Self-treatment success story and parting reflections(5 posts)
Just wanted to update: no more bed bugs since last post, which means I have crossed the 55 day barrier, with DE, Murphy's oil soap, caulk, a clothes dryer, and very careful physical inspection only. I do seem to have been blessed with an "easy" case. The background is in other posts, but in brief I took in an infested wardrobe from the street, had it for ten days, got rid of it, and then dismantled my bed several times and caulked a few cracks/wood-knots, and found them mostly hiding in the corners of the bedframe. It takes a bit of an inclination to DIY, and isn't for everyone, but I wanted to say to the board that it is possible.
I probably won't be around here very much more, so also wanted to say that this forum distorts the problem and makes it seem much more terrifying than it is . People come here and hear the worst horror stories — bed bugs living in your navel!!! off-label self-treating experiments!!!—and all the hype for and by PCOs (you know who you are). I am sure some PCOs do good work, but be warned that this website is the best example I've come across for how the Internet distorts the situation. Getting rid of bed bugs is a fair bit harder than painting a room, but it's a similar decision, I'd say, to whether you want to pay someone to do that kind of work or do it yourself.
Though I am grateful for this forum's existence, and a few posters — David Cain, Lou Sorkin, and others whose names I've forgotten — have been generous and helpful. Thank you. And a shout to sweetblood, who was a comrade-in-arms (though eventually went the heat-treatment route). And thank you nobugsonme for hosting.
After reading some of the bed bug hysteria in the NY Times and other places, I just thought I'd update this/push it to the top of the feed. I am still successfully free of bed bugs; the seams of my wooden bed still have a dusting of DE in them that I'll probably leave there for good. I used a respirator when laying the dust and when vacuuming it up; a HEPA vacuum cleaner would have been a nice investment but I could never afford one for my very small apartment.
There are vast amounts of misinformation about treatment; bed bugs can be self-treated, with DE, but there isn't money in that for "protect-a-bed" (whose very name is false advertising) or for the PCO lobby, which -- I am not speaking about the people on this forum, many of whom were very helpful, as I said above -- is interested in its own business above all, naturally enough.
Self-treatment is not easy and takes a long time (but so does professional treatment). It allows you to avoid the use of pesticides (whose side-effects are not well known/publicized, and some of which repel the bed bugs into neighboring apartments, etc.). It is important to use a respirator, and be careful where you put the dust. You have to be willing to be the bait to draw the bed bugs out from their hiding places, i.e., by continuing to sleep in your bed. Many people want a professional to deal with their problem; from my experience, DE is the cheapest and most effective solution, which PCOs would also use.
And visual inspection -- dismantling the bed, and other bedroom furniture -- is crucial too, with tape in one hand to snap up the critters before they realize what's happening.
I understand that self-treating can be effective, but it is not for everyone. If you really educate yourself, and are meticulous it is possible. That and in your case you caught them early.
I also understand your position regarding the "alarmist" nature the forums do take on occasion. As it is a public forum and all kinds of situations pop up it is inevitable. It is also true that most people will take the time to post a negative story rather than a positive one - human nature? catharsis?
You sound like a smart cookie that was not afraid to grab the bull by the horns, but for the rest of the folks who are unwilling or unable, we need to rely on the expertise of others, even at the expense of being taken advantage of.
best for continued success.
The most effective BB treatment is thoroughness. Be it from a PCO or an educated self treater.
Spray and pray, regardless of self treater or PCO, fails.
Congrats on BB freedom.
You must log in to post.