Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Tools/ideas for fighting bed bugs

my bb plan, maybe it will help you.

(9 posts)
  1. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 1:20:24
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    *warning--SUPER LONG POST* hello everyone! after searching through the countless websites and putting together information gathered from various sources *and here*, i came up with a plan that takes some time, but overall very little money and chemicals, to kill off bedbug infestations of various sizes. please feel free to add or correct *positively please* anything i've written here. my story is included.

    in christmas of 2009 my children and i stayed at their grandmothers house. we have never had a problem there before and didn't think anything of it. because sleeping quarters were tight, she pulled out an old sleeper couch of hers and we lay the children in it. it was a couch she used regularly so no one thought anything of it.

    the next day, my children woke up with bites everywhere. i had never seen a bedbug or it's bite so i didn't think it could possibly be, especially since this was the first time something like this had ever happened at her house.

    we wound up staying about a week, and eventually the bites prompted us to bring the children into a bedroom and squeeze sleep. HUGE mistake! within a few days, the bedroom we were in started producing these mysterious bites all over ALL of us!!! this went on for WEEKS, even after we had gone back home. the bites never went away, and within a month or so we were wary about grandma's house because some invisible bugs were tearing us up! and it all started from this lone couch.

    to make a long story short, grandma did nothing about the issue and eventually everywhere in her house gave us bites. all bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen...everywhere. one day we were there and my hubby snatched something off of his shirt. we all inspected it. a BEDBUG. the biggest, darkest bedbug *and the only bedbug* i'd ever seen! i was MORTIFIED! now...this was about 6 months later when we *finally* saw a bedbug. grandma was in denial however and refused to believe her house was infested because she "wasn't a dirty person". eventually her attitude caused us to stay away...but it was too late. the bug bites started popping up at OUR home, and eventually we found a bedbug in the master bathroom on the floor. we had spread the bugs from grandma's house to our house.

    we were clueless as of how to treat them, and with months passing, they were just getting to be more and more. we are on such a tight budget, we have no budget lol, but i had to do something. we were suffering from insomnia and my children *who are very fair skinned* had huge bruises and bumps from the bites...which couldn't be tolerated. we all have horrid reactions from the bites in which they swell, blister and pus..and remain for WEEKS after the initial bite. on my oldest daughter, the pussing is especially bad. on me, the bites remain swollen for days, and on my younger daughters, they leave nasty bruising and darkening of the skin *an issue in darker complexioned people after the skin suffers a trauma* after much time and effort, here is what i have done and can now safely say that my home is bedbug free after we haven't been bitten a single time in over 2 months (although i did find a bug and he seemed to be on his death bed, not even moving, so i just did a dr. k on him):

    learn all you can about bedbugs. their preferences and feeding times, how they attract themselves to you and what eggs and babies look like. i am nearly a bedbug pro, ive spent so many hours reading about them. this site is GREAT for info and i'm so happy to be here. this is crucial in identifying them in your home and getting them out of it!

    purchase VINYL bedding protectors for every bed in the house and box springs. we find that bedbugs cannot bite through vinyl. just to be extra safe, since vinyl can rip, we covered each piece of bedding twice. in my daughters bed we noticed black fecal spots on the outside of her bedding. in those cases, when skin casings and spots can be found...we trash the bed. i'd rather sleep on a clean floor than a bed bug infested bed. the covers cost us 4.00 each. we have trashed two beds/boxsprings...it was worth it. there just seemed to be TOO many fecal spots for our taste. doing this IMMEDIATELY knocked down the number of bites we received by whoa, i'd say at least 75%. for us, the bugs were in the boxsprings and would make their way up. i thought that since i didn't see any when i pulled back the sheets on the mattress itself, they didn't exist. boy was i wrong. they did...but i was looking in the wrong places *hence me saying research, research, research!!!*

