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Author Topic: Bed Bugs: Any experiences in extermination?  (Read 840 times)
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Turtle
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« on: June 13, 2012, 04:08:35 AM »

I've got a bed bug problem in the house.

After doing the usual in-depth online searches, I've run into the common internet problem of there being too much conflicting information, and not being able to tell what's accurate.

I already know I'm going to have to call in a professional exterminator, that much I know. Everywhere I look that's not trying to sell me a over the counter home remedy says to get professional help first.

But I'd also like to hear from others who might have suffered similarly to get stories of what really worked against them. Also recommendations for specific national or regional exterminator companies that worked for you, I'm in Orange County, California.

Thankfully, it seems that I'm one of the 30% of people that really isn't affected by their bites, I've never really been affected by bug bites, either because they don't like my blood or I just don't react due to prior skin conditions. This is a blessing and a curse since I don't know if they've fully infested by room and I'm being bitten a lot, or it's the beginnings of the infestation.

Another fortunate thing is that I have a computer in my room that's usually on and the heat of those electronics attract them that way, which is how I spotted the first one on my computer desk.

There are some extra factors though: We have cats in the house, two of which like to try and sneak outside. We'd prefer to keep them alive and healthy through this process, and possible make them less vulnerable to carrying them into the house.
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stimpy
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 01:29:43 PM »

Awwww....does this mean we wont be having that pajama party next weekend?
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 01:49:09 PM »

I went through a scare when someone in the apartment complex I live in was said to have bed bugs (turned out to be just a rumor, thank god).  I did a TON of research as I'm friggin' paranoid about that kind of crap.  From everything I read, the only sure way to get rid of them was to have an exterminator come in with heating tubes that pump hot air at a constant temperature into your home for an extended period of time (24 hours, I believe). 

As I'm not a cat person, I would say it's okay to leave them in the house during that time, by the way.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 02:08:04 PM »

In all likelihood your cats weren't the vector that brought them into your house.  Bed Bugs aren't like ticks/flees.

You'll want to get an exterminator, if they are doing spraying you'll probably want to kennel your cats for it.   Some exterminators are using other processes to deal with it such as super heating the rooms as bed bugs are heat sensitive.

Things you can do in the meantime:  

Do not change where you sleep! If you move to the couch, they will follow you there and infest that room as well.

Wash everything and dry all your clothes/sheets on extra high, as noted high heat will kill them.   Cleaned clothes
can be stored in plastic bags/containers.

Vacuum and steam clean your mattress and seal it in an mattress cover, the box spring as well.   If the exterminator is using chemicals you may want to have them spray it down inside the cover after you've sealed it.

Remove your bedskirt and ensure none of your sheets etc. touch the floor.   Inspect the bed frame, put the posts in containers with either a soapy liquid or oil, or a sticky tape bottom.    

A light dusting of Diatomaceous Earth can be used around the bed and infested areas.  DE kills most bugs and is harmless to humans/pets, it's basically like razor wire for bugs.  Make sure that you get the garden grade DE, you do NOT want to get pool grade as that is chemically treated and will not work and is potentially harmful (I believe)

It will likely take multiple visits from the exterminator.   Keep in mind these buggers can also go for like 6 months without feeding.  Throwing away bedding/furniture really depends on the level of infestation.  

You're pretty lucky with the bites as they are itchy as fuck in my experience.  Also the entire ordeal can be a bit psychologically taxing.  Good luck.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 02:45:51 PM »

Given that some people are attempting to use dogs to find them, I doubt they will overly bother your dogs.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2012, 03:14:33 PM »

In case anyone's wondering what a bed bug looks like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bed_bug,_Cimex_lectularius.jpg
You probably already saw this there:
Quote
Dwellings can become infested with bed bugs in a variety of ways, such as:

