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DIY Whole House Heat Treatment - Propane Heaters outside, ducted inside.

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  1. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sat May 13 2017 20:01:53
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    Now that I've spent literally hours reading the other posts here on heat treatment, I feel qualified to post.

    I am going to perform a heat treatment on my house. I am stationing the propane heaters outside and ducting the heat into the home just like a certain fairly prominent equipment supplier for the pros trains their users.
    I am aware of the dangers and of the failures of the DIY heat treatments mentioned here previously.
    I would like some input on what dangers ducting the heat inside would still present.

    - The ones I've thought of:

    - Flammability:
    The danger from the heat source itself would seem to be nil. There is of course some chance that something inside the house could catch fire due solely to a high ambient temperature. I will remove everything on all the lists I've found of possible problem materials. The most I think that could happen is, depending on the ducting I use, it could melt if I use flexible material. Or, if metal, it could warp and/or get extremely hot near the heater output. I will test to see if this happens. I am using flame resistant foam board with an opening for the ducting to seal the entrance to the home for each duct. Also will probably insulate around the ducting there, so I doubt the heat of the ducting itself will cause a problem.

    Asphyxiation:
    Lessened, though still present. The combustion source is not in the building so oxygen depletion from the combustion is not a problem. A certain amount of CO will still be present in the heated air piped into the building, I assume. I will monitor this with a CO meter. Also, there will always be someone outside anytime I enter the building.

    Ineffectiveness/making the problem worse by scattering infestation:
    I'm going to heat a 1400sft ranch style home with full basement with atleast two 100k+ btu propane salamander(torpedo) heaters. And several fairly high output fans blowing in strategic places. I'm going to heat the house with the house furnace to 90F+ before I even start with the additional heat. The heaters are outside so the high temp switch on them will not trip as the temp in the house goes up. I am pretty sure the ambient temperature is going to rise to above 120F VERY quickly and then to 140ish fairly quickly.

    Ducting heaters not designed to be ducted:
    Sealed ducting reduces the amount of air flowing through the heater and therefore can cause incomplete burning of the fuel. If this is a problem, I am going to connect blowers to the interior end of the ducts that will aid with the air throughput. And help distribute the hot air in the house better anyway.

    What am I missing?

    Some additional questions I have:

    At some point the temperature of the house will be above the temp of the house thermostat. Should I turn fan switch from "auto" to "on" at that point so it helps to distribute the hot air throughout the house? Or should I just switch it off? (Will the thermostat even operate just the fan if the temp is above the heating range?)

    Is there some strategy to temperature rise and location, other than raise it as fast in the whole house as safely possible? It would seem that there could be some merit to heating the whole house to a certain temperature just below the point that would cause the bugs to scatter, then kicking it up through the death temp range as fast as possible. Also, since the main infestation is in one bedroom, I wonder if it would make more sense to heat the rest of the house first so they don't escape outside of the room. Then go in for the kill with the heat into that room.

    Do I need to heat the basement? Through all of my research, I have not seen this mentioned. No one sleeps downstairs so I highly doubt there are any down there, but will they try to escape down there during the main floor heat treatment if I don't heat down there too?

    Thank you all for any input!

    Mark

  2. frightened

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 3:46:06
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    No, no and No. Do not do this. This is not a treatment for non professionals AND it is considered no more effective than non heat treatment.

  3. Richard56

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 7:51:44
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    Weekends are sometimes slow but you should get some replies from professionals by Monday. Good that you have read previous posts on DIY heat treatment, so you probably know some of the risks, including burning down your house!

    I found one question particularly interesting, that heating the surrounding rooms first and leaving the bedroom for last.

    Personally, I don't feel qualified to answer any of your questions regarding safety and efficacy of heat treating an entire home, so please don't take this as an endorsement, but I do have a few thoughts.

    1. It's the type of project that that really takes a hard core DIYer mentality. Does this describe you?

    2. Do you have any sort of background -- science, engineering, electrical etc. -- that you can bring to the project.

    3. The general recommendation for these sorts of projects is "don't do it" yet there have been some success stories here with DIY heat and quasi fumigation (DDVP and other) that have worked

    4. If you do decide to go ahead after hearing the professional advice, it will be important to monitor not only the air temps but the temps of places and items being treated. You will therefore want a number of remote thermometers strategically placed in places and items like mattresses, chairs, couches, etc., to make sure the kill temperature is reached.

