Anything else that can be done? Advice needed.(14 posts)
Hi - in between many nightless sleeps that my husband and I have been experiencing (like many of you), I've been reading many of the posts on this forum, and it's quite possible that this question has been answered already. My apologies if my questions are redundant - I'm mentally and physically exhausted from this.
We have our 3rd PCO treatment this Saturday. Since our 2nd treatment, I've found what I'm pretty certain were 2 more bedbugs (one was quite small and the other appeared to be an adult, which I found in the hallway outside outside the bedroom. I think it may have come from one of my husband's shoes, which he brought on his trip from where we believe he picked up the bed bugs). Each morning, I find what appears to be tiny bites on my body - sometimes it's just one, and others, it's two or three to up to eight little dots in a row. When my husband was being bitten, his bites were inflamed. Mine look like tiny dots that have scabbed over. Maybe I'm going nuts in the little sleep I'm getting and somehow scratching myself so that I'm giving myself these little scabs on my body?? Is anyone else experience this?
Our mattress and box frames have been encased; before encasing, PCO sprayed them a strong solution of alcohol; metal bed frame has been chemically treated; our bed is in the center of the bedroom, not touching any walls, and no sheets/linens/blankets touch the floor; perimeter of every room have been chemically treated; outlets have been dusted; closets remain empty and all clothes, linens, towels, etc. remain sealed after being laundered and/or dry cleaned; and I vacuum every 2-3days and discard the vacuum bag after sealing it in a plastic bag. Our Paktite arrived yesterday afternoon so will read the instructions on how to operate it, and start using ASAP.
Am I missing something? Is there anything else I can do?? Anything in particular I should ask PCO to do on the 3rd visit? After 3rd treatment, we have 30 day guarantee, and after that, they will come back anytime for a fairly minimal fee. After 3rd treatment, is it safe to sprinkle DE or is that mixing too many chemicals? My husband said that he'll spend whatever it takes to get rid of these things, but this is getting really expensive. So far, we've easily spent a couple thousand (PCO, encasements, new vacuum, dry cleaning, etc.), and that doesn't include what we've discarded and will eventually replace.
Sorry for all the questions...I'm desperate to get rid of these things.
caulk the baseboards. Fill in holes in the floor or have them polyurethaned if you have wood floors. If you have carpet, consult your pco about sprinkling it with diatomaceous earth.
don't douse your mattress in alcohol!
vacuum the mattress with the encasement on it. the bedbugs can stick to the little terrycloth crud (no idea why they don't make all versions of this smooth on top). vacuum up a little DE to prevent an infestation in the vacuum.
packtite all shoes, dry cleaning items, thick blankets, even if they have been treated, in addition to the regular suspects like books and trinkets and picture frames.
what are you doing for your electronics?
Stop! Before you work with diatomaceous earth (DE), please read the FAQ to understand the uses and hazards.
You probably don't want this spread over your rug. You also probably don't want this running through your vacuum. People have reported that it will ruin it. It's a potential inhalation hazard, so you don't want this kicked up into the sir and your lungs.
Please don't fret about the electronics. If your area is properly treated, the bugs will cross poison on their way to feed and die, if they are in your gear at all.
Hopefully, your treatments will work. People often see bugs after treatment for a few days. If you are having doubts about your treatment, check out one if the practice guides on the Resources page (like the U of Minn or the new State of Michigan) to get a picture of treatment done right.
Hang in there.
Thank you! I just read the DE FAQs and will avoid using that. We have enough chemicals in our place from PCO treatments, and with my asthma, I just don't want to risk it.
Quick question about the alcohol - I thought the higher percentage (90% plus) was a good contact killer for live (not eggs) bed bugs, and since it's rubbing alcohol, I assumed it was one of the safe, less toxic options for our bed (and per our PCO). It's also been sprayed in the couch's lining. Was I misinformed about the safety of using alcohol?
I haven't vacuumed the bed since it's been encased - I was scared that it would rip it. Have others safely vacuumed the encasing, and is there a particular setting on the vacuum that works best for this? I extremely cautious about how I handle the encasing since several days (perhaps even up to 2 weeks, can't remember exactly) after encasing the mattress and box springs, I noticed black spots on the mattress that were not there prior. So, I am pretty certain there are some live bed bugs in there, and I'd like to keep them there to starve to death.
I hate these things - part of my life has been taken away and I feel incredibly isolated. We don't want to visit family and friends for fear of infecting their homes. Just going out to do simple errands requires an entire ritual of changing into fresh clothing, throwing old clothes promptly into the washer and dryer, promptly bagging and sealing...
Plenty of folks sprinkle DE on their carpets for fleas, ants, bed bugs. Google it. The risk of other pesticides is much higher and worse than some asthma. I have asthma also and have found a very light dusting to be fine. It has to be light though and unfortunately there is not a lot of good guidance on the web about what that looks like, but basically it looks like a film, where you can't even see the individual specks. I used a duster and then wore gloves and spread it out very thin and got it in all the cracks. It won't kick up this way either. When I applied it thicker like the duster was dispensing it it did aggravate my asthma. DE is NOT a chemical. If you get 100% food grade, there is no risk to the lungs then any other dust to a person with asthma, but it is not an allergen (unless you happen to be allergic to fresh water diatoms) and a light film does not significantly bother me and my immune system is very hypersensitive. There are pictures on the web of people without respirators holding up large chunks in DE mines. Not something I'd recommend, but if you sprinkle it on your carpet very light and then work it in, it won't kill you. That said if you already have chemicals all over your carpet, it may interact with them. I spent 8 months refusing to use DE for the same concerns (my asthma) and am so glad I have begun using it now. It is a miracle.
