Diatomaceous earth (DE), a dust, can be used to kill bed bugs (FAQs)

by nobugsonme on March 30, 2007 · 100 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bedbugs, DE, diatomaceous earth, dusts, FAQs, multi-unit buildings, news, pesticides, spread, tools and weapons, treatment

Contents:
General Information
Recent research on DE efficacy
Where to Purchase DE and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment
Application


General Background on DE and dusts

Diatomaceous earth (DE), a dust, can be used to kill bed bugs.

Wikipedia tells us:

Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, diatomite, diahydro, kieselguhr, kieselgur and Celite) is a naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.

Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, as a mild abrasive, as a mechanical insecticide, as an absorbent for liquids, as cat litter, as an activator in blood clotting studies, and as a component of dynamite. As it is also heat-resistant, it can be used as a thermal insulator.

Freshwater diatomaceous earth is used by many in fighting or preventing bed bugs. It is not a pesticide, but a dust made from granulated fossil shells; it kills bed bugs when they make contact with it. So a thin dusting in places where it won’t be disturbed can be helpful in killing bed bugs.

We’re told DE can take ten days to kill bed bugs once they come into contact with it. Besides this, it may have limited benefits depending on how many bed bugs you have, where they are, and how the dust is applied. I would caution people against trying to deal with a bed bug infestation using just DE (or vacuuming, or contact killers such as enzyme cleaners, 90% rubbing alcohol, boiling water). You may have a serious infestation even if you have not been seeing bed bugs, and a PCO experienced with traditional (spray/dust and/or steam) treatments for bed bugs should be brought in, or other treatments such as professional Vikane gas treatment (for entire buildings) or professional thermal treatments. The research examined below goes into more detail on the limits to DE’s efficacy.

That said, people may be able to benefit from augmenting treatment with DE, and others may use it as a preventative against new infestations.

There are other pesticide dusts, but the comments below about “DE” refer only to food-grade freshwater diatomaceous earth (since those which are not food-grade and from freshwater sources are less safe). If you use DE, you need a good tool for applying it. You can buy a puffer. Some have mentioned using a paintbrush or a turkey baster, but I would recommend getting the best tool you can for applying a thin layer of dust. More is not better in the case of DE: bed bugs won’t walk through a thicker coating and so it won’t have a chance to kill them.

Also, since we recommend you work with a PCO, I suggest that you do not apply DE during the course of their treatment without consulting them. They may be using other substances that this may not work with (always a danger when you use anything of your own volition during treatment!) So ask. Also, if you are vacuuming often (as is frequently necessary during treatment–again, ask your PCO) you’ll want to reapply a thin coating when the DE is vacuumed up. It may wear out your vacuum more quickly, so be warned.

Since you should not be inhaling DE, you don’t want it somewhere it will be disturbed. Similarly, putting it on soft furnishings like mattresses and sofas seems like a dangerous idea. Did you ever sit on a dusty sofa? You do not want DE in your lungs, not even freshwater DE.


Although fresh water / food grade DE is safe if used properly, experts recommend using a good respirator mask when applying any dust (such as the one recommended below), and disposable waterproof gloves when applying this or any other substance. No dust is safe if inhaled. Do not use large quantities that are likely to be kicked up and inhaled, and do not place in windowsills where a breeze might blow the dust around.

In our forums, Jim (spideyjg) contributed the following important safety warning (note: I am copying spideyjg’s entire statement below, so you do not need to leave this FAQ):

DE or any pesticide dust is for use only in areas where the living things present are ones you want to die. Cracks, crevices, wall voids etc, applied then left undisturbed.

Apply it, wearing your PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, ventilate the place when done before removing your safety gear.

See the CDC’s Occupational Health Guideline for Amorphous Silica (PDF here), or NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards on Amorphous Silica.

DE is an inhalation hazard per the CDC. It can cause silicosis. It can be quite safe when used properly but isn’t as safe as some hucksters make it out to be.

Your choice to either listen to the CDC and NIOSH who are charged with health and worker safety or some schmoe selling DE as a miracle BB treatment.

Don’t get me wrong I used DE and swear by it as an effective BB weapon but have done enough homework to realize it isn’t as benign as some portray it.

You need to protect yourself from inhaling it and NIOSH recommends a filter depending on the concentration but go for a P100 filtered respirator.

KillerQueen (John Furman of Boot-a-Pest) suggested this,

“I would use a Comfo Classic Respirator [made by MSA] no matter what the product [dust] label tells you.

I use GME-P100 cartridge part number or reference number 815182.” [editor’s note: for information on purchasing these items see Where to Purchase DE and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment.

Whatever respirator you get ensure it is P, N, or R100 rated for finest particulate filtration if you are using ANY pesticide dusts.

Your one set of lungs, your choice, but decide on the facts.

Good advice, thanks Jim and John!

The quotations from others below are, unless otherwise noted, from this thread of comments. (Since a lot else in those comments is not relevant, I won’t just send you there.)

RemedyJones asked,

I am reading mixed messages as to the safety of using DE. It had been recommended that I use fresh water DE since I have pets. Apparently it is food grade. I’ve seen comments on the web stating that it shouldn’t be breathed in or used around areas of high traffic. Others state that it is safe to sprinkle on carpet and floors that it won’t harm pets or humans. So what’s the deal?

Geoffrey Day said:

First off, I am an adviser to a business that sells DE along with other natural and organic pest control products so I am naturally biased. I also use DE and since I haven’t had any BB problems personally, I cannot speak first hand on that matter.

Dirtworks started selling organic fertilizers and learned from farmers that this DE stuff was really something. It is routinely used to quell mite outbreaks in chickens. Lots of farmers swear by this stuff.

I am not a PCO nor an entomologist and perhaps we should have them weigh in here to get their official words on DE.

Fresh water / food grade DE is an ingredient in most pest control powders including numerous best selling flea powders.

At the Dirtworks shop John has a dog named Angel. Angel is routinely treated with DE when necessary, both internally and externally. Angel is doing great! We should all have such an Angel.

If you are concerned about breathing the dust, then avoid breathing it by using the best dust mask you can find. [editor’s note: Bedbugger strongly suggests you use a respirator mask, not a dust mask, to apply DE. Please see spideyjg’s comments above.]

… What you want to do with DE is apply a light film. What I mean by that is a VERY LIGHT film.

If you are applying it in a way that you are kicking up visible dust, you are putting WAY too much down.

Reader Bugalina recommends the use of a small hand bellows to apply DE. (There are links at the bottom to suppliers of such a device.)

Perma-guard, who make food grade freshwater DE, discuss applications of DE in various household settings. They do not list bed bugs, but we are told this product works on bed bugs. (Remember, bed bugs have only become a big problem very recently, and everyone has to catch up with that.)

John Meshna, the owner of Dirtworks, a company that sells (among other things) fresh water DE (fossil shell flour) and also a D-20 which is DE plus pyrethroid insecticides, says

Diatomaceous Earth … is a dust and if you have a low tolorance for dust, you can wear a dust mask or get some one else to apply it. [editor’s note: Bedbugger strongly suggests you use a respirator mask, not a dust mask, to apply DE. Please see spideyjg’s comments above.]I’ve used both the D-20 with pyrethrin and the fossil shell four and it works great to kill fleas, ticks, silver fish and all soft bodied bugs. fortunately i’ve never had to suffer the ravages of bed bugs but, if I did, I would not hesitate to use it everywhere in my house. Why not? I’ve done it already for other pests.

Professional pest control companies make lots of money selling their toxic products and they don’t like products like DE that anyone can apply and work forever, so long as they are down. Even they will tell you that no matter what they do, the bugs might return. DE last forever. It’s a mineral and doesn’t gas off or biodegrade over time.

It does have to come in physical contact with the bugs, so, if there any advantage to the synthetic chemicals is that they can kill by inhalation alone, but this is also what makes them so toxic to us and other warm blooded animals.

I could say more but, check out the Perma-guard web site and mine at dirtworks.net if you need more information.

Nobugsonme said:

John, I believe food grade DE is safe if used properly, though sometimes we hear from people who are clearly over-using it or putting it places they will be breathing. Everyone reading this should realize that you must educate yourself if you apply any products–whether it’s food grade DE or a pesticide.

No matter what you use, I also caution anyone against trying to fight an infestation of bed bugs with just food grade DE (or any other product in isolation, for that matter). Please see a qualified PCO–one with bed bug experience.

The other side of that is that you need to make sure your PCO knows what you’re using (whether it’s Kleen Free or DE or something stronger). Some applications you might do could work against something they might do, and you would have no idea unless you discuss it with them.

PCO Sean referred us to his brief post on DE at the Bed Bug Resource which reminds us that we should call a PCO who is experienced with bed bugs right away (though I’m not a PCO, I tend to agree). Sean warns against the dangers of DE if incorrectly applied, though I think this is even more a problem with non-food grade, non-freshwater DE.

It is worth noting that some PCOs will NOT treat you if you have self-treated. They may refuse to do the work if you have put DE or other substances down before they come in.

As always, Your Mileage May Vary. If you want to use any technique or tool in your bed bug war, research it, find knowledgeable and preferably unbiased advice, and make sure you are cautious. More than anything else, remember how hardy and resilient bed bugs can be. Don’t try one tactic, try every one you can, provided they work together. And I seriously think a PCO can help you figure that out, as talking to others here can.

But don’t do something because someone told you it would work or “be enough.” I think it might figure in many treatment plans, but especially be useful to people who don’t yet have bites or any signs of bed bugs (but know they were exposed to them), or those who’ve gotten rid of bed bugs (and would like some insurance). The information on recent research below may help you determine if using DE or another dust is a good choice for you. Remember, if you want to supplement a professional treatment, do ask your PCO.

Jump to:
Recent research on DE efficacy
Where to Purchase DE and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment
Application



Recent research on DE efficacy

First, a 2009 article “Bed bugs: are dusts the bed bug bullet?” in Pest Management Professional magazine by Michael Potter explores the effectiveness of various dusts, including Mother Earth D (which is 100% DE).

