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Specific DIY Treatment Questions - Need Input from Experts Please.

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  1. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Oct 27 2012 4:15:45
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    Hi everyone. I'm new to posting in the forums. I am planning to treat my apartment for bb on Sunday or Monday, depending on when I'm finally finished prepping for it and when I feel like I have enough information. I have a list of very specific questions and would also like general feedback on my overall plan. I'll start with the questions for anyone who might not want to wade through my long post for all of the background. (Sorry in advance for the length of this post.)

    By the way, in case any experts are reading this and are concerned about liability, let me say in writing that I understand all the reasons why professional treatment is preferable to DIY efforts and I understand that you would not be offering any kind of guarantees about the safety or efficacy of any of the methods or tools you might talk about and, in fact, that your answers shouldn't even be taken as a recommendation, since your true recommendation would almost certainly be "hire a professional". I get it. Having said that.....

    1. For the things I am steaming AND spraying, how long do I need to wait in between? Does the item I steamed need to be completely dry before I spray?

    2. Do bbs tend to return to the same harborage each night? For instance, I'm concerned about getting everything done in the same day. Would it be pointless to steam all the furniture and baseboards on Sunday and then spray on Monday? Would some bugs be likely to move into areas I've already steamed after I've steamed and before I spray?

    3. If I can't get the entire apartment done in a single day, how big a disaster is that? If I were to complete treatment in the bedroom and adjoining office in one day and the bathroom, kitchen, and living room the following day, am I just asking for trouble or is that likely to be okay? (The chemical I'm using - Transport SomethingOrOtherThatICan'tRememberAt3AM - is said to not be a formulation that acts as a repellant, though I don't know how reliable that information is.)

    4. Should I bother to treat my cats with Frontline? I'm confused about what to do with/for them. I have a 13 year old long-haired cat who lives, almost literally, on my bed. She has epilepsy and a congenital bone problem and leaving out lots of details...she almost never leaves my bedroom and has pet stairs at the head of my bed (both sides) so she can get up and down without injuring herself. It's impossible for me to isolate the bed, in other words.

    5. If I move my cats to the room farthest from that being sprayed, and wait for the sprayed area to dry, is that sufficient to keep them safe or must they leave the apartment entirely?

    6. What is the best way to treat around ceiling fans and light fixtures? Aerosol dust? Plain DE dust? I'm concerned about mixing wet and electricity. I'm also concerned about inhaling even the food grade DE. (I bought a respirator mask.)

    7. What is the best way to treat old wood floors with large spaces between individual boards?

    8. Should I steam and spray the entire bedroom except the bed and then move to the bed to avoid disturbing any bbs until then or should I include the bed in the "rotation"....ie....vacuum everything, then steam everything, then spray everything?

    Here's my story, background, and plan:

    I live in one of 6 apartments in an old victorian house. We are on the top floor. The couple living directly below me moved out suddenly a couple of months ago and acted a little...oddly...prior to moving. I don't know where we got them but I wonder....

    My landlord has no intention of even inspecting, let alone treating, any apartment in the building. My problem, he says. I am reluctant to spend what little money I have a pro PCO chemical treatment until I know that the other units are being inspected and treated if necessary. Otherwise, it seems like it will just be wasted money in the long run. The problem won't go away but I'll no longer have the money to do anything about it. I anticipate a fight over this but I have to do something NOW. I'm going nuts and have found the thing that lets me know I am NOT tough or brave or strong. I've dealt with things that were truly horrendous but this....I can't live with bed bugs. I can't do it.

    I've done a lot of research. I've bagged almost everything I own. Not just clothes. Everything. I bought a PackTite and am starting that process for things I can't launder. I have NuVan strips for things that I can't launder OR PackTite and plan to use them in taped-shut storage tubs for at least a month. I bought a VapAmore steamer. I purchased the Transport and another chemical called Demand online, based on the video by Jeff White. I intend to alternate those two, every other treatment. I also bought Tri Die aerosol dust and plain ole food grade DE. I plan to do 4 treatments 10-14 days apart because I figure it'll take at least that many since I'm not a pro. I have passive alerts to install after the 4th treatment to monitor how successful we were. I don't think I'm going to encase anything. If the goal is eradication....then it doesn't matter if my mattress and box spring are encased, right?

