Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed Bug Treatment

did anybody NOT isolate the bed?

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  1. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 12:35:56
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    I am considering not isolating my bed. As you may know, I am not having a problem with bites, last confirmed bite was November 3. So since they are not bothering me I am considering not going through the work and meticulous detail of isolating. I believe the purpose of isolating the bed is to get a good night's sleep. I am not having a problem with that (except for some anxiety, and wine at bedtime helps a lot.) So perhaps I don't need to isolate? But there are two things bothering me.

    A) PCO treatment was yesterday. Should I expect them to be worse and bite more? He did not use a repellent to flush them out.

    B) isolating seems to be SOP, it appears that everyone does it.

    So, did anybody out there NOT isolate the bed? What was the result?

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 12:47:06
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    Lots of folks, me and hopelessnomo included.

    As long as you do your best to ensure bed bugs will have to cross poison to get to you, you do not need to isolate the bed.

    (What I mean is, if they are hiding on the mattress or in the bed frame, they will be able to feed indefinitely. Make sure that is not happening by regularly cleaning -- including the inside of the frame. They can hide in the tiniest cracks and this means you must take apart frames to steam or otherwise clean them.)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Kit

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 14:04:42
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    Hi Itchyincharmcity,

    We did not isolate our bed post first treatment (it was isolated before treatment though we had some breaches). Happily, I didn't notice an increase in bites after the first treatment (though I could barely sleep that first night for fear of them having a free for all). But, it is probably important to note that our PCO treated our mattress. Thus, part of our shaky reasoning to not isolate was that when the bbugs got into bed, it was more poison for them to cross or camp out in (and more poison for us to breath - oh joy). We did encase our box spring after the first treatment. We have our second treatment on Monday and I will likely not reisolate the bed after that either. Hope that is useful. Maybe if you are sleeping well and have not had bites in a few weeks, then continue as is and don't isolate? But as Nobugs said, you'd want to be vigilant about cleaning bed and frame, etc.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 14:09:44
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    I think everyone should encase their mattress and box spring, though. I know David Cain disagrees, but I unless a PCO is using his methods, I think you're safer encasing.

  5. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 16:09:10
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    I definitely plan to encase, I just think I may pass on the risers. I just can't face another Target run (BTW they have some white Martha Stewart risers.) I have a metal bedframe and metal headboard attached so maybe I will just tape up any holes and put some vaseline around the legs. Let's call it Isolation Lite.

  6. cosbear

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 18:28:23
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    Howdy:

    I kinda lucked out. I had been thinking about getting a sleep number bed because I have a bad back. I was at wally world one day picking up a couple of things and they had a bed that was a cheap Chinese knock off of a sleep # bed. It was queen sized and came with a frame, the whole thing mattress, frame, pumps and mattress cover came in a box the size of a box for a wall mount air conditioner. It turned out to be one the most comfortable beds I've ever had. I cost $250 complete. The frame is four sections of plastic grid, the mattress is in two sections that are seamless. so you can set the firmness for each side. The frame sections come together to make a platform big enough for the mattress. And then lock together with pins. The legs are shiny black plastic cones which plug into holes on the underside of the frame grids. There are 24 cones all together. Six for each of the 4 frame sections. The bed is actually very sturdy and comfortable. The mattress is connected to the double electric pumps with hoses and the pumps are controlled by a wired remote with two rocker switches which pump up one side of the matress or the other. The plastic mattress goes inside of the mattress cover and a two inch sheet of space foam goes on top of that, the top of the mattress cover zips it all up tight.

    When I found out I had bedbugs and yes they were in my bed I just moved the frame out away from the wall, took off the mattress cover and laundered it with my bedding. I treated the mattress and put the cover back on it. BBs can't walk up the slippery cone legs of the bed and I found if disconnected the pump hoses and didn't allow any bedding to touch the floor my bed was isolated. Never had one in my bed since. My apartment was crawling with bugs but I never got a bite in bed after that.

