Bed bugs – is DIY bed bug treatment a good idea?

by nobugsonme on January 8, 2007 · 94 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, FAQs, pest control services

Is DIY treatment for bed bugs a good idea? In most cases, no. At least not as a sole treatment plan.

Click here to read the short version of this FAQ, including reasons not to do your own bed bug treatment and what you need to know if you must do your own treatment.

A few people with pesticide-related training have done their own bed bug treatment successfully (most of these have had professional experience with pesticides).

Others here have supplemented the work of a professional. A few Bedbuggers have frankly had to supplement the work of professionals who did not know what they were doing — but this was more common earlier in the epidemic. For example, one person here lives near Yellowstone Park and around 2006, apparently none of the PCOs there had seen a bed bug, and did not know anything about them. But these are exceptions, not the rule.

Everyone should ideally start with a licensed PCO who can detail their extensive past experience with bed bugs.

After treatment, if the bed bugs are not gone in two weeks, you insist the PCO comes back. (And usually they are not gone in two weeks: the eggs hatch within 10-14 days of spraying, and you are suddenly running a bed bug baby nursery!)

The PCO should re-treat every two weeks until you no longer see bed bugs and no longer react to any bed bug bites. (If you are non-reactive, I would confirm the problem was cleared using a bed bug monitor for a few weeks — see our Detection FAQ, or a bed bug sniffing canine team which has a good reputation and whose handler visually confirms alerts — see the dog FAQ).

In most case, at least a few follow-up treatments within a certain time frame should be included in the original price– if they’re not, try to choose someone else from the start. (Here’s a FAQ with advice on choosing a PCO.) But don’t assume the PCO is bad f you’re itching 2 weeks after treatment; this is not unusual and is not a sign that you’ve got a bad PCO. They should come back in 2 weeks (not longer). And things should be improving from day one.

You should also ask your experienced PCO what you should do as far as preparing for bed bug treatment and supporting it (with vacuuming or not, spraying something or not).   A good PCO will be thrilled you’re willing to go the extra mile of de-cluttering, washing and bagging all clothes, and other steps. They may sometimes even instruct you to spray something between visits.  If the prep includes hot washing and drying laundry, and bagging it in clean bags, then do this.  If they tell you to “bag all your stuff,” you may want to ask more about their protocols — how long will everything remain bagged, and when will it be brought out.  (A FAQ explains some concerns I have about “bag everything” protocols.)

Don’t freestyle with supplemental treatment: if you hear someone else on Bedbugger is vacuuming every day, don’t jump in and do that. Why? Your PCO may be using something that needs to stay down on the ground, for example. You may be sabotaging your PCO’s work! Similarly, don’t start spraying stuff you hear others use. You may even be using something with repellent properties, for example, when your PCO is using something to kill bugs when they’re drawn towards you.

I know there are bad pest techs out there (some even working for excellent PCO firms), and you will hear complaints from some Bedbuggers about same. But please do not assume you can or should self-treat. Most of us will be much better served with a professional.  If you have concerns that your pest tech did not know what s/he was doing, treatment took only a few minutes, etc., then call the firm and ask to speak to the manager.

If you have a really good reason to do your own pest control (see above), and do decide to take matters into your own hands, please do a ton of research, ask people a lot of questions, buy a respirator (not goggles or a face mask, but a respirator mask). Read and follow directions diligently.

Just to recap, here’s the short version of this FAQ:

Reasons not to do your own bed bug treatment:

  • In most cases, DIY bed bug treatment is not a great idea. In some, it’s a terrible plan.
  • You can harm yourself, others, and pets.
  • You can spread bugs to others in your building — and then they will come back, rendering your work pointless. (Never, ever use a bug bomb to treat bed bugs!)
  • You can spend a lot of money but the problem can get bigger and harder to get rid of.   Meaning, in the end, you saved nothing, and are suffering much longer.
  • If you’re a tenant, your landlord may be liable to pay for a bed bug treatment. They may deny that. Find out your local laws (start with our FAQ on that, and remember to let us know if you discover your local laws on this!)
  • If you own your home, or rent in some locality where you’re sure the landlord is not liable for this (and you should get this verified by a city official, not from the landlord’s mouth or a friend), then this will be expensive. Make no mistake. However, it will be more expensive if you do not get rid of it fast: you will lose more stuff. You can spread it around your home or to neighboring units (in a condo building). This will make it infinitely more expensive.
  • Failed self-treatments can end up costing more.  If they get into all your furniture, your car, your workplace and so on, you will pay much more both financially and emotionally. I realize I am assuming that if you have a home, you have a credit card, but in most cases this is true. If not, maybe you have a close friend or relative who can step in and help. This is akin to getting help with a health-related expense, because this can wreck your mental health, affect your job and relationships. You can even become physically ill from allergies to bites or from lack of sleep and stress.
  • Cutting corners with PCOs is as dangerous as going it alone (maybe worse). If the PCO wants $60-100 a visit, especially in NYC, you should guess they are not licensed and are definitely not going to get rid of bed bugs. (We heard one case like this on the yahoo group.) Choose someone with a reputation for killing bed bugs. (If your landlord has someone unlicensed do pest control — including him or herself, in NYC at least, they’re breaking the law.)

Remember, if you must self-treat for bed bugs:

  • Do your own research (starting with the FAQs but not ending there).  There are effective/ineffective things you can do and safe/unsafe ways to do them.  The FAQs on using steam to kill bed bugs, and on diatomaceous earth will be of interest to people who must self-treat.
  • Don’t believe the claims made by sellers of products — ask to see an independent entomologists’ testing data on the product. Don’t get sucked in by miracle sprays and dusts — these products may work, but none work miracles, and many are not effective. If a miracle product comes on the market, believe me — we will let you know.
  • If you want to supplement the PCO’s work, tell him/her!  Make sure what you’re doing does not conflict with your PCO’s strategy.
1 JimsGotBedBugs January 8, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Unfortunately, I’m new to the Bedbug scene here.

Found this website, and it looks to be a great resource of vast bedbug knowledge.

We moved into our new single family dwelling out in the sticks about 7 months ago. The previous tenant was an old man who had a ridiculous amount of crap in his house. My wife refers to this as something people who lived through the great depression do– Collect everything because at one point they had nothing. Who knows..

Anyway- We moved in with our small amount of furniture and clothing and begin life. My 4 year old has his own room, but most every night he sleeps with the two of us in the master bedroom. (no pets btw)

About a month ago, I started getting mosquito-like bites on my ankles. At the same time, my son got them on the small of his back. Both of us got at least 10 in our respective affected areas. At the time, my wife said that they were spider bites and that she used to get them as a kid. We shrugged them off and they went away for 2 or 3 weeks but now they are back. I googled a little bit last wedsnday, and found the bites to look exactly like bedbug bites. Always in groupings and mosquito-like. This go-around all three of us have been getting bit, my wife and I get our ankles and calves bit, while my sons ankles and legs are bit.

I’m normally a mellow-easy going guy. This put me over the proverbial edge. I flipped into OCD mode.

I pulled the bed apart, looked all over it, the metal frame, and the nearby furniture. I couldn’t find any evidence of bedbugs, but admit I didn’t really examine the wood furniture too closely, and mostly concentrated on the bed and walls.

I know it’s not psychosomatic, because I can’t be imagining welts on my son. I’ve got bedbugs, I just haven’t seen them, their molts, their eggs, or their poop, yet

I started by washing everything we owned. Starting with the little guys clothes. Everything washed and dried on hot. As soon as it came out of the dryer, it went into newly bought zip-lock bags. I followed that with my wife and my clothes. The bags (all our clothing) is now kept at the other end of the house from the master bedroom, in a room that we only go into the dress.

I bought 7-mil plastic drop cloths from the hardware store and wrapped the box spring and mattress separately in it. Taping them shut tight.

I put all 4 legs of the bed in Tupperware filled with diluted tea-tree-oil. I then wrapped each leg with flypaper. (above the waterline).

All the bedding was run through the Hot/Hot cycle and dried 3 consecutive times.

We all now shower and put on fresh (out of the bags) clothes before getting into bed at night. Once in bed, we don’t leave bed unless we have to, and are quick about it. Prior to bed, we circle all our bites to keep track– We’ve noticed these past few days that the bites “show up” many hours after bed, and sometimes old ones will itch if you brush them. Circling them gives us great peace of mind because we know it’s just an old bite flaring up, instead of a new bite.

The wooden furniture that we brought with us included two dressers and two chests. Both have been emptied, and are going outside for a few months once it gets cold enough to kill any resident bugs. Once they are out of the room, I was going to seal the floor/wall edges with caulk, as there are big gaps that the previous owner never filled.

We have been doing this for three nights. I have notice a few bites I didn’t see before each day, but the number has dropped significantly. I plan on staying this course, and hoping to starve the bastards by removing the food source for a year or more. In the end, being anal-retentive about keeping clothes clean and going to bed clean can’t possibly be a bad habit to get into anyway… bedbugs or no bedbugs…

I’ve read they get ballsy when starved, and need to be prepared for them to counterattack during the day. Does anyone know if they still require you to be still during these attacks? We’re pretty active, and not home during most of the day.

I don’t know if they came with us (one of the chests was from my wife’s grandmother), were in the house before we got there (previous tenants pack-rat tendencies), arrived with some used goods (my wife is thrifty and gets lots of second hand clothing. I think we’re agreeing to be more careful about accepting used goods now), or hitchhiked home with me on one of my work travel adventures.

Anyway’s thanks for the supportive blog. Keep up the good work, and I’ll post with updates.

(To tie into the topic at hand… I’m going to try my own pest control). Only because I think:
-It is a small infestation (no visible bugs),
-We don’t have a lot of guests sleepover
-We don’t have a large home
-We don’t own a lot of stuff
-If they can’t bite us, they can’t live

-I’m fully ready to swollow my pride and be prepared to hire a proffesional if this thing goes south. Actually, I would probably want to try that ‘themapure’ method… I think our shop has a few portable proffesional heaters kicking around.

2 JimsGotBedBugs January 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm

I forgot to add- I put 1X3 strapping around the bed (between box spring and mattress) sticking out about a foot at one foot intervals. This keeps sheets and bedding from accidently hitting the floor, but allows us to get into bed with minimal obstructions. We also moved the bed to the middle of the room.

