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MagicalHome 11-20-2010 06:01 AM

Bed Bugs
My friend's house is infected with bed bugs. He doesn't know where they came from. How can it be treated? Is this a DIY thing?

PAbugman 11-20-2010 08:36 AM

Bed bug treatments push the limits of diy, even more than termite work.
Even for the pros, bbug treatment is chemical and labor intensive, with repeated treatments required, all with less than stellar results, especially against re-infestation. The pricing will be in the range of termite treatments or more, with no residual protection. Two and three operators will work on one infested room for several hours. This type of pest control is different from what we all are used to seeing.

The more cluttered the house is, the less likely of success. Determine the extent of infestation first, if caught early and it's limited to one room, good. Bad news is there is no real way of knowing for sure the extent until time goes on. Also, lifestyle changes may be required, so as to not re-infest the house again. If a row house, maybe neighbors have them which only complicates an already complicated issue.

There is much to learn about bbug treatments. Google "Potter" and "bed bugs". Read everything that Professor Potter writes about bed bugs. That's what we do.

ccarlisle 11-20-2010 02:01 PM

Yup, I doubt if even a good DIYer would do as good a job as the pros do, if only from a chemical availability viewpoint.

But also you have to know what to look for, where to go, what to use and when to come back - because the bug you see is just at one stage of his whole life and killing him doesn't mean there aren't eggs and larvae right behind him. There are chemical means and physical means involved in eradication of bedbug's house infestation, some things you can do yourself, but again not as effectively as a pro.

Stay home, don't go to his house in your socks until he's had something done - and don't play the couch potatoe with him and the NFL on your couch unless he showers in Windex first. LOL

rodeo 11-21-2010 08:07 AM

Ive been battling these bugs for 2 months - you need to approach it as if like a military operation.

They can hide just about anywhere - inside light switches, inside the table legs, guitars, picture frames, wall thermostats, just to name but a few.

That said, they prefer to be near where you sleep/spend much most of your time. They usually dont hang out in the kitchen or bathroom.

The pleated corners of a mattress or sofa is their #1 favorite place.

If the mattress is infested, consider throwing it away - and if you do, wrap the mattress in plastic before transporting to the trash - dragging a mattress a with bedbugs falling off it everywhere is a bad idea.

Clean up ALL clutter, launder all fabric stuff or at least place it in the dryer for a couple hot cycles. Then keep all fabrics stored in bags, sealed containers.

Now, for the assault.

1. spray everywhere - cracks, baseboards, carpet edges, dresser cracks, behind faceplates. Keep a watch for the telltale speckled poop pattern which indicates their lairs. Turn off the electric and spray inside the switches and outlets - obviously, you'll need to keep the electric off until its completely dried - a few days perhaps. A hassle but very effective.

Its important to note that merely spraying a surface is often not enough to kill 'em. They need to be DIRECTLY sprayed. This requires you to spend alot of time spraying which flushes some of them out in the open where you can spray again for the kill. Others will attempt to hide from the spray and burrow further in the crevice - drench those crevices - at intervals several times. Vacuuming can be helpful here too in pulling them out.

After day or two or so, when the spray is dry, is time for the last step
This stuff is like magic, non toxic but try not to breathe it.
Put a thin layer of dust over all the cracks and crevices previously treated.
Put on bed and furniture too. Its messy but well worth it as it really does work. Takes about 10 days to 2 weeks.

Thats the basics, theres more options to discuss, but I'm tired of typin.

ccarlisle 11-21-2010 08:13 AM

Good plan: but spray with what? do you know that only a percentage of bbugs out there are sensitive to our sprays and that most feel no effect whatsoever?

There is no 'residual' product out there because they don't absorb poison through their feet like some do.

MagicalHome 11-21-2010 08:53 PM

How about using a vacuum cleaner? Will it help, even temporarily?

ccarlisle 11-22-2010 06:19 AM

Sure, But use a HEPA vacuum - or rent one - as you don't want stuff floating around in the air once you picked them up.

