Help! Bedbugs upstairs! How should I prepare for the onslaught?

My neighbor directly overhead (in a large apartment building) apparently has bedbugs. We were not notified until Friday (and didn’t find out until today, as we were away), but I’ve heard them moving furniture every day for at least two weeks, so I’m assuming they’ve been there for a while. We are now terrified, of course, as well as extremely upset with the management company of our building, although that’s a different story. We’ve already ordered mattress encasement thingies, but what else can I do? The management company will pay for the cost of having a bedbug-sniffing dog brought in, but I think that’s it. Is there any way to reduce the odds of them migrating downwards? Any other preventative measures I should take?

If you want to feel in control of the situation and you’d like to sleep easy at night (and I imagine that’s a huge part of it), clean your place top-to-bottom then get somediatomaceous earth and go crazy around your doorway, cracks in the ceiling, that sort of thing.

I’ve also heard stories of bedbugs getting into rooms via electrical outlets. So don’t overlook those either.

Begbugs can move to adjacent apartments. They are more likely to move laterally than vertically. The studies I have read say about a 15-20% chance of moving to adjacent apartments, and about a 7% chance of moving up or down. It depends on how your place is constructed.

Also, I hope your neighbors are using a professional. Some people try to bomb them themselves - this just drives them into the neighboring apartments. Your building management should be on top of this.

I wouldn’t suggest doing anything yourself unless you have a problem, since there is nothing you can do to stop them from moving anyway. Just keep an eye out.

Also, a bedbug sniffing dog is a good idea for your piece of mind. They are highly accurate if trained properly - a slight false positive rate (like 2-3%) but no false negatives, i.e., if you have bugs they will find them.

since we got back from Istanbul where we bedded with bedbugs. We are praying we’ve not brought them back with us. Search these forums for a bunch of advice…like,

  1. get diatamaceous earth and spread it around.
  2. make sure the only thing on your bed touching the floor are the legs
  3. put cups under/around the legs with 1) inside to ensure anything gets caught there.
  4. vaccuum religiously.

I have to say that I am freaked to think that we may get them, but they are not disease vectors, just bugs and you can get rid of them.

I still don’t want them here…

Don’t panic.
Keep your place clean, wash everything regularly on hot and call a professional if you get bitten or see bugs.

I got bitten badly at a hostel in Seville when we were back-packing a few years ago, irishfella got bitten in Barcelona. We were sharing the same bed both nights, so we’re not sure why the Andalucian bugs liked me and the Catalonian ones liked him!
Without taking any special measures other than regular showers and laundry and not putting clothing, towels or backpacks on the bed we managed not to bring them home with us.

Be prepared to freeze everything you can’t hot wash if you are unlucky enough to get them - my sister’s old flat in London was infested and they had to freeze all their books and the non-washable soft furnishings.

People have recommended cleanliness, but is there any evidence that this helps? Bedbugs aren’t the product of a dirty environment, but do they find dust appealing, or something like that?

The management office has successfully avoided me by phone today, when I couldn’t go in (they’ll see me tomorrow), but according to my next-door neighbor who spoke with them in person, the bedbug-detecting dog screened our apartment at some point in the recent past while we were out, and didn’t find anything. While I wish they had let me know about it, it’s reassuring to know that at least at that point, we were probably OK.

I’m buying diatomaceous earth tomorrow, and testing it on an inconspicuous patch of wall paint before applying it to everything. Thanks for the tip!

Cleanliness *per se * doesn’t matter, but clutter gives the bugs more places to hide, making it easier for them to avoid the treatments.

And the negative dog results right now are good, but I would want to repeat it in a couple of months if I were you.

Diatomaceous earth won’t harm paint etc… it is just a fine sand with a high silica content. Its called diatomaceous because it is made up of the silica skeletons of diatoms (microscopic single-celled amoeba-like critters that secrete silica shells).

I know it won’t harm paint, but my husband doesn’t believe me, so a test patch is necessary. I kind of like that diatoms will actually be useful in my life - I always thought that they were so beautiful in high magnification in my textbooks. Anybody know why there’s food grade diatomaceous earth out there? What are we eating it in?

Apparently, this has been going on for months, since at least June. I suppose it’s a good sign that we’ve gotten this far without any noticeable infestation

Food-grade DE is commonly added to stored grains as a non-chemical way to kill insect pests, a fair amount comes through in the final product and we eat a fair amount. its harmless.

it is sometimes given orally to livestock or pets to clear them of intestinal worms.

Some people eat it directly for the same reason.

Wait, you’re supposed to put DE on the walls? How does that work? Won’t it just fall to the ground?

It’s like baby powder, a little bit would stick, and you only need a dusting. That said, I don’t much see the point of putting it anywhere above the baseboards.

From all the reading I’ve been doing, the DE you should be looking for IS the food grade, or as close as you can get to it. The kind used for pool filters is not recommended for indoor use because of the high crystalline silica content, which is BAD TO BREATHE. Food grade DE uses amorphous silica, which is safer - not that snorting it is recommended, but developing silicosis 25 years down the line is much less likely.

I’ve seen reasons for ingesting DE that include de-worming, for both people and animals, and as a “flea powder” for animals’ coats. Not sure of the actual efficacy, but definitely food-grade for both.

Apparently, one mixes the DE with a bit of water, then paints it around electrical outlets, ceiling cracks, etc. None of my little local hardware stores stock it, so I’m going on an expedition out of my neighborhood tomorrow to find it, and I’ll report back as to how the painting goes.

No, DE is not effective once it gets wet. It needs to be dry.

Sprinkle it around the baseboards, put it on your boxspring, take off your electrical outlet covers and blow it into the walls.

Again, this is mostly for peace of mind - don’t worry too much unless you actually start having a problem.