Bed Bugs

NathalieLiuHiller

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#1
Just want to share with everyone a solution for bed bugs. A tenant of mine called me last May to report a bed bug issue. The suite he is renting has been treated before. We followed all the rules of the pesticide company with regards to preparations before and after treatment. In fact the suite was totally vacated when the treatment was done. It wasn`t occupied until a month after by this current tenant. Still, the bed bug came back after one year.We then started to do some more research because the heat and chemical treatment was too expensive. The pest control companies we spoke with also do not guarantee the place to be bug free beyond 3 months of treatment. Finally, in one of the forums, we read about someone using diatomaceous earth. One of the sites we checked was www.bedbugcentral.com. They have information about this on their site. Since I am based in Edmonton, I was able to buy the stuff in a store located in the West side (forgot the name, should be in my receipt...). The guy I spoke to there said while this powdery thing doesn`t get rid of the bugs right away, it does kill it over time. It has to be left on the floor and crevices for at least one month. Then after, it should get rid of the bugs. The way it works is that it kills the bugs "mechanically" but chemically. Once a bug touches this stuff, their bodies get scratched and dessicated. Then they die. The reason it has to be left for a month is because when new eggs hatch, the new bed bugs needs to be killed. The amount of time it takes to get most of those new bedbugs out is more or less a month.We spoke to our tenant and he agreed to give it a shot.We gave the stuff not only one, but two months to make sure it kills most if not all the bugs. It`s now July (two months) and the tenant said he no longer sees any bugs or gets any bites. We made sure to also sprinkle in the adjoining siutes just in case they migrate there. Cost of Diatomaceous earth? $74 for 5 kilos which we used only 1/4 of. Aparently, there is also a special type of bed casing you can buy that can be used to prevent existing bed bugs from getting out of the bed. Using it for a period of time encapsulates the bugs so they cannot feed on anyone and they eventually die because of hunger. In this case, there is no need to throw away the mattress.Sorry for the lengthy post, just want to share the good solution we have had success with because I know lots of people spend so much when it comes to bed bug treatments.
 
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gwasser

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Oct 22, 2007
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#3
QUOTE (JoeRagona @ Jul 12 2010, 03:17 PM) Thanks for the information Nathalie....

It is people like yourself that make this community stronger!

Very informative. A lot of apartment owners in Edmonton (including myself) cannot wait to learn about cost effective ways to get rid of these bed buggers. Diatomaceous earth he?.... hmmm.

Do you mind to keep us current on this issue?

Much appreciated,
 

Berubeland

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Apr 26, 2010
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#5
The problem with bedbug is that residents are in a panic about them. Here is Toronto buildings specifically the low income ones are accusing the tenants of bringing them in. While somewhat factual it ignores a few significant points, once one resident has the bedbugs they spread.

A significant amount of people don`t react to bedbug bites so they don`t generally investigate if they have them or not.

By claiming the resident who is in a panic about having disgusting bedbugs it will generally be guaranteed to create a very adversarial tenant who will not work with you.

The real problem with bedbugs is the expense of treatment by pest control companies. I had one quote from Abell for 900$ per treatment for a unit with a requirement for at least two treatments and NO GUARANTEES.

The solution is to find the cheapest alternative for landlords and tenants that still works and inspect any surrounding suites that may have them and treat them too.

Diatomaceous earth works, it is available at Home Depot as well as many major stores as Insectigone.

The tenant I was working with did not have the funds to buy mattress encasements. The Pest Control company was charging around 75$ each encasement. That`s $150 per bed x 4 beds or $600. The owner did not want to pay for them either. The cheap and dirty solution I came up with was to get the heaviest ply poly plastic(for drop sheets) at $25 per 100 foot roll and carefully wrap the mattress and seriously duct tape all the seams. So every single mattress was "encased" for about $50 bucks. My tenant disposed of her sofa but you could give it the same plastic treatment if necessary.

Here in Ontario you can also buy poison to spray yourself at a pest control company. It`s not as strong but it also doesn`t cost $900. Basically the poison they are now using has no residual effect whatsoever and you must spray it directly on the bedbug to kill it. The same thing can be accomplished with a number of other products including a mixture of rubbing alcohol or even dishsoap in water. Doing this would significantly reduce the existing population as an initial measure before putting down the diatomaceous earth.

Bedbugs do climb the walls and ceilings as well so it might be a great idea to put a square of double sided carpet tape around the ceiling where the bed is to prevent them from dropping on the bed and biting people.

Because our poisons are so ineffective because we must be "safe" at all costs we are reduced to physically finding and killing by spraying with poison, steaming, squishing and any other method we can think of. Once we stop kidding ourselves about what pest control is doing, we can then go ahead and focus on the enormous task of getting rid of a creature smaller than a head of pin in every crack and crevice.