    I can see the practical reasons to not isolate the bed, but personally I wouldn't have slept at all if I hadn't. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown as it was. It was the one safe place in my apartment that I could relax and I needed it so bad. Later... cos

  7. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Nov 27 2007 22:32:13
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    itchyincharmcity: Post treatment my visible BB activity soared over the first week. (I have recorded my hunts on this blog). I had isolated my air mattress on the floor near the murphy bed that was infested so as to act as bait. The activity was many varied stages and they were quite healthy and speedy that first week. While it may seem hypocritical to mind bites after several months blissfully unaware of them, I cringe at the thought of letting them make more eggs! Even one of the new born nymphs might be desensitized to the poisons and I won't help them in any way. Death to BBZ (one bug at a time)!

  8. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 11:45:15
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    I slept well last night, but 3 Stellas probably helped. The mattress and box are encased, but metal legs won't get vaseline until tonight. Maybe I will get some risers after all. I've already spent $700, what's another 20 or so? Saw no bugs in the brief time I was home and awake. I will go hunting this evening.

  9. Bugologist

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 12:01:01
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    Who's David Cain?

    Anybody who doesn't recommend encasing you have to be suspect of. Just about every professional or scientist involved with bed bugs would HIGHLY recommend encasing the bed. Other than the cost, there are next to no drawbacks involved with encasement. I would love to hear his argument against it.

  10. goawaybugs

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 13:50:10
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    Hey itchy,

    I've always planned not to isolate. Assuming they stay close to food and I'm reliably in my bed every night, I'm hoping they would stay put and not spread. (If this is naive, don't tell me.) I work from home and the thought of spending all day trying to work while fighting bed bugs is too overwhelming to contemplate. Of course, if you're not at home much or if they have already spread, then the calculus would be different.

    One other point that might be relevant--I didn't want to isolate my bed and have them go after the cat. If yours comes back to live with you, that might be a consideration.

    Anyway, good luck with the treatment. Did you ever hear back from Harvard?

  11. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 15:05:33
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    David explained his thoughts on encasing in this thread: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/1354?replies=33

  12. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 15:53:02
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    The bugs are definitely outside the bedroom, in fact I think they are mostly in the dining room and near my computer desk. But as far as I can tell I have not been bitten in weeks so I just don't feel the urgency to isolate.

    I also really don't want them after the cat, and banning her from the bed is not an option anyway. Last time I locked her out of the bedroom she tried to dig a hole under the door and made a nice hole in the carpet that now looks just perfect for BBs. For a number of reasons I have decided that she will not come home until January 7 at the earliest.

    Tonight is new pillows, finsh taping/gooping the legs, and buy new batteries so flashlight is actually effective.

  13. nightshirt

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 15:59:53
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    i never isolated my bed. i have a platform bed and i just pulled it away from the wall.

    about 10-12 days after a treatment, if they were going to come back that was when i noticed bites again.

    i guess you cut corners where you feel ok about it or you cant actually do it.

  14. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 16:13:23
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    I agree. Living the protocols 100% is really difficult. I applaud everyone who is able to do so, but many of us just can't do it. You decide what works for you and do your best.

  15. cosbear

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 16:15:30
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    Howdy: I feel very lucky that my bed is self isolating by design. All I have to do is keep it away from the wall and not let anything hang down to the floor. It still makes me nervous though. I have had bbs living on the matress cover in the past. I could contain it because the tubes for the pump aren't hooked up to the air mattress now so that bugs couldn't use them to get in but I'm not getting any bites. I do change my sheets every week though and vacuum and spray the mattress cover with alcohol. Maybe I'm being paranoid considering I'm not getting any bites but I sleep better for it. My roommate has a new king size bed and he has contained both the box springs and the mattress. He did it the day they were delivered. They should not have any bugs in them of course but he said he didn't want to take the chance of having to burn another new bed. He bought the high dollar cloth ones and never intends to remove them. While I still had a few straggler bugs sometimes I would find them on the wall at the head of my bed when I woke up. So though they couldn't get in and bite me they had to go through poison to get there, and of course I caught them and killed them. I have DE with Pyrethrins dusted lightly on the carpet under and around my bed and on and in the baseboards. Later... Cos

  16. Bites44

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Nov 28 2007 21:32:31
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    I bought a new bed frame and isolated the bed, mattress covers, bowls of oil and all that. I need to have a place that is bug free so that I can rest, sleep, read, etc. and not worry too much.

