My parents have had bed bugs for months and not told anyone. Refuse to do anything. What do I do? Call their landlord? - AgingCare.com

My parents have had bed bugs for months and not told anyone. Refuse to do anything. What do I do? Call their landlord?

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My parents have an "adult infestation" of bed bugs, which means they have had them for months (according to an exterminator my brother spoke with) and have not told anyone about them. We were concerned with their living conditions and personal hygeine so my adult daughter and I went to surprise clean their house while they were on a day trip. We found the bugs!! We had an "intervention" with my parents over the weekend. They seemed to be willing to take our help then but have clammed up ever since. Will not take our phone calls. I'm not willing to go back to their house and risk (more than I already have) contracting bed bugs for my family. My parents were at my house over the weekend exposing all of us with not a care. I am very angry!! My daughter works for MRDD residential homes. They do not understand the impact that their burying their head in the sand about this problem may have caused. I am beside myself, as is my brother. We have considered calling their landlord but our sister thinks that's a bad idea. I feel he HAS to know. It is HIS house!! Any outlets for help would be appreciated.

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Wow...answering a fossil post..but very pertinent!
Reporting the infestation to landlords will cause any of a few things to happen:
1. The landlord takes charge of the extermination, but then residents are subject to exposure to really bad chemicals used. [This would be appropriate response of landlords, but is not always the case.]
2. Could get the residents evicted [not good].
3. Reporting the infestation to authorities will really make the people angry, and might not ever speak with you again. OR, they might expect you to take them in after they got evicted?
That said...there _ARE_ alternative, healthier methods of getting rid of them.
House needs to generally be clean--very helpful. It's always harder if the house is hoarded or filthy.
We've used Cedarcide spray [cedar oil]; also, essential oils of thyme, rosemary, and others, repel them well. https://www.cedarcide.com/home/in-home/ Some people are sensitive to cedar; if they have a pet corn snake, those are evidently allergic to cedar, and it could kill them. We've done fine with it so far, and have been using it to help abate bugs for over 10 years.
Also, a number of clients have used Diatomaceous Earth, a very fine powder, after the herbals are used. D.E. can be applied to the mattress and box springs, worked into the trim edges, and left in place...it physically kills the bugs by cutting their exoskeletons, then they dehydrate and die.
Borax powder is also anti-bug, and can be worked into the mattress fabric and left there. Alternately, Boric Acid powder [often labeled "Roach powder" at places like the garden area of Walmart], can be worked into the mattress fibers and left there.
IF diatomaceous earth or other powders are used, must cover the mattress with a hypoallergenic mattress cover...to prevent humans and pets breathing the powder. Other than that, those are extremely low toxicity levels, usually deemed safe even if skin contact.
IF you are able to abate the bugs yourself, there's no need to report it to anyone, is there? ...Unless the State or City has mandatory reporting specifically for that [New York City might be one of those?]?
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Since AgingCare had recently removed the date/time stamp for the answers, many of us are running into that problem of when an answer was written that has a question.... [sigh]
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wow didn't realize these posts are over 3 years old! can't wait to hear back!
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Although all questions and answers helped me greatly, I'm in the middle of trying to have my folks home exterminated but because I live in California and they live in Arizona, it has been chore. 4 days have passed and still not done bagging and and preping the house. No one to help and called over 60 #'s even APS! What do I do?
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Blannie, maybe we are delusional and were just seeing things ;-)
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LOL Veronica91, what a great response.
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I thought my dad had them, and I went on a war- pulled his bed outside, washed all the clothes, pulled up carpets in closets, and even painted every surface in the bed room. Bought him a new bed, and put the room back together- also washing all the furniture with chemicals.
It turned out they were carpet beetles- still nasty, but not quite as bad!
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I know a person who rented in a 3 family and they had to leave for like 12 hours. They heated the house up super hot and it kills them all. She said the next day the walls still felt hot but it got them. They multiply rapidly and probably came from another apartment, or will spread to it. You have to be so careful these days. When we go to the movies, we strip downstairs and put our laundry in the wash immediately because I learned from her exterminator they live in movie places, restaurants, etc. yuck! You could take them out for the day and have it done for them?
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GREAT advice people have given.
Indeed, it's a public health/APS issue.

Start with APS/Health Deptartment, FIRST--MAYbe even starting with Area Agency on Aging;
THEY will, IF needed, involve the landlord---or maybe not, if it is avoidable--but at any rate, they would more likely be able to preserve your folks ability to keep their living space once it's done.

Starting with landlords MIGHT result in improper handling of the issue.
You don't want the folks to lose their housing [or maybe you do?]
--senior housing can be really hard to find many places.
SOME landlords are harsh/troublesome.
SOME landlords are cheap--& may try to remedy it improperly.
[[for instance...one of our old landlords tried to remedy bugs improperly, & died of massive cardiac arrest less than 24 hrs after improperly applying insecticide in closed spaces without diluting it properly]]
[[or using wrong stuff & techniques...or none at all and saying they did...]]
OF course, there are some really great landlords too, that care, who use the right methods, etc....but in some places, ya just must be careful.

Try to protect your folks home space as best you can by making the calls in this order----& for heaven's sake, DON'T let them come to your place anymore, until well after it's known the bugs are gone from their space & belongings.

There ARE non-toxic ways to abate bugs of all kinds.
The prepping for doing it is the hardest part.

Just sayin'.
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Call the landlord and let him deal with the problem because it is his problem. My husband was a pilot, slept in the finest hotels, and even they had bed bugs. Don't allow them to come over until you know the infestation is gone. Simple. They don't want to answer your phone calls, so don't call. Simple.
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