What can go wrong with isolating the bed to keep bed bugs out?

by nobugsonme on January 6, 2007 · 51 comments

in bed bug treatment

If you have tried isolating the bed as per this FAQ, and you have a good mattress cover , you should be aware that bed bugs will still come looking for you. Most commonly, they will come and find you by daylight. They can bite you as you sit in a chair, awake. They can crawl up your leg without being detected. So make sure that besides isolating the bed, you are getting serious advice and assistance and treatment from professional pest control operators: keep aggressively fighting the bed bug war on multiple fronts, and make your bed a safe space as much as possible.

(I say this because I’ve come across some amateur bed bug advice recommending isolating the bed alone as a fine strategy for driving bed bugs away from your home; my own amateur advice is there’s no evidence whatsoever to prove that will work, and plenty that it will give your problem time to multiply. But we’ve covered that before well enough.)

When you’re bitten after isolating the bed, it’s probably because they’re biting during the day. Remember that when you feel a bite for the first time can be hours away from when the bite occurred. (Some of us have noticed the itching of a new bite beginning after a warm or hot shower, whether the shower was an hour or nine hours later, but I don’t doubt people have very different experiences of when bites are noticed, as they do of bite appearance and level of discomfort.) First noticing a bite in the morning doesn’t necessarily mean it happened while you were asleep, due to this potential time delay.

Although you will probably be bitten in the daytime and newly secure at night, there are some reasons your bed may not be secure even after you attempt to isolate it.

It’s possible to be bitten after isolating your bed because your mattress cover really isn’t secure. If you do have bed bugs in that mattress, and use a cheap vinyl cover, or even multiple cheap covers or nicer covers that happen to tear, you could simply have a bed that is not isolated any more. Don’t ignore this possibility. You need a good encasement, but no mattress cover is completely secure– they must be used with care. You have to be careful not to rip them. A cat’s claws might tear anything. Be aware and keep checking for damage.

Also, your pillows and comforter must be sealed in the same way the mattress is (with additional washable covers on top). Your pillow and comforter are as likely to contain bed bugs as your mattress was, and they can be harder to detect. Washing on hot and drying on hot for a really long time (the jury is out on exactly how long but people often aim for 90 minutes or 2 hours on hot, which is a long time indeed), or dry cleaning, may or may not always kill bed bugs. We’re traditionally told they will, but a reader recently shared the story of a dry cleaned comforter harboring bed bugs in a bag for 6 months and then reinfesting her. If that doesn’t make you want to be super cautious, nothing will!

A third thing to be aware of is that if you have isolated the bed, some have claimed that bed bugs begin approaching the bed from other angles, namely running up the wall, across the ceiling, and dropping down on you as you sleep. This is definitely not something that happens to everyone, and I think it’s most likely in cases of severe infestation. But if your bed is isolated, and you’re sure they’re still biting you at night (and one way to be really sure would be if you saw them biting you then), or you see them on the ceiling or crawling towards it, then this may possibly be the case.

Someone on the Bedbugger Yahoo Group — I’m not sure who — cleverly started calling this the “Airborne Division.”

Frank, a Yahoo-Bedbugger who runs The War on Bedbugs blog, has a great page detailing how to stop the Airborne Division from completing their mission. And no, I am not anthropomorphising those bed bugs; they don’t have “ideas” and aren’t “being creative,” when they find you. They just have a really strong need to drink blood or die. Anyway, Frank invited me to repost this information here, but it’s so detailed (with wonderful graphics and everything) and the blog is worth a visit, so I am sending you there instead.

Thanks Frank!

Click here to go back to the FAQS.