    Bugs and eggs inadvertently brought in from other infested dwellings by visiting pets,[37] or a visiting person's clothing or luggage
    Infested items (such as furniture, clothing or backpacks) brought in
    Nearby dwellings or infested items, if easy routes are available for travel (through duct work or false ceilings)
    Wild animals (such as bats or birds)[38][39] that may also harbor bed bugs or related species such as the bat bug
    People or pets visiting an infested areas (apartment, subway, movie theater, or hotel) and carrying the bugs to another area on their clothing, luggage, or bodies
If your financial situation allows it, I'd consider either just flat moving out altogether, or leasing another place for 3-6 months while you let an exterminator tackle the infestation without worrying about people and pets. If you have cats, I believe some extended stay hotels will let you keep them in your room, so that could be another option short-term.

The reason I'd consider moving is if the bed bugs are being carried in from your neighborhood or they're coming in via pipes in the building or something, I'm not really sure an exterminator could guarantee they won't return after treatment. Or at least, if you get extermination done, you might try keeping the pets in 100% of the time and then if you STILL get new bedbugs, then you at least know they're not the "carrier."
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stimpy
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2012, 03:20:27 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on June 13, 2012, 03:14:33 PM

If your financial situation allows it, I'd consider either just flat moving out altogether, or leasing another place for 3-6 months

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2012, 03:35:18 PM »

Quote from: forgeforsaken on June 13, 2012, 02:08:04 PM

It will likely take multiple visits from the exterminator.   Keep in mind these buggers can also go for like 6 months without feeding.  Throwing away bedding/furniture really depends on the level of infestation.  

...

Also the entire ordeal can be a bit psychologically taxing.  Good luck.

While our problem was a little different (dog ticks instead of bed bugs), I completely agree with forge's assessment in terms of multiple visits from an exterminator and the ordeal being psychologically taxing.  Last summer Arizona had an unusual dog tick outbreak which brought the bastards indoors.  For months it felt like a losing battle.  We spent hundreds on multiple visits from an exterminator, cleaned the house from top to bottom four times a week, including vacuuming along every strip of couch piping, every corner, every grout line in our floors, and we had to pick over our dogs every day.  This went on for months, but diligence eventually won us the battle and so far this summer we haven't had any issues.

My best advice would be to hire a professional, listen to what they have to say, and if they make suggestions on how to improve the extermination process, do it.  Ultimately if you're concerned with cost, in the end it will be a worthwhile expense to rid you of this problem.  But I can't stress following your exterminator's direction enough.

Not sure if you have them in your area, but we went with Truly Nolen and were extremely pleased with our exterminator's knowledge, professionalism, thoroughness, and willingness to do all he could to help us (to save us some money, while they offer a return visit within a certain time period if the problem isn't remedied, he directed us to ensure a third visit within that window without any additional charge). 

As forge said, good luck. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 05:07:10 PM »

A local Indian Casino with a very nice hotel complex has had to shut down the hotel to get rid of bed bugs. The news said they were going to use some sort of heat treatment to kill them, whatever that meant.

We went through lice with one of my daughters. That was fun.
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Turtle
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 06:04:55 PM »

Thanks guys, this has been helpful.

First, anyone know if freezing is effective as I have read online? I only find info about freezing stuff to help clear items of stray beg bugs in a few places. I have a lot of stuff in my room, like a massive (and expensive) art and reference book collection that I would rather not have heat treated. I'll ask the exterminator when he finally gets here, but if anyone was advised by theirs to do so it could be a first step for me.

Anyway, after staying up practically all knight and constant checking, along with a thorough search of my bed. I can reasonably say that they haven't infested my bed, so I'm not getting bitten a night, at least not yet. I finally got some real sleep at sun up.

My housemates had the bed bug infestation first and mostly dealt with it, but also didn't call an exterminator due to finances. We'll be calling one soon. They originally detected bed bugs by first being bitten, then seeing one crawling on the warm computer desk (we work late into the night). So they took all the precautions you can find online, using the correct flea/bug powder made of diatomaceous earth, cleaning their room/bed, moving the bed away from walls and restricting the climbing paths, and doing stuff like cleaning inspecting items and laundering clothes on high. However they're also seeing stray ones every now and then.

