How I Eliminated Bed Bugs in Only 7 Days
Copyright 2016, Trumpet Press
This is how I eliminated the bed bug threat in my house in only 7 days. That is 7 days total, from the day I began being bit to the last bite. This is the complete story, including everything I learned in the process and in my research before I began the battle.
I realize that if you have a major infestation that you will need to do things a little different, but I include information for that issue as well.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to follow some of the advice I found online. "If you think you might have bed bugs, buy a monitor to trap some and identify them." WRONG If you are being bitten in bed, that is enough to begin the process. If you wait until you trap some, or see them, you will already have an infestation. You MUST ACT FAST. Like I did, because one bug can cause an infestation!
I suspect that I picked up a bed bug while test-driving a used car that an individual was selling. That is the only way it could have gotten into the house, that I can think of.
I test drove the car on Monday and I began being bitten on Monday night, or should I say Tuesday morning. I usually do not get into bed before midnight. It was just two bites and I thought it was mosquito bites.
Then two more Wed. morning, then two more Thursday morning, then two more Friday morning (four days). Because of the severity of the bites and their location, I began to doubt that they were mosquito bites and went online to do some research.
I considered that it might be fleas, but those usually bite the ankles. I read some websites about bed bugs and watched a few videos on Youtube, and decided that I had better take action because just one bed bug can become an infestation because it can lay eggs, and the hatched bugs can mate with each other.
So I went into the bedroom to take the first step, which is to launder the bedding. I pulled back the top sheet and low and behold right there where I sleep was a bed bug! I grabbed a face tissue and picked it up and flushed it down the toilet.
There was also other evidence, such as two streaks of blood over an inch long at the edge of the mattress, next to each other. That is often one of the indicators of bed bugs. Like it was so full that some of the blood leaked out as it went over the side of the bed.
Though I got it quick, it may have laid over a dozen eggs, because bed bugs can lay 1-3 eggs after each feeding. So I continued with my attack on the problem.
I washed and dried all the bedding on high heat and all the clothes I had hanging on my door, at the foot of the bed. While the bedding and clothes were washing and drying, I went online and ordered a lot of stuff to combat the problem. I ordered mattress and box spring enclosures, traps, and spray. But they would not arrive for several days because they don't deliver on Sunday, and Monday was a holiday. It turns out I did not need most of that stuff.
I also vacuumed the carpet and cleaned it with a hot water Bissell cleaner I own. I also vacuumed the sides of the bed, like the videos said I should do. I even took a hot iron and ran it over the sides and top of the bed. All the information I read and learned said to use a powerful steamer, but since I did not have a steamer I used the hot iron. I set it on "cotton" and moved it pretty fast. I probably should have set it on "polyester" because it might have melted some of the synthetic fabric if I had not moved it fast enough.
I also sprayed the bed frame and legs and base boards with a bug killer that included bed bugs on the label. But who knows how effective the spay will be. Perhaps it will only kill them if it hits live bugs, not if live bugs later crawl across where the spay has dried. It does good with roaches that way, the best I have ever used, but I had no idea its effectiveness with bed bugs. They are notoriously difficult to get rid of.
The next day, Saturday, I even washed the canvas shoes I had, which caused my drier to shake badly and the belt broke. Fortunately I had already washed and dried everything else I was going to dry. I had to wait until Tuesday to buy a new drier belt because Monday was Memorial Day.
Saturday I found more bites, and the same Sunday. I reasoned that it just takes 24-48 hours for the bites to show up, because most people do not all react the same to bed bug bites. But in case they were coming in from next door, and that there could be more bugs, I went to Home Depot and bought a bag of Diatomaceous Earth. This product is recommended by almost all the videos and websites about bed bugs. I used a homemade dust gun to put it all along my bed frame, on the lower parts of the headboard, and along the baseboards where I could reach.
I later watched more videos on Youtube by a professional exterminator who said the latest research reports show that Diatomaceous Earth was not useful for eliminating bed bugs. The stuff will kill the bugs in lab tests, but because it takes many hours to even days to kill them, it cannot stop an infestation. The bugs will crawl across the powder, then go and bit you and then lay eggs. This could happen two or three times in one night. So it could lay several eggs before it dies. So you can see how this would not stop the problem from actually getting worse. So don't waste your money on DE.
|I even made bed bug traps. I cut the rim off a plastic TV dinner bowl; it comes free with the microwave dinner, and put them under the lower legs of the bed. I then put masking tape on the outside so the bugs can crawl up it. (See videos on Youtube on how to make the traps and putting baby powder on the inside to make it slippery. Seeing it done is much better than just reading how to do it.) Or you can just buy them already made with the powder in it already for $14.00 for a set of four.
