If you're willing to try the Thyme and Tea Tree Oil approach, I found my Thyme in the spices section of my local supermarket. The Tea Tree Oil I found in the cosmetics section of my local health food store.
Personally, I finally had Terminix come in and go over my apartment. Using a "flushing agent" like Pyrethrin, a spray that prompts the bugs to scatter and also kills on contact, the exterminator found a few bed bugs under the edges of my carpet. She then applied a residual chemical containing Cyflurthrin. It sticks around for quite awhile and kills bugs when they crawl over it. A follow-up two weeks later found just a couple more and more spraying.
The best way I have found is extreme heat like steamers. Bed bugs can not survive in temperatures of 140 degrees, the steam machines are good for the carpets drapes and mattresses around the seams. Use comet or powder substance to place in the cracks you find in the tile and wall the powder will suffocate them including the eggs, your sheets cloths etc put in black trash bags and set them outside in the sun for 4 hours. Then wash everything at the hottest setting you are able to. From what I have read and from what I have dealt with if you can get them all you did darn good because you can go 6-7 months with out seeing one. The adults can live that long with out eating, but they say the only sure way to kill them is through heat. (07/14/2006)
Yes, I agree with Domingo, but I used a hair dryer. I put it in the hottest settings and blew it all over the bed. It seemed to work. I have been sleeping on the bed for days without one bite. I would spend 1 hour blowing it with the blowdryer in the highest settings (07/17/2006)
No Bites! I wrote back on 06/06/2006 from 2200 Ocean Avenue and have been bite free for about a month now (I was getting bit daily) here is what what I did and my advice to those who suffer.
Pull up all carpets
Buy a steamer (like the shark) to clean the bed frame the mattresses, the daybed frame (forget about a couch!) and the area rugs.
Put the legs of all beds in pyrex bowls of mineral oil and smear petroleum jelly around the non-submerged part. keep the bed off the wall keep the covers off the floor, don't let them get up on the bed! Watch every thing that goes on the bed, I found one squashed in my book!
Encase the mattresses and box springs in allergen proof covers (after steaming and/or extermination).
Wash everything (yes everything) in hot if you can with Clorox or Clorox 2. Throw out anything that you are not using right now (or that is not washable) along with the rugs (other than throw rugs that you can steam or wash) and the couch. You can not take this stuff with you when you go, unless you want to take the bugs, so why not make life better right now and throw out all you can. Store all your stuff in clear plastic bags and save your important stuff (the stuff you have to take with you when you leave) in sealed plastic, right now.
Thyme is great, it freaks them out and they climb the walls but my problem was too severe, I got two more exterminations and use the Ortho Home Defense Max regularly in places I don't touch. I leave the thyme sprigs under the sheets on the sides of the bed and sprinkle it liberally under the beds and under the cushion of the one chair I had to keep (yes, it is a washable Ikea chair).
I felt like Bill Murray with the gopher but by really thinking and looking I found them, in the kitchen! Yes they were coming through the bedroom walls from downstairs (patch all holes, close any unused outlets, watch those plug strips) and around the radiator and the closets (drench the floor here with Home Defense) but the major entry point was behind my kitchen cabinets (I drench back here with the Ortho Home Defense Max)! The apartment next door (on the kitchen side) has a horrible infestation and that is my main source, not the bedroom. They were biting my feet and legs as I did the dishes and worked on the computer.
Vacuum at least once a day, best if you do it morning and night & change the bag often, they are in there and so are the eggs!
Right now, I clean all the time, but I don't get bit. They are not going away entirley, I am sure, but I am dealing with it. I just think about the fact that I will not have to hire a truck to move, it is very freeing in an odd way.
P.S. This is a gross but good tip, don't squash them on the walls they make a terrible mess (too much blood). Keep some wide tape handy and pick the sucker up on it then squash him in between the tape. You won't have to scrub the walls at least, it will give you more time to vacuum.
