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Bed bugs and salt [a: salt does not work]

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  1. saltybites

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Jun 22 2011 12:58:15
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    I have a trailer but spend a great deal of time in my bf's duplex apt that he doesn't rent and that is where I got my first ever bed bug bite. It took me time and the Internet to figure out what I was dealing with, no pest control company, because I couldn't afford that and still can't.

    I went to a local lumber/everything store and bought bed bug foggers brought them back to the apt and proceeded to spray every day, then ran into a friend and she said to try salt. Just plain old table salt, to spread it over everything, all floors, some furniture and the mattress and box springs. The bed was old and a left over from somewhere and I will never do that again.

    I went out and bought lots of salt. Just the stuff you get in the store, nothing fancy, you want as cheap as you can get and I proceeded to spread it all over the whole apt and then leave it in place for 7 days. All of which I did in the apt and it worked great, is still working today as I sit here typing this.

    As for the bed I have tossed it out and will get an air mattress (no animals) I can not afford the encasement's.

    But I am not done with the bed bugs because they hitched a ride and are now in my trailer so I am going through the whole thing again, just in a different location. Over their I also strip off anything I have worn as I walk in the door and it goes into the washer then either line dried or dried in the dryer.

    So between the washer and dryer and the foggers and salt I am doing great. I have 3 cats in the trailer which of course got the bed bugs on them and I was hesitant about using the salt but went ahead. They seem to be doing ok, I have plenty of fresh water out for them and I feed them tuna in oil to replenish the oils back into their bodies. I will keep that up until their fur looks good again.

    If you try the salt remember it has to be left in place for 7 days and then vacuum them up or leave the salt down longer.

    I also am cleaning and am careful with the foggers and food and dishes. I have also washed and dried and re washed and dried all bedding/blankets/towels and clothes. I run the dryer until no suspected anything shows up in the lint tray.

    I will let you know how it goes from time to time. Today is June 22, 2011

    Saltybites

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 13:22:19
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    I am sorry to tell you this, but foggers are absolutely a bad idea when it comes to bed bugs. They can spread the problem and do not eliminate bed bugs. It may seem like they are gone for a bit, but they are likely hiding out deeper in the structure.

    I have not seen any information suggesting salt is an effective treatment.

    There are inexpensive DIY methods which can work, but these are NOT good ideas, and I would discourage anyone from following your recommendations.

    Please read our treatment FAQs for better ideas.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 13:38:51
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    Nobugsonme - 11 minutes ago  » 
    ..
    Also, salt is not an effective treatment.
    ...

    Nobugs, I do want to ask whether there's a specific basis on which you're able to make that statement. Do we know of anyone else in addition to saltybites who has tried it, or any studies or whatever that have been done? Salt sounds crazy but are we in position to dismiss it out of hand in case it could even remotely possibly have some desirable anti-bb effects? Maybe they walk on it and it stings their feet, or a tiny amount penetrates their cuticle and begins to dehydrate them?

    Has anyone else reading this thread heard, either pro or con, of salt as a way to fight bb's?

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 13:52:48
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    I think Lou Sorkin may know more about this, and have asked him to weigh in.
    I have modified my statement above.

    However, jrbtnyc, since this poster does not yet know whether this treatment had any positive effect, my strong advice to others to not employ salt (or foggers) stands.

  5. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 15:06:20
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    Nobugsonme - 1 hour ago  » 
    I think Lou Sorkin may know more about this, and have asked him to weigh in.
    ...

    If Lou is not aware of anyone having looked into this, Lou could put bb's into a basin and put salt on the bottom of one side of the basin and see whether the bugs all crowd over to the other side, or whether they blithely walk on the salt and show no ill effects after days or weeks.

    (As I've said elsewhere, why not do the experiment especially when it's easy, quick, and cheap to do – as long as you have bugs available with which to do it.)