I also made a bed bug lure with CO2. The bugs are attracted to our CO2. These lures are supposed to work, so I made one using yeast, warm water, and sugar, and put it into an empty two-liter soda bottle, just like I saw on Youtube.
But neither the traps or the lure did anything, and neither was necessary in my case. They are only needed when you already have an infestation. When you only have a few bugs they will stay very close to their food supply, because it takes so much work to crawl very far for these tiny bugs. But I was at war, and I was determine to win this war. I had even been bitten on my face!
|I did not want to wait on the mattress enclosures so I went to Walmart and found a vinyl one for the box spring. It said it was thicker and stronger, so I figured it would work for the box spring, and I had decided not to put one on the mattress because reviews said that enclosures on mattresses make the sleeper hot.
Even those that claim to breathe do not breathe well enough to stop you from being hot. And since this happened at the end of May, I decided I would just make dead sure that the bed bugs get all killed off the mattress, and keep any more from getting onto the bed. An enclosure is mainly for when you have an infestation, and you want to trap the bugs and eggs that may be inside, and prevent more bugs from going inside.
I managed to get the cover over the box spring by myself, which was a lot easier than I thought it would be, because I have a queen size bed, and no one to help me move any of it. I just moved the mattress over onto its side on the floor, then lifted up the box on its end on the floor. Then I started at the top and worked the enclosure onto the box, like putting on a large sock.
But when I got more bites Monday, I said this cannot be right. There was only one bug, right? But, what if it did not come in on my clothing or shoes, what if it came in from the house next door and there are several of them? I was beginning to get concerned.
I decided to do another inspection to see if I could find more bed bugs. I pulled the sheet back, no bugs, I pulled off the bottom sheet and went around the mattress inspecting for the poop marks and the bug itself. THERE IT WAS. They like to hid in dark cracks, nooks, and crannies.
I have a pillow top mattress and in the crevasse where the pillow top is connected to the main part of the mattress, AT THE CORNER of the mattress, where it is compressed together (see picture), I found a very small bug. It actually looked like a very small spot created by a felt tip pen, so I got a magnifying glass and looked at it closer. I wanted to be sure it was an actual bug and not a spot of poop. The adults are also very small, about the size of half a grain of rice.
Sure enough, it was a juvenile bed bug, because close to it was one of its skins which it had recently shed. They must shed their skins five times before they become adults, and they must feed between each shedding. So I knew that this monster had recently hatched from an egg.
All the data I had read about the bugs said the eggs hatch 6-21 days. Every website seemed to give different days. But they were ALL WRONG. If Monday morning was the first feeding, then that is when the first eggs were laid. I caught the adult vampire on Friday. But I was bitten again Saturday morning.
Therefore, that egg hatched in only 5 days, provided it was able to find me and bite me just hours after hatching. If it took some time for the tiny thing to climb through the bedding and find me, then it was just 4 days.
I was really shocked that I found the bug where I did. I had a good quality sheet with a high threat count, and I had a mattress protector on the bed. Yet it had to have gone through both of them. The reason being that in order to get from me to where it was hiding without going through the bedding, it would have had to crawl down the side of the very thick, double pillow top mattress; down between the mattress and box spring, crawl under the elastic holding the sheet in place, then crawl up the side of the mattress again, into the crevasse. And it would have had to crawl down the inside of the sheet, then and back up again on the outside of the sheet to bite me, and repeat it every night.
These things are not like roaches that move really fast. Walking a foot over bedding for these small bugs is like walking a quarter of a mile for a human. Shag carpeting is like a thick jungle.
So this means that all my work got all but one of the eggs. Or so I hoped. There was still the possibility that some of the last eggs would still hatch in another four or five days. So I went to the store and bought a good quality clothes steamer, not the good professional steamer that is recommended, but I was going to do what I could. I steamed the sides of the mattress and put all the bedding back on and went to bed with a good prayer that I had gotten all the bugs and eggs.
I had no more bites that night! But with each night the chances of eggs hatching increased. So now I am bed bug free.
I returned the two good quality enclosures I bought, but I kept the spay that arrived. Now I know how people feel when they are attacked by a neighbor and they go out and buy a gun for protection. I felt protected and armed, once that spay arrived.
And just to be on the safe side, since more eggs could hatch, I sprayed all around the mattress in the pillow top crevasse. I ordered two different spays, just to be sure I got one that would work. But now I will never know for sure. I just bought the spray based on many positive reviews on Amazon that said the stuff worked.
