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My story and the steps I'm taking to fix it

(15 posts)
  1. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 5 2012 22:50:05
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    Hello fellow tortured souls! I'm going to tell you my story from the beginning, but if you don't feel like reading about the whole shebang I'll sum up at the bottom.

    It all started about a two weeks ago... I woke up with a series of (5-6)bites around my right elbow. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should let you know that if there is a bug around it WILL bite me. I am a beacon for bloodsuckers (for whatever reason). Also, I live in Hawaii where many a terrifying bug lives (including giant venomous centipedes... one of which was biting me in my sleep at one point, much to my dismay. That, however, is another story entirely.). Point being: bugs, they bite me. Because of this fact, the little bites on my elbow didn't intially strike me as the BB variety. I thought maybe I had trapped a wee spider between myself and my sheets while sleeping. It wasn't until about a week later that I woke up to another series of bites, but this time instead of 5-6 it was more like 30. At this point not only does my arm look like it's diseased but I also realize that I have a big problem, and assume its the dreaded BBs.

    As soon as I made the conncection I texted my husband (I was at work) about my suspicions. The second I got home he told me that he had checked to bed and it was free and clear. At that point I started going over the couch with a fine toothed comb because thats the only other place we spend time in the apartment when home. Due to reading things on this site and others I had a good idea of where to look and what to look for (shell casings, droppings, blood ect). My search yielded nothing. At this point I was kind of relieved... nothing on the couch nothing on the bed nothing to worry about. BUT when I walked into the bedroom to change I saw the bed exactly how I left it that morning. I started tearing pillows and sheets off the bed my husbands "search" of the bed had merely included pulling the cover back and doing a quick once over. After the bed was stripped I started looking much harder. Lo and behold at the top left corner of the bed (my side) I found all of the tell tale signs.

    Now, for what we did next and a disclosure. Disclosure: A lot of the things I did are not recommended, I'm going to tell you what I'm doing currently and what seems to be working but that is just my case. I am not "reccomending" any of this, per se. Just sharing. Also, we do not have any pets or children...

    We nuked the crap outta those buggers. We used every drop of bug spray we had to kill the ones we saw. Then my husband pulled them out with tweezers (7- all young, not adult) and put them onto a piece of toilet paper so we could get them into better light to identify them. Then on the top left hand corner of the bed we found one big daddy (full of blood) and we tweezed him alive but made sure we didn't kill it. We took it to the bathtub and sprayed it with bug spray. A lot of posters say that bug spray doesnt' work but it killed him on the spot. Feeling satisfied that it did kill them. After that we went to the store and bought more bug spray and nuked the bed frame and sides of the matress. We shut the lights, closed the door and left to get some dinner and give them chemicals time to dissapate. When we got back we realized we may have overdone it and went and slept in an upstairs bedroom for the night. No new bites that night.

    The next day, while I was at work, my husband moved forward with taking more actions. We knew we had killed the ones in that area but were not convinced that it solved our problem. All day he cleaned, vaccuumed and inspected. He took apart the entire bedframe (no boxspring for us) and sprayed everything down w/more bug spray. He found 2 more adults lurking in one of the slats and killed them on contact. He bagged everything cloth in the room including pillows and clothes (but also books to be delt with at another time). We pulled the bed away from the wall and he made inceptors for the legs of our bed by filling small plastic bowls with DE and putting the legs inside and put DE in all the joints of the bedframe, over the carpet and on windowsills so they'll have to travel through it to get back to the bed. In addition, we bought cheap white sheets so that they and their tracks will be easily spotted. We also bought a allergy/mite protector for our matress and put duct tape over the zippers. We also bought new pillows and allergy/mite protectors for those while we decided what to do with our quarantined ones. We do not have money for professional bug men so for now this is the progress we've made.

    Last night 2 things happened. 1- when we got up from the couch there was an adult bedbug right under where'd we'd been sitting, but he was DEAD! I see this as good news bc something we are doing worked enough to kill him without us hitting him straight on with bug spray. 2- I recieved ZERO new bites! My husband, however, had 3. I feel as though he could have gotten those during his clean up project though.

