Bedbugs – advice and information request from desperate family

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  • #1736789

    Red Adair
    Participant

    We think we may be at the start of a bedbug infestation in our small attached house in Brooklyn (Midwood / Boro Park area). Two weeks ago I was bitten more than a dozen times one night. Nobody else got bitten for a week and a half, but then one of the kids got bitten several times.

    Not having any knowledge on how to treat this problem, or even how to determine if we really have a problem, I’ve been doing extensive Google research. Unfortunately, the results of my research are inconclusive and even contradictory.

    -Some recommend heat treatment and say that sprays and chemicals may be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from chemicals in walls.

    -Some recommend sprays and chemicals and say that heat treatment may be worse than useless since bedbugs will just find refuge from heat in walls.

    -Some recommend hiring a bedbug-sniffing dog to see if you actually have them, while others say dogs miss finding the bugs and it costs about $600 for a false sense of security while the bedbugs proliferate. (This is well worth every penny if it’s accurate, but we don’t know if it is.)

    We called a company that is highly-rated on Google, but they came, charged $100 for checking, stripped two of our beds, didn’t find anything, then told us it would be $3,000 to treat the bedrooms.

    At this point we don’t know what to do. We realize that it will probably be expensive and a tremendous amount of work to solve our issue, but we’re not even sure which method to try and/or which exterminator to use.

    We’d greatly appreciate any helpful info from anyone who either had this problem themselves or knows someone who has, such as:
    -Did you use a dog to check for bedbugs? If so, were you satisfied with its accuracy? If you were happy, who did you use?
    -Which exterminator did you use? Which method did that exterminator use? Were you happy with the result?
    Did anybody successfully get rid of bedbugs on their own? If so, how?

    Any information is helpful and appreciated.

    #1736900

    shpitzygoilem
    Participant

    That sounds like a lot of money for something that should be pretty straightforward, I don’t know if Brooklyn has some weird breed of bedbug but generally if you put all the bedding (and any clothing around) on a boil wash and keep flipping the mattresses they should go. If they do persist as yours seem to have been, I’ve seen places here (in the UK) charging from $200 USD for treatment.

    I live in a tall apartment block and we used to have a small community library in the lobby for residents, but it was banned because the bugs live in books and were spreading that way (allegedly). You shouldn’t need a dog to check for them, from what I’ve heard they should be visible if you have white sheets.

    #1736905

    18Forever
    Participant

    Hi I’m sorry to hear that bedbugs are never fun we had bed bugs about 7 years ago when we lived back in Brooklyn I was the only one in my household getting bit and it was not fun and then my son was getting bit as well and it was the size of like ping-pong because I guess he was allergic to the bites
    I did not find bed bugs anywhere in my house I was told that it was being trafficked by the other apartments we had brought exterminator twice to no avail we put all of our beds in special casings which I bought from BJs and Bed Bath & Beyond all of our clothing I took the laundromat and washed and dried and we lived out of bags like specials Ziploc bags for a whole year cuz it can take up to a year for them to die I know that’s not fun to hear all of my kids clothes that were in storage I did not wash them what I ended up doing was I got construction bags from Home Depot and I ended up spraying this white powder on it and we found an amazing website called domyownpetcontrol.com we ended up ordering all of our chemicals on there and the magic thing that really did the job was a powder I don’t remember the name of the powder but if you call them they can tell you it kills the bed bugs within 24 hours it’s a chemical that scratches the bed bugs body which causes it to the hydrate and die now the larvae can hatch after two weeks and you need the larvae to die as well so this powder is so amazing that it’s works for six months and then after 6 months you need to reapply it so we had put it all around the perimeter of the house the walls we took her off the Outlets from the walls and we sprayed powder in the walls as well I can’t tell you how much it helped us within a week I had tackled the the bed bug situation and like I said I had people come to exterminate to know valve. You will need to buy a special powder bottle to be able to spray the proximity of your apartment I also did the outside of the door I don’t know if you live in an apartment building or just a two-family kind of house and your door just goes outside to the to the street so I had did a little bit outside my hallway and my door interesting Lee enough I was finding them in the bathroom and in the kitchen which is not a typical place to find the time so that’s how I knew they were coming from other places you’re also going to want to spray regular liquid spray as well like I said you can ask them about the powder there are several different powders so the one that we got was the one that kills them within 24 hours. Hatzlach