    HEAT UP everything cloth in EVERY ROOM, on the same day. now this is probably the most difficult part, as it really means heating all cloth materials that you can at the same time. you'll need an entire day or two to do this, but it is WORTH it. take ALL bedding, clothing from drawers, comforters, curtains...bag it in BLACK HEFTY trash bags, and sit the bags out in DIRECT sunlight...OR a CAR TRUNK, for at LEAST 5 hours. it can get up to 120 degrees in the trunk of a car, bedbugs die after a few minutes in temps of 107 degrees, eggs and all. the black bags absorb heat and kick it up a notch as well. this is a good tip for SUMMER weather, so TAKE advantage of the heat like we did! it's FREE! just put the bags out before noon, and pick them up when the sun goes down. you'll have to buy at least 40 bags or so because you'd be surprised at how much stuff you own. bag up EVERYTHING you can think of that the bugs would be in. some people also bag books and shoes...if it floats ya boat, do it. this would sort of be like a bootlegged packtite baggie. we even borrowed a van just for the job! it looked like we were moving and it took us 2 days total to soak up all the sun, but it works. since all of the bugs will be guaranteed dead, you can still use the bags. just for fun, when you empty them, turn them inside out to see how many bugs you have killed. this is a good indicator of how many bugs you have *the level of infestation*. in one bag about 6 bugs fell out. and this was from CLEAN bedding that we hadnt known held bugs. and if you don't believe how hot the items can get, take out a bag after 5 hours and feel its contents on the inside. mhmm...hot huh???

    wash everything you just heated. give it a good clean wash...and a dry on a HIGH dryer heat setting for 45 minutes. shoes and books can't be washed of course...leave them in the bag for an extra day in the heat for good measure. this is the most costly part...it cost us about 50.00 to do this in a laundromat. but again, we washed EVERYTHING we owned that wasn't tied down. this step is crucial and does a great job of eliminating immediate biters and baby bed bugs. remember to do this asap after you take the bags out of the heat. try to let no time lapse in between, and dont bring the backs bag into the house...you risk having new bugs crawl on them, and you spread them that way.

    while you are doing this...clean your carpets with a vaccum cleaner and then steam clean them. do it well...push furniture out of the way *this should be easy since the beds will be bare*. if you want *we didn't do it but im sure it helps* you can steam clean the beds, allow them to dry and THEN wrap them. i didn't feel the need to do this because whatever is in them will be stuck in them once you cover them. clean your sofas while you're at it. clean every chair you can think of. for hard surfaces, spray with a good bedbug product *we used sprayaway because it was given to us by grandma, who by this point acknowledged her little "problem" when she caught a bug biting her ear*. take whatever hard furnityre you can outside and let it air for a day or two *make sure no rainy weather is in the forecast*. i did a little experiment with this...one of the beds we took out to trash, i noted the number of bedbugs visible. it was at least 20 on the underside of the bed, in the seams. there were fecal spots and the matching boxspring had a small but very alive nest in one corner. the next evening, about 24 hours later...i checked ont he bed in the trash. i didn't see a single bug anywhere on the mattress, and the nest was basically gone. a few nymphs remained, but they were scattering too. so obviously they don't like the exposure of outside. this is why i recommend hard furniture staying outside for a day after a good spraying.

    these steps helped us tremendously get sleep and not feel invaded in our home. plus everything got a good spring cleaning and the house became organized. it helps.

    to keep the bugs away...whenever you come in from public areas, strip! try not to walk too far into the house, you can drop the bugs on your way to take off clothing. we use the back door when coming in from a public place now and we allow the children to strip first while we wait outside. they take off EVERYTHING, pack it in a black hefty and run upstairs straight to the tub. then we come in behind them and do the same. EVERYTHING comes off. into the black hefty bag. yes we are the naked family, but heck, being naked is how we started our family. LOL. we tie the bag well and leave it in the area we stripped in. if at all possible, make sure the area is carpetless that you strip in. this way you can see bugs crawling and get em, and a good sweeping works wonders too in that area to catch running bugs. we wash properly, dress in clean clothing, and come back to the bag. in the summer, the bag goes into the trunk. in the winter, we plan on washing the entire bag of items IMMEDIATELY and discarding the hefty bag *or turning it inside out and letting it sit outside for a day or so in a safe area* and then drying them IMMEDIATELY thereafter. this helps keep extra bugs out.