By this too shall pass
We ended up with bedbugs about 6 months ago from a used mattress I got for my son. We've had exterminators in our house 2 times and all it seemed to do was make them mad. After the first spray we all woke up the next day with literally hundreds of bites. I can't sleep and am totally frustrated. We've thrown out all our mattresses and now all the new ones are infested again. I've probably done about 200 loads of laundry. I'm not going to spend another $500 for a professional exterminator that obviously doesn't know what they are doing, plus we got reactions from the chemicals they used. I'm at my wits end. I think $500 in Thyme should work!! (08/11/2006)
I recently moved in with some friends who have been in their apartment for over 2 years now. After 3 weeks in my room, I woke up 2 or 3 nights in a row with nearly 100 bug bites, inflamed and itchy. I googled them right away and as soon as I found out what they were, I flipped my mattress and box spring, only to find the bottom of the box spring torn and covered in blood with some adult bugs running around on the frame, which had feces on it. I found that spraying live ones directly with lice spray will kill them and I taped the dead ones to a piece of paper to show the exterminator. I threw out my box spring, covered my mattress in a plastic case and duct taped the zipper and started sleeping on the couch in another room. I would go into my bedroom late at night to find them on the floor, on the walls, under pictures and in their frames. I washed everything in my room 3 times so far
Put anything that can't be washed into the dryer on high, either dry clean clothes that arent too delicate and pillows/blankets that you just dont want to wash over and over again. Everything that isnt in use stays in giant black trash bags at all times. I threw out my carpet, my rollable guest mattress, most of my pillows and so far this ordeal has cost me over $1000. I tried tea tree oil, but they still came out at night. I put Vaseline on my bed legs and put the legs of my bed in bowls of water, but I read that they are crafty enough to crawl up to the ceiling and drop onto your bed. I have yet to try thyme, but since having 3 exterminator visits (it's been three weeks since the first bites), I havent seen any in a week. I want to believe that theyre gone, but I've read enough to believe that they arent. has anyone had similar results initially but found that they still return? (10/08/2006)
Thyme does not work. I put it around bed, under mattress etc., but they are still here. (11/01/2006)
I am going crazy cause I initially thought I had a bad case of mosquitoes in my apartment. Then my building manager told me the 4th floor was totally infested with bedbugs and now they have traveled to the 2nd floor where I live. The building manager has had the place exterminated twice and it helped for a second but now they are back with a vengeance. What is even more frustrating is that me and my neighbor are the only native born Americans in the building, and our other neighbors are getting mad and fighting the building management. They don't want to leave when the management needs us to leave the building for 4 hours to try to exterminate on a regular basis (every two weeks to get rid of the problem). It is driving me crazy and I can't afford to move. One of my neighbors is walking around with a big bite mark to the face and neck. It looks crazy. I am covering up my arms so my friends don't know that I have bedbugs or, even worse, an infectious disease. I am sleeping on my small love seat with my legs hanging over the arm. I will try the hair dryer, tea tree oil, and thyme. Thanks for all of the post everyone. I hope this works. (11/05/2006)
By Kevin in L.A.
Me and my cousin trapped some in a jar and killed them with garlic extract. We're going to try making a spray and using that. Also had to get rid of infected furniture. If you have to do this and you're strapped for money, try Craigslist to replace furniture. (01/20/2007)
I've been bitten for few weeks now. Kept thinking they were some breed of "silent mosquitoes". So sprayed aerosol every night. Saw 4 of the guys in a few weeks. Bathed all my guinea pigs and cats (thinking maybe the insects were ticks or fleas), it didn't work. Sleeping was starting to be a torture as the bites were super-itchy. Tonight, I'm gonna do a massive search and destroy! Gonna dig into every inch of the mattress and room, sticky tape them, squash, then vacuum.
BTW, it's difficult to find stuff like mattress covers, thyme, and all those solutions mentioned below. So I have no choice, but to use the conventional method of squash and vacum!
Apparently being obsessive with cleanliness doesn't stop em from appearing!
