My personal experience with bed bugs taught me a lot about dealing with these common pests.
A Bed Bug Infestation Is a Huge Problem!
"Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." My parents used to say that to me, but I had no idea what bed bugs were. Nowadays, we have seen a worldwide resurgence in bed bug infestations, and the problem will continue to spread, as bed bugs hitch rides on travelers' clothing and other items packed in suitcases. Even my apartment complex issued a warning saying that if they discovered a bed bug infestation, they had the right to destroy my property. Since I am not able to tolerate most chemicals, I looked for a nontoxic, natural solution to destroy bedbugs, and discovered a solution that is so fast and simple it almost defies belief!
This solution has been tested and the results published in peer-reviewed scientific literature. While I have been so far fortunate enough to have never gotten a bed bug infestation in real life, I wanted to share this solution with everyone whose life has been or will be made miserable by these dangerous pests. I did help a friend get rid of these horrible pests, and it took ages, and I am still afraid I may have missed one. However, he has been certified bedbug-free.
What Not to Do
- Do not throw everything out. (Yes, I know it is tempting.)
- Do not move into someone else's house. You will simply bring bedbugs with you, and infest their space, too.
- Do not change your sleeping quarters. You've lived with it this long; you can live another few days with it.
The Simple, One-Day Solution to Your Bed Bug Problem
Bed bugs, like most living things, are primarily composed of water. By reducing their water, in effect killing them by dehydration, bed bugs can be gotten rid of in as little as one day.
First, dry out your living space as much as you can. Use a dehumidifier to bring the relative humidity down to a very low level (preferably less than 25%). Make sure to unplug all electrical appliances to prevent a spark from igniting at such low humidity (naturally, you will have to leave the dehumidifier plugged in). Extinguish all pilot lights and cut off the gas to them. If you do not want to invest in a dehumidifer, wait for a day with less than 25% humidity.
Second, you want to heat up your living space to an extremely high temperature. For fastest results, heat up your living space to 120°F or 47°C. When the temperature has reached that level, let it remain at that level for at least one hour. The bed bugs will suffer dehydration and die when they have lost 45% of their body weight.
Be aware that it is necessary to leave your living space at 120°F for at least one hour. It can take many hours to heat up a living space to that temperature. In addition, bed bugs can retreat to cool places in mattresses and upholstered furniture, as well as cracks between baseboards and trim, so you may have to repeat the treatment many times to completely eradicate the infestation, or you may have to leave your living space for up to three weeks until the bed bugs starve. Using a far infrared (FIR) heating pad on upholstered furniture and mattresses may help accelerate the process, as will sealing up cracks in the baseboards, trim, and other places bedbugs may retreat to.
Bed Bugs in Clothing and Linens
Washing your clothing and linens at temperatures exceeding 140°F or 60°C in the washing machine will kill bedbugs at all stages of their life cycle. Tumble dry clothing and linens at a temperature greater than 104°F or 40°C.
Do not expose yourself, pets, or plants to these high heat conditions.
Be aware that many objects in your home (plastics, carpet, furniture made with particle board, even clothing and upholstery made with synthetic fabrics) will emit toxins at high heat levels. Either remove these items or air out your living space completely for at least two hours (windows open, fans exhausting air outside) before you come back into your living space.
This is a dust made from the fossilized skeletons of microscopic life. While applying it, you should wear eye protection and a dust mask, because it can be a stressor to your eyes and respiratory passages. The scientific evidence gives this a 100% mortality rate to bedbugs in ten days, but you must wait several cycles and leave it in place, to capture the nymphs as they hatch.
The Low-Tech Solution That Really Works
What I did with my friend was this: We put everything of his on the patio in a heap, and dusted the perimeter of the patio with diatomaceous earth, and left everything there for twenty days. We then dusted the interior of his apartment with diatomaceous earth in a very thin layer, and left it there. We took off the covers of electrical outlets and light switch plates, and dusted inside there, too. We bought some alcohol from the drugstore (70% isopropyl alcohol is just fine and cheap), and put it in an empty spray bottle. We took a hair dryer to every crevice of the room (heat will cause the bedbugs to emerge in a few seconds) and sprayed the bedbugs we found.
We visually inspected each item on the patio, spraying any bedbugs we found with the alcohol. That killed the live ones that were left immediately. Then we scraped off and squashed thoroughly any eggs. We used a magnifying glass to make sure we got everything. Then, as each item was inspected, it went inside. We washed clothing and linens in hot water, and dried them on high heat, taking them inside (making sure to inspect the laundry basket thoroughly each time, to get rid of any possible hitchhikers). If needed, we used a hair dryer on each item to get the bugs to emerge.
He is now bedbug-free. It took a month of diligent work, but we did it. His total cost was about $35.00 for the diatomaceous earth, the alcohol, and the extra electricity.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 classicalgeek
Deidre Shelden from Texas, USA on August 19, 2011:
Good information here. Wondering how to heat a living space that hot for that long ... though would not be hard in TX right now! One think good about our hot summer here :) Linking to this solution from my hub, as heat is what takes to get rid of bedbugs! :)