Potter writes,

We tested five different dusts representing two insecticide categories: two pyrethroid-based dusts, DeltaDust (deltamethrin 0.05 percent) and Tempo 1% Dust (cyfluthrin 1 percent); and three desiccant dusts, Drione (pyrethrins 1 percent, piperonyl butoxide 10 percent, amorphous silica gel 40 percent), Mother Earth D (diatomaceous earth 100 percent), and NIC 325 (limestone 99.5 percent). The efficacy of each product was evaluated by confining adult bed bugs (three replicates of 20 insects) from the respective populations on black filter paper circles treated at label rates, (or about 200 mg of dust per cm2). Exposure of bed bugs to the dusts was continuous, and mortality was recorded daily.

The research found that Mother Earth D brand DE “caused substantial (>90 percent) mortality of susceptible and resistant bed bugs within four days and all bed bugs were dead after 10 days.” (Some of the dusts Mother Earth D was compared with in this study have added pesticides, and some of these worked faster, but none worked better over the ten day period.) You can read more about the results here. We understand Mother Earth D brand DE is currently sold only in 10 lb. tubs (from various sources including online supplier Do My Own Pest Control).

Remember, though, the dusts were tested in laboratory conditions.  You cannot force bed bugs to walk on dusts as the lab researchers can.  Until they walk across it, they will not be killed by a dust.  So knowing that a product can kill bed bugs in 24 hours does not mean it will kill your bed bugs within any specified period of time.

Also, a new post on New York vs. Bed Bugs examines the following study:

Journal of Medical Entomology 46(3):572-579. 2009
doi: 10.1603/033.046.0323
Addition of Alarm Pheromone Components Improves the Effectiveness of Desiccant Dusts Against Cimex lectularius

Joshua B. Benoit, Seth A. Phillips, Travis J. Croxall, Brady S. Christensen, Jay A. Yoder, and David L. Denlinger.

This article notes that

The efficacy of diatomaceous earth seems to depend somewhat on the formulation; sometimes it works and sometimes it does not (Allan and Patrican 1994). Resistance also seems to be an issue with diatomaceous earth (Korunic and Ormesher 2000, Rigaux et al. 2001). Previous studies concluded that Dri-die seems to be superior to diatomaceous earths (Allan and Patrican 1994, Appel et al. 1999), and that is what we observed in this study during short-term exposure. Two key points that may alter the effectiveness of Dri-die and DE are the duration of bed bug exposure and the residual effects. Indeed, future studies are needed to test these two aspects for C. lectularius.

I would agree with Renee, who said

The only thing I did know was, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, clearly, but I thought the problem was with application and the difficulty of ensuring exposure, not resistance. Resistance never crossed my mind. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard “bed bugs cannot develop resistance to DE” more than once.

It is important to take note of this, and consider that it may account for why DE does not always work for people (even if they apply it properly, even if bed bugs walk over it, even if they allow sufficient time).

A 2013 study by Michael Potter et. al. tested DE as a bed bug treatment method in six apartments in Kentucky (the units were either in different buildings or not adjacent). In only one of the six, with a very low-level bed bug problem, the use of DE alone was successful. The other five units, no improvement was shown, and in fact, the average change was a 1% increase in bed bugs.

Why was DE so ineffective? Well, for one thing, in this study, DE was the only method used– and participants were encouraged not to do anything else to fight bed bugs. According to “Diatomaceous Earth: Where Do Bed Bugs Stand When the Dust Settles?” in PCT Online:

Residents were asked to do limited preparation prior to treatment. We did not instruct them to disassemble beds, launder bedding or clothing, or dispose of infested furnishings. Moreover, no encasements were installed on beds while insecticide treatments were being evaluated. In this manner we hoped to isolate the effects of DE on bed bug populations, apart from other management inputs.

And,

Each apartment was treated solely with diatomaceous earth (MotherEarth D, BASF Corp.), i.e., no other liquids, aerosols or dusts were applied.

I don’t know of any experts who would recommend DE as a sole treatment method. Moreover, when integrated pest management strategies are employed, they usually go beyond “applying just this one thing” and instead, include steaming, killing bed bugs which can be found, and depending on the situation, treating clothing and belongings.

Many experts who do use DE would probably recommend it be used not just with general IPM techniques, but in concert with the application of residual pesticides.

The PCT article also references earlier studies suggesting that silical gel-based dessicants like Drione and Cimexa may be more effective than DE:

In previous lab experiments, silica gel (formulated as Drione) was faster acting than diatomaceous earth when bed bugs were maintained continuously on treated surfaces (Romero et al. 2009). Recently, we also found silica gel (formulated as CimeXa) to be far more effective than DE on bed bugs allowed to crawl a single time across a narrow strip of lightly dusted filter paper. Similar observations following abbreviated exposure to both desiccants were reported by Benoit et al. (2009).

This does not mean that DE lacks value. However, if it is used, DE is best used as part of an overall approach to eliminating bed bugs, and not as a stand-alone treatment.

It’s worth considering whether a silica gel based dust like Cimexa or Drione may be the right choice for you (and, like DE and DE-based dusts, these are available from suppliers listed below).

Jeff White of Bed Bug Central explains in the April 2014 video below why his choice is Cimexa:

(Alternate link to video.)

Remember also, whatever method you use, an experienced professional is likely to have more success than someone with less knowledge and experience treating bed bugs. With bed bugs, we’re told, technique is every bit as important, if not more so, than what tools you use.

Jump to:
General Information
Where to Purchase DE, Cimexa, and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment
Application

Where to Purchase DE, Cimexa, and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment

Food grade DE (with or without added residual pesticides) can be purchased form many pest control firms, some hardware stores, and online from DoMyOwnPestControl.com, BedBugSupply.com and Amazon.com.

Bed Bug Supply sells J.T.Eaton Kills Bed Bugs brand Diatomaceous Earth and the bellows dust applicator some experts and forum users have recommended (see above).

You can also buy Cimexa (silica-gel based dessicant) at Bed Bug Supply.

click Here to View Our Selection of Bed Bug Products

Do My Own Pest Control sells both natural and chemical dusts, including Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in 4 lb. bags, Mother Earth D (now only available in 10 lb. pails) (see Potter study above, which recommends Mother Earth D).

This company also sells other brands of dust including Delta Dust (see Potter study above) and Tempo Dust, and the bellows dust applicator some experts and forum users have recommended (see above). Note that Delta Dust and Tempo 1% Dust contain DE plus residual insecticides, so please do additional research and, as always, use products according to label instructions, with caution.

do it yourself pest control products and supplies

Amazon sells a variety of food grade DE which frequently changes, and Pest Pistol – Used to Kill Bed Bugs – Insert Diatomaceous Earth bellows dusters. See widget below for some current options including MotherEarth® D Pest Control Dust 10 lb..

Note that KillerQueen (John Furman of Boot-a-Pest) recommends using a full respirator mask for applying DE (specifically, he recommends Comfo Classic brand) with P100 cartridges. You can purchase these Do My Own Pest Control: a Comfo Classic respirator mask (with two cartridges), or purchase the half-face respirator mask or a pair of P100 cartridges separately.

Amazon sellers also offer the Comfo Classic masks and cartridges (in sets of six):

You can also search for other P100 respirator masks and cartridges on Amazon.com.

Jump to:
General Information
Recent research on DE efficacy
Application


Application

Readers have used a bellows duster like the Pest Pistol – Used to Kill Bed Bugs – Insert Diatomaceous Earth to apply DE.

There is doubtless a trick to using these dusters, and it might take practice, but a tool such as this might be useful to those who wish to use DE.  Other methods suggested include using a blusher brush — obviously, one used strictly for this purpose — to apply it, or using the kind of plastic container that dispenses mustard to squirt or dab it. In any case, apply DE lightly and as deeply as possible to cracks and places it won’t be disturbed or kicked up, touched or breathed, by you or anyone else.

If you have questions about applying DE or other dusts, please ask the experts in our forums!

Jump to:
General Information
Recent research on DE efficacy
Where to Purchase DE and other dusts, applicators, and safety equipment

Note: the links above to DoMyOwnPestControl.com, BedBugSupply.com and Amazon.com are affiliate links, which pay a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase through those links. Thanks for helping to support the continued running of Bedbugger.com. Please see our Disclosure Policy for more on our ads and disclosure.

Last updated 9 November 2014

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1 hymenoptera April 2, 2007 at 10:28 am

When using any labeled dust for bed bugs you might consider using a blush
brush not only because bb are shy but because in allows you to coat the cracks
and crevices in which they hide.

2 nobugsonme April 2, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Good advice, hymenoptera!

3 nyjammin May 1, 2007 at 9:14 pm

Can I use DE in dresser draws and the bags that have clothes in them and also inside of shoes?

4 nobugsonme May 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm

Freshwater, food grade DE is safe for humans and animals–but you should not be breathing it in, and you probably don’t want to have it in your clothes as it might irritate you. I am just guessing.

What I can say with more certainty is that bed bugs need to come out of that dresser to bite you. If the dresser is not touching the wall or any other furniture, they have to come down to the floor level and walk out. If they do not bite people they cannot keep reproducing (and or growing, if they are in the first 5 stages of life). So while it may be okay to dust lightly in the corners of drawers, it might be effective to dust just inside and around the base of the dresser. (If the dresser is empty, of course, you could dust it and then vacuum that up later–I am just not sure you need to, and it might be nice not to have it on your clothes, even if it’s not harmful.)

As far as inside bags of clothes, this again is probably not efficient and may not make you comfortable when you put them on again. Dusting in a circle around the bag would be efective if you were concerned something would get out. But if the clothes were washed and bagged in a safe places, washed on the hottest setting, and dried on the hottest setting for a long time (see clothing FAQs), then you should not have bugs in there. To avoid letting them get in when you take out clothes, some people have set up wire shelf units as “Safe” shelves–with the 4 legs standing in bowls of tea tree or mineral oil (as per FAQs on protecting the bed), and perhaps some vaseline on the legs above that. I’d still use the bags on the shelves, but they should be pretty secure in that set-up.