    Some people say that bug spray is bad particularly bc it can cause them to spread to other parts of the house. I guess my philosiphy on that is that if we make them walk through the DE everytime they want to eat, it may not kill them immediately and it might take a long time, but eventually we'll get the entire population. In the meanwhile i'll continue to hunt, clean and spray. So yeah I think the key to all of this is DE (food grade) and patience. I'll report back on the progress!

    To sum up:

    Check over bed/couch/chairs/nightstands thoroughly!
    Kill any you find immediately.
    Insecticide, vaccuum, clean.
    Isolate everything in the room in bags to heat treat (I'm going to set mine in the yard in the hot Hawaii sun for 8 hours)
    Cover your matress and pillows.
    DE everything!
    I don't know how bad our "infestation" was... we only found 11 bugs all together but we waged war and I plan to be victorious!

    PS I got the DE at ace hardware.

  2. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 6 2012 19:06:49
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    Found 2 more bugs today and woke up with about new bites. DE is supposed to take around 10 days to kill them, so I'll report back.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 13:20:13
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    I am not an expert but your application of DE sounds like it goes beyond what's recommended. You don't want to be inhaling the stuff as it is dangerous for your lungs. It may cause skin irritation also. A light application in cracks and crevices only is usually recommended.

    Please note that research has shown that all brands of DE are not equally effective.
    Also, some bed bugs are apparently resistant to it (as strange as that sounds, for a mechanical killer). So you may not be able to rely on it to kill all bed bugs, even with time.

    See our FAQ on DE for links to that research.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 14:58:31
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    Thanks for the input, I have read up on it but am officially terrified and grossed out enough for this to be the route I have taken. We used masks while applying the proper grade DE and we put a dusting on everything I stated above. I have an extremely demanding career and this is causing me to lose (a LOT) of sleep and preform badly. So instead of getting fired and being homeless (due to some nasty little critters, even) I'd rather take the risk. Also I was sort of expecting this response to begin with b/c it seems like every time anyone posts anything about self treatment on this forum someone steps in to say how it's "wrong" and you should get a professional. Well, until anything is proven 100% effect we need to keep trying different things. People need answers to try to keep them sane during this, I'm just trying to share my piece of the story.

  5. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 17:39:52
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    It's not that it's wrong. It's that it's challenging and beyond most people's skills to do successfully. BBs have a learning curve. Hiring a good professional with experience can shorten the amount of time you deal with the bloodsuckers.

    Having lived in an environment with misapplied DE, it's no joke. It definitely impacted the health of my respitory system and my voice for some time after I moved out. I sing, so that's a big issue for me. I think it's important that people are not thinking that it's no big deal and people are just being reactionary when they point out that exposure can be dangerous.

  6. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 21:40:34
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    Well, I'll gladly accept donations to hire a professional then. Maybe it's hard for you to understand that some people don't have that much disposable income available. I'm not a singer and would rather been mute than live another day with the bugs personally.

  7. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 22:16:36
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    Don't assume. I emptied my savings dealing with my problems. I threw away a good portion of the things I owned. I recognize that it's costly, but it is costly either upfront or on the backend. Overall, treatment without moving would have been cheaper had it been an effective solution.

  8. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 22:36:17
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    Well I guess all I can say is thanks for the advice. But given no other options I am going to stay the course and hope for the best. DE is rumored to take 10-14 days to penetrate the exoskeleton and dehydrate the bug, we'll see what happens after that time period. If we develop symptoms other than the ones we've already got (paranoia, sleep deprivation, suicidal tendencies) than we'll seek a physicians professional opinion. Until then, this gives me hope. Don't take it from me.

