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

Need Advice--what else can I do??

(4 posts)
  1. Deannerbug

    Joined: Aug '13
    Posts: 3


    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 12 2013 1:56:42

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    I'm sorry this is so long, but I wanted to get everything down that seemed important to knowing my situation. I've known I've had a bed bug problem since July. I believe I was able to catch it quickly, and was able to get an exterminator to come treat my apartment within a week or so of me finding evidence of them, so I feel as though I've been dealing with a relatively small population throughout this ordeal, but I can't seem to get rid of them all. The bugs have only ever inhabited one room in the apartment--my room. I have two other roommates living with me, and they have never had a single sign of them in their rooms, or in the common areas. I've been doing all I can think of to keep them contained. One room that shares a wall with mine, my roommate and I sealed with caulk on her side.

    To get right to it, I'd like to know if there's anything more I can do to get rid of these little nightmares. I've had the exterminator come out and spray the apartment twice. The first time was the one soon after I discovered activity, 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 at the beginning of August, and that time I just vacuumed 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 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 in July. There is no furniture in my room anymore, just a plastic wire bookcase that doesn't have anywhere to hide. There are two trash bags of stuff on the floor as well that I kept out in case I needed easy access to them. For all my battle plans, though, I still get bites around every 7 days.

    About three weeks ago I bought Diatomaceous Earth from Home Depot, meant for "crawling insects" and bed bugs, and tried to read up on proper application and what to expect. I put it into cracks and voids along my baseboards (which is the only place I can think they must be hiding!), and I'll admit there is a line of powder along the perimeter of my room. Unfortunately now I'm reading on this site that it really is only a LIGHT dusting, one that seems to be insinuated that it should be so light you can't see it. I went to other sources for information on DE, not here, so I'm worried I've been using too much. This is grave and disheartening--I've still been getting bites, but I have also found 2 juvenile bugs dead along the wall. I've been trying to be "light" since the beginning, but from what I've been reading, my "light" seems to be too heavy-handed still. I intend to mop and vacuum up the DE to perhaps start over with much less. I visited the FAQ on DE here, but any thoughts you could give me I would appreciate immensely.

    I also applied a spray recently called EcoSmart Bed Bug Killer. I vacuumed, steamed the baseboards, applied the spray inside the voids of the baseboards along the wall after the moisture of the steam had dried, and then several hours later when the spray seemed dry, put down some DE in the voids around the baseboards again. Is this a decent or terrible plan? What would you say to my sealing these voids with caulk as well, and continuing to vacuum and steam?

    Please, please guide me to finding the proper and safe solution to getting rid of these horrible things! It would help me so much to get everyone's opinion!

  2. bed-bugscouk

    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188


    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 13 2013 7:22:36

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    Have you considered that you may in fact have a "local source" exposure to bedbugs? By this I mean that your activities away from home are bringing you into sporadic contact with a source of bedbugs that you are "topping up" accidentally.

    Some research of the forum for forum for those phrases will explain more about what I am talking about.

    With regards DE there is a good FAQ on the subject and how it is best used.

    I personally would not recommend caulking and sealing until at least after you are 100% certain they are all gone. I appreciate that apparent logic to this concept but the fact that its hard to create the 100% seal that is needed and the fact that a sealed in bedbug may come out later when the seal breaks or will find another way into the occupied areas is reason enough not to do it. I have dealt with bedbugs sealed into location and often the cost of damaging the home to gain access to the areas out weighs any benefits as well.

    Finally despite the fear mongering bedbugs will not normally occupy areas such as skirtings and outlets unless forced there through treatment or bombs / aerosols.

    In summary sometimes with bedbugs you need to look for a different way to face them in battle rather than seeking a bigger weapon to hit them over the head with.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

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

    Joined: Sep '13
    Posts: 2


    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Sep 16 2013 0:55:33

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    Hi Deannerbug, we had a similar struggle with an infestation and were at our wits end as well. We bought a handheld UV light portable vacuum and that finally ended our battle. It won't kill the "live" ones, but it damages the DNA of the eggs they lay so that they can't hatch. You have to run the little vacuum over everything for 15 seconds per section you are covering. Also, we got a UV wand and would set it on any cracks that the vacuum could not reach. So, for instance, if we were working on the bed, we would set the UV wand over the corner where the carpet meets the wall, then we'd go to work on the bed, then move the wand to its next section, then go back and move the vacuum again...and so on. The vacuum we got was the Verilux CleanWave Handheld and it goes for around $100 on Amazon. If that's not in your budget, you could just get a UV wand (sometimes they sell them in packets of 2 at Costco). However, we felt that the vacuum power with the UV light does the best job of sucking up anything it zaps. If you are thorough and consistent, they will not survive. This really helped us and we hope it helps you too. Good luck!

  4. help_me

    Joined: Jul '11
    Posts: 183


    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Sep 16 2013 1:25:48

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    I was wondering the same thing, if you perhaps could be exposed to them anywhere else? You know, it's a ripple affect. Before you realized you had them in your apartment, how much time did you meander the earth without a care or clue? I often look back on my life leading up to when I first discovered I had them in my house and thought back on all the things I did and have a DOH! sort of stab-in-the-gut feeling about it.

    So if you think about, you might have transferred them unknowingly to the places you or your room mates frequent. Or you got them to begin with from those places. The way I approach it is a two-way system. Don't let them in, always assume the possibility of being exposed to them unknowingly when you are anywhere and take all precautions immediately when you return home. Also if you are still battling, take all precautions and assume the possibility that you could have been exposed to them at home before going out so that you won't take any with you to where ever you go. I don't like to take chances because there is SO much of a buffer in there of ignorance, of not knowing and it's better to be to safe and not assume it's cool and find out the hard way later and regret being less careful.

    Question. What of your vac? Where does it live? What kind is it? Is it the kind with a plastic filter and removable washable canister that you could empty and wash carefully and immediately under extremely hot water as soon as you finish using it? Like with fleas, if you vacuum an area and then put the vac away without emptying/cleaning it properly, if there is anything in it it can get out.

    I only use vacs with permanent washable filters now and have my water heater set so that the water comes out at about 140 degrees. When I finish cleaning, I clear out the sink and area around it, get the water running ahead of time and get a plastic store bag (without holes) ready in the sink. I dump the dirt right into the bag, I have the canister in the bag so nothing falls onto the floor or anything and carefully set the canister aside while I tie the bag in a tight knot and make it air tight. That goes right out into the garbage and the vac parts then get rinsed well under the hot hot hot water and be sure to keep my mess isolated to inside the hot sink.

    Just an idea but I was thinking of that since you emphasized a lot of vacuuming. Plastic bins still do have cracks along the top where the lids sit. have you thought of using XL ziploc bags? I still keep my clothes in bags even now.

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