Bed Bug Treatment

These real life stories warranted a page of their own and goes into detail on Do It Yourself Bed Bug Treatment that works!

Florance’s story:
Below is my real story from the last 7 months – sorry it's a bit long winded but I wanted to include the fine detail, it so would have helped me! This will not be appropriate for everyone especially if you have a large infestation, but I sure hope it will help some of you.

I believe you can fight Bed Bugs but you have to be mentally tough and have heaps of energy, if not call an exterminator (very expensive AUD $1,000 + and no guarantees, a lot of companies won't tackle them due to the low success rate they have)… I'm hoping to reduce the stress/costs involved for you by sharing what I know now…. Do everything carefully/slowly/thoroughly or you'll have to do it all over again!

It's quite an emotional journey, but never, ever, never give in, it becomes part of your lifestyle after a few months, and you get used to it - after all they're just a tiny little bug… isolate and keep on vacuuming/steaming/DE – Fossil Shell Flouring (I have no proof that DE works at this stage, just going by what's on the internet)…… and stay strong! (See below for instructions)

I refuse to let a tiny 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, so drown yourself in knowledge before you do anything) and I had no idea where they were!

If you've decided to tackle them yourself be prepared for quite a long journey (possibly many months), but through dedication it can be done… I wanted to do it myself as I know its being done thoroughly by someone who cares… ME!

Drown 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).

The bites have been my biggest hurdle…. for me it takes anywhere between 5 to 14 days for the bites to appear (I'm thinking it may be to do with the anesthetic the bugs inject into us, and the wound has to heal from the inside to the outside…. just my thoughts), it seems to take longer for the bite to appear on the fleshier parts of the body. Someone with an allergy to the bites might show quicker (Google images/information on bites, they vary considerably). So every time new bites come out I've learned to think back to where I was sleeping/sitting a week or so before, 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.

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 for a large infestation) 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 (do it yourself) – My recommendations for going into battle are a Bed Bug Steamer, I chose a Garment Steamer [1500 watts, 3 liter capacity, telescopic tube, continuous flow of steam, fast heat start, swivel wheels for easy moving and a removable water tank costing me a total of AUD $100+ dollars (well worth it)], vacuum cleaner (needs to be emptied every time you use it so as bugs can't escape, or maybe find a way to temporarily block the hole into the bag securely, so as you don't have to keep throwing them out), Fossil Shell Flour, mattress covers, 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 is how I'll refer to the flour throughout the story) which contains Diatomaceous Earth – make sure it's food grade (as the swimming pool filter grade is very dangerous to humans/animals) it cuts the bugs as they crawl through it, they dehydrate and die (takes anywhere up to 10 days to kill them, I'm not able to prove this at this stage)… once again Google how to, it's not expensive and can be purchased online, I got mine from a company online in Australia. Place a thin layer of DE on floors/furniture/skirting boards/cracks etc 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… mines staying there until Christmas 2012!

It's important to kill them or you'll have them forever, they'll keep breeding, 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 (if you still have bug problems after treating the bed you won't have to re-do the mattress), invest in a mattress cover (carefully vacuum mattress before covering to get any adult bugs before they escape elsewhere) there are some specially designed to trap the bugs on/in mattress (these are quite expensive AUD $120 for a queen size at Target stores). The chances of them being inside your mattress are slim, unless there are holes in it (tape over holes). If you have a base (a prime spot for them to nest) under the mattress you can get covers for this also (or vacuum/steam/DE). Leave these covers in place for at least 2 years (I'm leaving mine on forever & ever) after you think you're rid of the bugs.

They will be hiding/living quite close to their host, especially if it's only a light infestation, more than likely on or in your bed frame/mattress somewhere (completely dismantle and check/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 3/4am), 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. They can be sneaky and come out for a feed at other times during the day if a host hasn't been available to them for a few days, a good reason to have DE in place so as they have to crawl through it to get to you.

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/picture frames/ bedside tables/ceiling/floor…even the smallest gaps (with DE, tape or filler), also in and under lounge furniture/beds and bed frames/bedside tables etc.

If you think they traveled in a suitcase/overnight bag I would act quickly on vacuuming/steaming/hot wash/hot dryer or hot ironing (whichever is appropriate for what you're treating) all clothes and baggage that went with you, probably too late to get the live bugs (only 1 or 2 would possibly have traveled with you) but there are possibly eggs that have yet to hatch. Maybe store anything that has been treated in sealed plastic bags in a different room to where you believe they are, not one that has other family members/beds in it.