1 Bugalina January 6, 2007 at 10:32 am

It is MOST important to make certain that your bed is put up high enough so that NO blankets touch the floor. As per my personal experience they do climb up the blankets if they touch the floor. If you isolate your bed you must make absolutely certain that all possible hiding places within the isolated zone are sufficiently exterminated. If they are living within your isolation zone then you have failed to isolate ! As stated above, bedbugs do climb UP, I think this happens because the current chemicals used are REPELLENTS..thus in order to get away from the chemicals they go UP…I think that PCO’s should be fan spraying the lower portions of the walls. Even though DDT is not being used, when it was being sprayed in indoor residual spraying, it was sprayed on the walls. There was a reason for this ! Bed risers are available at Bed Bath and Beyond. After you put on the zippered covers or vinyl covers, you must continue to check them. Appying a spray of Kleen Free or Bed Bug Terminator at night would not be a bad idea , IMHO, . ..Although I did not do this I think putting the bed on top of an inexpensive plastic tarp, which can be purchased at any hardware store, and then taping down the edges with a good double sides tape, can be a good idea..a light spray of Kleen Free or Terminator could be sprayed on top of the tarp…Bed bugs take time to digest their blood meal, going without bites for a week or two only means that they are away digesting the blood. So you cannot let your guard down. Its a constant battle, until, IMHO, one goes for several months without a bite…..It takes time and effort to get them down to a zero population…the less blood they are given, the less they will populate…….Bugalina

2 nobugsonme January 6, 2007 at 11:01 am

HI Bugalina,
I’m not sure all the products PCOs use ARE repellents. After all, a common strategy is to use the human as bait, to attract them to the pesticide. This won’t work if the pesticide is a repellent.

3 Bugalina January 6, 2007 at 12:53 pm

The products that our PCO’s are using, are repellents, according to Doggett…I did some research some time ago and I was surprised to see it backed up by that recent article linked to us written by Doggett…It was written in July of 2006, so it is fairly recent…I will go back to it and find where he says that the deltramethrins are repellents…Suspend is a deltramethrin….to my knowledge…give me some time and i will go see if I can link the info to you….bugalina

4 buggedinbrooklyn January 6, 2007 at 8:16 pm

Suspend is a deltramethrin….and cans of D-Force is too.
yet are they repelants?
or are they just listed as such, but are realy contact killers that have a residual effect, so they kill for weeks at a time too…..????


5 jessinchicago January 6, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Hey All.

I’m not sure about the repellant debate, but I wanted to give some personal testimony regarding isolating beds.

First, I think I’ve said this before, but isolating my bed was the best move I ever made in this war. I say that because it gave me a sense of control in what seemed like an entirely uncontrollable situation. I think back to the nights I was bitten repeatedly during the few hours I slept, and I really wish I had isolated my bed sooner. I lost countless hours of sleep unnecessarily. Once I protected my bed, I began to sleep pretty normally, which in turn allowed me to think more clearly and REALLY begin to fight, from every angle.

That said, I did experience some bites at night after isolation. I know this not because I caught the bugs in the act, but because I awakened to blood spots on my white t-shirt and sheets a couple times. I had to really inspect the mattress, box springs and bed frame to confront the problem. I noticed what Nobugs mentioned- a small tear in the cover on the box springs. I also realized that there was no residual chemical on the bed frame at all. So, if it was harboring any bugs in the tiny crevices of metal, they would have been free to come out from hiding and feed on me with no lethal consequence.

To remedy this, I double-covered the box springs and sealed the zipper with double-sided tape. I also applied Suspend (a residual pesticide) to the metal frame. I added more tea tree oil to the bed risers, and went to sleep.

I have never been bitten in bed since.

This is not to say that I have not been bitten elsewhere, mind you. The bugs did find me outside of bed, and have been found (dead) in every room in this apartment. So, I know from experience that protecting a bed will NOT eliminate an infestation, but it will provide comfort- and when you have bedbugs, comfort is a blessing, no?


6 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 9:11 am

I am going to copy and paste the chemical info I read in Doggetts paper..I may have misunderstood…he may have said Pytherins are repellents…in any case I will paste it for all of you to read….Bugalina

7 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 9:16 am

Here is the first part of his control paper..I will paste more..

If a treatment is being undertaken in a hotel, then it is important that the
housekeeping staff are interviewed. Such staff are at the coalface and are more
likely to have detailed knowledge about an infestation than the management.

To avoid the risk of transferring bed bugs in equipment a minimum of items
should be brought into the infested room. When done so, these should be
placed either on a previously inspected chair (with the clients permission and
then on plastic to protect the chair) or positioned in an open area away from
walls. Equipment should never be placed onto beds, on other furniture or next to

Bed bugs have a very flat body shape, and thus they can hide in virtually any
crack and crevice. Generally, efforts should be concentrated on dark, isolated
and protected areas. Bed bugs prefer wood, paper and fabric surfaces and so
these materials should be paid special attention in the inspection process.

