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My husband and I moved to Nashville in July, and we rented an apartment that seemed okay, wasn't great, but was a good price, and in a decent area of town. When we first moved in I got a rash, but I figured it was because of stress or mosquitoes, so I didn't think anything of it.

Over the next couple of months I kept getting rashes, but as I am highly allergic to mosquito bites, I kept thinking it was mosquitoes. That's when the roaches came out. After about a month of living in this apartment, I started seeing this horrible cockroaches running across my wall, I would kill them, call the office and complain, they would come out a week later and spray, but to no avail. The cockroaches became a house guest that I absolutely did not want, but locked in a year's lease, had no choice about.

Follow me below the squiggly for more information...

The complaining cycle continued over and over again. Thanksgiving came and I went to open my front door and the door knob fell off. It was after hours, so I called the emergency number, and was told that since I had a dead bolt it could wait till after Thanksgiving. I couldn't close my door! After yelling, they decided to come reattach my door knob. Score 1! This past month, the laundry room at my apartment complex had scrawled on the window "Are you going to be evicted for Christmas? Contact the office." Well...okay...and it was surrounded by holly and painted wreaths...Merry Freaking Christmas indeed.

Then the final straw...I saw a bug on my pillow a couple of nights ago. I was like "what the hell is that?" Then I saw more, and more, and more...BEDBUGS! My husband and I have had to sleep in the living room for the past three nights because the bedbugs suck our blood while we're sleeping. The office is closed, so not much I can do right now with that. I've heard people at the laundry room talking about bedbugs, but I never thought I'd have them myself. I already know that my mattress is a goner, and that I'm going to have to spend a fortune taking all my clothes to the laundry mat down the street, but it's the sheer ick factor that really gets to me, and the fact that how am I going to pay for all this. I just want to cry. I'm filing bankruptcy next week because of medical bills etc... so I'm thinking of throwing this apartment under it too, but then will anyone rent to me, will this apartment complex half-ass deal with my bed bug problem, or will they actually fork over the money to do it right?

This is only a taste of what I'm dealing with, my garbage disposal has been broken for weeks, I've had roaches crawl across my face while I'm sleeping, the neighbors upstairs beat each other all night long, I'm just so tired.

Thanks for listening DailyKos. You're a wonderful community for me.

Originally posted to zakandsantos on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Nashville KosKats.

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Comment Preferences

  •  May you have peace today (18+ / 0-)

    ...and may you quickly find affordable, suitable housing.  Seems to me that if you document & report the problems to whatever health department is around that you may find a way out of your lease.

    "This is the best bad idea we have by far..." ~Argo

    by MsGrin on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:30:40 AM PST

  •  Many, many years ago I lived in a place... (10+ / 0-)

    that got bedbugs.

    Once I figured out what was going on and had a good look I found them living in the joints of the bedframe, where the legs meet the spring frame.

    I went and bought some bug spray with a residual effect, like residual Raid and sprayed all the joints with it. It worked but I'll have to add there was no carpet, just concrete floors, this was in Africa on the coast so that was just normal.

  •  hope this helps; it has been a few years since I (10+ / 0-)

    had an exterminator's license:
    Bedbugs can't survive more than a few days without humans to feed on; however if you move, they move with you in your bedding and furniture:
    I assume you have German cockroaches so here is the skinny on the critters:

    •  Bedbugs CAN survive 2 years without blood (9+ / 0-)

      under certain circumstances, although the usual is 'only' 2-3 months. The only thing that kills them is heat above 120 degrees for a while, and some pesticides if they aren't resistant.

      They are difficult to eradicate because they hide during the day, in walls, cracks, furniture, and soft furnishings. In order to escape bites, you need to make a 'defensible space' so they can't get to you at night.

      I went with a very expensive but thorough exterminator, but also lived in a house where I could control all factors. If you are in an apartment, they can move from place to place, like the roaches do. Just spraying your apartment will do nothing to get rid of these guys.

      May I also highly recommend the packtite 'bug oven' which was developed for heating luggage to prevent bringing bedbugs home from trips, but is also good to treat your stuff that can't go through the hot cycle in the dryer. It's great for using during the crisis, and afterwards for peace of mind, and to keep them away.

      There are many procedures that can be used to eradicate bedbugs, but they must be followed exactly, scrupulously, and without fail. We bagged up everything in our house that wasn't furniture and didn't allow it back in until it was heat treated, or had gone 2 years without being opened.

      Sounds extreme, but those little fkers are horrible.

