I would like your thoughts on a way to apply DE.(10 posts)
Hey guys, thanks so much for the wealth of information on the forum. I started getting bites a month ago, and after some research I identified my problem as a bed bug one (not just through bites, but I've found several). Anyway, I live in a two-story house with my family and the bed bugs appear to only be in my bed so far. I am aware that not everybody reacts to the bites and have checked all of my family's beds extensively for blood and fecal stains. They only seem to be in my bed.
Here's my question: I bought diatomaceous earth and have started applying it all the way around the fitted sheet on my mattress. I make sure that no cords or walls are touching my bed before I go to sleep so that the bed bugs must walk through the DE. My reasoning is that because the bed bugs are so hard-headed about getting their food source (i.e., me) they will always walk through the earth to get to me. Since I've started doing this (4 days ago) I've noticed that I've gotten significantly less bitten. I wanted to ask you guys, because I don't want to drive the bugs away into the rest of the house, because then the problem will get much much harder to solve. Is this eliminating the infestation or simply driving the bugs away?
To answer any questions you guys have about the situation: Yes, I called a pest control guy and he came and sprayed, but only once. Yes, I cleaned all the clutter from my room, especially around my bed. I am using the same mattress and boxspring and I definitely react to the bites. I have found about 30 bugs altogether so far (one month), most of which came from waking up at 4 in the morning from an uneasy sleep and searching my bed like a madman for them.
Thanks in advance.
Welcome. We have an excellent FAQ on DE and how to apply it.
Putting DE on your sheets does not seem safe to me. Like Ci, I'd refer you to the FAQ:
I read the FAQ before I posted. It seems like DE is only potentially dangerous when it's inhaled. The dust is on the side of the fitted sheet; I won't be rolling around in it or kicking up dust in my sleep. I'm also very careful when I apply it.
This seems like a sure solution to me, because DE always kills bugs (even if it takes awhile) and they will always walk through the dust at night. I'm asking because I've never read anything about doing this before, but it seems to me that it would work.
Imagine sitting on a dusty sofa. Some of that dust goes airborne.
Although your dust may be on the surface and side, I am not so sure it wont be inhaled, or touch your skin (which can be irritating also).
I am also not so sure how well it will adhere to the vertical fabric surface.
I may be wrong, but that's my feedback, for what it's worth.
It is definitely a skin irritant. I have it in strategic places on my couch so they have to cross it when they come to get me. I sit on a white sheet so I can see them coming, but even then, I still have contact with some of the DE and it dries out my skin something fierce.
It's definitely bad for your sinuses too. I dusted my mattress and box spring sides, as well as between them, strategic areas of the headboard, and all the bedroom baseboards. My nose is always dried out in that room, and even while sitting on the couch.
I do not endorse my approach. I'm only using it because at the moment I'm more sick of getting bit than of living with dry skin and a bloody nose. At this point we appear to be down to stragglers, so I want to be very, very sure they have to walk through "death powder" when they come for the bait. I can't wait till I don't feel like I have to live in a dust bowl anymore (although I'll always have it around the baseboards, under the couch, and between the bedding).
That's interesting. I've never had that reaction. My skin feels the same and my sinuses were fine initially (I got a cold, but I'm assuming that's unrelated). About the dusty sofa analogy: when I imagine sitting on a dusty sofa with DE applied to the sides below armrests, behind my back and below my feet (as opposed to in the cushions) I'm totally fine with it. Maybe I'm uninformed about the risks, but I can't imagine that disturbing a pertinent amount of dust.
Has anyone ever tried this before? I was really hoping for somebody's experiences with the bugs rather than some safety warnings (although I do appreciate those as well).
Thanks for all the comments.
I don't think you'll get specific recommendations here because every situation is different and what works for one person doesn't necessarily yield the same results for another. In my own couch dusting, is it killing the bugs? Yes, some of them, since I've found dead ones at various life stages under the couch and in surrounding area, which is ringed with DE.
But have I had bad health effects? Yes, I'm paying with itchy skin and a dry nose, and this is not a fast solution at all. Upstairs, where we used chemicals, the problem is very close to knocked down. We're just dealing with egg hatchings and a few stragglers now. Downstairs, where we don't want to use pesticides on the furniture, I got two clusters of BB bites just last night from sitting on the DEed couch and found a BB hiding under my shirt, which could easily have reinfested the upstairs if I didn't find it.
Also, be prepared to live with a fine dust all over everything. It does indeed poof, even if you dust it lightly. I have a film of DE continually on my other furniture.
Even if you're not concerned about the health risks, I certainly would not consider DE alone a "sure solution." I did something similar to what you're asking, except I dusted the ruffle around my mattress pad, which was underneath the sheet. I don't know if it helped or not because I also had 5 professional treatments throughout this time and my infestation was very, very minor. So minor, I only ever saw one adult bug. However, I did see the evidence on the bottom side of my mattress case. Experts suggest dusting DE between the mattress and box spring. I can see how this would at least help because I personally saw so much evidence in that area. But I'm not sure if it's enough to eliminate a population, especially if you've already found 30 of them. DE can take a few days to work and while they're waiting to die, they're just going to continue laying eggs. If you've done any research on how quickly they multiply - you could have hundreds of eggs layed with 30 adults walking around waiting to die.
From what I have read, experts agree that multiple methods are usually required to eliminate a population. Another thing to add about the DE, my PCO told me if I was going to use it, a fine dust is key. I used a make-up brush. If it's anything more than a fine dust, the bugs are smart enough to walk around it. If you are able though, your best bet is to continue professional treatments, who use multiple methods - dusting, steaming and chemicals to kill them. If you are not able to continue professional treatments, supplement the DE by casing your mattress and box spring with cases approved for bed bugs. This will not kill them, but will trap some inside - Don't open the cases for at least a year. You can also try to isolate your bed with ClimbUps to trap them and use a personal steamer to regularly steam your baseboards, bed frame and cased mattress/box springs until they are gone. Even if you don't kill bugs with steam, it is the only way to kill the eggs and while you are working on killing the bugs, you can at least practice some really good birth control.
Also, don't count on them not going to the other beds. Isolate them with ClimbUps. If you can not afford them, make your own by gluing two different sized bowls together - one inside of the other - so you create a well on the outside and a well on the inside to prevent and trap them. Dust them with talc powder (not cornstarch) and stick the beds legs inside of them - All legs, even if there's little legs under the bed. Also make sure the beds are pulled away from the wall and there are no blankets or other items that will allow the bugs to crawl into the other beds. I would also do the same with your couch (if you can) and any other legged furniture. I put my dresser legs in muffin tins - whatever works. Good Luck!
Thanks for the comments, guys. That's really informative and helpful.
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