One of the most popular and environmentally safe ways to kill bed bugs is by using bed bug dust AKA Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE), also called bed bug dust. DE is a fancy name for fossilized water plants (algae-like plants called diatoms) that are ground to a fine dust and used to kill bed bugs.
It’s popular because when placed in a spray bottle (duster such as a plastic ketchup container) and dusted into infestations, you avoid paying added fees for commercial (and often toxic) pest control solutions. You can find this product at almost any feed and supply store or online from a number of companies.
Tip: Are you sure you have bed bugs but being told you don’t or can’t find them? Read how Mimi found bed bugs using a bug sniffing dog when the pest control companies could find them!
Warning! The diatomaceous earth you find at the pool supply store is NOT what you want to use! You want Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth which is a safe all natural pest control which you can find at your local feed store; you can also look for Fossil Shell Flour at other stores.
Another Warning! Bed bug dust (DE) works by absorbing lipids from the waxy outer layer of their exoskeleton causing the bugs to die from dehydration; this absorbent quality will also cause significant drying of your hands if applied without gloves. It is also dangerous to breathe, so MAKE SURE TO WEAR A DUST MASK!
This is a completely natural, environmentally safe way to win the war against bed bugs (also called chinches), so let let me explain how it works.
When the bug comes in contact with DE’s microscopic razor sharp edges, their protective covering becomes damaged; without protection and exposed to the elements, the bug becomes dehydrated and quickly dies.
How to Apply Bed Bug Dust (DE)
You’ll need three weapons. First, create a mixture of %40 alcohol (ethyl alcohol works), %40 water and %20 dish soap [the spray]. Second, you’ll need to place your diatomaceous earth in a duster [the dust] and third, you’ll need a powerful vacuum with attachments – used for sucking loose bedbugs out of their hiding places.
Bedbugs love to hide and do a great job at it! If you read the comments throughout my site, you’ll see case after case where the victim went months without finding signs only to discover later that there was an infestation right next to them! Know where to look, see my bed bug checklist; I’ll cover some of their hiding places below.
Phase One – Cleaning: We need to clean, and good. Wash bedding and surrounding material with hot water that is at least 120 degree in temperature. Items such as pillows, toys, extra blankets should be cleaned and sealed in plastic bags for further decontamination later.
Start by vacuuming the baseboards, cracks in the floors and furniture (bed frame, dresser, headboard, picture frames, etc). Don’t forget about electrical outlets, but BE CAREFUL to make sure not to get the area wet or use conductive attachments!
Inspect that bed, again! Take the mattress and box spring off the frame and stand them on their side, vacuum along the seams, under tags and everywhere that bugs could hide. Take that frame apart and vacuum any cracks or openings such as where the frames connect – bugs love making their home there!
Don’t forget the surrounding areas, such as your dresser, night stand, under the carpet, chairs, electrical outlet and even in your clock! MAKE SURE to discard the vacuum bag immediately after use!
Once you’ve vacuumed everywhere, it’s time to have fun and spray (which kills them on contact!). Spray the mixture on/in all the seams, cracks, handles, buttons and labels (tags) of your mattress and box spring; if there are bugs, those that don’t get wet may become agitated and show themselves. Use a flashlight while doing this and look for signs of bugs, such as eggs, stains (looks like someone dotted the area with a black marker). If you find eggs (they look like tiny rice, use a fine tooth comb or masking tape to collect them. Make sure to place any eggs in a zip-lock bag with a little DE and get them in the trash immediately (outside trash!)
Phase Two- Heat Treatment: Okay, it’s not the type of treatment that you would receive from a professional exterminator, but it’s good enough to further agitate the bugs into showing themselves :)
Take a hair dryer set to high and start blowing heat into all those cracks and crevices you vacuumed earlier. As bedbugs start to pour out of their bunkers, take that opportunity to spray them with your alcohol mixture and vacuum the fallout.
Phase Three – BedBug Dust: Now take the duster, filled with your food grade diatomaceouse earth, and dust into the bottom of the box spring – you can choose to make a small hole in the fabric or simply dust through the fabric to prevent damage. I prefer making a small incision and getting the dust into the box spring rather than having a film of white powder on the outside. MAKE SURE you are wearing a dust mask and gloves!
You’ll want to spray the bed bug dust into all the crack and crevices you vacuumed – a light dusting will do fine. Placed under the carpet along the edges, it will help prevent future infestations. Bed bug dust can also be used to kill ants, mites, fleas and more, plus it’s safe to humans (again, don’t inhale it) and easy handle.
After your treatment, you’ll want to make it as difficult as possible for future infestations to occur by doing the following:
- Prevent the bed bugs from climbing up your bed by placing the legs of the bed into a plastic bowl with an inside coating of Vaseline. When they try to climb up the bed, they’ll become stuck. If you have a large infestation and catch a good number of bugs this way, please, send me the picture! I helped you, please help me show others how successful this DIY treatment can be!
- Fill cracks and crevices with the appropriate filler
- Tape any holes that would allow bugs to enter your box-spring
- Use a mattress cover that completely seals – one made for dust mites will work just fine
How Long Before Bed Bugs Die from DE Dust?
Changlu Wang, Timothy Gibb, and Gary W. Bennett from Purdue University did an excellent study on the cost and effectiveness of using Diatomaceous earth (also called DE, diatomite or kieselgur/kieselguhr and bed bug dust) on bed bug infested (1000’s of bugs) apartments. Also tested was chlorfenapyr spray but it was not as effective as the all natural DE.
They treated by using mattress encasements (including the box spring) and the steam treatment I outlined above. They also made sure to put the legs of chairs, sofas, nightstands and anything else into bed bug intercept traps like that shown in the image above.
It took ten weeks and they re-steamed and reapplied Mother Earth-D (food grade DE) when necessary; because death is not immediate, the females may be able to deposit eggs which will hatch and become active. It is these hatchings (instars) that you need to stay on top of.
The study found that bug interceptors trapped an average of 219 bed bugs per apartment and were an extremely effective part of the treatment program.
In the study, 16 equally infested units were selected and half the units were 100% bed bug free while the remaining units were 98% free; another application would likely have taken care of the rest (but the study was limited to 10 weeks). Total bed bug extermination costs average $470 but this amount can be great reduced using generic products, such as:
- Using dust mite mattress encasement rather than one made for bed bugs
- Using food grade DE found at feed and supply stores rather than something labeled “Bed Bug Dust”
- Making your own bed bug climb up protectors rather than buying pre-made devices.
- Buying a generic steamer (or renting) besides one made for bedbugs.
There are many success stories of DIY treatment using DE here on this site. The thing to keep in mind is that these pests are not going to die overnight; it can take a couple of months for a large infestation to be eliminated but in the end, you will win!
Visitors have successfully eliminated bed bugs using this exact same method, and truth be told, you’ll have to do most of this anyway if you were to hire a professional exterminator!
Here is a great testimonial to the power of Diatomaceous Earth by T.M
First off I want to say my review is 100% true 100% legit. Hate trying to read articles on the net about something that go out its way to falsify information.
Got bed bugs cause I was staying in a lot of different hotels because of my job. At first my wife kept complaining about bites but I was never getting bitten so I thought maybe it was something else. Well after about a year of infestation I finally started getting bit. Checked bed for sign of bed bugs and to my surprise, I couldn’t find anything. Finally one day i spotted an adult bug running across the bed and that was the last straw!
After a lot of researching it finally came down to the Diatomaceous Earth (DE) solution. I don’t have children or pets and just don’t like chemicals around myself period if not necessary. The infestation we had could be considered moderate. Like some of the other reviews say, it is a slow killer. So if you looking for an instant solution of failure go another route. I figure as Rome was not built in a day I won’t get rid of bed bugs in a day.
Fortunately for us the bugs were in our bedroom only. So first stripped down bed washed all sheets, blankets, etc in hot water and dried on hot like recommended. Since we weren’t gone to be in the room I basically layered everything with diatomaceous earth; in-between box springs, under my mattress, entire carpet area of the room including under the bed, my bed railing, headboard front and back, dressers front and back, *some in the wall outlets*, my entire room was covered in a layer of DE. I slept in our living room for a month but hey, had bugs for over a year so a month of not sleeping in my bed was worth it!
After two weeks from the initial treatment, I vacuumed up everything except for under the bed area. Got a hot wet soapy towel and wiped down all the furniture to clean up the DE and vacuumed the TOP of my mattress. I left the DE on the backside of my headboard on the bottom of my mattress in between my box-springs, the carpet under the bed, and of course inside the box springs. Then I put a red sheet on my bed for the next two weeks. I would come check it and find what looks like small white cotton pieces which are actually the baby bed bugs just curled up and dead. So finally removed that sheet rewashed and can am now sleeping in my bed bug free room. I am happy to have found the DE (bed bug dust)!
