You cannot usually see where bed bugs hide. That is the main problem. Although you can see bed bugs themselves (they come in sizes like an apple seed or smaller and dark, but younger bugs are yellow-ish, almost transparent and very small and thus not easily visible with the naked eye. They know well where to hide. They usually come out at night when you sleep and suck blood out of you, which you usually won't notice. Then they hide again. Even if you wake up they will notice it and run off, even alerting others to also flee. Out of reach again. They are attracted by CO2 emissions by the breath of humans or animals.
Bed bugs are no risk to your health, unless you develop symptoms against the bites. That is because they usually stay with the same host. That is you.
I was about to call an exterminator. But that would have been costly. Plus since other apartments in the building had bed bugs too the PCO had to also clear those. And although it might be the duty of the landlord to deal with this (payment, making appointments...) he seemed to not care. So I thought to first try DIY to fight the bed bugs myself.
This dust (powder) is made of algae, non toxic (you can even breathe it although you will cough, or get it on your skin) and doesn't leave stains. It might be critical though if you or people living with you have respiratory conditions!
This fine powder is taken in (digested) by bed bugs it digests the lipids on insect exoskeletons and they die. They do not die right away (instructions on my bottle say 24 to 48 hours), and it took about a month here to finally have the problem under control. It's fairly cheap compared to "professional" solutions like calling an exterminator. I paid about $10 for mine in a home improvement store (Home Depot, Canadian Tire and others). I further assume you have no carpets, although it might also work if you have. You don't need to re-apply the dust. Once there it works for all time. Wear a respirator mask when applying if you have to avoid breathing the dust.
For the following to work you have to have two zones. One is the outer zone, where the bugs live. The other is the inner zone, which is your bed. The inner zone must be guaranteed bug free! For this you need to make sure no bugs are in the mattress (throw it out and replace it with a brand new one or pour a bottle of bleach over it to kill everything inside), frame (if you have one), sheets and cloths. Any bug in the inner zone must have come in when Diatomaceous Earth was already in place so they are on the death row then. But if you have bugs in the inner zone which did not came in contact with DE, this method will not work.
Bedbugs can not fly, so they have to crawl. Thus making a barrier of DE between you (where you sleep) and the path they will use to get to you should kill them a few days later. This barrier (thin layer of DE dust) needs to be there at least 4, better 6 weeks.
It would be very helpful if your bed is on legs. Or you can put something like that under the mattress or the frame. That way - after you made sure there are no bugs or eggs inside the mattress, sheets or your cloth - you need to apply DE just around the legs. That is the only way bugs can reach somebody sleeping there. Even if they can they should die a few hours or days after.
This is based on my experience and assumptions: if DE was applied the way that it is between where you sleep and possible bed bug hiding places (I actually put it on my sheets, but that was not nice as one might breathe in the dust!), the following should happen.
You should apply the DE dust like shown in the image: all around the four sides of your bed on the sheet. That way bed bugs have to crawl through the dust and get in contact with it, which lets them die within 48 hours or less.
Keep in mind there will be no immediate results. It can take weeks or a month before you see a reduction in the bedbug population, and less bites on your skin. It is because even though DE kills bugs within 48 hours after contact, not all bugs will contact the powder within the first days. After those are dead there might still be their eggs somewhere, most likely in your mattress. Eggs need to hatch which can take days, before the new bugs start crawling around. Assuming that they take the dust in before they reach adulthood they will not mate and no new eggs are laid. Then you should notice it.
Because I suspect new bed bugs coming from other apartments I leave the dust there for now, even if I seem to have got rid of the bed bugs. And that your apartment might look "dirty" with all the dust on the floor and bed. you might want to explain your visitors why that is. But if you follow this advice your bedbug problem should have been gone in a month or earlier.
I'm glad if this information could help you to get rid of your bedbug problem, and provide it for free. If you are thankful I wouldn't mind a donation though.
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"Jess" (July 5th 2016): Is It okay to use DE If I Have Kids That Are 10 &11 ?
Me: I am not a doctor. You should ask yours.
