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Old 12-04-2015, 03:34 PM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is online now
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Why doesn't everyone have bedbugs?

Disclaimer - I don't have bedbugs (yet?)

My understanding is that bedbugs are difficult to get rid of, and easy to spread. Given these two factors, why doesn't every house have bed bugs?

According to wiki bed bug infestation rates have shot up since the 1980's. Why haven't we seen the end game yet, where infestation is the norm instead of the exception? Bed bugs aren't new, houses aren't new, behaviour that could spread the infestation isn't new. They've had 10,000 years of human civilizations to spread and become omnipresent parasites.

What's checking the increase of the infestations? Will we ever see a conclusion where we (mostly?) all have bed bugs? Why not given how easy they are to spread and how difficult they are to remove? Are we living in a golden age that people will look back at as The Days Before the Bugs Came?
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:04 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Cause I ain't dirty like that, yo!
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:08 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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They aren't *that* easy to spread. Yes they are very hardy critters, but just because you've encountered them your clothes and luggage are not some kind of plague spreading bioweapon. I've known plenty of people who been bitten by them at hotels and that's been that, they've not had to nuke their apartment and burn all their stuff.

IMO they were considered a fact of life in my parents generation, it's just he current germophic generation that is freaking out over them.

Last edited by griffin1977; 12-04-2015 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:22 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
They aren't *that* easy to spread. Yes they are very hardy critters, but just because you've encountered them your clothes and luggage are not some kind of plague spreading bioweapon. I've known plenty of people who been bitten by them at hotels and that's been that, they've not had to nuke their apartment and burn all their stuff.

IMO they were considered a fact of life in my parents generation, it's just he current germophic generation that is freaking out over them.
Yes, this. Most bedbugs will spread horizontally from apartment to apartment on the same floor, but if you DNA test them, the bedbugs upstairs aren't related. They spread out, not up. They don't jump, they're slow movers, and they don't climb all that well. You pretty much have to leave your laundry bag in direct contact with an infested laundry pile for a couple of hours to be guaranteed of picking up some hitchhikers.

Or, of course, bring them in on used furniture. I suspect if you were to graph the rise in bedbugs with the rise in "upcycling" and "thrifting" among the college students and middle class, you'd see very similar curves.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:33 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
They aren't *that* easy to spread. Yes they are very hardy critters, but just because you've encountered them your clothes and luggage are not some kind of plague spreading bioweapon. I've known plenty of people who been bitten by them at hotels and that's been that, they've not had to nuke their apartment and burn all their stuff.

IMO they were considered a fact of life in my parents generation, it's just he current germophic generation that is freaking out over them.

I think this is a part of it, probably exacerbated by the spread of information on the Internet. People can now map infestations real-time, share photos of extreme reactions, and loudly express their disgust.

I traveled to developing countries in the early 2000s, and in travel guides from that era bedbugs were mostly treated then as a minor annoyance- if anything you were happy to see a bite from a bedbug rather than a potentially malarial mosquito. There wasn't really a lot of thought paid to the idea that you could transport them home.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:24 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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While they can spread and are very difficult to get rid of, many people will not rest till every little bugger is dead. The motivation to get rid of them overrides their ability to infest.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:37 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Cause I ain't dirty like that, yo!
Contrary to popular belief cleanliness has nothing to do with it. They embed themselves to certain fibers including clothing, bedding, paper, wood, and card board. Even 5 star hotels get them. People put their clothes down, couple BB's cling on, and they spread.

I knew someone that got them and it was a freaking nightmare. They had to toss so much shit out it cost them a fortune. And they are not completely killed easily with pesticides.

I've had cases I've investigated regarding child abuse where it turned out the kid didn't have cigarette burns on them but bedbug bites. Some of those bites look like burns, it's even fooled medical staff.
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:05 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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The only reliable way is to raise the temperature of your entire apart,ment to 140 degrees, and leave it that way for hours.

Special electric heaters are used for this.
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:17 PM
HeXen HeXen is offline
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Question could be asked about roaches but never in my life have I ever saw one anywhere I lived.

Last edited by HeXen; 12-04-2015 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 12-04-2015, 06:29 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
The only reliable way is to raise the temperature of your entire apart,ment to 140 degrees, and leave it that way for hours.