For those who completely remove the DE from infested areas, the eggs that are there hatch over time and you may end up re-infested, that’s why I didn’t remove it all. So the babies that hatched got exposed and died off as well. I will keeping the layers that are left there and will reapply more in a few months just as a preventive measure. There is no reason for me to go in those places so DE can stay there.
If you use the DE please PLEASE wear a dust mask. I’m a hard-head and don’t listen and applied without one. Well the powder floats in the air very lightly and before I knew it, my nose hairs were covered in it! For next two days my lungs were hurting. I got a 4lb bag of DE at Lowes for less than $10. Like I said it’s not an instant solution but it is a great solution. 1 month total to get rid of a medium bed bug infestation – well worth the time!
Discussions on Bed Bug Dust aka Diatomaceous Earth
Joanne McBirney ::
I have 2 cats and a bird. Are these products safe for my pets?
I know people put food grade diatomaceous earth into their pet’s food for deworming, so I don’t think it will harm them. Any Veterinarian should be happy to confirm this over the phone.
Am curious about our pets…2 cats and 3 dogs…one dog and 2 of the cats sleep with us…we have been keeping them out in fear of them transfering the pests to other areas of house. Is this possible>. do they stay on the animals? do the animals get bites? all of our pets are on frontline and have been for years. Should the DE be spread around like a powder? or mixed with water as a spary or both?
I heard when DE becomes wet its not effected any more?
A mixture of DE and Water can be found recommended all over the net with many stating it’s recommend by entomologists as a great way to get rid of bed bugs, and, many verify that it has worked for them.
If you find otherwise, let me know where you found the information suggesting otherwise will you? Thanks!
Regarding DE and water – used in a garden setting, rain or watering the plants will eventually rinse away the DE. It’s not that DE becomes ineffective, but simply it get’s removed from where you put it originally. In an indoor setting, unless you are watering your bed or don’t have a roof, this won’t be a problem!
What would you use to spray the water/powder and what concentration strength?
We spray alcohol at our school. We are told it will kill the eggs and live ones on contact but does not have a lingering effect. Only kills on contact. Is that true?
there is an epidemic of bed bugs on the street i live on…I have been doing some research and the diatomaceous earth seems to be a good product to use….so far I have only seen 2 bugs….and a squish mark on the bed where I put one to its death….wondering though if mixed with water can it be put into a portable steamer and used this way…I have been told that heat will kill bed bugs just wondering if the heat destroys the properties in the diatomaceous earth that kills the bed bugs
James Mcguire ::
Where would I go to purchace this foodgrade DE?
I have been battling these pests for the last few months using pesticides and repelents, I appear to be winning, but since I rent a room, and only my room is involved, I feel breathing the fumes as I sleep is not helping my health. Though I have not been bitten in the past few months, I still see them on occasion, so I can not give up. But I do not feel that great in the morning.
A working alternative would be greatly appreaciated.
Bed Bug Girl ::
You can buy bed bug dust (DE) at feed and supply stores such as pet stores, or online (such as eBay).
How much DE and water can I mix to make an effective solution? And is this mix safe to spray on clothing items? Is it safe for my children to come in contact with? If sprayed in their room , toys, shoes, closets etc?
Bed Bug Girl ::
Don’t mix it with water or it will lose it’s effectiveness. I have detailed instructions at the top of this page.
Attacked by bedbugs ::
I went to a pet store and they didn’t know anything about this product. Can anyone advise what DE is used for in the pet context?
I buy DE at my local TSC~so far that is the most reasonable place to purchase it. Most feed stores have it, make sure to get the bags that have CODEX FOOD GRADE!! I am using DE right now to help my grandfather get rid of bed bugs, will post our experiences after a couple of weeks.
Amy Upton ::
My husband had been getting bit, had Terminix out and they told me i did not have bed bugs, however, just tonight my husband was sitting in his chair which is where i suspected them to be, as he has never gotten bit in our bedroom. He said “wow, where did that bite come from?” and he raised his arm and there was another one, after the third bite started itching real bad he got up looked in the chair, and low and behold there was a bedbug full of blood.
I had put DE all around the perimeter of every room in my home 5 days ago. In light sockets etc, Well, we took the bedbug and put some DE on a paper plate and put the bedbug in it, within 2 hours this bug was dead!!!!! It looked just like a tick in a way, but small like a seed of an apple.
I found your bedbug trap using alka seltzer, so therefore I have my project set up and it is midnight I am going to bed. I will let you all know what the results are in the morning. It is suppose to attract them and trap them in. One project calls for dry ice the other project calls for Alka seltzer, I am trying both in my home.
I will rid these creatures from my home one way or another. I also can tell you that i know the DE is working as i poured my dust cup on white paper from my sweeper, and there was 3 of the stink bugs in there, and they just crumble when i tried to move them. One was about half dead, so i’m a firm believer of DE..
Have A Good night you all.
Hi. I got DE but its not food grade. I put on gloves and a dust mask and just grabbed handfuls and put along the baseboards covered the whole room that I found the bed bug in. Will it still work? Do you recommend food grade because it safer ? Please let me know. I hope I didn’t do all that for nothing . :|
aggravated in virginia ::
ooh i hate these little creatures. my mother moved into a place and about 4 months into the lease we discovered the problem after my children stayed the night. needless to say cleaning commenced and an exterminator was called and did a spray treatment. 10 weeks later and 3 living room suits later the little bastards are still terrorizing anyone that dares to stay into the wee hours of night. i only wish i had found this sight then. i am so excited to hear of these bed bug dust treatments cause seriously who has thousands of dollars to get a heat treatment that may not be guaranteed. Can’t wait to post the results of my revenge!
Just recently discovered me and my husband moved in with these suckers 8 months ago… i thought i had scabbies for goodness sake. Cant wait to get my hands on some of this food grade DE!!!!!!!
I have been dealing with the issue past couple of months. I recently purchased DE and put out in every room. We put DE on my kids bunk-beds, crib, and beds but it seems that bed bugs are still around. This website is great site but no one talks about how long it should take to get rid of the bed bugs using DE in single family house. Can someone please post how long it will take to get rid of bed bugs using DE.
Bed Bug Girl ::
Hi Rose, I’ve updated the information on the first part of this page – but, to answer your question, up to 10 weeks for serious infestations.
M Thorman ::
I found your site very interesting. I live in Costa Rica and DE does not appear to be available here. I’d love to find it for use not only in killing chinches, but in my vegetable garden. Have you heard of other names DE might have in Latin America?
Bed Bug Girl ::
Diatomaceous earth is also called bedbug dust, diatomite or kieselgur/kieselguhr – do not mix with water as it breaks down rapidly. If you find other names in your area, will you do us a favor and leave a comment? Thanks!
Bed bug spray at Lowes works well on contact..not for beds though! We vacuumed crevices, washed everything down, sprayed the base boards and walls, put DE in baseboards then ducked taped them… got covers for the mattress after spraying them down.. washed and dried everything on high heat..repeat in two weeks.. we even put duck tape going from one bedroom to the next to catch buggers….still fighting
taped them in do powder would not get loose..got protective
Completely in upheaval ::
I started this process on Sat. March 3rd. Taking all the clothing, bedding, towels, curtains, anything made of material outside. It took me 9 hours at the laundry mat and cost $90 and then I realized I should also take the hanging clothes…their outside now.
I then bought a Shop Vac and Vacuumed and mopped; I sprayed 91% alcohol straight on to the old hardwood floors that have so many cracks that I wonder if I should have just poured and mopped them with the alcohol…(I hadn’t read your site yet.) Then I sprayed the beds with Harris Bed Bug Killer and powdered everything “except the bookshelves” with Safer Ant & Crawling Insect Killer which says that it is Diatomacous Earth and for bedbugs too (although I don’t know if it’s “food grade”).
Now all my clothing is in my car, my place is stripped and I’m sleeping on a massage table with the legs in the vaseline and my child is staying with a friend and I don’t know what to do next! I did go to a Feed store “for horses” and got some food grade Diatomacous and it looks grey not white. Should I just puff it into the outlets (that I missed earlier) and sweep it with a broom on these crazy cracked up hardwood floors and then put the Mattress Protection Covers on when they arrive tomorrow and bring my child back here? Help!
I have a life that I need to resume! BTW, I worry that my two cats who sleep on the bed with me are carrying these thing on them…although as of yet I still haven’t even seen a bedbug although we all have the bites, welts, and even blisters to prove that they are in fact here!