"Beth" (April 30th 2016): Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade is available at Big Carrot -Toronto or ask Natural Health Food stores. They also kill red lily bugs, bees, etc. The sharpness of silica sliced into the bugs stomach that kill them eventually. It will take 2 days before they die. You may cover your nose and mouth with cloth used for cold prevention to help ingesting it. I drink coffee with DE every morning so orally it's ok except when it goes through your lungs. My friend uses half alcohol and half water to spray on crawling bed bugs to instantly kill them while they run. Our building was infested time and again. The intensity of infestation depends on the tenants. While clean is not absolute, we noticed that clean tenants keep the bugs under control while dirty tenants allowed them to become infested. Even if you have no bugs, constant vacuuming especially with bag, vacuum DE inside as well, and not allowing food to fall or stay in the floor. Bugs don't just suck blood, I also found them feasting on sweet candies or nuts while they don't need your blood yet to reproduce. Good luck!
Also if your neighbour's place is being sprayed, spread DE on entrances to your place. They run fast away and might sneak into your place instead. Walking in the hallway or wheels of buggy. Place a towel with DE where you put your shoes and buggies when you enter.
Me: Coffee with DE? Never heard of that. I prefer dairy products with my coffee.
You mention the Toronto store there to get DE. While they have it you also get it in any home improvement store.
I don't think that you got more bed bugs when you have a dirty apartment. Bed bugs don't care for dirt (roaches and flies do). They are just interested in your blood. You might even has less bugs in a dirty apartment because you might then have roaches and other pests which may have bed bugs on their diet.
You don't need to mix water with alcohol if you already have all purpose cleaner, convenientely in a spray bottle. That contains alcohol too and kills them within seconds on direct contact.
"S A" (March 13th 2016): hi, i don't have a dryer but my washing machine can reach up to 90°c ,will that kill the bugs and their eggs.
also i have a two kids aged 5 years and 4 months, is it safe to use de and bleach. pls advice
Me: Not sure with the washing machine and if the temperature will be held long enough, anyone knows?
I wouldn't recommend using DE or bleach with young kids. Bleach smells bad and causes head aches while DE can cause problems if respiratory conditions exist. I wouldn't especially expose young kids to this. If you can afford get a professional instead to deal with it.
"John" (March 13th 2016): I just recently moved to an apartment, and it sucks, it does look like bedbugs, are there any things that they eat like boric powders, etc,? please message me and subject as bedbugs so I know it's you i don't know how to tip you on finding this way to kill them please text if you can.
Me: I don't know if boric acid works on bed bugs. Try DE as I describe in this page. It's avaiable for a low price at your local home improvement store. It worked for me and for others as you can see in the comments here. Good luck!
"determinedpreparedsure51215" (October 26th 2015): [...] I work minimum wage I CAN NOT afford a professional!!!!!! My babies are 6yr girl 8yr boy!!!
CAN I USE THE POWDER????????? Its OUR only hope!!! :-( :-( :-( :-(
I have $30 to my name I have no landlord n like I said i want the problem fixed NOW!!!
If they are too young I WANT to b able 2 powder everything then stay w a friend for a couple days but w the powder u need a decoy!!!!! What do i do what do u do????
We are all on living room floor 2night!!!
Yes i have carpet!!!!! I go to laundry may so I don't have washer dryer on hand. I have a BAGLESS vacuum!!!!!!! N i work 7am-3:30 so I dnt have much time available either!!!!!
Is there anyway you can come up w a solution budgeting what little money I have the lil time and the age of my lil baby Loves????????????
AS SOON AS THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED I WOULD LOOOOOOOVE TO TOSS A LIL DONATION YOUR WAY:-D
Truely Dearly GREATFUL!!!,
A determined mommy
Me: The powder is only working when bugs crawl through it. That is when you are in bed being the bait. Having a carpet is bad though, power might get "lost" and bugs just dont touch it. If you can put a kind of pad under your bed where you would apply the powder all around it.
But being away for a few days is good. Last thing before locking the door is putting your blankets and sheets into a bag, seal it. Pour one bottle of bleach over each mattress that they are thoroughly soaked. That should kill any bed bug hidden inside. First thing when you come back was and dry the blankets and sheets.
I still don't want to recommend using powder when you have kids.