    5. Hard to treat items like mattresses and couches are sometimes either propped up by inserts and/or rotated during treatment to allow better heat penetration. There are Youtube videos showing how professional heat treatment is done that may be useful.

    6. If you have any captured bugs, I would think that strategically place some in a contained cloth of some kind might act as a kind of reality check to see if the temps have actually killed them.

    7. Consider appropriate pesticide/dust treatment in conjunction with the heat to pick up an stragglers.

    Again, none of the above are suggestions or an endorsement but just some thoughts.

    Richard

  4. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 10:56:55
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    Richard56 - 2 hours ago  » 
    Weekends are sometimes slow but you should get some replies from professionals by Monday. Good that you have read previous posts on DIY heat treatment, so you probably know some of the risks,
    I found one question particularly interesting, that heating the surrounding rooms first and leaving the bedroom for last.
    Personally, I....
    Richard

    Thanks for your helpful reply, Richard.

    " including burning down your house!"
    But, seriously, how? There are going to be no forms of combustion in the house.

    1. My DIY skills are probably average. My research skills before I start a DIY project are legendary

    2. Never finished an engineering degree. Does that count?

    3. Yep. I think I might have read them all My method is pretty much what the pros who use propane heaters do except on a smaller scale. So I am curious as to what the pros on here are going to say.

    4.I've got a few remote temperature monitors, designed for the grill, that will work perfectly. Also, the one place recommends to also use one of those infrared instant temp guns and to go around checking the instant temp in various places. I've got one.

    5. Yes. Definitely will be propping up the mattress etc. But I'm debating whether to do it in the beginning or wait till the temps get up a bit.

    6. Eh, I don't think I'm going to do that. 120F and they're dead. Period. So I'm just going to check the temps at various places. Though there is some satisfaction, I guess, to seeing the fruition of your work.

    7. I've been considering the pesticide backup idea. I will be putting down some DE for sure. I would go with the Cimexa but I bought a 10lb bag of the DE before I found this site lol.

    Thanks again, Richard. Looking forward to the pro's input too.

    Mark

  5. bugged-cdn

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 13:31:25
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    But, seriously, how? There are going to be no forms of combustion in the house.

    There are any number of materials that will catch fire if the temperature rises to a certain level. Do you know what each of them are and whether they are present in the structure?

  6. BigDummy

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 14:32:25
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    From what I'm reading it doesn't sound like you've fully grasped what goes into a heat treatment and how it works. You need to get the core temperature to 120, which means moving furniture during the treatment. Basements and crawlspaces should be heated as well. Probes ideally should go into the walls, not just on the surface.

    How bad is your infestation at this point, heat may not be your best option.

    HVAC/Locksmith/Bed Bug Control for a non-profit homeless shelter and long term veteran housing.
  7. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 16:14:00
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    bugged-cdn - 2 hours ago  » 

    But, seriously, how? There are going to be no forms of combustion in the house.

    There are any number of materials that will catch fire if the temperature rises to a certain level. Do you know what each of them are and whether they are present in the structure?

    Yes.

  8. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 16:50:55
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    BigDummy - 1 hour ago  » 
    From what I'm reading it doesn't sound like you've fully grasped what goes into a heat treatment and how it works. You need to get the core temperature to 120, which means moving furniture during the treatment. Basements and crawlspaces should be heated as well. Probes ideally should go into the walls, not just on the surface.
    How bad is your infestation at this point, heat may not be your best option.

    Great points!

    I do plan on moving furniture etc during the treatment. But thanks for the reminder of the importance.

    So you think I should fish a probe through the electrical outlet opening into the wall? I am going to remove the electrical covers and direct the fans into the opening for a long period.

    "How bad is your infestation at this point, heat may not be your best option."

    I'm not a big fan of poison or chemicals. I know....No human danger....dried so not a factor...tested for safety...blah blah blah. But I'm going to avoid it if I can. I like the idea of steam. In fact I have a "decent" steamer with fairly dry steam and an output temp of 180F (measured) and have used it some. I debated on spending a few hours tediously steaming every piece of furniture and crack and crevice, but I have settled on spending 5 or 6 hours heating the whole house instead.

    Thanks for the additional suggestions!

  9. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 16:54:44
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    Markitude - 2 minutes ago  » 
    , but I have settled on spending 5 or 6 hours heating the whole house instead.

