Adjusting the Indoor Climate to Kill Off or Aid Slowing Down Bed bugs(21 posts)
08-13-07 "Bugged Out" asked "Willow"]
How did you disinfect the t.v.? I find that is my second biggest concern is how to de-contaminate items that are not launderable, like electronics, cdâ€™s, books, etc. I canâ€™t very well go toss those things in the dryer!
Hi Bugged Out,
I found many bugs in my abode. 0ver 300, I'm guessing. After I killed off and cleared and re-cleaned â€¦ â€˜round about 90% of them were already dead. Mostly, only-hard-to-see nymphs remained to both taunt and torture me. I thought about the TV ... it was a bit too close to where many of the bugs had been harboring, but it was high up, and harder (but not impossible) for them to get into it:
1--I taped shut most holes on the T.V., save, a few holes for any bugs in it--to exit.
2--I placed the T.V. onto a V. large Tupperware lid and put Vaseline all around the perimeter of the lid.
3--I carefully sprinkled DE onto the plastic Tupperware lid, all around the inside of this barrier of Vaseline--then I made sure the T.V. was not in a drafty place to keep the DE from flying around the room. (I used about 3 tablespoons of DE--not a lot.)
4--I also made sure the T.V. was within 5 feet from where I slept, so that if there were any bugs in there, they would be more likely to sense me and try to come out of it to feed, as opposed to falling off into a state of dormancy.
5--After three months, as nothing had ever came out of it, (and I was doubtful any bugs had actually gotten inside it--I was done.
6--Having already de-cluttered I realized that the T.V. was just taking up space, as I never watched it anyway. I was 99 % sure the T.V. was bed bug free, as would most items be free of them within 3 months.
I think that this "bed bugs in our electronics" is somewhat overrated. Sure, it happens ... but it is not a usual first places they seek. I think the closer the infestation is, to your electronics, and if the electronics are on the floor or touching a wall--especially near a corner of the room, and or near the bed--the greater the chance are, it/they have of becoming infested. Especially, so, though, if the electronic item generates heat and it is in the dead of winter you are dealing with the Bed bugs.
During winter, I had left the place very cold...
I had the bugs in Jan/Feb 2007, so I figured that they might like to get in there, more for protection from the wind and the cold. I had the heat off and I slept in winter clothes and kept the windows wide opened for a full month.
7--I did this same treatment to the Computer tower, which sits on the floor, and to the monitor and the phone, which were also close to where the infestation had been: On my mattress and under my mattress.)
These latter, all still sit in the moats for various reasons today. This is mostly because, I live in a multi-dwelling hotel where they do not treat on the up and up for bed bugs. Should a neighbor go on a few weeks vacation, and should they have bed bugs--violas! I may surely have those bloodsuckers in here again!
8--Clothing in the closet was deeply affected too.
But thatâ€™s another story. Bag on-site carefully, gently take clothing to a pre-heated drier, where they will surely all die within the hour if driers are not packed but left half full. Dry on very hot heat. This is why washing them first is not necessary. Kill them off in a drier firstâ€”then wash and re-dry as usual.) I saw some larger hardier bugs survive thru a commercial washer onlyâ€”this is because the pre-rinse and post-rinse cycles are often set on cool. (This cool rinse rather undoes the heat cycle.)
9--AC units might be more prone to an infestation, so â€¦ Iâ€™d keep the dehumidifying fan on, 24/7, year round, but only for the time I had the infestation. Iâ€™d also not use the cooler air controls in summer, as; I'd want the bugs to breed, lay eggs, let the eggs hatch and die off sooner in such heat, as per, bugs drying out in addition to the PCO applied poisons.
In winter, I'd turn the cool air on! This would keep them away from the AC unit! In summer Iâ€™d turn the dry and hotter portions of the AC unit on to hopefully get a similar result.
Why--? Because Bed bugs like to live in temps about similar to the oneâ€™s we find most comfortable. (Low humidity in and of itself tends to dry them outâ€”but especially in hotter temps.)
