D.E. got rid of 'em. -Twice.(12 posts)
I'm not sure where we got them from, but I suspect one of the people I bought from on ebay had bed bugs and stored his empty boxes under his bed. A bed bug hid in the box and traveled all the way from the U.S. to Germany. After I opened the box, I kept it in our bedroom for a few days, in case I would need to return the item that I had bought. I will never do that again.
My wife immediately noticed that she was getting bitten. I felt nothing, and we just blamed it on mosquitoes (though we found it strange that we never heard them). About two months later i found a bed bug in our bed, and as I took it apart, I found we had quite an infestation.
Luckily we live in a modern apartment with no cracks and airtight firewalls, so none of our neighbors were affected.
The PCO came the next day, but in retrospect I think he did not know much about bed bugs. (They are not very common here.) He recommended using dry ice, and I thought that was great as it is non-toxic and disappears immediately after use. However, a few hours after he left, I found a bed bug crawling on the floor. He came back and did the dry ice treatment twice at no extra charge, but each time I found surviving bedbugs afterwards. I think dry ice has the same problem as steaming. The CO2 blast is lethal at close range, but further away from the nozzle it gets mixed in with air and just blows the bed bugs out of harm's way.
After reading about D.E. on bedbugger.com, I decided to give it a try. I bought a 100 g bottle (about the size of a can of coke) for 7 euros from an online pet store. (At the end of this story, there's still 5 euro's worth left in the bottle.) It was labeled as use for getting rid of fleas on pets. I also invested about 10 euros in a dust mask and some rubber pots.
It was several hours work taking the bed frame apart and putting D.E. in every crack and hiding place, and also behind and underneath every closet, behind light fixtures, and in every other hiding place in the room. I also dusted the inside of the rubber pots, and placed then under the feet of the bed. My plan was that it should be impossible to hide in, or get in/out of the bed without passing through D.E.
I did not put dust on the mattresses, but it was possible to remove the mattress covers so I put them in the dryer for 20 minutes every other day, along with the bed sheets. The mattress covers were thick enough that bedbugs could not squeeze through them, and I never found any bugs inside the mattresses.
For about a week, nothing happened. My wife kept getting bites every night. Then they started to disappear, and after about two weeks they were gone. Hurray!
Then they came back. Before the PCO had come back for the second time, we had sealed some stuff in plastic bags and put away on our balcony to make it easier for him to reach everywhere. After a month of no bedbugs we thought it was time to bring the stuff back in. Most of it was clothes that we put in the drier before bringing in, but some of the things were just impossible to treat, so I inspected them closely, and then allowed them back in. The same night my wife got a new bite.
The D.E. was still in place, and it did it's job once again. I applied some more dust here and there, just because I felt like doing something, and I also treated the mattresses a couple of times. We found one dead bedbug on the floor, with D.E. on it. The bites disappeared, and we've now been bug free for two months.
It feels like it is time to celebrate.
I am glad you solved your problem. Many people report that DE helps, but most who have mentioned trying using DE alone do not report quick or easy success. Different types of DE are not all equally effective, according to a study, and of course, the way it's used factors into its efficacy also.
For others reading this, experts (and I don't claim to be one) recommend a full respirator mask, not a simple dust mask (see our FAQ on DE).
Also, isolating the bed as you described is very controversial. Some experts suggest it may spread bed bugs to new parts of the home, as they may be deterred from climbing those cups if other bed bugs release alarm pheromones.
Note also that steam and freezing CO2 (I suspect your PCO used something like the technology marketed as Cryonite) can work, but they are contact killers. However, they can still make a huge dent in a bed bug problem, and I suspect your two CO2 treatments helped, meaning you maybe did not solve this problem with DE alone. Steam can also be really useful in knocking down bed bug populations, especially if used in concert with dusts and sprays.
What is a safe DE preventative application? After 2 pyrethrin treatments, I'm nearly bedbug free and want to make sure that if there are any that manage to survive that they won't get far.
Does DE kill nymphs given that they're much smaller and may be able to circumvent DE particles or is it just as effective?
I don't want to apply it to my mattress because I'm afraid of its effect on my lungs should the DE become airborne. How well does DE cling to wooden surfaces? Will applying it to the legs of my bed be at risk of becoming airborne?
After a month of no bedbugs we thought it was time to bring the stuff back in. Most of it was clothes that we put in the drier before bringing in, but some of the things were just impossible to treat, so I inspected them closely, and then allowed them back in. The same night my wife got a new bite.
Thank you for posting this bit.