    with our plan, we still got a bite every now and then for some time. because i am especially trained *lmao* after being bit so much as to what a bite feels like and looks like, i actually wake up IMMEDIATELY after being bitten, so fast that now i can catch a bug in the bed running away. one particularly smart bug was hiding in the pillow , underneath the case. he was running like the dickens to hide. i almost didn't want to kill him, he put in such an effort. so i made his death quick and painless--i just flushed him. he died a good death. but for these single every now and then biters...i IMMEDIATELY snatch off ALL the bedding, and yup...bag it to be heated and or washed the next day. this can be harrowing but trust me, everyone is used to mommy jumping up in the middle of the night and waking them to strip their beds and bag the bedding. if the bag is tied properly and put outside, the bug should never be a problem for you again. this is the most grueling part of the process, it IS a sleep disruption...but so are bed bugs period...

    this plan IS a daily every day plan. some days we were washing 3-7 loads of clothing per day...and every day at least one load of clothing whenever we got a bite. if one of the babies woke up with a bite...the entire process for that room was redone. curtains washed, bedding washed, vinyl coverings checked, floors vaccumed, sprays sprayed WHEN NEEDED only and allowed to dry.

    now...it has been nearly a year, and we had a guest come over. lo and behold...i believe he dropped off a bedbug. and even if not...i spotted him right as he spotted me and bit me. i killed him and you guessed it...the entire area got treated. we've been good since. i went to a local park and came home, like a moron and jumped right into the bed! fell right asleep. woke up in this same bed that had been bite free for at LEAST a month, with a nymph biting my arm. i KNOW the bug came in with me from a park...since that area has ALOT of tourism and traffic. i stripped everything, washed it all...and haven't had an issue since.

    this is the best thing i could have done for my family. i gave grandma the idea...and this lady went from having a boxspring COVERED in bedbugs *i mean, easily over 50 bugs were running for dear life* to being able to actually sleep without a bite in the last 2 weeks. we have even started to revisit her AND fall asleep again in her house. when we come home we just do the strip and wash routine. so far, so good. we also watch people who come into our homes and inspect the known hideout areas for bugs after they leave. to be honest, we have limited guest activity period...just because the infestations in our area have been marked and bad lately.

    again, this plan costs more time than money, and in order for it to work you MUST be diligent, concious and consistent. ALL rooms must initially be cleaned at the same time...why clean the living room and ignore the bedroom just to spread the bugs back into the living room? it WILL NOT WORK. they spread rapidly and are quick bugs when healthy...you will never prevent them from going back and ruining the area you've cleaned. you must also wash, wash wash and dry dry dry and use heat whenever possible. summer heat is free and natural, dryer heat is paid for but worth the cost. be creative...i have found lone bugs crawling on the underneath of stools, in the creases of curtains, and in pillow cases. don't just look on the bed for them, look in the carpets, look IN boxsprings, in between sofa cushions, i even found one in the rip of a throw pillow, living the cush life in the poly fiber filling. the whole pillow went into the trash. oh, and don't be afraid to trash things. they can be replaced, many times, your sanity cannot. we have trashed mainly beds, but anywhere that shows signs of heavy infestation go to the trash. my idea of heavy is fecal spotting in more than one area and bedbug skins/dead bugs in the area. sorry, but out it goes. my children having scar/bite free skin is well worth the cost of that sofa.

    sorry for the long post, but i was trying to get everything i do to keep those nasty things away in it, so maybe someone else can get some help.

  2. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 1:24:53
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    oh...and as for toys! get rid of them! bedbugs will hide in there too. if you can't get rid of them...then bag them up, and wash them well. do NOT return the toys to the rooms until the problem is gone! bugs hide in the tiniest of places and toys are a culprit. the childrens bedroom has been stripped of all toys....i know they love to play with them, but we gave them a choice of 3 toys each...and not only are the bugs controlled, but the room is way cleaner!