  6. sluggums

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 15:40:05
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    I've read accounts of this salt treatment being used for fleas and flea eggs. No idea if that works, but don't think saltybites just made it up, it's out there already. Personally, I wouldn't trust it to get rid of bed bugs. Not at all.

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 15:46:55
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    Hi,

    I will take more than a pinch of salt into the office tomorrow and see what effect it does or does not have.

    I will however stress that there are bound to be issues with spreading large quantities of salt around, least of all would be an extreme drying of the skin which will aggrevate the bites significantly.

    I appreciate enthusiasm as much as the next person but like my bathrobe read last night which waxes lyrical about an amazing native American cure for bedbugs which it promised to reveal but never did the facts must always be considered. I am reaching for the brain bleach as I write in an attempt to remove the mental image of someone sitting on a sofa caked in salt and wrapped in plastic like cured meat.

    People can be highly stressed when they encounter bedbugs and if you had seen some of the DIY disasters that I have encountered you would know to be cautious. Salt may appear less dangerous than some of the explosive combinations I have encountered in the past it still needs careful consideration.

    We know foggers are a bad idea, it has been known for a long time but just like DDT it rears it's ugly head from time to time.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.

    "Astral Entomologist - because so many people say my ideas are out of this world"
  8. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 16:13:20
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    As much as I would love for there to be a cheap and easy fix, which salt would be if it were proved to work in the field, I just want to remind everyone reading this thread that many, many things show promise in controlled lab tests that turn out not to work in the field.

    This is true in many scientific fields, but it seems particularly true in the case of bed bugs given the specific behavioral characteristics that they exhibit.

    Even if David Cain's lab experiment with salt works, it's kind of the bed bug equivalent of research that shows a particular chemical combination kills HIV in cultures in the lab or that a gene for a specific disease has been discovered. If they discovered that substance or gene tomorrow, we'd still be looking at a significant number of years before we'd have reliable data that the same chemical worked in actual real life applications or that the knowledge of the gene gave us real tools for dealing with the syndrome or disease in question.

    If salt works in the lab, we'd still be looking at a pretty long time line before we have confirmation that it's equally effective in the field.

    And it's important to remember that often things that appear promising at first have hidden downsides or limitations or unintended consequences that we may not see immediately.

    That's not to discourage professionals from exploring the option, but it is to remind readers of the boards here, many of whom are sleep-deprived, highly stressed and anxious, and often very panicky about money that it'll be a long time until any of us can in good conscience suggest salt as a safe, effective solution to users who come here stressed out about a bed bug infestation.

  9. EffeCi

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 16:17:21
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    Salt tends to react with a lot of different substances/surfaces...

  10. spideyjg

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 16:19:27
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    As EffeCi said salt does many things and its ability to speed the corrosion of metal is a huge reason not to use it.

    Jim

  11. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 16:28:26
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    Yup, it's always crucial to remember that something which works in the lab won't necessarily work in the field.

    But doing the lab procedure, especially if it's easy, quick, and cheap, is still worthwhile because the converse can be extremely useful: if something *doesn't work in the lab* then we can be fairly confident it won't work in the field either.

    And then guess what, by *actually doing* the experiment – not talking about the experiment and dwelling on six reasons why, in our view, it could never possibly work so we won't bother to do the experiment – by *actually doing* the experiment, not infrequently we notice some related aspect which had escaped our attention before which leads us in another direction entirely and *that's* where we find something valuable.

  12. bbgirl

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 17:59:47
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    We already have an effective substance with diatomaceous earth.....why not stick to that? It has to be treated with care but salt could be very corrosive

  13. EffeCi

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 18:11:13
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    But doing the lab procedure, especially if it's easy, quick, and cheap, is still worthwhile because the converse can be extremely useful: if something *doesn't work in the lab* then we can be fairly confident it won't work in the field either.