These bed bugs are worse than cockroaches….Yesterday I bought the DE… I used a ketchup bottle from the dollar store to spray the whole down stairs.. We have them In a love seat and couch…. Believe me I sprayed everything..I wanted to know does the DE kill the eggs???? Can’t wait to get rid of them!!!!
1-)As stated above, apartment needs to be cleaned 100000000%. Get the kids off the iPad and tape sponges to their feet.
2-) If its a crack, bed bugs have been there and so should DE. Some examples:
Zippers of pants/jackets/bookbags/purses/creases. In-between accumulated paper magazines, bags… but they are mostly where a human sits at any time of the day.. someone’s favorite spot? Check there. They have been taught by the best shaolin ninja’s on earth, and they are hiding masters.
3-) Garbage out. When you vacuum and empty? Do it outside 100% of the time.
4-) During cleaning process… cover up, tuck pants in socks, shirt in pants.. like you are on the front line. This is war, and that little one will slip in your pant leg, and have you for Supper. Wear gloves and MAKE SURE A MASK AS STATED, THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! If you breath in Diatomaceouse Earth while dusting, it can be harmful!
5-) Make sure house is clean! Move furniture around, and THE VASELINE TRICK WORKS MIRACLES!!!!!! (thanks for that one!!!) Especially your bed!
6-) Getting rid of your furniture IS NOT THE ANSWER! Keep the couch, the bed can make it, the ottoman is safe for another year.
7-) If your THINK one can fit in there?? It’s a good idea to “DUST” there.
8-) Make sure apartment (or house) is clean.
9-) I dried my blankets every day on high heat (Pillows to, but be very careful on high heat!!!!!!! The hair dryer proved to work better on mattress and pillows. This made them come out real quick!)
10-) turn couches upside down and apply spray mixture & heat everywhere.
11-) I’m sorry to say, and it is my opinion, but Exterminators will have a field day charging you, and it is usually a horrible ending. THIS IS THE ANSWER!!!!! I have done this to a few apartments where I live with a HUGE success rate.
The answer is…. real talk… cleanliness and on top of it. Don’t be lazy about it. They will win. Make brownies to bribe children, buy under garments to bribe the Husband. The most affective way to get the woman to help is flowers. But you cannot be cheezy about them, remember her favorite color, and flower. To most men, this will be the hardest fight of the war, because most do not remember.
Man up! This lady who posted this did her homework, and it worked for me, and roughly 15 other people.
99.99999% success rate combined. =]
Also: DE is often found white. Also depends on where you live. I live near feed stores, so the one I get is eggshell-ish grey.
POOL DE IS NOT SAFE!!!! That is not what she is talking about!
If you are from the city, you will not find this until you start seeing homes with land and animals. If your lucky a pet store might have it. In your case, you are stuck buying proprietary DE, or BedBugDust.
Hope you enjoyed this.
It says too be careful and not let the dust touch or skin or breathe it in my kids have asthma so when I dust their room should I clean it before they go it there?? Like clean all the dust up with bleach?? Also do we have to leave our house after dusting all the rooms?? Or is it safe to stay?? How do you clean up the dust and how ling do you leave it before cleaning up
We had bed bugs and we removed them just last month. We did all kinds of cleaning including washing clothes throwing away the pillows, mopping floors with very hot water for 3 days twice and slept on the floor for 2 weeks. No bed bugs after that. But, we bought new bed frames and mattresses after getting fully satisfied that they are gone. Now after 1 week or so I found one bed bug roaming around on my mattress.
Can you suggest me something ?
I think its our wooden floor that’s causing them. But there was no sign of them when we were sleeping on the floor for 2 weeks. How come they came back ? Does weather affect ??
just layed out DE i found in home depot, hope thats the stuff !!!! im concerned about my cat tryin to lick the stuff… ill keep u posted…
Just discovered them a week ago but no idea how long I have had them though. Son brought them home from school as was the only affected at first! Big welts on him took him to doctor and she was the one who told me to look for them and low and behold in his bed.
Bought a cover not only for him but now all of us. Put down DE, hoping and praying it will do the trick. Bought a new vacuum and am looking for a steamer. They have made their way through the house. My house looks a disaster with all the white stuff everywhere!
I laundry everyday.. sweep everyday.. going crazy! Have no one to talk to. My situation is that I have built in beds in my wall made of wood. Can not take them down. Looking for suggestions on how to deal with that and how often should I steam. As well scared that son will just keep bringing them home.
School is aware that they have issue. Just want someone to talk to that is going through this! As well have 100 lb dog who sleeps on couch! Ughhhh
I followed all 3 steps, spray solutions, hair dryer, and finally DE. A week later, I still see them and getting more. they used to be in attic only, now spreading to the living room as well. anyone can tell me more solutions?
so gross! ::
We bought a used mattress on Craigslist…it was a very nice king size bed for $50. we’ve bought used mattress there before with no problem. i usually enclose the mattress and boxspring right away in a zippered cover, i failed to do this with the king size bed :( my son who sleeps on the king bed has not gotten one bite, however my younger son in the next room has been getting bit for months.
I didn’t even think about it being bed bugs until we traded our queen size bed for my son’s king size bed. i noticed a bug on it when we were transferring it to our room. i still didn’t know it was bed bugs. the 2nd night of sleeping on the bed i got 12 bites on my chest and arms. i then realized that we had bed bugs and that is what my younger son had been dealing with for months. i feel terrible i didn’t know it earlier :(
I’ve washed the sheets in all the rooms many times and never noticed any bugs or signs of the bugs. i googled bed bugs and found that Pine Sol works to kill them…it really works! i put it in a spray bottle and it kills them on contact. i don’t think it works for prevention however. i bought DE ($30 for a 50lb bag at the local feed store co-op) i’m still in the process of getting rid of them. it is the most disgusting thing that’s ever happened to me.
Chris, I moved in with my mother in law a month ago, and she had a nasty case of them. And sometime last week, they moved into our living room as well. if your beds are built into your wooden walls, I would try to get some raid, and raid the living hell out of those walls. The raid has been working a lot to keep them out of my bed.
The DE dust works too, but if you cant use the ‘interceptive’ traps (I’m going to be trying those tonight, BTW) because of the way the beds are set up, try Raid. My grandmother says you can also use Boric acid, but if you have a dog, I wouldn’t mess around with it. Another site said that they can go for months without a human host. My Father in law, however says that the only sure way to do it (This will be expensive) is to have the exterminator come in and apply a ‘heat treatment’. They cannot stand the heat.
And out of curiousity, My BF is not getting bit, nor is my mother in law. Its only me and my brother in law. Why are they more attracted to me?
Bed Bug Girl ::
Chris: See my detailed, step by step instructions for getting rid of bed bugs using diatomaceous earth (DE), it’s been proven to work time and time again. You can take the DE, place it in a plastic empty ketchup bottle and puff (spray) it into the frame of the bed.
Marlyne: many people ask why two people can sleep in the same bed and only one end up bitten and there are a few answers, 1) it’s usually because the bugs are on that side of the bed and hit you first, 2) You react differently to the bites (some people don’t react at all), and 3) you are producing more carbon dioxide than others and they target you first.
Key to all this is a plan and don’t give up!
hi I just bought de and a steamer this better work my arms are coverd and im waking up inching im dieing here !@!! I am soooooooo upset !!! i moved here 4 months ago and i thought bombing would work nope now they r mean ! But its war tonight wish me luck im ANGRY !
Rengaraju senior section engineer ::
Working in the railways of India I come across bed bugs in railway coaches often, here is what we do to exterminate them:
1 we change the curtains in ac coaches
2 we remove the curtains and linens and dry in sun,
3 we spray chemical on curtains and dry in sun then wash the curtains and put to coaches
4 vaseline , the alka seltzer chemical, the dry ice usage to simulate human breathing out is new we are going to try it with guidance of our departmental head.
THANK YOU ALL FOR SHARING,
we use vacuum cleaner to suck roaming bed bugs,
Some Guy ::
A word about the safety of DE: There are a lot of people on the web spreading panic about how it can do all sorts of nasty stuff to you if you inhale it, but pay no attention. Uncalcinated DE (that would be the food grade stuff you’re supposed to use for bugs) is all but harmless and even the calcinated stuff (pool grade) stuff takes years of exposure before a person is likely to get sick from it. If you have people with asthma or COPD in your household, you might want to get them out of the way until the dust settles, but other than that, there’s really nothing to worry about. You can read all about bed bug dust (diatomaceous earth) here from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
gone buggy ::
I have used DE for at least 20 years around pets and have never had a problem with either cats or dogs as long as using common sense. I have even dusted them all lightly in the past or fleas and fed it to them in small doses. I would personally not worry about a healthy cat or dog licking a bit of DE from their coat. The next issue is odd bed arrangements. I live in an RV and it is impossible to isolate the bed in any way as it is over the cab. The nooks and crannies are unbelievable.
