Bedbugs are driving me insane. PS: Would paraformaldehyde kill them?(10 posts)
Hi fellow bedbug victims. I have been reading peoples posts on this website for quite a long time now. Actually, on and off since last year. Here is my story: I moved from Germany to Geneva, Switzerland in order to be with my boyfriend last year.
Everything was fine at first but after a few months bedbugs moved into the apartment. I stuck it out at first but at some point couldn't take it any longer so I moved back to where I came from. I have sensitive (annoying Irish & thin) skin, was getting bit constantly and am extremely allergic, whereas my boyfriend is not. He doesn't even seem to notice.
Not only that, he doesn't feel it's a big deal, unlike me. I moved back to Geneva about a month ago as my bf promised me they were gone and lo-and-behold... they are still here. Probably worse than ever. They have been inflicting some serious wounds on me, currently my arm is completely ravished. They bit me about 20 times in one spot the other day. Not to mention everywhere else.
I found a bedbug in the bathroom today. On a cotton wool pad I used to clean my face (dead skin cells must have attracted it, I only just researched that.) I've seen their [expletive deleted] and discarded skin on the bed. Thanks for the souvenir, dickheads. They have visibly been climbing up the walls. We kill them when we see them obviously. We saw them on the walls in the hallway on another floor. It's obvious the entire building is infested. The building manager doesn't give a crap.
Apparently, while I was gone, the building manager had pest control come over and treated the apartment ONCE. And a few other apartments in the building, but most people didn't even open their door/agree to the treatment so obviously pest control coming only once and not treating all apartments wouldn't really help.
My boyfriend ordered a steamer a few weeks ago but it still hasn't arrived yet. He has now come up with a new idea.
SPRAYING EVERYTHING WITH PARAFORMALDEHYDE.
Will that actually work? He says that we should then stay out of the apartment for a couple of days as it's quite poisonous. Oh, and prior to that we want to close all the holes in the apartment. Which I imagine will be difficult as it's an old building. How else can we stop them from re-entering from other apartments once we actually get rid of them in here? Is it even possible? To be honest I'm not hopeful. I know the experts will advise to get a professional but that's not an option. Besides, what's the point if they're in the whole building anyway. Between the steamer, paraformaldehyde, closing all the holes and possibly buying some Diatomaceous earth if I can find it here those are pretty much my only options.
Does anyone have any opinions on how to proceed with this? Such as step by step instructions on what to do? Before this all happened I honestly thought "Goodnight, don't let the bedbugs bite" was just a silly rhyme. This has turned out to be a complete nightmare. I really feel for everyone going through this. I am so sorry for all of you. I am not a fan of bugs to begin with and this just takes the cake. It's hard to even enjoy life anymore. Those little fuckers are constantly on my mind.
Sorry for the long post and rambling on! This has been kind of therapeutic though. Even if nobody will read it. It just seems like nobody around me considers bedbugs as horrible and serious as me which is really frustrating. Summer is coming and my arms are covered in bites. Actually, looking like a leper isn't even the worst part. My bf is currently out of the country and I suffer from insomnia anyway (and work freelance) so I've been staying up all night, sleeping when it's bright outside and sleeping with clothes on. Ok, I did that yesterday so far. It actually helped, they didn't bite me! Am going to try that tonight too. This is not a life, but if it means I am bite-free for a few days I have no choice.
My thoughts go out to all of you suffering with the same awful ordeal,
hey i feel for you as i am suffering as well. It does help to post here, and see other people in the same shoes. I moved to england from the states little over half year ago to be with my gf and finish uni (we dont live together though). at any rate i had a treatment bout 12 days ago, and i saw a decline, followed by a massive increase in population. Thought things may be getting better yesterday, but i jumped the gun a bit!
Like you i have turned into an insomniac, sometimes going days without sleep. Its hard cause im a student and this is a critical time of year! i did get some sleep last night when i didnt see activity for once! Feel free to message me, ill be up all night now. These things are the devil! they will do anything to get to you. Also sleeping during day wont do much, they feed when they get the chance! i suppose my bugs are really hungry since i deprive them of food...maybe thats why they run towards me sometimes completely desperate!! they are relentless i tell you! hate these things!
ps just killed another, number 5 or in 6 in last hour?!! ive killed so many of these things its crazy! they dont stop! i always wonder how many more there are!
do you have an instant messenger we could chat if your gonna be up all night like me! lol
Hi Sarah: Please research carefully before allowing your boyfriend to use paraformaldehyde as a quick google search told me that it is highly flammable, converts to formaldehyde gas which is poisonous and is a carcinogen. I wonder how he thought of using that? It is very probably illegal to use this in a multi unit building as well as you have to consider your neighbours and you could be liable if you cause a fire or any harm to other tenants nevermind your own health concerns. Are you not able to get permethrin insecticides there?
Hey bbgirl, to be honest he only told me about paraformaldehyde about 2 hours ago via IM and I haven't researched it at all yet. He's a scientist and claims he can get it in the lab, put a mask on, spray it and have us leave the apartment for a few days. He said, well, to quote:
"the fact is that we should take care that the ppl don't smell it, such as the neighbours.
this is going to kill the bedbugs as well as all other forms of life. it is the most powerful biocide. so i will spray it wearing a mask and will try to reach the maximal safe saturation."