The mattress should be the first site inspected and close attention should be
paid to the seams, beading, under buttons, labels, and corner protectors if not
previously removed. For an ensemble, the base is more likely to harbour the
bugs than the top mattress. The edge of the material underneath the ensemble
base is a favourite spot for bugs as well as any hollow plastic caster legs. It will
be necessary to remove the material covering the base of the ensemble.
Generally, bed bugs are more likely to be present in the darker areas near the
wall. For metal framed beds if wooden slats are present these contain many
cracks for bed bugs to hide in and lay their eggs. If the wooden slats are bolted
to the bed frame, the bolts should be undone and the drilled holes inspected.
Bed bugs can also hide in coils of bed springs and inside hollow bed posts.

The areas around the bed should be investigated next. This includes the bed
frame, bed head and bedside furniture. The drawers in tables and cupboards
should be removed and examined. If bed heads are attached to the wall, they
should be removed after consulting maintenance staff. Other furniture in the
room should be inspected, especially locations where luggage is placed, such as
luggage racks. For these, close attention should be paid to the seams and
buttons (if upholstered) and any wooden join (especially if constructed of
chipboard). Other inspection sites include appliances such as telephones and in
hi-fi equipment, books, power points and behind switch plates, underneath
carpet edges and the straight edge that holds the carpet in place along with
rugs, skirting boards, joins in floor boards and under floor boards, loose wall
paper and paint, architraves, old nail and screw holes, ornaments, window
casings and wall voids. In moderate to severe infestations, bed bugs may be

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found higher on the wall in wall hangings, picture frames, wall mirrors, Venetian
and vertical blinds, curtains and curtain rods, books, behind electrical conduit,
cracks and joins in the ceiling, under ceiling mouldings, smoke detectors and
light fittings. Bed bugs are often found in lounges in common rooms of
backpacker lodges.

In any infestation, the adjoining rooms, both either side, and above and below,
should be inspected.

A room site plan should be drawn showing the location of any activity. The room
inspection should be as methodical as possible noting all sites of bed bug activity
on th

8 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 9:22 am

13.2.3. Insecticide efficacy
There have been very few recent studies comparing the
efficacy of insecticides
against bed bugs. Fletcher & Axtell (1993) showed that
a wettable powder
formulation of bendiocarb and an emulsifiable
concentrate formulation of
pirimiphos methyl offered little long-term residual
activity, while permethrin
provided good residual activity on metal and wood, but
poor on cotton/polyester
materials. Carbaryl and lambda-cyhalothrin offered the
best residual activity
after 12 weeks on a variety of surfaces, however
neither are currently registered
for bed bug control in Australia. Other investigations
indicate that deltamethrin
and cypermethrin are considerably more active than
permethrin, both of which
are registered against bed bugs (cypermethrin is in a
number of aerosols). The
pyrethroids are known to be excitory and generally
repel bed bugs to some

Page 25
degree, and because of this appear to be less
effective than the carbamates or
organophosphates in the field situation. If poorly
applied, the pyrethroids can
spread an infestation making control more difficult.
The carbamates appear not
to repel bed bugs and anecdotally appear more
effective as a killing agent.
Currently the only registered carbamates are
bendiocarb and propoxur. The
former is available as both dust and wettable powder
formulations, and it should
be noted that bendiocarb is not registered for use on
mattresses. Despite several
formulations being registered, propoxur is only
readily available in an aerosol.

From the above information and the fact that dusts and
wettable powder
formulations, such as bendiocarb, leave an obvious
deposit, these chemicals
should be the insecticides of choice in less obvious
locations, while for example
deltamethrin, may be used on more open areas. Both of
these chemicals belong
to different insecticide groups (1A and 3A
respectively), which if used
concomitantly, may reduce the possibility of
insecticide resistance developing. A
synergised pyrethroid aerosol can be used as a
knockdown and those that
contain a residual (such as propoxur) can be applied
to cracks and crevices.

His article is filled with useful information…..

9 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 9:28 am

I wonder if our PCO’s are using Bendiocarb and propoxur…they apparently have the best residual effect and the best killing effect…If any PCO’s read this can you let us know why only deltrametrins are being used ??? Bugalina

10 Frank January 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Thanks to Nobugs for referring to my Blog.

Bendiocarb and Propoxur are being used to treat bedbug infestation, according to this article on CDC web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no04/04-1126.htm

“Two-in-one” combination of Carbamate and pyrethroid were also applied to bednets to fight pyrethroid-resistant Culex quinquefasciatus.