      I am so sorry to hear of anyone enduring an infestation. Realize also that you can carry them with you wherever you go, and spreading them to friends and family. They hitchhike in purses, clothing, packages. That's how we got ours--from a visiting relative.

      Best wishes, and a better year ahead to all.

      May the bedbugs never bite. I know way more than I wish I did about them.

      Life is a school, love is the lesson.

      by means are the ends on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:59:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  break your lease (11+ / 0-)

    If your unit is uninhabitable because of roaches and bedbugs, you have a right to break your lease.

    Look up the tenants rights for Nashville.  Also consult a pro-bono attorney from the Tenants Union (or similar organization).

  •  my christmas gift to you is a roach solution that (13+ / 0-)

    is inexpensive and works!

     background info: i lived ib nyc for decades  and as all nyers will tell you, ny is built atop a rroach nest!

    i used boric acid powder.   sprinkle it liberally under kitchen and bath counters near water then dust floor baseboards and cabinet and drawers at seams - if you've a really bad problem, dust kitchen counters, too.  don't forget behind fridge and stove.

    leave exposed areas for two weeks to carch newly hatched ones.

    they track it back to their nests where the fastidious little buggers then ingest it during their cleaning of themselves.  the powder crystallizes in their stomachs and they implode.  occasionally you'll find one that has "exploded", but mostly they will just be gone!

    when my floors were replaced in my 100 yr old blding, the installers exclaimed that mine was the
    only ny apt they had ever done where they didn;t encounter a single roach!

    you can buy from pharmacy or get "croak-a-roach" from home depot cheaper.  the latter is also boric acid powder.

    oh, and it is pet safe unless they eat a pound of it!

    •  here's a good link - says boric acid and (6+ / 0-)

      diatomaceous earth + other inorganics can provide longterm control... link here

    •  We lived in Florida in a single family house. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The only roaches we had were an occasional large one.They must have hitch hiked home with the groceries. When I did see one, I would use your boric acid method.  I would disolve it in water, and use a brush to apply it to all the cracks and corners in the area, and then just let it dry.   It must have worked,  because I never saw any smaller sized.  Just the big ones. And them, seldom.

      Time is a long river.

      by phonegery on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:44:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's true. I lived in base housing for a long time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and no matter what, with all those duplexes and townhouses someone somewhere has roaches and they get around. I did what edrie is talking about here, and I didn't have roaches in my unit like my neighbors, and they had "cleaner" houses than mine. I just used Mule Team Boric acid, it's available in most grocery stores in the laundry section, and is cheaper than stuff marketed for roaches. You get a big box for a low price.

      And most bugs communicate by scent. So using essential oils can be useful too. I used to add Rosemary Essential oil to a bottle of water and shake and spray in the carpet with lavender essential oil [NOT FRAGRANCE OIL] and that also kept spiders and other bugs out of the house. I would spray it on the flooring after vacuming, especially by the entries. And don't forget to treat the curtains and drapes. Bedbugs like to get in there.  FYI limit direct skin exposure to E-oils. They are very powerful concentrations and can be poisonous for children and pets, if not properly stored or used. And can cause skin and eye irritation, so do not ingest! Do not rub in eyes or directly on skin.

      I have also read that buying scented Dryer Sheets placed in between mattresses, in your couch and chair cushions, and in your shoes, [basically anywhere bedbugs can hide, deters them. I haven't tried that for bed bugs, but it's a cheap something worth a try.

      Over time the stuff in them break down and they dryer sheets must be replaced. You can also put them in drawers with linens and such.

  •  I got rid of bedbugs about 6 months ago. (8+ / 0-)

    they're awful, but if you stay tenacious you'll prevail.

  •  When I lived in Florida (6+ / 0-)

    where everybody has major roach problems (huge roaches called palmetto bugs plus German and Asian roaches) no matter how nice and clean the place, we tried all kinds of remedies and paid exterminators, and eventually found that what did the best job was the bait stations that you set out and the roaches carry the bait back to their nests. This helps kill the whole colony. Although if it's an apartment complex, there's probably way more living inside those walls than you could ever kill. But at least it should wipe out the closest ones.

    But bedbugs are another thing entirely, and from what I've read, they can be extremely difficult to eradicate. If you break your lease on account of the bedbugs, I don't think most future landlords would hold it against you if you explained that to them.


  •  Years ago when I was a Children's Protective (10+ / 0-)

    Services worker I visited a mother who had just given birth to twins.  She lived in a quadroplex that was teeming with roaches.  I saw the buggers coming out of the holes in the heat plate of her steam iron.  She had made numerous complaints to the LL prior to her babies being born but to no avail.  I had her put her rent money in an escrow account at the bank and withhold rent until the LL served her with an eviction notice.  She continued to call and complain and documented everything she'd done to try to get rid of the roaches herself.