I was glad to find nonchemical all natural spray that could be sprayed onto the bedding. Do NOT attempt to use rubbing alcohol mixed with water to kill the bugs. Many websites and videos claim that this will kill them. But I found one site that reported that it will not. One fellow sprayed an adult, and it looked dead, but it was only stunned. It eventually crawled away. He even sprayed eggs, and after the alcohol dried, the eggs hatched normally.
So if you have had this problem for several weeks, then you already have dozens of bugs, and dozens more eggs. And based on everything I have learned in my research, this is what I recommend:
1. Clean all the bedding. You should put the bedding in a large plastic bag immediately, then carry it to the washing machine, because bugs or eggs could drop out of the bedding.
2. Dry all items on high heat for at least 20 minutes that cannot be washed, like pillows or a teddy bear, because the high heat of the dryer will kill the bugs and the eggs.
3. Vacuum the mattress and box spring, the floor or carpet, then take the vacuum outside and remove the bag and place it inside of a plastic bag that you then seal up with tape and throw away.
4. Use a hot iron or buy a good steamer designed to kill bed bugs ($200-$300)
5. Buy an enclosure at Walmart for the box spring and put it on.
6. Make bed bug traps for the bed legs.
7. Order bug killing spray online. It can arrive in two or three days, then spray the mattress and outside of the box spring enclosure. It is rare that you will find any for sale in local stores, unless you happen to live in an area that has lots of beg bug infestations. Also remove the drawers of the night stand and dresser and spray inside, and the underside of the drawers.
8. Each day, remove the bedding and look for more bugs. You can use a very sticky tape to grab the bug and then just throw the tape away. If I had done that with the second bug I would not have used up a brand new vacuum bag.
9. For long term killing you will need some chemical powder that can be dusted into the cracks and crevasses of the baseboards, headboard, inside the night stand and dresser. You can remove the electrical outlet and dust inside the opening, but NOT inside the electrical plug itself.
If you have an infestation beyond your bedroom, then I would call an exterminator. If you cannot afford one then buy several bottles of spray. Bag up everything in all the rooms, wash all that can be washed, dry all that can be dried. Spray everything else, inside and out.
You can also buy bed bug glue traps that will grab the ones that walk across the glue. But do not waste your money on "monitors". Some exterminators and websites want you to buy beg bug monitors which will catch a few bed bugs; this is to find out if you have a problem! LOL
If you have bed bugs you will know it by the bites you get. And there will be no sign of them until you get dozens of them, unless you are fortunate, like I was.
I bought two brands of spray. The one I used has a strong smell of cedar wood, so I recommend using it before noon and having a ceiling fan or some other fan that can be used to dry out the mattress before bed time. It is called "Bed Bug Killer" by EcoRaider. It cost $20.00 for a 16oz bottle. I would not recommend using this for traveling because, even though most of the smell will leave in a few hours, a small amount will linger for a day or so and the motel might not like that.
I would use the other brand I bought, "Bed Bug Gone," which is $18.00 for a 24oz bottle. Too big for travel but you can put it in a smaller spray bottle. Another one is also supposed to be very good, Bed Bug Pratrol.
I also bought some powder and a sprayer, but I am debating whether to even put it down, since I just had the one bug and don't travel at this time. But if you need the stuff, look for CimeXa insecticide dust. It cost about $14.00. It is best applied with a duster that cost $13.00 but you can make one yourself. I made one, for the DE I used, from a small rubber bulb that is used to squirt water into a person's ear to clean it out. Just draw the dust up into it and air, and push. I would wear a dust mask and eye protection.
If you want a powerful chemical spray, you can buy a small tube of Temprid SC that mixes with a gallon of water. Then put it in a spray bottle. I would only use that in out of the way places where you will not touch in the future, or where pets cannot reach. Like the bottom of drawers where dust will not settle, the back of the dresser, the back of the headboard, etc.
I bought both of those chemicals listed above but got rid of my bed bugs before they even arrived by UPS. So I have them if I ever need them.
I would not waste my money on the Ortho brand bed bug killer that is listed on Amazon. At least 99%, perhaps 100% of all the positive reviews are paid reviews. The people got the product through the Amazon Vine program that sends out the product free to people in exchange for a review.
As added insurance, I bought a very thin mattress liner that has compounds in it that will kill any bed bugs that crawl on it or through it. It is called, Active Guard Mattress Liner. It was the most expensive thing I bought at $70.00, but it will last for 18-24 months. It is thin, so air will go right through it and not make me hot. Most items listed above cost less at Amazon, but this is one item that costs a lot more. It is cheapest at www.doyourownpestcontrol.com.
If you don't use something with residual killing ability, and even if you do, it might take several weeks or months of repeated spraying to get rid of all the bed bugs. The adults can live for over 6 months without a blood meal.
Good luck on your crusade against the invaders.
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