If you are in a relationship with an adulterer, there is the chance you will have to deal with bed bugs at some point. I had the joy of this while going through chemotherapy. When I first started seeing streaks of blood on my sheets I assumed it was because of my surgery. By the time I saw an actual bug in my bed I had a heavy infestation. At first I assumed I had brought the bugs home from the hospital. Later it became clear to me that the infestation had been there for quite some time.
In many ways I am grateful I dealt with this during chemo. To begin with, I had help , which I wouldn’t normally have had. Also, I was too tired and sick to care that I was sleeping with blood sucking bugs, which is what you must do if you get infested. I also had plenty of free time, while laying in my infested bed, to research how to get rid of bed bugs. So, here is my tutorial.
1st & foremost, short of spending $5K to “heat” your entire house above 120 degree’s (which, regardless of what you are told is No Guarantee) there is no easy cure. 6 months to a year is what it takes; set your mind on that.
Secondly, yes it is gross. The reality is though, that there are bugs crawling all over us all the time. Try to keep that thought in the forefront of your mind, because unless you burn down your home you will be dealing with them for 6 months at least. Even if you move you run the risk of bringing eggs and starting a new infestation. This is one battle you must fight – there is no escape.
It is a long process, but it can be done.
Your 1st thought will be – get rid of the bed. Don’t. If you buy a new bed before cleaning up the eggs, the new bed will become infested. Since you can’t see the eggs, you won’t know that they are gone until you no longer see the actual live bugs. Wait for 6 – 9 months of no longer seeing active bugs before you buy a new bed.
#1. Do not stop sleeping in the infested bed. The bugs follow carbon dioxide, which we exhale when breathing. If you leave the bed they will travel through the walls to the next bed.
#2. Cover the box spring & mattress with plastic. Make sure you get the right mattress protector for bed bugs. This will trap the ones in the mattress & they will eventually die (6 months – year).
#3. Check all other beds, sofas & chairs. If even 1 bug found, cover in plastic (you can buy a large bolt of plastic and use that and duct tape for couches, chairs, etc). and put hot shot in plastic. Hot shot can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes
Hot Shot 5580 No Pest Strip Unscented Hanging Vapor Insect Repellent
Hot Shot is Toxic, so only use inside plastic on furniture not often used, and not in beds. DO NOT waste money on sticky traps or foggers. Sticky traps catch only what happens to stumble by, and foggers chase the bugs into other rooms.
#4. Vacuum all baseboards & outlets. Take apart all outlets and vacuum the inside. Take all pictures, fabrics, knickknacks, headboards, and other furniture and put them in a large plastic bag with hot shot. Leave them for 6 months. Take any unnecessary furniture out of the room, and cover in plastic with hot shot. Eggs can be laid anywhere, including the glue on the frames of pictures, and they can’t be seen.
#5. For the 1st month, sleep with large trash bags by bed. Every morning, before moving away from bed, put all bedding and clothes in a bag, then put through the dryer. 120 degrees for 20 minutes is required to kill active bugs and eggs. Since it takes a while to get to 120 degrees, leave things in the dryer on high for at least 30 minutes. Then, vacuum baseboards, floor & outlets. DO NOT carry bedding or clothing through the house without bagging it. Any bugs or eggs will fall off and infest other areas.
#6. Purchase diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it all over. Vacuum it up while vacuuming, then reapply. Put it under beds and along baseboards & doorways. Focus on adjoining walls so bugs don’t spread to other rooms. Use 1 designated vacuum for this, and keep it outside when not in use. Diatomaceous earth punctures a hole in the outer shell of the bug, so they eventually dehydrate to death, but it takes a while. (this is a powder that takes a long time to clean up. Don’t bother trying to clean it up until you are sure the bugs are completely gone)
#7. For the 1st few weeks carefully lift your mattress and kill any bugs you see. Flush them down the toilet. Check all creases and crevices, and check the bed frame. Initially, the healthy bugs will move quickly. If you douse them in 90% alcohol they will slow down so that you can catch them. After there are less you can do this every three or 4 days. Eventually the remaining bugs will be slower and easier to catch.
#8. In the 1st few weeks, set your alarm for 4 or 5 AM and do a total bed check, killing any you find. They are most active between 2-6AM, so you will find the most during this time. Keep flashlights beside the bed because if you turn on overhead lights they will disappear before you can catch. them. Anyone in the bed must get out, and all sheets and blankets must be looked at thoroughly. Spray any bugs you find with 90% rubbing alcohol to slow them down, then grab them with a tissue and flush them.
#9. Every few day check other beds and furniture to make sure they have not been infected. When checking beds pay close attention to the edges and underneath seams, where they hide during the day. Also look for black spots or reddish colored shells. The black spots are residue from active bugs, and the reddish shells are exoskeletons they have shed. Either of these, as well as actual streaks of blood, mean bugs are present.
#10. Some people think lavender dryer sheets kill them. I don’t know if that’s true, but I did put them in all my drawers just to be safe.
After the first 2 months or so, they will start to diminish, but even 1 can lay eggs, so you can’t let up. Anything wrapped in plastic must stay that way for 6 months, which is how long they can live with no food or oxygen.
If, after about 9 months, you are no longer finding live ones, and the ones underneath the mattress protector are no longer moving, you have probably beat them. At this point, very, very carefully put your bed out for trash. Do Not rip the protector, as there might still be eggs inside. Purchase a new bed and, before putting it in your bedroom cover it in protective mattress protector. Mark the old bed as infected, so that no one comes by and takes it home. Embarrassing, but kind.
Beware of “cures” or “promises”. Read the fine print. Most often you will find the no guarantee statement. And, while eventually there might be an easy fix, as of now there is none, but there are tons of charlatans who will take your money. Time and patience are the only fix.
One final note: Yes, steam can kills eggs. Some might swear by a steam cleaner. I though, found that steam cleaners provided no advantage to the regular vacuum and diatomaceous earth. Even with a steam cleaner you are still putting in the same amount of work, making sure you cover each potential area in your room. If you want a steam cleaner, get one. Just don’t think this will be an easy fix; it is the same as a vacuum.
I made it through while sick as a dog on chemo. Of course, being sick as a dog might have been helpful, in that I really didn’t care if something was crawling on me. It can be done though.
Hang in, beat the suckers, then figure out who brought them home.
Perhaps a person needs to be put out to trash also!