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Dont let the bed bugs bite! BY KILLING THEM!!!

Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So this is kind of gross and embarassing, but my room (hopefully not the entire house) has a bed bug problem. I have absolutely no idea how they got into my house. all the common ways just don't apply, i didn't stay in a hotel recently, uh... ok that's the only one i can recall at the moment. but anyways, i bought the slipcovers for my mattress and pillowcases (that shit is expensive) and bought some spray to hose down my boxspring. It seemed to stem the tide for a few days, but they are back. I called Ehrlich to come murder them all with extreme prejudice, but i'm wondering if anybody has dealt with this before? Am i in for an expensive nightmare of treatment for these pests? I live in a townhouse, so i'm wondering if my neighbors got them, fogged their house, and they migrated to mine? Exterminators are coming monday, but i don't see pricing anywhere for this kind of treatment. I think i'm going to get some of those poison strips, and bag up my comforter for a month or so with them inside in the meantime. i really don't know what else to do besides vaccuum often, and throw the bags out. anyone have any tips?

Dr. Frenchenstein on

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    SpacemilkSpacemilk Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    This is becoming a widespread problem in the U.S. Google it, there are literally thousands of helpful tips. Long story short: yes, you are probably in for a long, expensive ride. Sorry!

    edit: yes they can migrate easily

    Spacemilk on
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    DeciusDecius I'm old! I'm fat! I'M BLUE!Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    ah bedbugs, how I remember them well. First and foremost don't be embarrassed. People (wrongly) think that bedbug infestations have something to do with hygiene or the cleanliness of your domicile. They only factor in a bedbug infestation is that you are a tasty treat.

    You should get the slipcovers for your mattress and box-spring, as they can live in either. Also one for the pillow. Bedbugs can also live for up to a year without feeding, so you will need to keep the slip covers on for at least 16-18 months to make sure every little blood sucker has starved to death. I actually went so far as to get one for the futon in my living room, in case they had migrated there.

    If your condo is wood frame construction, there is a possibility that the infestation came from your neighbours, or your neighbours' neighbours. There will be a patient zero somewhere in there.

    The Wikipedia article on bedbugs is a good starting place for info, and provincial/state boards usually have some info available for tenants relating to both health concerns and legal issues surrounding the pests.

    You are in for a long ride, and it'll get pricey. My costs for this were about $300 for the slip covers and bug spray, with the additional cost of replacing my mattress and box-spring when I moved (wanted to minimize risks as much as possible). Don't know what the exterminator cost because the landlord was legally obligated to take care of that. I think they were also to take care of my expenses but I didn't pursue it. Good luck and Godspeed.

    Decius on
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    SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Other helpful tips!

    - If you have a carpet cleaner, clean your carpet once a week with hot water. Don't need shampoo every time.
    - Vaccuum every day. EVERY DAY. Pay special attention to where your walls meet the carpet.

    If you've caught this early you should be okay.

    Sipex on
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    DeciusDecius I'm old! I'm fat! I'M BLUE!Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    Other helpful tips!

    - If you have a carpet cleaner, clean your carpet once a week with hot water. Don't need shampoo every time.
    - Vaccuum every day. EVERY DAY. Pay special attention to where your walls meet the carpet.

    If you've caught this early you should be okay.

    The problem with vacuuming the carpet is it's another breeding vector for the little shits. If you do this, you have to clean the tank or dispose of the bag immediately, otherwise the eggs stick around and can redistributed next time you use the vacuum.

    The carpet cleaner is a good idea though. They don't respond well to heat; one of the extermination methods for luggage includes using a steamer to kill any in your luggage.

    Decius on
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    SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Their hatching cycle is something like 7-9 days so the carpet cleaner once a week kills them then the vaccuum gets the corpses pretty much.

    You do have to empty the bag EVERY TIME though and immediately.

    Sipex on
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    ArfenhouseArfenhouse Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Depending on how widespread the problem is, this may or may not be useful.

    There's this stuff. It's called diatomaceous earth. You can get it at Home Depot or Lowe's or whatever hardware store you subject yourself to. It's in the bug murdering section. This stuff, it kills bedbugs, fleas, and all other forms of tiny insects by literally SLICING THEM OPEN and dehydrating them to the point of death. The crystals of it are harmless to anything bigger than a medium sized spider, but to tiny insects it's the equivalent of a human walking on shards of glass, except insects don't have an ER to go to or even a first aid kit.

