BedBugs - It's War and I'm Going To Win

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Update - 5 Years Later - No BedBugs!

I hope I helped people through their bed bug infestation.

The things to keep in mind is this:

-Bedbugs most likely live in crevices of your mattress and box-spring. Not hiding across the room or on the ceiling. Although they can potentially live in the your baseboard.

-The way to get rid of bed bugs is to ensure the mattress AND the box-spring are in a zipper tight mattress cover.

-Put sticky tape around the feet of your bed posts to ensure that if they are living outside your bed (unlikely), that they can not climb up your bed post.

-Wash your sheets and pillows in the hottest setting and dry on the hottest setting.

-OR, you can use this as an excuse to get a nice pillow top mattress, box-spring, and bed frame. Get a king size and shop carefully as mattresses can get *heavily* marked up. The softer the pillow top, the better. Don't get springy. If you do this, you will still need to put sticky tape around the legs and keep them there for at least a year. This method would be the easiest if you are being psychologically scarred from bed bugs and want mental assurance there's no bugs in your bed. Also new sheets would be in order too. I recommend satin.

Even with a serious infestation in your house and bedroom, this will work. Don't let your covers touch the floor though.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Update - Nov. 18th 2006 - No BedBugs!!


Well well well... +7000 hits later and still I have no bedbugs since taking my preventative measures. I've read the feedback and feel I should make a little podcast because I feel that there are some that aren't following the directions. ;)

I'm going to wait for a full year before I remove my sticky tape and start to get back to normal life. It took over 6 months for me to get over the psychological fear of bugs crawling on me while sleeping even that I knew that they weren't.

I can finally say that I'm getting a full nights sleep and not imagining that bugs are crawling on me and sucking my blood!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Update - Still no bedbugs!

Yes sir,

Still no bed bugs. It looked like my defence worked. No climbing the bed posts, no climing out of the mattress if they were there. I moved my bed closer to the wall now because I was tired of my pillow falling on the floor at night and then having to put it in the dryer for 30 min.

I still do have scarring from the origional bites and still feel that bugs are crawling on me at night.

Only until next March will I take all the bed protection off and feel normal again.

Thanks to all that visited my blog!

I'll keep everyone posted.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another update - still no bedbugs

It looks like the methods below worked. There have been no bedbugs since then. Not on the sticktape, and more importantly, not on me!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another update

Well still no bedbugs and I'm finally beginning to sleep again with no paranoya. Still, not a single bedbug in the sticky tape. I have read that sticky tape does work, so I'm still waiting for them to come out. I'll keep everyone posted when I do finally catch a bedbug.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Update - 2 Days Later

Well it's been 2 nights now and no bites. I must say that there are also no bed bugs stuck to the sticky tape. I pulled all the tape out of my floor board. Maybe the night light is too bright for them to come for me and I need to fully shut it off. I will do this. Maybe the bed bugs have been hiding in my box spring my whole time and they can't get out? Either way, I'll keep updating and hopefully I'll have some bugs stuck in my sticky tape and will have some pictures to show.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

War Declared - Defenses up!

Well 4 hours last night was spent on preparing for war. The mattress and boxspring have both been covered by this protective sheet which protects against dust mites etc. I got these at WalMart. It has a zipper and fully encloses the mattress. We sprayed and vacuumed the covers again just to be safe.

The other night I put on this tape sealing the floorboard gaps. The picture might now show it but they are really wedged in the small gap. I used a plaster tool (like a spatula) to wedge them in. I am going to remove these however because I feel they will make their way down the wall to our walk in closet and I don't want them anywhere near our clothing.

I got some carpet tape and some empty yoghurt containers. I put some masking tape over the containers incase the bed bugs can't climb up the bare plastic. I also sprayed a bit of hair spray on the masking tape to ensure some traction for the bed bugs. Then if you look at the far container, you will notice a white solid ring of carpet tape near the top. This is where I am hoping they will get stuck. Each bed leg will in one of these containers.

Here is the fly tape that is meant to hang from the ceilings and catch flies. This is very sticky. It's almost like a sticky drying honey. One thing to note is that it doesn't' stick to itself very well. These will be placed on the bed legs themselves for added security. We need a dual barrier incase the carpet tape doesn't work. Mostly, this is also to make me mentally stable and ensure I get a good nights sleep.

With latex gloves, I worked with the fly tape. Do not use your bare hands as this is even hard to wash off. The fly tape needed to be tied with strings by my wife who had clean hands. This will ensure that the fly tape does not unwind. I am very confident no bug can make it up here from the ground. The bed frame was sprayed and taken apart from storage. Remember, I have not had a previous problem with bed bugs. I inherited this problem when moving into my new house.

Here we have the box spring, bed frame, and protective cups with sticky tape on them. The picture if from the feet end of the mattress. Note there is a string down the middle. This is because the protective mattress cover was sagging down and almost touching the floor. There must be nothing from bed (including pillows or sheets) that should be touching the floor. A backup pillow that was sanitized was kept outside the room incase we dropped a pillow at night. Oh yes, the pillows have protective covers also.