To be safe, though, when you finally unpack the bags, give them one more hot wash/hot dry before unpacking them into drawers. All that should happen at least a few months after you stop being bitten, in my opinion. Rushing it can mean more work.

5 willow-the-wisp May 2, 2007 at 7:48 am

It does take lots of forethought to try and outguess these nocturnal little blood-sucking monsters. Since I don’t have a hamper (any more) I leave a touch of DE on the floor in most of the small walk-in closet. I dump my “dirties” on it and occasionally pump out a little more DE as the pile of washables grows. I do it this way, because there may be a chance that some bug will want to hide in the clothing, so I let just it happen. It will get sliced and diced to some degree (I hope) and if there is a bug in that pile–it will likely come to the Laundromat and get a good rinse, spin and dry. (I’m careful packing it yup into plastic before hitting the Laundromat.) In this way I pretty much get the DE out of my clothes–I hope–and I hope I also kill of any few bugs lingering about in it. I agree it would be irritating to leave DE in your clothes and wear them during the day, and I suppose there may be some build-up of DE in my clothes after a time: but I figure, since the bugs were all “in my clothes” when this started they’d likely want to try and hide in there again.
DE it is a good tool. I use it in heat traps as well as lay it down in floor corners, along the edges of walls, on the baseboards by the entrance, on pipes exiting the abode–and on the bathroom floor. It often gets wiped or mopped up in the bathroom–but the DE in the light sockets is/are forever! Unforutnately I have an upper wallmoulding with a deep groove going all around the place, so that got dusted too–I don’t know if DE is plural or singular, as in … “the sands of time” is an exception to the rule.

6 jessinchicago May 3, 2007 at 10:41 am

I just wanted to add that although DE is deemed “safe,” it is still a dust that you don’t want to inhale. I believe our experts have instructed us to use a respirator when applying DE. There’s a reason for that. I think (though I’m no expert) that DE can damage your lungs if you breathe it in. So I would caution everyone to take care when applying it and I would probably not suggest putting it in places where it might get moved around or stirred up, and inadvertently inhaled. And, as always, when in doubt, ask your PCO!

7 Mike May 21, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Anyone know where where I can buy DE in canada? Everywhere I’ve found on the internet appears to be US based. Any canadians out there that can give me some info on finding it? And (slightly off topic) any leads on finding those extra large ziploc bags in canada would be much appreciated.

Thanks

8 nobugsonme May 22, 2007 at 12:14 am

Hi Mike,
I encourage anyone who finds these and other useful items– in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere– posts a comment to this effect.
In the meantime, food grade DE can often be found at farm supply and feed stores, if you’re in a more rural area. (The odds on that are slim, but I hope it helps.)

9 Bitee in DC June 1, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I’m trying to use DE to deal with what I think/thought is/was a small infestation. Any idea how long it takes for DE to kill them suckers? Is it possible for them to crawl through DE and still bite me before they expire? Thanks in advance.

10 nobugsonme June 1, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Bitee,

How long have you been putting DE down?

A few thoughts:

They have to walk through it to die. You WANT them to sense you are there and walk towards you and walk through it. They will bite you. But it will be their last meal.

This is true also for many pesticides PCOs will use (ie had you gone the traditional route, you would still be bitten, though maybe more would be killed before they got to you, I don’t know.)

So give it some time. Make sure the DE is lightly spread–if it is too thick, they won’t walk through it. Make sure you are there to act as bait (for if you are away, they won’t walk through it.)

11 Bitee in DC June 1, 2007 at 3:20 pm

I’ve been using DE for about 6-8 weeks. I get bites infrequently now, and they have been small bites (from immature bugs, perhaps?), so I’m guessing that it’s working ok, but not completely for some reason. Perhaps there are some that are hatching on the bedframe, coming up for a snack, and then going home, either through the DE or not.

The odd thing is that, although I have gotten bites, and I even see little tracks in the powder on the floor (lots of tracks lately), I have yet to see a single bedbug or bedbug corpse. I have seen a dead potato bug, two dead silverfish, and even a dead hapless fly (pretty cool to watch the fly go, I have to admit), but no bedbugs. Because of this, and because she never seems to get bitten, my girlfriend thinks that it’s all in my head, and this new movie, Bug (about a guy who thinks he has bugs crawling around inside of him or something) isn’t helping.

So how thick is too thick? I don’t want to err on the side of too little, right? I spread that s–t on pretty good. I’ll try to lay off a bit in the future. And how often do you repeat the application? Vacuum before reapplying?

Any advice on the posible bugs on the bedframe? I’ve tried powedering the sides of the box spring and mattress, but hard to tell whether it’s doing any good. Do you have a sense of how often the buggers try to crawl all the way down to the floor, out of the bed, versus how often they are happy to reside on the bedframe or in the folds of the bag I have my box spring in?

By the way, thanks for the site – it’s quite good!

12 nobugsonme June 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Bitee,

Thanks!

What kind of frame is it?

If they can get to you without walking through the stuff, then they will eat and not die.

It should be thin (read the messages and FAQ above) and you can vacuum it up as long as you totally reapply. Since vacuuming can be a good control measure, I would, but not every day. Give it some time.

Have you ruled out the fact that they might be biting you in your desk chair or on any chair in your home, any time of day? Obviously, the floors can still be protected, but make sure they are not, say IN your desk chair.

You may need to better isolate your bed (as per the Protecting the Bed) faqs. It should not be hard to clean them off the bed frame (if metal) with a contact killer and then reassemble. If there are tears in your mattress covers, that could be it too.

13 Bitee in DC June 1, 2007 at 4:49 pm

It’s a metal frame. I just reapplied, much thinner than in the past. I’ll see how it goes. My guess is that there were a bunch of eggs deposited around the floor near the bed, and as they hatch, the little nymphs are walking around, making these little tiny tracks, and quickly dying (most of them, at least). There are LOTS of little tracks around. Scared me when I first saw ‘em.

Pretty certain they aren’t biting me at my desk – the bites are only in the morning, and only after sleeping in my bed.

I just reapplied the DE to the floor and frame. If this doesn’t do it, I’ll work up some more energy and take the frame apart again, spray something on it, and reassemble, as you suggest. I guess I should be glad I’m not getting eaten alive every night!

Thanks again!

14 willow-the-wisp June 1, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Hi Bitee,
Sounds like you need support. If you come into the forums and poke around you’ll find stuff–but I hope you have read the FAQs here on bed isolation encasement 100% too! It does take a while and there are many other things you can do to keep killing the bed bugs while you must also remain in the home as much as possible to be like “unbitten bait”.
I hope you do stop in soon–even if just to read up more on bed bugs. I’m gathering you’ve already noticed how they are not ordinary bugs, and, I’m not surprised you don;t see too many–they are mostly nocturnal and if they are living in the bed biting you–why would they ever want to leave the bed?
They are lazy–but can also sort of follow you around. If/when this happens then they are spread out around the house and harder to kill off.

Bitee–the bed and box spring BOTH need to be 100% covered with a heavy plastic and TOTALLY sealed tight or the matress and boxspring BOTH needs to be covered wiht a mite-proof–or better yet a bed bug proof sealing encasement.
Onlny then will DE (and other measures) help much much more!
You seal the bugs in–and they die … that can take over a year for all of them ot die.
See you in the forums soon ?
I hope!
Best wishes
Willow

15 willow-the-wisp June 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm

hey bitee I should have added: De can possibly tear some holes in some types of encasements (thin plastic is a good ewxample–and thin plastic is also a bad example of a good encasement.) If plastic 1.0mm thick is risky I used 3,, double “wrapt” and a few rolls of good Duct tape. I had some DE inbetween the matress and bottom matress: it started to thin the plastic out.

Also .. if you have a simple metla frame–you can wash it well with hot hot water and murphy’s oil citris–use it thickly. One person claims it was the cleanser on the camles back and rid her of the last of her bed bugs … or she said something like that.

16 Bitee in DC June 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Thanks, WTW, for all of the thoughts and well-wishes. I’ve got the box spring and mattress both in good encasements (I think they’re satisfactory, but it’s not as if there’s any easy way of reall knowing, right? That’s one of the biggest problems – it’s almost impossible to tell how successful you’ve been and where the little monsters are.) and the magic powder spread around. I’m making sure to create perimeters – the bottom of the baseboard, top of shoe molding, and top of baseboard, and especially at the thresholds. I’m really counting on the DE to dessicate those things after exposure.

Also, can I put in a plug for the powder I’m using? It’s not just DE, but DE with pyrethrins and Piperonyl Butoxide, which supposedly makes the pyrethrins last far longer than they would otherwise. Again, can’t tell how well it’s working, but I have found some dead spiders, silverfish, potato bugs, and a fly. Oh – and I finally did find what I THINK is a dessicated bedbug yesterday, finally.

Anyway, see you in the forums, and thanks again.

17 nobugsonme June 3, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Bitee, which brand of DE plus pyrethrins is this? Those products can work well, but use caution. You don’t want to have any contact with it on your skin, with pets, or breathing it in.

18 Bitee in DC June 4, 2007 at 8:04 pm

It’s called Results by Diatect. Seems like good stuff! The theory seems sound (isolate the bed, sleep in the bed to draw the buggers forth from their hideouts, and the powder sends them to their doom). Once the egg-laying cycle is broken, it seems like all I should have to do is keep my perimeter, keep the poweder on the floor, keep the bed isolated, and keep attracting the bugs to crawl though the powder, right? Not that practice commonly follows theory, of course….

