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My mother will be 70 this year and lives on her own (still works full time too). Her brother lives with her. A little background on her: She has lived her whole life thinking if you ignore something it will go away. She ignored her gall bladder issues for years before finally needing surgery. Even after surgery she still eats the same way. (she just runs to the bathroom after she eats). She was told she was diabetic about 10 years ago and was given pills (no shots thankfully). She took the one bottle and never refilled it. All she did to change her diet was to use splenda instead of sugar in her coffee. She still eats "meat and potatoes" at every meal and wow can she eat! (she's about 4'11" and 180 lbs). She was also raised to hide everything because of what other people will think. (not fix it--- just hide it). I'd say she was a hoarder but it's not nearly what you see on tv. She does have stuff she doesn't need but it's not to the point of being cripling. She hasn't done laundry in a laundromat in 7+ years. She washes her clothes by hand because of what people will think of her if they see her in a laundromat. She'll pay $150/week for a cab to go to work because of what people would think of her for taking the town bus (we live on Long Island and it's not like the city--- I agree there is a stigma for taking the bus out here but I take the bus because IDC what people think).

Anywhoo-- sorry. She now has bedbugs. I know they're not her fault. they happen. She could have gotten them from someone in a grocery store who knows. However, she has ignored them from day one. She acts like it's nothing and just flicks them off her and squishes them. then says, "oh , haha, there's another one"

I know I'm dealing with much more than just a bed bug infestation, I'm dealing with mental issues as well. I just do not know where to start or how to approach this subject. She will be downright adamant about us (I have 3 sisters) doing anything.

I forgot she lives in a downstairs apartment and her landlords live upstairs. My sister says they have them upstairs, she saw them on the frame of the door. My mother never even told her landlords about the mold in the bathroom and the ceiling is all black and the sheetrock is ruined. (Again---because of what they will think of her and they will throw her out--event tho I've told her a million times they cannot throw her out on the street).

So any and all advice is greatly appreciated. I don't want to say the wrong things to mom and get her pissed or have her withdraw. I need to approach this delicately. I know of the expenses involved w/ bed bugs as well. And none of us have any money so I'm wondering if DSS or APS could help.

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My first call in this particular situation would definitely be the health department. The next call should be to APS, either you or the health department can make that call, but I would definitely let the health department do it. What you can do if necessary if you decide to do this on your own is first vacuum everywhere possible. You can also bring in professionals with steam cleaners that can sanitize everything. Steam cleaners will actually deep clean mattresses and anything else. As for keeping your house at 140° as mentioned here, that's too dangerous and it can definitely kill you because it will lead to a heat stroke. I strongly discourage cranking the heat that hot since it is a fatal temperature, because you just can't live in a place that hot. Depending on how bad the bedbug infestation really is, you may have to temporarily move your mom until the place is professionally cleaned. Even if the place is condemned, it will be professionally cleaned at some point because it just can't stand empty. It's mentioned that it's a rental and the owner is going to want to make money renting part of the house. Everyone will definitely have to move elsewhere until the place is professionally cleaned and free of bedbugs. If this person won't move, they may actually have to be physically forced, and this is what the APS is there for. You may also want to wash the person's clothes as well as everyone else's. Use hot water for laundering as well as bleach. It may be a lot of laundry, but worth it. An alternative would be to replace everyone's clothes and furniture as well as linens. I'm sure there are charities that could help out in this type of crisis, all you have to do is get the back up from the health department as well as the APS in order to get the charity to jump into assisting in this crisis because you don't need the bedbugs spreading and infecting other buildings or other people.
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Captain - I remember you used diatomaceous earth, didn't you? You don't take lip from anyone, on two legs or six.
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i killed them , all of them . all you people who predict defeat from the start -- defeat is guaranteed ..
losers ..
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Mom will stay Mom whether she has bedbugs or not. She isn't going to change now so forget it. Help her and everyone else at the same time. Call the health department, building code enforcement, elderly affairs, the housing authority, your congressman---anyone and everyone who will GO OUT THERE AND LOOK for themselves. They will instantly condemn the place and force the landlord to deal with ALL the problems until fixed. It's not just your mom who is ignoring the situation.

