Below is a comment that was left by a caring visitor dealing with bedbugs and explains how to deal with an infestation. It deserved a page of its own and contains great information that you’ll find helpful!
However, you should first read my page about using an all natural pest killer called DE (bed bug dust) that is proven to work wonders!
How to kill bed bugs knowing what I know now… DO NOT PANIC!
Sorry it’s a bit long winded but I wanted to include the fine detail; had I known then what I know now, it would have helped me more than I can express, so here it is!
I believe you can fight Bed Bugs but you have to be mentally tough, if not call an exterminator (very expensive AUD $1,000+ and no guarantees)… I’m hoping to reduce the stress/costs involved for you by sharing what I now know…. do everything thoroughly or you’ll be doing it all over again…. it’s quite an emotional journey, be prepared to shed many tears but never, ever, never give in – after all they are just a bug… isolate and keep on vacuuming/steaming/Fossil Shell flouring (see below for instructions)……and stay strong!
I refuse to let a tiny bed bug beat me!
A huge thank you to Google!
I diagnosed the problem quickly and took action… I’ve been lucky with only a light infestation; in hindsight I panicked and did so much that wasn’t necessary, purely because I didn’t have the knowledge (heaps of information on the internet) and I had no idea where they were!
If you’ve decided to tackle them yourself be prepared for a long journey (many months to a year is my guess), but through dedication it can be done, I want to do it myself as I know its being done thoroughly by someone who cares… ME!
I highly recommend drowning yourself in knowledge about Bed Bugs/their eggs and their bites; check them out on the internet for a few days before doing anything (stay calm).
Now inspect where you think they might be, is there any evidence? if you find the bugs keep a few as proof (in case you need to call a Pest Control company) on a piece of sticky tape or in a plastic bag, careful not to squash them… keep everything you suspect of having bugs or eggs in it in one room as much as possible.
DIY (how to kill bed bugs yourself) – My recommendations for going into battle are a bug steamer, Fossil Shell flour, mattress cover, cheap plastic containers with double sided tape (tape from Bunnings) around the outside for under bed/chair legs. Please read below for further explanation of these suggestions.
Purchase some ‘Fossil Shell flour’ (DE) (Also called bed bug dust) which contains Diatomaceous Earth (make sure it’s food grade, the swimming pool stuff is very dangerous to humans) it cuts the bugs as they crawl through it, dehydrate and die within hours (similar to ant sand)… Place a thin layer of the flour where ever you suspect there may be bugs (rub gently to get some of it deeper into carpet), leave in place for a few months at least.
It’s important to kill them or you’ll have them forever, they breed fast…it’s not as simple as moving out for a few weeks to starve them, as they can hibernate for 12 to 18 months without feeding.
In order to reduce the work load dramatically, invest in a mattress cover for bed bugs (vacuum mattress thoroughly before covering) there are some specially designed to trap the bugs on/in mattress (these are expensive AUD $120 for a queen size at Target stores). The chances of them being inside your mattress are slim, unless there is a hole in it (tape holes). If you have a base on the bed you can get covers for this also (or vacuum/steam/Fossil Shell flour). I fashioned a cover myself for our mattress out of 2 fitted sheet mattress protectors (don’t get the really cheap ones, make sure the fabric is closely woven so as the baby bugs can’t get through it)… placed one on top and one under the mattress then sealed around the elastic sitting on top with strong tape, a much cheaper option (approx AUD $40 for the two). Leave these covers in place for at least 2 years after you think you’re rid of the bugs, just to make sure they’re dead!
They will be hiding/living quite close to their host, more than likely on or in your bed frame/mattress somewhere (completely dismantle and steam slowly/thoroughly as though your life depended on it), or the lounge suite especially if you fall asleep on it, wherever their host spends time sleeping, they like to live where it’s dark and undisturbed (don’t sleep or sit anywhere else as they’ll follow you and spread through the house, better to keep them contained so as you can kill them). I believe they may come into your home in a bag/on clothing but will then make their home in your bed frame/lounge suite where ever you sleep (so don’t go crazy like I did washing/spraying/vacuuming everything in the house)….they’re attracted to the warmth of your body and the carbon dioxide you breath out whilst you’re in the deepest sleep.