    I do realize that by the time I include set up and preparation and follow-up with DE or Cimexa, it will be quite a bit more than that.

  10. F. Pazos

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Sun May 14 2017 18:40:34
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    I don't really like discouraging people.... But:
    100+K btu?, just as a piece of information, we placed a 140k btu lpg torpedo heater inside a 530 sqf apartment and it did not reach the temperature in 5 hours, so this is a fail recipe.
    You should not go to 120 degrees slow and then rise fast, they will run away. You really need to use something better than DE (but DE 1 week before treating will really help).
    Do not use non ductable heaters with a duct... The problem will not be the sealing but the power of the fan in the heater, do not put a fan in the duct, if the heater has a higher air flow than it was made to the flame will extinguish.

    I agree that you have legendary DIY research skills, but for this kind of project, experience will count much more than research.

    Professional PCO based in Hong Kong specialized in Bed Bugs.
  11. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Mon May 15 2017 10:39:57
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    F. Pazos - 15 hours ago  » 
    I don't really like discouraging people.... But:
    100+K btu?, just as a piece of information, we placed a 140k btu lpg torpedo heater inside a 530 sqf apartment and it did not reach the temperature in 5 hours, so this is a fail recipe.
    You should not go to 120 degrees slow and then rise fast, they will run away. You really need to use something better than DE (but DE 1 week before treating will really help).
    Do not use non ductable heaters with a duct... The problem will not be the sealing but the power of the fan in the heater, do not put a fan in the duct, if the heater has a higher air flow than it was made to the flame will extinguish.
    I agree that you have legendary DIY research skills, but for this kind of project, experience will count much more than research.

    "it did not reach the temperature in 5 hours"
    No kidding? You literally would have to have a window open, or uninsulated in sub-freezing weather for 140k btu/hr to fail to raise a 530ft area past 120F in 5 hours. My entire 1400sft house furnace is 60k btu/hr. Most of the heat treatment pros use electrical heaters that are 20k to 30k btu/hr each. They use more than one of them but even if they use 5 of them(most apparenly don't) that would be only 150k btu/hr max. High CFM fans are key for successful heat distribution.

    Thanks for your input. If 240,000 btu/hr from the 2 heaters are not enough. I have a 3rd one :).

    "You should not go to 120 degrees slow and then rise fast, they will run away."

    I was thinking more like heating all areas to like 100F first. I understand there is a temperature that they actually will actually be ATTRACTED to(something below the 120F kill temp).

    "You really need to use something better than DE "
    Thanks! I will take a look at alternatives including Cimexa.

    "Do not use non ductable heaters with a duct... The problem will not be the sealing but the power of the fan in the heater, do not put a fan in the duct, if the heater has a higher air flow than it was made to the flame will extinguish."

    Thanks for the info about too HIGH air flow also.
    The non-sealing was not the problem. It was the solution. If I don't seal the connection between the duct and the heater it will not affect the air flow through the heater as much. It will decrease the efficiency some so I might be adding that 3rd heater after all. We'll see. Alternatively, I will adjust the airflow with the duct connected to be about the same as it was without the duct. . But, actually, the ducts are not going to be long enough to affect the throughput that much. Just long enough so that there is no combustion danger inside or right next to the house.

    Thanks for the input!

    Mark

  12. jim danca

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Mon May 15 2017 12:16:42
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    Too much work for a bedbug problem.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Mon May 15 2017 12:44:45
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    Hi,

    Also not to sound too negative but there is a very good reason why having worked on bed bugs for 15+ years I don't do room heating methods. In fact we now get called into so many failed heat treatments that I have written a set of statements on our website about exactly why we do not approach the issue in this way.

    Once you start to understand the processes of thermal transfer it quickly becomes apparent that while it is relatively easy to raise the air temperature of a room it is a lot harder to ensure an even heating of the whole room and its contents.

    While you can use things like the ThermalSpot in lieu of banks of probes and sensors you can only QC that approach when the room cools again.

    There is also an error in the assumption that a ducted combustion heat will not deliver CO2 and CO into the home. It will require specialist filters or breathing apparatus for you to safely enter the room. This appears to be one of the main reasons why DIY advise on heat has been taken down off some websites, especially in light of known deaths through people attempting such projects.