(Editor’s note: In case you were wondering, as I was,Culex quinquefasciatus is a mosquito found in Australia and probably elsewhere.)

However, even though they don’t belong to the same chemical group, they both affect the nervous system, and have the same mode of action. Multiple resistance will likely develop over time.

11 hopelessnomo' January 7, 2007 at 1:31 pm

I used propoxur. Well, not me, someone (not a professional) who helped me spray my apartment the first time. It brought great and immediate relief; however, they came back, perhaps because I’m in a building where they will always come back….

12 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 1:37 pm

hopeless…I don’t know what kind of a building you are in…Does your landlord know??? If you are in NYC or the boroughs, the law states that the landlord must rectify the problem…Are you in NY? Where did you get the propoxur? I would like to recommend its use. Have you purchased a good caulking gun and good caulk and done everything you can to seal up your cracks and crevices? If others in the bldg. aren’t doing what they should you must do your best to isolate your apt. Also you can resort to calling the health dept.. Its easy for me to say, as I never had to deal with multi family living with infestation, but I hate to see people have to live like this…I would take the landlord to court if I had to. What is your situation ?

13 hopelessnomo' January 7, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Thanks Bugalina, my situation is that I’m moving! Fighting the landlord is not an option–I responded to something on the yahoo group about this–it’s not a good idea if you intend to stay in the city as landlords do check and will not rent to you if you’ve taken a previous landlord to court, but everyone has to make their own decisions, and perhaps it’s the right thing to do in some circumstances. Plus in my case I sublet and it’s not my decision anyway. There are several infestations in this building and it’s very, very badly maintained overall so I’m giving up and leaving.

I never got to the point of caulking–that job would be immense, many, many cracks. Discouraged just thinking about it. But if I’d stayed, yes I would have to.

The person who sprayed for me bought the propoxur (brand name “Haunt”) at a carpet cleaning store in the latino shopping mecca that is Jackson Heights. It’s propoxur plus petroleum distillates.

14 hopelessnomo' January 7, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Lots of desperate people out there, so I should add that the person who sprayed for me had the goggles–do not even think about spraying this on your own without equipment. It is very nasty. I stayed out the whole night and came back the next night and woke up choking in the middle of the night.

15 Frank January 7, 2007 at 2:13 pm

The link contains a dot at the end and does not work, sorry about that.
Here’s the correct one:

(Editor’s note: also now corrected above.)

16 nobugsonme January 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Yes, doing your own pest control is a serious undertaking, and people should do serious research before they decide to try it. I would say people should purchase a respirator (not goggles) and read instructions on everything carefully.

17 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Frank…what good does it do us to think about multiple resistance over time…We have to use what we have now to kill them…remember they were almost completely eradicated from North America once before…I should hope that would be the aim now. Should we not use any pesticides because of potential resistance??? I don’t think so. Hopefully in time someone in the scientific world will come up with a better killing method for bed bugs…I for one do not think that this epidemic is going to be tolerated by society at large. Its too awful a bug to get for people to be tolerant of them…so something must be done…we cannot expect elderly people, poor people, large families, to caulk every crack and crevice and spend all the money that extermination costs and take all the time it takes to bag and inspect and vacuum…its way too exhausting…I just hope and pray that something will be done…hope is all I have…Deb

18 Bugalina January 7, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Ok so the sublet is the big problem….but please please take tremendous caution when you move….clean, spray, inspect, throw away,….you cannot be too careful…and ..when you do move you should pretreat the new place… just my suggestion…bugalina

19 parakeets January 9, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Okay, time for you to be sending out a book proposal, nobugs!

Just write your first chapter and an outline of the rest of the book.
Get it around fast because the bedbug market is hot.
Refer prospective publishers to this website.
There is more information here than anyplace, and a bedbug book is ready to be born.

Please, please write it. You can include Jess’s wonderfully funny essay and all sorts of great stuff.

20 Bugalina January 10, 2007 at 11:57 am

I totally agree with you Parakeets….truth is stranger than fiction..and the truth about bed bugs is more awfully, horribly, stranger than any of us could have ever imagined…Nobugs…start writing…Bugalina formerly known as Deb BBB..(before bed bugs)

21 nobugsonme January 10, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Thanks Ladies.
I am on it.