    #1736906

    18Forever
    Participant

    funny to mention a year after I had bed bugs my brother-in-law got a sniffing dog and because I was so paranoid I always made the dog sniff and he never found anything but I did hear of your concern where dogs can always detect it like I said I had exterminators who didn’t attacks it and couldn’t find anything I actually found out that I had a bed bug was one day I came back from being away for Shabbos because I was so paranoid that I was being bit and my husband thought it was just mosquito bites so to calm you down we went away when we came back home we saw a cockroach Welcome to Brooklyn run into my room and it ran under my bed and my husband picked up the bed the Box bed and bang the box twice really hard and all of a sudden we saw two little bugs bed bugs fall on the floor and crawl away that’s how I realized that we had bed bugs otherwise it didn’t see anything I didn’t see the signs that they tell you to look on the mattresses or anything of the like. when I started calling exterminators there was one nice exterminator who told me about this white powder so I really have to give him the credit if it makes you feel any better I actually found out that fleas are much worse than bed bugs. By the way I also heard the Heat treatment is not always so efficient I don’t know offhand because I never did it cuz thankfully we were able to tackle it on our own and yes you are able to tackle it on your own my brother-in-law like I said worked for a pest control company had his own dog and he says you can do it yourself

    #1738157

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    I would love to give some EXPERT advice. This is what we do for a living.
    We have 2 companies 1 that is only for bed bugs & does Thermal Remediation or heat treatment. The other a general pest control company.
    1. Spray Pesticide:
    It is very difficult to kill bed bugs with pesticide, even after spraying they can produce eggs.
    There is not currently a pesticide that can kill bed bug eggs. Also spraying will make bed bugs go further into places they would not normally go and spread through the property. This is why we have done many full buildings because they have been spraying for years & spread the problem throughout the building.

    2. Thermal remediation / Heat Treatment:
    The only treatment that can kill all bed bugs and eggs with only 1 treatment.
    But the heaters they are using makes all the difference.

    3. Diatomaceous earth: the powder they are talking about:
    DE is a significant inhalation hazard. While it can be applied safely (a very fine dusting barely visible to the eye only in areas where it will not get kicked up into the air), if improperly applied as we have heard about people doing, it can do significant damage to your lungs.

    Also, often you will not see the results of the damage until years after exposure. So, unlike some chemical pesticides that cause immediate reactions to let you know you’ve been overexposed, DE doesn’t have a way to alert you that you’ve applied it improperly. The DE that a consumer can buy off the shelf does not have the killing compound in it that the pest control techs have. As well as knowing how to properly apply the dust to be effective.

    I hope this helps: You can see more info at: bcbedbugexpert.com

    #1738294

    Mammele
    Participant

    Please don’t spend a fortune before a confirmed bed bug siting or a positive from a reliable sniffing dog. (The dog may not be 100% accurate, but going just by bites during mosquito season is even less so.) Good luck!

    #1738296

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    As a first step get bedbug-proof mattress covers. Also, you can prepare a spray of alcohol to kill on contact of you happen to see some.

    They hide well. Exterminators look for signs of them rather than coming across the actual critters. The telltale signs are the bite patterns and spots on the mattress.

    If you are in an apartment building they are likely coming from another apartment, and you cannot fix it alone. Otherwise, contact an exterminator. You might have to move out for s few days while they spray some poisons.

    If you catch it early enough, you might only have to treat one room.