They usually feed every few days in the early hours of the morning (approx 4am – 6am), their only source of food is your blood… the bite is painless. They tend to feed on one person unless that person’s not available (usually the person closest to their hiding spot). You may be bitten and your partner not (in the same bed), some people don’t react to the bites at all whilst others have painful allergic reactions.
The thing I’ve found most difficult is that it takes anywhere up to 10 to 14 days for the bites to emerge (for me approx 10 days) – someone with an allergy to the bites might show quicker (Google images/information on bites, they vary considerably), so you can’t feel an itch/bite and know where they are, also bear in mind you may have been bitten elsewhere and not have them in your home…. that’s why I say don’t panic, be logical and investigate all possibilities before acting.
If you found them or strongly suspect they’re in your home I would recommend vacuuming/steaming/taping/filling any cracks and crevices (near any place you fall asleep) in walls/ceiling/floor…even the smallest gaps (with Fossil Shell Flour, see below for instructions), also in and under lounge furniture/beds and bed frames.
If you think they traveled in a suitcase/overnight bag I would strongly recommend you act quickly on vacuuming/steaming/hot wash/hot dryer all clothes and baggage that went with you, probably too late to get the live bugs but there are possibly eggs that have yet to hatch.
Wash your bed linen/doona/duvet and any clothing that you think may be affected in really hot water – anything that can’t be put in hot water, put on high setting in the clothes dryer for 1/2 hour (don’t wet them) – you can put in pillows/doonas/bags/shoes/ belts/delicates – put in dry not wet so as not to damage them, also cheapens the electricity bill.
Be logical about killing bed bugs….I made so much work for myself (did all my belongings, I believe now it just so wasn’t necessary), by the time you realize you have bed bugs they will most likely be near your bed/couch near their host, I doubt they would live in clothes/electronics/bags/shoes etc unless they were placed near where you sleep (also near your favorite chair you may fall asleep in), once they’re inside your home they would make their way to be close to you when you’re asleep.
Once every nook and cranny of your bed is taped/vacuumed/steamed/Fossil Shell Floured, isolate your bed (and all the others in the house, I managed to keep them out of my daughters room by doing this very early on), cheap plastic containers under your bed legs with a little Fossil Shell Flour in the bottom (just in case they manage to get past the tape), wide double sided tape on the outside (you may need to put more tape over the top in a few months as it loses it stickiness), sprinkle Fossil Shell Flour (work into carpet a little) on the floor around the containers to kill them (they need to be killed or they’ll keep breeding), careful the containers don’t crack from the weight of the bed as the bugs will crawl through.
Don’t wear any clothing that you’ve been wearing during the day/night to bed (best for all to go naked in any affected beds), do not use/sit/put anything on the bed for any reason ever! DO NOT LEAVE STUFF LYING AROUND ON THE FLOOR (clothes, books, computers, phones etc), THEY LOVE TO HIDE IN IT… bed bugs are lazy and will be living close to their host, near or on the bed, in the lounge chairs you sit on, they like to live where it’s dark and undisturbed (don’t sleep or sit anywhere else as they’ll follow you and spread through the house).
Very important note… if you decide to throw away mattresses/bases or lounge suites make sure that you severely slash them with a knife so as no one else will take them home and have to go through this awful experience.
Another very important note…. In future when traveling check the mattress and surroundings for any sign of bed bugs, keep everything in your bag… zip it up and place in sink/bath/shower or up high on a table etc well away from the bed.
I’m in my 6th month of fighting bed bugs, and now think they are only in our 3 seater couch that I used to fall asleep on…. I’ve now sprinkled Fossil Shell Flour under the cushions and around the short legs on the carpet; no one sits on it…. I’ve sprinkle Fossil Shell Flour around the legs of our other 2 chairs and we sit on them (got my daughter a bean bag so she was well away from the lounge suite)…. my plan is to make them come and get me, in order to do that they’ll have to crawl through the flour, and DIE….. WISH ME LUCK!
Special thanks goes to our visitor (Steamer/DE) from Australia who took the time to share her tips on how to kill these bed bugs yourself without having to pay the fees for a professional extermination company. Thank you!
Update: A number of visitors have stated that Pine Sol is VERY effective at killing bed bugs on contact. This combined with the methods I have listed on my bed bug dust page should do the trick!