    Everything has been thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed at this point EXCEPT my bed and the pet stairs. I didn't want to disturb anything. In case the bbs are only in our apartment I don't want to risk making them unhappy enough to travel before I treat. We are sleeping in that bed....if you can call it that. I am not sleeping much at all. I am not in good shape right now.

    My plan is to work around the perimeter of the room first, steaming windowsills, baseboards, furniture, every crack and crevice. While that's drying, I'll remove face plates of the outlets and light switches and put either aerosol dust or plain DE in the wall void.

    When enough time has passed (which is one of my questions above) I'll go back and spray, carefully following all label directions. (I also have a question above about when and how the bed itself should be addressed in the treatment process.)

    Then I'll move on to the next room and repeat the process until I've treated the entire apartment. I don't understand how you do as thorough a job as I'm imagining and still get it all done in one day.

    Thoughts?

    I really appreciate your help. I need it! I feel as though I have no choice but to tackle this on my own for now and I feel a lot of pressure to do it as "right" as possible, both for our sake and for the sake of the tenants in the rest of the building.

    Thanks so much!

    (P.S. I feel a little defensive about this so let me say it first: Yes. If I hadn't spent all of that money on a PackTite, steamer, respirator mask, etc. I could have paid for a PCO to come treat. But then, if the treatment failed because the whole property is infested, I'd have absolutely nothing to show for my money...or credit card debt, as it were. This way I at least have tools I can use to make my life as bearable as possible. I can use the PackTite and steamer until they give up the ghost if need be. )

  2. P Bello

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Oct 27 2012 10:46:18
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    Dear used,

    I will answer ASAP, I promise.

    However, I must get on the road to visit a home for a case for this week.

    In the meanwhile, get as much work done as you can.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  3. Velvet

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Oct 27 2012 20:42:31
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    Dear Used,

    I'm a PCO is the Philadelphia area. You've put much thought and effort into this: that's a good start. Some answers to your questions and some comments:

    1. I would need to know what you are steaming. You need to be careful what you treat with insecticides. For example, you would want to steam upholstered furniture but if you were treating that same piece with an insecticide, you would only treat non-contact points. Non-contact points are the parts of a chair your body would come in contact with. I would wait until the chair dried before treating with an insecticide.

    2. Since bed bugs are often found in clusters, it seems likely that they tend to return to the same harborage area each night. Under certain conditions some will leave these areas as well. Nothing with bed bugs is an absolute. When we treat, we complete all work in a room on that same day.

    3. Maybe Paul can provide more information on this but Transport, which is a good choice of materials to use, is a combination of a neonicotinode and a pyrethroid. Pyrethroids are generally repellent. A non-repellent product used for bed bug control is Phantom. It is a slower acting product but it is non-repellent.

    4. I would not bother with Frontline as a tool against bed bugs. Bed bugs are interested in you not your cat. I would however remove your cat from your apartment until all insecticide applications have completely dried. This is very important. Overnight would be a recommendation.

    5. TriDie is a good choice for the ceiling fan and outlets. Use the plastic straw that comes with the TriDie.

    6. You can treat the cracks in the floor boards with Transport.

    7. I like to treat the bed and immediate area last. Good plan.

    It is extremely important that encasements be used on the mattress and box spring. If you're running short on funds, the box spring would be the most important one to cover. The encasements will make later inspections easier and more reliable. Given your situation regular inspections will be an important part of your plan.

    As far as placing non-clothing items in plastic bins, if you can keep them sealed for several months you could probably skip the Nuvan strips.

    Consider caulking any gaps, cracks, or crevices around doors jambs, baseboard molding, and windows . Denying bbs access to your apartment from other apartments might not be totally possible but everything helps. This step would also help in denying the bbs harborage.

    Hope this helps. Good Luck!

    Dave

  4. P Bello

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Oct 27 2012 22:50:55
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    Dear used,

    (My response as promised, although it took a while, I've had a busy day. And, great job with your answers above Dave, thx ! )

    As I generally suk at the entire "e-thing", my comments below coincide with the numbers of your questions above:

    1. Steam. We use steam to kill bed bugs in place where they're at and to kill bed bugs & eggs in suspected harborages. As the steam should not leave a very wet or overly wet surface subsequent to the treatment, generally speaking, there should not be a problem with insecticide applications after a steam treatment.

