This is a home blog. I love all things home. I love to create beauty out of chaos and tell my decorating, homemaking, and crafting stories. I have no desire to be constantly blogging about bugs. But you see, a colony of terrorists have invaded my home and are holding me and my family hostage. They threaten to be anywhere and everywhere all at once. You can’t always see them and they spread like an infectious disease. They wage their attacks when you are the most physically vulnerable and violate your family in their most sacred spaces. Right now, I have no time to create, decorate, or craft, and I most certainly have no idea how to turn this chaos into something beautiful. All I do now is clean, steam, launder, cry, cuss, and pout. I’m having trouble sleeping. Perhaps it has something to do with my mattress being thrown out in the alley. Or perhaps it has something to do with the myriads of bites I keep receiving in spite of the most stringent precautionary measures. Or perhaps it’s just fear. Whatever the case, I cannot sleep so I will blog in the hopes that I can prevent just one of you from going through what I am currently enduring.
Don’t get me wrong here; I am an emotionally tough girl. I’ve been through oodles of trials, losses, and heartaches in my 35 years. But battling bed bugs is not for the faint of heart. The amount of work involved is nothing short of exhausting.
How did the bed bugs get into your home???
We have no idea how these damned things got in, but there are several suspects. I feel like I am playing the game of Bed Bug Clue with my husband everyday. Was it Colonel Bed Bug on the backpack from the preschool, or was it Ms. Plaid Throw in the bedroom from the Freecycle?
How can bed bugs be prevented?
Most people pick up bed bugs from hotels so the first piece of advice is this: If you are traveling in a hotel, keep your luggage on the luggage racks and do not put your luggage or any of your belongings on the floor. We didn’t acquire these guys from a hotel. I am guessing we most likely acquired them from something I brought into the house.
If you buy used anything, be it furniture, toys, clothing, etc. be sure you wash it, steam it, and/or douse it in rubbing alcohol. Used clothing or fabrics should be tightly bagged in plastic and immediately dumped in the wash upon returning home. Be sure to wash your items in hot water and dry at a high setting. Used furniture is trickier. Bed bugs can be living in any crack or crevice and underneath the drawers. Most of us sand, prime, and spray our furniture before placing it in our rooms but not before placing them in our cars. If you can douse the piece in rubbing alcohol, or wrap it in plastic before transport, you will be safer. If you have a steamer and are able to steam the item, all the better.
Bed bugs harbor near their food….you…so any used bedroom item be it headboard, bedding, nightstand, etc. should be treated cautiously. They also embed themselves in living room furniture near where people nap such as couches, chairs, end tables, TV stands, etc.
I honestly may never buy used anything ever again. This situation has changed me and cost us a small fortune. It is sad. But it is a reality.
**In all fairness, bed bugs can be on new items as well. But my guess is that your statistical chance of bringing one home on a brand new item, or on a curbside find are very different.***
If you have bed bugs, how do you get rid of them?
Here is what I have done to attempt eradication:
- Bought a steamer which gives off a dry steam of 212 degrees.
- Bought a steam vac which wet vacs the carpets.
- Bagged and thrown out our mattress which was infested and had fecal matter on it. (It’s 11yrs old and we needed another one anyhow.)
- Taken apart our bed and sprayed it all down w/ .
- Thrown out the old bed slats (they had eggs and bugs on them) after we dosed them in alcohol.
- Filled all screw holes on our bed with wood putty to cut down on places they can hide.
- Taken all of our clothes and the boys clothes out of the dressers and bagged them and sealed them.
- Sprayed and cleaned all sides of every nightstand, drawer, and dresser with rubbing alcohol.
- Bought bed bug proof and pillow protectors for all beds.
- Steamed every surface of everyTHING in both bedrooms, including the brick wall.
- Vacuumed, steamed, then steamvac’ed the entire house.
- Placed glass cups filled with diatomaceous earth (a natural mineral which cuts through bugs’ exoskeleton and makes them bleed to death) on the feet of the boys’ beds (apparently the bugs have difficulty climbing up glass).
- Washed and dried all bedding and needed clothes in hot water followed by 30 minutes of hottest setting on dryer and bagged and sealed clean clothes in separate bags.
- Steamed all items in the master hall linen closet and bagged them.
- Called Orkin and paid ahead for two spray treatments of entire house (yet to be scheduled) at a cost of $500.