3 Bugalina January 8, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Jim…It sounds like you have potential to be a good bed bug warrior..but you have much to learn…You must isolate your beds, true, but if you fail in the isolation then they are living where they shouldn’t be…I think you would be best to get rid of all boxsprings…and purchase the special bed bug zippered mattress covers from Nat’l Allergy Cataloge..taped tarps allow for too many small areas for them to hide in….I think… you need to caulk all possible cracks and crevices and NEVER buy used stuff anymore….I used to love gargage sales…NO MORE…not until this epidemic passes…I don’t know where you live…there are very good Pest Control Companies…and very bad ones…you need to do your homework….Bugalina

4 parakeets January 8, 2007 at 2:56 pm

I would love to have a professional treat my bedbugs but….

* I live in a multi-unit apartment building and the management company is “self-treating” for the most part. (Ineffectively, using bug bombs and such). They didn’t even tell us we have bedbugs! My doctor had to tell me what was causing my bites, and then I found evidence on my own. My management company doesn’t tell us when they come in to self-treat, either. I just come home and find evidence that someone was in to treat (items moved that were blocking a vent, smell of bug spray, sticky thin film of pink goo near the baseboard, etc.) The evidence is that the treatment clearly is not thorough, and the bedbugs are still here.

* I live in an apartment building in a suburb of Boston and none of the PCOs I have called to hire myself will come and treat my unit. They say that it is useless to treat one apartment in a building and that they won’t do it. I tend to agree with them–if I pay for a thorough treatment myself, but the building is infested, the bedbugs will just come back into my apartment.

* But in the meantime, the bedbugs reproduce. After my management company treats, there are less bedbugs for a while, but since they never fully eradicate them (if they are not even telling us to wash our linens, bagging things, etc., it is not surprising we can’t get rid of them), the bedbugs increase again.

* I hate waking up with blood on my pillow, my nightshirt, having itchy bites, being bitten when I sit at my desk … if my management company is ineffectively treating, I want to treat the bedbugs myself.

* But I’m scared of applying insecticides. I had a friend who miscarried when her husband self-treated their house for termites and I always thought there was a correlation. I have asthma and there is a lot of cancer in my family. So I won’t use diatamaceous earth or any of the strong stuff.

* I think of moving but I don’t know how to move with bedbugs.

I have never been in such a “between a rock and a hard place” situation in my life. It is affecting my mental health. I’m even posting less about bedbugs because I’m feeling so helpless. I have an ineffective and cheap management company (who know a heck of a lot less about bedbugs than I do), but I can’t change them and I don’t have the energy to fight them. All I want to do is move to a small single-family house but I can’t afford that right now. This problem is much bigger than all of us, and fighting landlords one by one is not going to solve it. Even if my landlord were able to get rid of the bedbugs, with so many tenants in my building, a fellow tenant is innocently bound to stay at a hotel or at a friend’s house where there are bedbugs or a new tenant could unknowingly move in from an infected building and re-infect the building all over again.

5 nobugsonme January 8, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Jim, welcome.
You can’t do Thermapure style treatments on your own. People have tried. It doesn’t work–the heat needs to be 140+ F in every part of your home. The bugs will feel the heat in the bedroom and then flee into the walls. Then you’ll really have a hard time. Your portable heaters will not get the temps up to 140 in EVERY part of the home. But it will make your problem into a very serious one.

This is kind of my point about seeking professional help. I understand you believe you have a small problem. You should realize people can be bitten for months without seeing one single bug.

They will multiply exponentially. It may not take much to get rid of them now, but I still think professionals are the best idea. If you really do have a small problem it will not cost much to treat, but you will really treat it rather than make it worse.

Just my opinion, but I have now been talking to and reading about 300 or 400 people fighting this problem. So it’s based on lots of secondhand experience.

Parakeets– you’re the kind of person (the exception) who I would say does need to treat themselves. I understand the fear of the pesticides, I am very wary myself. My heart goes out to you. I hope you can find some way of getting free of this.

6 Bugalina January 8, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Parakeets..Deb here…Happy New Year…I pray…You are between a rock and a hard place but I think that you shoud consider using some products…even if they are only contact killers…if you email me I will tell you about a nice man I purchased some products from…I know how hard it must be for you.but you have to fight these monsters….there are some products that are not real toxic…that might help…xo Deb

7 nobugsonme January 8, 2007 at 3:53 pm


I had another thought.

I know others like Caitlin have only had luck when the whole building was treated. Since your landlord has been treating the whole building BADLY for a long time, I feel like the only thing that can be done is to take legal action. I don’t necessarily mean suing, which can be expensive. But filing a complaint in housing court or the housing dept. or health dept. or however things work there is probably best. And will not cost you. (Even a lawsuit might be done pro bono since it sounds like you have a good case.) This is very similar to the case of Peter Young, from the NYC housing court. He got a rent abatement of 50% for a period from 2003-4 when the landlord knew about but did not fix the problem (fix, not TRY to fix). And by the end of that period, it WAS fixed.

I know that takes energy, but you can’t go on like this forever, and I know you can’t move until they’re gone. Yours is a case where the building needs to be treated more agressively (perhaps even tented and gassed with Vikane). That should not be harmful to you since you’ll not be home. The housing court or whomever might be able to help make that happen. And I think there would not be repercussions to you long term as far as getting references and such.

If you decide to do that, and there’s anything we can do to support you, let us know. Seriously.

8 JimsGotBedBugs January 8, 2007 at 4:18 pm

Anyone know metro-Boston area exterminators with good recommendations?

9 nobugsonme January 8, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Hi Jim,
Hopefully someone will post from Boston.
You should also be aware of the yahoo group, if you have not tried there yet. It’s where we all came from, and it’s a good source of support and info:
More Bostonians there.

10 Bugalina January 8, 2007 at 6:34 pm

Jim..nobugsonme is correct..go onto that yahoo group as there are several pest control operators who can maybe recommend someone…you need to deal with someone who is experienced in bed bugs…then augment with your own treatments…you can purchase products at do it yourself pest control..1 800 476 3368..but you really should deal with an experienced pest control operator as well…I think you mentioned that you had an aversion to chemicals…however the bad news is that bed bugs only know death by chemicals…to try and treat them “naturally” is not going to work…you can lessen the population..but the idea is to bring them down to egg laying females…no inseminating males..each of these needs blood meals to get to adulthood…so since they lay eggs every 10 days or so…the general concensus is to treat at 10 to 12 day intervals…to kill them off before they reach mating capability… I think to be successful takes at least three months of pro active treating… go onto bedbugger and ask for good PCO recommendations…Bugalina…formerly known as Deb…

11 buggedinbrooklyn January 9, 2007 at 2:55 am

I would like to say a few things about my PCO and self treatment.

First, I wouldn’t call what my PCO is doing, “washing” or “cleaning” as you say in this article.
Again, what is used is an enzyme product with basically the same ingredients as “Kleen Free”.
While it is just a contact killer, and more or less the safest one around, it is a pesticide and not a cleaner like murphy’s oil soap.
How it kills is by forcing the outer skin to molt…It looks like they snap/bend, or explode if you spray them with it.
The only down fall to this enzyme product is that it has no residual effect.

While having no residual effect is nice to spray the tops of your beds, pillows, shoes, and hats, I would not say that this is the best pesticide.
Many use Kleen Free for just this reason, and this product is more or less Kleen Free.
I do feel it has a place in bedbug eradication for people who are elderly, small kids/babies, and people who have pets.
Again, it is very safe, and the smell is quite pleasant.

At first, such a safe, pesticide sounded good.
Yet after reading that you almost MUST have residual pesticides to work, I decided to look at self treatment as an added strategy.

In no way should anyone here think that doing anything that I or others might be doing as safe.
You must use a respirator, rubber gloves, eye protection is not a bad idea, and don’t forget to put your shoes or boots on…flip flops are a no no.
always safety first.
Open windows, move people out of the rooms or the house.
Wash your gloves, your hands, and mask after each use.

But above all, it’s always better to have someone more skilled then you do all the work that needs to be done.
Any money saved now can mean more money spent and added problems down the road.
Like nomorebugsonme said, this realy needs to be left in the hands of good PCOs.

You might ask why am I willing to do so much spraying and dusting on my own if I should leave it to the pros?
Simple, I have at least two items of furniture that I would hate to have to get rid of.
Also, I feel like I must do something.

The first is my L shaped desk, the kind you can get at staples.
It’s just too nice, with a hutch, and draws, to just toss out….if infested, it is so light, that I don’t think I’m getting bitten in this area.
(All my skin crawling and prickly feelings here might be from the D-Force spray used on or underneath the desk)
I could get rid of this desk, but it would be unpleasant.

The next thing I would hate to get rid of is the L shaped leather couch that is only 2 years old.
Tossing out $3000.00 is not what I would like to do.
This is the single most hardest item to get rid of all the bugs that must be living inside.
This is the site of my big bedbug attack on my arm…40 bites in 1 night.
To get rid of this would take a lot of fighting and arguing with my dad…just not worth it IMHO.
Today, it still has bugs, but so light is the infestation that it might be bug free in 2 more weeks.

Victims of bedbugs needs to get proactive in other ways to help eliminate the infestation.
Vacuuming, bagging up spare close, washing in hot water and drying on hot for over an hour…
Getting rid of clutter and so on.
Leave the pesticides to the pros unless you are willing to be more then safe about it.

with 2 visits from my PCO, and 2 treatments to my bedroom and the couch, I have not seen a visual sighting of a live bug since the day after X-Mas or so….the bug who gave me “the finger”.
I still have new bites, but they are less often then before the PCO came the first time.
A lot less.
I’m still getting rid of clutter, and my laundry will remain in bags and not in my dressers till all bites have stopped for some time.
Caulking is something that needs to be done, but for the most part is just a small amount of work to do….I’m lucky as the work needed was done before painting this APT.
again, only a small amount might need to be done in spots….yes it should have been done by now, but hey, one day at a time.

I can’t say this any better then to say, I’m suffering.
It’s getting better with all the work I’ve done, but still it’s hard.
If you have a bedbug problem, you’re suffering too, let the pros handle most of the work.
You have enough crap to do to help get rid of them, why do more like apply pesticides and caulk.