Bedbugs are known to hide in electrical outlets, under baseboards, closets, bedframes, sofas and pretty much any other place that a small can hide.

Steaming doesn`t work for beds or for sofas because the bedbugs hide inside and are perfectly safe because no steamer will penetrate to the center of a sofa or mattress at sufficient heat to kill them there.

In some States and one homeless shelter here in Toronto, they have heating rooms where you can bring your furniture to heat it to the proper temperature to kill all the bedbugs inside it. Considering that 70% of new calls for bedbugs are now to single family homes it would be a great business to start in the major centers in Canada. Currently most people have to dispose of their soft furniture that will harbour the insects. Several Hospitals here in the GTA have had infestations as well. Some people spend thousands on a sofa, it`s sad to see them having to dispose of them or expensive mattresses because we just don`t have the facilities to deal with heating them. I don`t need to explain the risk of someone picking up said great looking almost new sofa and taking it home!

I hope this helps, once you understand what you are trying to do, it becomes easier.

There is another product that seemed decent as well. It was plastic bowls with a ridge in it that goes under the feet of your bed to keep the bedbugs from being able to climb up the bed legs and bite. http://www.usbedbugs.com/ClimbUp-Insect-In...onitor_p_5.html I wouldn`t buy them at that site because it`s ridiculously expensive for what it is, but at least there`s a picture of it.
 

RebeccaBryan

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Sep 17, 2007
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#6
Do bed bugs need people to feed off of? We have a suite that I think had a bed bug problem, but it has now been vacant for 2 months. There needs to be a major renovaton done to it and it`s last on our list of things to do, that`s why it`s still vacant. When the tenant moved out, we had a professional come in and treat the suite for bed bugs. Is it possible for them still to be there?
 

REINteam

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Aug 22, 2007
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#7
Mattress encasements are not a bed bug "proofing" measure, but more of a solution to protecting you investment in your bed. By encasing your mattress with something that is certified and tested you reduce your risk of having to throw away a mattress simply b/c the bed bug can`t access an encased mattress. You can use them once you have an infestation to seal in bed bugs so they can`t get out as well...but I would lean more towards the preventative measure. With that said, they don`t prevent bed bugs from getting into your home.

The interceptors you linked to have some merit and I just read two studies on them, both confirming their use (industry studies). As part of an overall bed bug plan they can be quite useful, especially as a monitoring device. Regarding the cost - that site has them for roughly $5 a piece which really isn`t bad, they are based off a homemade "pitfall" trap made out of two bowls - the big one on the outside with cloth glued to the exterior to allow bugs to crawl up, that had ethylene glycol in the bottom (anitfreeze) as a killing agent - followed by a smaller cup in the middle where the furniture legs fit, this with a layer of Diatomaceous earth and talcum powder. I suppose you could try and make your own, but after the cost of the bowls, time finding the right sizes and gluing the cloth, etc...it may be easier to buy a dozen. And as a caution for those with pets...anitfreeze in the bowl can be a big problem, so be very careful, the commercial traps don`t use ethylene glycol.

Nathalie, please keep us posted on your success with Diatomaceous earth. It is useful for a number of pests, but nothing truly conclusive has come out of academia supporting it as a solo strategy for bed bug control....so I`d love to hear how it goes.

In the end, fast action, clear communication with tenants along with education are a good start to preventing and controlling bed bugs. If anyone would like to read one of the publications mentioned above about bed bug control just let me know and I`ll get it to you (dry read but good info about IPM strategies).
 

REINteam

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Aug 22, 2007
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#8
Rebecca - Yes, they can still be there. Even after spraying and even with no tenants you can still have bed bugs there - they can live for a long time without a meal.
 

Berubeland

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#9
They can live up to 18 months without food. They also travel. I am told that in some buildings in Parkdale bedbugs can be found wandering the common areas even.

They are discussing a private member`s bill here requiring buildings to disclose bedbugs problems to potential tenants for 5 years. I don`t imagine it will work. Building will "forget" to do it just like they "forget" to give people leases and the required by law Tenant Information Package given out by the Landlord & Tenant Board.

I suggested that buildings be required to post their status just like restaurants do, right beside the front door. This way buildings that get a bedbug infestation are penalized until they are cleared by Public Health not for 5 years.
 

