I nuked my office chair and gave it a bath :P(8 posts)
My bedbug story can be read here:
I've been sleeping on an office chair that reclines slightly. Inevitably that became infested so I surrounded the chair with Insectigone's DE powder. A few days ago, it got to the point where my shirt had 9 bloodspots, so I decided to pour a litre of Kleen Green solution into the office chair. The ratio was 2 oz Kleen Green : 14 oz water ( which makes 455mls, which is roughly half a litre ) ( in experiments, two sprays of 2oz Kleen Green:14oz Water has a 98% kill rate, as a contact spray ). Since I do not have a thermometer in order to check if the water temperature was Kleen Green's recommended 98 F ( 37 C ) I heated up the water in roughly one third of the time it would take to boil water. I did not care very much since, from what I understand, heat is the catalyst. Since I live in Toronto, Canada I ignored the concept of air pressure affecting the boiling point of liquids ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_point ).
The results were that the bite distribution pattern changed to my left shoulder, so I realised that I had missed the seams of the office chair. The next day I poured two litres into the chair. I still got almost the same amount of bites. The next day I dragged my chair to the bathroom, wrestled the chair into the bathtub and spent three and a half hours pouring:
( 2.5 litres of boiling water + 1 cup of liquid Tide into the office chair ) x 21 times
It took ~10 minutes to boil 2.5 litres of water, to which I added 1 cup of liquid Tide and stirred it a little.
Caution: If you have pets you should lock them in a seperate room, or give them some special treat to keep them out of the way. Liquid detergent is silppery so keep your hands and floors dry.
Because of the way my chair is designed ( two layers of wood seperated by foam layers - which I figured out due to the wood expanding, due to heat damage ) and based on bites on my hand and the fact that they don't like to travel far after feeding, I realised that they must be hiding in this layer. I placed the chair with it's back against the floor of the tub and poured hot water from the tap + 7.5 litres of boiling water with 3 cups of liquid Tide and I basically flooded as much of the chair as possible. I recommend wearing cheap, dish-washing, rubber gloves, in order to immerse the chair and protect your hands from the heat.
I seldom see any bugs since the remaining are the stragglers in the marathon race. The results, based on my bedbug log, were that I was bite free for two nights and then I had an 1 itch / bloodspot / bite + a confirmed sighting on the other side of the room on the third night. I doubt that anything could have survived the nuke, the chair was probably re-infested by a bug who ran through the DE circle during the night.
The amount of time and effort that I put into nuking the chair, I figured that it would be easier to isolate the chair with a chair-sized version of Protect-A-Bed's buglock technology and I thought, why stop at a chair, why not make a softa-sized one? So I wrote a letter to Protect-A-Bed:
Tomorrow, I will repeat the experiment, since I like to synchronize my clothing-changes, showers and chair nuking ; since I sleep in my clothes, in the past, I have found bugs between my t-shirt and sweater and an adult bug in my hair, while showering.
I think I will just rotate the chair doing the three seams for the seat and then place the chair on it's back and flood the tub with hot water. It should take maybe an hour.
I've been thinking of buying a cheap, plastic chair-cover from a moving company for isolation purposes:
I'm really exhausted today since I tried to sleep with the lights off but found that I turned on the lights four times because I got the sensation that bugs were crawling on my legs ( I was wearing shorts and the air conditioning unit was blowing the hairs on my legs, also I have a band-aid on one leg ). The bed bugs rarely bite my legs; they love my shoulders, it's like something from Heinlein's The Puppet Masters:
Are you getting treated by a pco? I applaude your efforts but you really need a pro in your situation.Why not tell the LL( assuming you live in a building) and get someone in to get rid of them? This is not something you can treat on your own especially without chemicals (which I'm certain you've figured out). I'm concerned because I see no mention of a pco being involved.
Yes--I agree with bugbasher.
I have seen your repeated suggestions that people use Kleen Green. Well, it's useful as contact killers go, but contact killers will ONLY kill bed bugs you can make contact with and spray directly. You will never eliminate bed bugs this way.
I believe DE can work, but it takes 10 days to kill bed bugs and they have to walk over it--which is not always easy to make happen to EVERY bed bug.
I understand the desire to avoid pesticides, but as I always say, you can use some pesticides now for a shorter period of time, or everyone in your building can use a lot of pesticides for a very long time (because bed bugs will become so entrenched and spread so widely, no one will be able to get rid of them).
Which is worse for you? The environment?
Finally, self-treating, no matter the method used, is often the worst choice for the simple reason that (in a multi-unit building) it means your home is the only one being treated. In multi-unit buildings, your neighbors are likely to be infested. If they are, they may not know it. And their bed bugs will keep coming and coming.
If you're concerned about cost, Toronto is a good place to be. Your local government, unlike most, actually is doing something to help residents fight bed bugs. There are people you can call.
Not to mention I think AntsinPants has to hold to the record for longest posts on the site. I couldn't even get through the other one they wrote.
I've been watching movies all week:
The bed bugs are gone (from my room), this is my log:
April 21: no bloodspots, no itch, no sightings
April 22: no bloodspots, no itch, no sightings
Wednesday night, April 23: 1 bloodspots, with itch, 1 sighting
Thursday 24 nothing
Friday 25 1 sighting
Saturday 26 nothing
Sunday 27 1 sighting
28th-May 7th nothing
It's kind of strange, I started missing them at one point and viewed them as my friends. I hoped to keep the one in my chair as a pet but I think that it may have tried to find a mate and I ended up spraying it.