12 Nero January 9, 2007 at 2:19 am

Alright! I finally came across this and at late hours too! Anyways, thank you so much for the helpful information! I’ve been talking to my parents and they’ve even agreed and decided to help. I hope we do bring this up to our landlord, but I have yet to hear any of the other tenants complaining about Bed bugs. Even if they don’t have them, I already think everyone should agree to the entire building getting treated. It’s relatively small here…I think ( 9 floors…72 apartments. @.@ Oh dear, I was never good at math, but still!)

My mother and I also want to take a look into purchasing some diatomaceous earth after I explained to her just what it was exactly. We’re going to try and get our (gloved) hands on that, and call in some professional help. Because even I know what I can’t and can’t do, and exterminating Bedbugs with all sorts of chemicals outright is one thing I can’t. I guess that’s just my attitude toward this problem. I’m looking for relief, especially since college is closing in. So far, I think I’m gonna contact Pest Away and get some mattress covers too.

And to think, I thought those little fogger bombs would help too. I know for sure I’m going to get rid of the gauze-like covering on the bottom of my frame and get in there.

All that aside, it’s just fascinating and extremely unnerving to know that these guys do grow a set and venture out in the day just to feed when they’re starved, even drop down from the ceiling (Heh, now I check my ceiling. They haven’t been there yet thankfully. Ha, ‘yet.’ No way do I want it to get that far).

And now with all the reading I’ve been doing on the internet, I’m a little more than ticked off at the fact that NYC isn’t doing anything, and about the ban of DDT in general. The chemical had to have been doing something right if it eradicated these pains in the butts almost completely. My father also agreed to paint, if that’s going to do anything. I want to get one those caulking guns and seal up those cracks in the fake wall too.

Annnyway, thanks again for posting up this FAQ! It’s already a big help, and I haven’t even gotten started yet! But once I do, it’s just a few more steps to some measure of relief! A relief I can’t wait for.

🙂 Thanks again!

13 nobugsonme January 9, 2007 at 9:52 am

Nero, don’t buy mattress covers at Pest Away. Try National Allergy which lots of us have used. It’s in one of the mattress FAQs. You need to read our FAQs!!! You need the basics. Click the “frequently asked questions” link under the photo at the top of the blog page.

Sorry Bugged, I did not mean to represent your experience with Mitebusters. I understand they’re billing themselves as a PCO, but that doesn’t seem quite accurate, since it isn’t possible to kill bed bugs you can’t spray directly with Kleen Free. And the bedbugs you don’t see are the legions waiting to get you. I called this process cleaning because Kleen Free is billed as an enzyme cleaner, not a pesticide, even if it can kill when sprayed directly on bed bugs. You are right that it has a role and a lot of people get good use of it. But I would not want anyone to kid themselves that this kind of treatment is what we’re sending them for when we say “get a professional PCO”. You are, in your case, the PCO. If mitebusters was the PCO you called and you did not do your own as well, you’d be up a creek. Does that make sense?

14 Bugalina January 9, 2007 at 12:36 pm

nobugsonme is right…..Kleen Free is a good “tool’…but must be used in conjunction with pesticides with residuals…I like the idea of Kleen Free or Bed Bug Terminator because it might get some small hard to see nymphs …The reason I think that people must do their own treatments , along with a PCO, is because the PCO just doesn’t have the manpower to do as complete a job as necessary…forgive me for saying this but I think its true…they are very necessary but in the fight I think people need to also use products…with care….I think dustiing with DE or Drione is very effective…and I think if the PCO won’t come every 10 -12 days to treat then one must do it themselves…because of the egg laying cycle…even the experts are now saying 10 -12 days…or two weeks tops….we are all here to help…everyone has the same mindset….lets kill these monsters !! Bugalina, formerly known as Deb….

15 buggedinbrooklyn January 9, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Quote “But I would not want anyone to kid themselves that this kind of treatment is what we’re sending them for when we say

16 buggedinbrooklyn January 9, 2007 at 3:40 pm


I’m not sure if I’m “right”, I’m in no way an expert on the matter like some of you ladys…
yet I too think that using all the tools we have is the only way to get this nightmare to end.

but again, what if someone just can’t use harsh cemicals like Suspend?
then what? burn everything? no
I think PCOs like mightbusters might be the anser, IMHO.


17 nobugsonme January 9, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Hi BuggedinBrooklyn,
No worries–dissent and disagreement is welcomed here, from anyone anytime, as long as it’s polite. (Doesn’t mean I will agree, but you don’t have to either.)
Perhaps I was not expressing myself well enough.
Here’s the thing, you say what mitebusters use is just like Kleen Free. Kleen Free is not technically a pesticide.

Kleen Free, according to the manufacturers, is an enzymatic cleaner. It “cleans” bed bugs away., Their words, not mine. The site above goes to great lengths to talk about how it is not a pesticide. It kills bed bugs, true. (But as entomologists have told us, so does 90% Alcohol: IF YOU SPRAY IT RIGHT ON THE BUGS.) So when I said mitebusters was a thorough cleaning service, and that they clean for bed bugs, I was stating a truth. They undoubtedly are helping rid your home of bed bugs. And I am sure they’d provide benefits to lots of others too.

On the other hand, I don’t think they’re sufficient for ridding homes of bed bugs. I’d be happy to see evidence to the contrary. If people have compromised immune systems or allergies and cannot handle pesticides (which I agree is a genuine concern), then they need some other treatment method. But what they do not need is a treatment method that will lesson, but not eliminate entirely, their bed bug problem. In my opinion, someone with an illness or an allergy can suffer a lot from bed bugs themselves, leaving aside the pesticides.

Thermal treatment (done by professionals, folks!) IS a great solution for people with reasons for avoiding pesticides. Unfortunately for you and me, BuggedinBrooklyn, it’s illegal in NYC. I hope we can change this. It’s expensive, but so is living with bed bugs.

I think we more or less agree that mitebusters alone will not eradicate all your bedbugs, and mitebusters will probably help reduce your bed bugs a great deal.

I think we also agree that everyone needs pesticides to have a chance of eliminating bedbugs– or something as strong (like heat). I think we also agree that people who can’t handle pesticides for medical reasons need more options (like heat).

Our only disagreement, then, is in the classification of kleen free as a pesticide and mitebusters as a PCO. I could not find anywhere on the mitebusters site where they were designated as such. And the description of their service (sanitizing mattresses = cleaning, crack and crevice treatment with kleen free-type solution, and so on) is not the application of pesticides.

You are applying pesticides, and in that sense, I think you are your own PCO. (I was also trying to clarify for readers that you had experience of a kind–you mentioned training in the army with gas masks; you aren’t an amateur with all of this, even if you’re new to pesticides.) Yes, a PCO might do much more, but it sounds like you’re doing quite a bit.

The bottom line is if mitebusters did a really thorough cleaning job (and I mean their sanitizing and steaming process) it is bound to help. So is Kleen free. But my sources tell me murphy’s oil and 90% alcohol are also contact killers (meaning wiped or sprayed directly on, they kill bed bugs.) Kleen Free “cleans” them away as the Natural Ginesis site claims. The problem of bugs you cannot directly hit remains. And those pesticides you used are what keeps it all from coming back.

Like I said, feel free to disagree. But I think it’s important people don’t kid themselves. If all you use is mitebusters, they will be reduced. And they will probably come back. I’d bet on it. We need safe solutions. Make thermal pest control legal in NYC. And once some competition heats up, maybe those prices will come down.

18 Bugalina January 9, 2007 at 10:03 pm

I know very little about mitebusters…I think its a franchise….so its like any franchise..( wrong spelling) If the person who bought into it is concientious then there is a good possibility that they will do a good job…Exactly what methods do mitebusters use ? As I said early on….everyones’ infestation story is different…many variables…I found even one bed bug I am pro chemical…and I am also a control freak…and I found that I knew more than the PCO I used…but I also found that using a PCO was invaluable to my psyche…I needed them…I will google mitebusters as I don’t know exactly what they do…but I don’t care how people kill these monsters…as long as they kill them..its the people who don’t do anything about them who scare me..because those people are the ones responsible for the spread…..People have to keep in mind that bed bugs were nearly completely eradicated from North America…and the reason for that was that people found them intolerable to live with…So why should that change now..

19 jessinchicago January 9, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Hey Buggedinbrooklyn- This may sound ridiclous if you’ve already done it, but I though I’d try, anyway. Have you flipped your couch over and removed the mesh underneath (if there is any)? If you do that, and you spray with Suspend, but only UNDERNEATH, where no one touches it and no stains will be noticed, I think you’ll see a huge difference. I did that with the suede couch here, and it worked wonders. I also applied the Drione on the underside of the couch. Just a thought.

That said, and this is to everyone, I wholeheartedly agree with our editor that hiring a competent PCO is the absolute best option for everyone oustide the “exceptions” box. If you are at all able, whether that means credit card debt or family loans or anything else, you should by all means hire a competent PCO. DIY exterminating is NOT a good choice for those who are able to hire professionals. Nobugs is right (as confirmed by our resident experts) when she says the potential for making a manageable situation into a complete nightmare is profound. Misapplication of pesticides can cause bedbugs to scatter to other areas of a home, or, worse yet, cause them to scatter to a neighbor. Which would be very bad, all morals aside, because it’s likely the bugs will come back to you through the walls once the (pesticide) coast is clear. It can also cause bedbugs to go into dormancy as a survival mechanism, and they could return later, with a vengeance.

And that’s not taking into account the unknown dangers of the pesticides available to us. The fact is, we just don’t know what accidental inhalation of Drione dust will do to our lungs in ten years, or what contact with partially-dry Suspend will do to our kidneys, through skin absorption.

The professionals are the only way to go here, unless all else fails.

Of course, when all else fails, you do what you have to do, right, Parakeets? Me too.

Many warm thoughts to all of you,


20 jessinchicago January 9, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Jim- Welcome! I’m glad you found us and I hope you continue to tap our resources. They are vast, now, thanks to the efforts of several veteran bedbuggers- and, of course, our sleep-deprived and cause-driven editor.

Listen, I get the feeling you have come across some of the misinformation that’s unfortunately readily available on the net, in terms of eliminating bedbugs by eliminating their food source. It would be fantastic if that worked. We all would have saved thousands of dollars just by protecting our beds, but we have all done that already and still have experienced many bites. Yes, the bedbugs will follow you throughout the house, especially if you have protected your bed with no residual pesticide backup. Bedbugs do not care where you are or what you are doing, so long as they can feed on you. Food, reproduction and survival are their main goals in life. So, rest assured, if you protect your bed and have no chemical to kill the bugs that attempt to feed on you in that bed, you will have significant problems in the other rooms you spend any amount of time in, and quickly. See, the residual chemical applied by PCOs will not discourage the bugs from trying to get to you in your bed. So they will. But in doing so, they will pass through the chemical, and they will die.