Because the Terminex people my crapola landlord hired, seemed to think bagging stuff for 2 weeks between the 2 pesticide treatments, would be sufficient to kill any bed bugs that might be in the bags!! *rolls eyes*
Thanks to your original post bbg, I went out and did a ton of research on DE and ended up using it to exterminate my BB population. It's been a month since any bed bug, blood spots or fecal sightings. I'm going to wait another 2 weeks before unpacking my stuff but DE will always be in my artillery if this problem ever happens to return.
Can't wait to start using DE! Does it kill newly hatched nymphs and nymphs in their first stages of life before becoming adults?
Not an expert but keep in mind that using DE only will not quickly rid of the problem. I used is as a temporary fix before I got a professional in. I had to shop vac it all up before my PCO would even treat my place.
FAQ's on DE
After months of chemical treatments I finally opted to leave my townhouse and sue my next door neighbours for negligence (they let their prob get so out of control it spilled over into our unit). I am now living in an apartment. Before I moved in, I had the pco come and do a preventive chem treat. In my apartment I seemed to be getting "bitten" but never ever saw one bb. But because of the fact that I had to keep going back and forth from my primary (infested) home, I felt I needed some protection at my apartment. I gave my whole apartment some chem sprays, purchased from a do-it-yourself pest control products store here in town. I did a thorough steaming at least twice, but this is very time consuming and I don't have a lot of patience with it. (If you are using DE or chem sprays, be sure to sweep up the DE as much as possible before steaming. Don't vacuum it up as this will throw the DE into the air! Wash the floor well, and THEN you could steam). The house smells GREAT after steaming, btw! I also caulked around the entire perimeter of the baseboard area of my apartment. I bought some foam filler and filled in the crevices around the pipes, etc. Then I bought some DE [b][i]that has an insectide added (could very likely be more effective than just the straight DE you can buy from a feed store) I always put a double sheet on the bed and washed and dried it regularly on high). I shook it out on the front lawn before putting it in the washing machine to get some of the DE out first), in the walls through the electrical outlets, on the wood laminate floor, in closets and cracks and crevices (what were left of them after the caulking and filling!)
Now that I look back, I probably did an overkill job but still feel that one can't be too vigilant in working to eradicate this problem. I agree that no one method will necessarily solve the problem - you have to use several strategies, especially regular inspections using a magnifying glass and strong flashlight (LED is good) - and educate yourself on what signs of bed bug activity to look for. I have spent hours on this and other sites, reading information to educate myself! Also, while I like DE very much, I must emphasize that you need to be very careful not to inhale it as it can damage your lungs. I used only a good quality dust mask but if I ever face the need to beat this prob again, I will invest in a full respirator mask. My health is more important that the bb prob!
Towards the end of an infestation or if you think you may have bb's but aren't sure/haven't seen any, putting down DE, alone, as a strategy may be a good first step. If the problem goes away, great. If it persists, you may need more. Remember that pco's will probably ask you to not use DE and other sprays while they are treating your home as this can make their treatments less effective. Also, re the DE: I am always careful to put down a VERY thin layer. These bugs are very tiny and I have read that yes they will just walk around the dust if it is too thick. So I "smudge" it into the floor with the bottom of my slippers. I especially pay attention to the cracks in the floor now rather than spreading it everywhere because this is where they probably hide. If you do this, just make sure there is no breeze in the house to kick up anything and don't keep it down for a long time. Maybe just a month and then clean it up. Putting it in cracks and crevices where it won't be as likely to blow around is probably much safer. I was just willing to go to more extreme lengths to ensure I wasn't bringing "anything" back to my apartment.
I have been living in this apartment since March/12 and have never once seen a bb. Not even in the climbups I have on my bed legs. My primary home is now almost bb free, if not already. The bites I have thought I was getting at the apartment could have been from other causes, e.g., recurring bites from when I was being bitten in my primary home during the infestation, or it could be an allergic reaction from the dust or the chemicals. Or it could be that there are "no see ums" (very tiny winged bugs) that are responsible. I still don't know. But if I ever find out what it is/was, I will let you all know.
This question is for "Letsbeatit."
Did you ever find out what's biting you? Are you still getting bitten/having some kind of skin reaction?
I ask because I am still getting what seems to be bites, only smaller and less frequently, However, like you, I have no signs of bugs anymore. No blood stains. Nothing in the climb up traps.
