Diatomaceous earth and Insecticide. I 'think' my battle is finally over!(5 posts)
I am not exactly new here, because I've been visiting this site and reading other people's posts. Let me tell you, this was the best and most helpful site, outside of finding diatomaceous earth! It was very reassuring to know I wasn't alone fighting this battle against bed bugs! Now that I "think" I have finally rid my house of these VERY stressful insects, I want to share my story.
It started about 2 months ago, I noticed I was getting bit by something. I also woke up in the middle of the night itchy. I never dreamed of the worst case scenario. I have a cat. I thought maybe, I've got fleas or something. Bed bugs seem to be taboo. People hear of them, they see them and they FREAK OUT! I was one of those people who freaked! It took a couple of weeks for me to finally see the first bug. I rent a cape cod house. I was thinking about renting a loft in the city, closer to my work. I started to steam clean my carpets, otherwise I'd have to pay the owner of this house part of my deposit for him to hire someone to do it after I leave. Anyways, while I was in my room, I stripped my bed to steam the carpets underneath. Low and behold... I saw it! OMG! It ran across my carpet fleeing from me! I took my bed apart and noticed all of the signs that they were there. The dark spots, the feces the blood stains! OMG! And, ofcourse... There were bugs still there. I didn't know what to do at first. I didn't have any insecticide or anything; So, I went to the basement and grabbed some bleach. I filled a bucket and got a brush and scrubbed my entire mattress with bleach water. Yeah, it stunk really bad. I'm sure that wasn't the best way to handle it, but I really freaked out! Once I killed all the ones I could find on my mattress, I ran to the store and bought some bed bug spray. I also got online and started searching for a solution to my problem. That's when I found this site. I also found diatomaceous earth. Not that this is a solution for everyone, because working with DE is very difficult. It wasn't just the DE that killed my infestation. It took meticulous cleaning, steaming and spraying; But, the worst part wasn't over yet. When I realized they were in my bed, I thought that was the source of the problem. There weren't a bunch in my room. My bed wasn't totally infested. There were a few spots here and there on my bed that I was able to get under control with the bleach water. At first, I thought I caught the problem early and this would be it. After careful inspection of my room and my son's room. There really wasn't many bugs. I was able to kill them off with steam and spray. My relief was short lived, because when I went into my living room, I started to steam the carpet in there. When I pulled my couch away from the wall, I saw a total infestation in my couch! My son sleeps on the couch alot. As a matter of fact, he falls asleep there almost every night. Those bugs had been sucking my son's blood and multiplying to the point where I didn't think I could save my couch. Every square inch of the folds and crevices of the couch had them! I ran to the store again. I bought several bottles of 91% alcohol. After stripping my living room down to nothing but furniture, I began to spray down my furniture with alcohol. I couldn't get them all! They were living and mulitiplying inside the couch. There was a rip in the seam and they were in there. I was ready to cry! It was horrible! I thought to myself, I will have to throw away my couch. I can't win this battle! I had been cleaning and steaming nonstop for almost 2 weeks by this point and I was exhausted. Not just from the cleaning, but from the psycological effects of it all. I couldn't sleep! I was constantly thinking they were crawling on me! I was going to work with just a few hours of unrestful sleep. Believe me, it was taking its toll on my health! I lost close to 10lbs, because all I was doing was going to work, coming home and cleaning, until late at night; Then, I'd get up for work and do it again. Since I had already tore my house up and I had sprayed so much insecticide, my kitchen was such a mess, we couldn't eat in there. I would send my son to a fast food resturaunt just about every night. Anyways, like I said, that wasn't the worst part. My nerves were shot, my body deprived of sleep and good food. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown! I was totally obsessed with killing every single bed bug in my house. I was at war!! I had found the source of the infestation. It started in the living room. So, I go online again. I'm searching for anything that kills bed bugs effectively. I wasn't having much luck killing them all with just bug spray and steam cleaning. They were still getting into my room and biting me the entire time. I was soooo stressed out! I can't even begin to describe it! That's when I discovered DE. I buy a 10 lb box of it online, but it takes a few days for it to get shipped to me; In the mean time, I'm living with bed bugs. I couldn't stand it! I find out that you can buy food grade DE from any local feed store. I go out and buy some, because I couldn't wait for my shipment to arrive. I bought a 40 lb bag. I bring it home and start dusting my living room and furniture. I went crazy in there too! I saturated every square inch of that room. I truly went overboard with the DE too! While dusting the room, I just saturated my couch to the point that when you laid your hand on my couch puffs of DE would come up. It was the same way when you walked through my living room too. It was in the air, on the walls. It got into EVERYTHING! Every square inch of my house was dusted in it! Since I had read that the bed bugs have to walk through it, to be effective, I wasn't sure exactly where they were hiding, so I just dusted every crack and crevice. I made sure that not only was my furniture treated, but my carpet and the corners of every room was treated! I spread it EVERYWHERE! Even though they say that food grade DE is safe for humans and pets, I used so much that we were breathing it. I could see it in the air, like a sand storm of dust throughout my entire house! My son started to stay at his friends house, because he said he couldn't breathe in our house. I knew he was right, but I was determined to win this war against the bed bugs! So, here is the worst part.... It gets worse, before it gets better. So, after I dust the living room... I mean, saturated my living room with DE, the bugs start to run! Yeah, they run and scatter throughout the house, looking for a safe place to hide. Of course, at this point, there are no safe places for them, because I had saturated every square inch of my house in it; To include the kitchen and bathroom! Truthfully, I should of sought refuge someplace else for a few days, but instead, I stayed in my home. I'm thinking, this is MY house! I'm not going to let these blood sucking insects take over! They were back in my room again, in my bathroom, in my kitchen. They were EVERYWHERE! Since I couldn't sleep, I would get up in the middle of the night to see them scurrying across the floor and on the walls! At that point was when I had my breakdown. I thought I had lost the war! What I didn't realize was they were dying. DE takes several days before you see any results. As a matter of fact, it took almost a week, before I actually noticed that the bugs were disapearing. They were feasting on me the entire time too! Within the past 8 weeks, I had fought and fought with everything I had and now that I had saturated my house in DE, insecticide and alcohol; I had steam cleaned everything too and they were still alive and running. I went to work, I couldn't work... I had to leave early. I called my mom in tears. I was having my nervous breakdown. I went to her house. I took a shower and fell asleep. For the first time in almost 2 months, I slept without bugs biting me! She talked me into just leaving it alone for a while. She convinced me to stay with her. I went home, packed up some clothes and left everything saturated in DE. I stayed with her for 3 days. We took a vacation for a week in Arizona. I really needed it. The entire time, my house was still saturated in DE. I have been home for 2 days now. I have a REALLY BIG mess on my hands, but for what it was worth, I have won the war! There are NO BED BUGS in my house! I'm no longer getting bitten! Not one bug survived... As far as I can see so far. Not even the flies or spiders! I have eradicated every insect in my domain!