I react very strongly to the bites and feel like I have hundreds of them tho I have never seen a single sign of a bug, eggs or a nest at all..ever!! anywhere I have inspected.
My RV will soon be sitting in the hot sun and there will be several HotShot strips in it as well as its current dusting of DE anywhere and everywhere I can get it.
I know that I must now assume they are everywhere I go now and live my life in constant vigilance and continually treat for ridding them. I pray that the DE and the vapor strips work.
Where can I find this DE ASAP …north York toronto
What kind of alcohol do I buy (the one you drink, the one you rub on the body) I looked up ethyl alcohol – it said rum,gin,vodka,whiskey. which one do I buy help!!!!! e-mail me the answer
Karen in KY ::
My son called last night with the “crazy news” he had bed bugs all over the back of his couch. We’ve been reading up on them since. I have a call in the the pest control company I use and hope they have a “bed bug man” but also wanted to see what could be done NOW. I have read much about the use of the Diotemetric Earth – DE.
I had already told my son this would be helpful. I have been using this for a couple of years for my poultry and pets. It works well for me and I expect it would be very helpful for these bugs.
Water destroys it’s effectiveness for crawling bugs, so keep this in mind. It is not to mix a spray up, but to puff over and under furniture and in baseboards and so on. It is extremely fine and will do a good job of filtering into the nooks and crannies favored by these pests.
Thew food grade is recommended so it will be safer – but you should still wear a protective mask while puffing. It is micro-abrasive and will irritate eyes and lungs if breathed in. That said, I have gone hog wild with the stuff in my barn and chicken coop with no protective equipment and not suffered any real discomfort – and I have asthma. It is very safe. Your pets can eat it and it will do them good – not harm. I use it as a natural wormier with my chickens, ducks, donkey and dogs, as well as using it as a flea and tic dust.
It will be messy. It is (as mentioned) very fine and will get everywhere – but that is what you want! Just live with the dust a few weeks then have a clean up party. Or call it work and bust your butt cleaning it up – and celebrate a job well done after.
It works by scratching the waxy coating on any insect’s body. They can not then avoid drying out and dying in short order. Those that hatch out will met the same dehydrating fate. They can not become immune to it!
I hope this sets some minds at ease.
OH ALSO – person who didn’t use food grade – it Will work! It was just more likely to cause you some eye and lung irritation.
Karen in KY ::
Someone wanted to know what other names it goes by: Shell Flour.
It is made of the microscopic shells of diatoms – and from a bug’s perspective it is like crawling through shards of sharp glass – this is why they can’t avoid getting scratched – and once scratched they are doomed.
we just moved into a house. we had BB in our previous house and we throw out everything and moved into this house, brought new furniture and beds. 1 month later we seeing BB in the couch and in the bed..just little. What store can i find the DE at? and how do i use it? like how to apply, its not deadly rite? like if human get contact with DE? Please help.
In February- March 2011 time frame one of my sons came home with a bite. I didn’t really worry about and the next day I got a call from the school nurse saying my son has bed bug bites. I was so embarrassed and mad. Wondering how in the world did this happen to me and my children.
I called an exterminated and threw out all three of my sons mattresses and I had six treatments at $350 a treatment ($2,100 total!). The bed bugs went away and my sons stop getting bites and the issue seemed to be gone. I had a friend some from out of town and she got several bites on her she went to the doctors and the doctor stated she had bed bug bites. At this time the boys and I were not getting bitten so I called the exterminator again and he treated the house again after two weeks and all of clothes in plastic containers no bed bugs. In the third week they were everywhere by chest back arms legs face and hands had bed bugs bites as well as my children and I have been cleaning the sheets every three days and straying Raid bed bug spray.
The kids and I finally went on a vacation for a week and a half and last night I got up in the middle of the night to go to the rest room. I turn-on the light and there are about 20 bed bugs on my white sheets and pillows. I can’t take it anymore. Thinking of staying in a hotel tonight and just burning all of our clothes\furniture and looking for somewhere to move. I am going to try this method and post my updates please wish me luck.
I manage a 24 bed sober house and we developed an infestation when some new residents came from a local drug treatment center that was infested. Here’s what I did (it worked):
1. I bought rolls of plastic sheeting and created my own permanent plastic mattress enclosures with plastic and duct tape.
2. I used diatomaceous earth on the floors, bed frames, and between the mattress and box spring.
3. We used rubbing alcohol in spray bottles (not diluted).
4. I put duct tape around the bed frame legs, sticky side out. I created a barrier up the legs by wrapping the duct tape so as to have the sticky side out.
RESULT: 8 weeks on-we haven’t seen a bug in 4 weeks. We saw a bug or two a week for each of the first few weeks, but none since.
I’m not completely sure that we’ve got it licked, but I AM completely sure this process is effective.
One other thing: I keep hearing that the treatment center is repeatedly having the heat treatment done. Repeatedly.
Diatomaceous earth–as a friend of mine noted, it might not work right away–you have to be patient, but it works. And it’s cheap.
I’ve just recently noticed them in my sons room. He started complaining of seeing them at night and he had been bit. Alcohol works, but it has to be sprayed directly on them. The other method is heat. I closed all the windows and sealed the door, and set a kerosene heater in the middle of the room. I have no idea how hot it gets because my thermometer only reads to 120 degrees. It definitely gets much hotter. I leave it on all night and I’m seeing fewer bugs, so I”m assuming the heat is killing most of them. I will use this method and sprinkle the DE and hopefully it will work. Be careful not to put anything to close to the heater.
Bad Exterminator ::
$2,100 for a professional exterminator and still no results! The bed bug dust (DE) will work, just takes time, and, it is a LOT cheaper than a professional exterminator that doesn’t guarantee their results!
Just got my DE today and am hoping it starts working. Tired of living with the bumps and wearing long sleeve shirts to work when it’s 80+ outside. Would like to sleep all night!
We have encased both mattress and box springs-discovered that the bugs were hiding out in box springs. Mattress has been encased for several months after discovering 1 BB…no bites for several weeks. Then all on my arm just after one night! No sign of BB ANYWHERE! We have a king size bed and it is very hard for me to lift the mattresses being that I am only 5ft.
I used to work in a PCO office and I know that the treatment can be costly! UGH! I hate cleaning but am fixing to rent a storage unit and keep all my stuff in it for 2 years!
So far…BB only in master bedroom. Am PRAYING that they have not migrated to my children’s rooms. Last night after spraying Bedlam on box spring and encasing-woke up to nymphs in my bed.
Received DE today, came home and sprinkled between mattress and box springs, along the feet of the bed and along the rails. We have a log bed. Don’t really want to take the bed apart to treat, but may have to if these little @#$%$# keep showing themselves. Tomorrow-it is late right now or I’d be doing it-I am going to blow dust into the cracks of baseboards and in the holes of bed where the logs connect. May even try the solution of alcohol, soap and water.
Am really hoping it isn’t going to take 10 weeks to see the end of these creatures from HELL! I am not sure my allergies or my sanity can take it. I will update as I go along…next week will be having the boys bag up stuff in closets-may get rid of some, but others will be putting DE in and DUCT TAPING CLOSED
Only had infestation in one top bunk of kids room. immediately thru out top bunk and mattress now have mattress’s in encasements. in infested room used alcohol and Clorox clean up on everything. dried all clean clothes that were hanging and in dressers. put DE in all rooms. only rooms i haven’t completely flipped over and checked and cleaned everything are the laundry room and kitchen how likely is it that i have to clean those room with alcohol.
i only found 1 infestation and only 1 other bug in the other bedroom prior to finding infestation. my daughter was getting bit up for about a month and a half. why cant i find anymore? do you think the majority of them got out when i took the main infestation out?
It’s still on the side of my house can they get back in? this is driving me up the wall. i have about 30 bags of all our winter clothes extra bedding stuffed animals and so forth. i already put the totes that where in the infested room that were inspected with no bugs in storage as well with keepsake boxes and stuff and put down de in the storage. is it ok to take the sealed garbage bags there and they wont enter?
