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91% Rubbing Alcohol, Ceiling Fan and Persistence: Will It Work???

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  1. 91RubbingAlcohol

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Oct 16 2011 23:17:47
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    My husband took a business trip in mid-August. He left his suitcase on a chair in our bedroom for two or three days after coming home, then set it in our closet. He travels extensively, and has so for many years... but with this job, he doesn't get paid like he used to...

    In late August / early September, I started noticing little bites on the sides of my pinkie finger (I sleep with my hand under my pillow) as well as on the "soft" undersides of my lower forearms. I didn't think bedbugs - at first.

    The number of bites kept increasing. I had a sensation of things "crawling" on me in the middle of the night (I have fine hair on my arms, so was able to feel them). One morning, I got out of bed to go the bathroom. As I was sitting on the toilet, I noticed a tiny red bug - a mite? - crawling on the top of my lower forearm. I watched it (I was half-asleep, after all!), then thought "I need to google this after I get everyone off to school and work" - so I walked over to the sink and grabbed the rubbing alcohol and sprayed it. Instantly dead. I shook it onto a piece of toilet paper, put it aside and proceeded to get everyone going. After a few hours, I thought of the bug. I googled spider mite; nope, that wasn't it - BUT there WAS a photo of a bedbug nymph... I clicked on it.

    Oh, my GOD!!

    I started reading, and reading, and reading. Then, I took a flashlight up to my bedroom, and started looking... and found the black specs. And a bunch of bigger ones at the head of the bed between the mattress and box springs. But no bed bugs on the exterior seams.

    I knew we didn't have bed bugs before hubby's trip, because I had looked for the signs (based on a story I had seen while watching The Today Show in July 2011). So I knew, he brought home hitchhikers.

    I took all my linens and put them in various lawn & leaf garbage bags, tying them closed with twist ties. I washed the sheets and bedpad on SANITIZE mode on my washer. My blankets too. Put each of our pillows in the dryer on MAXIMUM HOT for 45 minutes.

    Then I gathered my tools: Flashlight. 91% rubbing alcohol (with a windex bottle sprayer screwed-on). Old-fashioned bagged vacuum. And started spraying every. single. inch. of my mattress and box springs I could see. I ran out of 91% rubbing alcohol before I could lift the mattress, so I went to Walmart and bought quart bottles of the stuff. 5 more bottles. Went back home, finished spraying the rest of what I could see - then lifted the mattress. OMG - my worst fears...

    I found 6 to 8 at the foot of the bed between the mattress and box springs. And about 2 dozen at the head of the bed, between the (king) mattress & twin box springs. Most of them were adults. Spray, spray, spray. Instantly dead. Spray some more. Ceiling fan was on high, windows all the way open. The smell was GAGGING. Finished spraying the whole. damn. thing. Soaked every surface and seam. Then the wood bed frame, including underneath it. Because it was 91% rubbing alcohol, it evaporated almost instantly, and didn't affect the finish. But I SOAKED every square inch. There were bedbugs in screw holes and in crevices. And I sprayed them all. When I was done spraying, I left the room for a few minutes to let it air out. Then I came back and vacuumed every. single. dead. body. And the rest of the carpet. And the baseboards (but I didn't see any there).

    That was about 5 weeks ago. I knocked down the population tremendously, but still changed the linens every day for two weeks, washing them on SANITIZE mode. Put the pillows in the dryer on MAXIMUM HOT for 45 minutes. Every day for two weeks. And sprayed, sprayed, sprayed all surfaces I could see every day, and took the bed apart every 3 days. I have checked - and sprayed - our nightstands, but have seen no evidence of bedbugs. I seem to have caught an early infestation...

    I have gone to a regimen of spraying each day, laundering and vacuuming every 3 days, and I've seen only one 5th stage instar nymph, two 3rd stage instar nymphs and a few 1st stage nymphs in the past 2 weeks. But no adults in 3 weeks.

    I am aware that the alcohol doesn't kill the eggs, but it sure as hell works on any bugs I see, and those I can't - like the newborn 1st instars.

    I've bought mattress and twin box spring encasements, and will put them on after I haven't seen any larger bugs for another two weeks. When seeking them along the baseboard, I have found none. I believe they were all in / on the bed / bed frame. But I haven't found them anywhere else in the house, including our daughters room on the same floor. Before I place the encased mattress on the encased box springs, I will puff diatomaceous earth for bed bugs in and on every square inch of the bed frame, and will puff it into the baseboards - just in case. Night stands too. I will dust the covered mattresses surfaces, then place the mattress on top of the box springs.

    I case you're wondering, no - we cannot afford a PCO. Each paycheck I spend $2.48 per quart-size bottle for 91% rubbing alcohol. I use about 1/2 quart per day, and use 1 quart per day when spraying the torn-apart bed.

    Is there ANYTHING ELSE I can do? Please advise... [i]

  2. Alberta has bugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 0:00:18
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    I am very impressed with your research, actions and willingness to do what it takes to make your home bug free.

    I imagine you checked the closet where the case was and would think they would have migrated to the bed.