    Also, so that the bugs would not go into other parts of the house, I placed vaseline all around the door frame on the inside of the room, and laid double sided carpet tape across the threshhold. I no longer let the cats come into the bedroom. I do think there are some bugs in the living room and near my computer, but I steam the insides of the sofa and recliner once a week, etc.

  17. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Nov 29 2007 3:21:02
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    Like Bites, many people find isolating useful. The first protecting the bed FAQ was originally written by Dee, who did isolate. I tried to edit in the stuff that was relevant to those not isolating as well. It could use an overhaul, but it should state that isolating is not for everyone.

    I think I want to stress that a wooden bed (platform or captain's bed, or bunk beds, the lot) can offer more harborages than a metal one (though metal ones can too). It can be harder to keep a wooden bed "clean". Whatever bed frame you are in must be cleared of any harboring bed bugs at the start of treatment, and kept that way.

    I would not trust wood. I think some folks battle for a very long time because they're sleeping in a bed with bed bugs in it that will never cross poison. (This can happen with out isolation or with improper isolation.)

    Care and a good, sound plan is more important than trying to do everything everyone found to work. You can't do it all. Do enough to kill bed bugs, and to be able to sleep.

  18. Bugologist

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Nov 29 2007 8:41:21
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    David Cain doesn't understand the reasons to encase.

    1. Locks bugs in. Box springs are very complex environments and bugs can be difficult to get out of them. By encasing, anything you miss is locked in and if the encasement doesn't become compromised, they cannot get out (I understand tearing encasements is a concern but if you take some precautions like padding the bed frame, you can prevent it).

    2. Keeps bugs out. Protects new bedding or furthur infestation of old bedding.

    3. Eases future inspections. I understand his point about mattresses not harboring bugs but.... Do you know how hard it is to see a small bed bug or egg on a mattress ribbing? You encase the mattress and you don't have to worry about it and you don't have to steam or vacuum every service. If bugs are sitting on the encasement they stick out like a sore thumb because spotting is usually associated with it (assuming there's no seams or edges, Protect-A-Bed's encasements are best in my opinion). Easing future inspections saves time for everyone involved.

    And on top of all of this, you have the allergy and dust mite benefits. And he's not wrong about encasements being glorified saran-wrap but has he ever tried to sell the concept with a crinkly piece of garbage vinyl encasement? People dont' want to sleep on them because they make noise and if you think "glorified" encasments tear, try a vinyl encasement. Most vinyl ones I see are torn after 24 hours.

  19. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Dec 1 2007 5:19:51
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    Bugologist,

    I think the fabric mattress encasements are much better than vinyl (I tried 3 vinyl ones before springing for a fabric one). The vinyl rips and it also fills with air when you roll over, which has got to strain it.

    I only wish there was an encasement that a cat could not stick its claw through.

  20. goingaway

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Dec 1 2007 23:00:57
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    I kinda gave up on isolating my bed due to my cat tearing the mattress cover, and my having been sick for awhile when this was an issue. I've been lucky lately in that I haven't noticed any bites from my vinyl sheathed bed*, despite the holes, I wonder if it is from the treatment, the metal frame away from the wall, or maybe they don't care for the memory foam topper- no clue.
    On the other hand, my couch is horrible. Worse, it's a dark chocolate brown, so they have no fear crawling on it. I noticed I was getting bitten from it and revaccumed and steri-fabbed, but they came right back to the point where sitting on it only briefly generated 10 bites on my arm (closest to the seam), each of two nights in a row. I won't sit on it any more and it's going out (destroyed and spraypainted) as soon as I can get help taking it down the stairs. It's really heavy unfortunately, since it's quite an expensive couch I'd gotten as a gift. But I digress...
    Point is, I don't seem to currently be getting bitten in bed, despite quite a visible infestation elsewhere, so it's anybody's guess what is most crucial for you to focus on.

  21. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Dec 1 2007 23:42:24
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    Bugologist

    Your observations about the merits of encasement are well taken.

    I can see a rationale for encasing the box springs, because bed bugs do like to establish a harborage inside of the box springs.

    Still, I think David has a valid point about the mattress itself. Bed bugs do not normally live on the inside of a mattress with an intact cover.