I have done so much but I'll summarize my infestation and treatment here:
I moved into a new apartment. About a month after moving it, I got bites. I discovered bed bugs shortly after, saw a total of maybe 6-8 adults along the edge of my mattress, and had my apartment professionally treated and paid for by my very pissed off and suddenly emotional property manager. (She never is upset or emotional. I strongly suspect that she KNEW there were bed bugs here, but didn't tell me. When I asked her, she said there weren't)
Immediately following the professional treatment AND getting rid of my mattress, I got no bites, but within a week I strongly suspected I was getting bitten again, and 10 days after treatment, I found a black, small, sickly (or dead) bed bug along with droppings in a seam of my sofa, which is where I was sleeping. There was no bug or droppings in that place before. I know, because I carefully inspected my sofa when I heat treated all the coverings for it.
So I certainly didn't want to call the professionals again. They failed at their job, and greatly multiplied the labor of moving in. They also damaged some furniture and some of my things.
I then did a very thorough treatment of DE all over my apartment. I also got a new bed, new mattress, new pillows, and encased everything in bed bug rated encasements.
Since then, I have still been getting bitten, and it has been FIVE WEEKS. The bites are FAR less frequent and less intense than before the professional treatment, and moderately less frequent and less intense than before my own DE treatment five weeks ago. But these really do seem like bites. I'd be willing to believe that SOME of them are acne, ingrown hairs, bites from some other bug, skin dryness, etc. But that's not going to explain all of them. My belief is that I DO still have some weakened population of bed bugs, even though I have not seen any blood stains or seen any casing or actual insect since my own DE treatment five weeks ago.
So, what do you think? Did your bites go away completely, eventually?
My great fear is that the bugs are sustained in another apartment and coming into mine, though if that is the case, then why don't I ever see any sign of any bugs?
My great fear is that the bugs are sustained in another apartment and coming into mine, though if that is the case, then why don't I ever see any sign of any bugs?
I kinda have the same issue - we're in a house with hardwood floors, no carpet at all. So I have two big advantages right out of the gate there.
But I've found 5 adult stray bugs, just crawling - but I can find no 'harbor-age', feces, cast skins, and all of that jazz - I've pried into my couch with a quality LED flashlight, flipped it over, looked under the bottom cover, pulled the mattresses off the frames, etc, etc - and while we have found a couple bugs - we can't find and BB 'home' at all. Nor have I found any hiding at all in anything - in each case they were adults just moving around in the open. Oddly; after encasing all my furniture that could be problematic (I don't consider some things a 'problem' since I can attack them directly with steam, etc) this weekend - we found *one* bug - in the bathroom on the tile floor.
I suspect... my sister-in-law brought her kids over for a week because her ex-hubby "got evicted" - now, I honestly think he wasn't evicted at all - I think they knew they had a bad BB problem and are attempting to move to 'get away' from it... what makes me mad is that they brought over their clothes and all - didn't say a word to me. Hell, I would have paid to take it to the laundromat had I known there was a risk at all. See - my problem was I was too nice and let people stay with us here and there - not to be cold, but those days are 100% over now.
I can't say I'd be 'happier' if I found where the BB's are holding up - because that means I'd have a good amount. It just drives me nuts that I can't find anything at all.
So on your post there - it's quite possible they are not coming from the neighbors and are still in your place. Don't assume you don't have an issue.. you know?
But we are attacking this problem like we have a full-out infestation. Doing a lotta research - learning 'dos and don'ts' from here and other places on the web - and we are constantly working at the problem.
Here's the thing for me; if we do have a problem - we're on it. If we don't - we are putting down some serious preventative protection.
They are just bugs... but don't underestimate the stupid things.
Keep it safe - but also keep it persistent. As least that's my 'humble' advise..
Overcast - This is a fairly geriatric thread so you may not get much response from previous posters.
However - have you posted any images of your bugs for ID?
Do you live in a free-standing dwelling or do you have adjoining neighbours? Are you in a city centre or is it a more rural or suburban setting?
You're right that it's unusual to have BBs free-ranging about the place in the middle of the day. Not impossible but still unusual enough to merit double-checking the ID, just to rule out bat bugs.
If you haven't already, try to get a few detailed pics of the whole insect against a plain background. Experiment with your camera's macro setting (the flower symbol) until you get something decent then post in a fresh thread asking for ID. Top view & belly up would be ideal, but top view's the most important.
For those of you who are DE fans and those who are not, might I suggest CIMEXA which is a silica gel product that is quicker than DE, low toxicity and long term residual. It is made by Rockwell labs.
For the record I am not affiliated nor profit from this product in anyway other than using it to kill a number of pests.
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