Keep in mind that folks who grew up in the Depression were used to living with bedbugs, so they don't always react with abject horror like we do. They don't realize that there are better solutions out there now that can deal with them more effectively than dousing mattresses with kerosene like my grandfather tried... forgetting he smoked in bed.
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The best thing to do is call the health inspector tell them you suspect bed bugs and go from there since she is renting they should make the landlord deal with it bed bugs are a health hazard and risk I am currently dealing with them as well I am moving and leaving all of my furniture they were here before I moved in and living in the walls I have tried getting rid of them and can't. If you call the health inspector they will also tell your mother the risk she is taking by ignoring it. If they are bad enough you are seeing them then the problem is far worse than you think. I have them severely bad and don't see them unless I look. I sprayed with alcohol (because it will kill them and their eggs) on a daily basis in every Crack crevice furniture base boards and walls I seen and still have them just as bad as the day I discovered them. They are very hard to get rid of and yes if you spend any amount of time in your mother's home you can carry them home with you especially if you have sat on the furniture. So you need to check your beds around the seems especially where your bed touches the wall they like cool dark places. You should be very careful going there or not at all.
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No real lasting treatment. Throw away mattress, clean whole room, wiping down walls, etc with cleaner and bleach. Bring in new mattress with zip enclosed mattress cover.

Replace all bedding, sheets, blankets, decorative pillows, bed skirts etc. OR wash everything in very hot water and dry in hot dryer. YEP, she'll have to do this in laundromat.

They are tenacious and you have to be careful. I travel all the time and never lay clothes or suitcase on bed. I unpack in laundry room when I retune and wash all my pajamas immediately.
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JustSomeone, I was rereading your post and now your answer, too - have you thought of offering to speak to her landlord for her? I hadn't grasped before that her landlord may not be aware of the problem in her bathroom, and apart from anything else he is responsible for maintenance and he needs to know.

Do you know the landlord to speak to? Is he an ogre? How long has she been a good, rent-paying tenant? After her earlier experiences I'm not blaming her for being nervous; just wondering if she's thinking the worst without real cause.
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The entire place has to be treated.The landlord has to know, as the entire building will have them for sure. They multiply fast and get into hardwood floors, in back of pictures, etc not to mention bite ! The landlord will have to pay . They just bring in a heater and heat up the rooms super hot and they all die, no chemicals! Gross,get her out and stay out until its done!
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Thank you everyone for all your responses! Mom can't/won't move. The three times she had to move in the last 15 years was because one of my sisters or I went out and found an apartment and did all the work for her. She'd still be living in the house where the landlord illegally evicted her and my father all those years ago if we never did anything.

We can't burn furniture. She lives in an apartment in someone's house. We can't make a bon fire in the back yard LOL

She doesn't even sleep in a bedroom she just sleeps on the couch. Her brother has the one bedroom and the second bedroom is a storage room, which has my uncle's stuff and her stuff. (There's no closet or storage space except a closet in the one bedroom and one in the living room).

I agree we have to get rid of the couch. However we'd have to do it when she wasn't home. We already told her we have to get rid of the couch and she said no because she "can't" put a couch by the garbage the landlords will get mad. (yeah ok). We all told her that 1-they don't even have to know WHY she's getting rid of the couch and 2-who the hell cares? (but she thinks they do and they'll throw her out and no we start the whole conversation over again.) :-/
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Clean, get an exterminator and possibly move. Why would anyone live in a rental with bugs and mold! The landlord needs to pay for the repairs, if he won't. Move. Work on mom's sense of what would people think of me if I allow my mother to live in infested moldy.....slum like...environment.