    David describes his treatment philosophy as having a preference for killing bed bugs (in situ) in place & explained his concerns about trapping vs. killing bed bugs.

    Some of the experts that advocate for the use of mattress covers for bed bug control also profit from the sale of the "bug proof" covers.

    I would love to see a university based study that directly compares covered mattresses with intact mattresses that are uncovered to prove the efficacy of the approach.

  22. Bugologist

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 0:43:24
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    I don't disagree with the point about the university study.

    I just think professionals rely on what they can see to much. I can show you 100's of pictures I've taken where I thought I vacuumed everything or steamed everything and there are eggs tucked into grooves in wood or seams in something ridiculous that there wasn't any way I was noticing. And then you look at the mattress, in an area of high risk for these bugs, with bugs walking on it every night, and you're telling me you know what's there? Under every fold of every seam? In every stitch? I understand the argument that there could be an egg on any place of the encasement. But there's a whole lot less folds, seams, edges, etc... to look under.

  23. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 0:51:00
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    Actually, in Dr. Potter's 2005 Cincinnati field trial of 13 apartment infestations, it's interesting to see him note that the results were encouraging despite the fact that mattress encasements, much less vacuuming or steam, were not used. (I actually find the study thoroughly depressing, but no matter.)

    So, there's no question that treatments can succeed without encasements. However, when treatments proceed without encasements, I think that people are essentially being asked to sleep on thoroughly treated mattresses, literally sleeping on pesticides instead of just in the middle of them. Whatever, if it works...

    Still, Doug, I find the claim that bedbugs don't harbor deep inside a mattress unsupported by a casual internet search. I know you added the "intact cover" caveat, but even without tears, I see references to bugs, nymphs, fitting through the fabric to find harborage deeper inside the mattress. I found both an entomology fact sheet type of reference and a "tech tips" section of a pest control site.

    (I'm also reminded of a news story blogged here where the stumped PCO found bedbugs harboring deep inside an upholstered headboard. After sawing it in half. Might not the same thing happen with a mattress, even without tears? But who saws mattresses in half to take a look?)

    I guess, if the bed is being doused with pesticides, then even those bugs will have to come in contact with them when they emerge for feeding.

    Although I would never personally do without a mattress encasement during treatment, in a way I'm glad that this or that is not a requirement to get rid of bedbugs. Every time I see references to expensive encasements, expensive ziploc bags, expensive anything, I think of all the people with bedbugs who can afford no such tools and I want to believe that anyone can beat bedbugs.

  24. nomorebugs

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 1:42:07
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    I think good fitting encasements are useful since they are white and you can easily spot dark bugs and I think prevent bed bugs from harboring on the seams. I found bed bugs and fecal spots at the seams. Checking the seams is a big pain. The big downside, they are relatively expensive. Not that anything involved with bed bugs is cheap.

    But I found the packages of XL ziplocks at target to have a $1 off coupon on them. That saved me $6. Sorry, it's as happy smiley as I'm going to get.

  25. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 9:21:36
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    Nomo

    I'm not aware of any research that supports the assertion that “bed bugs do not live inside of a mattress” either. This is just an opinion that I have heard from a number of PCOs. Thanks for the link to Dr. Potter's article.

    Personally, I have mixed feelings about the use of mattress covers, but I fully agree that a nymph can hide effectively in a very small crevice or space.

    Bugologist presents a compelling rationale for the advantages of utilizing encasements including the added benefit of providing dust mite control.

    David's view (as I understand it) is that we need to educate the public that bed bugs are quite different from dust mites and that he often encounters divan style beds in Europe (couch-like w/ attached legs) that cannot be successfully encased. He states a preference for killing rather than trapping bed bugs.

    We should keep in mind that he has access to pest control agents that are not available on the US market. If he can show us how to eradicate bed bugs successfully …I plan on listening very closely to every word.

    I find David Cain's observations fascinating. BedBug.Co.Uk's proprietary approach to bed bug control has demonstrated an extremely high success rate without the use of encasements. The statement that he rarely needs to direct a client to discard any beds or furnishings has caught my attention. I think we can learn from David's experience.

    Our current practice of discarding furniture and contents may stimulate the economy, but it is costing bed bug victims millions of dollars in out of pocket expenses.

