Diatomaceous earth after professional spraying(5 posts)
Some background about our BB situation:
I live in Taiwan and brought back bed bugs from NYC/Florida about 10 days ago.
Two days ago, I hired a local exterminator based in Taipei, Taiwan. He is unfortunately not as knowledgeable as exterminators in the US who've actually dealt with bed bugs. Anywayz, he sprayed around, and I've only gotten one bite in the past two days. Since I have delayed reaction to bed bug bites, it may be that all the nymphs and adults have been killed.
Here's my question #1:
I read that food-grade diatomaceous earth is a helpful tool. Should I buy some and dust the powder where needed? Or, should I NOT do that because doing so might interfere with the chemicals currently killing the beg bugs in my tiny studio? The spray residue is probably doing its job -- so I shouldn't interfere with that?
I actually called my PCO about this, and he said that diatomaceous earth is harmful towards the human lung. That's not true, right? The food-grade kind is different from the industrial variety. He probably got that confused. Inhealing it won't affect our health, right? I probably will use it all over my studio at some point in the future, to prevent BBs from resurrecting themselves.
Thanks in advance! May all us of never have to deal with bed bugs again for as long as we shall live!
DE can definately be harmful to the lungs if inhaled and it tends to fly around when it is being handled so you have to be very careful. There is a lot of information in the resources section on how to properly use DE. You have to apply it very lightly just around the edges of the room or where it will be undisturbed. You have to be very careful not to inhale it while you are applying or afterwards. You should purchase a proper half mask (contains cartridges which screen the air and filter out any particles). They cost about $40 here. You must be extra careful in such a small space and not put in anywhere where it may be disturbed such as around windows and doors. People here have found mattress encasements and sofa encasements to be useful. If you take some time and read all of the postings under treating bedbugs it will give you some ideas. I think some PCO's here use a combination of sprays and DE. Having said all of that it can be a valuable supplement to sprays as it lasts for a long time and kills the bugs abrading their shells. If you are planning to continue working with the PCO (sometimes it takes several sprays to eliminate them) you should consult with him though as he may not want to return if you apply DE.
Here's the faq on DE:
Other faqs can be valuable too in familiarizing yourself as to how to deal with bb's so you don't have to depend entirely on your PCO especially since, as you said, he's relatively unfamiliar with this particular pest.
You can click right now at the top of this page where it says BED BUG FAQS to get to:
Or if you're inside one of the faqs you can click at the top where it says FAQS: HOW TO GET RID OF BED BUGS to get to that same general listing.
Others have given good advice above.
Your PCO is correct that even food grade DE can be harmful to human lungs. It may also irritate your skin so you want to avoid having it where you are going to be walking through it or having other skin contact.
Be very careful in applying it if you use it. Most people overapply it, which is not just ineffective (bed bugs may be deterred from walking through it), but also more likely to harm you (you do not want to breathe in clouds of it).
The DE FAQ recommends a respirator mask.
Please note: most spray treatments take more than one visit. We don't know what your PCO used, but it is likely you will need at least one follow-up, because the chemicals do not kill the eggs, which will hatch during that period. This retreatment usually happens at a 10-14 day interval in North America (but there may be different pesticides in use there) -- and it's generally given when there are signs (bites are a sign in your case) of continued presence. Many PCOs who don't inspect closely will simply do 2-3 treatments off the bat, assuming they'll be needed.
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