However the other part of the problem is the eggs; eggs are sticky and may resisit the pull of the air besides you'd have to really have access to all the nooks and crannies in every piece of furniture to get access to them in the first place. But that's what pros part of the treatment since no one weapon will do the trick.

rodeo 11-22-2010 12:42 PM

I was spraying with ortho home defense max, just ordinary bug spray from home depot. the active ingredient is bifenthrin, which I believe is a derivative of pyrethrins. mild as far toxicity to mammals go although I noticed getting this strange feeling in my throat after breathing the vapors.

Spraying alcohol can kill them too. I tried it and it does work but it also evaporates fast.

Good point about the vacuum. Lately, I'm skipping the vacuuming cuz it renders it useless for awhile until they are all killed inside the vacuum. I found it hard to kill them inside my shop vac and dont want them spreading around so I ended up stashing it in the back of my yard covered in black plastic in the sun and cold for a couple weeks. Didnt want to take any chances but dont want to repeat that process.

other things that can help:

1. putting infected items outside in cold weather. It needs to at least 3 days straight of sub zero weather. Cant do this in michigan quite yet.

2. double sided tape - they walk and get stuck on it. Above baseboards is a good place. I use it where the wall meets the dropped ceiling.
(woe to those who have both bedbugs and dropped ceilings)

linuxrunner 11-26-2010 04:01 PM

I am usually a lurker, but I had just recently finished looking at this site were someone outlines lots of DIY tricks he used to combat a bedbug infestation. So i thought i would share.

There are at least some good ideas you may be able to take away.

jackmilson 01-27-2012 04:11 AM

It is quite long procedure that first you will examine where the bed bugs and then will make a solution over them. Apart from it we should use the bed bug cover and bb- spray in the regular basics. By that we can handle it very easily. Keep trying!!!

user1007 01-27-2012 10:46 AM

When I lived in Chicago before and left in 1989, I never heard about bed bugs. I moved back January 2010 and they are absolutely everywhere---even luxury offices. I live in a building, not a single residence, and maintenance is extremely diligent about trying to control them. I have never seen even one in my space but I helped an elderly friend across the hall get rid of his infestation. Part of his problem is that he would only implement some of the procedures when you have to do them all.

Quick bed bug facts first. Good news is while they gorge on blood they do not, as far as we know, carry diseases since they don't cross feed. Obviously if you scratch a bite you open yourself to an infection. The bad news is an adult can gorge and not have to feed again for a year! Nymphs are near transparent and hard to see.

The consensus here is that chemicals the consumer can buy are an absolute waste of money. In fact the most effective treatments seem to be hypothermal. Many exterminators use liquid nitrogen if they can source an infestation. There is an alternate treatment where they come out with super heaters and take an entire room up to a hellish temperature quickly. They wrap and treat furniture the same way.

An exterminator comes here to spray something periodically.

I will say that whenever I had walls open in a renovation I used boron as a prophylactic tool against bugs before sealing up walls. Diatamaceous (sp?) earth is similar in function and certainly will not hurt anything. Both are minerals and harmless to people and pets. Boron can render soil sterile though. I suspect you can buy a giant bag of diatamaceous earth at a pool supply company for a fraction of what they want for it as a pest control product. It is commonly used in pool filter systems.

Anyhow, at the risk of repeating things already mentioned, here are things you should do in addition to calling an exterminator according to my building people.

1. Get rid of all clutter that could serve as a nest. Old papers, magazines and so forth have to go. Make sure piles of clothes are in laundry baskets or bags.

2. Vacuum frequently and thoroughly including the seams of mattresses (roll the seams up and be sure to get all sides), sofas and so forth. Be sure to move furniture and get underneath. Use the concentrator tool and get at the baseboards. Pull all the books out of shelves and vacuum the tops and behind them.

3. Change the bag or invest in a bagless vacuum. Empty the canister after every use and dispose of the debris promptly. Stuff a sock or something in the hose end until you know you have the bugs under control.

4. If you have not cleaned carpets in awhile clean them with an extraction method.

5. Cover mattresses with bed bug protectors. I found places local ready and willing to gouge me but I found better ones online for much less. Bed bugs will either be trapped within the covers or will not be able to get through them.