  3. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 1:46:29
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    oh...and from my reading, there are mixed reviews about the vinyl encasements. here is why i chose and recommend them:

    they are affordable.
    they are replaceable.
    they are usually white or clear, so you can easily see bugs on/underneath them.
    they are easy to keep clean.
    you can double or even triple wrap your beds in them.
    i have never seen a bedbug yet bite through them, and i know for a fact that at grandma's house, there are tons of bedbugs in her box springs. she has been bite free in her bed for about 2 weeks now.
    they are affordable.

    this is why i use, and will continue to use, vinyl encasements. one site i went to said that bedbugs do not bite through vinyl, andother said they do. so far, they haven't bitten through our encasements, and if they do...i'll kill em and rewrap the beds in more vinyl encasements. but its been a few months so far and we are bed bug bite free.

    and another thing is, ikea beds repel the bugs it seems. im not sure if it's the smooth/sleek material the beds are made out of, or something else...but our smallest baby has an ikea bed and her bed has NEVER been a bed bug haven...she has never gotten bitten so long as she's slept in her ikea bed. we have never found a bug in her bed either. hmm. we may be replacing the beds eventually, period.

  4. Eve

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 20:16:28
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    Just reading your narrative makes me physically exhausted! I can only stand back in awe.

    Eve
    <who might swab down the kitchen counter tonight>
    <or maybe not>

  5. Eve

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 20:16:31
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    Just reading your narrative makes me physically exhausted! I can only stand back in awe.

    Eve
    <who might swab down the kitchen counter tonight>
    <or maybe not>

  6. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Aug 30 2010 10:26:51
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    lol eve, i DID say it was long. but then again, i tend to be a long winded person!

    *~*~*~*~*
    my story continued:

    i came across this today in my findings, and while again i will say that my plan isn't for EVERYONE, it has worked for me, and i'm not so sure that my car/bag idea is NOT recommended by professionals:

    "Items which cannot be put in a washer or dryer can sometimes be de-infested by wrapping in plastic and placing them outdoors in a hot, sunny location, closed vehicle, etc. for at least a day. If this method is attempted, packing fewer items per bag makes it harder for the bugs to find cooler places to hide. Monitoring with a thermometer is prudent, with a target internal temperature of at least 120°F." -- university of kentucky, college of agriculture.

    although it does say SOMETIMES, it does NOT say "not recommended", and i think sometimes is better than never when you can't afford a packtite or just don't want to get one. because there is no one only way to get rid of the bedbugs, this may be an option IN THE TREATMENT PLAN. for those who may read this, i never said this is all you had to do or even the BEST option, just that it was a part of MY plan and it really worked wonders for us. it also says to lessen the chance of hot spots, pack the bags loosely so there is nowhere for the bugs to hide and the heat is more evenly distributed. it also even says that the location can simply be HOT and SUNNY, not neccessarily a car, but a car seems to be the best of the situation. i believe you can also pack smaller bags that are more likely to be permeated by the heat.

    just for the record, i seriously do not see how a bedbug can escape a 120 degree bag and get caught in a 140 degree car for many hours and actually infest it. that way. even if the car didn't reach 120 degrees daily *which is hard for cars not to do in the summer*, 5 days of 95 degree heat for 4-6 hours is sufficient to kill them in all stages of life after they hatch.

    there is a reason car infestations are rare. and if my house is infested to the point of i can't sleep, again, my car already has probably seen quite a few bedbugs brought in BY ME, HUBBY and my CHILDREN (after all...we drove the bugs from grandma's house to our house, THAT is how they got there. they didn't walk. im sure a bug or two fell off and into our car on those fateful days we had them on us), bags unneeded. i am more of a risk of car infestation than a properly sealed and thoroughly heated bag of items would be imo. but after the heat of the summer...it's easy to see why none of the bugs survived long enough to infest our vehicle.

    at least the pros agree with me that the idea may be worthwhile, depending on the particular situation.

  7. Richard56

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Aug 30 2010 10:50:16
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    with our plan, we still got a bite every now and then for some time.
    --------------------------------------------

    I'll admit I wasn't able to finish off the entire narrative, so forgive me if I missed something important

    What concerns me is that it appears you have not entirely eliminated the problem, as you talk about getting bitten from time to time and seeing a single bed bug on occasion. With a successful extermination you encounter NO bed bugs unless they are re-introduced somehow.