To answer your questions:
The apartment building owner won't even install new elevators, I think that the superintendent mentioned that the elevators are 60 years old ( they seem to break down once a week and they skip specific floors altogether, somewhat randomly ).
The building owner's viewpoint is that since our roommate brought the bugs, we should fix the problem.
A PCO gave a peek-a-boo, joke of an inspection. The building owner said that the PCO won't treat, unless the source of the infestation is got rid off ( ie. toss the mattresses ). You know and I know that encasements can be bought and the PCO did not really inspect so...
I had sent the owner Youtube videos about apartment buildings being infested in the States, to the cost of half a million US dollars.
I got the impression that the owner simply does not want to pay. We found out that a couple of apartments on unrelated floors have had bedbugs dating back to last summer ( a few months prior to even the roommate, Iggy moving in ). The owner said that tossing the mattresses solved the problem.
My other roommate ( Tania ) phoned Toronto Public Health twice - they don't seem to give a shit. The reality is that noone wants to pay.
There's another problem with fumigation - Tania has a lot of allergies ( peanuts, shellfish, and cats ). She had an allergic reaction to a chemical that was so bad that she ended up hospitalized. She has a fear of chemicals or even using things that she erroneously percieves as containing chemicals. She has asthma and the DE powder surrounding her mattress was triggering asthma but I encouraged her to put back the DE that she swept up. She is working with something called neem oil - a natural insecticide that has been used in India for a thousand years:
Yes, it's disturbing to me that we live on a toxic dump of a planet but I was OK with fumigation, if only to save the other apartments. If you look at how polluted our bodies are - especially styrene contamination and human breastmilk etc.
Yes, I was worried that without a residual, I would not be able to get rid of them but the nagging thing was that I thought that a lot of the data on the longevity of the bugs was/is erroneous. I'm really sceptical about the 18-month-between-blood-meals concept. I'd like to see the data from the clinical studies.
1) When I woke up with the bugs crawling on my face, I dropped them in the toilet - they drown very quickly, they are non-swimmers.
2) When I placed four bed bugs ( I'm guessing two adults, one fifth and one fourth stage ) under a shot glass:
Based on colour changes of one bug from beiege to red, I noticed that after a day or two they started to cannibalize each other for blood. They died after 3 days, as did multiple, single samples, also under shot glasses. My roommate pointed out oxygen starvation but I said that there wasn't enough of a seal, I guess it's open to debate. The surface was a bathroom countertop ( ie. non-sterile ) - it could have had residual cleaning fluids *shrug*
3) I found a plastic sheet hidden between stacked boxes. The sheet had 9 bugs, 8 of which were dead the one remaining was on it's back wiggling it's legs like it was incapacitated. It's a very rough guess but they may have been there for 2 weeks based, on when the bugs started vertical climbing.
4) When I pulled out the mattress from the wall and isolated it with DE powder, whenever I found a bug that managed to plow through the DE powder, I would add another inch of powder, to expand on the distance that the bug would have to crawl through. I found that bugs could penetrate 2 inches before becoming incapacitated, so I had a 3 inch line surrounding every isolated object.
5) I always washed my clothes on cold but dried on hot for an hour.
After isolating my mattress I reset my biological clock and stayed awake all night for about 8 days straight. I sprayed every adult female and adult male with Kleen Green on my mattress ( which was stripped of linen ) and especially any time I saw stragglers outside the containment field. For me, they started to climb a tower of boxes that I have ( containing books, electronics equipment and music cds etc.) but at the same time, they lacked the cognitive ability required to navigate the boxes, in order to get to me ( with my feet up on a plastic bag, filled with contaminated linen, sleeping in an office chair ).
After that, I'd wake up roughly every 2 hours and check the mattress and around me and then go back to sleep. My biological clock was pretty wacky, sometimes I'd sleep from midnight to 4am, stay awake till dawn and then sleep for 4 hours.
When I stopped seeing bugs surrounding me but I was getting biten, I assumed that they had made a cosey nest inside my office chair ( I slept on it for almost a month, to the point where my feet became swollen like water balloons on the top of my feet, I guess due to poor circulation ).
One of my experiments was to see if they would be attracted to the heat source from my computer, which was true ( I have a dual core AMD 4400 - it generates enough heat to heat up a room 8 feet cubed ), so I had to DE the back and sides of the computer.
When I figured that the oil scent that they give off for mating and signalling had attracted all the bugs into the chair, I surrounded the chair with DE powder and then eventually, nuked the chair.
If they can't feed, they can't molt and they need to molt 5 times - that's a huge weakness. The babies are terrifically vulnerable and have a voracious need to feed.
Everything that I've seen shows that they are driven to feed. If they can't feed, they die.
I had another idea, which would be to coat the entire, unfinished hardwood floor with DE powder and walk about on it with slippers. The only problem is that it turns to muddy-clay when wet. The idea being that nothing would be able to move. Fortunately, I did not need to escalate to that extreme level.
I'd email Joe Fiorito of the Toronto Star.
He has done MANY articles on bed bugs in Toronto. And I think he is very interested in the stories of people who have bed bugs and landlords that refuse to fix the problem.
You can search for his name in the blog, we've linked to many of his stories.
You should also contact the city councilor (Fletcher I think) that is pressing Toronto to label bedbugs as a health hazard. Not going to happen in my opinion but giving her some support against the rest of council might lift her spirits.
And you haven't thought about moving? By now the infestation will have spread throughout the building...try another pco. If landlord isn't willing to take care of the problem, you're going to be living with bed bugs a long, long time unless you move and start over with nothing...
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