19 willow-the-wisp June 4, 2007 at 8:23 pm

That’s the basic premise of it all sure.
Keeping clothing in double plastic bags as air tight as your bed encasements are is a great tool too!
Also–blocking out where they may be coming from, i.e. is there a neighbor who is supplying new bugs into the mix of “magic powder” on your floor?
I liked Results and got good results with it. I also used a contact spray of which there are many–s[ray it into cracks you suspect are harboring any bugs–even little cracks in the bed frame, there’s Murphy’s oil with citrus for contact kill–cleaning, steaming, heat traps, there’s more too! In addition, a lot of it has to be done repeatedly, for some week’s sometimes-even for a few months! The DE you use—must be kept out of direct sunlight to protect the pyrethrum when it is down on the floor, usually laid down gently and thinly. 9there are some exceptions to this, occasionally. Eventually it is only to be dusted only into corners and places where animals or kids can’t ever get to it—as it should always be as in now, too—kept away from kids and pets: Tropical fish need to be well away from is and so do you to a large degree. I survived but got some dusty lung syndrome form overzealous use of the product—this can occur with any DE products—the dusty lung. (And we always avoid pool grade DE. Not applicable to you, bitee—but just a good note to drop in for others who may be reading: beware, all DE is not alike or even virtually very safe.)
Goggles masks for the dust—which … we must avoid like a semi-plague!
Some caulking may need to be done–some investigation too around the place in the house and maybe even across the hall. Felt like “borrowing a cup of sugar” from any neighbors, in particular, as of late Bitee? :)

20 nobugsonme June 5, 2007 at 12:53 am

The only problem, Bitee, is that since you’e still being bitten after 6-8 weeks, I suspect that some bed bugs must be biting you while still avoiding crossing your powders.

People have had bed bugs, for example, living in a chair (sofa, computer chair, etc.) and biting them there. i know you’ve ruled this out but it is possible the bites are occurring under such circumstances. You still might not notice the bites until morning, but most of us notice the bites not immediately after being bitten, but rather later–often after a shower (warm water or heat or exercise brings them out). YMMV! Just trying to cover all the bases.

Be careful, again, with the pyrethroids/DE on your floor. I hope you’re not walking on it barefoot!

Good luck!

21 willow-the-wisp June 5, 2007 at 8:54 am

What’s YMMV?

22 hopelessnomo June 5, 2007 at 9:31 am

The other thing I would add, Bitee, if you are trying to get rid of your bugs only with DE and isolation, is that you probably have a higher responsibility to caulk, to spread DE around areas where the bugs might exit your apartment, and to think of ways to minimize the risk of spreading. Hungry bugs may continue to come for you, or they may decide to look for a meal elsewhere. Seal and/or dust the pipes under cabinets, the door, any steam pipes or radiators, etc.

Finally, no mopping if you are using treated DE. Pyrethrin is toxic to fish. Keep it out of the water.

(YMMV = your mileage may vary.)

23 willow-the-wisp June 5, 2007 at 10:05 am

Bitee helo again …
I added another drying agent 91% R alcohol to supplement this self-treatment with the “Results” product. I figured if I’m already using a drying agent–why not go for the whole, real-deal in drying agents.

It is dangerous to spray near electrical appliances and flames and very, very hot places. Not into the face–of course you know this—I’m sure—(But any little children or pre-teens or even flat out freaked out people, just now reading, might not know or think of this.) Windows closed too = much less dust and much safer. However, this idea too,is a no brainer after a few mishaps, huh?

Miss Nomo, makes some very valid points here in addition:
So “here” … is one of the places you can kind of “double up” on the DE to make “semi-sure” they STAY and WILL DIE INSIDE YOUR PLACE.
Again, I cannot caution you enough about the DE dust.

Does sound like it is working–but again where are they coming from? This is something you’d need to investigate, as it may wind up being a never ending stream of them, say coming from downstairs or in thru a window.

Bed Bug sleuthing at it’s best here! Where are all of those “little tracks coming from and going to?
BTW—a bed bug is unlikely to get up on the bed … bite you and then get off the bed. It will try to find a place on the bed to stay—this is why every little speck on the bed needs to be killed or sealed shut—over and above the mattress encasements. Doing so will cause them to be more likely to fall of or walk off the bed. Very often too—you will find them trying to nest on the underside of the bed frame. Usually—not always.
Trouble is … as soon as you turn the bed frame over on it’s side—they move, so you just sort of have to wash the bottom without flipping the bed up if possible—or wash the whole thing twice just to make sure.
All of that powder must be wreaking havoc on your vacuum hoses. I went thru two vacuums in say six weeks
Well … I’m tapped, knowlege wise, here, so best wishes to you again and keep in mind there is no harm in getting some OTC spray for areas where you do not want toem to go ie out the door and down the hall. You’d not want to mix an yrepellant types of chemicleswith the pyretrhums I suspect…

24 hopelessnomo June 5, 2007 at 10:09 am

I’m not sure Bitee if you are renting, but have you notified your landlord? Your neighbors should know there are bedbugs on the premises so that their apartments can be inspected and/or treated. This is the significant problem with self-treating; it’s probably not fair to your neighbors.

25 nobugsonme June 5, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Yes–Hopelessnomo gets at something else, too: if your neighbors have bed bugs, no amount of DE-plus-anything in your residence is going to keep them from coming.

26 nomorebugs June 5, 2007 at 2:56 pm

I recently found out i have bedbugs. I can’t bring myself to sleep in my apartment and have stayed at a friends house for weeks. I’ve washed all of my clothes in hot water and dried them for 2 hours. Then, I stored them in sealable plastic bags. i’m planning to move, but I’m terrified that I’m going to bring them with me.

The exterminator has been to my apartment twice and he doesn’t believe that the infestation is severe. I had also placed sticky traps around my bedroom and only one was caught.

I am fine with trashing most of my furniture, but I have an expensive wardrobe with many drawers and large doors that I don’t want to lose. Can anyone recommend a way to be sure I don’t transport those buggers with me into my new place? Also, I want to take my sofa (which shows no signs of infestation), but I’m also not sure if that will be safe.

Any thoughts?

I appreciate any advice! Your website has been more than helpful to me.

27 nobugsonme June 5, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Hi Nomorebugs,

You should copy and post this message in the Bedbugger Forums, where you will get more responses:
http://bedbugger.com/forum/

As a start, I’d say it’s very hard to kill bed bugs if you do not sleep at home. They need to be attracted to you, walk though poison, and die. Protecting your bed as per our FAQs (see top button) would help you avoid being bitten while they do so.

You may not think killing bed bugs is important if you’re going to move, but it is the best way of not transporting them. You may even realize you don’t need to move.

28 nomorebugs June 6, 2007 at 3:44 pm

I’ve purchased DE and plan to use it to treat my apartment and the furniture I am planning to move into my new place. Do you think if I don’t sleep there, then I am more likely to still transport them from the moved furniture (Even after spraying the furniture with the DE) ?

I am definitely moving, particularly since this infestation started in an apartment upstairs from mine and the tenants don’t seem particularly concerned that the bugs are still around.

Thanks again for your advice.

29 willow-the-wisp June 6, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Hello nomorebugs,

While this is a good reason to want to move, NOBUGSONME is so right here when she mentions how you need to be “present” to get the bugs to cross the poisons and then die. You are the bait but you do not want to get bite. This can take over a month (sometimes even two months, to get the bugs out of the furniture. You can try sitting near the furniture it in a simple plastic chair, and have DE DUSTED lightly onto the floor between you and the furniture … The bugs over the course of several weeks will eventually leave the chair or sofa .. cross the DE and eventually dry out and die. You can keep your feet up so they won’t be bitten and then you can also put some simple Vaseline on the legs of any chair you sit on–and the footrest you use to keep the bugs from climbing up it, in order to bite you. In terms of weeks? Maybe a a full month of this being done every night for a few hours would help a lot. Steaming as in DEEP steaming furniture, after that time–also would help. In the steaming, be sure to do it very slowly and do all sides of everything everywhere. In addition vacuuming the furniture will also help. However, you would need to vacuum it many times over.
As always, follow precautions for Fresh water DE dustings i.e. mask, goggles, and avoid breathing in the fumes.

As far as clothes go, It is not such a great idea to DUST DE into clothing. I’ve done it with some success — but to wash it out? –it takes at least two washings and dryings to get the DE out of the clothing.
Why bother? (See suggestion below for de-bugging clothing)
DE can thin your skin by slight abrasion + dry it out and cause more itching.

Any clothing washed and dried per the FAQS here, and then stored sealed 100%–would be Bed bug free. Be sure to get any bugs off the outside of the double bags of clothes by any one or a combo of a variety of means: many contact kills would work–and even vacuuming the outside of the plastic thoroughly would work too—doing both would be safer! In addition, you’d need to do it in a way so that you took one of the bags off—BEFORE –you brought it into the new place. So here, I’d recommend triple bagging clothes and all stuff to be moved—then removing the outer, third bag—and inspecting and cleaning (if need be) the second bag—before it is moved into a new abode.

Also–make sure the new place is set up as bed bug unfriendly first—that way you could nip an ensuing infestation in the bud easier. We have many methods to do this but it takes time.
Everything about killing off bed bugs takes time—often months. That is just the way it is and so we have to work along their time schedule—not ours.
Unfortunately … if there is a constant incoming source of Bed bugs you may NOT be able to get new bugs going into the furniture—out of it. They will mate in the furniture and lay eggs in it too–which take 2 weeks or so to hatch ….

This is only one reason of a few why it takes so much time.

You would also need to totally isolate (for all the hours you are not sitting near it—such furniture). So it is not advisable to expect that you would be 100% sure you could de-bug furniture in a case like this, where Bed bugs are still coming into the room via upstairs neighbors.
Understanding and getting rid of bed bugs takes a lot of understanding of their parasitic nature their cryptic nature—and a lot of forethought and time to try and “outguess” them.
Sleeping at friends for months and months may not do the trick at all.
This is the no frills version of what you may expect, until you eliminate the incoming source of the bed bugs—Knowledge is power. Learn all you can about bed bugs. This is a great place to start!
Best wishes
Willow

30 nobugsonme June 7, 2007 at 1:01 am

nomorebugs,

yes. i am afraid that unless you get rid of bed bugs, at least temporarily (until you move) in your home, they will follow you to the new place.