    2. One of the benefits of using multiple control techniques is that the redundancy provides additional kill and helps to assure an optimal job of elimination was done. As such, vacuum, steam, insecticide applications serves to put the odds of success in your favor. Additionally, I don't see a problem with steam treating a harborage today followed by insecticide treatment after that even if the actual time of the subsequent treatment may be 24 hours or longer. Remember, it really doesn't matter how you kill them as long as you do kill them !

    3. OK, this issue is a tad more complex because of the possibility that bed bugs can, perhaps, escape your treatment due to the timing difference ad we don't want that. Ideally, we're treating the entire place at the same time/day. Suppose you do the bedroom today and the couch tomorrow. If there are bed bugs on the couch, it's possible they may move from the couch to your bedroom that first night.
    Remember, most of the bed bugs we're killing are likely killed during the treatment process rather than as a result of the residual left post treatment. (Transport is used by a number of pros however, I usually recommend Temprid SC.)

    4. It's not impossible to isolate your bed if your creative. Simply place suitable objects under the pet stairs and bingo, you're bed is isolated. Your cat should have some sort of topical treatment if fleas and ticks are an issue however, it is extremely difficult to repell bed bugs and I'm unsure if frontline will actally kill bed bugs. Additionally, your cat may not be a completely suitable host for bed bugs.

    5. Yes. However, some cats can be susceptable to certain pesticides due to their preening behavior and other factors. Please read and follow label directions !

    6. DE works kinda slow so I'm not a huge fan. Aerosol dust products are very convenient for you to apply.

    6a. Holy sh#t, this is a lot of Q&A. Don't get spoiled by this ! ! !

    7. Vacuum, steam followed by residual insecticide application into the cracks & crevices.

    8. My prefernce is to go ahead and kill al the bed bugs on the mattress, box spring and bed frame. Yeah, I'm a bit touched but it's fun to kill bed bugs in place, the more the better and most are found in these areas. Follow up your bed treatment with the installation of encasements on the mattress and box spring. Get good ones that are tested and proven bed bug proof ! ! !

    Other stiff:

    Your overall plan and back story seems as if you've done your homework.

    Be thorough & be careful.

    ANother feature of encasements is that it makes it easier to follow up inspect and it keeps bed bugs out of your box spring and mattress.

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  5. stopbugginme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 0:04:20
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    First, you have my complete & total empathy! We're dealing with this nightmare now ourselves & it stinks!

    I must tell you I agree with Paul 150% about the bed encasements, we put them on our old beds following our first treatment, today when getting ready to dispose of one of the beds I found a very, tiny, tiny bed bug along one of the seams of the encasement. This bug was so small that I'd have never seen it on the box spring without that cover! The bug is dead now & I have info to give my PCO that will help us get rid of these things. We have new beds now & they are also encased, I figure the cost will be well worth it as it makes inspecting the bed while changing the sheets each week a LOT easier.

    Be sure you get a good cover, we're using safe rest encasements because they have a velcro covering to make sure the zipper stays closed.

  6. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 11:16:36
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    Dave -

    Thank you very much for your reply. Where are you in the Philadelphia area?

    When using Transport to treat the cracks between floor boards in our old wooden floor, would you recommend using the sprayer I bought? It seems to me as though that would almost amount to "broadcast" spraying, if you know what I mean. I bought paint brushes too. Would it be better - though time consuming - to "paint" the Transport in? It's actually just a long hallway that isn't carpeted.

    I did purchase encasements. I can't remember the brand but I bought them from bedbugsupply and it was one of the two brands mentioned by Jeff White so hopefully they're an okay choice. I had talked myself out of using them but have been persuaded, I think, to go ahead and use them.

    Regarding the caulking, we definitely intend to do as much of that as we can. Do you recommend that as an immediate follow up to treatment.....like...within days? A day?

  7. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 11:27:06
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    Paul -

    Thanks you so much for taking the time to respond. I am grateful to you and Dave and the other people here who are so generous with your knowledge and time, providing desperately needed help to people like me. I will absolutely try not to take it for granted or abuse your the opportunity.