This is not 100% sureâ€”but it is a heck of a lot closer to 100% than keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. (That is my opinion, originally based on hunches and later proven out by studying scientific literature on the bed bugs best climate comfort zones further.
There are always other considerationsâ€¦ If I had infirmed, Elderly, Babies, or even children under 16â€”Iâ€™d not want to do these types of measures. But if you live alone and are healthy: wearing a winter coat to bed at night in winter, and or keeping a damp towel to sponge yourself off, in the heat of summer, might prove to be your best choice in slowing down an infestation.
Under 50 degrees F and over 95 degreed Fâ€”bed bugs do not do very well (especially while in low humidity environments.)
Blood is their main source of fluids and their only source of nutrition.
10--As far as CDâ€™s books etc â€¦ bagging in double BLACK bags and placing in direct Sun on black asphalt during summer, for a 3 weeks might help a lot. Iâ€™d still keep them covered over for another month. Then Iâ€™d carefully and slowly inspect them in a safe zoneâ€”say in the empty bathtub under very good lighting. PS adding a ltitle DE to the bags may be messy but it will aid in keeping humidity down inside the bag. Is soaks up moisture and is often found in kitty litter.
In hindsight, Iâ€™d use a few cups of good drying-out kitty litter, per double plastic bag rather than DE itself. Much easier to brush off your items, Iâ€™d think. The De is just too light and too easily flies up into your face.
WOW. This was MUCH more detailed than I ever expected. Thank you! I had just written NoMo this morning to ask about the viability of using dryers in commercial laundromats for bed bug execution, but this pretty much answers my question. I'm sure plenty of other folks out there will find it really useful too.
Oops, I meant to say NoBugsOnMe. Sorry.
Post Script: I'd also use the very drying DE containing kitty litter in the winter, if I chose to double bag stuff--(again in BLACK)--then I'd wait until summer to put it on the asphalt and heat it up. This is for books CD's and other non-washables and non-dryable items â€¦. There are other methods too, like sub-zero flash freezing, but I did not address above:
For that--you'd have to rent a storage slab where such freezing can be done, or for smaller items, if not tightly packed and wrapped well so that all air is out--you could try your home freezer for one full month/ be sure you keep the door shut. The temperature in there is not usually sub zero. So a full month is mandatory! In addition, never over-pack the freezer. An wrap so all air is OUT of the item being frozen.
Buying a stand up freezer or using one if you already have oneâ€”would be even more helpful.
Again, open carefully over the safe zone, like a well-lit bathtub. Would I still add the kitty litter to the items in the freezer? Yes, I most certainly would. One problem with the freezing too is how the moisture can cause molds and damage to the items especially during the unfreezing phase. Books and paintings, I have read, should not be frozen if you can help it due to the moisture problems.
All my opinion and I am not a Professional PCO. I just pay very close attention to the data Iâ€™ve seen.
I hope this stuff helps, and I hope people don't get over-anxious or impulsive and not wait the appropriate times, and even then some!
Since the strongest bugs survive--letting one or two slip past you will help it's progeny adapt better the to few methods we have left to kill them.
Boiling water and Steam--? That's a whole nother ball of wax. Not discussed here either.
PS-- we only want to dehydrate the bugs right not ourselves! Sipping pain water slowly helps--carbonated and caffeine-containing beverages should be kept strictly to a minimum during summer months--caffeine dehydrates, as does all bubbly water.
Baking soda? Perhaps nowâ€™s the time to replace that old box in the fridge--and perhaps add one or two open boxes into your freezer two?
Silica pills ... the little ones in bottles to keep the moisture downâ€”Do we need mass production of them all held in childproof sacks, of say 100 each. ??? Something perhaps like the size of a baseballâ€”or, perhaps; more preferable, would be in â€œpacket formâ€ as opposed to capsules. ???