    I got bedbugs a few months back, and the place I live is an excellent breeding ground for them too. All I did was sprinkle DE generously over the mattress and boxspring (it has the same consistency of flour so it gets messy), cover it with a sealed mattress cover, then sprinkled more on the cover itself, then put my sheets on. Then you put some around the legs of the mattress and any other places they'd climb up. Boom. After I did that, haven't had a single bite, and I haven't even had to re-apply it.

    This stuff is awesome. I highly highly recommend it.

    Arfenhouse on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I might check that stuff out.

    I wonder if i should get a smaller vacuum with cheaper bags, as the one i have doesn't really get under the bed, and the bags aint cheap.

    One of the solutions in the brochure was steam treatment, i wonder if i can rent one of those steam wands or something? think that might work as well?

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    goddamn this sucks. Exterminators came to check things out last night. $750 for a 3 treatment deal. ugh.

    Also, i have to bag up every piece of clothing/linen, disassemble my bed, and move all the furniture away from the walls to prepare for treatment. (i wonder if that is each time they come? that would SUCK.)

    Last night i couldn't even sleep in my bed. I guess it's b/c i know they are there, so i notice them crawling on me? my headboard is part fabric and they are all up in there. I think i may get some of that DE in the meantime, so i can fucking sleep in my own bed. ugh...

    OH yeah... my parents told me the house had been treated once before. I was there probably 2 months before i noticed anything, could they maybe have gone to ground while i was moving and stuff, and it took that long for them to decide to feast on me? I'm having trouble figuring out how they got there.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    DrHookensteinDrHookenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
    Safety considerations

    The absorbent qualities of diatomite can result in a significant drying of the hands if handled without gloves. The flux-calcined form contains a highly crystalline form of silica, resulting in sharp edges. The sharpness of this version of the material makes it dangerous to breathe and a dust mask is recommended when working with it.

    The type of hazard posed by inhalation depends on the form of the silica. Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis. Amorphous silica can cause dusty lungs, but does not carry the same degree of risk as crystalline silica. Natural or dried diatomite generally contains very low percentages of crystalline silica. Diatomite produced for pool filters is treated with high heat (calcining) and a fluxing agent (soda ash), causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume its crystalline form.

    The crystalline silica content of the dusts particulate is regulated in the United States by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and there are guidelines for the maximum amounts allowable in the product and in the air near the breathing zone of workers.[14]

    Maybe not a good idea to sleep in it.

    DrHookenstein on
    "He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it." -Moby Dick
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    Reis2Reis2 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    My wife and I had an infestation about a year ago localized in our bedroom.

    Got an estimate for the whole apartment, which ended up coming out to about $1300. Screw that.

    We packed all clothes and cloth items into trash bags and washed them bag by bag in hot water.

    The whole apartment was then steam-cleaned--mattresses, walls, furniture, couch, everything. Our mattress, box spring, and pillows are all sealed in the bed cover stuff now. No bitey bites since (knock on wood).

    Reis2 on
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    FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
    Safety considerations

    The absorbent qualities of diatomite can result in a significant drying of the hands if handled without gloves. The flux-calcined form contains a highly crystalline form of silica, resulting in sharp edges. The sharpness of this version of the material makes it dangerous to breathe and a dust mask is recommended when working with it.

    The type of hazard posed by inhalation depends on the form of the silica. Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis. Amorphous silica can cause dusty lungs, but does not carry the same degree of risk as crystalline silica. Natural or dried diatomite generally contains very low percentages of crystalline silica. Diatomite produced for pool filters is treated with high heat (calcining) and a fluxing agent (soda ash), causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume its crystalline form.

    The crystalline silica content of the dusts particulate is regulated in the United States by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and there are guidelines for the maximum amounts allowable in the product and in the air near the breathing zone of workers.[14]

    Maybe not a good idea to sleep in it.

    If you sprinkle it inside the bug-proof mattress cover it won't pose a hazard to breathing.
    In addition, it is a pretty heavy dust, so once it's down it tends to stay put.

    When we had bedbugs, I found that it helped to spread a thick layer of diatomaceous earth over the carpets and then work it into the fibers with a broom or something similar. A pile around each of the legs prevents them from climbing up from the floor, and a line on each joint in the bedframe helps catch them where they hide.