    Sure. Two months ago I tested a (almost) new pesticide.
    I first tested it in lab, directly spraying BBs (adults and nymphs, some fed some unfed) .
    I observed the death of about 70% of them in 5 days. with 1% solution and less than 50% with 0,5% one .
    I had no more deaths after 5 days.
    In my opinion it was a poor result, and the producer agreed with me, so we decided to avoid field tests. Not effective enough for BBs.

    A direct spray on some (50-60) specimens of german cockroach with 1% solution killed them all in less than three hours...

  14. die_die_die

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Jun 23 2011 22:56:27
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    bed-bugscouk - 7 hours ago  » 
    Hi,
    I will take more than a pinch of salt into the office tomorrow and see what effect it does or does not have.
    I will however stress that there are bound to be issues with spreading large quantities of salt around, least of all would be an extreme drying of the skin which will aggrevate the bites significantly.
    I appreciate enthusiasm as much as the next person but like my bathrobe read last night which waxes lyrical about an amazing native American cure for bedbugs which it promised to reveal but never did the facts must always be considered. I am reaching for the brain bleach as I write in an attempt to remove the mental image of someone sitting on a sofa caked in salt and wrapped in plastic like cured meat.
    People can be highly stressed when they encounter bedbugs and if you had seen some of the DIY disasters that I have encountered you would know to be cautious. Salt may appear less dangerous than some of the explosive combinations I have encountered in the past it still needs careful consideration.
    We know foggers are a bad idea, it has been known for a long time but just like DDT it rears it's ugly head from time to time.
    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    While you're at it, see if Comet cleaner (powder) kills them. Wouldn't recommend doing this in a house, but I'm curious if it kills, since I've used it on ants before.
    Thanks.

  15. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jun 24 2011 1:10:29
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    die_die_die - 2 hours ago  » 

    While you're at it, see if Comet cleaner (powder) kills them. Wouldn't recommend doing this in a house, but I'm curious if it kills, since I've used it on ants before.

    I'm sorry, but as I see it, it does not matter if Comet kills bed bugs, because the last thing you should be sprinkling around your home is Comet, a bleach-based cleanser.

    DE is not expensive. If your concern is that food grade diatomaceous earth is not packaged quite as cheaply as Comet, that's a problem marketers can solve. Perhaps someone here can pop out small cans of it for a very reasonable price (because you can buy 50 lbs. of DE very cheaply).

    However, placing a product around your home which you may eventually come in contact with is not a good idea.

    As with salt, which others noted is corrosive, I suspect bleach-based Comet is not very good to have in constant contact with your home or possessions either.

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jun 24 2011 3:52:46
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    die_die_die - 4 hours ago  » 

    bed-bugscouk - 7 hours ago  » 
    While you're at it, see if Comet cleaner (powder) kills them. Wouldn't recommend doing this in a house, but I'm curious if it kills, since I've used it on ants before.
    Thanks.

    Hi,

    Comet is not a brand used in the UK so I cant get hold of it to test it, there is also the slight issue of the Biocide directive which would not permit the use of bleach on a pest of any nature.

    I will try salt for a laugh but I am not going to test a dangerous product.

    David

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jun 24 2011 4:20:00
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  18. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jun 24 2011 4:23:51
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    OK salt trial 1.

    Arena set up as a square of salt free area in the middle of a plastic box. If bedbugs will not cross salt they will all remain inside the salt free area. Experiment started 9:15 am.

    9:17am bedbugs escaped over the ring of salt at all life stages show no signs of slowing down.

    I will leave the set up for a few days to see what if any effect it has on them.

    Its too early to conclude anything meaningful but it is not looking good for the salt lobby.

    David

  19. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 5:23:16
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    Update 10:20 GMT

    All bedbugs still happy, a small group have decided to congregate around one of the lumps of salt and its become the meeting point for them.

    A few keep falling on their backs as they try to climb the sand dunes of salt.

    I will update again after 6 hours or if anything exciting happens.

