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Bed Bugs in Apartment for 2 years, Researching and Planning: need help!

(9 posts)
  1. LosingMySanity

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 13 2012 3:21:08
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    First, my story:

    I'm a 20 year old woman living in an apartment with her parents and have had bed bugs for 2 years now. We can't afford an exterminator (as soon as money is earned its spent on bills etc) and we didn't tackle the problem correctly in the beginning because our apt is literally just too cluttered, and my mother has multiple handicaps and even I have back problems which prevent me tackling the mess that is my house head on for an extended period of time. They're everywhere and I think it's worse in the summertime because this fall/winter it wasn't as bad as it is right now, I'm bit constantly in my room particularly at night. I have trouble sleeping and I've gotten so depressed lately I wish I was on Prozac. My family tried getting rid of them in the beginning with all sorts of sprays and alcohol and the like but never developed a proper plan and it seems like they just gave up and decided to just live with them....

    But I can't take it anymore and I need help so I've started researching, going on Google, looking for bed bug killers that will work that aren't a fortune in hopes of being able to save up. I won't be able to do my whole apt at one time and I honestly don't even know how my parents' room can be treated there's so much clutter, large furniture, and electronics/wires but I want to at least treat my room and have developed a bit of a plan but need feedback.

    1) I have a wooden bed frame with the draws on the bottom and therefore no bed legs to place in alcohol or similar to keep them from traveling up the bed and I know they are hiding in the bed. As treatment I want to vacuum what I can, then steam the cracks then use caulk to seal all cracks, trapping any remaining bugs. I then want to place DE (diatomaceous earth) around the bed in hopes this will prevent new bugs from getting to the bed. I will then have a pair of bed clothes that i will only where on the bed the bed and other clothes I will take off before I touch my bed.
    1a)I put a mattress encasement around the mattress about a year ago so the mattress should no longer be an issue. However, I will still steam treat.

    2)Around moldings, wall cracks crevices etc, I want to caulk those up to seal. My question for this is what are the consequences of me sealing these places without first applying a bed bug killer spray? Will they just starve for a year and die or will they be able to travel? I think I will steam treat before sealing though.

    3)For my unstained&unsealed wooden bookcase, I want to remove all books, place them in plastic bags and seal openings with duct tape then caulk cracks/joints in bookcase and surround in DE and store books in closet.
    3a)For unstained&unsealed wooden dresser I will do the same except keep clothes in Space Bags I already own.

    4)I have a computer desk I don't quite know how to treat because there are hard to reach areas. possibly dust and spray with alcohol then place wheel feet in alcohol traps?

    5)How should I go about treating my vented electronics? (computer, monitor, keyboard [use DE?], laptop, and mouse, tv, etc)

    6)Also I have old parquet wood floors with cracks, some deep. How do I treat those? Will mopping with ammonia/ BB killer be sufficient or do I need to spray into the cracks?

    7) What BB killers do you highly recommend? I researched but haven't tested hot shot, cedarcide, Bed bug Bully, and a couple others but can't remember.

    8 ) what other things do you advise me do DIY fashion?

    I greatly appreciate anyone who answers this. Thank you.

  2. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 3:46:16
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    bumping

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT
  3. Koebner

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 8:24:15
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    OK, what follows assumes that at some point, you have had your unwelcome houseguests expertly identified as bed bugs. If you haven't, that should be your first step before you do anything else at all. There are a few other insects that are commonly mistaken for BBs, including a couple of their relatives & it's vital to know exactly what you're dealing with & to treat appropriately for the specific pest, or treatment won't work.

    You're in a hell of a position but your plan as outlined above hasn't got a cat in hell's chance.

    You need to declutter. You cannot make any impact on this problem without decluttering. If your parents resist, you just have to tough it out & get on with it. Clutter means untreatable harbourages. Untreatable harbourages mean living with BBs indefinitely.

    I appreciate that you can't go at it head-on for long periods, but you've been living with this problem for years now, so getting rid of the junk & kipple in stages as your back permits is still going to mean a big improvement on your present circumstances. Once the junk is gone, then you can look to effective treatment.

    Treating a single room in a house with a long-established infestation is pointless.

    Read the FAQs on this site with great care. Read them several times & then make a plan. Humans have a mean trick our brain plays on us, called "cognitive bias" so be very, very careful to read & absorb even the info you don't like; don't pick just the stuff that sounds simple for you; you need a plan that will work, not a plan that you like.

    Alcohol is a contact killer - if you see a BB & spray it directly with alcohol, then yes, you have a good chance of killing it. On the other hand, if you see a BB & hit it with something hard, you'll kill it just as dead. Think about how many BBs there are in your home, then consider how likely you are to eradicate an infestation by trying to locate & squish every single bug. That's the same as your chance of dealing with the problem by using alcohol. Spraying a surface with alcohol will have no effect at all on BBs that walk over the surface as soon as it's dry.

