Another bedbug question, PLEASE ADVISE soon- what about my stuff?

I have several bags of my clothes, knickknack s, shoes, books that I took out of my room black 30 gallon trash bags down cellar, my good stuff. My room was sprayed and is empty except for my bed and empty closets. I don’t know what to do with those bags . Should I take them directly to the curb for trash pickup?should I take them outside to look thru, rescue a few things to wash and dry on the hot setting? I don’t know what to do.

Please advise, I am desperate. They are coming back soon to spray again, I simply don’t know what to do. I can’t eat or sleep. I think I’ve only had one bite in a week since the first spraying. I am
beside myself.

1 - Very Important: Learn all you can about bedbugs, it is very tricky to get rid of especially if you don’t know their habits and lifecycle. Don’t assume spraying worked (as it didn’t), it may be one of the least effective ways to get rid of them. Learn their personal cycles, when I had them they would bite every 6-8 days. Use their biting habits to your advantage (more on this below).

With that said, your clothes should go through the dryer on a hot setting which will kill them. Items that can not go through the dryer can be placed in a hot environment as temps above 113F will kill them. Also if you can leave those bags of clothes in a hot place (like in the sun on a hot day) and sealed till you need them it will help. Also sealed up for a year would also work.

2 - Other things, don’t change your sleeping areas, get bitten till you solve this, sleep in bug net over you head to prevent unsightly bites. Sleeping elsewhere will will cause them to spread out looking for a meal and establishing additional colonies. (they need blood to mature, not to live)

3 - When stresses the bugs can hibernate for up to 9 months, so you might think you are clear then they come back. Spraying, if it doesn’t kill them, will often cause them to go deeper and hibernate. - Spraying is not recommended for a non-professional, it usually makes it worse.

4 - What worked for me is a combination of diatomious earth (make sure it’s food grade for your own health) and a IIRC fungus that comes in a powder which one dilutes with water and sprays on bedding surfaces. Both end up dehydrating them, and the fungus actually grows on them and sucks them dry. Get these supplies, have them handy and ready because if they come back you want to hit them hard as they will be weak then. (again it could be months if they survived the spraying). Use a multi sided attack, I would get DE and a applicator right away and place it around the bed and other points of entry right now.

There is also the possibility of taking a anti parasitic drug, but in order for this to work you must take it the day right before the night you are bitten, because these drugs are meant to be only taken once, unless you time it correctly it won’t work.

I want to be clear in that I’m not giving advice, and that ultimately, the people who know most about these things are licensed professional experts.

I’m not entirely clear on what you’re doing with your bags. Did you take your clothes, put them in plastic bags, then remove those bags with your clothes (potentially with bed bugs) into your basement? If that’s what happened, and if there are bed bugs in those clothes (and bags), it’s possible that you’ve now moved those bed bugs to a different location in the house, which is not what you want to do. Hopefully, the bed bugs are not on your clothes and are confined to the areas being sprayed.

Emphasis on the bold. This is what I did, and this is how I beat them.

Also, you will have to be patient. They’re just not going to be beaten overnight - no way. What gave me a psychological boost was knowing that the populations were getting smaller and smaller and I was seeing them less frequently. I went from seeing them every night/morning, to every few nights, to about once a week, once every 10 days. I went six weeks without seeing then, out of the blue one evening, noticed one crawling up the wall close to where I was sitting, but it looked like it was weakened and moving around slowly. I lost sight of it and panicked a little, but never saw another one again after that.

Want to comment on the psychological boost, as I too had that along the way, and to add it’s not a overnight cure, but a longer war which could take months, but one should start seeing results.

When I had BB’s I got what is know as the ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ bite pattern, 3 bites in close proximity which is supposedly along a place of rich blood supply (they come to eat, retreat to digest, comeback again for seconds, retreat again and a final meal). What I woke up with was 3 big welts every 6-8 days. After some treatments I found that the pattern was one major welt, and the other 2 were much smaller, I knew that it was working. So that boost does help, you know you are winning.

About how long it took, it was something like 9 months in total due to hibernation cycles. Fortunately the first piece of knowledge I got was don’t do anything yet, learn about them first and accept getting bitten, as it is way too easy to make it worse. What finally did them in I believe was the fungus I mentioned along with the DE as a secondary method.

