Is it safe for me to publicly state that I successfully got rid of BED BUGS for good? I think YES! It has been 183 days and not a single sign of them. Woohoo!
This whole episode has wiped me out mentally, physically and emotionally. I am going to share how we got rid of bed bugs and you can do the same. I am convinced! I CAN help you.
Do Not Give Up!
First off, Do Not give up. We had professional exterminators (Arrow Exterminator Company) come four times to treat our condo. Yes, FOUR times. I thought that was a sure treatment and good use of my money. I don’t normally fork over $1,100 at whim. Yes, Arrow Exterminators charged us $1,100 without a permanent guarantee. They gave us good advice and did carefully spray every nook and crevice, however, it did not permanently exterminate the bed bugs. And as you probably know, if you have one bed bug or one egg, that number will multiply exponentially very quickly. The little critters would disappear but the treatment did nothing to the eggs. We would be clear of bugs for 2 weeks and then the eggs would hatch and the mental/emotional drama would start yet again. I actually Googled “Bed Bugs and Suicide” and came up with a whole series of links. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredible depressed but not suicidal. Never before have I felt invaded, dirty, and punished to the degree I did during our bed bug ordeal. It was a toxic environment to live in both physically and mentally. Bed bugs are associated with a certain stigma and I felt embarrassed to even share my story with friends and coworkers.
I didn’t want to spread it and definitely didn’t want anyone else dealing with this invasion, so I was careful. I washed my clothes frequently in hot hot water and used the dryer on the highest setting (high heat kills bed bugs). I made sure to not place anything on the bed or nearby that may get contaminated. I limited my time at family/friends. No one wants bed bugs and so I tried everything in my power to keep it that way. Thank God, neither my sister or my parents got them (since I frequented their homes during this time). I was able to sleep better when I was out of my own home but did wake up even still to check the sheets and pillow for living bugs.
It became very difficult to sleep in my own home. I slept fully covered head to toe when I was at home. I was even tempted to wear gloves to sleep to cover every single inch of my body. I didn’t want any bed bugs crawling on me. The idea of crawling bugs makes me shutter even still. My husband, who gets warm easily had much more skin exposed in bed and I felt guilty that I was luring the bugs over to his side.
Nether my husband or I had an allergy or reaction to the bites so we never could tell when we had been bitten. My husband said he would wake up to feel them crawling and actually managed to kill several this way. He squashed one right on his pillow one night and it stained the pillow case red from freshly drawn blood. It was disgusting, to say the least.
On initial shock of realizing we had Bed Bugs, we decided to take care of the matter ourselves. How hard would it be to rid of Bed Bugs? We did everything we had read online:
Vacuum every inch of bedroom
Wash all bedding in hot hot water
Spray mattress with bleach
Throw away bed coverings
Throw away mattress
Throw away box springs
NONE of this worked.
Second Line of Defense: Professional Exterminators
We finally broke down and hired professional exterminators. We had planned to get a second opinion but unfortunately, Arrow Exterminators, had us Iocked in by saying they would waive the initial inspection visit by signing on for full treatment. So we agreed– in assumption that one grand would terminate our problem.
Four months and Four treatments later
We still had bed bugs. WHAT? You may ask, how? And why? I asked the same questions. Unfortunately, Arrow Exterminators does not offer a permanent guarantee.
The War Zone Begins
So now what? Well, since day one our parents (who were brought up in India) described the persistent problem faced with bed bugs growing up and mentioned that kerosene was the cure. KEROSENE?
Really? Do we risk burning down our home along with all our belongings to rid of these pesky bed bugs?
Thankfully we live in a high rise condo with fire sprinklers in every room and fire alarms in every room also. We located our fire extinguisher and got set to douse our home with kerosene. Please, please be extra careful if you follow this advice. The fumes are strong and highly flammable. Please remove all candles, matches, cigarettes, and lighters from home. If you have a gas stove DO NOT attempt this. Open all windows and let the kerosene dry naturally. Best if you and your pets leave the home. PLEASE take all necessary precautions.
Our methods worked! Or at least partially. The kerosene effectively removed all bugs and eggs from the bedroom. Unfortunately, they migrated to our guest bedroom. Bed bugs are smart!
Back To Square One
Beyond frustrated with our situation and now living in our toxic home, by some miracle I came across an article about Diatomaceous Earth. Why didn’t I try this earlier? I don’t know. I bought a 4-pound bag at Home Depot for $8.87. Not bad in price for this miracle product!
Diatomaceous Earth: THE MIRACLE!!
Diatomaceous earth is registered for use against bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many other pests. It dries out the bugs when they step on the powder. This powder is only effective if it is dusted along the path where the bugs travel.
Diatomaceous Earth Will Dry Up Bed Bugs
I had pretty much accepted the fact that I’d be living with Bed Bugs all my life. It didn’t hurt to try Diatomaceous Earth at this point. I found a tea strainer and made my way around our home. I took extra care to make sure every inch of our mattress and bedroom carpet was sprinkled with Diatomaceous Earth. Since bed bugs are smart, I knew they would walk around the powder if possible– so I made sure all entryways to our mattress and the mattress itself were fully covered. I powdered around our couch, within the cracks of our couch, the windows, our closet, the rugs, the night stands, wall hangings, and any other dark areas that bed bugs like to hide. Basically, I went crazy with the Diatomaceous Earth.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?
Diatomaceous Earth is safe for the most part as long as it is not breathed in. It can dry out your nasal passages. Best if you don’t have any fans or space heaters blowing the powder into the air where you would potentially breathe it in. It is, however, okay to touch and make contact with your skin. Best if you wash you hands carefully after applying the treatment. We placed the Diatomaceous Earth all over our mattress and just made sure the sheets covered the areas where our head landed.
I did change all our bed coverings and sheets to white (and threw away our brown colored duvet). It is much easier to spot bed bugs with white sheets and easier to spot their poop droppings. I plan to use white sheets here on out so I can spot any future invasions right away.
I am happy to say that it’s been 3 full months and we are Bed Bug Free!! I never thought we would get to this day when I could reach out to others with a solution.
Was it a combination of the kerosene and Diatomaceous Earth? Or did the Diatomaceous Earth alone wipe them out? I can’t answer that. But I can safely say that the kerosene step probably could have been eliminated.