    You need to understand this problem properly so you can find a successful way through. Right now, despite your best endeavours, you still don't have the info you need to be successful. Knowledge is power so get reading those FAQs. The Resources page on this site may also be useful - if your folks have disabilities, it may be that there's some practical help available to them, so try to identify any sources of help & grab it with both hands.

    Good luck!

  4. BedBugly

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 10:19:58
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    I agree about decluttering, do you have any friends or family members that might come help you declutter? Maybe pay someone a small fee to help with the bigger, heavier objects or buy 'em dinner, etc?

    My place is cluttered with all kinds of nifty "artifacts" from mine, my exboyfriend, and my dead mother's life. It's definitely hard to let go of a lot of things, but there are many others that I found, forgot they were there, said outloud to a friend what it was and when/where I got it, took a picture of it, and tossed it. I'm still in the process of doing this, it is slow going with my mosoleum of memories.

    As for the DIY stuff, here's what I've come upon that works for me and that I've read worked for other people:

    Giant ziploc bags are your friend, wash/dry everything you can in high heat and ziploc them. Takes forever to sort and come up with a clothing system, but you'll get the swing of it. XL works for clothes, XXL works for blankets and super bulky items. I like them better than space bags.

    Your vacuum is your friend. Make sure you have a hepa filter, I've heard the bag kind with Hepa is good?

    91% alochol is a good contact killer, nothing more. However, I've had bugs live through the alcohol, I would spray and ziploc bag 'em to keep count, there were about 4 survivors. So when you spray, squish and toss too!

    DE works wonders, so if you're going to seal stuff up with caulk, I might try to put some DE in the crack first then caulk? Also, DE the inside of your electrical outlets.

    Bombs and foggers are your worst enemy, stay away!

    I'm still not sure if those traps and monitors work well. I have a few that PCO gave me after treatment (First Response Bio Care Monitor). Haven't trapped anything yet, but have read crappy reviews about 'em on amazon. The technology is neat though: a heat pad, co2 and BB pheramone container to attract bugs, and an adhesive bottom like a roach motel. If they do work, might be a good way to see where they are mostly harboring?

    Anyway, I'm still a newbite, no expert in the least, but hope this helps you somewhat? Goooood Luck!

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 11:10:03
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    BedBugly - 46 minutes ago  » 
    I'm still not sure if those traps and monitors work well. I have a few that PCO gave me after treatment (First Response Bio Care Monitor). Haven't trapped anything yet, but have read crappy reviews about 'em on amazon. The technology is neat though: a heat pad, co2 and BB pheramone container to attract bugs, and an adhesive bottom like a roach motel. If they do work, might be a good way to see where they are mostly harboring?

    I have not tested that particular one yet primarily because if you know what to look for on these product shots its easy to identify something that has been staged for the camera and I am yet to see them produce an image which was not faked. If you see a 1st instar nymph walking in the direction of the edge of the glue board that still has a few centimeters to go its almost certainly fake.

    Some products do work but you should always look for testing data or a recommendation from a reputable source.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  6. BedBugly

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 22:38:03
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    Thanks, David. Do you have a monitor or trap that you do recommend? I want to buy online and set 'em up around the entire house quickly (before my 30 gty is up)! Was about to buy more of those because they are affordable, but I'm not so "sure" about 'em. Thanks!

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Mon Aug 20 2012 23:54:20
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    BedBugly - 1 hour ago  » 
    Thanks, David. Do you have a monitor or trap that you do recommend? I want to buy online and set 'em up around the entire house quickly (before my 30 gty is up)! Was about to buy more of those because they are affordable, but I'm not so "sure" about 'em. Thanks!

    I'm not David but I think he won't mind me mentioning that he often recommends the Bed Bug Beacon as an active monitor (CO2 attracts bed bugs) as well as the one he designed, the BBAlert Passive, both of which many here have used.

    They're for very different purposes but would both be applicable. The Beacon attracts bed bugs with C02 and should be used for at least one cycle (which I believe is about 5 days). Given your situation, with a 30-day warranty and need to beat the clock, you may want to run it for longer.

    The BBAlert Passive waits for bed bugs to set up homes in it -- an attractive harborage. You set it up on beds (and sometimes on a sofa) and check it weekly and your signal that bed bugs persist is that they leave fecal stains on the passive -- a sign they're likely inside. (If you find fecal stains, you pop the passive in a zipper bag.)

    You can click these links to read the FAQs on those:
    Bed Bug Beacon
    BBAlert Passive

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  8. BedBugly

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 21 2012 9:10:45
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    Thanks, nobugs, I will check it out. But what if you have no more furniture like me? Lol. I will just put 'em near the walls and in closet I guess.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Aug 21 2012 15:42:41
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    BedBugly - 6 hours ago  » 
    Thanks, nobugs, I will check it out. But what if you have no more furniture like me? Lol. I will just put 'em near the walls and in closet I guess.

    You don't need furniture to run the Bed Bug Beacon (active) monitors.

    For BBAlert Passives, I would seek advice from David Cain before you purchase. I can't say whether it's a good idea without furniture, but it may not be.


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