    Simply but there are better, safer and cheaper methods which you should explore first.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  14. F. Pazos

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Mon May 15 2017 19:21:13
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    First, again agree with David, especially about the CO and CO2....
    Now,
    The ammount of btus should be calculated using volume rather than area. When you don't seal the ducts will not be a matter of adding extra heaters, more than loosing hot air you are more likely to suck cold air into the duckt. No, 140k btu gas heater will not heat a 530 apartment, basically because it has not enough air flow, some areas will be hot, but most willl not, to your answer to this, no, the fans will only cool it down as they will flow cooler air faster than the heater. About how many heaters others use, don't believe everything that you see or read, just as a little piece of info, when we heat up homes the size of yours we use over 1 million btus. About the heat transfer that David states, yes, one thing is the air temperature but you need to heat up things rather than the air. No, the bugs will not be attracted to the heater.
    All our heat treatment technicians must follow 6 months or at least 150 treatments before they can perform in their own, so experience is more important than power.
    And about the debate on effectivity of heat treatments, it is a very powerfull way to kill bed bugs, but more often than not it fails to exterminate all bugs, that is the reason why we use insecticides combined with the heat.
    Now, from your explanations, you will not be capable to heat up floors, furniture joints, wall corners and many other.
    Again, heat treatment is very tricky.... Im sure that you can drive, but could you drive properly a racing car?.... I do recommend you not to do this, when I read all your comments I understand that you really did your homework, but about heat, experience is 90% of the success.

  15. Markitude

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Mon May 15 2017 23:08:14
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    Thanks F. Pazos and David!

    I will consider it all.

    Mark

  16. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 7 months ago
    Tue May 16 2017 10:36:15
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    F. Pazos - 15 hours ago  » 
    . Im sure that you can drive, but could you drive properly a racing car?.

    An analogy I use a lot in my work, often phrased as:

    If I bought you last years winning race car, can you be certain you will win next season?

    Like all skills and jobs, it is the practice and experience that makes the difference in success rates. In the case of DIY that is one thing you cant buy without engaging as a service or through investing in the kit and training.

    I am all in support of those who need to go DIY for various reasons but you are more likely to be successful with less complex methods and certainly safer.

    David

  17. Markitude

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Wed May 31 2017 22:09:55
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    Update :

    8 days.

    0 bites. 0 bugs found.

  18. Richard56

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Thu Jun 1 2017 8:29:32
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    Congratulations! Could you share how you dealt (or didn't deal) with some of the concerns raised.

    Richard

  19. BigDummy

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Thu Jun 1 2017 8:52:55
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    That's great news, congrats!

  20. Markitude

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Thu Jun 1 2017 10:51:42
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    BigDummy - 1 hour ago  » 
    That's great news, congrats!

    It's only been a week so, at this point, I'm not putting up my victory banner(lesson learned George Bush).

    But I am hopeful. At the very least, I'm starting back at a very very light case. The one thing I AM assuming is that atleast there are no eggs waiting to hatch because they can't run haha.

  21. BigDummy

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Thu Jun 1 2017 11:04:31
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    That's not necessarily true. If the eggs were in the core of a large piece of furniture or another well-insulated spot you may have a few to deal with. But you've at least knocked back the numbers and hopefully not driven them into some weird location. Give it a few more weeks and keep monitoring the situation.

  22. Markitude

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    Richard56 - 2 hours ago  » 
    Congratulations! Could you share how you dealt (or didn't deal) with some of the concerns raised.
    Richard

    Concern: Ducting the heater would change the air flow and combustion characteristics of the heater.

    So I didn't use additional ducting. I left the main part of the heater and the tank outside by cutting a piece of fireproof insulation foam board to fit in the window or door and cut a circle for the heater outlet. I stuck a few inches of the heater through the hole into each room. So.... no ducting problems. No combustion inside the house. No oxygen depletion problems. No propane tanks inside the home.

    Concern: Carbon monoxide buildup.

    Don't do it alone! Use a CO detector. Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning. It's not like it will knock you out cold the minute you set foot in an area even at the maximum concentration possible with this set up. My detector never showed any indication of the presence of CO. Propane Heaters are something like 99%+ efficient. Also during the whole process I was outside 80% of the time.

    Concern:"Too much work for a bedbug problem."