22 S. February 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

I have a question about bed isolation. After 5 treatments and 9 weeks, we still have bedbugs. Our bed is isolated using every method listed in FAQ Part I, and we have good N.A. encasings per Part II, yet they are still biting us in bed. I know because we find cast skins in the bed. We wear clean pajamas to bed every night, and change the sheets daily. We have new, encased pillows, nothing touches the floor, we have risers and carpet tape and mineral oil and vaseline. We thought it was foolproof, but apparently not.

However, there is one part of the FAQ list that we haven’t done, and that is dusting the bedframe and the floor around the bed with DE/Drione. The frame is sprayed with D-Force, and the carpet around the bed has a big square of double-sided tape. But our guess is that the D-Force isn’t killing them fast enough. Either that, or they have joined the Airborne Division.

Even if they ARE dropping from the ceiling, they can’t fly back up there – they have to be exiting the bed by going down. But maybe they are jumping off the edges of the bed and missing the frame entirely. Maybe the carpet tape isn’t sticky enough.

So, we are considering getting our own dust. When I asked the PCO if this was okay, he said no. He said it was against the product’s label, and therefore illegal, to apply dust straight to the top of a carpet. He said dust should only be applied to enclosed spaces like under the carpet or inside outlet plates.

However, we know that dust kills them fastest, and we are really tired of living this way. We’ve been patient for over two months and it’s increasingly hard to think positive. I worry that this will never end.

Has anyone here puffed Drione onto the floor around their bed? Or onto the metal bedframe? Or anywhere else that is “exposed?” We know to get a mask, puff a light, even layer, and avoid touching it. Any other tips about Drione? Or thoughts on other things we could do?

Thank you so much for your help.

23 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Is it possible they are in the pillow or mattress, and one of your covers has a tear? Are they NAtional Allergy-type covers? Or the cheaper ones which tear easily? Is the end where the zipper closes taped securely?

Is the bed frame new and has it always been isolated? Or did you have the frame before you isolated the bed? (They can actually live in metal bed frames.) Sorry if you’ve said all this before, but it’s hard to keep track of all the details.

24 nobugsonme February 12, 2007 at 12:54 pm

What kind of bed frame do you have?
Do you have any pets that could be going on the bed at any time during the day?
The clothes you wear to bed–do you sit in them or wear them in other locations in your home?

25 S. February 12, 2007 at 1:18 pm

We have a standard metal bed frame. It has four legs with casters on the bottom, and a “5th leg” in the middle which is currently suspended in the air (not on a riser).

We have no pets.

Every night, the last thing we do is put on clean pajamas and go straight to bed. We have actually been taking our pajama pants from the ziploc and putting them on the bed, then brushing our teeth or doing whatever last-minute things, then getting into bed, brushing any dust off our feet, THEN putting on the pj pants. Just to make absolutely sure they don’t brush anything and pick up a bug.

Every morning, we take those pajamas off and they go right into the laundry.

26 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Sara….do you have a night table ?? with a lamp?? have you coated the electrical cord with some vasline..so they can’t crawl up the lamp cord..because if your arm touches the table at nite..its a possibility they can get onto it…..have you taken a high beam flashlite and really examined all around your bedframe?? Are there any crevices in the tape into which they could hide?? I never found a tape that could be 100 percent smoothed out..I liked using the vaseline..are you applying fresh vaseline, because it dries out.. The place I would litely dust around would be the zippers of both the mattress and boxspring covers.It is crucial to really secure those zippers..other than that..How high is your ceiling?? Deb

27 Frank February 12, 2007 at 3:54 pm


You made a very good point there. Even if they drop from the ceiling, they cannot jump back after feeding, they will need to exit, and if you surround your bed with carpet tape or insecticide dust, they will have no where to go. So the most important thing is to make sure that they are not in your bed. I wouldn’t worry too much about the things that can be encased, but double check the bed frame, especially the underside, and seal all joints with caulking.


28 S. February 12, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Nobugs, I appreciate you asking these questions. I know it’s impossible to remember everyone’s case. (FYI, I am the person who stored the drycleaned comforter for 6 months, and then the bedbugs re-emerged when I took it out).