So this is a serious measure, it appears. And I'll be having a talk with him before he does it as well as researching it myself. I'll let him know what you said too, and see what the response is.
Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it! I really should have joined this forum earlier, I already feel a lot less alone in this horrible struggle.
Hi, Geneva. I'm guessing that people think to use whatever they imagine as being "nasty". Your BF, being a scientist, is familiar with paraformaldehyde, so that's his "go to". It's likely to be a "contact killer". As such, there are more "agreeable" alternatives. Here's what I recently wrote to someone else about contact killers.
> What I am very curious about is the effectiveness of bleach and ammonia on the critters. Will it clean and disinfect any potentially infected areas?
These and many other household cleaners or alcohol (or gasoline or kerosene, which you should not use) will kill BB and nymphs that you hit directly. They will not kill eggs. They will not kill bugs in hiding. Bugs crossing the sprayed surface later will not be harmed.
Contact cleaners are useful. As there are many, choose the one that is most agreeable to you and the surface you're working on.
Many of the "green" over the counter sprays are contact killers. Their main ingredient is detergent. The rest is likely ornamental and to justify the price.
There's a lot of misinformation and panic about BB over the Web. A small point that intrigued me was what you said about BB being attracted to dead skin cells. I think that's a new one for many of us. Mostly, we hear experts tell us that BB find their way to us via our CO2 trails and home in on blood vessels through heat. They seem to find rough surfaces more attractive for nesting and egg laying. So, I'd think that a BB on your puff was primarily attracted to its texture or was there coincidentally. OTOH, I often find spider beetles (which people sometimes mistake for BB) in my soap dish or along the perimeter of my bathroom. They do seem to scavenge for soap or dead cells. Could you be seeing SB (or other beetles), rather than, or in addition to BB?
I think it would help you and your BF if you reviewed our FAQ and a comprehensive guide to BB (links to two below). These will empower you to be more effective BB battlers. Best of luck.
I am not a chemist but spraying paraformeldehyde seems like a bad plan to me.
What if there are cracks and the substance does affect neighbors?
What is building management comes in for some reason (e.g. to fix a sudden leak) and is exposed?
There could be liability issues and worse -- someone may be harmed.
Moreover, if it is only going to work as a contact killer, as Cilecto says, it isn't worth the risk.
If the action would be more of a fumigant (gas) effect, then you should consider whether this might have the same negative effects as fogging/bombs, which don't solve bed bug problems and can make problems worse.
I can only speculate as I do not know much about this substance, but I would recommend against it.
Hi cilecto and nobugsonme, thanks a lot for your replies!
It was definitely a bb on the cotton pad. After that happened I just googled "are bed bugs attracted to dead skin cells" and there seemed to be a lot of links mentioning that. Disgusting thought that it may have been laying eggs there. Well, it's in BB hell now anyway. Thanks for the links cilecto, I'll have a look at them.
My bf said that the paraformaldehyde would act as a fumigant. Since he said it would simply kill all the bugs it comes in contact with I don't think I'm too worried about them spreading. Prior to doing it we would seal all the cracks and holes in the apartment so the gas wouldn't leak and also so bedbugs can't get in and out.
Strangely enough I don't think I got bitten last night either. Well, I stayed up all night again but did go to sleep in the morning with my arms exposed eventually. I wonder if they got bored of me not sleeping during the night and wandered off to the neighbours.
PS: this website being powered by bbpress gave me a chuckle.
> My bf said that the paraformaldehyde would act as a fumigant. Since he said it would simply kill all the bugs it comes in contact with I don't think I'm too worried about them spreading. Prior to doing it we would seal all the cracks and holes in the apartment so the gas wouldn't leak and also so bedbugs can't get in and out.
I'd question how he'd know how well F will work and if small amounts of it wouldn't cause bugs to flee.
I'd question how airtight you could actually seal an apartment.
There's no evidence that BBs are attracted to dead skin cells - Google is a fairly poor research method; it serves up the recent & the popular rather than the accurate. Consequently, it has, IMO, contributed much to bed bug mythmongering. Mercifully, this site remains high in Google rankings.
To turn to your quesion - you spray paraformaldehyde round a Swiss domestic dwelling & the only time your feet are going to hit the ground on the way to the border is in court. Think about that list of domestic dos & don't in the lobby of your building - do you really think that people with opinions on when you should flush your lavatory are going to be even a teeny bit laidback about your bf's harebrained plan?
Try the Office Fédérale de la Santé Publique & the Mairie for advice on making your LL provide proper treatment. They're well aware of Genève's problem; it's been covered in le Matin & plenty of other places; spend some time reading Swiss media reports & stuff from Montreal's city authorities to get your vocabulary up to speed before you approach public authorities. Make sure to emphasise that the building is infested, not just your home. If the building shares party walls with neighbours, be sure to take read up on & cite francophone reports of people getting BBs from adjoining houses.
If your bf is a Swiss citizen, I'd suggest a meeting with your local Conseil municipale representative ASAP.
Switzerland is dragging its feet on BBs but with such an imporant tourism sector, it can't go on burying its head in the sand much longer.
Koebner gives wonderful advice. I think the legal repercussions are nothing to sneeze at.
By the way, the fact that fogging (in general) may spread bed bugs deeper into your structure does not = they will leave your apartment. It may just make them harder to treat.
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