Sprinkling DE on furniture (and even having a PCO spray a variety of other substances) does not kill most of the bed bugs. They have to walk through the DE in order to be killed. The only reason to come out of their little hiding places, where they are quite content, is to feed. The only thing they want is to feast on human blood. Sorry to be melodramatic, but it is true.

The bad news is, as long as you do not spend time at home, they won’t walk towards you, through the DE, to their deaths.

The nice thing is, if you want to kill them, but don’t want to be bitten, you can see our FAQs on Protecting the Bed (parts 1-3), which will explain how you can sleep at home and NOT be bitten but STILL attract the bed bugs to their deaths. You also need to wash all your clothes and linens on hot and dry on hot for 80 minutes or so, and keep them in sealed bags. Vacuum thoroughly before putting down the DE. Read our FAQS (button at top of page) which are very thorough.

Many people who’ve visited this site have moved and taken bed bugs with them. Some took extreme precautions. You could get lucky, but it really depends

If I were you, I would not only use DE and sleep at home, I’d also contract a PCO who knows bed bugs to treat your current AND future homes. Sorry that’s a hassle, but it’s better than bed bugs.

Good luck! And let us know how it goes.

31 hopelessnomo July 4, 2007 at 10:12 pm

I just want to park this DE article here.

(I can’t find the DE + heat reference–it was not the grain storage studies is all I remember.)

32 nobugsonme July 5, 2007 at 1:16 am

Nomo,

Your article (linked above) says this:

“Diatomaceous earth has been combined with heat for disinfestations of stored products, cereal mills and processing facilities. Heat can make diatomaceous earth more effective; efficacy of DE treatments are significantly enhanced above 86°F. So DE structural treatments might be more effective in warmer climates (Quarles and Winn 2006).”

33 hopelessnomo July 5, 2007 at 9:19 am

Pretty neat, huh? But I was trying to find this detailed article about an experiment which I read one long night a very long time ago. I’ll keep looking. We live for this sort of thing.

34 Bugged Out August 9, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Hi,

I just found out I have bed bugs and am thoroughly disgusted but am willing to do whatever I can to kill the little bastards. Can anyone suggest a place in NYC to buy DE immediately, so that I don’t have to wait for an online order? Thank you!

35 hopelessnomo August 9, 2007 at 3:24 pm

You can try calling pet supplies stores to see if they stock freshwater, food-grade DE.

However, DE should probably not be your first move. Keep reading the faqs and good luck.

36 overwhelmed August 23, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Both my friend and I own 2 family homes in Cincinnati where the bedbug wars are being lost. I attended a public action forum where all that happened was a round of political recriminations and the advice to seek professional help. My friend has spent more than $700. 00 on this problem without resolution. We’ve lost tenants- including the ones that presented with the bedbugs! I can’t afford to lose my furniture and now I’ve read that bedbugs live in cellulose when possoble and my 12′ x 8′ library could be harboring the bugs. Help, I’m just overwhelmed and out of money. I’ve even torn out the wall to wall carpeting and powdered the floors with diatomaceous earth swept into the cracks. One serious issue the forum did bring out is that the elderly, particularly indigent elderly, are worst affected. Has anyone heard of something we can do to help?

37 hopelessnomo August 23, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Overwhelmed, are you receiving professional treatments or are you self-treating? Knowing how many treatments you’ve had and what the treatment interval has been will help.

Treating only with DE is not going to cut it, but I’m sure you know that already.

You can bring this discussion to the bedbugger forums where it will be easier to respond to. Click the blue bug above.

38 Ready to KILL September 15, 2007 at 2:37 am

Just thought I’d join the discussion with some questions and an observation or two.

Number one observation: my daughter was being bitten badly, but not me. I did not know what the problem was, until later. In any case, I moved her to another room and she was clear of bites, but I was attacked big time then. I found them on me after a nap.

I moved myself into the other room too. Though we are both in the same room again, I get bitten and she doesn’t, not much. Makes me wonder if they are attracted to those already bitten – perhaps the increased blood flow to the bitten Treas makes a good target ?

Second. After I moved, I decided to get the alarm clock from the old bedside – it was a close fit for me to reach the clock, as I had to squeeze between the bed and the wall, with a foot or so of space. As I fumbled about unplugging the clock, I realized I was touching the bed frame, and I moved a few inches away. After getting the clock, I loked at the bed, and onm th ewhite sheet I could see a patch of tiny critters actually perched on the edge, reaching out toward me. BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

As for my questions: I am considering using a construction heater ( kerosene burner ) to heat kill them. It will raise the temp very quickly and carbon monoxide emission is very low, I will cook one room, while blocking exit by plugging electrical outlets, and by taping around the door, applying DE, etc. then I will go on to the next room. That is my plan, anyway. This combined with multiple other tactics.

Could I ask , what are the possible dangers of this treatment ? I see fire mentioned, but at only 140 degrees, what is the danger from ? That is the temp of a forced air furnace output.

Please let me know if you think this will fail or be inordinately dangerous.

The poison spray method is going to require me to cover my aquariums and pump air in from outside, as well as using bags of ice in the water to keep the fish from cooking duiring the process.

Anyone using pesticides swabbed everywhere instead of sprayed on ?

thanks,
Ready

39 Ready to KILL September 15, 2007 at 9:58 pm

I guess that aerosol cans and any chemicals should be removed before heating a room, but I can’t figure out what the fire hazard is. I think I will phone the fire dept. to see what they know about possible hazards.

any ideas ?

thanks,
REady

40 nobugsonme September 15, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Ready,

Here’s the deal: I do not know anything about kerosene burners. I assume that one danger is in whatever you’re using to do the heating (ie fire or carbon monoxide as you mention).

But as far as the other danger I’m aware of, it’s that you don’t heat the space fast enough or evenly enough, you will not kill, but spread them. It has to be VERY fast, from what I understand. Professionals who use heat do this quickly and evenly. If the temp is raised too slowly (and your method may be too slow, since you’re working on one area at a time), they can flee into other spaces in your home. The “danger” there is that you drive the bed bugs deeper into your home, for example, into cracks and walls and floors, or into rooms where they are not currently living. This can make them MUCH harder to get rid of.

I do not know if you are in an apartment or a home that is attached to other homes, but spreading them to neighbors is a danger too. (This can mean they come back, as well as meaning they infest neighbors’ homes.)

I would not do this.

Also, regarding where you’re bitten, it’s clear they are biting both you and your daughter. In certain rooms, you were bitten and she wasn’t–we’re told this can depend on something so simple as where in the room they’ve set up shop. (For example, someone on one side of a bed may be bitten, but not someone on the other.)

You need your whole home treated and whether it’s with heat, vikane, cryonite, or traditional sprays and dusts, I’d seriously have a professional do it. We’ve heard of DIY treatments going badly wrong. We’ve also encountered people for whom traditional methods were not working, presumably because bed bugs had been so thoroughly scattered and driven into the walls, that they were hard to fight. This can happen with DIY foggers, bombs, and improvised heat methods.

41 nobugsonme September 15, 2007 at 11:54 pm

ps I am not sure which “poison spray method” you are talking about that would make it hard with the aquarium. Do you mean traditional pesticide sprays, or do you mean vikane gas fumigation? I am quite certain you have other safe options besides trying to do it yourself with heat.

42 Ready to KILL September 17, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Thanks you very much for your prompt reply, NBOM.

As I can think of about 5 hazards off the top, my concern is not actually so much about any I am aware of, rather those any that I am not aware of !

Anyway, I’m listening. No need for me to continue in the heat kill frame of mind if logic is that I should take a different route. Thank you for the non judgmental approach, as I know that advice given online can be very tricky…you don’t know just what the heck a person can misunderstand or misapply, misdiagnose… : ) and your reply was well structured to take this step by ste[p I think.

IS it better to get away from teh DE thread herre…I’m using DE as th only thiong right now but it’s off topic. Sorry I posted before investigating betyter spots tro post. :)

These are some problem areas for me:

I have years of work with the fish invested. The sprays, both reisduals and contact knock down sprays that I’ve read abou5t so far are going to be deadly for them it seems. So I will have to cover and make the positive air flow into the tanks from outside. I’m pretty sure that no matter what I do, the fish need outside air supply and close-fitting covers.

Problem: definitely cannot see any way to get enough $ together in the very near future to pay a really good company.

I have not recently found a dentist who is committed to doing every job to the best he could, forget expecting perfection from a PCO.

I fel like if I know the correct professional method, I can do a better job. It’s been my experience so far in life, from auto repair on.

I view this situation as very similar to what medical personel face when dealing wiht a bacte4rial situation. In the past, having incorrect MD treatment, inusfficient dosing of penicillin, and ending up with resistant strain of bacteria , I am well aware of the epotential for disaster that comes with wrong moves, ineffiecinet kills, and so so on. I

I’m glad that I have resisted so far any applications other than DE about the bait areas.

.I live in a cockroach infested apartment building, the landlord is fighting the ecity on every issue imaginable, and the super gave me a bottle of spray because we both know I can do the same thing he is going to do : ) and I have several other sprays already purchased as well as already using DE lightly to surround the three bait areas. My pc repair friend told me about his and his friends” bedbug troubles after I told him we were infested….nice…they spray a bit around if things get worse than ususal, I suppose…and

Both bed areas in both rooms and the desk chair which is the worst. To the whole apt there is only a kitchen and several large closets and bathroom in addition to the two rooms. They are sealed up pretty well, but there are exits, of course. I can accomplish a pretty good seal no matter what method I use.

I have no chance of getting the $ together for a resposible pro, and it would be ocunterproductive to go with less than knowledgeable and WORK ETHIC-oriented compoany.
I know a pco for a major company, as an aquanitance, and it would be scary to think that the luck of the draw might get me someone of his calibre.

to tell you the truth, I have not recently found an MD or dentist who is committed to doing every job thoroughoghly as possible, never mind requiring better work ethics from PCO’s than I’ve got from a good pertion of health pros. Sorry : ) maybe a touch pessimistic …I know a pco and he’s the last person I would trust to doa good job.