"Mary" (November 2nd 2015): Hey all! So I crashed at a friends house with my pillow bc I was drinking and didn't want to drive. I noticed immediately after getting home that day that I was itchy on my head, but I chalked it up to a hair dye allergy. (I do hair and also get mine done often). About a week later I had a couple bites on my arm but thought it was zits since its not completely out of the normal for me to get zits on my arms. Another week or so goes by, more bites. I started getting suspicious bc these were on my neck and they hurt, also took forever to go away. I was looking around my bed not finding anything. My bed is on a platform so I can't look under it without lifting my mattress and box spring. I just checked the seams of my mattress periodically, finding nothing. The bites were becoming more frequent as time went by. I moved my bed off the wall and looked behind it, nothing. I decided I'd go ahead and bomb my whole house. I wasn't sure what was gettin g me but I knew I didn't have to see it to mean anything. After bombing I looked around the floor and found ONE dead bug, which finally convinced my husband (who thought I was delusional) to help me lift the mattress and box spring to check. They were underneath my box spring. I had already bought DE and mattress covers after the first sighting, so I didn't even continue to look (I was about to shit my pants or faint or both) so I just went ahead and covered the bed. I commenced to DE my whole house. My room first. All furniture off the walls, all clothes bagged after put in the drier 30+ mins on hot, dust in all cracks, emptied dressers, covered all beds in my house and treated every room as my own. The only place I found bugs were on my box spring and Behind an outlet plate 2 feet away from my bed (which explained why I was the only one getting bit, I was closest) I haven't been bit since treatin my room (day one of treating) and I've only found a handful of other BB tryin g to get on my bed, they were all covered in DE. Only about 5 total. It's been three weeks since treating and about a week since seeing the last one alive. I think I'm doing good but I don't want to get too cocky. I still have my stuff bagged up. I filled up my husbands truck idk how many times with shit we don't use and took it to the dump. Looks like we just moved in! Lol I am happy that I knew about bed bugs and how to treat them (thanks to someone close to me experiencing them) so I was able to figure it out and get started soon before they overtook my house! Thank God! DE does work and I haven't had trouble with it, nor my kids, in case that was a concern. Just use a mask when applying bc until it settles it can bother your lungs (just like any powder in the air would)
"bug smasher" (September 27th 2015): Just read this sight. I'm currently in an infestation. Here is the thing know your landlord tenant law. Many times they know the apartment is infested, but won't say a thing! DE is OK to create a barrier, but it does not stop them! Silica gel , cimexa, kills them , you must dust lightly. They are masters at hiding, I put the powders on at night to sleep, they bite and get sick and die. I also spray a residual that for them to come across will kill them. The efforts are good, but not enough, get on do my own pest control and get some temp rid or transport mikron, sterifab, bedlam, or phantom, or cyrona. Get some products and traet, then work on finding a heat or steam person unless you can do it yourself and distibute heat evenly and very high. No one should have to live with this or like this. It is aplague. This is what I plan to do to get my life back. Make a plan , get it together and send them back to extinction in hell..
Me: Little correction. DE (Diatomaceous earth) is made up to 80 to 90% silica, 2 to 4% alumina and other components. It is indeed be the silica component in DE which kills them. It also seems you remove the powder every day. I recommend to not remove it. Bugs also crawl around at day time. Plus you can save money to not buy more DE often.
For the ignorant landlord. It might be required by your local law that he has to deal with it. Check the internet for that, or visit the mayor's office.
Anonymous: (September 24th 2015): We noticed bed bugs a few months after buying furniture from a yard sale. Never Again! We've tried everything from pesticides to fumigation. We decluttered, bought vinyl mattress covers, everything research instructed short of hiring a pest control company. The advice on your site is the Only advice that has given us relief and noticeable decline on bugs.
Thank you so much for taking the time to help others with no expectation back!
Julie: (August 21st 2015): I first found out we had bed bugs when my daughters friend got ate up. They were only in her room. I got a new mattress and springs. Steamed the floors. Sprayed the bed and walls with killer from the coop. we have not seen anymore in her room. However, I am getting bit (my room is very far from hers) but seeing no bugs. I have seen 2 or 3 in my sons room. JUST NOW, while on the computer, one crawls across my desk in a completely separate room. All the ones we have seen are adult males (about the 3rd stage). Do I dust my whole house? Why am I not seeing females?