    If you have a couple more answers in you, here are a couple of follow up questions:

    Do you have any suggestions/guidelines regarding what I should look for in a "suitable object" to put under the pet stairs. I've only seen things like the climb ups which I don't think would work from a stability perspective since the stairs have no legs to fit down inside the concave well area. Maybe I'm wrong though. Just wondering if there's a product I've overlooked that comes immediately to your mind.

    I have been convinced on the subject of encasements. My cats are not declawed but I don't think they'd ever impact the box spring at least.

    Thanks again!

  8. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 11:29:43
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    stopbugginme - 11 hours ago  » 
    First, you have my complete & total empathy! We're dealing with this nightmare now ourselves & it stinks!
    I must tell you I agree with Paul 150% about the bed encasements, we put them on our old beds following our first treatment, today when getting ready to dispose of one of the beds I found a very, tiny, tiny bed bug along one of the seams of the encasement. This bug was so small that I'd have never seen it on the box spring without that cover! The bug is dead now & I have info to give my PCO that will help us get rid of these things. We have new beds now & they are also encased, I figure the cost will be well worth it as it makes inspecting the bed while changing the sheets each week a LOT easier.
    Be sure you get a good cover, we're using safe rest encasements because they have a velcro covering to make sure the zipper stays closed.

    Stop -

    Thanks for relating your personal experience with your itty bitty critter and your encasement. Combined with the advice of the experts who also answered you've changed my mind on that point.

    Good luck! I hope we're both bed bug free soon.

  9. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 11:36:56
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    To All:

    Thanks again for your input. My slow response wasn't lack of interest. My not-so-grown-up second job is that I teach high school marching band and spent 16 hours yesterday taking my kids by other mothers to a competition.

    I live in the Philadelphia area and am spending this morning preparing for Hurricane Sandy's arrival. As soon as possible today we'll start treating and will probably work though the night to try to get it all done...both for efficacy concerns and because it's highly likely that we'll lose electricity tomorrow and will no longer be able to steam.

    If you have any other suggestions or cautions, please don't hesitate to share.

    Good luck to anyone else in Sandy's path.

  10. P Bello

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 14:00:38
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    Dear used,

    Any suitable object to help in the isolation process must:

    a. be substantial enough to support the weight of the item being supported.

    b. Be sufficiently smooth or slick to prevent bed bugs from climbing it.

    As such, I have the following suggestions for such objects: (use your own imagination to come up with other ideas, then share with others !)

    > Glass or plastic ash trays.

    > PVC pipe end caps. (my personal favorite)

    > Table leg supports or "feet".

    Hope this helps ! paul b.

  11. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 28 2012 16:03:39
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    Paul, it helps a lot! Thanks!

  12. Velvet

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Oct 29 2012 9:29:25
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    Dear Used,

    We are located in Aston. Awaiting Sandy's worst,

    When treating cracks in wood flooring with a compressed air sprayer, a pin stream setting would be most useful and allow you to target placement of the insecticide. Essentially you want to deliver the material to where the bb will spend the majority of their time and this would be in cracks and crevices. A fan spray on the floor would not be too useful for treating bed bugs.

    Paul's point about encasements is spot on as far as keeping bb out of the box spring. The box spring is a very complex environment for a bb and provides tons of harborage that can be hard to
    access and properly treat. Not sure of anyone brought this up but it's critical to make sure there are no holes whatsoever in the encasements. The best way to do this is to used felt pads to cover contact point on the bed frame. Duct tape works well too. Also if there are plastic or metal cover gaurds on the box spring corners, be sure to remove them. Also check for protruding staples and either remove them or pound them in with a hammer. We spend a lot of time when we install them, Also periodically check for holes and tape up any you find.

    Hope you fare well with Sandy. It's a good day to stay inside and treat bed bugs!

    Velvet

  13. bugdude239

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Sep 30 2013 10:42:22
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    Hey Dave, good information you provided, just want to offer some additional info on your advice.
    Transport Mikron is a (non repellent) I use it all the time, they will walk right over it. It also kills them faster then any other residual spray that I have ever used. Temprid is also another great product, and unlike Transport, has no odor. The active ingredients in Transport is Acetamiprid 5.00% and Bifenthrin 6.00%


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