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Need Advice for After Exterminator

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  1. Deannerbug

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    Joined: Aug '13
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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 21 2013 1:08:19
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    I discovered this forum during my own invasion of our favorite pests, and the posts gave me useful tips, facts, and encouragement when I was feeling inconsolably helpless. Now here I am posting one of my own, simply because I have achieved a fresh new panic and could use some advice.

    The bed bugs have only ever inhabited one room in my apartment--my room. I have two other roommates living with me, and they have never had a single sign of them in their rooms. I've been grateful for this and have done everything I can do to contain them that way. The activity itself has seemed to be minimal compared to some horror stories I've read about, luckily (as lucky as I can be, having bed bugs and all).

    To get right to it, I'd like to know if there's anything more I can do to ensure these little nightmares are gone for good. I've had the exterminator come out and spray the apartment twice. The first time was a month ago, and I started cleaning (and using a steamer) too early, and I think I must have diluted the chemicals he laid down. So I took apart my bed and threw it and my mattress out. Unfortunately, it was a large bed and taking it apart was a long process, so I think some escaped because I was still getting bites after it was gone. The exterminator came again a week and a half ago and this time I've just been vacuuming my whole room daily with a big push vacuum cleaner, focusing on the perimeter, and then with a handheld vacuum along the baseboards of the perimeter as well, so as to get better into corners and cracks. I empty both vacuums' compartments immediately after I use them. I sleep on an air mattress on the floor, so I try to run my sheets through the dryer on high heat every other day or so. My air mattress has inherited my (new) mattress cover, specifically made for dust mites and bed bugs, which I also put through the dryer about once a week. The air mattress itself has gone through the dryer a couple of times, but not lately since the cover should keep it protected. My clothes are in plastic bins, and all my stuff is still in trash bags in the closet, ever since the first spray, which was a month ago. The only furniture I have left in the room is a very small bookcase and two end tables, all wood, which I try to vacuum as well. The end tables are old and have many places I can't reach. I also have a plastic wire bookcase that I have not been all that worried about, since there isn't much place for them to hide in that. I have not found casings or track marks, but last week I found a live bug on my sheets before going to bed. It was not an adult, and I killed it.

    I have still gotten two or three bites since the second spray. The service who did the spray says that it's common to still get bites up to two weeks after the spray, and it's been a week and a half for me. I have been in an unwavering state of panic ever since I realized I had bed bugs, so I'm probably a little high-strung, but I'm frantic to make them go away. Is there anything else I can do to make sure they won't come back? Will it ultimately be the vacuuming that eliminates them? Do you recommend caulking the baseboards around the room? Should I try diatomaceous earth or other over-the-counter poisons? Should I throw out the end tables? All my wooden furniture? Should I be treating the radiator in any way (it's one of those old ones that are basically holes in the wall)? Any thoughts at all would be a huge, huge help. I feel as though I could be nearing the end and I just want to make sure I can completely and assuredly put this whole, awful experience behind me. Thank you so much!

  2. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 21 2013 7:12:15
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    Dear dean,

    Sorry to hear about your problem but there is light at the end of the tunnel and I assure you it's not an oncoming locomotive if you do the right things.

    Some comments for your review and consideration:

    > Firstly, none of us would get rid of our cat or dog just cause it has fleas. What we would do is get rid of the fleas. As such, thoroughly inspect and treat your furniture to "de-bug" these items.

    > Using a vacuum and steamer is a good thing. However, use insecticides for those crack & crevice harborage areas that are difficult to access. In this way, you're being thorough, killing bugs which may be present and applying a residual where most needed.

    > When working in bed bug infested accounts we will create a "safe area" for our equipment on an as needed basis. One technique we use is to lay a white plastic shower curtain on the floor upon which we place our equipment. Generally speaking, bed bugs prefer to crawl and climb on more tactile type surfaces such as wood, paper and cardboard rather than plastic and the bright white makes it much easier for us to see if any "critters" are crawling or present around out stuff. Note that where possible our stuff is also placed in light colored or clear plastic storage bins as well. This said, acquire an inexpensive white smooth shower curtain upon which you can place your air mattress.

    > DE. Hmmmmmm . . . It is OK to apply DE into void areas adjacent to utility penetrations such as electric outlets, plumbing, HVAC, cable TV and other such areas.

    > It is OK to attempt to "seal out" or "pest proof" your unit using a suitable caulk material. However, it is best to treat the hidden void area with a suitable dust, DE would be OK, prior to sealing such that the void area is treated to address possible hidden bed bugs.

    > There are suitable residual insecticides you might consider for subsequent self treating however, such products are best applied to harborage areas and NOT used in a pseudo perimeter or "great wall of China" type strategy as that won't work and subject you to unnecessary pesticide cost, odor and exposure.

    > Roommates, hmmmm . . . One wonders if your roommates simply do not react to bed bug bites ??? It is possible. As such, you and your roommates are best served to remain vigilant and thoroughly inspect to assure there are no bed bugs present in their rooms, your common rooms, etc.

    > You are also well served to read up on bed bugs through the resources here and elsewhere. Check out my "Over 201 Things About Bed Bugs" article in the resources here.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  3. Deannerbug

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 21 2013 21:37:35
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    Thank you so much for your reply! It's good to know I have options of how best to get rid of these little monsters.

    I will continue to vacuum, definitely. The shower curtain is a good idea too! I'll buy one tomorrow. I would like to start steaming the room again if you think it would be a good idea. Is it all right to steam the baseboards and voids even if I try to use the DE or other residual insecticides? If the two can't be done at the same time, which one do you think would be most effective? As far as the insecticides are concerned, I'm glad you specified how it should be applied instead of the "Great Wall of China" strategy (which is what I was thinking!). It seemed as though you were a little lukewarm about the DE. Are there some concerns using it? Are there other products that you would suggest over DE?

    Your assessment of my roommates not experiencing any symptoms is unnerving, I'll admit. Their rooms and the rest of the apartment were all sprayed both times, and they have been careful to watch for any signs. Do you think it's impossible that the bed bugs would only stay in my room?

    Forming a plan of attack using your suggestions, what do you say if I got rid of the wooden furniture in the room (I understand the pet analogy, but at this point it's significantly more important to me to get rid of the bed bugs as soon as possible), applied a residual insecticide in the voids of the baseboards and then caulked them, and continue to vacuum and possibly steam the room for a couple of months afterward. Do you think that would be an effective way to end this?

    Out of curiosity, is it normal to still have to self-treat with insecticides and so forth even after having an exterminator come?

    Once again, thank you for your help!


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