I’m going crazy here someone please answer!!! its driving me up the wall i still feel like they are here and i missed them or there is just one and its all gonna start over in a month. i suffer from ocd and I’m going crazy!!!
james and debbie ::
Started getting bitten around the first of May thought it was chiggers or oak and broam mites. It was all of the above and BED BUGS YIKES. Dident discover the bed bugs until about a week and a half ago. We had bug bombed the house for everything including bed bugs twice since the 8th of may. We also used Tempo SC commerical grade insectacide ya pissed the buggers off they got worse. found this site on the morning of the 23rd of may and immediately went to work. Followed it verbatum in the master bedroom. Woke up this morning found no bugs in bed with us and no new bites. We did find some writhing in pain having crawled through the DE. We are now going to do the rest of the house quite a daunting task with a 4 bedroom 2 story 102 year old house. We bought this place 3 years ago and have done ALOT of work on it it’s our dream home THEY WILL NOT WIN. Thank you for the information we will keep you posted.
I have 2 questions…could Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth be used for bed bug prevention? and… could the water alcohol detergent mixture be used for other pest prevention? (like water bugs, roaches or spiders. ) Thank you! Great article!! :0)
We did the stupidest thing ever – bought a used captain’s bed and mattress on Craigslist for $100 from these people in San Jose, CA. I was overjoyed because it was exactly what we needed and in excellent condition. We thought we had gotten such an excellent bargain. When I asked the owner why she was getting rid of it she said, “Oh I just have to get rid of it.” The mattress looked good – nothing that would have caught our attention and the headboard had a few dark clustered spots, but not knowing anything about bed bugs, we thought it was mold or the coloring of the wood. When we set it up, I sprayed the headboard and mattress with Lysol. I even used a little bleach on the area we thought might be mold.
We set it up in the extra bedroom for when our children come to visit. My son came first and he did not get one bite. Then my poor sensitive daughter came down and slept in the bed. The next morning she woke up with bites on her leg. A straight line of 4-5 bites. We checked the bed – trying to find a spider. Nothing. The next time she came home and slept on the bed, she was bitten about 10 times on one arm, 5-6 on the other arm and on her legs and feet! It was horrible and then we really started researching and realized we had bed bugs. The dark clusters were their droppings! We searched and searched for the damn bugs, but never found anything except two skeletons. We were absolutely horrified! My husband took the bed apart and the mattress (sliced it up) and took it to the dump. We didn’t even want to try and salvage it. Then we began the massive cleaning, vacuuming, spraying, using DE – I went on the internet and we did everything we could. I spent a whole day at my daughter’s apartment cleaning it and looking for bed bugs – nothing. We still encased her mattress and box spring, vacuumed, put DE all over, sprayed and vacuumed everything. After vacuuming I thoroughly looked through the debris and nothing. We hope and pray they did not travel back to her place. She had washed and dried all of her clothes.
We’ve spent hours and hours cleaning and tonight we’ve set up traps. We followed the directions and have set up traps to catch the yucky bugs. I even bought a real nice steamer at Home Depot – Sierra brand and for $129.00 – it is amazing!
I found DE at Home Depot. A small bag for about $4.00. They have it in the pesticide area and you have to ask for it.
The whole ordeal so far has been extremely damaging and traumatic. We can’t believe how naive we were! My daughter is distraught and we don’t know when she can come home again without fear. We have spent a lot of money and time, effort and heartache trying to prevent an infestation.
I am hopeful that we get the buggers and relieved ourselves of them. I am terribly embarrassed for being so naive – the thing is I always believe in the best of people and it’s been a difficult reality check. We have also not told most of our friends and family, but at the same time, it’s difficult keeping it to ourselves.
I hope all of you have a lot of luck and the perseverance to get rid of these terrible insects! Hang in there…I have to believe we are smarter, more tenacious, and will overcome these blood sucking vampire bugs!
Amber from Phx18 ::
I live with my boyfriend, but I’m the only one being bitten. Hopefully this DE works, my body can only take so much.
welp june 2nd and my baby woke up again 2 days in a row with the 3 bites. so i went in there and searched and couldnt find nothing but 1 dead baby. so i know there is atleast 1 still alive in there. so today we trashed the rest of the wooden bunkbed bottom and our cleaning the carpets and are gonna lay DE again hopefully this works. im so sick of living in constent anxiety
Hate bed bugs ::
Hi! I just laid down DE almost a week ago and im wondering of how long does it take to kill these buggers once they came in concatact with the powder. I’ve caught one that was crawling across the DE and locked it in a ziploc back yo see if it would die within a few hours like someone else on here posted but its been nearly 12 hours and its still alive so i am afraid that this DE is doing its job. Anybody know how long it normally takes?
For some or all you who are suffering from bed bugs. First of all, i am still dealing with my problem. But i have used diatomaceous earth in the past for other pests and it has been especially helpful in all cases. Since i have been married (going on four years now) i have been in and out of at least 6 or 7 apts. living with fleas roaches and now bed bugs. Please! I am so tired of bugs. But in every situation, when i have generously applied diatomaceous earth (ORGANIC, safe for babies kids adults and pets to eat) the problem resolves itself. ORGANIC SAFE EFFECTIVE! It really does work!
My son and I started to get bites and we couldnt figure out what it was. Then my sons father started to get bit and he flipped the bed on its side, and there they were….bed bugs. I felt so shamed like how the heck do we get them. we went and got some spray from homedepot and threw are beds out. we sleep on th sofa for now but we are starting to get bit again! i hate it. im gonna have to see if this really works because i need something because we just got that sofa and i dont have money to buy a new bed and sofa set.
I have found this site and hope for answers. I am 7 months pregnant and bought the insectide powder DE. I am distraught over these bugs. I threw away my bed and have an air mattress but they are coming out of the walls. So I put down the Ace hardware DE powder in my room where me and my 3 year old sleep. When can I go back in. we moved to the couch only yto find at 1 am adults feeding on us. Can i walk on this stuff and sleep in thje room and will it hurt my baby? How soon can I get an answer? I am new to the internet so I dont know where to turn. Please help
I live in a town-home and about two years ago someone moved in next to me not long after they were gone. They said that it was bed bugs. since then only one other family lived there. with kids in and out all the time i soon had my own problem with them. i did all kinds of stuff and it just wouldn’t work. for some reason although i rent they feel it is something you bring upon yourself and you have to pay for pest control.
I tried these steps and am amazed how well it worked! It’s not fun or a quick fix, you do have to keep on it but it has been months and no signs. i missed being able to sleep without the bites :) thank you so much this, it is great for a budget :)
So we live in gahanna and we are dealing with these pests.. I just want to get rid of them without loosing all my stuff and out home.. As crappy as it is at the moment we can not afford expensive treatments.. So we are hoping this earth stuff works!!
It has been a few weeks i suppose and i noticed bites around my ankles and couldn’t figure out what it was. i get hives sometimes, like a nervous itch, and thought it was from that. then i noticed one morning dead little bugs around my windowsill in my kitchen where i keep my olive oil… the kitchen can get greasy sometimes and the counters around the baseboard around my sink i noticed more.. all dead though.
i had no idea what it was (we’ve had ant issues so i’ve been trying to treat my house for them). but the bites on my ankles left me wondering and sometimes it feels like something is crawling on me but there’s nothing there. so today i did some research wondering if it was bedbugs.. grrr gives me the creeps just saying it. didn’t really notice anything on my matteress, box spring or bedding but i stripped the bed and threw everything in hot cycle with high heat in the dryer.
i vacuumed the mattress, box spring and aroudn the bed as well as the hallway, and livingroom and furniture. then i sprayed with alcohol as was one suggestion and apparently the stuff i’ve been using for the ants can kill it too but i think it’s on contact because later i noticed a couple on my mattress and sprayed the heck out of it and it died. i saved a couple bugs in a ziplock baggie to compare if these are bed bugs and i think they are granted they look a lil different. they aren’t fleas ( i know what they look like but haven’t had any trouble with them from my shih-tzu.
i’m tempted to get this diamat. earth stuff and spray it around. i have some clutter in my house so trying to get every nook and cranny is going to be difficult to say the least. i hate to tell my landlord cuz we already have been dealing with the ants which he knew about, but now this? this is driving me insane. i don’t know how we got these things. i haven’t been in any hotels or trips of any kind. they can stay dormant for a year? or at least not feed for a year? we’ve been renting this place for almost two years now and this is the first problem we’ve had with these lil critters. not sure if my 8 year old friends are bringing them from home or not. you say they like or don’t like heat? it’s been dreadfully hot here in michigan for a couple weeks like in the 90’s.
i can’t afford to wash every piece of clothing i own so what suggestions do you think i should do?