I didn't know Malaysia had them! (03/02/2007)
I sometimes feel like it is a nightmare 8 months being bitten alive. I had my home exterminated but I am still being bitten, I am going to try the thyme and constant prayer, I rarely go out I look like I have a disease bites all over my hands. (03/26/2007)
I too am plagued with the little monster I am trying to thyme as well. But I do have a little relief until they are all gone. It is an insect repellent from Avon. It is called Bug Guard Plus. I have used it for a week now.(05/12/2007)
By Ms. Stewart
Take everything from your living room to your bedroom. Buy a $9.00 hand pump sprayer and about $100 in rubbing alcohol, at least 70%. Spray the living room and wait about an hour. Then steam the the carpet thoroughly. Before reentering the items back into the living room, inspect well. Spray the furniture as well, rubbing alcohol does not leave residue.
Instead of moving infected items to the living room, move bedroom A into bedroom B. Lather, rinse, repeat. I am still not sure on the effect of the RA on the eggs. I did the same routine for about 2 weeks. So far we have been clear for about a year. (05/14/2007)
By No Longer A Problem
USE tea tree oil. We used it at a camp I was working at last year. Just put it on the edge of the mattress and I put some on the tip of my socks. It worked like a miracle. No more bites. (05/21/2007)
The only way to truly get rid of bed bugs is to have a professional exterminator come and spray for the bugs. In the US, when DDT was used in the 1960s the bugs were basically killed off. Now that DDT is not available, the pests are back. The ONLY proven pesticide that can effectively kill bed bugs is available to those exterminators who are certified to use it.
Also, bed bugs are not only in the bed. They are everywhere. They do not jump, but they crawl. You will find them in your carpet, lampshades, in the drawers on your dresser, your sofa, etc. The entire apartment or house should be treated. (06/26/2007)
Make a paste of activated charcoal (you can get this at healthfood stores) and water. If you want, you can add some goldenseal (also at healthfood stores). Put it on a bandage and cover your bites. You may need a lot of bandages. This is an inexpensive way to manage the itchiness. the charcoal draws out toxins that cause the itch and the goldenseal is an herb that acts as a natural antibiotic. Fabric bandages allow for movement and stick better and are less likely to allow the charcoal to make a mess once it dries under the bandage. Leave the bandages on overnight. The swelling should reduce dramatically. If they're still very itchy, do this again for the next night/day. But you want to change them daily. This should make the swelling gone and the redness. I hope this will help someone. (07/03/2007)
If you don't find a bunch of dead ones around, it's an old wives tale so don't waste your time or money.
By sheer accident because I wanted to wash my floor before the exterminators came I found out that Murphy's oil soap kills them on contact. I have lung problems so I just wanted a strong soap that wouldn't cause difficulty for me when sleeping that night.
So I mopped up the bedroom floor with 1/2 cup in a gallon of water (after vacuuming). When I rinsed the mop, there were DOZENS of bed bugs in it, even though I hadn't been bitten for about two weeks (since I began to vacuum regularly with high power shop vac and sealed all my clothes.)
Then I soaked down the baseboards with a scrub brush which flushed out more of them from the cracks and killed them. Oil soap may only kill them on contact but it definitely kills them as does hot water/heat.
For those of you advocating *against* exterminators. If you haven't lived with these horrid pests you are in no position to give advice. No one's body can heal when one is woken up constantly from these little bloodsucking vampires. I've been chronically exhausted from lack of sleep and that's more damaging than a week of pesticides!
I did some research on bedbugs and found that rubbing alcohol works a lot better than some commercial stuff. It does help to get rid of the items infested, never mind the cost. Better a good nights sleep than having to live with things. I can live with house mice, roaches, and sometimes a few flies, but dang if I can live with bed bugs! Richard Tymes
By ricHard Tymes
I had a serious infestation and searched the web. I found Thwart bed bug spray works and it was shipped overnight. kills on contact I was amazed. I was a little skeptic. They also have a money back guarantee but so far this spray really works. you won't be sorry! I still cant believe how well it works. I thought it was one of those products that are falsely advertised this is the real thing. It is also very safe. I think the main ingredient is tea tree oil (10/10/2007)
I just joined and am not sure how to post a reply, so will give it a try.