      Then the court date arrived.  I went to court with her and testified to what I had seen and heard (her calling the LL) and that the client was clean and neat in her person and her apartment.  The judge ruled against the LL, a county sheriff, which had been an intimidating fact for the client to cope with, and the judge ordered the LL to make the premises habitable within 30 days after which the sheriff would get her rent payment.  He also ordered that no punitive measures be taken against my client.
    Using the LL/tenant court could work for you, or because you had damages due to the bedbug infestation, small claims court might be an option even though proving the source of the bedbugs would be problematic.
    The best of luck in whatever actions you take.  Reading your diary has started many of us scratching, I'm sure.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:17:56 AM PST

  •  The Health Department Should Be Very Interested... (8+ / 0-)

    in that building.  Threaten to write letters to the editor so the whole town can know about what's going on over there.  Publicity isn't good...when it's bad publicity.

    Once your building becomes known as the "Bed Bug/Roach Motel", the management may have a change of heart.  They had a responsibility.....they blew it.  

  •  Bedbugs: a plague from hell (9+ / 0-)

    A few tidbits:

    Sleeping in the living room will only bring the bugs to you.  They will infest your furniture -- if they haven't already.  Bed bugs operate on their sense of smell (ie chemical recognition) and are drawn to the CO2 you exhale, along with the smell of sweat and (!) of earwax; alsot to temperature differentials (body heat).

    Bed bugs (proper spelling is with the space) have become immune to all currently-available pesticides.  The only thing that really gets rid of them is heat treatment for the whole building, with a lot of other tenant-related actions needed regarding their belongings.

    The ones you can SEE and recognize are the adults and the 'older' of the five life-stages (called 'instars').  The younger stages are translucent, with the first sage being very tiny, so although they can be seen with 'the naked eye', they're hard to see -- unless they've just had a meal.

    Besides heat, the only thing that kills them (but not their eggs) is alcohol.  You can use a spray of half water, half rubbing alcohol to spray down floors, etc.

    Oh, and they don't live just in beds or upholstered furniture.  The can live and colonize in areas as small as the crack between floor tiles, the width of a credit card.

    Don't think the laundromat is your answer.  Bed bugs can only be killed by an appropriate combination of temperature and time.  At 113F, death takes an hour.  At 120F, adults are killed within 1 minute.  And by '120F', I mean that every fiber of the piece of clothing etc has to reach that temp, so seams etc stay damp and cool longer.  Military sources say launder or dry at 120F for twenty minutes.  On the good side, if you can find a drier that reaches 120F, already-dry clothing will not likely be harmed by that time/temp, even if the fabric would not survive a hot wash.  On the down side, your home or laundromat water and/or drier will not get hot enough to do anything but give the bed bugs a day at the spa.

    Bed bugs will go into a kind of hibernation (called 'knockdown') at lower temps than the kill-temp.  But they will revive within a few days.  All life-phases go dormant if a meal is not available when they need to feed (about every 3-5 days), and adults can live 18 months (although some say less) without feeding.

    There are online sources (see, IIRC) that will help you understand what ordinary people have to say about life with bed bugs.  New York City came up with some pretty good resources.

    Some things to remember:  Bed bugs are now at epidemic levels in the US.  They spread very easily.  Having them is NOT a matter of poor housekeeping or 'trashiness'.  Bed bug research stopped just after WWII, so except for some research from the last few years, our scientific information on them is between 40-60 years old.  And even the current info is largely controlled by the pesticide industry, which wants to keep spraying useless chemicals that only make the bugs evolve specific responses for survival. (Google Wall Street Journal/ bed bugs/evolve, article from 2011).

    So sorry for your troubles!

  •  Yes. I know this one. (6+ / 0-)

    If you can, move and quickly.

    Sometimes, entire neighborhoods are infested with roaches, and efforts to get rid of the bugs in one house or apartment will just lead them to move ... for a while. Then they return. Then, everything you possess becomes infested with roaches. And it goes on from there.

    I know you have financial problems, but your financial problems will only get worse unless you can move or come to terms with not being able to really do much of anything about the roaches, etc., as long as you live them. Bear in mind, the landlord sounds negligent, but there also might just be a point at which he can do nothing because the neighboring buildings probably have roaches, too, so if/when he fumigates, they just evacuate for a while, then come back.

    This was a hard learned lesson for me.