Yes, Michigan has been hot but when people are referring to temp in regards to bed bugs, they are talking about heat treatment which heat up your home to a temp a lot greater than what you are experiencing MI. I would go down to your local feed and supply store (tractor supply in your area) and buy a bag of food grade diatomaceous earth (also called bed bug dust) and apply it as described on here. It’s cheap and effective, but you have to be persistent with this!
WE have been trying to battle these evil little suckers for months, have tried bombing, exterminator($500 that went down the drain and didn’t work) I am will to try anything at this point. Have started to day only place have seen active bed bugs in on the bed itself…but still treating everywhere following your directions. Hope this works or I am burning everything and starting over. Wish me luck, will post updates on the out comes.
Wanted to share my story and possibly give some hope to others …
We have been living with these little bloodsuckers for about 2 years, the infestation started in the living room (sofas and chairs). When the bugs got bad, we would get rid of the furniture and got new, knowing that it would only be a matter of time before they too became infested. The bugs had only recently made it to the beds.
Up until recently, we had never seen an adult bed bug, or even a baby – just the ‘mysterious’ bites that so many people on the site have experienced. I inspected all mattresses, sofas, chairs, and never saw so much as a bug, feces, eggs, etc., however I knew that they were there and we frequently sprayed bed bug spray bought at the hardware store with limited success. In the last month or so we had started seeing the bugs during the day and people were being bitten anytime they sat on the furniture – regardless of time of day.
There are 8 people living in my home, so funds are tight and there is no way that I could afford the $3000 heat treatment that is supposed to be the only effective treatment against them. I then found this website and things started to change!!!
I had never heard of DE but was willing to give it a try. I bought a steamer from the hardware store (one intended to remove wallpaper so it is a little more sturdy than one just intended to steam clothing). I steamed all of the living room furniture and then dusted (liberally) with DE as well as all baseboards and anywhere else that seemed like a likely hiding place. All mattresses went into bags and for those that have a very limited budget you can get plastic bags used for moving mattress from companies such as UHaul for about $5-8 a piece. While it is not the most aesthetically pleasing – it does do the job until a better one can be purchased. I treated all bedroom areas the same as the living room area. All bedding/exposed clothing was washed or at least put into the dryer on high for a period of time. This worked almost immediately for the bedrooms – but the living room remained an issue. We placed some live bugs in plastic bags with DE to see how it worked and it usually took about 4-5 days before they started to die.
It was been almost 3 weeks and I want to say that DE DOES WORK – however, it does not work quickly. It took almost a week before the number of bites being experienced in the living room area started to be reduced. I re-steam and re-apply DE weekly. I have only seen some dessicated dead bugs – no longer finding live ones and there have been fewer than 6 bites in the living room area in the entire week where there had been dozens of bites a day.
As a side note – I went to a local feed store in Colorado to get the DE, the clerk asked what I was using it for and I told him it was to treat bedbugs. I was SHOCKED that he said that was the major reason people gave for buying the product from his store – never realized that so many people were suffering through the same thing that I was!
THANK YOU!!! You and your website are amazing!! You have helped me so much. I think and hope and pray they have all died and are sealed up and can never get out again. Thank you so much for keeping my sanity while dealing with the process. I have not seen one in 5 weeks. After the main treatment I only saw one after 1 week. I feel so relieved and informed by you!! Thank you so much!!
I am so amazed at the information on this website!!!! Thank you so very much for this! I have had a very mild case of bed bugs for just over a year now. I have tried the spray that can be purchased at Wal-mart. I thought I had success…..but about 4 months later….I found more. I then tried the same spray but also scrubbed the room (different from the first) down with vinegar then after a day, I used the same spray. This time I thought I had everything taken care of. Unfortunately, I have now seen the little pests in another room. I have just purchased a 50lb bag (it was the only size my feed store offered) of DE. I am hoping/praying that it takes care of this problem. I was excited though to read that the DE will also take care of fleas without harming my dogs!! :) I will post more in a week to keep an update!!! Again, thank you so much for this great information!!!!
We just started this process on 07-16-2012. I hope it works! They are only found in the bedroom. Every crack and creves has been first cleaned, then dusted with DE. We have captain’s beds in all the bedrooms. Any suggestions to keep the buggers out of the beds? Each bed frame, drawers and between the box spring and mattress have been dusted with DE. One room has the buggers in it the other one doesn’t show any signs. Clothes have been removed from the room, put into the dryer, then in sealed plastic bags, and before wearing them they go into the dryer again. Anything else I can do to get rid of them?
I’m giving an update as promised! Just to recap for a moment, we started using DE on 07-16-12. We only found BB in one room. We gutted the entire room, gave it a good vacuuming, used the instant “bug spray” (40% water, 40$ alcohol, and 20% liquid dish soap) to flush out and kill on contact any BB we saw, this followed by another vacuuming, then we dusted the entire room with DE.
ONE WEEK LATER:
We are still waking up around 1am to do a “bed check” and kill on contact any BB we may see. I’m happy to say we haven’t seen an adult BB since last week. We are seeing some (so to speak) infant to adolescent sized BB. I do believe we are winning the war on them. I might add, as a precautionary measure, we have gutted, vacuumed, cleaned and dusted the entire house. I’ll keep you posted next week on what we are finding.
Two week update:
I think we are getting close to the end of the bed bugs. We noticed just a few (under 5). The past two nights we slept through the night, instead of getting up every few hours to do a bed check. Our entire room has a layer or two of DE (only room bugs were noticed in). The other rooms also ave a precautionary layer of DE.
Week three update:
We have weekly applied the DE and vacuumed once a week. Yesterday we rented a carpet shampoo cleaner (hardware store for $25 for 24 hours). We cleaned every carpet in the house. The carpet was still wet so we couldn’t put any fresh DE down. I’m happy to say we didn’t see any BB’s or get any fresh bites last night (maybe they were hiding in the carpet and got sucked up in the cleaner????) Here’s to more nights and no more bugs! I do wish I could say with 100% confidence they are gone, at this present time I can’t say that. August 17 marks our one month of using the DE method. My prayer is they are gone and will not return. I think I’ll keep a layer of the dust down all the time as a precaution. As promised, I’ll keep posting here our weekly progress.
I’m going to say we are bed bug free. We haven’t seen a bed bug in over a week!
If I can go this entire week (Past the one month point of fighting the bed bugs.) I’m going to say we are “clear!” and start the process of washing all the clothes sealed in plastic bags with DE. I want my life to be normal again. That is my goal. Someone asked if bed bugs would crawl in your hair. The answer is YES! My recommendation is to get into the bathtub every morning and brush/comb your hair. You’ll see them drop into the tub. Thank you for letting me share my journal with you.
@JD- We had a captains bed too……Had being the key word. On the back side of the head board were tiny white speck….eggs. I was not going to mess around with it so I took it to the local incinerator. I took everything out of my son’s room, vacuumed and then powdered the crown molding, base boards and around the door, closet door and wind frame with DE. I also layered it on every square inch of the carpet. I am going to let it sit for 2 weeks then vacuum and steam clean the carpet. I am going to take hot soapy water to the walls around the crown molding, base boards, door frames and window frames. I am purchasing a futon for this room since its for my 10 year old son and the theme for the room is Military. When the 2 week period is up, I am going to place a layer of the DE under the futon and just leave it there as a precaution since it contains no chemicals…….Hope this helps.
@Natalie: We are NOT going to give the bedbugs the upper hand. We still have our captain beds! We did find eggs behind the headboard of the masterbedroom. Please use the alcohol/water/dish soap solution to spray in all of their hiding places. It kills on contact and hasn’t hurt any of our funishing or baseboards. I’m going to redust the masterbedroom tonight and leave it alone for a while then retreat as a precautionary practice weekly.
Alright so I live in Colorado for one. Basically I had some bites and figured it was just mosquitoes. They appeared before my trip. After I got back started noticing more and itching. I immediately called where I stayed as my mother had been through this before and they checked everything of there’s. Only thing I did was help then move some things out of storage. As I was lasting tonight as to why I post so early I had a feeling something kept crawling on me in which my instincts were right. I caught one and pretty sure it is bed bugs however a small case. I looked on the futon and found a couple more and lifted the couch pillow to see one crawling away quickly. Now as I can’t sleep having that paranoia feeling and being no one else is getting bit I can only assume it is in the living room area. Bedroom has no sign of the bug. I have been reading up on this and figure the de is cheapest route to go however being on a tight tight budget the stream cleaner part is the hardest to be able to rent or even afford one. Just wondering if there is an alternative solution for that or if I’m out of luck on it. Really can’t sleep now knowing this and clothes and all are already in dryer as I tour this out. Just curious on this because every little thing I feel now freaks me out and I can’t live in this paranoia any more. Any help is much appreciated.