    You don't really need an exterminator's treatment. If you are so inclined, you can buy the appropriate pesticides yourself - they are commercially available. Look for something that has pyrethrins in it. If you apply the pesticides yourself, get good coveralls and a respirator mask suitable for pesticide spraying. Take a shower immediately after you are done spraying and wash all the clothing you were wearing during the application of the pesticide. A warning about this one though: don't use it if you have cats. It can cause nasty and expensive health problems for them (and is probably more dangerous to your lungs than the diatomaceous earth).

    If you just do the vacuuming and the steamcleaning and the DE... that should get rid of the buggers.

    FeatherBlade on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Spread some DE yesterday, and slept on my couch. gonna let them stew in that stuff tonight as well, and then probably rent one of those steamers this weekend.

    I'm just worried all this will be doing is preventing them from building up, if i ever stop, they are just going to come back.

    yeah i didn't have a breather on when i spread the DE, and i wish i had. I tried to find the food grade stuff (you can eat that) but no place carried it.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    BulwarkBulwark Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Spread some DE yesterday, and slept on my couch. gonna let them stew in that stuff tonight as well, and then probably rent one of those steamers this weekend.

    I'm just worried all this will be doing is preventing them from building up, if i ever stop, they are just going to come back.

    yeah i didn't have a breather on when i spread the DE, and i wish i had. I tried to find the food grade stuff (you can eat that) but no place carried it.

    That was not a good move. Bugs who weren't killed by the DE will now have migrated to your couch by following your body heat, so your couch is now probably infested.

    Bulwark on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    well i've slept down there two nights already, without the DE... maybe i'll sprinkle it under the couch cushions as well.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Bed bugs are becoming a huge, huge problem. Find a place that does thermal remediation if possible, spraying chemicals doesn't seem to work very well.

    Corvus on
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    CrashtardCrashtard Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    We had the same problem before we moved a few months ago. After about a month of battling them it became easier to throw out our couch & bed (were going to need to be replaced again anyway) and just buy new ones. We also bagged up ALL of our clothes and carted them down to the laundromat to be washed. It got rid of them in the end, but it took about 6 weeks. Those little bastards are vicious.

    Crashtard on
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    Macro9Macro9 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I've been dealing with this for months. They migrated from my neighbors apartment into mine after he started spraying alcohol around.

    You have encasements. Which is great. D. Earth is another great thing to use. I would't put it everywhere though. Mostly around baseboards and any place where rooms are connected like doorways. You said you changed your sleeping habits. This isn't a very good idea. They may end up at your new sleeping spot.

    I would suggest going through a service that uses dogs to sniff them out. They can locate them pretty easily and you can use home treatments from there. Make sure everything is washed and dried on high. Clothes, bed linens, etc. Throw away anything you don't really need or use. You can buy a packtite if you don't want to throw things away. You can also pack things up in large seal-able bags and use Nuvan strips. Make sure they are in there long enough to kill the live ones and whatever may hatch out of eggs. Buy alcohol and a spray bottle and spray them whenever you see them. Scrub your walls down with a stiff brush. Keep everything clean and organized. That means no clutter and Vacuum everyday.

    I would get the dog and still pay for the extermination treatments. If not taken care of properly you could end up spend much more money. I had two treatments in my apartment separated by two weeks. The neighbor directly next store to me (the one that they originated from) has had 7 with the 8th coming up friday. They have since spread to another apartment adjacent to his. My landlord has paid for the pest control. I paid to have a dog come in and sniff them out. Have stuck to my cleaning, spraying and using D. Earth. They haven't been seen nor has anyone been bitten since before the second treatment.

    Good luck with it. They can be frustrating and depressing. Even worse if you're an insomniac you may be in for trouble. As long as you do everything by the book you should be able to conquer them. Even though they are cunning and versatile. I would also look into heat treatments and see what prices you get back on that. I've heard that that may be the most effective treatment outside of tenting the place off and using vikane.

    Macro9 on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    yeah, i couldn't sleep in the bed because i could feel them crawling on me. I REALLY hope they didn't migrate down there...

    what's a packtite? i am looking around for a sealable bag so i can bag up my comforter set with those strips. I can't wash/dry that.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    Macro9Macro9 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    http://www.packtite.com/

    You put your stuff in it. The packtite heats the critters and their eggs up. Take your things out after a while and they should be good.

    It's not exactly cheap but it is effective.