    David is properly critical of the "snake oil" peddlers that plague this industry.

    The promise is ..."Just encase your bed with our bug proof cover & use our natural magic potion to make all of your bed bug problems disappear overnight". The reality is...Now you need to hire a competent PCO to complete the job that was botched by the D-I-Y “snake oil” approach.

    There are many roads to enlightenment.

    We are being forced to relearn lessons that have been forgotten for half a century. Many of our beliefs about bed bugs are not supported by reliable research at this point.

    I appreciate that saying mattress covers are unnecessary is a form of heresy, but I think a healthy dose of skepticism makes for good science. Ultimately, I think that the mattress industry will be driven by market forces to produce a mattress that does not provide attractive harborage areas for bed bugs.

  26. pleasehelp

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 11:50:22
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    Excellent post, Doug - thanks much for explaining.

  27. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 16:45:22
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    Most PCOs in the area where I live hold philosophies that are diametrically opposed to David's. To begin with, they don't inspect. That sounds like a sick joke except it isn't.

    As noted, the pesticides available in the US, including those labeled for mattresses, are different. So, with different pesticides and an almost institutionalized reluctance to inspect and various other problems with the quality and standards of bedbug control protocols here, it would be irresponsible for us not to recommend encasements.

    Further, no one here promises that just encasing your mattress will do the trick. And, to be fair, neither do the experts, even those who have business interests in bedbug products. That's a bit of a straw man. But I get it. I am as appalled as anyone at the snake oil practices in the industry, and further than that, at the sale of information that is otherwise available for free on the internet. And, for the record, I prefer the cheap vinyl encasements.

    In the end, I am happy that encasing the mattress is not a deal-breaker to eradicate bedbugs and have said so to people who have unusual beds.

    And you, more than most, Doug, should know that we appreciate research and knowledge and critical thinking here.

  28. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 2 2007 17:03:55
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    Also, off topic, did you see the mention in Potter's article about the coffeemaker with bedbugs!!!???

    Yikes.

  29. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 0:07:37
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    Also note Potter's article above said that the results were "reduced to non-detectable levels" (ie not necessarily eliminated). It often sounds like this is what PCOs working in multi-unit housing are going for (and Potter does note that some tenants were uncooperative, thought to be reintroducing bed bugs, etc.) There are reasons multi-unit dwellings are so challenging. That said, it is disturbing to think that's the best many of us are going to get: "control" rather than "elimination."

  30. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 8:52:04
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    Nomo

    I didn't mean to imply that scientific knowledge & critical thinking are not valued here.

    I have found the forum to be populated by an intelligent & caring group of people that are highly interested in research & experimentation. The use of the term heresy was just a reflection of my warped sense of humor.

  31. (deleted)

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 11:12:32
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    Thanks, Doug.

    I'm not sure why people are advised to throw out so many things. I think couches are at the top of that list because they are so difficult to treat.

    When we have thermal treatment trucks making the rounds of our neighborhoods perhaps...

  32. cosbear

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 12:17:09
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    Howdy all:

    This has been a great discussion on this thread. Each contributing interesting comments and info. It's one of the great things I love about this forum.

    Nobugsonme said,"That said, it is disturbing to think that's the best many of us are going to get: "control" rather than "elimination."

    This is one my greatest worries. I was a landlord throughout much of the late '70s and early "80s. When I first decided to buy up several large old houses which had been turned into multi units in the ghetto, they were all infested by roaches and had been for decades. All were also treated regularly by large corp. extermination companies once again for long periods of time. The buildings had many other problems caused by neglect over the years. The incredible slump in the income property market at the time and the fact that I was making very good money at the time convinced me it was a good investment overall. I bought all those properties on old land contracts with little or nothing down at tiny interest rates but with baloon payments at the end of ten years. Me and my partner intended to completely refurbish each building and rid them of pests. In our research we found that in Southwest Michigan the chemicals approved by the state for multi unit buildings and being used by PCO's were quite ineffective at anything but containment of the insecticide resistant German cockroaches all those buildings were infested with. In our area at the time the only companies which were treating for roaches were major nationwide or at least regional corporations. When doing the original feasibility study on the investment and crunching the numbers we found that the monthly costs of the exterminators would mean the profits would not make it possible for us to make that plan work.