    Much Hatzlacha

    #1738380

    Logicyid
    Participant

    We had this exact problem and did not have 1-2k to call in a pro for heat treatment.
    Here is what we did:

    -First empty the room of all but furniture, ie all clothes off floor, etc.
    -Everything that can be thrown in the washer, clothes, curtains, etc wash and dry on hottest setting.
    -anything that cannot be thrown in washer like luggage, etc leave out in the sun on all sides for a few hours
    -wrap all pillows/mattresses in zip covers from Walmart/target/etc.
    -make sure no blankets are hanging off bed or touching floor
    -get 4 plastic containers fill ½ inch w/DE and put legs of bed in the containers on floor
    -vacuum/sweep/dust thoroughly
    -keep door of room closed off when not in use
    -leave legs of bed in the containers for 3-4 weeks making sure no blankets ever touch floor and if they do, wash in hot water.
    -periodically when no one is using the room, sprinkle DE on floor and leave there a few hours and vacuum it up
    The idea is to coat their only pathway to the bed with the DE and eventually they will all eat it.

    -to the extent the DE is a “inhalation hazard” if you are going into the container and actually snorting it, then maybe you’ll have a problem. The person whose room was infested in our house has lung issues and it did not affect her at all — and it has been a several years already. It is a perfectly safe product and is edible for humans. DE is by far the most cost effective and least toxic remedy.

    This worked for us – no more bedbugs and we didn’t have to spend $2000. Hatzlacha.

    #1738386

    Joseph
    Participant

    WB HaLeiVi!

    #1738481

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    HaLeiVi, I second Joseph’s motion!

    #1738539

    mavenschoice
    Participant

    DE does not kill them by being eaten. It is a silica compound that absorbs moisture like silica gel pellets. When the bedbugs walk through the powder, it attaches itself to their bodies and kills them by literally drying them out. It should also be placed along the baseboards at the floor along the wall where the beds are located because they hide in the walls during the day and come out at night. They also hide in the bedframe that supports the box spring. Putting the powder all around in there will kill those as well.

    #1738484

    Lawrence balabus
    Participant

    I had an identical situation to yours. I called 10 difference Exterminator’s and the price was too much. I live in NY and an exterminator in Lakewood told me to call a local NY guy named Danny Shuster who has the most honest name in the business. He came by and did some kind of check with a laser for $80 and he determined it was NOT bedbugs. Saved me thousands. Call him at 646 5919331

    #1739151

    Amil Zola
    Participant

    You would have to work very hard to inhale the DE. I’ve been using it in both my flower and veggie gardens for decades.

    #1739219

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    DE will not save the day when dealing with bed bugs this powder is a deterrent not a problem solver, this will not happen over night it takes a long time for them to dry out from the powder. They will continue to mate and feed of you and still lay 3 to 5 eggs everyday, putting this powder on or around your beds is not the safest approach breathing this powder can be harmful to your health. If this powder works like people think then all heat treatment and pest control companies would be out of business when dealing with bed bugs

    #1739215

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    The environments are different the DE will stick to the soil moisture conditions in veggie gardens etc. In the house the conditions are dryer the powder does not stick, and can easily become air borne just walking past. Even applying it with out a proper applicator or proper mask you will be breathing it.Also it’s not good for pets they will sniff and pull the particles up there nose. So no you don’t have to breath very hard to inhale it, DE does work for many applications and it probably has helped some people with bed bugs maybe but it does not work like most people think. One more thing most people can only get over the counter DE and it is food grade it does not have the killing compound that we get as a pest control company you cannot eat my DE.
    Bcbedbugexpert

    #1739240

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Good luck

    My advice is to move AND FAST!!!

    #1739289

    Mammele
    Participant

    CA: worst advice ever. Moving without treating everything will just spread the bed bugs to their new home as well. Assuming it’s truly bed bugs. And since he/she is likely the owner of said home, they can’t exactly run away from the problem in any case.