Special electric heaters are used for this.
The people I know that had them had the exterminator do that. Also, some of the stuff they wanted to keep was put in the trunks of their cars to bake (it was summer). And they were told bedbugs are rarely in places where the climate is constantly warm. The guy also brought in a specially trained beagle to sniff the bastards out.
  #11  
Old 07-25-2016, 07:58 AM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is online now
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Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
Disclaimer - I don't have bedbugs (yet?)

Well, I must have cursed myself.

I went on a week long business trip to 4 different hotels. Came home Friday afternoon, I woke up in the middle of the night Monday morning (today) scratching everywhere. Chalked it up to irritation from leftover hair from a hair cut I had yesterday, but the seed was planted in my head that it could be bedbugs, complimentary from one of the 4 hotels I stayed at. All 4 hotel names rhymed with Shmoliday Bin.

Pointed a flashlight at the bed when I relented and got up this morning after a couple of sleepless hours. Sure enough, tiny little crawlies.

I don't know if it's just my mind messing with me, but I can't stop scratching while sitting at my desk. The wife is working from home today with the intention of getting a start on bagging and washing/disposing of stuff.

I wonder if I should mention this to HR and ask for some personal time off to take care of this?



@#$%^&*@$$@%&
  #12  
Old 07-25-2016, 08:15 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
The only reliable way is to raise the temperature of your entire apart,ment to 140 degrees, and leave it that way for hours.

Special electric heaters are used for this.
One way of ridding your home of cockroaches, and if you live far enough north, is to shut off the water supply, drain all the lines turn off the heaters and let the house freeze up good. I wonder if bed bugs can survive 0F temps?
  #13  
Old 07-25-2016, 08:24 AM
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No they cannot. So while everyone is freaking out, if you live in a cold climate you only need put your crap out in the garage for a few days. If you live in the tropics, (where I encountered them!), they simply drag your mattress out into the hot baking sun for several hours. Flip it a few times and all fixed!

It's the climates in between where the greatest risk of infestation happens, I think. Not so easy to bake or freeze them out!
  #14  
Old 07-25-2016, 08:56 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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So, I read through a website about ridding your house of bed bugs {Cite}, looks like a major hassle.

These new generations of bed bugs may be pyrethrin-tolerant, but that doesn't mean they like the stuff. It's a violation of Federal Law to use dog and cat flea shampoo in your laundry, the same as mixing said shampoo with your normal shampoo to prevent head lice infestation. Probably won't kill them but it sure "might" make 'em sick.

They're obligate blood-suckers, preferring human blood [insert snarky comment here]. Just as a wild guess I'd say dose up heavy on garlic. Again, it's against Federal Law to use flea shampoo on your whole body. Encasement for a few days, maybe a week, starve the lil' fuckers to death.

Manual eradication ... yup ... ya gotta squish each of them ... looks like your best option until the Feds lighten up on the current DDT prohibitions ... that's only available on the black market or off-shore.

The Master had SD Staffer Doug write an article about bed bugs 'How did bedbugs make a comeback?" ... enjoy
  #15  
Old 07-25-2016, 09:40 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is online now
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... but the seed was planted in my head that it could be bedbugs....
Eww! Is this how they propagate?

  #16  
Old 07-25-2016, 11:16 AM
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Eww! Is this how they propagate?

No - that's earwigs.
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Old 07-25-2016, 11:20 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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I wonder if bed bugs can survive 0F temps?
Yes, you need -10F to kill them
  #18  
Old 07-25-2016, 12:00 PM
Waltzes with Cacti Waltzes with Cacti is offline
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I have a steam cleaner similar to this one: www.therma-kleen.com/products/vapor/ts_75.aspx

If, Og forfend, my house is ever cursed with bedbugs, I plan to treat the mattress, carpets and curtains with steam (in addition, of course, to washing all the bedlinen.) Will this work?
  #19  
Old 07-25-2016, 12:07 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Before it becomes a "infestation" two things really help : "No Pest Strips" (do not put where you sleep, where babies are or where food prep goes on, and be careful around small pets) and diatomaceous earth.

So you can seal off your bedroom, put up two of those and sprinkle the earth between the mattresses, etc.

Put the luggage outside in dark plastic bags in full sun, if your climate is warm. Then store in garage- a garage with several No Pest strips.
  #20  
Old 07-25-2016, 01:25 PM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is online now
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Before it becomes a "infestation" two things really help : "No Pest Strips" (do not put where you sleep, where babies are or where food prep goes on, and be careful around small pets) and diatomaceous earth.