This weekend, we realized they might be in the pillows. We had dried all 4 pillows on hot for an hour, 2 at a time, and put them in pillow encasings and duct-taped the zippers. But maybe new bugs got in, or maybe bugs were in them already and didn’t die from one hour in the dryer. So on Saturday, we threw out the two crappy pillows, and put the two nice ones in an XXL ziploc, which we added to our collection of 18-month storage stuff.

We bought new cheap pillows, took them home, put freshly-dried encasings on them, and taped those zippers. So at least right now, I don’t think it’s the pillows.

Although…hmm. These pillow encasings are from Target. Maybe bugs are getting through them. Maybe we’ll order N.A. pillow encasings. You know what, I’ll do that today. Any recommendations? (Satin Soft versus Breathe Right?)

Our mattress and box spring originally had cheap encasings, and they tore. So as of last week, they are both encased using good, $50 encasings from N.A. They are called “Satin Soft” and have plastic on the inside, fabric on the outside. We duct taped the ends of the zippers, although it actually doesn’t seem like the duct tape is staying down. Should we try double-sided carpet tape? I noticed N.A. sells zipper tape – is that any good?

Hmm, about the frame, it’s not new. It’s the same one we’ve had the whole time. It’s been sprayed 5 times with D-Force (over the course of 9 weeks). But if they are living in the frame, this might be why I’m still getting bit – the D-Force might not be killing them fast enough.

Okay. We’ll get new pillow encasings, and tape the mattress encasing zippers better. Should we wait and see if this helps before going to the next step?

29 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 3:28 pm

S..I mistook you for someone else…disregard the ceiling issue..

30 S. February 12, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Hey Deb,

Thanks for your comments. You bring up some great questions.

We have no furniture near the bed – no lamps, night tables or dressers. Everything’s over two feet away and I’m fairly certain we don’t reach our arms out at night.

We did take a flashlight and examine the bed frame, but that was a while ago. Last week, when we sprayed the frame with D-Force (our own can), I’d say we gave it a pretty good look-over. But no, not every inch and not super close-up.

We could put vaseline on the zipper covers, sure. Would that work better than tape? Because I agree, it seems like even strong tape would allow for some holes. So you just gunk vaseline onto the end of the zipper?

Our ceiling is very high (I think it’s 12 feet). It’s a loft apartment and the ceiling is made of wood beams. They are very beautiful, but FULL of cracks and crevices. We also have a ceiling fan that hangs down right over our bed. We cleaned it with Kleen Free and sprayed KF into the center of the fan, but otherwise it’s very hard to “protect” our ceiling. We were considering getting a tarp and hanging it from the ceiling/walls below the fan, and we will do this as a last resort, but I’d almost rather dust with Drione than erect a giant tarp. (However, I’ll do anything within reason and I’ve already done much crazier things!) Do you think we should be protecting our ceiling?

31 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 4:07 pm


Did your PCO spray your bed frame with a residual chemical? Or is the D-Force a residual?

32 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm

I personally think the ceiling could be a harborage…Can you at the very least….put large doubled plastic bags over the ceiling fan..using a cable tie to secure it..Did you have the PCO treat the beams ??? deb

33 jessinchicago February 12, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Deb- I thought of this, too, but the large bags hanging from the ceiling could just provide a bigger diving board, if you will, for the bugs to drop from, right?

I think a residual treatment of the bed frame and an inspection by the PCO of the ceiling fan and the ceiling itself are all good ideas at this point.

S.- I’d recommend asking your PCO what he or she thinks before taking any new measures that the PCO is not aware of.

Just my thoughts.


34 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 5:43 pm

I think the fan and the beams should be addressed…at the very least you could vaseline the lite pole that the fan hangs from until you get the PCO back to deal with the ceiling….If it were my apt. I would want the beams treated……If I remember correctly your landlord is treating other apts??? yes or no??

35 S. February 12, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Thanks everyone for your feedback! And sorry for presenting you with such a maddening dilemma. I appreciate everyone putting their heads together. There has to be a solution here!

The D-Force is, I’m pretty sure, residual. The can we have is here:


It says residual control up to 8 weeks. When the PCO was over last Friday, he looked at our can and said it was the same as his. (He also appeared a little stunned that I could buy this from the internet!)