And here's the final product. Afterwards, I put on freshly dried sheets and pillows. The top blankets are also of 'twin' or 'double' size; not queen sized. This help ensure that the blanket does not touch the floor.

This monring, there was nothing found on the tape and no bites. The light was on though and the tape was still in the baseboards. I'll remove the tape tonight and dim the lights to almost dark and see what happens. Keep in mind, this is also mental. I need to ensure that I wean my way into something that is confortable for my mental state. Maybe the tape won't go tonight. Who knows.

I must say, I mentally am feeling a lot better now since doing this and am having somewhat of a pleasant day at work. I feel safer sleeping at night now. This also counts. Remember, there is also mental warfare here. Even If I do have bed bugs in my home, it shouldn't start to ruin my life. Let's first focus on us sleeping sound, then we can start to pull apart the carpets and walls to eradicate them.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Devising a Strategy

Before waging war, you have to understand your enemy. You have to know how they attack, how they defend against attacks, and properly scope the probability of winning.

Probability of Winning War:

This is detached home. This means that victory is possible. If this were an apartment building or motel that was known to be infested, I would most likely claim defeat and move out.
Assessing Size of Enemy's Army:

My wife and myself have just moved in. We both come from rentals that had no troubles with bedbugs. We rented a moving truck that sat in freezing cold temperatures for over 30 hours. We are fairly sure we didn't get them from the moving truck. Thus, we are certain we don't have bedbugs in our packings, belongings, or bed.

The previous owners obviously had bed bugs and this may have prompted them to sell the house. There is no visible stains or key signs that there are bedbugs in the bed room. Also, bites have not been nightly and only myself has received them. It took about 2 weeks before the first bite - this is a month total from the time the old owners left and I got my first bite. There does not seem to be visible, heavy infestations. Either way, it will get that way if nothing is done now. A smaller army is tough because they hide very well. Osama has a small army; consequently, he's very hard to find.

Unlike Osama, bedbugs take offensive action during predictable times. If the numbers are low, the eradication of this army should be quicker. A possible estimation could be 3-4 active full grown bedbugs and another dozen on the way. Another possibility is that the downstairs is heavily infested and that it took 2 weeks for them to make their way upstairs and seek me out. The original owners had a bed downstairs on the main floor which is now my study. They probably used the ground floor bed to aid all the immigrants he was sponsoring or refugees aiding into the country. This is always a possibility and I will inspect the downstairs further. However I think that the bedbug problem is most likely something that recently happened to him a couple of months back and then he rushed to sell the house after he found out his pest control man couldn't control these. Either way, the bites aren't too large in number and we'll deal with those facts.

Strategy for Warfare:

Now that we understand our current surroundings and size of the army, it is feasible to win this war. First we need to understand the enemy before we create a strategy.

The bedbug is a lady-bug sized creature that only comes out at night and attacks you during your sleep. Like mosquito's, it is attatched to your breath (carbon monoxide). Since it's birth, it's instinct is to do nothing but suck your blood in the dark while you are sleeping. It's feet and legs are very light footed: you won't be able to feel them crawling up you while your sleeping. It has a beak that it puts in you, released a saliva that numbs the pain so you don't feel it, and it sucks your blood for a good 3-10 min. It will do this in a few areas. 2-4 and many times 3. Usually in a row or formation. They will feed and then come back in either a few days to 2 weeks. They do poop and shed skin so they leave brownish dirt. They also leave speckles from their poo drops. They can move quite fast but don't have good traction as they cannot climb up materials like glass or steel. An infestation might look like this:

Bedbugs all hide together so finding the spots could be easy for you. I have still found none. They will be on the offensive approximately 1 hour before dawn. Although times can change. They like to go for easy targets and open skin, but dressing wont work because they will eventually climb in your clothes, bite you, and then climb back out to go hiding again. Bedbugs get desperate: the hungrier they get, the more they will resort to rash behavior including coming out in the light or biting eyelids.

They like to hide in small cracks and creases and stay very close to their food supply. Mostly they can be found hiding in the mattress, boxspring and headboard assembly. I haven't heard of pillow or blanket hiding though. They can be wedged in the floorboard and go under the carpeting around the top of your bed. This is where I think they are hiding in my case.

Going after them is what an exterminator will do over and over during the year until they are gone. This depends on the exterminator's talent and probably some luck. But spraying a can of Raid under carpets and floorboards and killing the eggs are not feasible for the average person.
But if you know they are going to come for you and even when they are going to do it, it's best to setup a defensive warfare tactic. Let them come, defend yourself, but not only this, they need to be killed at the same time while coming for you.

Let's look at some methods which have proven not to work:

Wearing extra clothing: Bedbugs will eventually go under them.

Spraying Raid: While Raid will kill on direct contact, you usually won't see all of them and the Raid is not killing the eggs. It doesn't work as a final solution. But by all means, if you visibly have a 'nest', Raid them as a first step!

Moving Rooms: They'll eventually follow you to your new location.

Hiring an exterminator: I do think in most cases this is a good solution, but this is an offensive approach and many exterminators do not know how to deal with bed bugs. This is also very expensive and for the most part doesn't work very well because it's an offensive approach. I've read too many testimonials of it resolving the problem for a while and then they are back again just to have the exterminator called all over again. After a year and $1000's later maybe you'll be doing well.