    In our research we found out about Orto Boric Acid. Specifically Roach Proof which was Boric Acid powder which had a negative charge which made it stick to the exoskeletons of the bugs and then they carried it back to their nests. I was very cheap compared to monthly treatments ongoing from PCO's that only contained the bugs at best. Because we planned on emptying the buildings of tenants before treatment and refurbishment. We decided this could be the answer to our problem. We powdered liberally the entire interior or the buildings, including inside many walls. We of course had no risk to tenants or pets to worry about. Within a couple of months all the bugs were gone completely and never returned. We always intended to either refinance the buildings at the end of ten years or sell them if the market rebounded which it did. Our results were happy bug free tenants and very healthy profits for us.

    As we repopulated the buildings we were very careful to question applicants about bugs. Since most were low income and coming from buildings with similar problems ours had, we were very careful about how we selected good tenants. The local churches were a huge help. We informed applicants that they should be completely forthcoming about the bug problems they may have as we could help to inform them and help them to move in without bringing in bugs. We must have done a pretty good job because when we sold all the buildings years later, they were all still roach free.

    I see a similar problem that we could be facing with bedbugs for landlords in this country large and small. Years of paying large extermination companies and big pesticide to contain the bedbug problem. We are talking at least millions if not billions of dollars here. Also about millions living with bedbugs endlessly just like they do in many countries around the world for one reason or another. Right now most of us have at least a good chance of completely getting rid of our bbs. Could we all; especially, those of us who live in multi unit buildings win our fight now, just to be forced in 5 or 10 years time to live with them forever and be regularly treated, but never free of them. This is my worry. I am a tenant in a multi unit now for the convenience of it. I do own a small place in mountains of CO I intend to retire to in a few years which will be bug free. Others do not have this way out. I am just fortunate enough to have the money and resources. Others will live out the rest of their lives in multi units, will they share their space with contained bbs? Later... cos

  33. pleasehelp

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 12:45:52
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    Cos, I just love your posts! I've used boric acid against roaches in the past and it also seems to be effective against ants... does anybody know if it's helpful for bbs? It seems to be similar in action to DE - what are the differences? Also, my brother (who has not had a bb infestation) says that bbs are part of the background of the environment like any other bug and that you just have to keep the population under control in your home, as opposed to expecting 100% extermination, but I just don't buy that. I think if you have a viable pair, controlling them require extreme & time consuming measures. Any comments on his viewpoint out there?

  34. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 3 2007 18:15:44
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    Bed bugs do not consume boric acid internally, their mouth parts are set up for sucking blood. It may have some effect as a physical abrasive agent, but DE is more effective at piercing the exoskeleton.

  35. cosbear

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Dec 4 2007 1:07:40
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    Hi pleasehelp: I think that Doug is right about that. I've read different things about boric acid as regards bbs but I think there are better things for bbs and DE is probably one of them. Of course the boric acid and roach story was somewhat off topic and not the real message just an illustration of what I am afraid we are facing with bedbugs. Being forced to live with them in spite of regular treatments or just having to live with them because of them being resistant to treatments. The real message is we need to start speaking out and getting our representatives in government to realize the dangers and start protecting us. Denial will not make the problem go away just let it get worse.

    I'm sorry but your brothers attitude is not helping us fight the problem in a systematic way that will overt a much more serious problem. It's easy for him to say now. I doubt he could be so cavalier about it if he was infested however. He may not have long to find that out however and I would not wish that firsthand knowledge on anyone. Later... cos

  36. nomorebugs

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Tue Dec 4 2007 1:30:20
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    The fact that bed bugs do not eat per se but suck blood is what makes them so hard to get rid of. You cannot bait them like cockroaches, ants, or other bugs. The bait is you. Boby heat and CO2.

  37. bekalekah

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 9 2007 2:37:28
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    We had our first treatment about a month ago, and did not isolate. I saw what I suspected were bites earlier this week, and my roommate caught a live bedbug last night. It was not an adult, so it was probably from an egg that survived the extermination.