We sprayed D-Force all along the “inner edges” of the metal frame. We also sprayed it down into each leg. There are certainly some holes in the metal, though, like places where you could put a nut and bolt, and these are open, not caulked. We did put some duct tape over the sharp edges so it wouldn’t tear the encasings. Should we give the bed frame a more thorough inspection? We could do more duct-taping, or maybe we could get some caulking and try to close those holes.

Still, though, I don’t understand how a bug could be living on the bedframe. It’s been sprayed with residual D-Force about every 2 1/2 weeks since December 8.

Then again, all it takes is for one bug to drop from the ceiling, bite me, then go down into the frame and find a patch that isn’t covered with chemical. Could they be doing that? Just like, avoiding the chemical?

The PCO is scheduled to come back this Friday for a follow-up inspection. I will ask him if he can inspect the ceiling, although unfortunately, this is going to be next to impossible. Even on our tall ladder, you can’t get that close to the ceiling. And it’s like, imagine 2-inch wooden slats (the two-by-fours are like, on their sides) all the way across the ceiling. It’s like a ceiling MADE OF cracks and crevices. I’ll certainly ask his advice, though, and he mentioned maybe bringing his boss next time.

One last wrinkle. This may or may not change the situation, but it’s giving me one more thing to question. Saturday, I had no bites. I also had no bites Sunday, and no bites today so far. However, Saturday afternoon, when changing the sheets, I found a (big!) cast skin under my boyfriend’s pillow. Thus far, in the entire saga, he has reported zilch – no pink spots, no itching, no swelling. No bites. But that skin was not there the day before, so that bug had to bite SOMEBODY on Friday night.

The point is that we think they are biting him too. They may have been biting him since the start. And the reason this is troubling, is that we won’t know if they have stopped biting him.

But okay. Less worrying, more action. I ordered N.A. pillow encasings. We will put vaseline on the zipper ends tonight. And maybe this weekend we can get some caulk and a caulking gun, and go to town on the bed frame.

I’ll keep you all posted!

36 deblynn February 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm

S..An exterminator just told me that because bed bugs detect the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, they can frequently be found around our pillows…close to the source of our carbon dioxide emission….wash those pillows on hot cycle and dry them a long time..and encase them..asap.deb

37 S. February 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Hey guys, good news and bad news. The bad news is that I found three new bites last night.

But the good news is that we thought of spraying D-Force directly onto the encasings – they have a rim/seam around the outer edges, right along the center line. So we sprayed a continuous stream of D-Force all around the mattress AND all around the box spring.

Deb, we were inspired by your comment, where you said you would dust along the edges of the zipper. We’ve now basically put two rings of chemical barrier right on the outside of the bed itself.

I know that the danger is, if we touch it. We’ve both already gotten a little D-Force on our hands, just from using the can (we did get gloves but then ran out – we’ll get more). It’s not great – it dries your skin out and makes it irritable. But there are worse things. So we’re just being extra careful when we get in and out of bed.

Here’s how I’m thinking about it: there are two routes to worry about. One is the bugs’ Entrance Path, and the other is their Exit Path. Possible entrance paths are either from above (the ceiling, the fan, the ducts that also hang over our bed) or From Below (the bed legs/frame). I don’t think we can feasibly treat (or even inspect) all of those. The ceiling is too tall, the fan and ducts are enclosed.

But the Exit Paths are fewer. Other than going into the pillows, they have to be going DOWN. Off the side of the bed, down the frame, down the legs.

So, our better pillow encasings are on their way. We will have the PCO inspect and spray the frame on Friday (maybe with Suspend or Demand, something that will COAT it with residual chemical). And maybe our rings of D-Force will get em. Bwooaaahahahahaha!

I’d appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this strategy. Thanks!!

38 nobugsonme February 14, 2007 at 1:39 am

Hey S and Deb–
If you’re not specifically commenting on the FAQ (this is a FAQ), please take this to the current Tales of Bed Bug Woe thread. You can find it via the sidebars or recent posts.
You’ll get more responses there too, but beyond that, it keeps the FAQ a FAQ.
Thanks, Ladies!

39 Carrie August 12, 2007 at 3:51 pm

my daughters roommate just called to say they had BB’s. HELP! Where do we begin. The apt is being inspected tomorrow by the cty of boston agency and a report is sent to the landlord. How responsible is he? We just found out tht her upstairs neighbors had bed bugs last week. The landlord had her place exterminated but never told us or exterminated us. Is that legal? Is he in violation?Now we have it. My daughter has to move back in in a few weeks to start school. How soon can she move back in after the treatments…and are two or three advisable? OH MY GOD. We are just hysterical about this. Is it advisable to just throw out the mattress and box spring? And if so, is the landlord liable for the replacement costs? HHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!