You are likely to carry the infestation back to your house, so this is serious.

I know it is difficult, but NH and dorms and hotels find a way to kill bedbugs, so it can be done.you will need professional help and possibly to get rid of bedding.
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Sad to say, but the bedbugs are a symptom of a much bigger issue: Mom wants to blend in so thoroughly as if to hide in plain sight. And complaining about the bugs are going to attract attention she doesn't want. So she'll keep pretending it's not a problem until the critters start renting space in the cracks and crevices of her body.

At the age of 13, my father punished my rebelliousness with a plane ticket to my birth mother's hovel in Puerto Rico. For 1 1/2 years, I felt my identity being dictated by slave-driving social parasites. My self-esteem, self-respect, and self-worth was measured by how efficiently I catered to their whims. ... "If I don't move, they won't know I'm here."

Did homework by candlelight; also washed my raggedy clothes at night b/c I didn't want people to laugh at me. If they asked anything, I'd lower my eyes and answer in one syllable. If they beat me -- as my mother often did when life became too miserable to bear -- I accepted it. I never fought back!

Broken down, ashamed, abused, and paranoid, I silently begged for death as the coqui sang at night and the mosquitoes bit. Mom, angry as usual, would sometimes walk into the room brandishing an extension cord. But she preferred a long knife used to slaughter hogs. "One of these days," she said, "I'm going to bathe in your blood." ... Death would certainly be a lot better than the hell I was living.

She, and just about every one of those bloodsuckers down there, almost nullified me. But I bided my time as a ghost validated by the roaches, mice, and rats I considered more civilized than humans. Dad finally came to restore my self-worth, and remind me that I do matter. That there are people who care about me.

Your Mom might want to be left alone and not bother anyone. But pitch a tent in her head anyway. Let her know the way she's living is p----ng the hell out of you and that bedbugs are not an option.

She's worth her weight in gold, but doesn't know it yet.
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theres an infestation in the entire western world. uk , aus, israel, germany, st louis, san fran, indy, cinncinnati, louisville... the fda is considering lifting the ban on the chenicals that will kill them but one or two convulsing, dead babies are one or two too many. for now DE is the s**t. their bodies have a waxy shell and the dust sticks to their shell, prevents exoskeleton plates from closing tightly and the critters die of dehydration. i build houses, trucks, cars, trikes, engines, trannys, lawns, patios, etc. outsmarting a bug is childsplay by comparison.
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on a more fun note. mist a german cockroach heavily with wintergreen alcohol. he will take the fastest sprint you ever seen but hes only got about a 12 inch run till he flips upside down and puts on possibly the best show on earth. my empathy stops where roaches and bed bugs begin.
bayer brand garden dust scattered on and behind kitchen appliances / cabinets will wipe out roaches in a matter of weeks. the poison control people at bayer corp told me as long as the garden dust wasnt being blown around by the furnace that it was perfectly safe to use indoors. the bayer ladies words were " our dust is seriously dumbed down where humans are concerned".
my new basement digs has a couple ( welcome ) snakes living in the ceiling joists and an occasional bat flies thru but there arent any bed bugs or roaches.
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I don't know, Cap.... I saw the show on Nat Geo about bedbugs and the heat treatment.. I assume when they talked about heating the entire house, they included the attic. They can crawl into electrical outlets, any small crack, so the whole place had to be roasted to get them all... It's expensive though, from what they were saying on the show and I don't know how many companies there are that do the heat treatment in the U.S. From what I've heard extermination doesn't really work all that well because the chemicals can't reach everywhere in the house which is a scary thought... I dread ever having those things in my own house for that reason. What causes them to show up?
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heat treating works better in the southern states but isnt working so well in northern states. whats to prevent the bugs from being driven temporarily into your crawl space where its a comfy 56 degrees?
oh hell, i aint looking for controversy. i killed em because im smarter than a tiny bug and i read info from all over the world that his undereducated little ass has no access to.
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Ugh, bedbugs. The only thing I've heard that will kill the little bastards is heat. There's actually a company somewhere that will come to your house, seal it up and use hoses and hot air to raise the temp of the whole house to over 300 degrees. That's about the only thing I've heard of that will get rid of them.