For all of you who took the time to read my story... Thank you! For all of you who posted your stories.. Thank you! This site has helped me tremendously! As for any of you who are considering DE: Be warned... It's like sand. It is very difficult to vaccum with a regular vaccum cleaner. I suggest a shop vac. It dries your skin too. Wear gloves and a mask! How I won the war with bed bugs? Steam clean everything, wash everything, spray everything... And, after you do that, DE everything... Yeah, it's a mess! But, if you want to win, you have to work really hard to do it! After you clean and steam, you have to do it again! Again and again. Meticulously and with true determination! Good luck to everyone still fighting their battles against these vile and disgusting insects! The world would be a better place without them!
Sleep tight... And don't let the bed bugs bite! Betty
You will hear from others in more detail the hazards of using DE in the way you describe, even though my understanding is that it has a very liberal label use that covers a lot of what you did.
But what is done is done and congratulations on getting rid of the bugs! For others intent on DIY the same could probably have been accomplished with a more judicious use of DE, along with the vacuuming, alcohol and steam cleaning.
Personally, I also used some DE -- more than some advise and a lot less than you did -- and I did notice an increase in my dust allergy. One day I will do a thorough vacuum, although I'll admit that having some DE in the cracks and crevices does offer some peace of mind. Achoo.
That story sounds a lot like mine: the DE won the battle for me also (I relate to the histeria, sleepless nights; I am a freelance graphic (starving) artist so vacation wasn't an option. I lived in total isolation for 2 months, except my boyfriend was brave and not affected - he did show signs of bites; and we were very careful with his belongings making sure he stripped down at his home and wash all of his clothing as soon as he entered his home, he never did get any from my house. My story variates, but that is not the point of why I am responding.
On a precautionary note: Do not start cleaning things up yet, (removing the DE) because; you were gone just about 10 days; so there may still be some eggs about, and they can he anywhere (I searched and found any I had with a loop and a flash-lite - they are not visible to the naked eye ; I searched every square inch of searchable areas; be sure to take a part any framed photo's and pictures and clean them,, not with alcohol, just gently clean them to make sure there are no eggs - you would not believe where these tiny eggs can hide - they could get into your electronics (microwave, computer, TV) which I wouldn't be surprised as it seems that you had an extreme infestation. SO just let the DE lay as is for a few more weeks to be safe.
Other then that; welcome back to the world of normal living! This experience will change you forever. I examine packages with my loop for eggs that I get in the mail; with X-mas coming on and ordering stuff on line for my business - I set the boxes outside, usually throw them away because I cant examine the corrageted cardboard... I used to save boxes to reuse for xmas and other things; not now!
If I have been in a place that could have bed bugs, or around a large amount of people, I keep a bag by my entry ways so that I can strip down and t he clothing goes straight to the dryer.
Haha; what a great feeling to come out the winner, and you are right, it is a full blown war: it was ME against them and I WAS going to win, and did! The DE was the magic powder. That was 4 months ago and I still have to dust quite a bit from the residue DE that I just threw everywhere! Congrats!
Okay, I'm freaking out a little bit... Well... A lot a bit! You mentioned to look for eggs? I thought I had read somewhere that DE kills eggs too... I could be wrong. I'm no expert. Obviously, by the way I handled my infestation. I simply freaked out! I still have a tremendous amount of De laying around. My mom can't sit in my house, because of her allergies. She says it makes her cough. I did, however, start to clean up the mess I made. It's going to take a while to get this mess cleaned up; But, in the back of my mind I'm thinking... Maybe, I should leave some of it just lay for a couple more weeks. The eggs will hatch and they will suffer the same fate as the rest.. I don't know.. Any suggestions?
I had done all the things you did and I won. This was back in 2007. I keep some DE in cracks and crevices around the house. I believe that it is a good idea to do so. At one time I thought that I had another infestation long after the first. I had a slight rash like the first time. I steamed and applied some DE and steamed again a couple of time. After a couple of weeks the rash was gone. Never found a bed bug. I am not sure about DE killing eggs because I was told that the bb has to walk through it.
But maybe DE can destroy eggs. This would be a good question for nobugsonme and Dini Miller
at Virginia Tech because Dr. Miller had experimented with DE.
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