(THIS SILCA STUFF IS POISONOUS â€¦ BE CAREFUL WITH IT â€¦ NEVER EVER ARE THEY TO BE OPENED up and spread out like, say, FWDE might be spread around according to the label .
Could we not put these into dresser draws to dry them out, thus driving the bugs out too? I donâ€™t know but for everything in this entire thread I've written I say you MUST act as BAIT--BUT you must try hard to NEVER get bitten.
Doing all of these measures will not help one iota--should you think of just sprinkling a little De down and taking off for a month--that is unconscionable and can only create bad "bed bug karma" for who think this is the thing to do: Sorry wqrong! Those bugs you drive away and--their numerous offspring will surely be back upon your abode and then what are you going to do? There is the movie â€¦ â€œGhostbustersâ€ but there is no real "Bed bug busters." (If a company like that exists, it is in name only I have no idea.) Acting as bait and doing so safely, while doing as many â€œcooperative measuresâ€ as you can, without interfering with the PCO protocols youâ€™re usually our best bet.
Again let us act cautiously in all that we do regarding bedbugsâ€”freak-out mode? Another friend of the bed bugs. Staying on freak-out mode only helps spread them there bugs around the place faster: herbal teas â€¦some of them are actually dehydrating yet they are so relaxing.
it is a lovely spring-like day (low relative humidity Sunny 70's in SF)
Off for a long walk and try to forget about bed bugs for a while. I donâ€™t have them anymore and they will always be a threat until they are eradicated fully--and forever!
I would not do any of that.
First, I would not MOVE your TV or any electronics closer to where you sleep than where they already are. Anything further from a sleeping spot is SAFER NOW and less likely to be infested.
If there are bed bugs in your TV, they will eventually come out to feed. Most people do not have bed bugs in their TVs (I have got this via many good PCOs). For those few who do, here's what I'd recommend:
1/ Take a hair dryer and run it, on hot, aimed at the holes and crevices in the TV. Don't do this too long (esp. if it is a good one--it might be so hot as to actually harm your item). Any bed bugs should flee out. I got this advice for treating electronics from PCOs. Be ready to spray with 91% alcohol or another contact kill, in case they do come out.
2/ This is my own idea: put the TV on a tray or something to raise it slightly above the table or stand it's on. Surround the tray or whatever with a thin line of DE, such that any bed bugs walking out of it will walk through the DE. Bed bugs will get hungry and come out. They will do this regardless of how far they are from your bed. They need to eat.
I think people with serious infestations, seeing bed bugs everywhere, are more likely to have infested electronics. I do not think everyone needs to do this. And I also firmly believe that the normal treatment from a good PCO will be enough for most people.
I would not mess around with silica or kitty litter. I would not freeze electronics.
I believe the experts who do not think that indoor temperatures can be raised enough or lowered enough to kill bed bugs. The data shows that they will hide out in the walls or other places, where it is slightly cooler, or hotter, and come right back. It can actually make your problem worse, when you encourage them to move around like that.
The professionals who use heat or cold ensure temperatures change VERY quickly, which kills bed bugs before they are able to flee into your wall, floor, neighbor's home, etc. Based on my reading, I would not try to use temps. to eliminate bed bugs indoors.
A PCO came in today and sprayed everything with a combination of chemicals - I forget now what he said it was. I am a little apprehensive as he did not treat the whole building and did not give us an extensive prep/guidelines to follow. I am at the point where I am triaging belongings, but he said our infestation was not bad at all and seemed to make very light of it. I am so tired of thinking about bugs, I can't remember the last time I slept properly. On the bright side, the landlord is taking the threat very seriously - he even thanked me for notifying him about other infected apartments (I even encouraged a couple to get their apartment sprayed today - apparently their problem is VERY bad, HUGE bed bugs all over the apartment, including the bathroom and new bites almost every night) and asked me to let him know if I heard anything new. He wants to send the PCO again next week and make sure he gets the apartments that refused to get treated today, and then keep following up until the whole building is done... I guess I should be thankful I haven't had many new bites since my roomie and I became wise to the bugs and took steps to clean and launder everything properly, and that my landlord is being so helpful. I'm just so exhausted and I just feel like throwing everything away because it's so hard to deal with these damn things. It's affecting my work and my relationships - I'm scared to see my mother for fear of spreading the bugs to her. It's so awful. I wish we could just go back to using DDT. I'm exhausted.