If there is no chemical, the bugs will attempt to feed on you, realize they can’t, and move to other, more convenient locations. And there’s no chemical to make them die in the process.

I say all of this out of experience. I started out with an infested bedroom and ended up with an infested couch and living room. I hope you research, gain knowledge, and do not follow in my footsteps! By the way, no, you don’t have to be still for them to feed. Bloody hell, I’ve had them crawl up my leg while I was standing in the kitchen talking on the phone and bite me!

Good luck, and please keep asking questions (also see FAQ) and giving feedback.



21 nobugsonme January 10, 2007 at 12:11 am

Jim said: “I forgot to add- I put 1X3 strapping around the bed (between box spring and mattress) sticking out about a foot at one foot intervals. This keeps sheets and bedding from accidently hitting the floor, but allows us to get into bed with minimal obstructions. We also moved the bed to the middle of the room.”

Jim, I forgot to ask, what’s strapping? (I am just learning my way around Home Depot). Whatever it is, I think using something to keep sheets on the bed is genius and we should all rig it up. Could you spell it out for me a bit more? Sorry if it seems like a silly question. Thanks 🙂

22 JimsGotBedBugs January 10, 2007 at 7:48 am


No problem: Stapping is a 1″X3″ length of finished lumber. At home Depot and Lowes it sells for ~$1.20 for an 8′ piece, and ~$3 for a 16′ piece. Mind you it is called 1″X3″ rough sawn. When you buy it, it is more like 0.5″ X 2.5″ finished.

Not sure of the origin of the term ‘strapping’, but it’s common enough use.

Our bed is a simple metal frame that holds two side-by-side box springs (Split queen) and a queen mattress. There is no headboard, sideboards, or footboard. We often lose are pillows to the ground in the middle of the night being away from the wall now, and the little guy likes to kick off the covers. We needed something to ‘catch’ these items before hitting the floor and defeating our barrier.

Anyway- All I did was cut a few 8′ pieces into 2-foot lengths. Then I stuck them between the mattress and the box spring in key locations, each sticking out a little less than a foot. I have 6 at the head of the bed, to keep the pillows from falling to the floor. 6 at the foot of the bed, and 2 on each side towards the feet. This gives us plenty of exit/enter space where you would want it, and prevents pushed covers from accidentally touching the floor.

Looks a bit funny to the non-paranoid ‘normal’ person, but it works well for us…

Just be carefull that when you insert the wood between your mattress and box spring that you don’t tear any of the barrier covering you use (be it a cloth or plastic).


P.S. – Day 2 of bite free-ness!…. I’m gearing up for a pre-emptive counter attack by using the ‘Safer Ant and Crawling Insect Killer’ – 4lb bag (at Lowes for $8). That’s going in all the walls, baseboards, outlets, and attic spaces… Then sealing it all up in there with caulk this weekend. Also- it’s getting cold enough to move most of the furniture outside for a few nights to ‘clean’ em out. We’ll see how it works…

23 JimsGotBedBugs January 10, 2007 at 8:02 am


Thanks for your thoughts… I am gearing up for what I am calling ‘phase 2’ of operation ‘sleep tight’…

Mind you, I haven’t found the nest or grouping yet. I think they are in one of the dressers in my bedroom. Clothing has been removed, but I haven’t touched the dressers yet (lots of wood and hiding spots). I am leaving them ‘feeling safe’ for the time being.

Phase 1 was to stop the current offensive. (Isolation of bed and clothes, wrapping of mattress)
Phase 2 is trapping and sealing ‘escape routes’ from bedroom to rest of house (baseboards, walls, outlets, etc).
Phase 3 is removal of existing agents from furniture (death via cold weather)
Phase 4 is preventative decontamination of furniture from the rest of the house. (moving furniture outside for a few days)

Not, by any means, fool proof, but it should be sufficient.

I’m using DE (from Lowes) to dust that (carefully) into walls, sockets and baseboards. Then sealing it all up. Also a fresh layer of paint on the walls and ceiling is needed anyway (a good way to sanitize them IMHO… historically, nothing kills like paint).

This is followed by continual OCD-ness towards clothing, travel, and bedding.

Then it’s just nightmares and phobic-reactions


24 nobugsonme January 10, 2007 at 11:18 am

Thanks, Jim.

25 Nero January 11, 2007 at 12:40 pm

@.@ Now I can officially say that I stay awake because I’m afraid of being bait right now, even after spraying my room recently. What scares me is the fact that they may be in my boxspring, and not my mattress. (and there’s the dresser too…totally made of wood, and filled with old clothes I don’t wear any longer) So I’m hoping to get some covers; one for my boxspring and mattress..along with some pillow covers.

If I can do more talking with my parents, I’m sure they’ll let me get the covers from the National Allergy site, if not, I’ll have to go shopping for some duct tape, bags, and string among other items.

I’m just really sick of being bitten time and time again. As for talking to my landlord, my mother explained that the rent we pay is just for matenance fees, and that we actually own the own apartment (@.@ Confused me, but okay). So I guess that means we’ll have to pay out of our pockets.

My parents and I will find something to work.

Again, it’s just a matter of me having to be the bait.

26 Bugalina January 11, 2007 at 1:07 pm

NERO You should cover your boxspring and mattress ASAP…the more you feed them the more they breed ! Go through your drawers and clean out everything you don’t wear…double plastic bag your old clothes and throw them away…clean out your drawers and thoroughly inspect them..turn them upside down and inside out…clean them with Murphys Oil Soap…you can buy Murphys Oil Soap at any Large drugstore chain or Home Depot…or a hardware store….get a stiff wire brush and scrape the drawers inside and out with the wire brush…to brush out any eggs…and then clean with Murphys Oil Soap…and then vacuum…You can get some DE rather cheaply can buy it online or at a exterminators store in NYC if that’s where you live…but you should be doing these things that don’t cost a lot of money yet they will help immensely to kill off their populations..also you should be vacuuming everyday…with bed bugs its important to keep your room clean…also put the Murphy’s Oil soap..diluted with some water..into a spray bottle and spray all around your window moldings and on the lower parts of your walls…Keep trying to kill them…that’s what you have to do…keep killing them off….Bugalina

27 buggedinbrooklyn January 11, 2007 at 2:12 pm


the more I reread both our replys, the more I see us in total agreement.
if anything, I’m the one not being fully clear on some subjects, not you, so instead of going off on an other tangent, I’ll just make a list of points I was trying to make.

1) in my eyes, I’m not the PCO in my house.

regardless of the fact that any product that mightbusters is using may be far infearior to what I’m using.
they gave me advice, a plan to workout before they first arived, a plan to follow once they did come before there folow up, and of coarse they did treat my house with an enzyme product.

in your eyes NMBOM, I might look like I’m self treating, and in many ways I am.
but I just don’t want people thinking that I’m the only one treating my house.
I’m not.

2) I also agree that “heat” sould be a legal option for bedbugs, but at this time, it is not.
there still needs to be a choice for people who suffer, yet cant use Suspend like products.

all I’m saying is that while Mightbusters and Kleen Free might not be the best way to kill bedbugs long term…it is the only other choice we have at this time.
at least in the NYC area.
no offence but, your not giving anyone else here another choice, your just telling them what you wish would be aloud in this area to use for bedbugs.

I have no dought that the use of non residual products will take far longer to solve any bedbug problem.
we agree on this.

yet to say that it could never ever solve a bug problem, even with long term use might sound a little closed minded.
even the use of residual products has it’s limitations, and has proven to be weak at best in dealing with bedbugs.

again, my sister, had an ongoing problem for 6 months with the harshest chemicals found to man.
I’m quite sure with all the storys I’ve read, and heared through the grapevine, that she is not alone in the time spent to get rid of such blood drinkers.

3) in the end, who cares?

I’m still taking your advice and will keep treating my house with cans of D-Force, as well as Drione dust.
they are both working at least a little bit.

I can see myself being bug free in a month…maybe less…thanks to you and the many members of ths site.

quote from Jess “”Hey Buggedinbrooklyn- This may sound ridiclous if you’ve already done it, but I though I’d try, anyway. Have you flipped your couch over and removed the mesh underneath (if there is any)? If you do that, and you spray with Suspend, but only UNDERNEATH, where no one touches it and no stains will be noticed, I think you’ll see a huge difference. I did that with the suede couch here, and it worked wonders. I also applied the Drione on the underside of the couch. Just a thought.””

yes Jess, I have fliped my couch over and sprayed from underneath.
it has helped alot, but they are still there.

if you read my story, and I know you did. you might remember that I had my arm ATTACKED with about 40 bites in one night.

today, I have still not seen even one sighting of a bedbug since the day after X-Mas or so.
I have since had new bites, but they have lessened alot.
they are still in the bedroom, and the couch/living room, but I think that all I have at this time are the hatchlings…nymphs.

I’m going to spray tonight again, and do some more vacuuming in the living room and bedroom.
I hope that soon the bites will stop, and I can just go on to treating my house as a more preventive way then for eradication of bug infestation.

in the end, I’m sure I’ll be fine and bug free.
until then I’ll still be treating my APT as I at least feel like I’m doing something to solve this problem.


28 buggedinbrooklyn January 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm


quote from nero “I’m just really sick of being bitten time and time again. As for talking to my landlord, my mother explained that the rent we pay is just for matenance fees, and that we actually own the own apartment (@.@ Confused me, but okay). So I guess that means we’ll have to pay out of our pockets.”

the chances are you live in a CO-OP or CONDO, and yes, if that’s the case, you don’t pay rent.
your matenance fees pays for gas and electric that you use, and the costs of any porters, security, and the super that your building(s) have working for you.
think of it as, everyone chips in a few dollars to help pay the fees that you all have in order to suport the costs of mantainig the building in a livable way.

so, yes, you need to look for a PCO, and pay for it yourself.
as you are in fact the owner of the APT you live in.