So you can seal off your bedroom, put up two of those and sprinkle the earth between the mattresses, etc.

Put the luggage outside in dark plastic bags in full sun, if your climate is warm. Then store in garage- a garage with several No Pest strips.

We're looking into diatomaceous earth in cups/plates for the bed feet, and I will research "no pest strips." Thank you for the advice.

The luggage is getting thrown out (nice Samsonite garment bag, but it is about 15 years old and seen a lot of miles). Hopefully if the wind is right and my arm is willing, I can throw it directly into the sun.
  #21  
Old 07-25-2016, 01:37 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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We're looking into diatomaceous earth in cups/plates for the bed feet, and I will research "no pest strips." Thank you for the advice.
They sell them at most larger hardware stores, I have even seen them at Target. But move fast.
  #22  
Old 07-25-2016, 03:17 PM
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The wife is working from home today with the intention of getting a start on bagging and washing/disposing of stuff.
If you're currently in the US and experiencing the heat wave, you can put all your laundry in black plastic garbage bags and leave em out in the blazing sun for an afternoon or two. This will kill them.
  #23  
Old 07-25-2016, 03:19 PM
Chetumal Chetumal is offline
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Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
We're looking into diatomaceous earth in cups/plates for the bed feet, and I will research "no pest strips." Thank you for the advice.

The luggage is getting thrown out (nice Samsonite garment bag, but it is about 15 years old and seen a lot of miles). Hopefully if the wind is right and my arm is willing, I can throw it directly into the sun.
You can either put it in the freezer overnight if you have a chest freezer, or put in a a large black garbage bag, tie it shut and leave it out in the hot sun for a day or two. Both methods kill em dead, no need to throw stuff out!
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:41 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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Direct sunlight not only works, but is, I believe, the traditional cure pre-pesticides.

You may think people don't like bedugs today, but our great-grandparents literally went thermonuclear on them.
  #25  
Old 07-25-2016, 06:46 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
...<snip>

I don't know if it's just my mind messing with me, but I can't stop scratching while sitting at my desk. The wife is working from home today with the intention of getting a start on bagging and washing/disposing of stuff.

<snip>...
I think I got bedbugs just reading about it. Thanks for that. *scratch scratch scratch*
  #26  
Old 07-25-2016, 07:50 PM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
So, I read through a website about ridding your house of bed bugs {Cite}, looks like a major hassle.

These new generations of bed bugs may be pyrethrin-tolerant, but that doesn't mean they like the stuff. It's a violation of Federal Law to use dog and cat flea shampoo in your laundry, the same as mixing said shampoo with your normal shampoo to prevent head lice infestation. Probably won't kill them but it sure "might" make 'em sick.

Don't the regular household sprays fall onto to the floor eventually ?

People who wash hard floors make a safe haven for the bugs, by keeping the pyrethrin levels down and keeping the spaces wet... (the bugs avoid dry places as they dry out easily.)


And same with carpets.. washing them removes the build up of insect sprays that people have used.

The apartment blocks are getting bedbugs because houses would have copious permanent insecticides around the ground level... (to stop spiders,ants,wasps,termites,borer...)

I guess the spider and ant repellant surface sprays on your skirting boards and bed posts would send all insects to some other residence...
  #27  
Old 07-26-2016, 03:39 PM
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Gentrol IGR, Insect Growth Regulator, makes all the babies grown into non reproducing adults. Read and follow the labels.
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Old 07-26-2016, 03:52 PM
Dahnlor Dahnlor is offline
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I've seen enough episodes of Hotel Impossible to know that you just need to heat up the room for a bit to kill them off.

Increasing the room's temperature to 120F for 20 minutes will kill them off, keep it at that temperature for 90 minutes to make sure the eggs are dead too.
  #29  
Old 07-27-2016, 07:02 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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Originally Posted by Dahnlor View Post
I've seen enough episodes of Hotel Impossible to know that you just need to heat up the room for a bit to kill them off.

Increasing the room's temperature to 120F for 20 minutes will kill them off, keep it at that temperature for 90 minutes to make sure the eggs are dead too.
Take it from me*, You CAN NOT do this yourself. You need to call in the big boys - they have special heaters to do the job. Its not enough to heat up the room, you need to heat it up to the point were it reaches temperature inside the walls as well.

Call a professional exterminator with documented experience treating bedbugs. Get references. Do not try to treat this yourself - that's how small infestations become big infestations.