bugged, the landlord should have all adjacent units (top, bottom, and sides) inspected by a good PCO. and treated if they have any signs...
the whole building isn't necessary but those adjacent units are a danger zone. and one PCO who knows his stuff told me he sees WAY more infestations traveling from above or below, rather than from the sides, though this does happen often too.
What prep did he want, anyway?
Just said wash and bag the laundry and make sure all the drawers were empty. He just didn't seem that concerned. He also told me that the spray would kill eggs. From everything I read here, NOTHING kills the eggs (I also carefully inspected the headboard last night and found what I thought were clusters - sprayed all holy hell out of my bedframe with Murphy's and SCRUBBED with paper towels - had weird stringy clingy fibers? but this morning seemed to be gone) and he said we could unpack that night. I was like, HM. So I discussed with my roommate and we're going to keep cleaning diligently and I walked down the halls and urged other tenants to do the same... just feel kind of hopeless and SO EXHAUSTED. I have the most morbid fear of little white things now... imagine, being so jumpy about dust!
I think I have some tiny bites today, but at this point, I just don't know.
Do not unpack the bags. Not for at least after the problem seems like it is all gone completely. The PCO does not sound experienced. Bedlam will kill eggs but only if directly sprayed which is unlikely in most cases. And certainly would not get rid of all the eggs, maybe a few.
Yep, I did not have much confidence in the PCO and I am pretty much resigned to living out of Ziplocs until we move out of the building which has an infestation in at least one apartment on every floor. I told my roomie we should buy some stock in the company since it looks like bed bug problems are only getting worse, esp in dense urban areas like New York.
I told my neighbors not to touch ANY of the garbage outside, don't bring in any furniture and to empty out their furniture, check their bedframes, vacuum, launder/dry w/hot water... I'm just not sure how seriously they are taking the problem. I am sure my downstairs neighbors love me - I was up until 3 AM vacuuming and moving the furniture around. I plan to go back over the bedframe tonight thoroughly with Murphy's again. And to vacuum AGAIN. I think we may have to move b/c of the neighbors. I know my roomie and I are being very cautious, but the other units don't seem to be...
If you leave everything bagged, but only open and take it out AFTER the problem seems gone, as was mentioned above, then, what if you had a bug or two packed away? They can live, unfed, for months even a full year or more on some unhappy occasions!
Would you not need another treatment (or treatment on the bagged stuff first) before opening the bags? I think so. This would be to help bugs trying to walk across the poisons, in order to get to you to, die faster perhaps.
Be careful in switching PCO'sâ€”[(I'm not saying this guy is good or bad--but they do and should leave checklists. If only to help, prioritize during treatment(s) better.)]
Since he/she did not--I'd ask for a list of chemicals used and for a pre/post PC0 check-list. I'm not saying you should NOT switch--but at least find out what methods and chemicals this PCO used first. This is so you can alert a new PC0, as to, "what's been going on chemically" in YOUR apartment as well as all you've told us about the building and the neighbor's. That history is all-important too.
Gosh â€¦ I know how you feel ... I did chuck some things I perhaps could/should have kept: My electronic keyboard that was a big mistake. it probably had no bugs in it.
But--we all make a few mistakes, and I guess since we're here trying to get rid of bed bugs safely and effectively, erring on the side of caution is not such a bad thing.
(I never hardly used the dumb thing anyway).
Willow, NoBugs, and others... thank you again for all your support and advice.
Sigh... I shredded and chucked my journal, at which point my boyfriend told me I needed to calm down and stop making myself crazy. I did examine and bag a couple of entries I particularly liked though, so I don't feel entirely terrible about it.