I would look at all the FAQs that are posted here.
then when looking for a PCO, ask lots of questions on just what they will be doing for you.

they should spray and maybe dust your whole house and beds.
spray your dressers and closets.
they should be using proucts that have Pyrethrins and/or Deltamethrin in them.
and IMHO, they should also caulk up every place you need to rid yourself of cracks and holes that they hide in.

a good PCO will do all that and maybe even more.
you should also get 2 follow ups for no added costs…this is normal, and included in the price they are quoting you.

follow what others are telling you here, there advice is the best on bedbugs.

above all, I wish you luck.


29 nobugsonme January 11, 2007 at 1:37 pm

I can’t emphasize enough that the kind of information Bugalina offers above is in our OTHER FAQs, so newcomers should read these! If you ever get lost, click “Frequently Asked Questions” in the links under the photo at the top of the blog, or in the links to the top left.

30 nobugsonme January 11, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Hi Nero,
It might help for you to print out a few messages from our site like the FAQ about “What are bed bugs?” and some of the “success stories” and “ongoing battles” stories (see links at top of page). Your family needs to understand that this is a problem which will grow by leaps and bounds, and though dealing with it well can be expensive, it will be MUCH more expensive if they let it spread. Because you are not renters, if your aunt’s couch is truly the source of infestation, there’s some possibility you could be held liable for others getting the bugs.

31 Nero January 11, 2007 at 6:31 pm

I do live in NYC so finding the DE shouldn’t be so hard. Well, that is, if I can find it at a hardware store. As for the oil soap, I can find that, as well as the wire brushes. So would I simply clean out the dressers without the soap first? I mean you know just using the wire brush only. Another question, is there a specific kind of Murphy’s Oil Soap that I should get, or is there just like one…kind?

And! I just ordered the coverings for my boxspring and mattress from National Allergy so I’m pretty happy about that and getting my acceptance letter for college. Once the coverings come, I can get all the other odds and ends, which are relatively easy to find where I live.

Easy to find, and hopefully not too expensive. I get the feeling with upcoming money issues (my college tuition per semester is a real doozy from what I’ve read), my father and I will have to do the majority of it ourselves. If we can, we’ll get a PCO to come in.

And so far I’ve read some of the FAQ’s, but I’m definitely gonna re read them (especially the mattress one) and this pest control one, and whichever FAQs are left. My mother may look at me funny, but she’s well aware of how the bugs are driving me crazy (the couch has been gone and we even put a note that said bed bugs were in it).

32 Bugalina January 11, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Very good that you put the note on the couch…you really should have slashed it with a knife or spray painted it…there is only one Murphy’s Oil Soap…dilute it with some water…maybe like 3 – 4ozs of Murphys oil in one gallon of warm water…first empty your drawers and put everything into plastic bags..spray the drawers inside and out with the murphys oil soap solution …and the backs and undersides of all your bedroom furniture….really inspect…then take a wire brush and brush hard into all the seams of the drawers..keep looking for eggs that look like kernels of rice…and of course bugs…clean your room from top to bottom…after washing and wire brushing your furniture drawers inside and underside and backs…and the same with the backs and undersides of your dressers and nitestands then check all of your should remove any posters or pictures from your walls..put them into the large or extra large ziplock bags..and store them…vacuum everything very very thoroughly…if you have carpet you must carefully pull up the edges around the walls and clean and vacuum…this is when the DE would be good because you can lightly dust it around the carpet edges…if you have wooden floors buy a good caulk gun ask the advice of a hardware store person…buy the caulk gun and good caulk and start to caulk ALL of the cracks and crevices in your wall moldings, all around the windows molding and of course whatever you can in your floors….go on and read all of the FAQs…..You must do this….and you cannot put your clothes back into the drawers…wash everything and then put them into plastic bags and then into plastic rubbermaid containers …you can buy these at WalMart or Target or a store like that……I have a son in college…what college did you get accepted to ? Congratulations….maybe you can major in pest control management !! They need all the help they can get !!! Keep in mind that they hide in dark small spaces…so give them as few places as possible to hide in….its a process but if you clear out the clutter and clean and use some good products you should have success….Bugalina

33 Nero January 12, 2007 at 1:45 am

Well I don’t have carpet (and now I really don’t plan on getting any at all), so the vaccuming would be a problem obviously since I have hardwood floors. Meaning I can’t truly mop, it’ll ruin the tiling, I’ll have to run a damp mop to keep the dust off the floors and what not, but that still doesn’t stop me from planning to dust necessary places with DE.

There aren’t many cracks in my floor since it’s fairly new (it’s not a year old yet) but there are places I’d need to caulk up. I have a single lamp that provides light for my room and the living room and it has no shade. It’s made entirely out of metal, but I won’t hesitate to check that either.

I think I’m going to get rid of all the clothes inside the dresser (that’s the only 100% wood item I have in my room), and buy more plastic containers. Then there’s painting my room too. Thankfully I don’t keep things up on my walls at all, so that cancels out them hiding in picture frames, posters or wall clocks. No curtains either, just black shades but I’ll get those too.

At least the cleaning part is a dream come true for my mother. She still thinks my room is dirty and she’ll enjoy the cleaning from top to bottom…as well as easing my sanity.

As for College, it’s nothing too big, just Bronx Community College, a bus ride from where I live. Amidst my bedbug craziness, I’m fairly excited about going.

34 nobugsonme January 12, 2007 at 2:47 am


I’m glad your bed bug war is going well! I hope you’ll be home free soon.

You said, “all I’m saying is that while Mightbusters and Kleen Free might not be the best way to kill bedbugs long term–it is the only other choice we have at this time. at least in the NYC area. no offence but, your not giving anyone else here another choice, your just telling them what you wish would be allowed in this area to use for bedbugs.”

No offense is taken (and again, I hope you won’t be offended that I disagree), but this does not fairly represent my views. Yes, I do think we need to work to get thermal treatment legalized here. But I am not simply saying people have no choice. I am being honest: people who cannot use pesticides may not be able to eliminate their bed bugs. They may reduce them, but I have not seen evidence that you can eliminate them.

And for every person who reads this who is genuinely unable to handle pesticides, there are doing to be 20 others reading this, saying “I don’t like pesticides. I think I will follow this other route.” When you say “Who cares?” Well, the point is, when people come to this site, they’re often looking for suggestions. There’s a lot of murky and bad advice about how to get rid of bed bugs out there on the web. I want to make sure we are really giving good advice here.

I would be very open to hearing from people who beat bed bugs permanently without any DE, drione, or other pesticides. I would love if this worked. But saying it’s an option isn’t really doing anyone any favors unless we KNOW it’s an option.

I do really appreciate your perspective and what you’re sharing here.

35 nobugsonme January 12, 2007 at 2:54 am

Sounds like things are looking up– congratulations on your college acceptance. You can go amazing places in life with education. 🙂
Also, glad your family is behind you and helping with this. It can be hard being “the one who gets bitten” in a home where others aren’t. Lots of us understand how that is. (Myself included!)
Remember to wash things on hot and dry on hot for a long time (1.5 to 2 hours: long past when it becomes dry) and then seal things into airtight bags while you’re still in the laundry room (or maybe you have a machine). Don’t bring them home the way you used to. Then you can put the bags in the room (plastic tubs are handy, but not usually airtight in themselves). Remember the smallest bed bug nymphs are 1mm and the largest are 1/4″: the smallest are hard to see. They can get through tight spaces. (More in the FAQs!)

36 Bugalina January 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Nero..You can get a fine education at Bronx Community.( find out who the best professors are )….the secret in life is to really want something…if you really want it can get it…I know that might sound corny but I think its true…you have to have a plan, a goal, and then you have to work hard to achieve that goal..Don’t be influenced by others…keep your own counsel…and map out your future…because g-d willing, you will have a future..and its up to you what you do with it !!! For now…keep your room clean, clutter free, and fight to kill these bugs…you will WIN !! Deb

37 jessinchicago January 12, 2007 at 8:54 pm

I’ve been following your story, Nero. I’m so excited that you got your college acceptance letter. Now you have something positive to look forward to. Remember that your future is in the palm of your hands, and you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to. It’s true.

Congratulations! I hope you’re feeling proud and happy about this. You’ve earned it.

And listen to the others who have been doing a fantasitc job of guiding you throughout your bedbug ordeal. I’ve been watching, and they KNOW what they’re talking about.

Smiles from Chicago.


38 Stephen July 14, 2007 at 7:33 pm

I have just purchased a house that has not been lived in for approximately a year. I found in one of the bedrooms a bed mattress and boxspring that appears to be new. Can bedbugs survive this long if the house has been through seasonal changes with no one living in the house for a year? I plan to place double sided carpet tape around the bed to see if anything is alive in there! I will also vaccum the carpet in the room and vaccum the bed/boxspring thoroughly. No other furniture is in the room. Anyone have anything to add? Thank you!

39 nobugsonme July 14, 2007 at 10:37 pm

Hi Stephen,

Is there any reason to think the bed or the home had bed bugs, besides the bed being new?

If it did, we’re told they can possibly go dormant, and that they can possibly live as long as 18 months without feeding.

I personally would not take a chance on the bed, if you thought it might have bed bugs. Unfortunately, carpet tape may not catch them.

It’s worth considering also that if there were bed bugs, they could survive just as easily in the walls, floors, and in other cracks, as they can in a bed. If you think there are bed bugs, I’d have the entire home inspected and treated ASAP.

You might want to paste this–your question, my answer–into a forum topic here:

… and continue the conversation there. You’re bound to get more advice. And your login will work there too.


40 buggedin NYC September 3, 2007 at 11:34 pm

I hate these nasty things — prefer good ole’ Texas cockroaches you can step on and be rid of. Anyway, as of 2 months it looks like I’ve been successful in my attempts to rid myself of the pests, but I am lucky. I had a pretty vicious but very contained infestation — I have a pillowtop mattress (pillowtop and quilted on both sides, so there are loads of lovely crevices for the critters to live in) and hardwood floors with no carpet in the bedroom. The bagging-and-gagging worked well for me, but again, my apartment is a one-bedroom (only one place for them to find food) with all hardwood or tile flooring, no one sleeps on the couch, and it was recently renovated, with no cracks in baseboards or walls (although those were treated anyway.) One tip I wanted to share with everyone here is Spacebags – I’ve used them for a while due to limited closet space, but they REALLY came in handy when it was time to bag up all bedding and stuff in the nightstands. I bagged everything right there, THEN took it down to the laundry room to boil and bake, so to speak – no transporting the evil little monsters to another place. For things that I didn’t have the time/energy to wash right away, it served as a nice, space-saving trap for the buggers. I Spacebagged my comforter and took it right to the cleaners (of course, I told them I had a bedbug problem — they nodded – it’s not too uncommon, I guess.) The bags certainly aren’t free, but are re-usable and can really help out when you have to bag a ton of stuff and have little room for storage. I tossed my pillows – not worth it.