    You're sleeping on the couch, right? Make sure you put a light colored sheet over it. Preferably white. Make sure it's not touching the ground and keep an eye out for their little poop stains. You'll know if they are feed on you then. If it is a good distance from your room they may not bother with going back there. You'd need to rent a hand steamer and make sure you got every area of the couch. Including beyond whatever barrier is covering the bottom of the couch.

    You could get or make ClimpUp monitors. Stick them on the legs of your furniture like the couch. You could also sprinkle D. Earth around the feet as well.

    Macro9 on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2010
    All insects hate cedar, right? Fill your room with those block thinks sold at the harware store. It won't do anything on its own, but it smells nice enough to partly cover the other chemicals you're using while still fighting the infestation.

    Also, wash all your linens with this stuff and spray down the room with the added recommendations unless you have a cat.

    Scalfin on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    So the DE didn't seem to do much of anything. I was waking up every hour on the hour after midnight spraying down my bedding with this stuff
    http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Easy-Spray-2-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B001F0RFBG/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1282921904&sr=8-11
    and just picking them up and throwing them in my toilet (which i put bleach in). Which was sickening.

    I think the majority of them are hiding in my headboard (which is like a microfiber pillow set in the wood frame) and the box spring. Boxspring covers are coming next week, and i think i'm going to wrap the headboard in plastic and throw in a Nuvan strip (which i can't find anywhere but online, does anyone know of retail places that sell them?) and seal it up with tape. ugh this sucks so much. I'm vacuuming all the time so i don't think they are spreading or anything...

    My poor dog wont even sleep in the bed (she goes downstairs to the couch), god forbid i bring a girl over.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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    Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis runs and runs and runs away BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    DE can take up to 10 days to kill a bug that's walked in it. Meanwhile they've mated, laid eggs, and you're still getting bitten. DE should not be your only line of defense. It should be the thing you spread about AFTER spraying stronger chemicals and washing/heating all your clothes and linens, to kill off stragglers and any bugs that hatch after your initial treatments.

    And as for Cedar and Eucalyptus, yes, the bugs don't like them and they smell nice to people. However, bedbugs are such bloodthirsty little bastards they will walk right through your eucalyptus spray and bite you anyway. It might slow them down a little when you first apply it, but after an hour or so they get hungry enough they don't give a shit anymore.

    I live in Brooklyn. I had bedbugs earlier this year, been bug free for about 5 months now. I still have DE dusted under my futon, and I spray the frame every few weeks. I bought this stuff to kill them with. http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/new-york-bed-bug-kit-p-271.html

    I liked the Steri-fab in particular because it is mostly isopropyl alcohol, which evaporates fast and I wasn't as worried about the cat being exposed. Also, spraybottles are fun.

    All of my clothing and bedlinens were if not washed, at least thrown in the dryer. 30 minutes at least, (and that is after the items were dry) on the highest setting my laundromat had. Heat kills them dead, mmmm.
    Then I put the newly-clean items into big airtight tupperware. That's where all my clothes and shoes and blankies live now. In big plastic tubs where the bugs can't get at them, mwahahaha...

    My agent zero, as it happened, was my suitcase, which had been living at the foot of my bed. That's where I think they came from (I think I picked them up on a nasty little plane from puerto rico), although they could have come from anywhere. But they sure had made a happy home in all those little pockets and zipper seams. I even found a queen with an egg sac, which was just about the single most disgusting thing I've ever seen. I sprayed the seams, then bagged up that suitcase in not two but three oversize garbage bags, sealed tight. Then I put a Danger: Bugs sign on it and threw that sucker away. My bug problems lessened immediately.

    I also bought a mattress encasement, which has great zippers and velcro to keep the bugs from crawling in and out at the openings, but I can't say I recommend the one I got. The fabric itself is extremely fragile and I've had to repair it several times, because it tears really easy when I moved the mattress to spray. It is white, and my futon is red, and the white makes them much easier to see, which in itself was good.

    Now I have a hard-shell suitcase, and whenever I travel I pack everything into big ziploc bags. Get some big ziplocs. They are amazing.

    Aurora Borealis on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Dangit, i read 48 hours. Oh well, there's still a bunch of it around. i bought some harsher spray and am going to go to town this weekend. I'm off for a wedding (I'm going to throw everything i'm bringing in the dryer, so i don't infest the hotel) so that will give my room some time to really kill them dead. i can't find goddamn nuvan strips anywhere retail, so i'm going to spray the shit out of my headboard, throw some more DE in there, and then seal it up tight. I will not be defeated!

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
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