NathalieLiuHiller

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#10
It`s true tenants get very defensive, and sometimes uncooperative, because most associate bed bugs with uncleanliness and huge bills. I even had one tenant telling me to shoulder the cost of her laundry (which we did not do). It may be too simplistic to just tell them to cooperate but basically, that`s all they need to do. The worse thing is if they hear wrong information from somebody else and use that against you. That`s what that one tenant heard and she started asking me to pay for her laundry. She was told we are responsible for all her losses as long as she was always clean and have never had bed bugs when she moved in. It`s very important for them to know from the start that nobody can prove how bed bugs get in a place and who`s to blame for them. It can really come from anywhere. Maybe even another tenant from another suite. Who knows. The best thing is to move forward and just get rid of them for everyone`s sake. We`re all spending money - they do their laundry, throw away what needs to be thrown, and we pay for the thing that kills it. When no one can prove who brought those buggers in there, it`s a fair set-up.

Also because the diatomaceous earth doesn`t work right away, expect the tenant to doubt it`s effectiveness for the first couple of weeks. In my constant update with the tenant for the first 3 weeks, he kept complaining there were still lots of them around. He even wanted to just do another steam treatment. I had to keep telling him that the stuff needs at least one month to work. After one month, he said there seems to be significantly less bugs. Since about 2 weeks ago, he`s been telling me he has no bites and hasn`t seen anything at all. We decided to leave the stuff until the end of August before we`ll help him vacuum it out. I`ll update again by the end of this month and next.

Totally agree, the bed bugs live a long time without food unless they get killed by heat, chemical or this substance. You really need to spread that thing all over the floor, baseboards, electrical outlets, underneath the sink where the pipe goes out from the wall, under radiators and all other nooks and crannies where bugs will crawl from. And sprinkle some by the doorway entrance to the suite so no bugs will cross and get out to the hallway. Maybe I overdid it but better safe... (It`s important to note that there is another kind of diatomaceous earth, one used for cleaining pools. Do NOT use that and always wear masks as it is a known irritant when being applied. I used a ketchup bottle from the dollar store to apply it. Just cut the tip and squeeze out.
 

NathalieLiuHiller

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#11
About throwing furniture out...the same tenant who had the bug infestation threw his mattress and sofa by our dumpster. When he called to tell me this, I told him he should have wrapped it first and called a hauler to get it out. As soon as he hanged up the phone and went to check the dumpster, both mattress and sofa were gone. I guess some house/building just got those bugs now. I can only shake my head in disbelief.
 

stevethrondson

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Aug 30, 2007
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#14
QUOTE (bizaro86 @ Aug 30 2010, 02:56 PM) Another company has a new potential non-toxic treatment for bedbugs. Freezing them! Apparently you can hire them to spray dry ice on the bedbugs to kill them and their eggs, and can spray in hard to reach places like inside electrical outlets.

Article from today`s Calgary Herald.

http://www.canada.com/Putting+uninvited+be...4978/story.html

Michael

We`ve had great results with using heat. Bed Bug Task Force 403 837-7368 uses patented technology to bring the entire suite or house up to the bed bug "thermal death point". We like this because you can even get them if they are hiding in walls and you don`t need to tear the place apart to prep for the service! We highly recommend them!
 
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Tina Myrvang

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#17
FROM A REIN MEMBER THAT WISHES TO STAY ANONYMOUS

Diatomaceous Earth is not a total solution! Speaking from experience, diatomaceous earth will only diminish the numbers of bedbugs. Given the rapid pace at which bedbugs reproduce, you will still have a HUGE problem. Diatomaceous Earth will also damage the ‘sniffing’ ability of a bed bug sniffing dog, or any other dog for that matter.

Some people will only show bites when there is first a problem. With time they don’t show marks even though they are still being bit as they sleep.

Heat treatment is the absolute best solution. It saves damage to belongings and gets rid of ALL of the bedbugs. Do it right the first time. Otherwise you are just delaying and will end up with a bigger problem.

A bed bug sniffing dog, which is from a company independent from any bed bug treatment company can be used to ensure adjacent homes are not infected. Do NOT allow a dog near Diatomaceous Earth!!
 
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Sherilynn

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#18
I agree with the anonymous post.

Here's our procedure:
1) Hire a sniffer dog to determine all affected areas.
2) Heat treat those units and areas. Yes, heat treatment is more expensive but a reputable heat treatment company will guarantee results with one treatment and will retreat for free, if required. Plus, the prep work required by the tenant is much less critical, which helps ensure success. When one considers chemical treatments require a huge amount of prep by the tenants, including requiring the tenants to wash all laundry and bedding (which is VERY expensive at a laundromat, it's obvious why chemical treatments are less effective. Plus they almost always require multiple treatments, so the cost ends up being similar to heat treatment.
3) Apply diatomaceous earth inside the units NOT affected by bedbugs - around the baseboards and utility entrances. This will help ensure the bugs don't migrate to those units. And the sniffer dog won't need to revisit these units so he won't be harmed.
4) Have the sniffer dog revisit affected units after heat treatment, to ensure the bugs have been eradicated.