Bed Bugs in Developing Country: no vacuum cleaner, no dryer - please help!!(7 posts)
Hi, I'm in a bit of a different situation than most people on this site but any advice would be very gratefully received.....
Basically, the first part of my story is typical: stayed in dodgy hotel at the start of October, got some bites, assumed it was a mosquito though they were much more painful and swollen than mossie bites usually are. Came home, unpacked, and about a week later noticed huge swollen bites all over my legs. I have quite an extreme reaction and didn't immediately identify them as bedbugs, though I did wonder, but I live in a developing country (I'm based in Africa) and there are lots of different insects I thought could have been responsible. I washed all my bedlinen, left mattress and duvet out in the sun, and then moved into my housemates room while she was away (I now realise this was dumb) For a week I'd no new bites, and had a friend to stay in the spare room, however just before she left she discovered she was covered with bites (much more text-book bedbug bites than mine) and then a day or two later (yesterday) I started to get some even though I was still in the other room. Once I was sure they were bedbugs (there's lots of evidence that's the case now I've been reading so many websites, though I still haven't seen an actual bug) I contacted a pest control place and sent my duvet, sheets, pjs, etc to the dry cleaner.
I've arranged for an exterminator who is spraying the house as we speak, the problem I have is that lots of suggestions on this site won't work for me because of where I am. My clothes are either washed by hand or in a washing machine which I'm pretty sure washes cold, I don't have a dryer, I don't have a vacuum cleaner. My house is covered with little gaps and cracks in the walls and i can't think how to cover them. I can't buy any expensive equipment - most companies don't even ship here - and I've just spent a fortune on drycleaning my bedlinen and can't afford to do the same with the rest of my clothes. I can't even find ziplock bags, sourcing big black plastic garbage bags to take all my bed stuff to the dry cleaners took trips to three supermarkets.
The exterminator doesn't really speak english: I got a colleague to explain on the phone and I'm pretty sure theyr'e treating the mattress and spraying the house but I'm not sure what with (and to be honest, not sure I'll ever find out) I'm staying with a friend tonight which I know is not ideal but have no idea how toxic what they're using is, and won't have any bedclothes back till tomorrow. I'm terrified they won't be gone: I'm seriously allergic to these bites, some of them are over an inch and a half and red and swollen, unbelievably itchy and I haven't slept properly in weeks now. I also feel so limited in what I can do: reading what people have done successfully - things which were I at home would be basic and achievable: vacuuming, putting clothes in the dryer: I'm really worried.
I have a friend in Nairobi which has much better shopping possibilities who is going to try to track down mattress encasements and ship them but by the time I have them internationally shipped it will take a couple of weeks ......
Please, please if anyone has any advice as to what I can do, let me know. And if there are powders etc you can recommend, could you use generic rather than brand names if possible as while some chemicals may be available here its not so likely the specific products will be.
wow, difficult questions.
You may be able to find Diatomaceous Earth (look it up -- the 'Hot Topics' tags on the side of the forum page include DE and Diatomaceous Earth -- & read the gory details, it is a useful substance but can easily be applied wrong!)
Also look at the class of things we call 'contact killers' (91% alcohol, Murphy's OIl Soap...) These only kill a bug if it's sprayed directly on or soaked in it for awhile, and don't kill eggs, so frequent re-treats may be necessary for some time (eggs take about 14 days to hatch.) This is how people often 'clean' a bed before it is isolated, though. (no point in isolating, if the bedbugs are already up there with you, eh?)
Look up the techniques for fully 'isolating the bed' in the FAQs, and in posts linking off of some like these:
It's not the recommended course for most of us. You're basically writing off the ability to fully kill them directly. If you are able to treat aggressively, you need to remain available as 'bait' so that the bugs stay localized for the treatments. In your case, however... weigh the pros and cons.
I should have said above -- years ago I read that linens & underclothes (which probably meant, 'everything not wool': linen shirts/chemises too,) were often boiled in huge pots as part of the washing process, in colonial times. The source did not specifically mention insects as a reason, but I'd now say that bedbugs (and fleas, lice, etc. ) were probably the motivation for this treatment.
The shrinkage on linen and cotton will likely be substantial the first time you do this, but the fabrics themselves will hold up OK for classic wovens; it'll probably accelerate wear on seams by a small amount, but there it is... and it's a lot cheaper than dry cleaning everything you own every few days. Knits, lycra, and elastics, as well as most other fabrics, won't necessarily hold up to a treatment.
If you keep the water temp at 120-125f, you could probably minimize the fabric damage.
Could you find out the names of the pesticides sprayed? Maybe have your colleague translate again?
There are some great PCOs who post on this board, and they could give you feedback on the effect/performance of those pesticides.
Was your PCO able to explain what you could expect after this treatment? What's the prognosis? Has he eradicated bedbugs from homes in the past?
Way back, someone in Russia posted. After one treatment with a pesticide unavailable in the U.S., it seemed the bedbugs were eradicated. I don't recall her having to do the extra work of treating items in her home separately and individually.
(Not necessarily calling Russia a developing country, just saying they seem to have access to pesticides unavailable in the U.S.)
Even here in the U.S., the advice given is to consult and follow the directions of your PCO when it comes to vacuuming and bagging stuff up. Some PCOs don't ask people to do that supplementary work. So, please don't panic that you can't vacuum, ziplock, etc. right now. There's a chance that the treatment of your home might be successful even without it.
Dear all - thanks for your comments. I've isolated my bed which seems to help and got all bedding drycleaned which is the most I can afford, and have been slowly boil-washing stuff. The PCOs have no english and the person I'm dealing with who does - I suspect its a wife - is pretty basic so there was no guidance on bagging, vacuuming, etc. They seemed to think it would all be done in one go, I did get a year guarantee. Unfortunately after a quiet 7 days my housemate started getting bites. My suspicion/hope is that the first extermination killed all the alive bed bugs, and since then some eggs have hatched and that's why the new bites.
The exterminators are coming a second time tomorrow: I've been told they use 'diasino' - has anyone heard of this? Imagine it must be a brand name, googling isn't helping but I was told it over the phone: phonetically dee-as - ee- no (might have been mo) Does anyone know what this might be or if it will be effective?
Also, the first spraying was two weeks ago: my understanding is that if it killed all the bed bugs that were alive (and it seemed to) and the new bites are from nymphs then in this window all eggs will have hatched but none will be reproducing yet. Am I right? Could this be nearly the end?!
Thanks again for the support and info it really helps
Figured it out, they use diazinon - I see this isn't legal in the states.
Does it work against bed bugs? Is it horrifically toxic? Can anyone recommend precautions to take? We weren't told to bag or hide anything and they said we could go back in the house an hour later but the smell was so bad stayed away a day and a half. Also think they might be using it to treat the mattress....is this ok?
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