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Alpine WD and DE Bed Bug treatment, will I win?!

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  1. onibuka

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Thu Apr 27 2017 22:02:43
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    I just recently moved to the Pittsburgh, PA area from Los Angeles. My wife and I, did not bring anything except our clothes and personal items. All the furniture we have is purchased new. We have only been living in this apartment for approx. a month now. 5 days ago, we saw a large flat copper bug on our bed and immediately smashed it, a lot of blood came out as it had just fed. We started freaking out and looking for the source of the bugs, we thought it was just a hitchhiker. We looked up if it could be a bat bug or tick but clearly it was a BB. A few days pass and more bumps started appearing on us. We then found another adult yesterday on the bed, mid afternoon. We immediately notified our landlord and they sent over the PCO today. After a quick inspection, we found 1 nymph behind the bed. The PCO gave us instructions on how to prep for the spray, to bag all our clothes up after laundering and drying them, removing everything from closets and shelves so they can get into corners, and basically put everything in bags in the living room. I have a few questions if anyone could help us out.

    1. My wife is 8 months pregnant, has there been any research or documentation regarding Alpine WD and babies? how about with my dog?

    2. Any effects of DE on my wife or dog?

    3. If the bugs are coming from the neighbors, will I be able to make a protective barrier to keep them from coming into my apartment.

    4. The PCO said it will require 3 treatments in 3 weeks, is this the norm or will I need more?

    5. Will the PCO be able to get into the sofa/couch. We feel like there are some living/hiding in there as well.

    6. The PCO will be treating the babies room as well, should we wipe everything down afterwards?

    7. The prep sheet says to stay out of the apartment for minimum of 4 hours, will that be enough?

    Thank you all for the advice in advance.

  2. Ombugsman

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Fri Apr 28 2017 18:56:38
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    1. My wife is 8 months pregnant, has there been any research or documentation regarding Alpine WD and babies? how about with my dog?
    2. Any effects of DE on my wife or dog?
    6. The PCO will be treating the babies room as well, should we wipe everything down afterwards?

    These are obviously very important questions. I suggest you start by reading THIS WRITE-UP from the National Pesticide Information Center. You'll notice on the sidebar there's a link to pesticides and pregnancy. You'll also find information on pet safety. They have a free hotline if you have follow-up questions.

    7. The prep sheet says to stay out of the apartment for minimum of 4 hours, will that be enough?

    That is the norm for adults. When I had my infestation, even though I ended up self-treating, I did initially talk to the landlord's PCO and they told me 4 hours for adults and 24 hours for pregnant women, infants and young children. Alpine WSG is 40% neonicotinoid Dinotefuran and that's the greatest concern for a pregnant woman. Dusts and chemical pesticides are both a concern for infants and young children.

    4. The PCO said it will require 3 treatments in 3 weeks, is this the norm or will I need more?

    Three treatments spaced 1-2 weeks apart is very reasonable. You may need more depending upon the extent of your infestation, possible bug resistance to Dinotefuran, the skill of the PCO and other factors. Is the landlord paying for treatment? If so, what will s/he do if infestation is not cleared after 3 treatments? If you're paying for first 3 treatments, you'll want to discuss warranty period and the nature of any warranty in detail.

    3. If the bugs are coming from the neighbors, will I be able to make a protective barrier to keep them from coming into my apartment.

    Not likely. DE dust typically is effective when bed bugs harbor in it for a period of time and not so much when bugs walk through it. CimeXa dust, on the other hand, proved to be the only dust that effectively killed bed bugs after they walked through it a single time. LINK TO STUDY ABSTRACT

    In field and lab tests, CimeXa has proven to be more effective than DE. It's also a bit safer. You may want to ask your PCO why he's chosen to use DE instead of CimeXa. It's likely one of two reasons: (1) he's not familiar with CimeXa which would not be a good sign; or (2) he buys DE in bulk to treat many different type of pests other than bed bugs and it's less expensive. You could buy a 4oz bottle of CimeXa for $13 which would be more than enough to treat a residence. I would offer to buy the CimeXa for your PCO; he could then apply it in the same manner he would have applied the DE. So he'd end up using the Alpine spray and CimeXa dust instead of Alpine spray and DE dust.

    If you're concerned about adjoining apartments, ask if he plans to drill into adjoining walls and apply dust in addition to dusting baseboards and outlets. Also if any plans to treat common piping.

    8. Will the PCO be able to get into the sofa/couch. We feel like there are some living/hiding in there as well.

    Couches and upholstered items are very difficult to treat because bugs may hide deep in the fabric. Some PCOs use high quality steamers which will penetrate somewhat below the surface to kill the bugs. That has a higher probability of success but is more time consuming and therefore more expensive. Many landlords don't want to pay that extra cost which is why steamer use is not so prevalent in the US. Most PCOs use chemical pesticides and dusts only. The odds are probably low that a couch infestation could be safely resolved using Alpine WSG and DE. In your situation if a steamer's not an option, your best hope imo would be if the PCO switched to CimeXa (per what I mentioned earlier) and knew how and where to apply it in the couch. You'd have a chance because the bugs would only have to walk through the CimeXa. Many DIYers have been successful treating their couches/recliners using only CimeXa.

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    To your general question: will this be a success? Again the answer primarily depends on the level/ location of the infestation plus the knowledge/skill of the PCO but there are other potential factors like potentially infested adjoining residences. Infestations which have spread to multiple rooms are much more difficult to resolve than one contained to the bedroom. Mattress and box spring covers work well but treatment options for couches/recliners are more limited. Also safety is especially critical in your situation which might limit available options. For example, CimeXa is very effective and safe for adults and pets but I wouldn't want to expose a newborn to any kind of dust.


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