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Thread: Diatomaceous Earth for bedbugs?

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    Senior Member reader99's Avatar
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    Diatomaceous Earth for bedbugs?

    Friends of mine moved one of the beds and discovered they have a huge infestation of bedbugs. They can't really afford the chemicals from the doityourself pest place. Has anyone here used diatomaceous earth for this? Or know someone who has? If it works and won't hurt their cat that would be great. Where can you buy DE?

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    Big warning about DE. We used it on our sheep, and it lacerated their corneas. They went temporarily blind. It was pretty awful. Your friend would be better of getting rid of the mattress.

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I've bought some at a Farm Feed store in the past. But I'm thinking you should use food grade DE. I've started seeing it being sold at Tractor Supply Co. You can probably order it online too.......but make sure its food grade. Check out Bedbugger.com. Lots of good info.
    I can't be too optimistic though that they can get rid of them on their own.........but maybe. My daughter was in a rented house with 2 other people and had a hell of time trying to contain them. She washed everything over and over, and put some things (clothing, etc.,) away that she didn't use (in a rubbermaid tub with a good seal and no holes).
    She moved to an apartment last August, and has kept them away. I think one of the best things I bought for her was a Vapamore steamer. The steam has a high enough heat to kill eggs and adult bedbugs.
    There are several old posts here from the past that has alot of info too.
    Good luck! They are SUCH a pain. She ended up throwing out her bed before she moved to an apartment.
    Feel free to ask any other questions. It was a very disconcerting problem for her, and I'd be glad to pass on any good info I might have gotten from her experience.

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    Senior Member reader99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redfox View Post
    Big warning about DE. We used it on our sheep, and it lacerated their corneas. They went temporarily blind. It was pretty awful. Your friend would be better of getting rid of the mattress.
    They threw out the whole bed, and sprayed with something from the grocery store, but they're still seeing a few live ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reader99 View Post
    They threw out the whole bed, and sprayed with something from the grocery store, but they're still seeing a few live ones.
    Oy. Blessings on them. Bedbugs are a scourge. CathyA is definitely an expert, unfortunately!

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    ONly way to get rid of them for good is getting the heat treatment where they come in and heat up your whole house to the temperature that kills them. Will cost at leas a couple thousand but it works. Nothing else (sprays, burning the furniture, washing everything, ripping up the carpet, etc. etc.) does. That is, of course, unless they get reinfected again from the outside. Sorry to have to break the bad news to you. Bite the bullet and have it heat treated; don't waste any more time or money.

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    Senior Member reader99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packratona! View Post
    ONly way to get rid of them for good is getting the heat treatment where they come in and heat up your whole house to the temperature that kills them. Will cost at leas a couple thousand but it works. Nothing else (sprays, burning the furniture, washing everything, ripping up the carpet, etc. etc.) does. That is, of course, unless they get reinfected again from the outside. Sorry to have to break the bad news to you. Bite the bullet and have it heat treated; don't waste any more time or money.
    They are both disabled veterans on very low incomes, with no savings and no family that can help. They are going to have to struggle along with sprays and bombing. They don't have thousands to spend.

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    "CathyA is definitely an expert" ....What a dubious distinction Redfox! hahahaha

    Those guys can hide absolutely everywhere......like in the trim around the baseboards, in window sills, in outlets, in books, magazines, chair cushions, etc., etc..

    I don't know if DD could ever have gotten rid of her's, if she hadn't moved. But she was sooooooo diligent.........washing and drying things many times, then packing unused clothing/blankets in new sealable big containers.
    She froze all her books before she moved. She threw out her mattresses and frame. But like I said, I think the best thing she did was use a special steamer (Vapamor) on everything, many times. The Vapamore steamer is a low moisture, high temp thing that kills eggs and adults. It costs around $300.........but well worth it.

    Its a long-term process that requires constant vigilance. And they should go to using white sheets, so they can easily find them.
    DD bought an expensive mattress and pillow enclosure that a local exterminator recommended, which she threw out when she moved, and bought a new one.
    I sure hope they can figure out a less-expensive, non chemical way of killing them..........like something that would make them sterile. They are truly becoming a plague.

    DD knows to be vigilant, especially if she stays at a hotel, rides a bus, or even stays overnight at a friend's house.

    The thing about using the expensive system of heating up the whole house is that it can ruin alot of things in the process. And like Packrationa! said.......its very easy to bring them in again, after you have them removed.
    Bedbugs.........AWFUL!!!

    When DD would come home (while she had bedbugs), we went through a very careful "decontamination" process. She would bring very little home........no books allowed. She would leave her coat in the car, immediately go to the bathroom, hand me her clothes, which I would immediately wash and super dry, then she would take a shower and put on clothes from our house. I had a big Rubbermaid container for things like her purse/toiletries/ and even her french horn. Then I would also wash the clothes she brought with her and put them in a clean container in the bedroom.

    It was a real pain having to do this, but we didn't want to ban her from the house! We never did get any bedbugs. But I'm OCD............so maybe that helped! haha

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    Okay I understand that, we are struggling and have on and off for over a year. There is no way in h** I have $2K, It is very hard. Bed bugs can be about anywhere but will stay close to the bed or couch generally. They can stay in walls or wooden furniture or almost anywhere. So the first step would be to turn over the box spring and mattress to look for signs of them. You can turn over the couch and really look at the bottom of the wood frame as well. We threw away box springs and got zip up covers for mattresses and pillows, but every time I check the couches we are fine. On the bedding you will see tiny spots where basically you roll over at night and squish them, if those are all gone you are making progress. I would also take any bedding that cannot be encases to the laundromat and wash on hot and then put in a hot dryer for an hour. That can do the same thing as the heat box for softer items. Then I look for any signs on wooden furniture. I have antiques so I sprayed the back of the dresser and put all the clothing into the dryer. Cleanliness and vacuuming are not the biggest issues but it makes it much easier to see where you need to work. I

    For treatment you can use DE or I have used the spray from the home store, and you can put the legs of a bed frame in bowls with something slippery so they cannot climb up. I recently heard about bean plant leaves? I am going to put those out where we just worked on them to see if any are left.

    I am very concerned about bringing them out anywhere accidentally. We had no signs for months and now they are back again in one small area. I would hate to have anyone else get these. I spray my luggage before and after I travel anywhere and store so many things in the largest ziploc bags. It has increased my decluttering but anything I can't be sure about goes to the trash instead of goodwill.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I've read a number of times that the adults can go a year without feeding.

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