    Ha. It WAS a major project.
    If you include the time I spent researching (which was more time than everything else combined), I probably easily have 40 hours invested. Just the day of the actual treatment, it was 5 hours prep and 6 hours for the actual heating. Purchasing fans and Heaters, removing heat sensitive items, finding a place for the pets, all takes time.
    Too much? The cheapest price for professional treatment was over $1000. So I saved over $25 for EACH hour I spent. Not bad work when you can get it. I bought used fans and the heaters were on clearance (Yay summer!) so the cash outlay wasn't too bad either.

  23. Markitude

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    Thu Jun 1 2017 15:27:23
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    Concern: You will burn your house down.

    I addressed this by not being an idiot. Seriously, people have open flames on the gas stove every day. Somehow most manage to use it without any calls to the fire dept. You are dealing with fire( though in my case the actual fire was outside). If you are stupid, you will have a problem. Don't put ANYTHING within 3 ft of the outlet of the heater.

    With that being said, I WAS surprised at how hot the temp was right at the outlet of the heater. The outside of the heater itself was cool to the touch, even near the outlet. However when I placed a thermometer in the air flow right at the heater outlet it read

    FIVE HUNDRED DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!

    Give that the respect it deserves. About 3 feet from the outlet, it was still like 300F.

    Concern : You will not reach kill Temps quick enough.

    While I was setting up I used the house furnace to heat the whole house to 90F. When I turned on the propane heater in the window and left bedroom door open just slightly (you need SOME airflow so you can't close it completely) the ambient Temps went from 90 to 120 in less than 30 minutes in that room. 130F in less than an hour. Directing the fans towards the closets heated them up to kill temp quickly too. Once the air temp was at 120, I started moving the bed and furniture and other potential cool spot hiding places.

    I basically just repeated this for each room...
    Close the door mostly. Jack the temp up in that room to kill temp in literally minutes. THEN start moving stuff so that even if they try to escape, the room is hot enough they will instantly die. Then heat the room, bed etc till even the internal temp is in the kill range.

    Concern: I can't drive a racecar.

    Buy me one. We'll see.

  24. Proudmommyto3rottenboys

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    Posted 6 months ago
    Sun Jun 4 2017 23:09:42
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    Please keep us all updated...

  25. Markitude

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    Proudmommyto3rottenboys - 2 days ago  » 
    Please keep us all updated...

    Day 16.

    Still no sign of them.

    Still holding my breath.

  26. mp7ski

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    "Concern: You will burn your house down.

    I addressed this by not being an idiot. Seriously, people have open flames on the gas stove every day. Somehow most manage to use it without any calls to the fire dept. You are dealing with fire( though in my case the actual fire was outside). If you are stupid, you will have a problem. Don't put ANYTHING within 3 ft of the outlet of the heater."

    I personally know 2 people who did their own heat treatment as well and one was successful. The other had a pretty bad infestation so I'm not surprised theirs didn't work. I laughed after hearing about the one that did work, they used multiple space heaters with fans in each room on a 90°F day and somehow it worked on an infestation that was in multiple rooms. They went 7 months without an issue and moved and still have no issues. I think the main reason people frown upon it on here is because logic tends to go out the door with some people when it comes to bed bugs and not everybody is smart enough to understand how dangerous it can be. If you're smart about it and take the proper safety measures, you'll be fine. I personally would call in a professional if there was one I thought would do it right but if it came to it, I'd do it myself in a heart beat.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  27. Markitude

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Jun 29 2017 13:46:08
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    Updated update.

    So it's like Day 37 and I felt something crawling on my leg so I turned on the light.

    And it looked kind of bedbuggish. But before I could get it in a container or take a pic of it so I could post it here, it flew away.

    HAHAHAHAHA!!

  28. Richard56

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Jun 29 2017 14:16:07
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    @markitude And it looked kind of bedbuggish. But before I could get it in a container or take a pic of it so I could post it here, it flew away.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I hope your heat treatment didn't alter the BB DNA Congratulations!
    Have you started shopping for race cars yet?

    Richard

  29. BigDummy

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu Jun 29 2017 14:18:40
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    Mutant, flying bed bugs!

  30. Richard56

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    Posted 5 months ago
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    When they start mating with mosquitoes we will all be in trouble!

  31. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Fri Jun 30 2017 12:19:05
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    Hi Markitude,

    Could you please let me know when you next catch something. I am happy to cover the costs of you sending it to me for confirmation.

    As with many cases where there is no concrete confirmation of the problem there is a danger that well meaning information looses its path.

    David


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