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 (even cheaper is to iron things that can be ironed, very time consuming though).

Be logical with this….I made so much work for myself (did all my belongings, I believe now it 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/DE'd (careful not to inhale whilst awake or sleeping), isolate all beds being used in the house… I managed to keep them out of my daughter's room by doing this right from the beginning. Cheap plastic containers under your bed legs with a little DE in the bottom (just in case they manage to get past the tape), wide double sided tape on the outside (Google it), you may need to put more tape over the top in a few months as it loses it stickiness, sprinkle DE (work into carpet a little, Google it) 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, so replace or tape up cracks.

After you feel you have done everything thoroughly (which may be weeks/months) remember to wait a few weeks to see if the bites subside. If you're still getting fresh bites then you need to go back to vacuuming, steaming etc. Think logically about where the bites are on your body? Are they in a different place on your body than before? Mine have changed from my face/hands/neck to my body which has led me to believe we've conquered the bed but they are in the lounge suite.

Don't remove isolation on beds for at least 18 months after bites have ceased; think I'll be waiting 2 years…. I may even sleep on the floor for a while before removing the tubs to see if I get bitten, yeah I'm brave now…. but I wasn't in the beginning…. there's no way out of this you just have to be strong, and get on with it!

**** Really, really important *** don't wear any clothing that you’ve been wearing during the day/night to bed (slowly hot iron anything you wear to bed), 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… they don't want to be seen so will be living close to their host, 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).

*** Another 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.

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 7th month of fighting them, and now think they are only in our 3 seater couch that I used to fall asleep on…. I've sprinkled DE under the cushions and around the short legs on the carpet; no one sits on it…. I've sprinkled DE 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 DE, and DIE!

Karen’s Story:
I'm fairly certain bed bugs have been biting me for the last 7 months (possibly traveled in an overnight bag), I have no evidence except the bites (apparently not unusual) our furniture is all quite dark in color and near impossible to see a bug on it. I long to see just one, think I'd burst into tears! Any other bug would be dead by now! My bites are often the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner, they bite in a row/cluster (Google it). The eggs are very difficult to spot as they're small like a grain of rice and transparent (they stick onto the furnishings), an adult bug is about the size of a small apple seed, pale colored before feeding then changes to reddish brown after feeding. Firstly I thought they were mosquito bites…. but they were slightly bigger, in a cluster on my stomach… and were taking such a long time to heal, then some appeared on my arm and that's when my internet research led me to bed bugs.

If I had my time again, if I knew I had them in the early stages of infestation I would allow them time to settle into a nesting place before doing too much, as they're going to want to be quite close to you, even the eggs that may hatch from your clothes will make their way to you, the babies (nymphs) need a feed before they can progress to the next stage (moulting - there's 5 stages).

*** My latest thoughts are (7 months down the track)…. that if I caught the infestation early that I would bait them, assuming they were somewhere on or near my bed/sofa…. and I was the only person visually (apparently some people don't react to the bites) being bitten, I would isolate/DE all other beds in the house and distribute family members accordingly. Then get myself something like a portable camping bed, sleeping bag, pin my pillow (slowly hot iron clean pillow slips/underwear/night wear before using in the bed) securely to the sleeping bag (so as nothing can slip off the bed), sleep naked or in the night wear you've hot ironed, and never put anything else (ever) on the camp bed. Place the camp bed near my infested bed/couch, isolate it…. sprinkle DE appropriately around it and lead the bugs to their death….

marty commented:
I also have gone through the bed bug nightmare. My son and husband was getting bit. But they always sat on the couch. So me and my husband decided to check it. There they were. A friend of ours told us about a chemical he used for them. It is called Total Solutions. We sprayed everything that didnt move in our house. We did all the major things with the washing and drying. Then we waited 2 wks. Sprayed again. We did this for 2 mnths. So far so good. No one has been getting bit. But we are gonna keep doing this for awhile just to be on the safe side.

For Bug Bites commented:


I have been fighting the same type of bites. I thought at first it might be bed bugs but had my house checked and it was not. Know I think it was some type of mites or scabies...So I started researching just like everyone else. I came across Tea Tree Oil. I am very skeptical about everything I do not know about, but since the bites kept coming and I did not want or have the money to go see the doctor, I tried it. It's not too expensive and it works!