I feel the PCO is a general exterminator and didn't really have that much experience in treating for bed bugs. Also, I don't know how I feel in that I saw so many MORE bugs around the apartment. These weren't bed bugs, but all kinds of other things that I guess crept out for whatever reasons. I guess he seemed to feel that since our infestation was 'light' that it wasn't a big deal (apparently he sprayed another apartment for four hours and said that the bed was a nightmare of adults, nymphs and eggs - I nearly puked just imagining it). We asked him what he was using (again, stupid me, I forgot to write it down) and what his success rate was, how many follow-ups, when we should un-bag, etc... I'm keeping whatever is bagged that can't be laundered out until next week when he comes back, at which point I will open it and ask him to spray again, then shred whatever papers might be sensitive and throw away the rest.
I guess I am being somewhat extreme, but this bug thing is a nightmare that I do not want to continue living or take the risk of spreading... Someone else had a post on the forum about life before/after bed bugs, and I really feel that it's true. My life has seriously become time-lined by BB (Before Bugs) and AB (After Bugs)!
Ok... but there is the present moment too--the awful part--DB during bed bugs. yes, donâ€™t make yourself too crazy. bed bugs will come looking for you and be out in the open when hungry-this is the best time to contact-kill them or step on them or squish them. This timeline during bed bugs goes on for 3-9 weeks depending upon so many variables--and there is the clause that say's if the bugs are still coming in from an outside but uncaught and uncorrected source.... well the (DB) could go on for even longer.
Therefore, really make yourself familial with all of the OTHER things you can do
Caulking cracks and crevices â€¦ Carpet tape on the walls, and such, â€¦ strategic vacuuming--Steaming â€¦ but only with a PCO's acknowledgement, lest you disrupt or attenuate their poisons--And of course more:
See FAQS and then follow through on them as logically, and as slowly, and relaxed as you possibly can.
Keywords here are â€œIsolationâ€ / â€œExclusionâ€ â€¦ â€œVacuumingâ€
Controlling bed bugs, as in, you have the power to limit their traveling jaunts, at nightâ€”by what you do proactively during the day, in such a "preventative-pro-active fashion."
BB's??? They tend to live in corners, under things and inside things. Dark things--recall they evolved from caves ... so the darker it is and the closer they can hide near the host--the better off it is for them--usually.
Your PC0 should have done such at least some sort of an inspection along these lines. in books (especially near where you usually sleep or sit for long periods of time ... inside walls, behind a couch or under the removable cushions--same with the bed: under the mattress or inside the box spring--sure they will come out that's a good sign--so now's the time to kill them--so they won't lay any more eggs.
You can kill all the seen bed bugs but if you donâ€™t get to the eggsâ€”which you probably wonâ€™t be able to get to them all Then plan on 3-5 weeks more of the same ...
This is normal â€¦. It is why bbâ€™s are so hard to kill off. In addition, as the hostâ€”we must both draw them out yet try not to be bitten.
And we are responsible to clean up perhaps 50% of them. This is expected and recommended, but only if done safely and with forethought: this stuff is all apparent in the FAQS that deal with the treatment of bbâ€™s.
Keep your focus on the â€œDBâ€ time zone â€œduring bedbugs as much as you can.â€
Thatâ€™s hard. But you will survive â€¦ I thought I would not ... yet â€¦ slowly but surely I became clear of bed bugs to the point that now, I do preventative stuff to keep then at bay--or at best--all dead and away from me altogether--forever.
apartments that refused to get treated
This is depressing. What are you supposed to do? What is the landlord supposed to do? I wonder if a landlord has the right to evict people who refuse to have their apartments treated? Sigh - probably not.
For what it's worth, all kinds of bugs crawled out of nowhere and expired on my bedroom floor after the PCO came. I guess I am glad that they were dead, at least.