We had a professional exterminator come in and spray around. He sprayed all the drawers and closets and beds in my room, which is now empty except for my bed. I have encased the mattress and box spring in zippered bags, am sleeping on a sheet and a light blanket which I put into the hot clothes dryer in the morning., My pillow is in a protective cover, too. I haven’t gotten any new bites in my room in 10 days. The exterminator is coming to spray again, soon.

The problem I’m having is my clothes and stuff were put in black plastic trash bags and put in the basement. That was the only place I could think of - I also threw away many bags of other clothes and trash. So all my stuff is in the trash bags in the basement. I don’t know how to proceed. Bring up one bag at a time, take it outside, remove an item or two to go in the hot washer’/dryer and put that looked-thru bag out for the trash? I seem to be stuck, I have to do something with that stuff down there, or I will have to buy new clothes? I am at my wits end. I can’t eat or sleep, I’m still itching from a million bites I had previously. I’m terrified the bugs are still in the house and going to come back. I cry all the time. I just don’t know what to do, I can’t get a grip. But if I could figure out what to do with all my trash bags of stuff, that would be a start.

Here is some advice which can be useful in the recovery of items you want to keep: https://www.orkin.com/other/bed-bugs/temperature/

Basically using the freezer or oven.

Since the stuff is already in black garbage bags just take it out to the yard and leave it in the sun. that’ll be hot enough to kill any survivors.

mc

eta:
The orkin post above says sunlight isnt hot enough, but the inside of a garbage bag on a sunny day should be

On a hot day, like we’re having here in SoCal, certainly.

Also No-pest strips will kill bedbugs. They wont kill the eggs, however. And some bugs are resistant. But unless you have small pets or small children put one in your room. If you want to be cautious, take it down and put in a plastic zip lock when you would be asleep or in the room for long periods.

If you have a mostly sealed closets or basement, the no pest strips can be put in there with suspect items.

If you are worried about bedbugs in furniture, bed frames, and are fortunate enough to live somewhere warm, a typical mini storage for a couple weeks should bake them out nicely.

previous thread

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=857617&highlight=bedbug

It’s doubtful that putting them in outdoor heat will kill bedbugs; you need to put bedbugs in a dryer for 90 minutes, and maybe longer than that. High heat in a dryer is about 125-135 degrees F, and it’s enclosed, so there won’t be clouds, shady, wind, or whatever to give them a chance to survive - and bed bugs are unbelievably good at survival. Just shockingly good. You can’t fight bedbugs with the attitude that “There’s a 95% chance this will work.” You have to KNOW what you’re doing.

I found it was really a multi-pronged strategy that took care of my bedbug problems. Contact spraying immediately killed the ones I could see. I then went out and got a mattress cover and box springs cover to trap the ones that were probably hiding somewhere I couldn’t see. Those two steps helped right away. But the ordeal was far from over.

The hard part is figuring out where they had spread, and how I could prevent them from biting me at night. I thought, as long as I can just keep the little buggers from biting me, it’s okay, right?

Actually, no. This is where I learned how to defeat bedbugs.

Part of my strategy was to allow the remaining ones to bite me, but first, they would have to crawl through diatomaceous earth. They’d get their little blood meal, but they’d also die 24-48 hours later. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth against the baseboards, so that the bedbugs hiding behind the walls, would crawl through the barrier. I also put my bed away from the wall, so that the only way they could get onto my bed would be to crawl up the wall (and again, through the diatomaceous earth) and then drop down in hopes of landing on my bed. I put the legs of my bed in cups filled with diatomaceous earth. Basically, I made it so that there was a very high likelihood that bed bugs crawled through a substance that rips their exoskeleton open and kills them slowly, but inevitably over a 1-3 period.

I’m not saying my solution would work for everyone, but I would at least consider it. The key to defeating bed bugs is to know your shit. Know everything you can about them before making important decision. One thing I’d say is, I was somewhat lucky in that we didn’t have a major infestation. Once an infestation spreads to multiple rooms and especially multiple levels of a residence, forget it: you have to call the exterminator. They’re the only ones who can handle massive infestations.