    Wish you great success.

  3. BarelyLiving2

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 8:09:06
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    Yeah, check the case, because sometimes they do stay in the thing they came in on. But good job being thorough. I think DE is helpful for a lot of people, just be careful not to breathe it in (use a mask, if you can) when you apply it.

    I would add one more thing, if you put DE on the bed I'd put it on couches as well, because if they can see or feel the DE, they may want to find another place to get you. Make sure Covers or pillows don't touch the floor or wall so the bed bugs will have a way around the DE. You can use large safety pins to keep them in place.

    Please report back when you feel like you've succeeded. I'd be very interested to hear if you really can do this w/out insecticide. But I honestly don't think most people would be able to be as thorough as this.

  4. makesmenuts

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 12:58:35
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    Rubbing alcohol is just a contact killer, so it's probably no better or worse than other contact killers. Personally I use Rest Easy (essential oils) because it smells much better than alcohol, poses no fire risk, and can be sprayed on a wide variety of surfaces. Sounds like the alcohol is cheaper, though, so as long as you use it carefully, hopefully it will work out for you.

    We're only using the Rest Easy, DE, and steam in most areas of the house because of pets, but that has lengthened our infestation more than it would be if we used a competent PCO. We are using chemicals in one room that can be closed off, and that room had the worst infestation. I think part of your chances for success will depend on whether any got into other parts of your house that you don't know about yet. I unwittingly infested our couch, and that's proven to be the biggest treatment challenge because all the hiding spots in the typical sofa negate the effectiveness of contact killers (I'm using DE to offset that).

  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 14:04:16
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    Puffing DE into the bedframe is not safe. Please read the FAQ on DE to familiarize yourself with the benefits and risks of DE, particularly concerning its application.

  6. 91RubbingAlcohol

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 14:11:37
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    BarelyLiving2 - 5 hours ago  » 
    Yeah, check the case, because sometimes they do stay in the thing they came in on...

    Please report back when you feel like you've succeeded. I'd be very interested to hear if you really can do this w/out insecticide. But I honestly don't think most people would be able to be as thorough as this.

    [b]I should have mentioned that I didn't check the suitcase; I just assumed it was guilty and scooped a lawn & leaf garbage bag over it and sealed it up with as little jarring as possible and sealed it up with a twist tie. I'll deal with it latter... its sitting in my garage for now, the bugs inside (if any...) aren't going anywhere! I'm getting my bedroom and sanity back.

  7. 91RubbingAlcohol

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 17 2011 14:20:22
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    buggyinsocal - 8 minutes ago  » 
    Puffing DE into the bedframe is not safe. Please read the FAQ on DE to familiarize yourself with the benefits and risks of DE, particularly concerning its application.

    [b]After I posted my comment, I did read further regarding the application of the plain DE; I won't be puffing it! I will now be applying it with a soft paint brush or a makeup kabuki brush. Or, I may try the 20% dish soap / 40% rubbing alcohol / 40% water spray / and about 1/2 cup DE formulation in another dedicated sprayer bottle.

    Which method do you think is best?

    Fortunately, our bed sits away from the wall, so it's a matter of applying the stuff to the lower legs and putting the underbed support legs into little containers of mineral oil. The thing to remember will be to NOT DUST the lower 18" of the bedframe!

  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 3:02:20
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    I think that none of those methods are safe for the application of DE to a bed frame.

    I think the FAQ on DE makes pretty clear where DE can and cannot be applied safely.

  9. 91RubbingAlcohol

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Oct 18 2011 12:47:47
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    buggyinsocal - 9 hours ago  » 
    I think that none of those methods are safe for the application of DE to a bed frame.
    I think the FAQ on DE makes pretty clear where DE can and cannot be applied safely.

    I miss-spoke above. When I said: "The thing to remember will be to NOT DUST the lower 18" of the bed frame! " I meant I don't want to clean-off the DE. Like when I do general housekeeping, like dusting (cleaning) the furniture.

    We have a very large, very massive wooden-frame bed, with enormous "feet" that are 7 inches square. I was going to apply the DE to ONLY the lower 18 inches of the bed frame and bottom / underneath of the bed frame - nothing anywhere near where the sheets or blankets may touch.

    Do you STILL advise against it?

  10. JulieH

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 24 2011 0:05:22
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    91RubbingAlcohol - 1 week ago  » 
    My husband took a business trip in mid-August. (...)In late August / early September, I started noticing little bites [/b][i]

    I'm not sure your timeline works in this. If he came home Mid-August with BB in his suitacse, I doubt you would have seen that many adult BB (you mentionned "6 to 8 at the foot of the bed and 2 dozen at the head of the bed. Most of them were adults"). Since it takes 10-17 days for eggs to hatch, you'd have a few 1st instars by early September, then it takes a few weeks for them to become adults and for them to lay eggs.

    Unless of course, he came home with more than a few adults who all elected to live in the same spot...

    Of course, maybe I'm way off... I have yet to find ANY in our house and we've been getting bites since early August...


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