40 Carrie August 12, 2007 at 3:53 pm

oh also, she had boxes of stuff she left there and clothes in her drawers…etc. Does she have to wash every single thing in the entire apt????? This is just overwhelming.

41 hopelessnomo August 12, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Hi Carrie, there are many more FAQs here that will help. I suggest you keep reading and try to remain calm. It is not a situation without a solution. The key is to get qualified professional treatments by a PCO who knows how to treat for bedbugs. Depending on where your daughter lives, the landlord is most likely responsible for the costs of eradication (although probably not for the costs of furniture replacement and incidental costs like laundry, plastic bags, mattress encasements, etc.)

The other thing to keep in mind is that someone has to live in the apartment (sleep in the affected room(s)) in order for the treatments to really work. Bedbugs are not like roaches, they only really come out of hiding in order to reach their human hosts, so part of eradicating them is luring them to cross pesticides as they move towards the sleeping person. An empty apartment, in other words, will be tricky. I hope the roommate is still there and is not tempted to move out during treatment.

Since your daughter is not yet returning to the apartment, I suggest that she read up on bedbugs and learn everything necessary and also that she only bring with her the absolutely most necessary things. When the infestation is eradicated, she can bring the rest of her stuff. The things that are already in the apartment can be cleaned, washed, or treated by the PCO as necessary. (The key is a good PCO, Carrie!)

Do not throw away stuff. In most cases it is not necessary and it is a good way to spread bedbugs to others.

As for legal issues, again we have FAQs, but you will need to consult a lawyer if you intend to fight your landlord. The immediate issue is to have the landlord hire competent professionals who can inspect and treat the apartment and any adjoining apartments.

There are forums here where you can ask more questions and get some advice and support. However, reading the FAQs here first will help you most.

Good luck.

42 dinner December 8, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Um, the duct tape fell off my zipper, creating a “bridge” onto the mattress – how can I avoid this in the future? What kind of tape sticks to the vinal box spr cover AND the cloth mattress cover? (both bug proof from national allergy.)

43 nobugsonme December 8, 2007 at 8:18 pm


From what I understand, all duct tape is not created equal. Others may have recommendations for specific brands.

That said, it might also help to cut it thin to fit just right, rather than putting full-size duct tape over the cloth, which is probably more likely to pop off. And I think checking it from time to time is good too.

The cloth covers from NA are tested such that bed bugs can’t permeate the zipper or cloth. Most of us still like to tape, but that should give you some comfort.

44 dinner December 9, 2007 at 7:58 pm

yes. comfort. it will probably take a bit more than impermeable zippers, but I reserve hope to yet again experience comfort. This website has saved my sanity, seriously. Thanks for making this available for us all. I’m thinking of making some stickers of this website and randomly putting them on stoplights, bumpers of cabs, restaurant windows, insect products at delis, . . . . my butt.

45 nyjammin December 9, 2007 at 10:48 pm

I read that instead of using duct tape to use glue??? Not Elmer’s but something strong like Krazy Glue?

46 Taylor March 25, 2008 at 12:36 am

Duct tape can become worn and old therby leaving a great place for the bugs to live and lay more eggs. After my 5 months of bedbug hell and living like a POW that duct tape is a good idea. I used the most hefty, good quality duct tape I could find but the tape will not stay 100% flat to the zipper. Bedbugs will live in the little areas where the tape pulls away.

Also, no one has said anything about AUTOMOBILES. They are in your AUTO!!!!! I just paid out the nose to have my car taken apart and the seats removed.

47 Taylor March 25, 2008 at 12:38 am

My comment has a typo, I meant to say, “duct tape is NOT a good idea.” Please submit comments for how to cover the zippers on the mattress and pillow covers.

48 Taylor March 25, 2008 at 12:47 am

FYI – – I had severe infestation and they were NOT found on any of the double sided tape. I do not believe that all bed bugs that cross the tape will get stuck to the tape. I cannot say this for sure as I have not performed an experiment under controlled measures but I did NOT find any on the double sided tape while I was still being bitten.

Thanks for your website and everyones help.

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