    David

  20. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Jun 24 2011 5:31:44
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    David, I won't have to bother with my tests since your's seem to be going quite well!
    Yes, salt will certainly adversely affect various surfaces.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult in all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology.
  21. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 5:37:55
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    Hi Lou,

    Don't let me stop you. The more the merrier and it reduces the risk of someone being able to accuse me of being biased against salt although I must confess I had non in the house and had to buy some.

    David

  22. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 7:09:59
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    Update, almost 11:20 and all is well in the salty bedbug tank. Some have settled on a clump of salt while others continue to wander about the white lunaresque landscape.

    I think we can safely conclude that salt has no taxic response to bedbugs as they will happily hang out on it.

    David

  23. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 9:27:35
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    Update 14:20 5 hours into continual exposure to salt and 0% kill.

    Given that they also do not avoid it and have been continually exposed I have to day this looks like a fail.

    The issues of corrosion or certain materials also means its not likely to be a solution that is viable either.

    I will run it over the weekend but it there is still 0% kill I will declare it a fail.

    David

  24. jrbtnyc

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 9:35:20
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    Hey this is great we're actually *doing an experiment* not just decreeing how it could never possibly work and thus isn't even worth doing!

    (Barb .)

    > I will leave the set up for a few days to
    > see what if any effect it has on them.

    Good. If they play happily around the salt for eight days and then all drop dead on the ninth day or, say, the mated engorged females stop laying eggs we'll be glad we didn't just give it one hour or one day or one week.

    (It may seem presumptuous to say "we" but I think it's fair because I would gladly be doing the experiment myself if only I had my own coterie of lectularians.)

  25. bed-bugscouk

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 10:13:14
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    Hi jrbtnyc,

    Please your PM. I sent it before your post above but you had not read it before you made the foolish barb.

    Please read it before you post again.

    David

  26. bbgirl

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 12:00:22
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    David you are too funny! I hope your bed bugs appreciate you creating this winter wonderland playground for them

  27. cilecto

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    Fri Jun 24 2011 14:12:36
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    Could the presence of silicon dioxide (aka food grade DE) as an anti caking agent in some table salts contribute to either their efficacy in killing insects or to people's impression that salt is the way to go?

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  28. Nobugsonme

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    bed-bugscouk - 11 hours ago  » 
    All bedbugs still happy, a small group have decided to congregate around one of the lumps of salt and its become the meeting point for them.
    A few keep falling on their backs as they try to climb the sand dunes of salt.

    Oh please, please, David, crank up the video!!!

  29. bed-bugscouk

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    Hi,

    Its now 0:09 and still no kill.

    I will not be about much this weekend but I will check back Monday and let you all know but I would not loose any sleep over it.

    David

    PS if anyone has a miniature palm tree please send it to me, I think the harsh white environment is inducing some displacement behavior and they look both stressed and board

  30. blargg

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    Nobugsonme - 19 hours ago  » 
    Oh please, please, David, crank up the video!!!

    +1 on the video. Heck, start a youtube series! "Will ___ kill bedbugs?"

    No umbrellas here, but maybe the little ones from a martini glass would work!

  31. Nobugsonme

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    Or you could hang a mini disco ball and they might be convinced it was Studio 54 in its heyday.

  32. bed-bugscouk

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    Update: Monday 10:30 GMT

    1 died of a non salt related issue but the others are all still more than happy apart from sensory deprivation.

    David

    PS jrbtnyc you still have a PM waiting to be read

  33. jrbtnyc

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    bed-bugscouk - 1 hour ago  » 
    ...
    PS jrbtnyc you still have a PM waiting to be read

    David I was hoping to avoid this topic.

    I'm officially on record...