    I hopped on earlier to read the FAQ about how to isolate since we're heading into round 2, and went out to Target to buy the necessary supplies. Now reading this post it seems pointless -- I have a cat, and there is no way he's getting banned from the bed. He comforts me when I cry myself to sleep at night. (that's a joke... sort of...)

    So, can anybody confirm, is it pointless for me to try to isolate my bed if I'm planning on allowing my cat onto it? Will applying DE to his coat help? From what I understand this takes time to kill the bugs, but in heavier quantities acts as a repellent. But I don't know how often to apply or if too much becomes unsafe? And does anybody know where to get DE in NYC?

    I have an array of further questions, but here's a couple if anybody has info.....

    I do have (crappy) cheap vinyl covers on the mattress & box spring. That's actually another question I have -- If I want to put better quality covers with fabric on the outside on, can I put them on over the existing ones? Or should I remove them and have the mattress retreated at the next appointment, then re-cover?

    Does anybody have any info on bagless vacuum cleaners? Of course I dispose of it's contents properly, but any chance that eggs will survive the suction (my PCO said suction should kill them) & hatch inside if they are stuck to the filter? It's a lifetime hepa filter, but I ordered 2 extra from the manufacturer so that I could dispose of the first after the initial infestation and the second when this is behind me.

    And finally: my couch. My brand new couch/loveseat/armchair set. Which my roommate began sleeping on when she discovered the source of the bugs was her bed. I tried to tell her not to relocate, she just wasn't hearing it. Anyay, I like to fool myself into thinking the cover on the bottom does something, but should I remove it to inspect? My PCO did not even look under the couch, although he did take off the cushions & spray.

    Unfortunately, I probably know more about bed bugs than my PCO which is not a strong vote of confidence for us resolving this. But they are provided by property management and I certainly can't afford to hire my own. So I'm trying to take better precautions this time around.

  38. bekalekah

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 9 2007 12:51:49
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    Oops, just read that DE should not be applied directly to an animal's coat. (Information overload here!) Any other options for keeping my cat BB free while allowing him onto my isolated bed?

  39. bugobsessed

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Dec 9 2007 13:27:11
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    Hi Bekalekah,

    Actually, if you use food grade DE-- not poolgrade-- you can apply it to a cat's coat. It can be used like a flea powder. It's not harmful if swallowed (excess quantities should be avoided of course); in fact, it is an ingredient often used in deworming meds. I have been using it on my cats while dealing with the BB's. I like to think of the cats as helping to fight the good fight! My theory is, if anything crawls on them to bite, it crawls through DE and eventually will die.

    Here's a link that explains all about how DE can be used for pet care:
    http://www.carefreepet.com/natural_flea_control.html

    I would like to offer a few tips on the stuff from my experience, too.
    First, wear a mask and gloves. It's not good to breathe it, and it does get airborne easily. It's drying on the skin, so gloves are good to protect your hands.

    Second, it is also drying on kitty's skin, so don't use it too often. I've been sticking to once a week at most.

    Third, it does make kitty itch, especially near the ears where fur is sparse. I went nuts at first thinking they were being bitten because they would scratch, but then I would look, and there were no visible bites. I noticed as the DE wore off, they scratched less.

    Fourth, DE will also make YOU itch, so think carefully before allowing kitty into your bed covered in DE. Mine are banished from the bedroom at all times. It was difficult at first, but they adjusted.

    In regard to isolating the bed, if kitty is allowed in, it is not truly isolated. A bed bug could inadvertently hitchhike on kitty's fur. The wee little ones especially are hard to see and easily transported.

    Good luck!

  40. bekalekah

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 10 2007 0:59:46
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    Bugobsessed, thanks for the info. I think I'm just going to opt out of isolating. There's no way I can (nor do I honestly, want to) keep my cat out of my room. I'm living out of bags, I have white sheets on my bed for the first time in my life, and home is just not home anymore. I think I'm going to hang onto that one thread of sanity by not upsetting our bond.

    As for the DE, I'm going to forgo that as well. I'm kind of a health freak about my cat, so if it will cause him any respiratory distress then it's not worth it. (Obviously the chemicals will to, but he goes on mini vacations to visit friends in the building when the exterminator comes, and I bathe him first, cover all bases, etc.) Also, I hear treating with it can wreak havoc on a vacuum, so I'd rather stay away from it for now.