*entomologist with almost 20 years experience working on, among other things, bedbugs.
  #30  
Old 07-27-2016, 07:06 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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Here's a link to my hotel traveling advice to prevent bringing bedbugs home. If you travel a lot, its a good idea to follow the advice:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...45&postcount=2
  #31  
Old 07-27-2016, 08:25 AM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is online now
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Thank you for your advice, mozchron and others!

Currently have most of the bedroom stripped of bedding and clothing. Trying my best to convince the wife that diatomaceous earth is safe to use around the bedrooms.
We have a 2 year old and the packaging unhelpfully lists "KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!!!!11one!" as the final instruction. I suppose he'd be in trouble if he ate a bunch of it or inhaled it in mass quantities, but sheesh.

Thanking Og I bought a $75, 4" thick foam pad because it's making sleeping in the living room a lot more tolerable.
  #32  
Old 07-27-2016, 08:33 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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[snip] ... People who wash hard floors make a safe haven for the bugs, by keeping the pyrethrin levels down and keeping the spaces wet... (the bugs avoid dry places as they dry out easily.) ... And same with carpets.. washing them removes the build up of insect sprays that people have used ... [snip]
If mozchron will correct me ... pyrethrin is nonpersistent, the chemical breaks down after a few hours into harmless byproducts. This is by design, we don't want dangerous poisons building up in our carpets and drapes.

Last edited by watchwolf49; 07-27-2016 at 08:33 AM.
  #33  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:19 AM
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How long can bedbugs live in the absence of a host? How long are the eggs viable? I.e., if your house is infested, could you just go on a lovely vacation?
  #34  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:25 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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I have a commercial website that makes theis claim:

"Adult bed bugs can survive for about five months without a blood meal."

"How Long can Bed Bugs Survive Without Feeding?" ... and again, this is a commercial website ... they want you to buy their service more than they want you to know the true facts.
  #35  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:31 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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I have a commercial website that makes theis claim:

"Adult bed bugs can survive for about five months without a blood meal."

"How Long can Bed Bugs Survive Without Feeding?" ... and again, this is a commercial website ... they want you to buy their service more than they want you to know the true facts.
It depends on the temperature and humidity. But 6 months or more isn't out of the question.
  #36  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:34 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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If mozchron will correct me ... pyrethrin is nonpersistent, the chemical breaks down after a few hours into harmless byproducts. This is by design, we don't want dangerous poisons building up in our carpets and drapes.
Couple days to a couple weeks, depending on the product, the concentration of the active ingredient, what you're spraying it on, environmental conditions (exposed to sunlight etc...).
  #37  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:46 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
Thank you for your advice, mozchron and others!

Currently have most of the bedroom stripped of bedding and clothing. Trying my best to convince the wife that diatomaceous earth is safe to use around the bedrooms.
We have a 2 year old and the packaging unhelpfully lists "KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!!!!11one!" as the final instruction. I suppose he'd be in trouble if he ate a bunch of it or inhaled it in mass quantities, but sheesh.

Thanking Og I bought a $75, 4" thick foam pad because it's making sleeping in the living room a lot more tolerable.
Have you hung up the no-pest strips? How old are your kids?

Yes, eating tablespoons of it could be a issue. But the main issue is if a kid plays with it then rubs their eyes. Same with us, so wash your hands afterwards.
  #38  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:50 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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If the diatomaceous earth is food grade, its safe to spread around. You already eat this stuff, as its added to food products (don't eat it of course).

If you got it from a pool supply store, its not safe - its an inhalation hazard. You need food grade.

But I reiterate my point above - call an experienced exterminator. Don't try to cheap out and control this yourself.
  #39  
Old 07-27-2016, 09:01 PM
TheSundial TheSundial is offline
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You don't have to strip a room or get rid of anything, what you have to do is mimic a human with a household trap (You can see on Youtube). Bedbugs have no idea what a human or animal is and is just attracted to what a human gives off so they will delightfully all die in a trap because they don't know what's happening.

I had them in a motel and this was before I knew about household traps, I simply spent mostly the entire couple of days sitting at the desk with my laptop. All of the bedbugs left the bed and were all underneath the chair I was sitting in, then I simply overturned the chair and killed them and made sure I got all of the ones hiding between the fabric and wood of the chair. Years later I can safely say that I conquered them that way.
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