Making the problem worst with Diatomaceous Earth(7 posts)
I read that you may make your bed bug problem spread to other rooms or adjacent apartments if you use bed bug sprays. I also read that isopropyl alcohol is safe to use and so far the problem hasn't spread and stayed in primarily one room so far but I want to use something more powerful. Is Diatomaceous Earth also safe to use and not spread the problem?
Depends on how it is used. Saw a hotel last month where the staff self treated the rooms by applying de so thick it was like they used a spoon. Bed bugs were out in the hallways, up high in light fixtures, in bathrooms etc. Complete nightmare.
I would like to know the source of your information.
Bed bugs are repelled by chemicals that give off a vapor, odor. In general bed bug sprays are engineered with a low vapor. A roach spray on the other hand will repel bed bugs.
The use of alcohol to eliminate the bed bug is a dangerous proposition. The amount of fumes released over the area of a mattress can cause an explosive environment. This explosion can be initiated by several events. Turning on the vacuum can cause an explosion. Obviously, smoking is a bad choice in this environment. Turning on a ventilation fan to remove the fumes may be the source of ignition. I advise against the use of alcohol in this quantity. The use of alcohol is not necessary to remove the bed bugs and is not a common practice.
I do like the diatomaceous earth. I recommend its use as a barricade between you and the bed bugs. It gives off no odor and will not repel the bed bugs. The bed bugs will run through it with out much thought. The diatomaceous earth will kill the bed bug in all cases. I prefer the diatomaceous earth to the use of poison. It is a little hard to prevent cross contamination throughout the house if you step in it. But, this is preferable to the poison; because, you will be able to see if the dust has been disturbed. With the poisons you won't know if you are cross contaminating anything. Even though the diatomaceous earth is an all natural substance it has its draw backs with health concerns. You want to keep it out of the lungs, ears and eyes and avoid long term exposure. That is pretty much it to the concerns. The dust is way safer than any poison. The dust can be a problem if you have kids or pets. Otherwise, you can use this along the wall and across the door openings. This will prevent the bed bugs from migrating to other parts of the house. The clean up of the dust can be a problem. The dust is so fine that it will blow right through any vacuum seals. A hepafilter will be needed at this stage. I still recommend lung protection when vacuuming the diatomaceous earth. The hepafilter will be clogged when you are done. This is usually a $40.00 item.
Bed Bugs will avoid DE that they can see. When you use DE, it must be so light that you and they cannot really see it. Other wise, yes, they will avoid it.
We already have a pretty thorough set of FAQs on DE. If you haven't read it, I would start by reading it before you decide to use DE in any way in your bed bug battle.
DE is a great tool in the fight against bed bugs; however, it is not as safe as many supporters of its use make it out to be. DE is basically made up of tiny crystalline structures. They are sharp, and over time, bed bugs (or other insects with exoskeletons) that come into contact with it die as they degrade from it.
However, DE is a significant inhalation hazard. While it can be applied safely (a very fine dusting barely visible to the eye only in areas where it will not get kicked up into the air), if improperly applied as we have heard about people doing, it can do significant damage to your lungs. Often, you will not see the results of that damage until years after exposure, so unlike some chemical pesticides that cause immediate reactions to let you know you've been overexposed, DE doesn't have a way to alert you that you've applied it improperly.
In some cases, pest control professionals will not--for their own safety--treat properties that have been self-treated with DE.
That may make it sound like I'm not in favor of DE; that's not true. For most people, beating bed bugs means following good pest control practices, which would mean using an integrated pest management approach--in other words, using a mix of techniques and substances as needed for that specific situation.
But there's a lot of misinformation about DE on the internet. A lot of people think that just because it's safe, it's 100% natural. We hear tales that terrify me in which people sprinkle it all over their sheets and lie in bed with it.
(I generally remind people that arsenic is naturally occurring too, but you're not going to see me ingesting it just because it's all natural.)
Personally, I prefer to reduce my exposure to chemical pesticides, so I view DE as a valuable tool.
However, as far as its role in spreading an infestation, I'm not sure whether an answer to that question is going to help you much. Applied correctly, it shouldn't. Applied incorrectly, it very well may.
I wouldn't advice following biggil's advice. He or she (I'm not sure, I haven't talked to biggil before) says the following:
the manner of applying the dust made no difference in the results of a barricade, thick or thin. I prefer it thick to make sure the bed bugs get a good dusting.
I cannot speak to what's going on with biggil's bed bug problem.
What I can tell you, bzzzzzt, is that the word we get from pest control professionals, who've done lab test and observed thousands of actual infestations, is that bed bugs that encounter over-applied DE will simply walk around those mounds. They may, for example, stop crawling across the floor and then climb the walls to the ceiling and drop down on the bed from above.
Applying large amounts--thick lines or visible piles of DE--does have a much better than average chance of causing the bugs to spread to another room.
If the bugs avoid the DE, they do not come into contact with it. If they don't come into contact with it, it won't kill them.
(Also, DE takes a long time to kill bed bugs. It's not a contact kill. I think that's mentioned in the FAQ, but I figured it bore repeating.)
The absolute most reliable way to get rid of a bed bug infestation is to get a good pest management professional who has experience treating bed bugs in to treat the infestation as soon as possible. Unlike many other common pests (fleas, roaches, ants), bed bugs are extraordinarily hard to self treat. I know the economy sucks, and for a lot of people, it seems really logical to start by trying to self-treat, but in the case of bed bugs, improper self-treatment can make things worse.
There's a lot we don't know as much about bed bugs as we'd like to. The best evidence we currently have is that when a population gets large enough, you'll get some stragglers that leave the colony and go searching for new digs. Some of the spreading of an infestation into another room comes from that behavior, and the best way to avoid it is to get good professional treatment as soon as possible.
Since this is your first post, I also want to remind you that we sometimes get posts from people who think they have bed bugs but who turn out to have another pest, so hiring a pro who can conclusively identify the pest in question is really important. Different pests have different treatments, so you need to be sure of what you're treating.
91% isopropyl alcohol is, in fact, a contact killer of bed bugs (if you spray it directly on them, it will kill bugs). It won't kill eggs, and it has no residual effect. Alone, or even in combination with DE, it won't get rid of a bed bug infestation. It is also, as biggil pointed out, flammable. If you don't over-apply it, and use it in a well-ventilated area, and do not use any sparks or flames near it, it is safe for use.
The trick with almost any component of a pest management plan is using it in accordance with the best safety practices. No substance out there comes without a risk; nearly every substance can be safely used if the user is well-educated enough about the substance and follows proper protocols. The thing is, some substances are very complex and require elaborate safety protocols; that's why their use is limited to professionals who have the education and experience necessary to use them safely.
I have deleted your second post above which advocates for unlimited use of DE ("As thick as you like"). This advice is hazardous to people's health; I am surprised to hear it from someone claiming as you do to be in the pest control business.
Please read your private message from me. Thanks!I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
Thanks everyone for your help. I haven't read the DE faq so thanks for pointing me to it, buggyinsocal. My family have been searching our bedding every morning for bed bugs and have found several over the past month and now the number and severity of bites is way down but we can't seem to kill the last few -- at least we think there are only a few left Only one bedroom out of 3 seems to be getting bites so it appears to be pretty localized.
Here is the source where I read about spreading the problem and about using isopropyl alcohol.
Actually, a friend suggested using isopropyl alcohol which lead me to that webpage.
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