Cathy asked whether she could have bed bugs and not see them.
Yes, you could have these horror bugs, and not see them. If you have been bitten then you may not swell from the bites, not see any bites, and you may not know you have them until there are "tons".
I just recently got my house infected. A friend gave me a pocket book and a few weeks later I found a dead bed bug in the book. She already had bed bugs and did not know it. (her apartment now has been fumigated)
So I started looking, saw not one thing. three weeks later I had a few bites, was extremely shocked, and have done hours and hours of reading on the internet.
I took my bed apart, my bureaus apart, my closet apart, my everything washable into very hot water, and hot dryer. Saw nothing for the longest time.
I threw out loads of stuff. I put plastic around my mattress, and sealed it. I bought a hand held steamer, and steam everything possible. I am spraying with rubbing alcohol.
Then last week I found two young ones, nymphs. they were extremely small, and colorless, and I would not have seen them in a million years if I had not been cleaning and looking for them carefully. They move very very fast, just zoom, but I managed to squash them both.
After much reading and research I am thoroughly convinced that these bugs, especially the nymphs can be carried from home to home quite easily. they usually are active only at night, but if you disturb them they will run away very quickly, and perhaps even hide in a seam in your shoe.
They hide in very very small spaces, such as cracks in wood, and seams in linens, quilts, etc. the nymphs being colorless would be very difficult to see.
I have just bought some food grade diatomaceous earth and am placing that all over. I understand that they just love hardwood floors (there are usually some tiny tiny cracks in wood floors, and they hide there and lay eggs there. and I have old oak floors all over except in the kitchen. I am placing the diatomaceous earth all over the floor, it is like a fine flour, and it does seep in the cracks.
I am very upset as I had a recent heart attack and cannot do much work in cleaning, washing. even worrying.
Bed bugs are on the upswing all over, it doesn't matter how clean you are. there still seems to be some shame attached. How can that be, for crying out loud. These things will even hide in radios, telephones, etc. Try and get rid of that, right? You can bring some home from traveling, from a bus, from a second hand store. Be warned.
PS: After all the cleaning, I got a bite last night!
Forgot to say:
Marley asked how long does it take for bed bugs to suffocate once they are sealed in plastic bags.
Hundreds of web sites from University entomology departments state that an adult bed bug can live for a year without a meal. (10/25/2007)
Seal up any cracks or holes that the bed bugs may come or leave through
Everything that you can, wash and dry it on "High".
After the clothes, linens, etc.. are washed, put them into garbage bags and seal them tightly. Keep a couple weeks of clothes in some separate bags, so you will have clothes to wear. Wash those often. The rest, put them in storage or somewhere away from your bug problem.
Everything else you can't wash, place in garbage bags and, just before sealing the bags, spray a bunch of Raid or another powerful bug spray into it. Seal immediately after spraying.
Put those bags away from the infestation.
Pay an exterminator to get rid of them. Despite what you try, you will not completely get rid of bed bugs on your own. When you are looking for an exterminator, get one who will continue to come back every couple of weeks until the problem is gone. This could take months. In other words. They should guarantee their work.
The exterminator should be willing to turn over every piece of furniture to inspect and spray it thoroughly. If they say they don't need to do that, they are wrong!
After your bed has been sprayed, cover the mattress and box spring with those mattress covers. You don't need to throw away your bed!
Take some bowls that can handle lots of weight in them. Fill the inside with very sticky, double sided tape. Place each leg of your bed and couch inside a bowl. Wrap fly paper around each leg of your bed and couch. This should help keep them from climbing up from the floor.
Place your pillows and sheets in the dryer for a half-an-hour or so before going to bed each night.
Don't let your sheets or blankets touch the floor at any time.
Move your bed and couch away from the wall and any night or end tables that they may usually touch.
Make sure the exterminator continues to come several times even after you think there are no bugs left.
Only after several weeks of knowing that your place is bug free, you can start taking the items from the garbage bags and put them back. (11/12/2007)
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