I know if I get the method right, I can out-do the effort they would expend, at any reachable cost to me.

Of course, there is a level of spending where it could be more under assured quality of service….never going to happen I’m afraid, not for now…gotta do something, I feel. but can’t make the wrong move.

and I don’t think it is a secret….the method a pro will use…from microscopy on, I have, or can get, the tools.,

What I’m tying to say is… it seems like it’s going to be me against the bugs.

43 Ready to KILL September 17, 2007 at 2:48 pm

DE and boric and mechanical measures worked well so far against roaches but these are an entirely different matter. I had been a bit lax on the DE since roaches were driven back.

I’m looking to seal up electrical outlets right now and will look for a substance to inject first, not something that will drive them away from where they are., hopefully not one of that will be used later. Maybe DE if it is a good choice.

Thanks. Kill this dialogue or move it if it’s too off topic now please.
I’ll find out where to start my case history about here somewhere.

Ready

44 nobugsonme September 17, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Hi Ready,

You are welcome to write about your story in our forums:
http://bedbugger.com/forum

I seriously think you’re making a mistake in assuming you can do a better job than a decent PCO with bed bug experience. While this may have been truer a few years ago when there were few PCOs who had seen bed bugs (esp. outside major cities), it isn’t now, in my opinion. I know about the money factor, but I have also seen people suffer for a long time with bed bugs and even make them worse with DIY methods.

It is not unheard of for people to solve their own bed bug problems, but if you are not willing to use pesticides besides DE, it may be a long haul. Caulking and food grade DE are a start, but you need to do all the research you can.

At the very least, please read the other FAQs starting with the “Bed bugs 101″ items.

I find it hard to believe that a knowledgeable PCO would not know how to deal with an aquarium, either. Anyway, responses to what’s here already are fine (from you or others) but anything new should probably be moved to the forum.

45 Winston O. Buggy September 19, 2007 at 9:11 am

Thanks for the glowing respect for PCO’s, by the way I’ve met a number of folks with bedbugs who are questionable too. Now with that out the way. I believe you mentioned, children, birds, fish a budget and bed bugs. Each of which has it’s own issues. Take a tooth pick and everyplace you can stick it apply a proper grade
DE it will work in time along with other measures such as drying vacuuming and surveillance. BB ca sometimes get on birds so check and if needed have them
treated by a vet. For any one that wants to use heat steam is probably best but
a decent unit will cost you $500 minimum.

46 R September 28, 2007 at 12:44 pm

My lady friend has them in an apt. What are the three basic steps ? This seems like an impossible war that we haven’t even begun yet.

47 nobugsonme September 28, 2007 at 2:44 pm

R,
Read this:
http://bedbugger.com/2007/01/20/faq-think-you-have-bed-bugs-some-dos-and-donts/

This is NOT an impossible war, but there are ways you can make it worse and more difficult to win. OR better and easier to win:

1. Call the landlord and have the landlord call a PCO. Make sure the PCO knows about bed bugs and how to kill them. (We have a FAQ on how to make sure.) The landlord will need to have the PCO inspect and treat (if necessary) all adjacent apartments (above, below, all sides). Your home should be inspected too if she has spent time there. They travel easily. If you are not allergic, you will be bitten and have no idea.

2. Before the treatment, wash all your clothing and linens on hot, dry on hot and bag in sealed bags. Follow any other prep the PCO gives you (they will give you instructions; if they do not HAVE a prep sheet, that’s a bad sign.)

3. Have the PCO come back every two weeks until the bites and all signs are gone (see link above to “Photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs” for more on signs.)

48 October 31, 2007 at 9:45 pm

FYI – be careful vaccuuming up DE. It can break your vaccuum–happened to me. Many vaccuum cleaners’ instruction booklets tell you not to suck up plaster dust, which is pretty similar to DE.

49 nobugsonme October 31, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Yes, as I said in the FAQ above, vacuuming up DE might wear out your vacuum. Good reason NOT to use a fancy vacuum if you use a dust.

50 RAYA ENGLER March 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm

A couple weeks ago I used less than 1/4 TEAspoon in a glass of water and a few hours later I felt a burning in my stomach and esophagus. It took a few days for the discomfort to go away. I never have heartburn or any stomach distress, in fact, I can eat ANYTHING and have never felt a problem.
I thought maybe it was a fluke, so yesterday I again put less than 1/4 tsp. in water and again my stomach and esophagus feel like they’re on fire.
3 of my friends tried it with me and none of them experienced any difficulty.
What in your opinion is going on?
Raya Engler.

51 nobugsonme March 17, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Raya,

First, please STOP doing that. When you try something and it makes your stomach and esophagus burn, it is obviously a bad idea. Doing it a second time seems like a really bad idea.

Second, why did you drink DE? I see that Geof Day is quoted above referencing the fact that Wally Tharp, a DE proponent, drank a tsp of it per day. But why are YOU drinking it? We are absolutely not recommending this here. Drinking DE will do nothing for your bed bug problem.

I had seen the claim by Wally Tharp somewhere (I believe on http://www.Perma-Guard.com), but can’t easily find it now. I assume Wally Tharp did as described, but am not entirely sure the DE you ingested was of the same type. It may not be safe for this purpose, and I would assume NOT unless I knew for sure.

What was the exact label — brand name, and specifics listed — of the item you ingested, just out of curiosity?

Please get professional help if you have bed bugs, and please do not consume anything discussed on our website. We are definitely NOT recommending that.

52 bugginme March 31, 2008 at 8:42 am

Hi all. Has anyone had any problems putting DE in electrical outlets? Sure it’s safe? Wondering what the flash point is.

53 V. Bugged April 4, 2008 at 10:26 am

I am just wondering, should I expect to *see* signs that the DE is working? I.e. should I expect to find dead bugs around the corners of my room where I sprinkled the powder? Or do I just have to take it on faith that it’s doing something?

Anyone else who has used DE, what has been your experience?

(And just for the sake of some background, I live in a rented free-standing house, where we had a PCO come in 3-4 times over 3 months and thought we had kicked the problem when we were bite-free for 6 weeks…but then they came back :( . Now I am realizing it’s time to step it up a notch by applying other methods in addition to the pyrethrin spray the PCO is using, so I started last night by applying some freshwater food-grade DE around my bed and baseboards with a nylon stocking.)

54 nobugsonme April 4, 2008 at 10:31 am

DE can take 10 days to kill bed bugs, so you certainly would not expect to see anything at this point. However, I would seriously encourage you to go the PCO route again. 3-4 visits in 3 months is not frequent enough to break the cycle of bed bugs. You need the PCO to come at apprx. 2 week intervals, to kill the hatching generations which will appear within a few weeks of treatment. Giving them a month to spring back is not wise. While DE can be useful, it sounds like you have a serious case and I would personally continue with PCO treatment, though I would urge you to find a PCO who returns at shorter intervals, for a more aggressive approach.

55 tess April 7, 2008 at 12:27 am

i am dealing with a bed bug prob for a while now though i get rid of them and then they come back i have very lil furniture and no carpet i do live in a apartment complex and i want to seal it up then treat and get rid of them i keep hearing my neighbor on one side had them what should i dop to keep her bed bugs away and get rid of the few i have..i check my beds and i never see any spots or huge amounts like you see in pictures in fact my beds look clean but once in a while i get bit and once in a while i will find one i just got treated by my landlord and now its a few weeks later and i got bit today then i found one…i want to get de but would it work if so should i apply to all cracks so incase bed bugs come from the apartmnets next door they will die immediatly..also could i just get like a cement mixture to seal up the walls or can bed bugs eat through it?

56 nobugsonme April 7, 2008 at 10:12 am

Tess,
If your neighbors have them, they will keep coming. It sounds like this is what is happening. Your landlord must have all units next to, above, and below your neighbor’s apt. and yours professionally inspected and treated if necessary. The landlord cannot rely on neighbors saying they don’t have them. Up to 50% of people do not react to bites and will have NO idea. Please come to the forums if you have further comments or questions:
http://bedbugger.com/forum

57 newbedbugs April 17, 2008 at 7:31 pm

i used drione dust in my electrical outlets with a duster. i guess i was a bit too enthusiastic bc the third puff caused a spark of electricity & shorted the fuse. i wonder if it’ll happen with just DE too.

58 Aris April 19, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Anyone familiar with Concern diatomaceous earth? It does not state that it is food-grade on the package. The ingredients list includes silicon dioxide 85%. I found a website that states it is freshwater DE, but not sure how reliable that info is.
(Can’t reach the product info line today because they are closed on the weekend.)

59 bedbugs? April 23, 2008 at 8:10 pm

i always get bit by bed bugs when they are around.. (i think its the red hair/fair skin) anyway a month or so ago i was getting bit in my favorite chair and didtn know why (suspected bed bugs) and a week later i foun one biting my toe then one..so i grabbed one and put it in a container …called my land lord and he cprayyed my house before he did i bagged everything that could be washed and bagged it and he sprayed everything else (or so was said, luckily no carpet so not that bad)after he sprayed i still got bit once or twice in my chair ( not realizing it may take a lil time before they actually die) so i threw it out..weeks after no bites….well the bed bug i got put away i accidently dropped ( go figure ) and a couple days later i got bit (i guess it took a while for it to get to me since it was starving and swivvled up )well i ended up catching a bug after it bit me…i believe it was the same one…now its been weeks again and i have not been bit at all does that mean they are gone or do i still have them….i have very little amount of stuff so not really many places to hide .. my daughter has not shown signs of being bit either

60 nobugsonme April 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm

bedbugs?

Please copy and repost your message in the forums where you will get more response. It’s not really on topic in this FAQ.

Click the blue forums button at top right!

61 ADR August 19, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Dear All,

I have a small infestation in my bedroom of BBS. I only have two rooms in my flat with an ajoining doorway.

If I apply DE across the doorframe between the bedroom and second room, sleep in the second room to attrach the BBs, will most of them die as a result of crossing the DE application?

thanks

62 nobugsonme August 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm

ADR,

It’s possible. We’re told bed bugs will die within 10 days of walking through DE IF it is used properly.