Me: Seems the whole house or apartment has bugs. Because you have many rooms dusting the whole house might not work. I'd call a professional exterminator. But if you decide to use the dust anyway (read the warnings on this page!) put some around of every bed in every room. Make sure the beds don't touch any wall so bugs cannot come from the walls but have to crawl through the dust. If this doesn't show improvement after a month, better call an exterminator.
ana: (August 8th 2015): If I have small children how can I do the procedure help me please my 3 year old daughter gets bitten and wakes up crying I'm so fustrated but its too expensive to hire someone
Me: I really would not recommend using DE and/or bleach to kill the bedbugs if you have small children. They might really suffer from that. I suggest to ask a professional exterminator how much he charges for that and then decided if you would let him do it.
steph: (August 5th 2015): Ok so every time I come to my cousins house my 4 kids and I get attacked. We have bombed and used bleach and alcohol and sprays nothing is working. My boy cousin never gets bit but my girl cousin does as well as my kids and I we need help please because I can't sleep and I don't wanna carry them to my house
Me: Bed bugs seem to prefer certain "hosts" over others, which seems to be your girl in this case.
You don't say exactly how you applied bleach. Refer to my web page here and read how to do it. In addition you should apply the DE dust around the bed. Also read how I describe it. But then since you have kids DE dust might not be a good idea. Call an exterminator instead.
Jayjay: (July 30th 2015): Ok so ive had an bed bug problem for a couple of months now due to donated furniture ive replaced beds but they must have travel fom clothing because now they are on new beds (in childrens room) ive purchase spray from home depot that worked for a while but now they are back but only on my younger boys bunk beds...my question is can i apply the bleach method and the dust on there bed let them sleep somewhere until it works because hiring an exterminator is out the question and is extremely costly i have to get rid of them its causing me to have insomnia due to none sleeping. I stay up for days checking and killing bed bugs. I really need to use this method....Please give feed back. Thanks
Me: While spraying doesn't really work, because you can only kill those exposed to surfaces, soaking the mattress with bleach and apply DE dust around it on the floor after, should work. Danger here is that the fumes of the bleach last for a hours or a day and might give you head aches. Also pets may suffer from this. While the DE dust causes problems if you or others living with you have respiratory conditions. Otherwise that method worked for me and others who confirmed it to me. Don't expect immediate results though. While you should get some instant relief by killing those in the mattress right away, those hidden elsewhere survice, and have to crawl through the dust first. Those should die within 24-48 hours after contact. To have all killed (their offspring) might take 3-4 weeks.
Please report back after a couple of weeks if this worked for you.
Kimber: (June 4th 2015): what about putting the powder around the mattress then putting one of those matteress zip up covers for bed bugs on and leaving it on. i read putting alcohol onmmyself then putting baby oil on my exposed body parts is supposed to help from getting bit.
Me: I don't quite understand the thing with the matteress. Well there needs to be a bait (you, or an adequate CO2 source) on it if sourrounded by DE powder. To make them crawl through the powder.
For the oil I suppose it wears off over night. Also because you move when sleeping and thus rubbing if off.
Ken: (November 9th 2014): I'm gonna try everything yall have said I HATE bedbugs and those little bastards have invaded my home, its either kill them or burn the house down, I'm at the point I don't give a damn either way I just want then DEAD, I'm gonna get the powder and do the whole house with it, the steam iron sounds like a good idea since heat kills them, and the alcohol I gotta test :) if yall have any other ideas let me know just email me [...] like I said I want them DEAD, and as for the outside where they are coming form if nothing grows there for 10,000 years when I'm done I really don't care
Me: (Others: don't do this unless you are really desperate!) Okay, the brutal way here: since they mainly live inside the mattress, remove sheets, comforters and everything, either wash and dry them well, discard them in a sealed plastic bag, or burn them. Open window(s) and door(s) to air the room. Then pour one bottle of bleach over the mattress that all it well soaked. Be aware you might as well destroy the mattress. Anyway, that should kill all living things inside. Although bad fumes will rise, be armed with household cleaner in a spray bottle and shoot dead (one shot it enough, they dry out within a second from the alcohol in it and die) any bed bug which was able to escape (unlikly any will escape, but just to be sure). Apply DE dust without gaps all around the mattress. Also be sure the mattress has no contact with any wall of your room. After some hours when all is dry again put new sheets and all back on the mattress.
While all bed bug inside your mattress should be dead by now you should see a relief already within the next few days. Other bed bugs which were not hit by the bleach might still come to your mattress from the outside. But they have to walk through the DE dust. They then should die within 24-48 hours.
Let me know if this helped you. And don't blame me for possible damages to your health or the mattress. You have been warned.
[wants to stay anonyme]: (July 18th 2014): I just wanted to thank you for your help and advise on how to get rid of bed bugs. It's been almost a month since I followed your advise and it seems like I am finally rid of the darn things. Your advise was the only thing that worked, and I had tried it all. So thank you again.