  41. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 10 2007 1:08:17
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    nomorebugs: I wonder if you can't bait them. I have been pondering the veritable canary in a coal mine bait trap involving mice. Would the animal rights folks get upset with me?

  42. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 10 2007 1:23:48
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    bekelah,

    sorry -- the bed FAQS need some updating. writing FAQs is often like painting a ship, by the time you finish, you have to start over again.

    you should still encase the bed, if you do not isolate (in my opinion). but i agree it is pointless to isolate if you have a cat that will get in your bed.

  43. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Dec 10 2007 16:24:07
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    Yes, the cat could transport bugs to the bed. The two pieces of good news are that BBs are not really built for crawling through fur, and they much prefer human blood to feline. So while kitty may bring the odd hitchhiker into bed, she probably won't have a ton of them living on her. And while she is in bed with you she is possibly less likely to be bitten than if she is on your couch acting like bait for any bugs out there in the living room.

    I am not trying to downplay the chance that your cat could bring BBs into the bed, it is a very real possibility. But I can validate your feelings on this matter, I could never ban my cat from my bed either. I would much prefer bugs biting me than her. My solution was to remove her completely from my home. I miss her but I thought it was the best decision for me, I sent her to live with my mom for a couple of months until this is all over. In my case it appears to actually be over.

  44. thebedbugresource

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Wed Jul 16 2008 22:00:23
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    My thoughts on mattress encasements:

    PROS

    1) Many products on the market are not meant to be used on the sleeping surfaces of a mattress. Some are labeled for this application; but anything residual is not good as it has potential to contact your skin. Steam can blow bed bugs and their eggs off of a surface without first killing them. Alcohol based treatments have shown fairly poor efficacy with eggs. So how does one effectively treat the sleeping surface?

    2) Encasing the mattress with a bed bug proof cover ensures that anything on the mattress will die (if left for 18 months).

    3) Encasements (if they are waterproof/resistant - Mattress Safe) protect from staining caused by fecal matter.

    4) Encasements as an added bonus also prevent dust mites (one of the leading asthma causes in a home).

    CONS

    a) The encasement can now have bed bugs on it (outside). See number 1 above. Yes it can be washed (but you don't want to take it off for at least 18 months).

    b) They may offer up a false sense of security; that nothing else is needed.

    c) All encasements are not equal. Many out there are absolute garbage and are being marketed as bed bug proof without any testing to back that up. Rick Cooper has just completed his test and I would agree that Mattress Safe and Protect-A-Bed are the two best on the market.

    BOX SPRING COVERS

    In my opinion these are FAR more important and valuable that mattress encasements. Box springs are next to impossible to treat successfully as there are just too many nooks and crannies. Encasing it solves this issue.

  45. belle72

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    Posted 11 years ago
    Thu Jul 31 2008 19:38:59
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    I've done some hunting to find this thread. We have not isolated our bed either but did protect it, but now, 29 days after last treatment I got 1 bite and Dh may have too. We took the bed apart for inspection last night, we saw nothing.

    Previously we had steaming, PCO treatments (twice) and AllerZips on mattress/boxsprings. Allerzips are intact and secure. I just ordered the pillow covers...messed up by not doing that originally. We tossed our metal headboard (too many holes to deal with,out of date), tossed the comforter and matching pieces and pulled the bed away from the wall. We did not replace the bed frame but thought the steam rendered it safe. We may have been wrong. But it's nearly impossible to inspect it thoroughly, we tried but cannot see inside the metal very well.

    I too am interested to know the info on cats (ours is declawed and cannot tear the Allerzips) but he is an old cat and we won't put DE on him. In fact we have not used DE at all, preferring to let the PCO treat as he saw fit. We prefer not to isolate the bed, thinking if we do the Bbs will migrate to another bedroom (we have children visit overnight every few weeks) and since we have had no evidence of them there, we don't want them on the move. If we buy a new bedframe, how do we use the DE or other substance to protect it?

    So, we cannot find a bug but I'm sure they are there somewhere. Any suggestions to further protect the bed are greatly appreciated. As always, thanks to all.
    Belle

    I should add that removing the cat from the home is not an option. He's with us, come hell or high water, and we've seen both.


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