Hello and Thank you very much. This treatment is fantastic and I love the ideas of the vasoline too it worked well. These bugs are nasty and leaves bites on me so itchy i was going crazy and now i am fine and so is my home. Some people post sites of how to get ride of this or that and of course there is a Cost to get the info but you did it free of cost if works. May God Bless You I really mean it—Thanks
No Bed Bugs ::
Chad, if you can’t afford a steam cleaner right now, then use a plastic ketchup bottle as a duster to puff the DE into the cracks, etc. You don’t have to have the steam cleaner, but it helps speed up the process.
Chad, please be patient! It takes a while for the bugs to walk through the DE dust. We could not afford a steam cleaner, so we used a hair dryer and the “cleaning” solution to clean and kill the bugs on contact. My suggestion is to put a layer of DE around and under your bed. Dust some on the fitted sheet and a very light layer on your flat sheet. We tried the vaseline method and caught nothing. :( Oh well, at least we are confident we are winning this battle.
Just today noticed our second fling with BDs. The first time was about 3 years ago. We’re pretty certain that the first episode was from family staying in our room who had just come from NYC. This new episode is probably from my son’s friend from university where he stays overnight occasionally. We beat them once and we will do it again. Kill the bed bugs when and where you can and then separate them from their food (YOU!). We have used all of the ideas listed above and they work. Personally, I would not rest for 18 months. Good luck
I am 9 months pregnant.
I thought they were gone………Ha Ha
Have bought the DE but I’m not sure how long to leave it laying around the entire house. What is the time lapse from first application to vacuuming and reapplying? Is it safe to leave on floors and places where children are?
I have cleared bed bugs out of two people’s apartments. I’m not a professional exterminator, so while I’ve learned a lot about bed bugs, I know very little about other types of pests.
The first thing I figured out is that except for heat treating the whole apartment or tenting the building, it is pretty much a false hope that the bed bugs will be eliminated in one single action. The key seems to be to eliminate the bed bugs faster than they can reproduce and not do anything to make the matter worse.
Many people react immediately in a way that makes the problem worse. Deciding to sleep somewhere else, like on the couch will generally give some bed bugs an additional place to live. Throwing away a mattress generally means that while the mattress is being dragged or carried out that bed bugs can fall off all along the way and start multiple colonies. Don’t ever bug bomb if you have bed bugs. Despite what the can may say, don’t use them. Yes, the can might state that the chemical kills bed bugs, and yes it will kill some bed bugs. But any bed bugs safely hidden in cracks or deep enough into material to avoid the bomb (which does not penetrate very well) will tend to scatter and cause multiple new colonies.
Being called in for bed bugs does NOT describe where they live. They can live in a mattress, but just as easily live in the cracks in the frame, in furniture around the bed, under wastebaskets, in the carpet, behind electrical panels. Don’t think that throwing away the mattress and buying a new one will solve the problem, the new mattress will become infected because the bed bugs were never removed from the premises.
If you discover you have an infestation, stop and plan your attack carefully, read the material on this page and understand that it will work but it WILL take more than one application. Don’t give up!
I cannot stand these dang things. i moved with my parent who got them when a friend of my moms spent the night. every since then we have been having this infestation. im going to try your method i really hope it works!!!! i just found one crawling on my leg at work!!! they travel with you! so disturbing i have to wash all my clothes when i get home!!!! they dont hide in your hair do they?
So glad to find this site! Most other sites about BB seem to be more pessimistic and not very supportive of people going through so nice find one that at least gives a little hope and support. Wish I would have found it a couple of weeks ago.
I first noticed bed bugs about 3 weeks ago and probably did everything wrong by overreacting. First noticed at 3:30 a.m. one morning and freaked when I saw about 20 or so in my mattress seam and some of their stains. Didn’t really notice any bites but woke up that morning and when felt itch on my chest and scratched then notices blood then the bugs, I freaked. So, mattress and box spring were carried down from my 2nd floor bedroom and out to curb so sure that some fell off because kind of tight fit down the stairs and with doing myself was a mistake but never knew anything bed bugs and just reacted and just wanted that crap out of my house.
The next mistake was spraying some Home Defense bug spray I had around the room. Then because threw out bed, had to sleep on couch down in living room so probably not a good idea either but no choice at this point. Put a doubled sided tape barrier around couch and didn’t have any problems for the 2 weeks I slept downstairs.
While waiting for new bed, I decluttered bedroom big time and washed and dried clothes on hottest temp and things that didn’t need got thrown out or sealed on plastic containers and stored in attic. Normal day to day clothes are now stored in plastic storage bags and kept in room away from bedroom. Even non-clothing items have been cleaned and sealed on plastic for now. Threw area rug out from bedroom. Cleaned room and turned over dresser and end tables and took out drawers and cleaned everywhere.
In meantime, ordered new bed, encasements for mattress and boxspring along with climb ups, double sided tape, and DE. Just put DE around baseboard and perimeter of room.
While cleaning and so on, only came across one live bug and maybe 2 dead ones so felt not to bad and didn’t see any problem downstairs. So new bed came so put in encasements, really cleaned metal frame and took off headboard and made a little island for bed with climb ups under each leg and nothing touching anything else.
First night back in room and woke up around 3:00, not that I really sleep anymore but with lights one and flashlight, started looking around room. I saw and killed about 5 on floor on different sides of bed. Nothing made onto bed so that was some good news. Took note of where they were after killing the bastards and next day, started to put some more DE into all the little cracks in floor. It’s an older home with older wood floors so some gaps, just big enough for these little pets to hide in and also did light dusting around furniture. While doing this, I looked back and saw 2 mid sized ones crawling up wall in middle of the day so must have disrupted them.
Killed one on spot but managed to get the other and put in little pile of DE and watched him struggle for a couple minutes then die. If he wasn’t dead, I finished the job! I remember reading somewhere over the last couple of weeks how they might head up to ceiling and drop onto bed, can’t believe it but who knows so now more freaked! Got some caulk and filled in every little space between molding and ceiling and around ceiling fan over bed. Now, got to get some more double sided tape and setup around top of wall. Someone mentioned putting painters tape first then the double sided tape and that to protect paint on walls so that’s next.
Didn’t see anything at all the last 2 nights but plan on doing a cleaning and reapplying of DE every week for a while. Been kind of humid here in NJ so read that need to apply more ofter for best effect. Don’t want to use fan or AC don’t want to blow DE around too much so that makes it even harder to sleep but Fall is coming.
Sorry for rambling but am afraid to actually talk to anyone about this stuff so kind of been holding it in and with not sleeping much and distraction of this, it’s affecting my job and appetite. Thanks to all who have posted here and will post updates and they happen because looks like this is going to be a long war!
how many times do i need to keep applying if i have seen about 5 or 6 in my room and 1 or 2 in my sons. they are in the box springs, checked the mattresses and didn’t see any. can they penatrate the mattress or if i find none on the mattress itself then its fine??
Came home from vacation recently to find bed bugs waiting in the bedrooms of my apt. Since them I’ve taken all clothes,linens and toys out of bedroom and laundered them in hot water and dryer. I’ve lined the bedrooms baseboards with DE and washed the beds down with bleach. All clothes are in plastic bags. How long do I have to wait before I can put the clothes back in the drawers? Also is there anything else I need to do or any steps I may have missed to get rid of these buggers. Seems like I may need to do some steaming as well. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
Hi, just a couple questions if anyone knows.
Does it actually take a male and female or at least a pregnant female to spread bed bugs? It seems like they spread easliy but if one male or non-pregnant female does manage to hitch a ride, they can not really create a new colony?
Also, has anyone seen anywhere on the web any videos of DE actually working on these bugs in maybe some time lapsed type thing where you can see the process of them actually dying from DE over a period of time? I’ve seen one on youtube but all it is is some guy pouring DE on a bug and then burying it in the powered but never see it dead. I kind if like to expierment and if I see another live one that I can trap then maybe I will try to do. But, hoping not to see anymore! If anyone has any links, please post.