Don’t be so sure. Bedbugs can survive for months, not weeks. Anything less than 120 degree heat consistently, and they could tough it out. They’re amazingly adaptable little shits.

I would let the exterminators do their thing. You can also ask them what they’d do with the bags and so forth. If it were me, I’d put the clothes in a high dryer setting again, just to be abso-fucking-lutely sure that they’re gone, and I’d toss the garbage bags in the trash.

You’re not going crazy. These things terrorize people, and it’s hard to understand unless you’ve been through it. I’d rather have a cockroach infestation than a bed bug infestation. People have no idea. You wake up, and you’ve got something crawling on your face, and you’re like, “WTF was that?!” And then you see it crawling back behind the bed, like a bank robber trying to drive a getaway car. That little insect just took a small bit of your blood. It gives one the heebie jeebies.

But the good news is, there is an end. It does get better. You will beat this thing. Just try to accept that it could happen again and try to see the psychological value of seeing fewer and fewer of them. That’s what really helped for me.

I got them a couple years ago, I think from an extended family member who lived in hotels. The worst thing for me was fear of the embarrassment of someone seeing a live one on me in public or spreading them to someone else. For the most part I learned to live with the bites and seeing them on the bed until the population dwindled and died off. That said, these things live in doors, electrical outlets, get in walls, etc. You think you have them beat and then you find a whole bunch living under a window sill or in a crack by the floor or something.

The “leave a bag outside in the sun” thing is not considered effective, but the dryer is. For stuff that won’t go in the dryer they make devices you can buy starting at a couple hundred bucks (expensive, but professional house treatment runs in the thousands) that you can put other stuff in and heat. Some people immediately throw away everything they can but I wasn’t going to throw away all my new living room furniture (so new stuff can just get infested too) or beds. I did do my best to declutter, not that being messy causes bedbugs but it makes it a lot easier to find them and kill them and vacuum regularly.

If I had a couple thousand I wouldn’t miss, I would have probably just done a whole house heat treatment. There are some nice Youtube videos on this.

I have a couple of tips.

For your small items, you can buy “bedbug ovens” - small portable heaters that you can use to disinfect your stuff. They’re kind of expensive, usually around 200 bucks but if you live in an apartment building you may be able to split a purchase with you neighbors.

If you can afford it, you can get a bedbug heat treatment instead of chemical treatment. It works in one shot and you don’t have to pack and treat your possessions. It consists of heating the entire residence to a temperature of 150+ ( you do have to remove stuff like lipsticks and candles ). The catch is that it’s expensive - when we did it 5 years ago it was $5000 to treat an 800 sq ft apartment. I am on the board of an apartment building and unfortunately one of the infested apartments was occupied by an elderly hoarder with no family - he wasn’t able to pack his stuff and refused to let anyone else do it.

To avoid getting bitten, make a barrier of double stick tape around your bed - on the floor and up the wall if your bed is against the wall. Once your bed and bedding is clean - you will need a mattress protector designed for bedbugs - this should protect you. And the location of any bugs you catch may give you a clue as to their location.

And lastly, when you are exterminating, look up. Make sure you or your exterminator checks and sprays behind pictures and around drapes and valances. I read of one resistant case where it turned out the nest was up in a drapery valance and was missed by the exterminators.

I had a flea infestation once when I moved to a new house and let the cat out and she got in a fight with another cat. I heard it, she came back the victor I think, with only a tiny hole on her nose. She was a big adult, no surprise. But she also got sick. I had to force feed her for two weeks.

Anyway, she and I also got fleas like never before. If I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night I had to take packing tape to remove them from my legs and feet, I’d have 5-10 on me. It drove me nuts and I was in ill health, too. So I started googling for something as nontoxic as I could get that would still work. I came up with an insect growth regulator called Nylar. This stuff was cheap and supposedly very effective, and not just on fleas.

So I ordered it and waited a few days to get it. You just put an ounce in a gallon of water and spray the living area. Everyone including pets has to leave for a couple of hours until it dries. So I did that. It is supposed to make insects not able to mature. So I thought I would still have some adults left and I would deal with those. I wasn’t expecting it to get rid of every last bug in the house, cockroaches included! I couldn’t believe it, my horrible infestation was solved in one single effort. After I sprayed, I didn’t see a single flea, they never bothered me again. And the cat was an inside cat after that.

