All bedbugs mate via a process termed traumatic insemination. Instead of inserting their genitalia into the female's reproductive tract as is typical in copulation, males instead pierce females with hypodermic genitalia and ejaculate into the body cavity. This form of mating is thought to have evolved as a way for males to overcome female mating resistance. Traumatic insemination imposes a cost on females in terms of physical damage and increased risk of infection. To reduce these costs females have evolved internal and external "paragenital" structures  collectively known as the “spermalege”. Within the True Bugs (Heteroptera) traumatic insemination occurs in the Prostemmatinae (Nabidae) and the Cimicoidea (Anthocoridae, Plokiophilidae, Lyctocoridae, Polyctenidae and Cimicidae), and has recently been discovered in the plant bug genus Coridromius (Miridae).
Remarkably, in the genus Afrocimex both males and females possess functional external paragenitalia, and males have been found with copulatory scars and the ejaculate of other males in their haemolymph. There is a widespread misbelief that males inseminated by other males will in turn pass the sperm of both themselves and their assailants onto females with whom they mate. While it is true that males are known to mate with and inject sperm into other males, there is however no evidence to suggest that this sperm ever fertilizes females inseminated by the victims of such acts.
I'm the owner of Bugged Out. Most people call me Bugged Out but you can call me Daniel.
You probably shouldn't have used your husband's lack of bug bites as any kind of proof. Last June I discussed the theory of whether or not females were more vulnerable than males to bed bug bites, based on the evidence that my girlfriend always experienced a more severe reaction to the bites than I did. You can check it out at: http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2007/0
One person came up with a theory that the presence of body hair may be a reason why bed bugs are less apt to bite men. I guess the theory would conclude that for bed bugs, a lot of body hair is more annoying to navigate through than if they were biting a person with less body hair. This makes a lot of sense to me. Since women and prepubescent children have much less body hair than men do, it's not hard to see why you and your kids were getting bitten up but your husband wasn't.
Since you're pregnant, have small children and pets and have allergic reactions to some chemicals, you don't need me to tell you that you shouldn't invest in foggers or any chemicals that would leave a strong odor or fumes. Check this out ( http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2006/1
I don't want to tell you to throw away your furniture, because now a lot of people are saying that it isn't necessary. But if you check out http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2006/0
I detail how I had a massive bed bug infestation which decreased by 95 percent once I threw away my mattress, box spring, wooden bed frame and headboard. My main problem was that because of my procrastination, the bed bugs had literally colonized my bed within three months to the point that I could no longer sleep in it. If you are convinced that any piece of furniture is Ground Zero for your home's bed bug infestation, I would highly recommend throwing that piece out.
That being said, bed bug LOVE fabric and wood, so if you can, replace any discarded wooden/fabric furniture with plastic, vinyl or metal furniture. I now sleep on an inflatable mattress (for more details check out http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2007/0
and I eventually had to throw away my old pillows, replacing them with pillows still sealed in its original packaging and covered in pillow cases ( http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2006/1
Speaking of fabric, your closet is the next best thing to your bed for bed bugs to wait for their next meal. I would recommend washing EVERY piece of clothing you own in hot water. Some people recommend specific (expensive) detergents that will kill bed bugs but any detergent will do. It worked for me. You said you were on a budget, so if you can't afford the fancy pesticide detergent, don't worry about it. Bed bugs drown in water, so if the hot water doesn't drown them the detergent will definitely kill them.
There's nothing uncommon about being in denial. I was too, which is why it took me so long to do something about my bed, after it was too late. My advice is to address the problem before it gets any bigger. I also work as a freelancer and half the year I'm living on only $200 a week, so I can imagine what your husband's financial status is like. Your husband should use any downtime he has to clean the house, get rid of any books that you don't absolutely love (inspect the interior of each book if you plan on selling them or giving them away; if you see any bugs or their fecal matter on the ages just throw them away). Old newspapers and magazines? Throw them out.
I'm a writer, so you know I have lots of books and manuscripts and news clippings and press releases and printouts lying around. Check your file cabinet for bugs or fecal matter on your documents, photocopy or scan to your computer any contaminated documents or obtain a duplicate if it's an official document. Checking for fecal matter is VERY, VERY important because like dogs, bed bugs use their excrement to mark territory. If they can smell their own droppings or that of another bug, they will know this is a safe place for them to be and will feel more welcome there than in a place with no odor of fecal matter.
As for your dog, I would suggest checking out those special dog shampoos that kill fleas and ticks and checking to see if they work on bed bugs as well. You could check out the company's web site and find out or call the 800 number. But I think washing your dog is just like washing your clothes: the hot water and soap should do the job. Also, washing your dog everyday or every other day as opposed to once a week or less will also keep your dog bed bug-free.
Remember that dogs are warm-blooded mammals and can be just as much of a meal as anyone else in your home. My girlfriend's old pitbull terrier began biting herself because she was being bitten, so much so that she was actually biting off her own fur and ultimately had hairless patches on her body. I have a friend whose cat was being bit during the night and went from being a quiet peaceful house pet to a violent beast. Personally, I think between the biting and the itching, the cat lost its damn mind completely and was attacking his owner at all times. My buddy had scratches and welts all over his face and body because the cat's behavior had gone for the worse. The cat also began going to the bathroom everywhere in the apartment except for the litter box and was massacring the houseplants. Ultimately, he felt he had no other choice than to call Animal Control and have the cat put to sleep. I would not want such a fate to happen to your pet so just wash him more often. What's worse, just as different people have different reactions to bug bites, so do other mammals, and if he is frail and elderly (and especially if he has a chronic illness), the bites may actually kill him. I don't want to scare you, I'm just trying to warn you.