FYI, I keep vigilant, as this was a horrific experience, but no sightings/bitings as of yet. My mother in Houston had the same problem (and you could eat off her floors) — she even put a couple of the guys in a ziplock bag – they lived for over 4 months with no food and NO AIR – amazing.

41 buggedin NYC September 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm

I forgot to mention that plastic bags (especially Spacebags) are great for under-the-bed storage – they keep everying clean, and don’t give these guys a place to hide and lay eggs, unlike boxes. I had a couple of boxes under the bed, and I found some eggs in them – yelch!

I should also mention that I did use DE and pesticides – I used everything I could find. BUT, I used a mask, gloves, and have no children nor pets – my options would have been quite different had I possesed either. I did not have them near my kitchen — again, an isolated infestation. Also (and I know it’s been said but it bears repeating) DO NOT use a bug bomb (my mother tried this – big mistake) all is does is run them around – it will not kill them. You have to use special products designed to kill these resilient little devils. Finally, don’t just chase them away with a ton of contact poison – they need to stay put, either trapped within your mattress by a cover, or near the bed to crawl through the poison to get to you, the food (yelch!!!) FYI, any mattress cover that will keep in/out dust mites will work for bedbugs (or so I’ve read, and it seems to have worked for me.) I bought a really good one (doesn’t make you sweat at night) at Bed Bath and Beyond for around $60 – well worth it for me, and I won’t take it off for 2 years. I used a cheaper but heavy duty vinyl one for the box spring (@20.)

42 nobugsonme September 4, 2007 at 12:51 am

Hi buggedinNYC,

Thanks for your comments. Glad your bed bugs appear to be gone.

A few points: first, I recommend XL and XXL ziplocs. They have double zips and are very well sealed. I have not tried the new resealable SpaceBags, but I note that the vacuum seal ones did not work well for me. Also, NEVER use a bag that has had dirty stuff (dirty=could have been exposed to bed bugs) for clean stuff (clean=known bed bug-free). This is VERY important.

Also, while it is possible to get rid of your own bed bugs if you do your research, are very cautious, do not make any mistakes with the substances you use, are lucky AND do not live in a space attached to anyone else’s home (that is infested), people in multi-unit buildings can and should never assume their neighbors don’t have bed bugs. For this reason, I’d caution anyone in a multi-unit or attached home against trying to self-treat, since neighbors above, below, and on all sides must be professionally inspected and will likely need treatment.

All the best!

43 nobugsonme September 4, 2007 at 12:53 am

Oh, and I also would not personally store anything under the bed during treatment. (For my own sanity, frankly, not after treatment either.) I know that’s hard in a NYC home, where space is at a premium, but personally, I want nothing to obstruct my vision. A sealed bag is probably safe, so others may feel differently. But during treatment, you want things as sparse as possible.

44 buggedin NYC September 4, 2007 at 1:55 am

Totally agree on the underbed-storage issue during treatment — I should’ve been more clear. I kept everything out of the room during treatment, but they are great for after-treatment storage, as they don’t give the critters a good place to hid – they don’t like slippery plastic – prefer fabric. I would caution against keeping too much under the bed, though, so you can see everything, but in my particular situation it works (I have plently of room left over.) A good vacuuming under the bed once a week keeps me sane. FYI, I did have professional help (no way would I try this all by my lonesome) but did quite a bit on my own. Thanks!

45 buggin out September 7, 2007 at 10:32 pm

HELP! I just found bedbugs in the pleats of my bedskirt and a few in the seams of my mattress. I live in an apartment building and reading all the comments on this website it seems like I have to get the landlord involved. My husband and I threw out the bedskirts and killed the bugs we found in the seams but unfortunately we did not know what we were dealing with and used bug foggers in the bedrooms before discovering the bedbugs. We have been sleeping in the living room every since while I wait for my order of DE to arrive. We have a 3 bedroom apt and found them in 2 of the bedrooms, the bedroom in the middle of the 2 have not shown any signs of bed bugs but will still treat. Any advice from anyone who has dealt with their landlord? At first I was too embarrased but obviously it is not my problem, I moved here 7 months ago and my furniture is either new or what I previously owned so the bugs had to have come from the neighbors.

46 hopelessnomo September 7, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Hey buggin out, sorry you found bedbugs. Please save a few in a ziploc bag and read the rest of the FAQs as they will help you a lot. There is a landlord/tenant faq that will give you an idea of what to expect in your city, if it’s listed, or how to search for that information elsewhere. There are also many treatment faqs. Finally, you can also ask a question or participate in the forums, the blue bug above.

You just… call your landlord. ASAP. It’s as simple as that. Well, no, but you need not overthink it, just make the first call. You should remain calm when you speak to them. This will help a great deal. Depending on where you live, chances are they’ve come across this before and will have someone good already under contract. If not, you need to make your case for expert treatment since a knowledgeable and experienced PCO is usually the key to solving this problem and not everyone knows bedbugs. Treatment is recommended roughly every 2 weeks until there are no more bites and no more signs of bugs (fecal specks, blood, cast skins). Most people need at least two treatments and many need several more. However, this can be over relatively quickly if you and your landlord are smart about it. Adjacent units should be inspected to make sure the infestation is not coming from the neighbors. There are many ways to get bedbugs and it’s not easy to identify the source. You will need to deal with your clothing and linen, and will probably need to return to your bedroom. Sleeping in the living room will just spread the bedbugs to that location.

Good luck!

47 nobugsonme September 8, 2007 at 12:33 am

This is good advice from Nomo. Do read the FAQs before you do too much, since it can help you avoid mistakes. Don’t worry too much about speaking with the landlord. There is no way to prove where your bed bugs came from (work, new furniture delivered in trucks, a building handyman and neighbors are all possible). So don’t allow the landlord to blame you, but you also should not be certain who to blame. Neighbors should have their homes inspected by a qualified PCO but remember, they may have them and have no idea (if they are unallaergic). Most important thing is prompt treatment by a professional who knows their stuff. Oh, and don’t start with DE before consulting this PCO. Some of them won’t treat you if you first self-treat. Ask them and you can probably supplement with it later (food grade DE is good stuff).

48 Shyam Iyer June 24, 2008 at 4:54 am

I stay in Dubai, UAE and have a 2 1/2 month old baby at home. We have noticed a couple of bed bugs over the last few days on a sofa cum bed in the living room. This is used for sleeping at night although there are no complaints of bug bites as yet.

I am not too sure of going in for PCO treatment with my baby around at home. Is there any way out…Please help, treat this as an SOS call…
Waiting for a response at the earliest….

49 nobugsonme June 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Hi Shyam,

The best thing might be to call the best PCO you can in Dubai (friends will likely have recommendations, even if no one has had bed bugs) and talk to them. I have heard some US PCO says they would treat with steam if there is an infant under one in the home. I suspect a safe treatment can be provided for a home with a toddler. In any case, contacting them and communicating your concerns should be a possibility before you actually consent to treatment.

Steam must be carefully and strategically applied — it is possible to do yourself but a pro will do a better job. (The same is even more true of pesticides and dusts.)

I also recommend you copy and paste your query onto the forums page, since you will likely get more responses there:

(or click blue forum button at top right).

50 ew_icky_bad_critterz September 6, 2008 at 3:49 am

ok, so…i woke up today with bites. all evidence points to the dreaded conclusion.

here’s the issue. i spent half the year unemployed, am finally working but only PT and BARELY enough to pay my rent. i am in a situation where i owe back rent, and am just barely surviving.

i SERIOUSLY cannot afford a professional. at all. i can go to my landlord, but my tenuous situation with him makes that a scary proposition as well (as in i could LOSE my home).

i am in serious panic mode.

i cannot afford this. at all. what can i do?

51 ew_icky_bad_critterz September 6, 2008 at 3:51 am

oh i should prolly add that while the bites fit the profile to a “t”, i cannot find ANY evidence of the bugs themselves. no droppings, no blood, no sheddings.

am i just being paranoid (please say yes)?

52 nobugsonme September 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm


You need to determine whether you actually have bed bugs and THEN work out how to deal with it, IMHO. There’s a faq on finding a sample. This can be hard if you have few bed bugs (which may be the case) but you need to learn to search for them and do so until you can confirm them.

If money were not an issue, a bed bug dog would be a big help, but unfortunately, this can cost hundreds of dollars.

I suggest going to the forums where you’ll likely get additional perspectives:

53 joella October 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

please email with some product names that may help me to control bed bugs…

Between the kids,pets, & hubby ,i barely afford
to breath every 2 weeks.(happy hour )


54 nobugsonme October 13, 2008 at 8:36 pm


I would not advise against Doing It Yourself (DIY) if I thought that getting rid of a bed bug infestation was as easy as dealing with other home problems like cockroaches, flies, or a broken toilet.

Please read this FAQ again — I do not personally have advice on do-it-yourself sprays.

If you live in rented accommodation, it is worth finding out if your landlord is liable for treatment. You have the best chance of success with a knowledgeable professional doing the bed bug killing. (And if neighbors are infested, whether or not you or they know it, this can keep your DIY program from being successful, per the FAQ above.)

If you must do self-treatment, it will take research, persistent treatment, thoroughness and some good tools. It is possible to do a lot with dry vapor steam and some of the references in our links section (such as the Australian Code of Practice and the Armed Forces guide to bed bugs). It’s important to take precautions when doing so so please read the FAQ and do your research.

Treatment of clothing and other items using a hot washer and dryer would also be necessary. And if it were to have a chance of being successful, you would likely have to steam your home and furniture repeatedly in a strategic fashion. Even then, this may not be enough.

I suggest going to the forums where you’ll likely get additional perspectives:

55 Sleepstight October 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Sup…..I’m 13 and I have bedbugs. My whole family is P.O.’ed since every night we bet at least 2 bites. We already got a steamer and wanna know more about Drione Dust and if it affects allergenics if we need to stay outta the house (if so, how long???). Also, HOW DO YOU TELL MOSQUITO BITES FROM BEDBUG BITES?!?!? I have no idea how to tell them abart. My mom looks at them for hours and can’t tell them apart.I go outside and play Football, Baseball, and my High School Marching Band so I get bit a lot. HELP MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

56 nobugsonme October 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm


Thanks for your message. I am sorry, I can’t advise you on how best to use pesticides. Even steam must be used with caution to avoid mold and other problems.

