Marie’s Bed Bug Reinfestation Treatment Tips

Two years ago, I had a group of foreign exchange students visiting. After they left, I had a young American man here tell me about my bedbugs. I didn’t know what he was talking about. So he showed me.

Exchange student spraying room for bed bugs.

Exchange student spraying room for bed bugs.

I spent the next ten days doing research online. The American kid wanted to treat immediately and picked up cockroach spray. That served to spread them to another bed in the same room. I told him to stop it, what he picked out was shown online to be ineffective in anything but causing them to run and spread. They run so fast.

What I discovered in the local hardware stores (sprays and bombs) and local chemical stores (a spray) did not work, even though they were advertised as bedbug killers. They were costly and, even with direct contact, did not kill all the adults.

The local fumigators wanted $700 to $900 to come and put a bag on my home and fumigate. I would have to vacate, taking pillows and food out of the house for three days. And then I would have to do it again in ten days, and again in ten days. So for $2100-$2700 in fumigation, plus 9 days in a hotel, I was going to have the opportunity to have someone else take care of my problem.

The 20 Mule Team Borax I have found helpful in treating fleas over the past thirty years did not make a dent in the bed bugs. I haven’t tried the salt/borax mixture I’ve read on this website.

In doing research, I discovered that Malathion is one of the pesticides on the market that still works and is not available in my county. I found it online from a plant nursery in the north and had it shipped to Florida.

The first thing I did was the edges of the room, the door frames, the window frames, and then the a/c vents. I turned off the power to the room (best to turn off all power!) and took off all electrical covers, the phone line cover, and the cable tv jack cover. I sprayed Malathion into all the openings in the wall. I sprayed along the baseboards. Finally, I sprayed the spline edges on the screens.

Then I spread food-grade diatomaceous earth all over the floor. I sprayed bleach on the mattresses, and the bugs did not die. I put three adults on a paper plate and sprayed different things on them, and 1 out of 3 would die, and the other 2 would get up, wave at me, and attempt to walk away. I crushed them. I then mixed Dawn for Dishes 1/5 soap and 4/5 water. I got an immediate 100% kill rate on the adults.

Having isolated the creatures in the one bedroom, taken out the exits with poison. I hated it, but I wanted a quick, thorough kill, not a gradual die off that would allow the females to drop eggs as they were running to other parts of my home to die. I then caulked every floorboard, window frame, and bed and furniture frame. Next, I caulked and painted the furniture to complete the seal. Next, I put two new layers of paint on the walls and ceiling. Finally, I vacuumed daily for six weeks.

The war lasted 6 weeks, eighteen hour days. Thank God I am self-employed and was able to carve out that time, more than ten percent of that year, to handle the bug problem.

After six weeks, I was bug free. I was so relieved.

A young colleague stayed with me two months later to start school in my community. He only lasted a month because he took to bringing street people home to sleep on an air mattress on the bedroom floor. He felt virtuous that he was helping the less fortunate.

I was not comfortable with his charitable activities, and he left. Pulling the sheets from his bed, I discovered three adult bed bugs. There were no casings or obvious eggs or droppings. These bed bugs were MUCH larger and more ovular in shape than the bedbugs I did battle with downstairs. I didn’t know there were different types of bed bugs, like there are different types of cockroaches.

I immediately treated the perimeter of the room with Malathion to prevent an escape into the rest of the house (baseboard cracks, window frames, door frames, plus turned off the electricity to that room and removed all the electrical covers, cable cover, and phone cover).

I replaced the covers, caulked, and painted. I sprayed the ceiling fan motor with Malathion. I waited a day, again, to turn the power back on to the room, giving everything time to dry. Then I did the entire room as I had done downstairs. This was a metal framed bed, so I did not caulk and paint it.

I stayed out of the room for ten days. The Dawn for Dishes/water mix I had found effective once again killed all the adults with whom it came in contact. After ten days, I returned to the room and checked for bugs. I found another three adults on the edge of the box spring against the metal frame. I sprayed them with the Dawn for Dishes mix, and they all died immediately. After that, I had no further problems in that room.

It has been two years, and I was relieved to not deal with bedbugs again until 3 days ago. A visiting friend said something about the ticks in his bed. I went to see what was going on.