    #1739468

    Logicyid
    Participant

    Don’t believe the scare tactics about DE, the worst that could happen with it is maybe it wont work as well or as fast as you would have hoped. But at least you are not out $2000 to $4000 bucks, and your house is not sprayed with toxic chemicals. Try it as a first step, its cheap and safe and you have a 75-90% chance that it will work.

    Be careful of fear mongering about DE from those that may have an agenda. It is EDIBLE for humans, so you may as well try it. Its like getting advice from a Honda salesman why you shouldn’t buy a Toyota — he is an “expert” on cars, but only on Hondas.

    Bottom line is it worked for us and there was no down side to doing the DE, as a first step along with the other things I mentioned above. If it doesn’t work, then you can go about spending $80 with Lawrence’s advice above. But avoid chemicals, they don’t work and they are toxic, especially if you have kids.

    #1739669

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    There is no scare tactics or hidden agenda, we are only trying to give everyone the proper knowledge when dealing with bed bugs, or what ever method they choose. 75-90% chance might seem great but there is still a 10% chance they are still present which means your problem will start up again. If you have the beginnings of bed bugs you might have a chance of success. Spraying is not the answer either there is no chemical that can kill a bed bug egg, and spraying will also scatter them through out your house, the only true way to eradicate bed bugs and eggs in one shot is with heat, but yes it can be costly.
    Here are some facts. Bed bugs can live up to a 12 to 16 months without feeding.
    Bed bugs will lay 3 to 5 eggs everyday.
    Bed bugs only mate once in there life time.
    There is no chemical that can kill a bed bug egg.
    Bed bugs will become resistant to the chemical sprayed very quickly so you would have to spray a different chemical which leads to more toxins in your home.
    On a personal side and being a pest control company I have first hand seen what this pesky insect has done to people and there homes, i would not wish this on anyone.
    Good luck to anyone dealing with this problem.

    #1739725

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Mammale

    She only has the bed bugs because of her neighbors in the attached house so moving (after washing her clothes and killing them by putting in the dryer) will get it to stop

    I know someone that was on the same situation and once they moved it stopped (the bed bugs were in the walls of the old house

    #1739777

    Logicyid
    Participant

    BCBedBugExpert: You say DE is a health “hazard”, then you brag about how your version of DE is NOT edible, thus more toxic? So it is okay for him to use DE as long as it is your more toxic version? So the one you can get for cheap at home depot is both “dangerous” for humans and “ineffective” for bedbugs at the same time? But using your more toxic version is fine?

    “If this powder works like people think then all heat treatment and pest control companies would be out of business when dealing with bed bugs”

    Totally false.
    That is like saying if baking soda worked so well cleaning a tub, then Lysol would be out of business. Or if ikea furniture is so great, then Ethan Allen would be out of business. Utterly ridiculous. There are always people willing to overpay for stuff they could easily do themselves. If you can fool them into thinking they need it.

    For example, there was a lice breakout at my kids school. They had an “expert” company come in and for $150-$300 per kid, they would de-lice the child’s head. They put out scary pamphlets about how if you DIY with conditioner and a fine comb you may not get it all etc, etc. Many parents that used these “experts” and good for them spending hundreds, when we spent $12 on a lice comb and did it ourselves, no chemicals no $150 per head. And we got it all, just like we got all the bedbugs with the diatomaceous earth.

    “there is no chemical that can kill a bed bug egg”

    Correct, however once it hatches and goes through DE, it will dry out and die like the adults. It takes a while but it worked for us and the extra time was totally worth saving $2000 to $4000 bucks. There is nothing wrong with him going to Home Depot and trying it out as a first step. There is a high probability it will work. And if he is in the 5-10% where it does not, he can call the guy Lawrence mentioned above as a second step.

    Your only useful suggestion is heat treatment, which costs $2000 per room. No one should resort to something like that as a first step, when he may not even have bedbugs in the first place. Dayenu with these irrelevant details about eggs and chemicals!