Me: I'm glad it worked for you. Thank you for your donation.
Nicole Kriebel: (July 18th 2014): Could you please tell me how,if these bugs can't climb slippy services,in God's name,are these diabolical's getting into my drinks?The SECOND I leave one uncovered their in.Also if you don't mind.Why would pet's(I have cats)hinder this process? Thank You so very much A4GCCR
Me: I don't know whether they can climb slippy surfaces, or why they got into your drinks. They like CO2. May be your drinks emit that? As for pets: the method using DE dust is not recommended when you have pets. Everybody breating it in will have a hard time. Although probably not dying from that.
Hagbard Celine: (July 10th 2014): Bed bugs are almost always caused by poor ventilation and hygiene. To avoid these critters, you need to put all your bedding out in the hot sun on a regular basis. You need to vacuum your mattresses on a regular basis to remove dead skin, which is what attracts the bed bugs in the first place. A steam mop will help kill bed bugs without resorting to toxic chemicals. My neighbours cat was coming into my house and sleeping on my couch, unbeknownst to me. I ended getting a flea infestation. I killed all the fleas in one go by steam mopping every inch of carpet, every inch of the cushions and couch and cleaning everything with a good disinfectant. I wouldn't recommend insecticides as they also have toxic effects on humans and pets as well.
Me: You are wrong here. According to several articles like this and many others (please do a web search yourself) it's fiction. Bed bugs like blood and don't care whether your home is dirty or clean. There are articles about 5-star hotels which are bed bug infested. You are right with fleas, cockroaches and the like. So if you have bed bugs, being clean will not drive them out. They want you (your blood), not your dirt.
vimala: (July 5th 2014): that's good information but were do i get it and will this be effective?
Me: As I mentioned on this page. You get it in your local home improvement store (Home Depot and the like). Ask for bed bug dust.
It is effective (see what I describe on my page, and the next comment below) if you do it correctly: it must be between you and the hiding places of the bugs for at least continous 30 days. Thus around your whole body when lying in your bed. Apply it on all sides of your bed sheet. You also must not have children, pets or respiratory conditions! Please carefully read my page again. It's all described there in detail.
Joe: (July 2nd 2014): it has been over a month now and my bed bug problem has completely disappeared! I thank you for the solution that you have outlined in your article, people are just reading this now should know that this absolutely works, just have patience and I do appreciate the details account of the bed bugs and the daily progress charted in your article, it was very helpful and I went back and read it again and againand with patients in less than a month I have no new bugs. by the way when I do get new sheets for my dad I make sure to put them in the dryer for at least one hour on hot like you said it will kill them.
Me: I'm glad I could help. But keep in mind if the building you live in is infested they might come back. Keep a layer of DE as defense on spots where you suspect them to enter your apartment.
Thank you for your kind donation!
shelia: (June 28th 2014): the bugs that i have seen does not bite not sure what they are look like bedbugs but not sure they crawl all over place and they are so fast and hard to kill
Me: Are they also active at daylight? Might be no bed bugs at all. If they were, you had a mega infestation, and should receive a lot of bites. May be you can take photos and post to the forum so others can help you to determine what they are?
Jessica: (June 12th 2014): Is it safe to use the powder if you have a small child?
Me: No, it's not! Please call a professional exterminator instead.
Joe: (June 11th 2014): thank you for the article, I got the powder because the insecticide in the can was worthless, I did everything but the bleach. I don't have a large bedroom but it is carpeted but I can tell you I put dust everywhere and slept in it last night I'm praying this does the job and thank you.
Me: Thanks. Make sure the DE dust is around the place you sleep for the next 30 days at all time. Update: This mean you bed sheet. Just around the mattresses won't work because they are IN the mattresses. Apply the powder along all four sides of the mattress. You should notice some relief (less bites) in 7-12 days and might also find dead bed bugs in your bed and on the floor. Don't give up until 30 days are over. Good luck!
Please let me know if it worked for you in a month.
Kristine O. Ricohermoso (June 5th 2014): where is solution in your home or store
Me: I have no store. Not selling anything here. Please visit your local home improvement store and ask for bed bug solutions.
Waulicesa Carney (June 4th 2014): Can u kill them with alone or do I need something else
Me: If you are alone (no pets or children) you might get lucky using the bed bug powder. Otherwise you might want to call an exterminator.