  9. cilecto

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 22:44:48
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    Hellbeasts: I'm glad you can share your story. A lot of us make mistakes (when dealing with BB or otherwise), mostly not fatal. If you want some "clarity" around how to use DE safely and effectively, check out our FAQ, especially the section on DE. For a great all around guide to help you do battle, either alone or with a pro, check out a comprehensive guide - like this one - from our Resources section.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  10. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 22:54:56
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    Thank you, I have in fact read all of that and am not entirely sure about why everyone is assuming I am using it improperly. All I have been doing in my spare time (including well into the late night/early morning while I am still awake due to paranoia) is reading up on this stuff. We also took every cloth item from our house today and washed anything dirty followed by a high heat cycle (in the industrial dryer) as well as put our clean cloth items through high heat cycles). Then we bagged everything in water tight plastic containers. There's a lot of assumption that I haven't read up on it, please point out to me why. Maybe it's because I wrote "DE everything" in my summation. It's possible that you didn't take the time to read my entire post (it was excruciatingly long, I'll admit). But in saying DE everything, it is implied that you DE everything that is safe to DE. We're fine EXCEPT for the bugs and, now, all the negativity.

  11. cilecto

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sat Jul 7 2012 23:57:42
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    hellbeasts - 1 hour ago  » 
    DE is rumored to take 10-14 days to penetrate the exoskeleton and dehydrate the bug, we'll see what happens after that time period.

    DE takes time and is also "good" for a long time. If it's not in the way, you can just leave it down.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 8 2012 0:09:28
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    hellbeasts - 1 hour ago  » 
    Thank you, I have in fact read all of that and am not entirely sure about why everyone is assuming I am using it improperly.
    ... Maybe it's because I wrote "DE everything" in my summation. It's possible that you didn't take the time to read my entire post (it was excruciatingly long, I'll admit). But in saying DE everything, it is implied that you DE everything that is safe to DE. We're fine EXCEPT for the bugs and, now, all the negativity.

    Try not to be sensitive. People here are trying to help and basing their comments on what you wrote.

    Yes, I was concerned at your suggestion to "DE everything" -- that's not safe. And you might think it's implied that one should put DE in safe locations only. But all too often, we truly hear people are putting DE all over. It is dangerous and better to warn others clearly before they follow this suggestion that you included in our summary.

    Moreover, you said you put DE on the carpeting and windowsills. Those seem like two unsafe locations also. You don't want DE to either become disturbed (when people walk on it) or to have it blown into the air and inhaled.

  13. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 8 2012 0:17:30
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    OK well, thank you. When I posted this I thought I made it clear that it wasn't recommended actions (as I stated twice in my original post). My intention is more to let people know what I am doing and to follow up with results either good or bad. That way people who can relate to my case can have a clear reliable source for what specifically worked for me and what hasn't. That is all I'm trying to accomplish. I'm writing what I have done. It will either work or it won't. I didn't ask for advice, I was just trying to get my story out. I am not going to alter my course unless something substantial happens, and I am going to be honest about the results. But now it's turned into some debate for no reason.

  14. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 8 2012 0:38:46
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    I'm sorry, but despite claiming elsewhere that you aren't "recommending" actions the phrasing of your summary (below) sounds like you are.

    For example, saying "check over bed," "kill any you find immediately," "isolate everything...", "cover your mattress," and "DE everything" are phrased as commands or suggestions, not as a description of what you did.

    Again, I am not interested in debating, I did in fact read your post very carefully and am just describing what I am reading in your post.

    Good luck to you, but I would not recommend others follow this plan.

    hellbeasts - 2 days ago  » 
    So yeah I think the key to all of this is DE (food grade) and patience. I'll report back on the progress!

    To sum up:
    Check over bed/couch/chairs/nightstands thoroughly!
    Kill any you find immediately.
    Insecticide, vaccuum, clean.
    Isolate everything in the room in bags to heat treat (I'm going to set mine in the yard in the hot Hawaii sun for 8 hours)
    Cover your matress and pillows.
    DE everything!
    I don't know how bad our "infestation" was... we only found 11 bugs all together but we waged war and I plan to be victorious!
    PS I got the DE at ace hardware.

  15. hellbeasts

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Sun Jul 8 2012 1:04:36
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    As I said twice in my original post... I guess I misunderstood the point of this forum... I thought it was to give hope and support to people dealing with an awful problem. You people are terrible.

    [admin note: user continued discussion by reposting in a new thread. There are addition responses there.]


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