    The poor guy is in a panic, and all the naysaying about a perfectly safe and cheap product like DE that he can get at Walmart or Home Depot are no doubt causing him more panic. If he wants to DIY with DE he should, so stop naysaying and conflating the issue, it’s rude.

    #1739829

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    First mr Logicid all DE can be hazardous to your health and I was just trying to explain the difference between what you buy as a consumer and I get as a pest control company and that we have a extra killing compound that you can not get and I never suggest him to use any DE. Second I am not trying to sell you a product NOR DO I USE DE so I don’t know why you would say my version is fine.I have personally done over 3000 bed bug jobs in the last 9 years using heat treatment because DE and chemicals failed, I have done 120 unit buildings and am a expert in this field putting on seminars and educating people world wide. There is a lot of misguided information on line and a lot of people who give people bad advice this usually creates more harm than good. Not all people want to go through what you went through and it wasn’t easy I’m sure and some people would rather pay a professional or get professional advice no charge and to say my comment was false with your ridiculous comparison baking Soda and Lysol Really. Do you really think people would pay me tens of thousands of dollars if DE could save the day, they pay me from all the bad advice they were given or read online about DIY and make the problem worse. I don’t know where you get you numbers from but $2000 per room now thats a false comment , but you being a professional in this industry you have failed in giving other options to this person and there are many other more healthier ways like steam . This is much safer and will kill bed bug eggs, and there are more but I will leave that up to you. I was only trying to give some expert advice but it seams you have a Expert here already and I am not looking for work I live in canada.

    #1739853

    Logicyid
    Participant

    The poor guy is is panicky that he may have bed bugs. Most are actually trying to help him by giving him practical info he can do today, and some are telling him ad nauseum about how much of an “expert” they are because panicked people in Canada pay him “tens of thousands”. Yikes.
    😉

    #1739870

    A little Sechel?
    Participant

    I. lalso got rid of them by cleaning sheets blankets and wrapping mattress in very high denier bag well sealed and the Main
    thing is to get two sided tape and put it on the legs of the beds and make sure no bedding touches the floor or wall

    #1739901

    Logicyid
    Participant

    Double sided tape, great idea!!

    #1739930

    BCBedBugExpert
    Participant

    Here’s some info on the hazards of DE:

    Inhalation Dangers

    The major danger of food grade diatomaceous earth arises from the fact that it is a powder and is made from silica. A person can inhale powder into the lungs and become ill. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that inhaled silica can cause a range of diseases such as silicosis. Other diseases of the lungs can also be made more likely from inhaling silica, such as tuberculosis. Exposure to silica may also be involved in the development of other non-lung related diseases such as autoimmune problems and chronic kidney disease. These dangers are more likely to occur with repeated exposures to the substance.

    Irritation Risks

    The diatomaceous earth powder particles can also cause irritation because of their small size and abrasive properties. If a person is exposed to the powder, the powder can get into the eyes, which are sensitive to dust. The eyes may become red and scratched, although this effect is temporary. The dust can also irritate the lining of the throat and the inside of the nose.

    Cancer Risks

    Food grade diatomaceous earth is not intrinsically carcinogenic, but the changes to the lungs that a person can suffer from through silica exposure can lead to lung cancer.

    #1739969

    Red Adair
    Participant

    Update:

    First of all, a great big THANK YOU to all those who took the time to share their knowledge and experience in dealing with this problem. Several of you posted long, detailed descriptions of how you dealt with the issue as well as advice and suggestions; it took a while for you to do so and I greatly appreciate your taking the time out of your busy days to help an anonymous stranger who was completely at a loss as where to even begin.

    Shpitzygoilem, 18Forever, Logicyid, Lawrence balabus, A little Sechel?
    Were all kind enough to post their personal experiences. This is extremely helpful because it gives me an idea of different strategies that people used and were successful in ridding their houses or apartments of bedbugs.