    Good luck to you, and I'm sorry all this is going on for you during the holidays.

  •  I know your pain (5+ / 0-)

    Lived in a NY tenement in the trendy East Village for years and years. Could handle the roaches, because I didn't want to endure the poison spray, so I had natural stuff and never kept any food out. But the last few years I was there, bedbugs infested the building.

    Poison spray was the only thing that worked, but it only worked for about 6 months, as the bugs would migrate to a different apartment for a while then come back. The whole building was infected with them.

    Luckily, I had a rent-stabilized lease, a new landlord bought the building, and I was only paying under $700 for my little place. The new landlord gave me $35,000 to give up my lease. So I left, and left NY too. I was ready. I'd been there for almost 30 years. Was ready for a new frontier.

    But those bedbugs really suck (pun intended). Glad you're moving. They're impossible to get rid of, especially if they only treat one apartment at a time.

  •  Usually when one bastage brings in the roaches (4+ / 0-)

    in an apartment, they aren't going away unless the management bombs the entire building.  I had this fight with little brown roaches when I was a poverty stricken teenager.  I had to keep all of my food in the refrigerator and even then, they ate the newspaper and my homework.  It was awful.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:37:45 AM PST

    •  We aren't poverty stricken (5+ / 0-)

      yet...when this treatment of my stuff is done we just might be...

      Born in TN-05 and Live in TN-05, Went to college in TN-09 and TN-06, Married in IA-02.

      by zakandsantos on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:40:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I found decent prices (4+ / 0-)

        for the bed bug proof super duper mattress covers at overstock dot com. (about $50 for Full size). If you only have one mattress, ditch it! then buy a new one and zip that baby up immediately. I mean, mail-order the super-case BEFORE you buy the new mattress so that you have it on hand the minute you bring the new one in. If you can "afford" do that (it will save you money in the long run). Shop discount outlet type places for new mattress/box springs - replace both.

        What a nightmare.

        I know roaches are gross and all but they dont bite you and the boric acid does work. Focus your efforts and $ on the bed bug issue.  Heat, as others have said, works. As for the apt situation, ditto what others said above already.  Best of luck!

        Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

        by Lady Libertine on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:04:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully "this too shall pass" (5+ / 0-)

    Borax worked to get rid of a roach infestation brought by a do-gooder in an old microwave for me when nothing else worked.

    I'll stick with the consensus here regarding the bedbugs though. Lease or no lease, no-one should be forced to pay rent in order to be fed on by tiny vampire bugs every night.

    I wonder if your slumlord is an individual dirt-bag, or a hedge-fund.

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 10:39:14 AM PST

  •  As mentioned in another reply, it seems that one (4+ / 0-)

    tool you really do have is the threat of making the infestations in this particular apartment complex as widely known as you have the opportunity to do, possibly even to the health department.  I once had a complaint (that I felt very strongly about...) with a big box home improvement center settled very quickly when the discussion began to be overheard by a gathering crowd of other customers waiting for service.  

  •  A few tips (4+ / 0-)

    A cheap way to help control bed bugs (and keep them gone if an exterminator manages to get rid of them) is to use diatomaceous earth. Drop the powder behind baseboards, around the legs of your bed frame, between your mattress and box spring, dust your carpet and then vacuum (making sure you throw out the bag right after), etc... DE isn't harmful to people, but will desiccate the little fuckers. The gardening section of any store ought to carry it.

    Rubbing alcohol and water to spray off all your belongings.

    Place a fan on the floor where it blows under your bed.

    Launder all of your clothes with hot water and a hot dryer cycle then keep them in sealed bags.

    Remove as much clutter as you can.

    These little things won't get rid of them, but will reduce numbers and reduce the frequency bites.

    The world is full of Kings and Queens who'll blind your eyes and steal your dreams. - RJD(RIP)

    by Darkvisitor on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:19:20 AM PST

    •  Word of caution about DE (0+ / 0-)

      It is not harmful to people if you don't breath it in. Don't be making that dust rise and breath it in, those are microscopic shells in that and they are not good for your lungs.

      So it's not poisonous, but it can harm a person if they breathe the dust in.

  •  Bug bombs will keep the roaches away... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for a few weeks.

    I lived in a similar complex and I'd let off a couple bug bombs before going to work once a month or so.

    Seemed to work.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 12:05:34 PM PST

    •  just be sure.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duufus, ladybug53, CA wildwoman

      to turn off any pilot lights (stove, water heater, etc. ) before using "total release" aerosols, and don't over-do the number of cans. They're usually highly flammable, and can explode and may blow out all the windows if there is an ignition source.