I discovered he had unpacked his entire van, his personal effects had piled up two feet deep around the bed, the underside of the bed was stuffed full, and clothing was hanging on the curtain rods.

The first things I noticed were the discolorations on the creases at the top of the insulated curtains. I didn’t remember my curtains having those dark stains. My friend had been with me for six weeks, and I hadn’t been in his room. I had difficulty crawling over his things to get the mattress and look closely. The first thing I saw on the bed were the black speckles of dried blood on the pillow. Not good.

I pulled back the covers and immediately saw two run. I returned to the kitchen to fill a spray bottle with Dawn for Dishes. I have a fifty-pound sack of DE I picked up from a feed store to worm the animals and myself and to take down the flea and tick problem in the yard.

Taking the flea and tick infestation down to zero takes about six weeks. Since the room is already caulked and painted from the bug war two years ago, I put the DE down along the perimeter of the room, under the mattress and box spring, and began pulling all the linens and drapes for washing and drying with Dawn for Dishes and 20 Mule Team Borax. Next, I sprayed the ceiling fans and outlets for the electricity, cable, and phones with Malathion.

Three days ago, we had one bed with a huge infestation. Today, I discovered six living adults walking around by day. One was attempting to run through the DE and couldn’t make it to the edge of the thick layer of DE on the floor. That is the first time I have seen them moving around by day.

I have another twenty loads of clothing, bedding, curtains, pillows, and towels to wash and dry. We are moving the clean clothing into a safe room and leaving them there until we have removed these bugs again in the guest room. They have been there between three and six weeks by the size of the large ones. I assume a visitor brought them in and left them for the next visitor entering the bedroom.

Now that I know what works for me, and have that room caulked and painted, the bugs didn’t find furniture cracks and crevices to hide and lay their eggs. Instead, they have congregated in the clothing, the suitcase clutter surrounding the bed, and the clothing hanging from the curtain rods.

I will leave the DE down until tomorrow and vacuum it up four days after first putting it down for this infestation. It is 4am, and I have gone into that room looking for live bugs every hour. There are no live bugs in that room at this time. This is good. This is the quickest I have been able to bring these creatures to a stop. They are so smart and resilient.

I’ve read that the way to treat luggage is to put it into a car in the sun for an afternoon. Perfect, I’m in Florida. When I want to dry plant specimens quickly, I press them and put them in the car in the sun. Quick dry. Tomorrow I will take the DE covered luggage and have my houseguest put them back into his car in the sun.

Teaching him what to do and not to do has been difficult. He was so horrified by the bugs that he threw his things from the floor onto another bed. NOOOOO! He wanted to throw all the furniture away, NOOOOO!. Drag an infested piece of furniture through the house means it can drop eggs and causes an increased risk of infestation.

I am not as flipped out as the first time I saw them, but I am in the itching, scratching response of just seeing them without sleeping among them or getting bit. I have stopped having visitors into the house and opted not to spend the night at a friend’s home.

During the first infestation, I was traveling for school and opted to sleep in my car at rest stops rather than in hotels or at friends’ homes because I did not want to risk passing the infestation on. I didn’t know then what I read online tonight about the car heat killing the bugs.

I have spoken with cleaning people from expensive local hotels, and they say that they have rooms that are infested in the bed area and in the pullout bed area of the living room. They have to spray repeatedly, and they keep coming back.

They told me to NEVER put my luggage on the carpet in a hotel, to put it on a hard surface in the bath area where bed bugs are not likely to travel, on top of a dresser, and to use the luggage stand available in the closet.

I never thought to look at the luggage stand for blood load, but after reading more tonight, I will look closer.

Good luck to all of you in battle with the bugs. You can win this war!

If you find a treatment that works for you, please, take a moment and leave a comment so that others may benefit from your experience.

We have a ton of success stories, so many in fact, we had to break the discussions into pages:

Disclaimer: These Bed Bug Treatments are suggestions from people visiting our site and kind enough to leave a comment helping others. I have no idea if they work or not and no idea how safe, if safe at all, any of these treatments are. You should consult a doctor before acting on any of these comments. I’ve listed them so that you can further research them, not act upon them. ALWAYS consult a doctor before acting on any of this information. We are not medical professionals.