Since we have cats, I think what's happening is that the bed bugs are attacking the cats since they can't get to us, and one of them brought it into my room from the living room where the cats sometimes sleep late at night, sometimes they sleep in our rooms. I've barred the cats from coming into my room now. We usually let the cats roam our rooms freely, putting up privacy curtains in the doorways with enough room at the bottom for the cats to slip under.

Ugh, the one I caught via sticky paper roll (apparently not just useful for removing pet hair from clothes) is still alive for days now, been using it as a reference to spot more.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 09:03:50 PM »

Glad to hear you're planning to go the professional route.  With our tick infestation we first tried everything we could before resorting to a professional exterminator, and none of it worked.  We used over-the-counter pesticides, cleaned incessantly, gave the dogs flea and tick baths, etc.  

Only professional extermination solved our problem, but keep in mind that the first treatment may not be enough, so don't lose faith too soon.  After our first treatment we were horribly discouraged as we continued to have a problem, but learned that it would take multiple treatments by the exterminator and constant cleaning on our part to ensure that all eggs, existing ticks, and female egg-layers were eradicated.  

I despise unwanted guests.  And despite our infestation being brought on by something outside of our control, we still felt dirty and embarrassed of our home.  

I have a feeling your issue won't be completely solved by professional extermination alone, but by dedicated cleaning and lifestyle adjustments on your part as well.  One of the things our exterminator had to remind us of was remaining patient.  But when your home is infiltrated by unwanted pests, patience is typically in short supply.  

Also inquire about whether the cats should be treated either with pest-deterring shampoo or something like Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, or something along those lines.  If the bugs are feeding on the cats, pet treatment will be an important way to halt the feeding/egg-laying cycle, assuming bed bugs work similar to other pests like ticks. 

Still, keep at it, follow any direction from your exterminator, and hopefully the problem will be remedied efficiently.  
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 09:09:55 PM by PeteRock » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2012, 10:04:58 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on June 13, 2012, 09:03:50 PM


Also inquire about whether the cats should be treated either with pest-deterring shampoo or something like Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, or something along those lines.  If the bugs are feeding on the cats, pet treatment will be an important way to halt the feeding/egg-laying cycle, assuming bed bugs work similar to other pests like ticks. 


Bed bugs far prefer humans over pets like dogs and cats. 
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Blackjack
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 07:37:07 PM »

Saw an article that linked to others and sooo...

Top 10 Things you Should Know About Bedbugs:
http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/bedbugs-10-things-you-should-know
Quote
8. You don't have to throw away your belongings if you have bedbugs.

A common misconception about bedbugs is that if you have them, you have to trash your mattress and send all your clothing to the dry cleaner’s. Not true: According to [NY-based pest management firm company prez] Furman, heat is the number-one killer of bedbugs.

Exterminators treat rooms and furniture with a combination of dry steam cleaning, deep heat and chemical treatments.

If your clothes have been in an infested room, throw them in a hot dryer (at least 120 degrees) for 30 minutes to kill any bugs.
I suppose with the last tip, you'd want to, uh, wipe any bedbug corpses out of your dryer afterwards?  paranoid

MNN Bedbug infographic:
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/infographic-bedbugs-attack

Philadelphia Overtakes New York City as Bed Bug Capital
http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/06/18/philly-overtakes-new-york-city-us-bedbug-capital?hpt=hp_t3

Terminix Press Release
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/philadelphia-takes-top-spot-in-annual-bedbug-infested-cities-list-158410705.html
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 07:40:34 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 09:14:00 PM »

My company makes heat exchangers that cool the engines that generate the heat for use for killing the bed bugs. Yes, we cool the heat generator.  These are the units that generate the heat:

http://www.thermdynamics.com/fleet
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