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/please-recommend-best-crack-filler-and-double-sided-tape#post-105252

    ...as being one among your many admirers but you're extremely passionate about bb's (as many of us are) and every so often your passion runs out of bounds. That occurred in your most recent previous PM to me of 05/15/11 at 01:02:27 AM on the occasion of your visit to New York as we exchanged PM's discussing the possibility of meeting at the Hotel Pennsylvania. So I must therefore propose that we limit our communications to the forum and I'm willing to take my lumps and I'm fair game for your criticisms but only criticisms which you are prepared for others to see which thereby will tend to keep them professional and civil.

    jrbtnyc

  34. bed-bugscouk

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    Since you are not going to read it in private I will ask again in public.

    If people are testing things please don't follow it up with a childish

    great we're actually *doing an experiment* not just decreeing how it could never possibly work
    . I came very close to throwing it all in the toilet when I read that.

    My job is tough enough without a keyboard warrior spouting rubbish and your input does at times hinder rather than help. I for one think twice about posting on threads you participate because they have a habit of drifting too far from the path.

    David

  35. bed-bugscouk

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    Update: Wednesday 17:59 GMT

    Nothing further has died, experiment closed and declared the failure that it was.

    I will of course be submitting all data to the American institute for entomological studies once I can locate their beer mat calling card.

    David

    Now I know why contract research companies charge up front for such tests and think I will join them

  36. djames1921

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    Hold on just one second Mr. Cain. I hope you take this criticism with a grain of salt, but why have you not tested pepper? Surely the king of all spices will do the trick. And I'm talking fresh ground here so you better get one of those 2 foot long grinders like I see at fine Italian establishments to fill up your Tupperware.;).

  37. blargg

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    djames1921 - 1 hour ago  » 
    Hold on just one second Mr. Cain. I hope you take this criticism with a grain of salt, but why have you not tested pepper? Surely the king of all spices will do the trick. And I'm talking fresh ground here so you better get one of those 2 foot long grinders like I see at fine Italian establishments to fill up your Tupperware.;).

    Or better yet, cayenne pepper. Burn those bastards! Either:

    1. They die (I doubt it)
    2. You've created an even greater nightmare: Cayenne-Pepper-Coated Bedbugs!

  38. bed-bugscouk

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    djames1921 - 8 hours ago  » 
    Hold on just one second Mr. Cain. I hope you take this criticism with a grain of salt, but why have you not tested pepper? Surely the king of all spices will do the trick. And I'm talking fresh ground here so you better get one of those 2 foot long grinders like I see at fine Italian establishments to fill up your Tupperware.;).

    Mr James - your arm chair quarterbacking pepper coated engineering thoughts get right up my nose and irritate my nasal passages. As any well seasoned person knows in the UK its always salt first and vinegar second.

    David

  39. Dionyseus

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    For dehydration to be effective in eliminating bed bug infestations it would need to kill them before they can lay eggs. From the results of David's experiments it seems salt did not dehydrate them fast enough.

  40. triceratops

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    i've tried comet cleaner, it stopped the bedbugs for a few days and i am recently starting to get bit again, but less so.

  41. bed-bugscouk

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    Update

    Phase 2 - projectile salt

    I have concluded my tests with the bug-a-salt pump action projectile salt gun (can be found on google and youtube). While it is indeed effective for house flies it does not work for fruit flies and smaller bedbugs. The air wave that is generated from the compressed air moves the smaller samples ahead of the salt particles and they are not immobilized.

    I am now off to find that first instar nymph last seen flying off my lab bench.

    I respectfully suggest that barring any new technologies that we can rest the notion of salt having anything useful to do with effective bedbug treatments.

    Normal service may now resume.

    David

  42. BigDummy

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 2 2014 15:42:23
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    What if you loaded the gun using first instar nymphs as ammo against the larger bed bugs?

    Vertical
    Sigs
    Are
    The
    Worst
  43. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 1 month ago
    Tue Sep 2 2014 17:22:07
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    Hi BD,

    I will send you a gun to try it at your end.

    David

  44. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
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    Posted 1 month ago
    Wed Sep 3 2014 0:49:27
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    Thanks for the update, David!


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