    BCBedBugExpert
    It’s great to hear from an experienced professional who has experience in bedbug eradication. He graciously posted long, detailed writeups of various methods and tools that can be used in combating an infestation. Although he won’t get any business from us (it’s a little bit long for a drive), he took the time to list different treatment methods as well as their pros and cons.

    HaLeiVi, mavenschoice, Amil Zola, coffee addict
    Were also kind enough to post several suggestions, all of which we appreciate and some of which we will iy”H be implementing.

    I apologize if anyone was omitted, but let me reiterate my appreciation to all of those who contributed. At this point I feel we have a much better handle on the situation than we did a week ago.

    Were we’re holding now:

    Spouse has a coworker who’s got an exterminator to deal with bedbugs. Coworker was so impressed that coworker’s father hired this exterminating company to take care of an apartment building and they are very happy with this company. I Googled this company and they have about twenty reviews which are overwhelmingly very positive.

    The company starts with a bedbug-sniffing dog (slightly under $400). If no physical bedbug traces are found – even if the dog indicates it detects something – the company will not treat. In our case, it found a scent in one location without traces, and minimal traces in another area. Based on that, we’re having the entire house treated for $1,500. After the first treatment, they’ll return in two weeks, check again, and treat again. After that, they’ll guarantee we remain bedbug-free for two more months.

    Based on my research (including contributions from people on this thread), I have concluded the following:
    1) There seem to be three primary ways of treating a bedbug problem: Chemicals, heat, or a relatively new one which is spraying a fungus called Beauveria bassiana. A product called Apprehend uses this fungus, which apparently is very effective, but it’s only for sale to licensed exterminators. On Amazon, some people have posted that they made their own version of bedbug-killing Beauveria bassiana spray by buying a package of it intended for gardening and then using it for bedbugs, but I have no idea how safe and effective it is.
    2) Diatomaceous earth can be helpful but it should be used VERY lightly or bedbugs will simply avoid it. A good strategy is to buy a duster and blow it (very lightly) behind outlet plates and switch plates and along baseboards. This is in addition to the primary treatment, not instead of it.
    3) Vacuum carpets, especially along baseboards. Vacuum the bedframes, inside furniture, paying special attention to nooks, crannies, cracks and crevices. This also is in addition to the primary treatment.
    4) Wash and dry linens and clothing in hot water. Items that can’t be washed should be run through a hot dryer for 40 or so minutes. This also is in addition to the primary treatment.
    5) A power steamer is deadly to bedbugs and their eggs as long as the steam reaches them. This can be used on carpets, especially in corners and along the baseboards, and on and in furniture. Go slowly and thoroughly. This also is in addition to the primary treatment.
    6) Buy mattress and boxspring encasements. Check reviews to ensure they are high quality – if there is even a tiny opening at the zipper, they’re useless.
    7) Move furniture, especially beds, away from the walls.

    None of the treatments above are magic bullets. Several of the secondary treatments should be done repeatedly; once is helpful but you want to keep doing it to catch any potential escapees.
    It is a tedious, expensive process. So far we’ve spent:
    About $500 for quality boxspring and mattress encasements.
    About $400 for a bedbug-sniffing dog to check our house
    About $1,500 (plus tax) for treatment
    Many days and nights cleaning, washing and vacuuming

    B”N I’ll continue to update. If (and IY”H when) we’re happy with the results I plan on posting the company we used over here.

    While there are far worse things in life than bedbugs and we’re grateful for what we have, this IS an enormous aggravation as well as a significant expense and time-consumer. Thanks again to all those who have helped us.
    Have a good Shabbos and Yom Tov.

    #1740043

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Have a good shabbos, and Yom Tov and don’t let the bed bugs bite

    #1740042

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Wow! I’m glad you have a plan and did extensive research!

    May I ask, the places where they were detected was it on the side of the house facing your attached neighbors? If it was they have the problem and they will keep on spreading it to you even if you treat

    #1740056

    Logicyid
    Participant

    Glad you found a practical solution. Good Shabbos/Chag Sameach!

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