hot washing and super drying all that stuff that wasn’t on my own could fit machine and more. “

The bedroom looks okay.  .  .  but appearances can be deceiving.

Joanna Davis

The bedroom looks okay. . . but appearances can be deceiving.

I’m singing 100 percent from the same song sheet here and I’m not happy about it. So far I have listed my expenses:

  • Fumigation $ 150
  • Laundromat $ 25
  • DIY fumigation (backup products) $ 77
  • Mattress cover $ 84
  • Diatomaceous earth and buffer $ 55

But I wasn’t serious yet. That’s only $ 391 without the extra power needed for more than a dozen hot washes and machine drying clothes and laundry.

There was a lot more cost to come.

I received an email from a reader after posting the first story. Steve said, “We have an extremely effective way of killing bed bugs. . . Heat.

“The relevant affected room is heated to just over 56 degrees Celsius and held at this temperature for around two hours. There will be some minor adjustments depending on the location, but a great result is guaranteed.

“As a bonus, it destroys any other invertebrate pests that may be present and some microorganisms, including active mold spores.”

I haven’t slept in my own bedroom anymore. I slept in the guest room. I was still itching. I was given Claratyne and a topical hydrocortisone cream for bites. I never fell asleep before 1 a.m.

Steve said heat treatment is more common in Europe where chemical treatments are not preferred. He outlined the cost of it – well over $ 1,000.

I read the next email from my distressed friend in Auckland: “The stress it caused was enormous and the lack of sleep continues (…)

“Suffice it to say, I found everything incredibly traumatic and now I’m afraid of traveling and of guests and of accidental itching or mistakes.”

She says the stress has aged her.

“The relief when you stop – and you will – is enormous. Everything shifts. Everything. The way you see yourself and the world. “

The first round of treatment cost $ 391 plus electricity to run many hot washes and machine dryers.


The first round of treatment cost $ 391 plus electricity to run many hot washes and machine dryers.

It seems like it’s worth it. Steve and I have set an appointment.

He rents a generator to run two massive heaters, which he sets up in the bedroom and in the next room. He’s setting up a small monitoring station in my lounge with his laptop and measuring devices.

When I call back a few hours later, he tells me the temperature there is 60 degrees Celsius and suggests I come inside to experience it.

It reminds me of stepping outside at Faleolo International Airport in Samoa.

There are no cocktails at this resort. I pull back quickly and think, “Yes, everything in there is dead. Sure, everything is dead.”

That night, after the room cools down, I make the bed new. This time I am confident.

The cost of the heat treatment is $ 1,394.38 plus $ 451.51 to rent the generator for a total of $ 1,845.89.

It is, of course, a grudge purchase. Who wants to spend more than $ 2,000 (including the earlier amounts) on pest control?

But I’ve certainly spent money on worse. I rack my brain trying to figure out how this could be true.

I once paid $ 2,000 for a used leather lounge suite – it came with the house – and it turned out to be not even very comfortable. We mostly sit on the floor.

So it’s okay It’s just money. And just like my bed bug sufferer said, the relief is enormous.