But they have to walk through it. I can’t tell you where your bed bugs are coming from, or where they’re going.

I would strongly advise you to get a professional in to do a more comprehensive treatment. I think DE has a place as a preventive (once bed bugs are cleared) or as part of a professional’s treatment plan, but you may have bed bugs for longer if you rely on this alone.

And that’s the best case scenario.

If you don’t have it where they’ll all walk through it, then you could have them for a long time.

If your attached neighbors (if any) have bed bugs and are not treated, they may keep coming from there as well.

Finally, I am not sure how you assessed how big the infestation is and where the bed bugs are living, but this can be very difficult to determine.

Good luck and if you have more questions, please come to the forums where you will get more responses from more people!

63 spideyjg September 11, 2008 at 1:10 am

The NIOSH site regarding DE…

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0552.html

They recommend a respirator of NIOSH rating N,P, or R95 or better. I’d go all out and get a N,P,or R100

Here is info on approved respirators.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/

64 nobugsonme January 12, 2009 at 2:55 am

Thanks, Jim (spideyjg).

I have just removed links to rose dusters (which our readers had suggested) since I do think they allow people to overapply DE.

65 dusted in Florida April 27, 2009 at 8:51 am

I have used DE in all of our bedrooms and it seems to have worked. The first thing I did was dust the entire room and all of it’s contents. I let it sit for @ a week before disturbing and cleaning. By the 3rd bedroom I was using a Shop Vac (reversed)to blow the DE into the room – (need to wear a respirator and goggles)this allowed me to reach the ceiling and under everything then every item – including the carpet was either cleaned/steamed or tossed. Did not want to risk them dropping off in the rest of the house so we took everything out the windows. We used a paintbrush to dust the mattress & box springs before placing into aller-zip covers, also placed a barrier of DE around the bedroom – under baseboards and on top – electric outlets, etc and coated all remaining furniture with DE. Next step is to have my husband use the shop vac to blow the DE into the attic. Seems to have worked just wanted to see if you have any further suggestions.

I have seen several post regarding DE damaging vacuum cleaners – use a SHOP VAC -we purchased a small one for under 60$ and the suction is much greater than you will get with a regular vac. Just make sure to get the filter bags so that you can throw out the bugs and eggs that you vacuum.

66 nobugsonme May 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm


Update (5/2009):

A new post on New York vs. Bed Bugs today examines the following study:

Journal of Medical Entomology 46(3):572-579. 2009
doi: 10.1603/033.046.0323
Addition of Alarm Pheromone Components Improves the Effectiveness of Desiccant Dusts Against Cimex lectularius

Joshua B. Benoit, Seth A. Phillips, Travis J. Croxall, Brady S. Christensen, Jay A. Yoder, and David L. Denlinger.

This article notes that

The efficacy of diatomaceous earth seems to depend somewhat on the formulation; sometimes it works and sometimes it does not (Allan and Patrican 1994). Resistance also seems to be an issue with diatomaceous earth (Korunic and Ormesher 2000, Rigaux et al. 2001). Previous studies concluded that Dri-die seems to be superior to diatomaceous earths (Allan and Patrican 1994, Appel et al. 1999), and that is what we observed in this study during short-term exposure. Two key points that may alter the effectiveness of Dri-die and DE are the duration of bed bug exposure and the residual effects. Indeed, future studies are needed to test these two aspects for C. lectularius.

Like Renee,

The only thing I did know was, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, clearly, but I thought the problem was with application and the difficulty of ensuring exposure, not resistance. Resistance never crossed my mind. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard “bed bugs cannot develop resistance to DE” more than once.

It is important to take note of this, and consider that it may account for why DE does not always work for people (even if they apply it properly, even if bed bugs walk over it, even if they allow sufficient time).

I am re-opening comments on this FAQ, due to this additional information.

67 timmyg September 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Nobugs — I have applied a fair amount of DE all along the edges of my bedroom and bathroom wall (where I’ve seen BB in the past, and because my neighbors have them*), and even a bit on the jar tops that my vaseline-covered frame wheels sit on.

Is that too much?

[*one says they’re calling an exterminator, the others seem to have their heads in the sand]

68 nobugsonme October 24, 2009 at 2:23 am

Added for clarity:

“Since you should not be inhaling DE, you don’t want it somewhere it will be disturbed. Similarly, putting it on soft furnishings like mattresses and sofas seems like a dangerous idea. Did you ever sit on a dusty sofa? You do not want DE in your lungs, not even freshwater DE.”

69 shaye November 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm

My mom’s apt bldg became infested and sure enough we ended up with them here. I have searched everything, main infestation was in our bedroom and a few had just recently found their way to our daughter’s bedroom since she is always getting in and out of our bed at night. My husband was laid off from work for months so we are unable to afford the $2100 pco wants for treating our 3 bedroom home. I bagged and washed and threw out soo many things. I have been trying to treat myself and its not easy! I began by spraying the house with this spray from lowes made by bayer that does work so far any way. I have applied de to our house using a baby powder bottle to make the dust clouds (wearing protective mask) and continue to spray our house every week, which may be too often? Any ways, every time I thought they were gone, someone would get bitten again. And then I figured out why….they are in my suv! Just wanted people to be aware that they should check their cars too if they have them in their home. Now I know why we go weeks with no bites then wam bite! Sprayed my suv a good spray and found them dead the next day. Vacuumed it and will now be adding it to my weekly spraying.

70 shaye November 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Does anyone know if bed bugs will bite through your clothing? Or the “babies”? My daughter got bitten on her tail and I can’t for the life of me figure out how that could have happened. Unless they can bite through the gaps in the fabric. ?????

71 Sick of BB's November 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I’m in the process of moving right now from an apartment that was profressionally treated. The PCO said they saw no traces of them when he came in to do his second treatment. I’m not going to take this as gospel

I have been investigating a lot about these things and want to try and prevent another infestation. I don’t want to assume they have been eradicated, but rather prerpare that a couple are going to tag along. Obviously as with anything, there are no guarantees with any method of treatment for these suckers. But without an infestation, what is the likelihood some sort of DE will be effective in preventing a further spread? For the record, I’m moving out of an apartment into the basement suite of a house. It’s been just under a month since the first treatment, and a little over a week since the second shot. Other than my clothes sitting in plastic bags in storage since prior to the first application, I have moved very little… most of it is still sitting in the apartment. Almost all of the furniture was treated by the PCO.

Also, the home I’m moving in to has birds. What I’ve read about DE, it sounds like added precautions should be taken for their safety at the very least during application. If DE isn’t the ideal for this kind of situation, is there something else I should be looking at? Again, I’m not trying to treat an infestation at this point, just trying to prevent one in the event that a couple of these suckers tagged along for the ride. It seems like there’s too much information and it’s hard to decide what to believe. Makes one second guess their efforts… of which there have been a lot. That’s probably the most stressful part of it… thinking you’ve done everything you can only to find out you haven’t. The company who did the treatment didn’t recommend much more than laundering clothes and emptying drawers.

72 Bedbuggy January 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

I really appreciate the wealth of information provided on your website. However, I guess I’m a bit confused: if food grade DE is perfectly safe for animals to ingest and inhale, then why is a respirator necessary? I say it’s safe for animals to inhale because DE is in additive in clumping cat litter, so whenever a cat scratches around in their litter box, they are going to kick up dust & breathe it in. Also, I know that every time I pour fresh cat litter into my cat’s litter box, a big cloud of dust erupts. Of course I turn my face away (who wants to breathe in a big cloud of cat litter dust?), but I hardly feel it is necessary to resort to an expensive, specialized breathing apparatus just to change the cat litter. Obviously, we’re talking about a different application here, but the principal is the same. My understanding was that inhaling food grade DE was the same as inhaling road dust: it’s not something you want to do, but if you accidentally do it, it’s not going to kill you.

73 Andrea January 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Following suggestions that many have put up here, I have found that one of these also works for spreading a thin layer of DE into places such as carpet seams, hinges, cracks, etc. Just do follow instructions to cover your hands and wear a respirator mask while applying as the bulb does puff out a bit of dust in a fine cloud that almost looks like smoke when you refill it. To apply, place tip at the bottom most of the seam or whatever you’re working on (just get it as close as you can). Hold it with one hand and tap the top with your other hand to ensure you’re not puffing out a huge pile. If you find that you have applied a bit too much in one spot, use the tip of the applicator to rub into seams, cracks, etc. Remember to read all labels and educate yourself before you go dumping this stuff all over your home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

74 Andrea January 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

How bout I leave you all the website to the picture now… sorry about that: http://beaknits.blogspot.com/2007/03/big-blue-booger-sucker-of-death.html

75 nobugsonme January 27, 2010 at 1:55 am

Bedbuggy,

Your questions are good ones. I have tried to collect what wisdom I could gather above, but I don’t claim to be an expert on this and so I defer to others.

The range of quotations and references in the FAQ above conveys the fact that there is some difference of opinion as to how cautious people need to be with food grade DE.

A number of experts suggested the use of respirators, and hearing this, I would err on the side of caution.

76 nobugsonme January 27, 2010 at 1:58 am

Thanks, Andrea.

My sense is that many if not most people overapply DE.

The bulb may lend itself to this, so you’re right in advising caution. Another tactic recommended by some entomologists I know is a cosmetics brush used to dab a thin, thin layer in cracks. (Obviously, you might not want to put it back in the compact after that!)

77 Don January 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm

I want to use this stuff, but with all the cautions noted I am shying away from fully treating my house. I guess my main problem is I don’t know where to apply it.

Where would you actually apply this? Seams where the carpet meets the wall? Electrical outlets? Much of our house is wood floors and I have already caulked most of the gaps where floor meets the wall (especially the holes in the floor under the radiators).

The PCO has already dusted the outlets, but I don’t know with which chemical.

78 Don January 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I should add the PCO dusted the outlets a few months ago now. We keep getting about a bite every few days, in a large house with many people.