As for my situation, still battling but seems better. Saw one more the other day when reapplying DE but this time climbing up hallway wall right outside bedroom door. Managing to sleep a little better on my bedroom island. Have beeen keeping a low light on and waking up like 3:00-4:00 and checking and no signs in room for a week now. Made a safe chair in living room after cleaning and vacuming my reclyner then put legs in plates of DE but no signs og buds downstairs yet…
Been getting destroyed by these things the past month or so (at least). My biggest mistake was moving from my bed to the couch. It seems I’m getting bit worse than ever there. It will be much easier to clean my bedroom because there isn’t a lot of clutter and I can encase the mattress and boxspring. Anyone have any advice on what to do with the couch? There are 2 seat cushions and 3 pillows on each and everything is cotton. The bottom of each has like a meshy material and it seems like it would be impossible to treat the couches, should I just throw them away? And if so, how do I do so without risking spreading the infestation when I drag the couches downstairs? Thanks in advance if anyone has any advice to give.
Jeffrey, I did the same thing and moved to the couch for awhile because I threw out my bed once I noticed them so didn’t have a lot of choice. I did drag it down my stairs because I freaked so I’m sure some fell off and scattered so glad to hear you didn’t do that. I stayed on couch for about 2 weeks until my new bed came and encasements and so on then moved back to my bedroom. In that time, I did all the decluttering, cleaning, washing of clothes, DE, climbups and so on that most recommend. While I didn’t see any on my couch, I still got worried because I had just gotten it not too long ago and still paying off and it wasn’t cheap so don’t want to lose it to these little bastards. While I did sleep downstairs, I did put double sided tape all around perimeter of couch on floor but didn’t see anything trapped so hoping they never made it that far.
My couch is big sectional and separates into 4 pieces with recliners on each end so it was a pain in the butt to deal with and so many places for them to hide. Plus it’s dark brown so not easy to see them. I had a garment steamer so I took apart each section of the couch and vacumed then steamed everywhere I could including turning upside down and doing underneath. It took like 4 hours but for me because of the cost of it, it was worth it. I have hard wood floors so I cleaned the floors very good and then put a little double sided tape on each leg but they are pretty small legs and there is about 20 because it is a section but it couldn’t hurt. Then, I spread DE under couch and put new barrier of double sided tape all around perimeter of couch on floor. One thing I’ve been doing with double sided tape is putting down a layer of painters tape first then double sided tape on top of that for easier removal. Not sure if I’ve actually seen any bed bugs caught in it but some little things are so small, hard to tell but did notice a couple other little bugs so gave me a little piece of mind. I plan on doing again in another week or so and have found little plastic coasters that might work well under the little legs filled with DE. The legs on my couch are not like bed frame legs where I could use climbups but coasters or even small paper plates with DE should work, like the coaster because less obvious even though, I won’t be having guests for awhile.
Couches are tough because so many places for them to hide and can’t really encase but if you can get, borrow or rent a steamer and make the time then maybe you can save it. If you do get rid of it then maybe you can find some rolls of plastic to try to wrap it in first and seal it off the best you can.
I am a little over a month into my bed bugs situation and this site has been great so take a few hours and read through the posts here because I found them very helpful. I’m hoping, don’t want to jinx it, that my infestation was not too bad and things are starting to get better. You can read my other posts for more detail but looks like the DE and other things are starting to work because over the last week or so, the couple live ones that I saw seemed to come out as I was cleaning, spraying and dusting with DE and seem to be confined to one area and even those couple weren’t moving too good and now over the last couple of days, maybe saw a couple dead ones that the DE had taken it’s effect on. Like most people say, DE might take a little time but I am starting to be a believer but not ready to say 100% yet but will continue to cleanup and reapply for awhile hoping to eventually break their life cycle. I have also been de-cluttering and cleaning and DE around baseboards of other rooms in the house so if they do make there way anywhere else, hopefully they will have to come in contact with it. I don’t know if I will ever feel 100% safe because the more read about how they survive for more than a year without feeding and the places they can hide and so on, it’s scary! While there are some people that say they will go dormant if they can’t feed, I’m hoping or at least wanting to believe the others that say that if there is a food source available, they will try too feed and can’t go dormant so eventually they will have to go through DE.
Interesting site. I had this problem a while back. Didn’t know about this site but I think I’ve gotten rid of my bedbug problem. Haven’t seen any nor have I had any bites. I used DE (fossilized powder) to put behind outlets, molding and under carpets. Got a mattress cover and sprinkled a little DE inside just to trap the buggers with the stuff. (Be careful with DE because it’s supposedly dangerous to humans).
Then I got some glue traps and double sided tape and started to secure them in strategic points and as many as possible. Double sided tape around my mattress and around bed legs and used it to tape a bunch of glue traps under to bottom portion of my mattress. But you need to make sure the bond is tight or the bedbugs will simply crawl under them.
Vacuumed daily and kept my home clutter free. Used large plastic bags to completely seal all clothes in the closet.
The problem lasted about a year and the bites were many and very tender. They only hurt if I touched them but when touched it felt akin to being stabbed with many pins.
I considered creating a website and try to go into greater detail and collect resources to help others but I see this website is already doing a fine job.
I will say this, I was very afraid of bedbugs but once I got control over the situation it didn’t bother me any more than a very annoying bunch of angry mosquitoes. My biggest fear was spreading them to others.
This winter I’m going to spend a few days away during the coldest days and leave all the windows open. I know cold isn’t as effective as heat but I’m hoping it might help clear out any stragglers that might be hiding away.
I think the key is to never assume the bugs are gone and keep your guard up. Even more so, even if they are gone, these things are so widespread and numerous that new one’s may enter your home at any time.
Anyway, forgive the long post but my rambling is done in good faith and I hope we can rid ourselves of these little bugs safely and effectively. Keep up the good fight and do not give up because if you do they’ll eat you forever.
One last thing. If you have kids be very careful where you put DE. The dust kicks up easily and kids aren’t exactly the most careful creatures on the planet. Don’t even handle it around them as even the slightest movement sends that stuff into the air.
I have no idea where I picked up these things but I hate them! About 2 months ago I was in bed reading and 1 crawled across my arm. I hate bugs so I freaked out and immediately started checking the Internet to see what it was.
I had my second heart attack when I discovered it was a bedbug and that if I saw one there were probably more. So I pulled out my mattress, I didn’t see any at first but I noticed little black marks along the side and a large black area in the one corner of my box spring. I started spraying using a natural repellant I found online. Saw a few come tumbling out of the box spring. I decided to just get a whole new set. Once they came I sprayed them with the repellant and put covers on both the mattress and box spring.
I took everything out from under my bed sprayed like crazy and vacuumed. Emptied the vacuum outside and sprayed some more. I was good for about 3 weeks and then I started seeing little black marks on my sheets. Then I started to notice little bite marks on my feet and legs. I told myself it was nothing and then 1 night I was laying in bed and looked up and there was one on my ceiling. I was upset and smashed the thing but I knew they were back. I started checking my sheets, comforter, pillow, and the top of the box spring every night and spraying every night.
One night I came home and my sister and her husband were vacuuming which was weird because it was 10:30 at night. She came down and told me they saw a bedbug in the hallway. So I started searching the Internet for something better than the repellant I’d been using and came across badbedbugs.com. I went and bought DE and alcohol.
We decided to start in my room since it was ground zero. I took some stuff from under my bed sprayed it thoroughly with alcohol solution and put it in the hot crawl space (I’m praying anything in those boxes will die from the heat up there). Then I started taking smaller things out and started seeing more bugs most were dead but I threw several things. Other things were inspected and if deemed safe banished to the bathroom til we were done. Took the mattress out and saw nothing except some black marks. Then we lifted the box spring and omg there weren’t a lot maybe a dozen but seeing my sister and I nearly barfed. We sprayed them with the alcohol solution which worked but the adults had to be sprayed twice.
Fortunately since the box spring was covered they were all right there on the surface there’s nowhere for them to really burrow. We took the cover off both the mattress and the box spring and washed them in hot water and dried twice. We sprayed the mattress and box spring with the alcohol solution and then recovered them. In the meantime we took everything off the floor threw away a few more things, sprayed the rest, then we vacuumed everything the floor, the walls, the outlets, the ceiling. Then we got to work spreading the DE.
My back feels like its broken from all that bending over but hopefully it’s worth it. We covered the entire floor (including the closet), around things we couldn’t move like the dresser and bookshelf we put a heavy layer of the DE. I’m still working on getting everything washed and I had to sleep in the guest room because there was so much powder in the air I could hardly breathe. We inspected the mattress and box springs in the other two bedrooms and pulled the stuff from under the bed and there’s no sign of them in the other rooms. We dusted the thresholds of the other rooms so anything trying to crawl in will get a nice layer of DE dust on it. I’ll update my progress.
In two weeks I plan to take out the mattress again and inspect for new life, vacuum thoroughly, and lay down more DE. I’ll continue to do this every two weeks for 12 weeks just to be sure.