Putting silicon jelly on the bed legs or buying them slippery: Well this seems to be close to a good solution. If they can't eat you, they'll die eventually. The only problem is, the eggs will be laid each day and the father and mother bedbugs will be returning home after their trip up and down your slippery bed legs.

War Strategy Declared!

Ok so here is my strategy. I shall take 4 empty sour cream/yoguhrt containers. Each bed leg will be placed in these containers. Around the middle of each container, I'll tape a ring of super sticky fly tape or specialized insect tape. Thus, when they come out of hiding around 5-6am, they will by instant try to climb up the leg of my bed to reach me. What they wont know is that they are climbing up a yoguhrt container and are going to be stuck in sticky tape. This bedbug will have a one way trip to his destiny. His little friends can come looking for him by all means!

Steps of action I have taken:

  • Bought 2 queen sized mattress covers meant to keep out dust mites. These have a zipper and contain the whole mattress. This will stop the Bedbugs from settling in the mattress/box spring, or if they are already inside, it will prevent them from leaving. This is a major hurdle under control. Got some pillow covers too in case they are inside there.
  • Washed and dried (on high) all sheets, pillows and laundry.
  • Removed all clutter in the room. Most of the room is now bare.
  • Vacuumed twice over.
  • Sprayed Raid all along the baseboard, carpet, walls and outlets where I believe them to be.
  • Bought caulking and caulked all the cracks along the windows and phone plug outlets have been replaced with solid white covers. (looking back should not have done so)
  • Covered baseboard/carpet gap with masking tape. (will take out tonight though)

To Do Tonight:

  • Will take the bed frame out of storage, take apart and spray with Raid and scrub it because I'm paranoid at this point. I'm pretty sure this does not have any bedbugs in it.
  • Will remove sheets and place in dryer for 5 min.
  • Mattress covers are very white and new. There should be no infestation between mattress/boxspring. Will Raid all over anyway and scrub with brush to kill eggs if there.
  • Will take 4 empty yoguhrt containers and place a ring of sticky fly tape around them.
  • Will put the bed frame legs in the yoghurt containers.
  • Will Remove the tape I put in the baseboard cracks. This will encourage them to come.
  • Will remove night light which will further encourage them.

Let's hope I have some good pictures to show...

Ok - It's war

A bit over a month ago, we purchased my dream home. Nice big house with nice big yard and a nice happy neighborhood. We got fair deal on the house and started sleeping in the house about a month ago.

The only thing that troubled me when buying the house is that we bought the house from 2 dirka families living in it with 10 children in the house and many suitcases in the basement. There must have been some sort of immigration/consulting/people smuggling/who-knows ring going on in that house.

Bah, it's no big deal; after all, this is a modern, common living get-up here in the Toronto Mississauga area in Canada. We're buying the house - not the people living in it. Right?

So we took our time moving in and two weeks after sleeping peacefully, I noticed that I woke up with these strange lumps.. about 3 in a row or so in my rib area. My skin was pink in the area. I didn't think much of it and brushed them off as some sort of spider bite.

After a few more days, I got two more or so on my back. I brushed these off as more bites or possibly pimples.

After a few more days, I noticed that I got these small bites on my side close to the first bites. These were less sever. I just dismissed these as small pimples that I scratched off.

After a few more days, my wounds started to heal and the heart of the bites actually showed dark red. 1, 2, 3 in a row. I said to my wife 'you know, It's almost like something was crawling on me, bit me, moved over, bit me again, then moved over, and bit me again.'

Another few days passed and last weekend I attended a wedding. It had an open bar and I got pretty tipsy. We got home and I went to bed. I woke up when I got sober and was real thirsty. I also woke up with my bite marks burning. I thought this was because I was dehydrated. I then stayed up for 30 min and went back to sleep.

As I was trying to get back to sleep I began to think about my wounds and realized it has been almost 2 weeks and I have these mysterious bites on me that are burning and healing very slowly. I went back to sleep. That night I drempt of spiders and insects that were out to get me.

I awoke the next morning and grabbed the laptop and started to research spider bites. After all, there was quite a bit of spiders around the house when we moved in so it must have been spiders. As I was researching a site, I saw this one line:

"Spiders rarely bite more than once, so multiple bites are usually caused by insects such as fleas, bedbugs, ticks, mites and biting flies."

As soon as I read the part about the bedbugs, I automatically had this sinking feeling. Then I read this about bedbug bites:

"Though bedbug bites can occur singly, they often follow a distinctive pattern of a linear group of three bites, sometimes macabrely referred to as "breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Ok. Now I had confirmation that I indeed had bedbugs. I then found some sites related to bedbugs and those trying to cope:

After further reading, I realized this would need ongoing professional intervention over a long period of time. Naturally as a guy, I want to try to tackle this myself. If we can't spray DDT all over the house, this won't go away easily; regardless of professional help. With a new house and new payments, I can't afford to pay people to spray pesticides that I can buy at the store and spray myself.

I'm waging war. The War is starting now.