I'm a native New Yorker, so please don't blame my city. It was around for 400 years before this whole bed bug bullshit emerged. Also, my blog is widely read across the U.S. and the world. According to my blog's IP address tracker, about one-third of the Americans who visit Bugged Out are not from New York City. And Canadians and Britons are the two most frequent visitors to Bugged Out, with many other visitors coming from countries like Australia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Germany, Israel and Malaysia, so this is definitely a worldwide problem. I most likely don't get too many visitors from other parts of the world because this blog is in English only.
You are smart to not tell your landlord and super about this. Most people's initial reaction about hearing about my problem is that I should sue my landlord. ( http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2006/0
There is really no legal precedent for this situation, so courts across the country are making verdicts on a case-by-case basis. So if you do tell your landlord, there is no guarantee that he will be required by law to do anything to eradicate the pests. As you've no doubt discovered, bed bug exterminators are expensive and not 100 percent effective, and this cost would obviously be passed on to all the tenants. Because apartments are basically adjacent dwellings in the same building, all rooms, hallways and stairwells in the buildings (even the garbage chute and elevator shafts) must be fumigated. Check out this link to see what one New Jersey landlord had to go through to fumigate his building. http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2007/1
The worst case scenario with your landlord knowing that your apartment has bed bugs is that even if you sign a lease, he may turn around and sue you if he can find evidence that you introduced the bugs into the building. You may end up paying to fumigate the whole building and any other adjacent properties.
What I've heard some people do, and I'm not saying you should do this, you did not hear this from me. Some people who get bed bugs and live in apartment buildings with tenants' associations say nothing and wait until the bugs have moved to an adjacent apartments and enough apartments are infested so that someone else brings it to the attention of the tenant's association. Then the association has all tenants either pool their money together or hold a fund raiser to pay for the fumigation of the entire building. Or file a class-action law suit against your landlord, but I doubt that would be any more successful than suing the landlord yourself. It is important that you keep the infestation a secret until someone else finds them in their apartment, because as the saying goes, whoever smelled it, dealt it. The bonus behind this strategy is that if multiple apartments are infested, even if your home was the first in the building to have bed bugs (which you can't even be 100% sure of) no one will be able to trace it back to any one particular source.
I've basically given you the Reader's Digest version of what I know about bed bugs. For more details, I suggest perusing the archives of Bugged Out. It's been up since January 2006, and I as well as hundreds of people going through the same situation have literally discussed every imaginable aspect of this topic. http://buggedout.org
Good luck with your bed bug problem.
Declutter, declutter, declutter. Nothing is being donated, nothing is being passed on. Anything we get rid of is going into the trash. I need to find out what exactly needs to be tossed because I don't want to throw out anything I don't have to. Are my books harboring unwanted vermin? (HAHAHA like there's ever a wanted kind of vermin?) Do I need to toss out the boxes of stuff that I hadn't even unpacked yet?
I found out that the children's Build a Bear animals can be saved. Unstuff them, throw out the stuffing, wash on HOT HOT HOT with plenty of liquid fabric softener, plus I plan to add a bunch of TTO, and then air dry. Once dry, any Build a Bear store will restuff them for free. Immediately package in sealed plastic until the house is safe.
Take all the laundry, sort out what we need and throw out the rest. Baby clothing we won't need for a while, so I'm washing that (without tto) and putting in the basement to wait for the baby, as I'm pretty sure that's bug free. Tie dye blanks, ditto. Clothes we need to pare down to a minimum and get rid of the rest. No saving anything unless it's super precious to us. Wash with plenty of tto on HOT HOT HOT, dry a minimum of 30 minutes on high, and put in the basement other than a minimum amount.
Empty DS1's bedroom, which has been empty and is PROBABLY bug free. Scrub, apply pesticides, let dry. Examine his furniture. If it's clean, apply pesticides and put in his room with a new, sealed in plastic mattress and pillow. Give him some number of carefully washed toys and tell him not to let them out of his room for ANY REASON.
Empty the future playroom/current storage room, which isn't used and is PROBABLY bug free. Scrub, apply pesticides, let dry. Buy new mattresses, seal in plastic, put in there for dh, ds2 and myself to sleep on.
Repeat in mostly unused DD's bedroom, though it's POSSIBLE we might see some activity in there.
My room is last and I don't imaginne much of the furniture will be kept. The rubbermaid cabinets will be washed and left outside. The fabric will be washed and dried on HOT HOT HOT and then stored in the cabinets outside. I doubt anyone will steal it, we've had more valuable stuff out there that was ignored. Linens get washed and moved to the playroom and then this room gets scrubbed and poisoned within an inch of its life. I'm not happy about this poison, given that I'm 7 months pregnant.
Did I mention that I had a bug bite IN MY EAR? I mean, not ON my ear, but actually trying to get to my inner ear. OMG. OMGOMGOMG. I wanna run away and I swear I'd move tomorrow if I had somewhere to go!!!
And then the downstairs, which I'm totally overwhelmed by.