I can’t explain how the adult fleas disappeared, but this is my favorite bug product now.

There are a couple of different kinds, after a quick google I see this is the one that’s for bedbugs:

https://www.amazon.com/Gentrol-Concentrate-Insect-Regulator-1-ZOE1006/dp/B0043HTPPW

I’m not in any way an exterminator or entomologist but for whatever it’s worth I’ll tell you how I beat them.

To start I dismantled and threw out my bed and my living room sofa and bought a futon for the living room so I had someplace to both sit and sleep. This was probably a wasteful overreaction but I had an emotional reaction similar to yours and which I understand is quite normal. Both the bed and the sofa were old and needed replacement anyway so it was no great loss.

I slept on the futon and was still getting bit, so I purchased bed bug covers for the futon mattress and the pillows, hoping to trap any that were hiding in the mattress or pillows.

I was still getting bit! So I bought a roll of double sided duck tape and stuck it all around the outer edge of the covered mattress. I also slept without covers that may have hung down over the tape. My thinking was that they must have been either living in the futon frame or crawling up from the floor.

I had read advice online that said that sticky tape doesn’t work because they refuse to cross sticky surfaces so it won’t trap them. But I figured who cares if they’re trapped? If they won’t cross it they’ll eventually starve to death, and as long as I’m sleeping there they won’t go dormant and will keep trying to get to me until they starve.

The bites stopped immediately. I replaced the tape occasionally because accumulating dust hurts the stickiness. I did this for a number for months, never got bit, and never found any bugs stuck to the tape.

After a few months I stopped using the tape and haven’t had a problem since.

I never had to treat my clothes or belongings in any way. Of course that was me and your situation may be different.

The way you bring them all out is creating a decoy human trap because they don’t know what a human is. They are only attracted to what a human or animal gives off in carbon dioxide.

They aren’t smart enough to think, “Hey that’s not a human, that’s some household items together to draw me in and kill me.”
I’ve never used a trap though because I was successfully able to kill them while in a hotel. I moved out after that and it’s been four years now without them.

I realized that if I think like a bedbug then it’s much easier to stop them. I sit for an unhealthy amount of time at the computer and I was at the hotel as well. I realized they were all hanging out on the back of the hotel chair I was using. Underneath the chair and in the back. Sometimes deeper behind the cushion fabric.

It turns out that I was sitting at the desk more than anything else and that’s where they all were. Once I realized that I killed them all. I know this because it’s been fours years and counting but maybe I got lucky finally.

Many years back, I had an issue with these little critters (probably because I worked in a hotel). My solution, which seems to have held up so far, was to, on a hot summer day (high of 103 that day), crank up the furnace and a couple of kerosene heaters, until the temp in my house was up over 120. I did turn off computers and other electronics first, though I did forget about some candles that turned into puddles.

Let that roll for a few hours, and repeat the next day.

Been 6 years now, and no return.

I had bed bugs several years ago, and I annihilated them. I went further than the pest-spraying company.

I literally threw out my old bed and bedding, and had to sleep on planks for a week until the new bed arrived. In the meantime I put containers of mineral oil in the room, and put the bed legs into those containers. (They’re still there.) Despite the spraying there were still bed bugs alive, and they crawled into the mineral oil and drowned while trying to get to me. Every last one of them. :smiley:

I used mineral oil because of internet advice, and also because apparently bed bugs can live a long time underwater (unconscious, but still; lots of insects can do the same) and would eventually awake and emerge from the water after it evaporated.

Bed bugs can live for months without blood (they don’t drink water, getting everything they need from blood) and in the past could live more than a year without it. (Apparently the new pesticide-resistant strain aren’t so starvation-resistant.)

So for over a year I had to make sure that absolutely nothing hung off the bed to give the bedbugs a path. No clothes on the bed. No blankets hanging down to the floor. Washing the bedding was a much bigger chore than usual.

I don’t know what you would do about the bed, but make sure those clothes never touch the bed for a long time, as you can never be 100% sure that you killed all the bed bugs.