    The time spent cleaning, steaming etc, is admirable, and potentially it could be enough in certain situations -- but in the majority of cases it's probably not enough and that seems to be the case here. Maybe time to call in a PCO to evaluate the situation and end it once and for all. All that laundry and bagging doesn't seem like a lot of fun and it doesn't seem to be a final solution.

    As to your heating methods, I also agree that using the sun intelligently is not to be dismissed, and in fact is mentioned on the Havard site among others. The trick is to get the core temp up to around 120 degrees and hold it there for at least an hour. There may be other formulas as well. If it were me, I'd want to verify that this was actually being accomplished. This can be accomplished by purchasing several outdoor/indoor thermometers such as the ones that come with the PackTite unit. Stick one in the middle of the each bag and then monitor the situation. I'd also try and keep similar items in each bag so the temp reading would be more accurate. That said, I really don't see why you put your clothes in the sun and then washed and dryed. Half hour or so in a hot dryer should be enough on its own. Personally, I'd use a monitored sun treatment only for items that could not be put in a dryer. Why make more work than is necessary.

    Richard

  8. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Aug 30 2010 11:30:51
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    Richard56 - 3 minutes ago  » 
    I'll admit I wasn't able to finish off the entire narrative, so forgive me if I missed something important
    What concerns me is that it appears you have not entirely eliminated the problem, as you talk about seeing a single bed bug from time to time. With a successful extermination you encounter NO bed bugs unless they are re-introduced somehow.
    The time spent cleaning, etc, is admirable, but in the majority of cases it's not enough and that seems to be the case here. Maybe time to call in a PCO to evaluate the situation and end it once and for all. All that laundry and bagging doesn't seem like a lot of fun and it doesn't seem to be a final solution.
    Richard

    richard, that IS the problem, youre right! unfortunately, so is an exterminator, as i don't have any exterminator money at this time and my rent is priority, lol. if i don't pay rent, i won't have to worry about bed bugs haha, they'll have somewhere to live and i won't! *sigh* and plus, i can't GUARANTEE that even the PCO can end the situation once and for all...but who can? so until i can get the money *which may be come tax time...there should be some extra lying around*...i have to do this the long, more time consuming way. but thanks for your concern, it's MY concern too...but right now we haven't been bitten by anything in quite some time, i am just still paranoid!

  9. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 31 2010 23:10:42
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    ok...this is my little bb journal. lol. a place where i can just "woosaaaa" and let it all out.

    today went pretty uneventful, in the lone room where the bedbugs are *which just happens to be where i am*, i pulled what furniture is left in here away from all of the walls and i sprayed the baseboards with sprayway goodnight spray *still having mixed feelings about this stuff*.

    a few hours later, a long bb appeared, in the exact same area that the other bug i found was. so something about this area is questionable. i dont see WHERE a bb could be coming from except the baseboards because there is NOTHING on this side of the room except a clean smooth wall and 2 windows *whose curtains i have washed 4 days ago*. and even the baseboards are a pretty far catch because i sealed them as best i could with strips of strong tape...so it would be hard for an adult bb to get out from under the tape, because it's stuck to the carpet pretty well (of course though, a bb COULD escape from anything if it's hungry enough). anywho...im trying to rule out the baseboards, which i have also sprayed pretty well on the empty wall.

    now i know bedbugs only walk SO far looking for a meal. it seems crazy that a bug would travel from the wall with the empty dresser on it ALL the way across the room to the empty wall...only to be spotted by me in the nearly same spot his brother that i killed yesterday was spotted in. going to visit his brothers gravesite perhaps? i doubt it but anything is possible....unless...

    there's a red metal bed rail propped against the wall. it has holes in it and a sock stuffed on one end *dont ask*. its been there so long i totally forgot about it. now i know bedbugs dont like metal, but there is a cozy, warm, clean sock on one end of the rail and holes throughout the length of it. COULD this be where bugs are hiding? ive been finding them pretty close to the rail...

    the rail is out on the tash. just to be sure, taped all the holes and both ends, so whatever is in there stays in there and doesnt infest the garbage truck when it comes for the trash...IF there's something in there.


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