I am going psycho. My roomie and I have agreed to 'sleep shifts'. I barely eat and am just too exhausted to function.
I used to myspace. Now I bedbugger. It's kind of humorous, really.
When I said not to unpack the bags, I was referring to washed and dried laundry, as Buggedout said she had only that in bags. You do not need to treat inside bags of washed and dried laundry.
Buggedout, I would guess most housing laws allow landlords to inspect apartments for pests and treat if needed. He would likely not need to evict them to force them.
Is your bed "isolated"? If so you can sleep without being bitten. There are valid arguments against it too, but if you are losing sleep, I tend to think it is a good idea. Sleeping shifts won't work--they can bite when you are awake.
Sorry, I know this is rough. But you will get through it.
And most people panic and throw away things they need not toss. In my opinion, the biggest reason not to is others WILL take it. Even if you warn them, even if you label it. We have people in buildings being treated for bed bugs whose neighbors bring furniture in from the curb. People just don't get it. And of course if your neighbors bring stuff in, your bed bugs will come back.
Some time ago I realized there were bed bugs in my couch. Apparently a critter came in riding on a friends diaper bag. While they remained loyal to the couch, they began to step up their population. Sitting on the couch began to give me the creeps, especially after the living room started to darken. After dark they got busy! At wits end, I hauled both my couch and love seat outdoors. I live in South Dakota, and it is winter now. Both pieces of furniture have been outdoors for nearly 2 months in snow and freezing temperatures.
My question is: After this amount of time outdoors in this cold weather, is it safe to bring the furniture back indoors? I am hoping that all will have been killed by now, since it has been freezing and they have not been able to feed. I do not want to bring it all back in if there is a chance that the bugs have survived.... I don't want to go through all of this again. Next time I will just toss the couches and start with new furniture. Are there other things I should do before I reintroduce the furniture to my home?
I appreciate any feedback you can provide! Thanks!
While bed bugs die at about 115-125F (depending on length of exposure), experts seem a little less certain about cold.
I recall one source that said that 4 days in an unopened 0 degrees F freezer will do it. Outdoors may vary, considering temperature variations, time for cold to penetrate the deepest recess, heat from the sun and other factors. We don't know your environment, so you'll need to judge.
Did you find actual bed bugs on your couch, or at least their signs (fecal marks, cast skins)? Once you moved the couch out, did all bed bug activity cease (i.e., no strays went after you while you sat or stood elsewhere)? Did you need to treat inside?
This is a very old thread on a different topic. It's generally better to start a fresh question with a descriptive title, to get maximum attention.
While it is possible to kill bed bugs with cold temperatures, they are much more tollerant to cold than they are to heat.
Of concern in the information you posted is that you have kept the infested furniture outdoors. This is so because the outdoor temperatures may fluctuate which could allow bed bugs to survive. "Ancestors" of the bed bugs I keep have been frozen over night in my fridge (don't tell mary ann, she'll friggin wig out) and thawed out quite nicely the next day to go on their happy way.
While it seems likely that all your bed bugs have perished by now, assuming that the temperatures have remained below freezing these past sixty days, there is really no 100% guaranty that this is so. And, we never want to underestimate bed bugs.
> Is the furniture covered in anything, plastic tarp, canvas tarp?
> Is the furniture located where it would be in the sun for any time of the day? If so, it may be wise to move it to where it is in the shade all day.
> Have you had any ongoing evidence within your place since you removed the furniture in question?
> Prior to reclaiming the furniture and moving it back into your home you may wish to do the following:
* Remove all cushions and bottom dust cover to carefully inspect and treat.
* Inspect/treat all areas where bed bugs may hide.
* Do not treat any areas where under normal useage there's be direct human contact with pesticides.
* Use a vacuum and steamer to treat the human contact areas.
* If you're going to use an alcohol based product, do so in a well ventilated area, do not smoke and do not burn your house down. ALCOHOL is a higly flammable substance with a low flash point !
Hope this helps, good luck ! paul b.
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