Pesticides can cause problems for some people and as the FAQ above explains, the best idea (if possible) is to have bed bugs treated by a professional with experience killing bed bugs. If you are renting, in some places, the cost may be covered by the landlord.

It is not really possible to be sure you have bed bug bites based on the appearance or feeling. (Most who have known they were bitten by bed bugs did feel they could distinguish them, but that’s another story.)

Do you know for sure that you have bed bugs? Have you had one identified? I encourage you to have your parents come to our forums if they would like to learn more about bed bugs:

57 Sleepstight October 16, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Oh darn….I thought you could tell em apart….guess not… but Ya, I’ve seen a few bedbugs, alive and dead in my house. My sis spent hours into the night on this website researching bedbugs…learned alot of new things from here. My dad already got the drione dust today and I didn’t even know about it. can you give me a website concerning drione dust?

58 merlies December 5, 2008 at 2:55 am

please i need help i cannot sleep because of bed bugs same as kids always checking day and night if those little devils are there please help any budy there who can help

59 nobugsonme December 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Sleepstight, sorry I missed your message about Drione. We don’t have information on that. But you can google “MSDS drione” and should get the safety information.


If you have bed bugs you will probably need a knowledgeable professional to help get rid of them.

You will find support from people who understand what you’re going through in our forums. Please click this link and post there:

60 Ravan Asteris December 14, 2008 at 5:09 pm

You know, this “get a PCO”, “use pesticides” business makes me very unhappy.

I have pets, and I am chemically sensitive. Sure, the pesticides will kill bedbugs, but what use is that if I’m broke and too sick to work because of pesticide poisoning?

There has to be better. When termites can be treated naturally, why can’t bedbugs?

61 nobugsonme December 15, 2008 at 12:13 am


You have other options. Thermal treatment is good, and dry vapor steam coupled with dust is labor intensive (must be repeated) but can work. Good PCOs do work with people who are chemically sensitive, often using steam and other methods.

If you actually read the post above, it is advising people not to spray their own pesticides (a much more likely source of medical problems than having someone who knows what they’re doing treat, via any methods).

Check out my response to your other comment here:

62 Jennifra January 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm

So… I guess this is where I’m going to cut in and share my bed bug story, along with the progress I am at right now with it all.
*big long sigh, checks the ground to see if anything is attacking her mid day*
So… Basically I found this beautiful 2 bedroom apartment, I thought I had lucked out. Yay starting my 3rd year of university with a quick way to get there and a beautiful spacious apartment to study in.. So I thought…
I was living in my new apartment, with even a damn mattress on the ground, nothing… Untl perhaps, 3 months in I started getting these itchy little welts.. I had no idea what it could be… new detergent? mold? what the hell am I allergic to? Ingrown hair on my toe? I dont think so…
So this kept on, it wasn’t annoying or constant enough to really clue in yet, but I was getting 5 bites a month on average..
I started going on the internet, wondering if maybe I could google my worries away.
I saw that bed bugs give these welt like symptoms, but I had never ‘seen’ one so where could the harm be?
This went on all summer, til about.. around 3 weeks ago.. I was just putting my crumby plate of the most amazing cheesecake on the ground beside my bed.. yes.. I eat in bed… sometimes.. but the bugs dont like my cheesecake, I know this.
I saw a little spec on the ground, and with me being my *smacks her leg, god dammit what was that, that better not be a bed bug in my damn pants*, anyway that spec on the ground, Im a little obsessive compulsive, and I was like ew, I gotta give this place a clean…. but then… it moved. I launched out of the bed, smacked the light on and took a squat right near it so I could see it better. It was a little flat mofo, brownish red.. yah basically if your on this page, you all know what a bed bug looks like.. My worst nightmare had come true, I have those creepy little bastards coming in my bed and getting me in my most vulnerable, comfortable, self relieved state.
So now what I do?
I go on a bloody rampage, I took that mofo, stuck him in a journal with tape so I had some proof. And took my room apart. I started cleaning vigorously.. took the sheets off my bed to examine my beautiful new memory foam mattress…. there are little pepper specks on it, not moving… nothign really moving whatsoever, but I did find a 2 sheddings from their shell… it must be… unless someones been picking their old scabs and sticking them under my sheets.
Great great.. So this is all my evidence? one live one and a few little scraps? Then I move my dresser, start bagging up all my clothes and washing them in boiling water, only to rebag them in new bags and stick them at the front of my apartment away from those mofos.
When I moved my dresser, I found great.. one DEAD one.. one big FAT dead one… he was a good size.. missing his legs.. been decomposing for a while no?
Stupid jerks!
SO I take everything apart, and I know I should not have done this. but since my bed was apart, I had to sleep on the couch. and there was nothing, no bites for 5 days, not even after… but when I awoke that morning.. around noon because I had been up to 4 trying to fend them off my boyfriend just incase – I saw one, sitting in the corner behind my TV, the biggest one Id seen yet… and he was live, and trying to ram his fat arse into a crack in the wall. NOOOOOOOO THEY ARE FOLLOWING ME ! BLast it!
SO this is where the phone call comes to the land lord, pest place and all.
And this is where I am now.. I had the place sprayed last week, the guy came in and inspected my place at the same time and gave me a detailed report – because Im a bug creep and I asked him to- and he found absolutely no live bed bug activity. he sprayed, flushed, and inspected. He said all he found was some old shit they had left on the runners of my bed as a thankyou for my amazing, vitamin-rich blood. How caring of them.
So where do I go now? Basically the guy is coming tomorrow, I havent been really living in this place since the first spray, I come during the day, hang out and sleep at my boyfriends.. however we are going to sleep here tonight…. I know I know.. I should stay in the same room, the bed and wait for them…. but It is way too much for my poor mind to handle.
I havent seen any, and what I think could be little nymphs, are dead.. and full of blood, they have really hard circular body and its blood red and thehy have antennas and 6 legs.. meets the description.. but I dont know if they are bed bugs, unless that is them full of blood and dead.
*checks the ground for about 30 seconds*
So anyway..
He’s coming tomorrow to spray my place, and the apartments above and below me.. ALl i want to do is put my house back together… Could it be that they arent even breeding and living in my place, but coming down from the messy cluttery guy upstairs who keeps his apartment nice and hot? I would like to think its not me, but I know these mofos can hide like no other and you wouldn’t suspect a thing. He’s getting his place sprayed… and I hope they tell me that they found an infestation in his place, cause there would be -if one – a very small one in my place from the amount of bites and evidence.. but then again.. you never know….
wish me

63 nobugsonme January 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Hi Jannavieve,

I responded to your other comment. I encourage you to come to the forums also, for more support and info.:

64 buggingout January 13, 2009 at 11:44 am

So, I’ve been reading a lot on this website and it is very helpful. I understand that most people are against self-treatment but here is my problem. Before x-mas, I started itching. I thought I had dry skin, and bought some cream which I applied regularly. When I went away for x-mas, the itching stopped. However, upon my return 10 days later, it started again and after examing my legs, I saw what looked like 5-6 little zits in clusters of 2-3 on my legs. These bites tend to itch about 2 days after they appear. After some internet research, I realized that I have bed bugs. I have been getting about 4-6 bits a night. My husband, that lucky devil, either isn’t getting bites or doesn’t react. My husband thinks we can treat this ourselves, but I was sure we needed to bring in a professional. So, I brought in a highly recommended pest control company (I researched them on Angie’s List and they have a bed bud division). They came yesterday and could not find any bed bugs. They said that they will ont treat until they find evidence of bed bugs. The only option they gave us was to bring in dogs that are specially designed to sniff out bed bugs, but they want $250 for that type of inspection. The whole treatment of our upper floor (where I think the bed bugs are–I have not been bitten on the 1st or 2nd floor) is only $850 so this seems ridiculous. Have anyone tried using these dogs to detect bed bugs? Also, since they will not treat our house at this time, I have agreed with my husband and ordered the pest control products (the pest control company recommended using Mother D and Steri-fab), as well as the matress and box spring cover. I really feel like I don’t have another option. I have begun washing and bagging all my clothing and putting them on the second floor, away from any possible infestation, but I’m not sure what bags to us. Recommendations? Also, I’ve seen varying estimates on how long items have to be placed in the hot dryer for–is it 20 minutes or 2 hours? All the information out there makes it very confusing.

65 Bay Area Bo February 25, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Don’t forget Food Grade DE to kill them. I am going to treat on my own to because I live in a SFR rented but I know that I did not have BB until my roomie moved in. She stayed in a hostel for a week before coming and that I believe is where it came from. But I think with diligence and a lot of DE, we can do it on our own. One post talks about the professional visiting 5 times but I think she just got recommedations, such as diligent hot laundering and DE spread everywhere, as well as lots of vaccuuming. I bought a $99 dollar steamer b/c I can’t afford the $1500 dry steam variety. I think if steam needs to get to 212 degrees, it can kill the bugs. Good luck.

66 nobugsonme February 26, 2009 at 2:07 am

Hi Bay Area Bo,

The FAQ on steaming has suggestions and links to resources which explain how to steam properly to kill bed bugs, and how to do so safely. Even if you’re not using a dry vapor steamer, I would read the information provided.

I do want to note for others reading this that the steaming FAQ does provide suggestions from readers and PCOs about dry vapor steam models starting at $399. I know that will be too much of an expense for many, but it is important that $1500 is not the base price for a dry vapor steamer. There are both the Ford Focuses and there are the Lexuses of the dry vapor steam cleaner continuum.

The FAQ on DE may also be helpful.

67 College student April 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Hello, I am a college student who has moved to an apartment. I have been living here since september 08 and have been treated for bed bugs. For me I have a problem because of my bed. It isnt really a bed but a futon(no mattress) with a bunch of mattress toppers on top of it. I put the toppers in a vinyl zippered mattress cover and it seemed to help. I got sprayed twice since this time but now it seems like the problem has started up again. I havent actually seen any since i got sprayed but I have gotten a few bites( some seemed like they went away within an hour) so are they bed bugs?The thing is I have noticed a blood stain on my pillow and decided to recover them with white ones to make it more visible. This morning i woke up and there were 3-4 blood stains!!! I am really busy with school and I do not have time to do the bug prep for bugs with PCO( which the landlord gets terminex). I live in apartment complex and the landlord always schedules the appointment during busy times of the semester. what could I do until the semester is over? Having this problem is making my grades suffer because I dont get enough sleep and cant stop thinking about them! By the way is there anything to treat bed bug bites?My past bites have turned black and is really bothering me ( image wise). Thanks.