I read a post were someone said to take a bath and put about 20 drops in the bath and bath for 20 minutes or so. I did this the first time. It was good, but not strong enough for me. I did some more research and read that Tea Tree Oil is one of the only 100% concentrated oils that is safe to apply directly. Now I do not recommend it for all as it is strong and you will feel a slight burning sensation, but wow....So what I do is shower and scrub with soap. Then rinse and fill the tub half way or so. Put in 40 drops or so or just apply directly (100%) to my bites.

I usually do not even rinse again as the oil acts as a repellant after it dries. It has been two weeks, no new bits and the old bites are all healing. You will see that Tea Tree oil treats many things besides killing mites. Acne, fungal stuff, ect. I highly recommend it. I am NOT a doctor and am not claiming to be. I just want to share my success as those of us that have had these horrible experiences know just how bad life can get.

Take care and give it a try you will not be disappointed!

It's time for them to go!!! commented:
I have had bed bugs for at least 3 years. I was at the library (daytime) when I first noticed the itching. I thought it was people that were there that possibly had pets in their homes (fleas). I itch both during the day, after taking a very hot bath and at night too. I thought that I would only itch at night after being bitten.

I have bite marks all over me. I wrap up in a sheet and blanket now every night. If any areas are exposed they still end up biting me. It is terrible, can you imagine 3 years worth of grief. I tried mattress covers but they tore apart. I never see the bed bugs moving, only after they are dead and lying on mattress. There are none in the tufts of my mattress at all, no signs at all. But, there used to be.

I washed my mattress with bleach about a year ago. I can never find out where they are hiding. I have the DE all around the perimeter of my bedroom and around all of the bed posts. Still, I am being bitten. So now again I have wrapped my bed posts with tape to catch them. I still don't see anything stuck on them - still being bitten.

I've used the foggers in the entire house. Some say really hot or cold temperatures will kill them. I tried leaving my bedroom window open in 20 degree weather (or less) for about 3 days and that didn't work (a year ago). I guess it wasn't cold enough to kill them or the eggs. I've also heard they get (hide) inside anything under the bed, in the woodwork, etc. That includes books, clothing, under rugs and electronics (computers, tape players, etc.) too. I've washed all clothing and kept them in the basement - still itching and bitten.

Now I will take apart my dresser and probably put it in the basement to see if I can locate them there. This furniture is my mother's so I don't want to throw it out. I am going crazy with these bugs, and like I said it's been three or more years. I had been making trips on a Greyhound bus and I think that's the only way I could have gotten them. Probably hitch-hiked on my luggage. My clothes when I leave them on the bed cause me to itch something terrible. I don't see anything ever moving so it must be that they're laying eggs or something. I don't know what that is anyway almost out of options.

If bed bugs can thrive a year without a blood meal that's pretty bad. That means that they could last forever laying eggs year after year. If I could put someone in my bed, I would stay up all night just to see if I could catch them. And, find out where they are coming from. They say that the carbon dioxide that you breath out let's them know you're asleep and its time for them to eat.

Any suggestions? Perhaps it's time to hire a professional extermination company?

JOYCE commented:
Hi, I had this bed bug problem and had my home treated by an exterminator several times over 2 yrs. All I can say is that every time they came and treated my house the infestation seemed to get worse each time. Finally out of desperation and frustration I searched the internet and came across the DE (the flour talked about in the first story) fossil shell power. It is pretty inexpensive and I bought 10 lbs worth.

Really only needed a fraction of it. I spread it around my house. Around all furniture, walls, carpet, outlets, doors and windows. After a couple of weeks I noticed a remarkable decrease in the population and lessening in bites. I repowered the house after about a month and they NEVER came back! I will keep this on hand because you never know when or where you might get them.

You don't "get" bed bugs because you are dirty, you just pick them up from someplace you have been, but if you keep your house uncluttered they will have less places to hide. I hope this information does help because I had a complete nightmare trying to get rid of them and no one wanted to come to my house. It was very embarrassing.

Heather commented:
My grandfather from the old country said that this is not the first time we've seen bed bugs. He recommends that we use turpentine (the solution we wash off when painting on canvas) . Paint the head board on the bed,or a piece of furniture within the bedroom, do not occupy the room for 24 hours . The smell is strong, and this will eliminate the bed bugs from your home.