6. If sofas, stuffed chairs and things are badly infested treat them hypothermally or get rid of them.

7. Run everything you can---towels, sheets, clothing, stuffed animals---through the highest heat cycle of your dryer for 30-40 minutes. Or take it to a laundromat. Empty the lint filter in to a plastic garbage bag and seal shut.

8. Pack all you ran through the dryer into plastic bags and seal shut until you have finished with everything.

9. Vacuum all the closets and drawers from which you took the stuff to run through the dryer.

When I did all these things for my friend, and with the exterminator visits he has gone from infestation to not seeing a single bed bug in over a year now.

creeper 01-27-2012 11:22 AM

Also, since you can't throw mattresses and sofas in the dryer, I've heard that running the iron over them will help. Be diligent with safety though

eleazer 01-29-2012 11:28 AM

Bed bugs are INCREDIBLY difficult to get rid of. They can survive over a year without any food so even if you eliminate any source of food they can still stick around. Once you have bed bugs they multiply and get worse really fast, so your best bet is to go with a professional service. But you can take steps to prevent future infestations. The main thing to remember is that bed bugs like clutter. The more "stuff" you have around in your room or home, the more opportunity these bugs have to spread.

cpci 03-13-2012 01:21 AM

I would like to share my story with you all between me and bed bugs..

I have been bitten for the last eight months. I kind of figured it was bed bugs, but my boyfriend or my children did not get bit. I searched my bed and found nothing. It wasn't until my daughter slept in my bed and woke with bites that i knew it had to be BED BUGS. I researched the little critters online and I found a lot of helpful solutions green rubbing alcohol was my first step. Then I vacuumed my entire bed and then I brought a streamer machine and steamed my bed and i bought vinyl covers and that was the end of my problems........luckily I did not have an infestation.

user1007 03-13-2012 09:07 AM


Originally Posted by cpci (Post 876493)
I would like to share my story with you all between me and bed bugs..

I have been bitten for the last eight months. I kind of figured it was bed bugs, but my boyfriend or my children did not get bit. I searched my bed and found nothing. It wasn't until my daughter slept in my bed and woke with bites that i knew it had to be BED BUGS. I researched the little critters online and I found a lot of helpful solutions green rubbing alcohol was my first step. Then I vacuumed my entire bed and then I brought a streamer machine and steamed my bed and i bought vinyl covers and that was the end of my problems........luckily I did not have an infestation.

Just remember they can and will travel on bed clothes to sofas, upholstered chairs so be diligent about them too! Vacuum along all baseboards with a crevice tool. Discard what the vacuum picks up. Steam clean the sofa and chairs. Steam clean the carpet if you have it.

They will hide in laundry and luggage so be careful about putting your bed or travel clothes in with other clothing. Inspect and vacuum your luggage seams after every trip. See my post about the Chicago recommendation to diligently wash or at least run ALL clothes through the dryer and seal what you have done in bags until the process is complete. Gets expensive but all you cannot wash needs to go to the dry cleaner too.

They love to hide and lay eggs in clutter, seams and carpet fibers! And remember, adults can go a year without feeding and can travel on your work clothing too (they are now into some pretty ritzy office buildings here). I saw one crawling around on a pharmacy counter the other day. Clearly it traveled there on someone's clothing.

The latest recommendation here is never to buy resale shop upholstered furniture or used mattresses (lots of reason not to buy used mattresses). If you need to dispose of either there are services that will come, wrap them, and torch them or something.

Some exterminators are still claiming great results with either cryogenics (e.g. liquid nitrogen if the source of the bugs is identifiable) or super high dry heat. Neither of these approaches are within the reach of DIYers save for carefully taking a hair dryer to mattress and furniture seams---with a rated fire extinguisher handy as fabrics and foams can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.

If you live in an apartment or condo, eradication will only work if all cooperate---hard to pull off some times. Progress is being made in this building but it has lots of people from a post-depression era that are reluctant to throw anything away.

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