      This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

      by Karl Rover on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 12:26:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sympathies. We had roaches aplenty in Brooklyn. (4+ / 0-)

    Didn't matter how clean we kept the place or how thoroughly we locked up all food. We initially had a roach-free apartment, but got evicted promptly after the landlord died in a car accident.

    The next apartment was about four doors down from a restaurant. Every morning when I stepped into the shower I would have to shoo the roaches boiling up out of the shower drain.

    One day my wife moved the clothes dryer, and was horrified to see hundreds of roaches surging up the wall from where they were hiding behind it.

    When we moved out of the city, we left everything behind that we could, and roach-bombed the filled moving van. Twice. Only saw one sickly roach crawling out of the washing machine, and no more after that.

    Still makes me squirm.

  •  don't mean to hijack, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this seemed like a good place to ask: what about rats? there are rats in the walls in my tiny apartment because they are all over this old building in Tokyo. I'm not in a position to move until the end of next year, but the sounds (chitters, scratching, fighting, maybe cleaning their teeth on the wood behind the wall) make it hard to enjoy my little place...

    I'd like to use something that will send them elsewhere, but no idea what that could be.

    I live alone, and am squeamish, so no cheese traps or anything like that, since I'd have to dispose of them.

    do any of those sonic devices work? is there a boric acid equivalent that would send them away? I used a spray that was supposed to make them go, but to no avail...

    and zakandsantosFollow I hope you're able to get rid of your intruders, too!

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by Terri on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 08:22:25 PM PST

    •  Yes! Classified as organic Terad3 Ag Pellets (0+ / 0-)

      Not sure about rats, but I had mice that I couldn't get rid of with traps, glue pads, etc.  I didn't want to use poison because I have 5 pets in the house and worried about them finding it or secondary poisoning if they messed with a dead one.  

      I found something that has worked for months and seems to make them leave before they die, which is a plus.  I have only found one dead one actually in the house, but they are gone.

      It kills by overdosing them on Vitamin D and kills when they eat enough for their body size--minimizing the secondary poisoning issue.  It is expensive, but I spent a fortune on other stuff and this works.  I put the pellets in locked bait stations or on paper plates under furniture with small openings that don't allow pet access.  I keep putting the pellets out in bait stations in the garage and attic, hoping to keep them from ever entering the house to begin with.

      I don't have mice any more--it is great.  I still have half a tub of the pellets, so think I won't have to buy any for a long time.

      Quote from the site:  

      Pro Tip: "TERAD3 Ag BLOX is the first and only rodent bait registered by the EPA and for use in organic production. It is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) It is not likely to cause secondary poisoning. Always use tamper-resistant bait stations with single feeding rodent baits like Terad3. "  

      TERAD3 Ag Pellets offers organic growers the low hazard benefits of the active ingredient, Vitamin D3, in a pelleted bait.

      It kills anticoagulant-resistant rats and mice yet substantially reduces the risk of secondary poisoning. And, the bait also poses low toxicity to birds.

      TERAD3 Ag Pellets is an extremely palatable bait, and its active and inert ingredients meet the organic materials requirements for Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) listing.

      The bait also features a stop-feed action, which reduces the need for extensive and continued bait use.
      Rats and mice stop feeding within one to two days. Ultimately this results in lower total bait consumption with greater cost savings.

    •  Adding (0+ / 0-)

      that I also tried the sound and scent products with no luck and traps were not effective.  I would find the traps sprung with the bait gone but no mice.  They seem to be very smart.  The glue traps work to get some of them, but that got to be expensive and is gruesome to see.  If given enough time--while at work, etc.--they can get off of the glue traps and you find the trap moved from the original location but no mouse.  Nothing worked for me besides the pellets I linked to.

  •  I'd recommend you call (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zakandsantos, CA wildwoman

    HUD or your local housing authority. If your apartment complex accepts Section 8 subsidies for low income residents, they may be subjects to inspections and standards, and you may be able to use that angle to get remediation.

    I feel for you- bugs suck, big time.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 09:03:44 PM PST

  •  A very cheap way to get rid of roaches is (0+ / 0-)

    to put out dishes filled with half-and-half powdered sugar and plaster of paris.

    The sugar attracts them, and then the plaster of paris sets up inside them, preventing them from breeding.  Just sweep them up and throw them away.

    A trick I heard about that restaraunts use is they set out saucers with fresh-sliced cucumbers.  Supposedly keeps the roaches out of sight during health department inspections.  At least that would keep them away from your bed at night!

    Good luck!

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