68 nobugsonme April 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Hi College Student,

Bed bugs can be living in the futon mattress, the bed toppers, the futon frame or base, or any other futniture in the room. They can also be living in the walls and floors.

For this reason, encasing bedding is just the tip of the iceberg. Bed bug treatment can be very effective, but ONLY if you participate 100% with prep AND if the PCO is aggressive and thorough and treatment is repeated in all infested units until all bed bugs are gone.

It’s important to get treated properly or they will just keep breeding and biting.

Please come to the forums if you need more support; you will get more responses there:

69 College student April 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm

thank you for replying.

“Bed bug treatment can be very effective, but ONLY if you participate 100% with prep AND if the PCO is aggressive and thorough and treatment is repeated in all infested units until all bed bugs are gone.It’s important to get treated properly or they will just keep breeding and biting.”

Yea- thats what i figured but i feel my complex I live in which has hundred of units are infested. The last time terminix came they sprayed for all kinds of bugs- mostly cockroaches and bed bugs but I have a feeling they didn’t change any sprays of anything like that.

70 nobugsonme April 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

College student,

I understand. Well, if you want more feedback, please do come to the forums. Few people read the comments on the FAQs besides me. 🙂

71 none May 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

I have been told that bed bugs crawl inside peoples mouths and defecate; thus creating “morning breath”. Is this true?? please answer at the email address

72 nobugsonme May 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I generally do not respond to comments via email, but to allay your fears, I did in this case.

No! Bed bugs defecating in your mouth is not the cause of morning breath.

In the many thousands and thousands of emails and bed bug comments and forum posts I have read, here and elsewhere, I have seen probably one comment where someone said a bed bug crawled in their mouth and bit them.

I suspect it is extremely, extremely rare. It is not something to worry about. If you have bed bugs, you need to get rid of them, in general, but this is one thing I would not lose sleep over!

If you want to learn about bed bugs, this may help.

73 KTown July 29, 2009 at 1:57 am

My husband and I live in Manhattan and we found bedbugs this past Friday. We suspected we had them as we were noticing bites for a couple of weeks, but we couldn’t find any evidence. Also around the time we noticed the first bites, we didn’t have an air conditioner in our apartment yet and were cooling the house with open windows and fans, so we also had mosquito bites.

We know someone who lives here who had bedbugs before we moved here (last winter) and we are pretty sure that they came from him. We knew that it was a possibility that we could get them since this is a close friend, and we have him over a few times a month as well as visiting him.

We sleep on a sofa bed and so far it’s the only place we’ve seen them. On Friday we tried using tape around the cracks that had evidence of them and only caught one tiny one. Saturday my husband was taping it up again and happened to stick the tape into the crack. It came out covered in eggs, babies, and one big adult. We went into battle mode and pulled apart the couch (it’s from Ikea so it unscrews easily), and we taped up all of the ones we could get to with one of those rollers that’s designed to get pet hair/lint off your clothes. The tape wasn’t quite sticky enough to hold all of them down, some of the smallest babies were crawling around on it, and we ended up smashing them as we taped them. As each roller sheet got full we peeled them off, folded in half, and dropped them in a ziploc sandwich bag which was sealed unless we were putting more in. Once they were all hiding in tiny crevices, my husband pulled them out one by one with a pair of tweezers and we taped and bagged those ones too. Eventually we couldn’t find anymore and washed the area with a scrub brush and hot water to remove any eggs. We flushed the water down the toilet.

That night we still got the same amount of bites, so on Sunday we did some more searching and fond out that they were hiding in another area of the couch. We did the same thing in that crevice, which was close to the wall. This wall is brick and does not attach to our neighbors. The bed bugs were building a nest between that wall and our couch. These two areas had much less bed bugs and we got as many as we could using tweezers, tape, and scrubbing. We had killed a lot at this point but we still got some bites that night.

Today my husband brought home a small hand held steamer. It was about $40. We can’t really afford anything else right now. He found a couple of bed bugs roaming around and looking for hiding places, blasting them with the steamer does kill them. We used it in all of the cracks and crevices in our couch and around the wooden baseboards on the brick wall our couch touches. We’ve also pulled it away from the wall. We did wash all of our laundry, bedding, etc. in hot water and dry them on hot.

We’re still planning on getting a PCO in, but we really want as many of them gone as possible as soon as possible. Now I’m wondering if we did too much. Will they scatter and cause more problems later? Spread to our neighbors? We tried to make sure we got them all but who knows if a couple managed to get away. We don’t think we can totally get rid of them by ourselves, but we do want to kill as many as possible so we won’t get bitten so much!

74 NYC bugger September 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I had a PCO come in and those bugs came back after 6 months or so.
I used diatomaceous earth and havent had a problem since. just an option for those who cant afford a pco.

75 jean December 24, 2009 at 8:28 am

Well I have 2 rental houses and if I rent it and there is no sign of bedbugs or other pest until the renters move in why do you feel thqat I would have to pay to get rid of their pest that they had before they moved in.

76 Susan December 25, 2009 at 6:53 am

I am having the PCO come on Monday. In the meantime, I am expecting some stuff to arrive in the mail overnighted today from Q somebody or other. I just want to temporarily treat until the PCO comes. I will not change my sheets, so he can see all the casts and blood stains. It is amazing that I just found out I had them two days ago, and now I see that I have lots. I am the person who does not react badly to the bites, so I didn’t know I had them. I am getting the DE and also some spray. I was just thinking of spraying between the mattress and frame (I have a water bed), just to get a couple of nights sleep until Monday. Does anyone else have a water bed. I am thinking that maybe I will have to get rid of it.

77 nobugsonme December 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm


I don’t recommend treatment before the PCO comes, since some products/applications can disperse bed bugs.

As for the water bed, any bed frame can become infested. It may be possible to treat it. Please repost your question in our forums if you want more feedback:

78 danh January 24, 2010 at 1:06 am

terrific responses.

Just wondering if it is the case that
“If your landlord hires someone unlicensed to do pest control, in NYC at least, they’re breaking the law”

what can you do about this, call the police?

79 nobugsonme January 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm


Really good question. I am pretty sure it’s not the police. I am looking into what you should do — stay tuned.

80 nobugsonme January 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm


I asked someone in the industry, who said,

In NY State they should contact the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, in regard to unlicensed and unregistered “pest Control” companies. In other states it may be their Dept. of Env. Protection (e.g. NJ & CT). In PA it would be state Dept. of Agriculture.

You should definitely do that.

But — speaking as myself and not an expert on this — that likely only gets the unlicensed guy in trouble, rather than making any progress in your home.

In such circumstances, in NYC, if the landlord is called out on the illegality of this move and won’t make it right by hiring a licensed PCO, you may want to contact 311 and file a bed bug complaint. If HPD files a violation, then the landlord would presumably have to prove a licensed PCO dealt with the problem (and got rid of it).

When filing a bed bug complaint, it helps immensely if you have obvious evidence (bed bugs visible when an inspector comes, if one is sent), because we’re told 311 does not necessarily come and if they do come, they demand to see live bed bugs in your home when they come (not samples, not dead bugs).

It’s possible that this kind of story is outdated and that they’ve moved on from that viewpoint and now accept other forms of bed bug evidence, but we have not heard any reports of progress.

81 BuggedAndUnemployed February 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

“Get a PCO”. Sounds so simple. I also need new clothes, better furniture, car repairs and fresh vegetables every day. I have none of them.

Why? Because I am unemployed and barely getting by, that’s why!

Q: – So where do I get the money for a PCO when I can’t even afford to get new shock absorbers for my car?

A: – I don’t. I HAVE TO do my own pest control. Period. End of subject.

I’m sure a good PCO would be much better. But some links on the latest research about which pesticides work (and which don’t) really should be included on this site. But all I can find is this:
“please do a ton of research, ask people a lot of questions, buy a respirator (not goggles or a face mask, but a respirator mask). Read and follow directions diligently.”

Not enough. Not nearly enough. And, frankly, if we are going to “do a ton of research” anyway, why do we need this site?

82 nobugsonme February 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm


I’m sorry you’re frustrated and I understand it.

I just responded to a poster in the post you wrote in our forums, with some links to research on pesticide effectiveness, and information on how to find and kill your own bed bugs, and you may find it helpful. Rather then reposting it, please click this link to go to that thread. I hope it helps.

83 nobugsonme May 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Today, shortened this FAQ and improved navigation.

Added “Short version” at the bottom (linked from the beginning) with links to reasons not to DIY and also what to remember if you must DIY.

84 NHollywood July 20, 2010 at 4:30 am

If I had report to you guys (just now) on a Hotel, do you guys go check it?

I want to know if the bedbugs came from the Hotel I stayed at or if the bedbugs were in the new room I rented in a house. I am asking b/c if they are at the hotel, I need proof or something to say that they originated from there and that I need some kind of compensation and demand an extermination in the new room for rent I am in.
If the hotel is checked and comes to be that they were not there and were HERE in this room I have rented on a monthly basis, then my landlord should know about this.

So, my base question is that I do I get the hotel to prove there was no bedbugs in their place and that I didn’t transfer then in my car and into my new place. Can you request the Hotel to hire a PCO and give me proof?

PS-somehow my bites are on my ankles, top of my feet, and maybe a 2-3 on my inner thighs…why is that?


85 nobugsonme July 24, 2010 at 12:35 am


No — this is just a blog about bed bugs and we cannot order inspection of a hotel or a room. You may check if the hotel is on the bed bug registry, which may suggest others had bed bugs there, but it is also a site run by an individual, taking complaints submitted by readers.

Whether the health department or housing department or other offices in the local area can do that depends where you are. If you think you got bed bugs in a hotel, you might call the local health dept. and ask them to inspect or ask if complaints have been filed or inspections done.

If you want treatment for your room, the landlord may be liable regardless of whether you brought the bed bugs in or they came from a neighbor. You need to look into the local laws. A library reference desk or local tenants’ group should be able to help.

Please come to the forums if you would like to discuss this further and get feedback from more people.

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