I am using DE in my vacuum, I wear my respirator when I vacuum and air out the room for an hour whenever I am working with the stuff for the dust to settle. Seriously, it's fine. I got mine from Q Based Solutions, the only 100% food grade amorphous silica DE I could find, and it's cheap. People drink the stuff for detox and put it on their pet's skin for fleas. My vacuum was $40 so I am not worried about it breaking, but the piece of junk hasn't so far with large amounts of DE in it.
In terms of the encasement, I vacuumed my terry cloth Protect a Bed on the top and bottom, no problem.
Alcohol is a fire hazard.
Aclohol, before it evaporates, can also be toxic. My dog got very ill when I sprayed with alcohol without proper ventilation. The stuff on your mattress is fine now, aside from the fire hazard (I wouldn't light candles in your room), but I wouldn't suggest it again.
> Was I misinformed about the safety of using alcohol?
It's flammable until it evaporates and the vapor has dissipated, so vent your room while you work and don't smoke/cook/spark. It also can cloud or dissolve some (paint or plastic) finishes, but you can usually use a detergent as a safe and effective alternative.
Several people in the Cincinnati area alone have burned down buildings in the past year by spraying alcohol to kill bed bugs, and smoking. It's worth being very cautious.
@beth - I also agree with Cilecto that sprinkling DE on carpets is problematic. If you disturb it, it is airborne and you can breathe it in.
Instead of DE on the carpets, you could give them a good steam cleaning. That's what my PCO recommended post treatment.
I would think it depends what kind of carpet. If it's fluffy, it could blow up easily. If it's a hard rug without fluff like chaep landlords use or even berber it could likely work. Use your judgement on that one.
And yes, steam cleaning would work very well on carpets.
Thanks for the information about the rubbing alcohol - I was about to order several bottles of 91% online to continue spraying after our 3rd treatment, but I will hold off for now.
I, too, was thinking about a steam vacuuming - from what I've read, it seems to have a good outcome. I will ask my PCO when is an ideal time for that since I'm not certain if I should wait a few weeks after 3rd PCO appointment to steam vacuum (can the steam lessen the potency of chemicals used in treatments?).
Another question about bed encasement - does anyone know if the steam vacuum will compromise the integrity of the encasing?
Do not steam the casing. Casings cannot withstand high heat, at least that was what Protect a Bed told me. They are pretty flimsy material on the sides and will melt.
Steam will dissolve the chemicals put down, you will need a respirator and if you are still choosing to use a pco, his or her ok.
Just fyi, once I steamed up the pco's chemicals the bedbugs exploded (and the chemicals had been down for 3 months). It was then I needed DE. Bed bugs are about using many tactics but also about timing.
Good luck to you!
There is somewhere in the fora a post or two from me outlining in painstaking detail why "food grade" DE is not safe for inhalation.
I'm headed out to a concert later tonight and not in the mood to recreate that much work, but the deal is this:
There are two grades of DE: the kind used for pools and so-called food grade. I believe the food grade is used with livestock. (Note: livestock live markedly shorter lives, because their species are not as long lived, than we do. Also, most livestock are not required to exert themselves in ways that would tax their lungs. In this respect, silicosis is pretty clearly not as major an issue for say, cattle and sheep, as it is for people.)
When safety testing was done on the two kinds of DE, researchers found that most commercially available food grade DE had at least some of the pool grade kind in it. In order to get enough pure food grade DE to use in research to prove that the food grade kind was safe, they had to manufacture it themselves.
The article in question doesn't call it food grade and pool grade: it's something like crystalline and amorphous or something. (I'm an English major; I forget the science details quickly, even if I recall the larger concepts forever.)
As a result, I would be very, very wary of using food grade DE liberally because some people on the internets claim it's 100% safe precisely because the researchers who wanted to prove that didn't trust commercially available stuff to be pure enough to run their experiments.
If you have the scientific know-how to manufacture your own food grade stuff and assure it's free of the larger crystalline structure of the pool grade stuff, knock yourself out.
Inhalation of DE (which if I recall correctly is a kind of coral-like stuff--basically exoskeletons of tons of very small organisms called diatoms. Okay, never mind, I looked it up. It's the fossilized remains of diatoms. I told you I forgot the scientific details.) can cause silicosis.
The reason that it is wise to be extra cautious in avoiding silicosis is that (Wait for it . . .) there is no effective medical treatment for silicosis. Once you get it, your symptoms can be dealt with, but there's no way to undo it.
And, like many things that happen from exposure, you often won't know at the time you're being exposed what the long term effects are going to be. The thing with things like silicosis is that years of exposure now may not cause symptoms until decades down the line.
I'm all for less toxic, more natural options in pest management. Every time I walk around Disneyland, I try to take note of all the marigolds they plant as a natural way to discourage insects we view as pests. But DE is not the universally safe substance that many websites make it out to be, and saying that it is when people are likely to overapply it in ways that will kick it up into the air is plenty dangerous too.
Thank you BuggyInSocial - I greatly appreciate your taking the time to post your DE knowledge. After reading more on the forums, FAQs, etc. and discussing next steps with my husband, we've decided not to use 90% plus rubbing alcohol and DE. We have our 3rd PCO on Saturday, and I will talk to them about an ideal start date for a good steam vacuuming. Our PackTite recently arrived so that will play a big role in our efforts to get rid of these disgusting bugs. We also have a 30 day guarantee with our PCO - after, we can continue with monthly treatments for all rooms at a very affordable fee so depending on how things progress, we will consider that option as well. Ideally, after our 3rd treatment and then steaming, we'll be bug free. Thank you again!
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