I'd move. Like yesterday.
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yea call an exterminator but be prepared to rip your carpets loose from the walls and do all the hard work yourself. the chemical treatment will cost about 1500.00 and there is no guarantee because the exterminator cant control who comes and goes from your house. the DE is so effective that the fda is trying to put pherimones in the dust to attract the bugs. burn your mattress if you want but a 26 dollar bug proof cover is a much better deal. southern care kept b**ching till we obtained 3 different inspections, estimates from professionals.the 2 who cared to inspect signed off that they saw no signs of an infestation. i only spent a couple hundred hours researching the problem so i could be wrong -- but im not.
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I don't have much help for your mom's ability to ignore these problems except to say that I had a mom who was very much like that and I sympathize. She died in denial that her years of smoking caused her lung cancer. I do know about bed bugs having had them in my house. They will multiple unless something is done and the sooner the better. If you can see them then you have a major infestation. Make sure they are bedbugs and not something else like carpet beetles. The landlord will have to be told and the whole building will have to be treated. I can only recommend the expensive method of heating up the house to 140 degrees because that has kept my house bedbug free for over 2 years now.
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Moving would be one answer - if she'll move. But even if she will, you have to be careful what she takes away with her. Treat it like a quarantine situation; otherwise her little friends will be moving too.
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I just realized this is a rental. Move. Leave the bedding and matress behind. That gets rid of the bugs and mold at once. Source gross "what would people think""
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They are tenacious but can be treated. Call an exterminator, be ready to buy a new mattress
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be sure and order mattress covers for the box springs too, they especially like to nest in box springs. another good tactic is to use a single playing card. any gap in trim, furniture that a playing card will slide into needs caulked up.
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They'll be back.
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you can kill bed bugs yourself. an online store called pestmall sells zip up mattress covers and the diotomecious earth. bed bugs are lazy and only live about 8 feet from the beds / chairs. sprinkle DE inside the mattress covers before you zip them up, sprinkle DE on the floor under the beds and burn all suspect stuffy furniture. sprinkle DE around all baseboards to stop the travel from other apartments. wintergreen alcohol kills bugs and eggs on contact. its a waiting game and takes a few weeks to eliminate them but it can be done. the whole house heat treatment doesnt work cause it just drives them into the walls and even into the yard if necessary. DE is just non toxic crushed sea corral so be careful not to vaccum it back up. DE kills german roaches and fleas too. we killed them in moms home with 50 people telling us it couldnt be done. they were wrong.
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Forget treating them. Not A Chance. They are impressively tenacious and make cockroaches look like wimps in terms of survival. Stay away is dead right: I just hope you haven't already brought any little guests home with you.

If the whole house is infested, and it sounds as if her living conditions are pretty dreadful anyway, then you'd be doing all of the residents a favour by reporting this issue. I appreciate the sensitivities, though. I think in your position I'd make a preliminary call for advice only, then follow that through without shame.

I've got a mother like that. Threadworms, head lice, cockroaches, a particularly memorable broken thermostat on the immersion heater so that the water came out literally boiling - if she could pretend it wasn't happening, she did. You have to respect what matters to her, I know, but then again a joke's a joke - you do eventually lose patience with it. Sorry, mum, but welcome to Planet Reality. Good luck!
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I just did research for some product to use for bedbugs, here is that name". Diatomaceous Earth Bed Bug Killer $12.97 / each" from Home Depot... Have a nice review was written.Good Luck, I might buy it for my garden.
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If you call DSS, they can have the health dept check the premises, but fair warning, they may take her out of there and condemn the place. Bedbugs will hop on to you and come home with you. So stay away and tell her why.
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