79 Don January 30, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Hmm – I will continue my soliloquy. Hopefully these are worthwhile questions

DE could be used in locked closets that don’t get used much? (I have one near my couch that houses the water shut off for the house).

Behind bookcases and bureaus that don’t get moved?

Under radiators that are hard to get to (that are behind a large desk)?

Any other places?

80 Don January 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

“Diatomaceous earth should be applied using a small paint brush. You can mix it with a little water and dish soap. Brush it around cracks near your bed, such as in the bed frame, in the seams of your mattresses, around bed legs and night table legs, shelves, fixtures, etc. Think like a bed bug! Brush it where they might crawl in order to hide, or to get to your bed to bite you.”

Found on that internet thing – there was some other info I didn’t entirely trust on the site, but they said the above. What think ye?

81 BronxBugged April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am

honestly, who cares if its a bit hazardous. so are the bed bugs. so is living without sleep and being plagued by the immensity of the issue. give a little get a little thats what i say. the bugs ain’t goin nowhere, people. we find a way to deal with them and the d.e. sounds like a very, very sensible solution. im angry that my little dog is being affected, but he takes it in stride of course. in a house like ours, so with huge cracks and crevasses and nasty neighbors who are in denial, that dust sounds like a realistic option—you do what you can to the best of your ability, shitty lungs or not. crap lungs, welted skin, no sleep. hey, the options are endless!

82 nobugsonme April 23, 2010 at 11:49 pm

BronxBugged,

With all due respect, you really do not know much about what dusts can do to the lungs.

Obviously, I think fresh water, food grade DE — properly applied, using safety precautions — can have a place in bed bug treatment. I wrote the FAQ.

But your comment simply demonstrates you don’t know a whole lot about lungs. Pneumoconiosis, which the CDC warns can result from inhaling DE, makes most people’s bed bug-induced problems with sleep or skin welts look like a cake walk.

83 Maxine April 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I’m new to dealing with bed bugs. Quite frankly, I’m embrassed to admit that I have them. But the sleepless night and discomfort of bites and the scratching is driving me to seek help! I don’t have much money and was wondering if dusting using the DE first could possibly help my problem. I bought a used mattress (clean, white with no stains) a week ago, but was feeling the discomfort before using the used mattress. However, at the time, it didn’t occur to me that I may have bed bugs. But the bites increased and I assumed it was the mattress. I would appreciate any help as to natural, organic solutions that people have tried and have worked. What about using Black Walnut oil in treating bed bugs?
All senseable suggestions welcomed.

84 nobugsonme April 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Maxine,

If you want to do this in a natural way, you’d probably be better off getting an inexpensive dry vapor steam cleaner and using steam and DE. This is our FAQ on steam, with recommendations for inexpensive steamers, and recommendations on technique. It also links to other good resources with even more info.

It is a lot of work, but using steam carefully and repeatedly, and following with cautious applications of DE, will get rid of your problems more quickly than DE alone.

DE must be used sparingly and applied carefully, as noted in the FAQ above. I can’t stress this enough. It may be slow to work and they must cross it or they will never die. This can make it difficult to eradicate all the bugs.

I would not recommend experimenting with black walnut oil or other “natural” remedies. You will see people on the internet recommending almost anything. There are good solutions, but there is also a lot of BS out there so be careful.

85 nobugsonme April 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

One other point, Maxine — if your neighbors are attached and have bed bugs, you will continue to have bed bugs.

Sometimes people try to deal with this on their own and fail because of such a situation. It’s really common. So it’s important not to keep this to yourself.

If you rent, your landlord may be liable for treatment, and even if you prefer to do it yourself, you may be legally liable for letting the landlord know you have bed bugs. This is all worth keeping in mind.

86 NJ May 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Found out we had bed bugs about seven weeks ago. We threw out our infested couch. Landlady called “her guy,” who claimed to be a bed bug specialist and had success stories to prove it. He sprayed the apartment top to bottom. He had us wash and dry all of our clothing and linens, but did not tell us there was anything wrong with unpacking right after treatment. He also refused to come back for a second visit without a few hundred bucks after I noted (from reading this forum) that at least two visits was the norm. He said that was a scam PCOs used to get more money out of people.

Still, the bugs were gone right after treatment. Last week, a friend stayed over on the couch on got eaten alive. We have since seen a few critters on that couch. So we bought food grade DE and thinly coated the couch, our mattresses, our headboards, and just about anywhere we think the bugs might walk through to get to us. My roommate spends the most time on that couch, but doesn’t show bites. I do show bites and had a few on my wrists one night last week before applying the DE, but nothing since.

Basically, I want to know if I’m foolish to believe the DE manufacturer (It’s “Bed Bug Powder”) stands by its guarantee that, if applied properly and consistently, the bugs will be gone in about 45 days. I can live with these critters for a while and I cannot afford a new PCO. Also, the landlady would only pay 1/3 of treatment and I live off of student loans and can’t afford to pay someone to come back regularly.

So should I give this DE a shot? Or should I shell out more $$$ (not very easy right now) and have a new PCO spray the apartment down, this time regularly for a few weeks? Or should I just cash in my chips, rent a moving truck, have it fumigated and search for a new place to live (not easy either, because I have the cheapest rent in northern NJ in a wonderful neighborhood)?

The worst part is being a single guy in my late 20s who can’t invite a lady to the apartment, no friends can come over and I can’t even go visit my family for fear of spreading it to them. It’s lonely here in bed bug world.

87 nobugsonme June 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Hi NYLuna11,

I recommend you try the forums. Not a lot of people read comments on the FAQs.

88 NYLuna11 June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Hey Nobugsonme, any way to delete the comment posted above? My extra jars are gone… and thank you!

89 nobugsonme June 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Done, thanks — and good luck with your bed bugs!

90 Being eaten alive!!!!! July 26, 2010 at 4:05 am

I just ordered some “concern Diatomaceous earth” and I wanted to know if it was food grade, I’ve been trying to find more info about online, but nothing yet. I’m wondering because my friend is holding my dog at her place and they are INFESTED with fleas and bedbugs. I figure I would put some on the dogs coat and keep it away from her nose of course, but I wanted to know if concern was safe enough for that. I have a bedbug problem as well and I’m taking care of it now, I’m completely covered in bites :( yet I only see 4 or 5 adults every few days. I’m tired of spraying all these chemicals in my home so I hope de works for me, but I’m mostly concerned about my dog. I have no kids and she’s all I have.

91 nobugsonme July 27, 2010 at 11:49 am

Hi Being eaten alive,

It’s my understanding that Concern Diatomaceous Earth is freshwater DE which is labeled to fight pests, and you can use it in your home. I cannot verify whether additional chemicals are added, as is true in some cases.

Although fans of food grade DE may suggest this, I would not personally put any DE on your pets. The risk of you (or them) inhaling the stuff seems to increase with that.

You can use it in cracks (more suggestions in the post above about how you might use it safely and effectively).

Bed bugs prefer to bite people rather than pets. They may bite dogs. However, the most important thing is to get your home treated until all bed bugs are gone.

I hate to say this, but if you are seeing four or five adults every few days, you have a substantial infestation. Consider that many people may see only one or two bed bugs over several months of a bed bug infestation.

I hope you are getting good, experienced, knowledgeable, professional help with this problem. Please come to the active user forums if you want to discuss this further.

92 Roger July 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

I can confirm a couple things about DE. It has reduced the bugs and they have no problem walking over a mound of it. I unfortunately have a foam mattress on the floor. I know, bad news. But I put a mound of DE all the way around so it’s like I sleep inside a moat of DE. Then I dusted under the mattress, all around the room, etc. I have found a few small ones dead here and there after a few weeks. The ones I have have discovered have all been non-adults until last night. It was the first time in weeks I saw an adult. I take the sheet off the mattress and pillow cases off each night for inspection so to see an adult just walking around was sobering. The number of bites has reduced significantly though.

I believe that it is working as all I saw in the beginning was adults and now they’re only 1 in 20. I used to get multiple bites each night and now it’s only 1 or 2 every few days. If they’re not gone in a few more weeks then I’m going to get some Cyper WP and declare war.

BTW, my roommates upstairs have no problems after I dusted there. It’s only my bedroom.

93 Pooja July 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hi all,

I recently discovered a mild infestation (the PCO said they were probably there more than 2 weeks but it wasn’t so bad that it was everywhere in the room yet) at my old apartment (I’m in the process of moving now). PCO sprayed last week and since then I’ve been laundering everything and still have a lot more to do plus dry cleaning. I got DE after a friend’s suggestion and I dusted that all over the room yesterday. I also put it on my mattress (both on top and underneath) and then I encased it in Protect-A-Bed Buglock cover. Before doing all this I also thoroughly vacuumed the place.

My question is, am I doing the right thing? I’m trying to read about all this as much as possible but I keep fearing I’ve overlooked something. I haven’t had any bites since the PCO sprayed but do find some red bumps here and there but they don’t itch so I’m thinking it must be from the heat/sweating or they’re small pimples or something. Mostly seeing those on my back (where I do often get pimples). The bites which were from bedbugs were on my arms and legs and itched for a few days so that’s why I’m figuring it’s not that.

As I mentioned, I’m moving to a new place. I’ve already moved the clean laundry over there and have been sleeping on an air mattress (I laundered my sheets and pillows too–comforter and blanket were laundered but are back at the other apartment in another room.. I washed and dried on hot.. should be enough right?) but am just deathly afraid of taking these things with me. However, whenever I have gone back to the old apartment to get more laundry or to spray the diat. earth I haven’t seen any around like i had seen them before. So maybe they are gone..? *fingers crossed*

I also wondered if it’s advisable to spray DE into the bags of clothes? I won’t be able to wash and dry clean everything before movers come this weekend so just wondering if that would be an advisable temporary solution. Once everything is moved in, I’m also planning to have the PCO spray at my new place as a precaution. Or do you think me just putting diat. earth everywhere would be a less toxic and sufficient solution? Please let me know. Thanks so much!

Pooja

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