Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dealing with Bedbugs: Tips

After dealing with bedbugs at the Norwood Apartments for many years, we have become unofficial bedbug experts. Despite our efforts there are still many apartments with bedbugs, and without organized bedbug extermination throughout the building, we fear it will be a long time before they are completely eradicated from the building.

Although bedbugs cannot be completely killed in one shot, if you stick to proven strategies you can win your battle with the critters.

Getting help from your building management or local exterminator should be your first step, but YOU CAN DO-IT-YOURSELF if you're not getting a quick or adequate response. The tenants association at the Norwood has researched the proper chemicals and do-it-yourself methods online, and we have taken up a collection from tenants to assist them when bedbugs invade.

The most important thing to do is not get overwhelmed or embarrassed if you find out you have bedbugs. They were all but eliminated from American homes the 1950's with the widespread use of the pesticide called DDT. Since the 1990's, however, bedbugs have started to return in force.

Step 1: Educate Yourself, Then Do Something About The Problem!

There are many reliable resources on bedbugs available online. From academic research to blogs, there is a wealth of information and products available. Please see the Bedbugs Link section below for more information.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this page is not a substitute for professional advice. If you think you have bedbugs, please consult an extermination professional and your landlord if applicable.

Top Bedbug myths
  • If you get bedbugs is because you're dirty.
FALSE!! Hygiene and cleanliness have nothing to do with bedbugs. They have been found in the best hotels, in popular neighborhoods and in nice, as well as 'problem' buildings.
  • Bedbugs just 'came back' a couple years ago.
FALSE!! Bedbugs, though less common a decade ago, have been with humans since we left the caves. Bedbugs are sneaky and fast, they'll hide for long periods, waiting for the right time to bite you when you're sleeping.
  • You can't get rid of bedbugs, it's too expensive, difficult and the pesticides don't exist.
WRONG!! The pesticides to control bedbugs are available online, and you don't even need a license to buy them. If you follow all the steps completely, you can control and even eliminate the problem.

What to Do TODAY!

  1. You can use bug spray (like OFF! or anything with DEET) on your entire body as a temporary measure to repel bedbugs. Some people have also used natural essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or neme oil on their bodies and their bedding.

  2. Buy a mattress cover (must be anti-dust mite) to encase your mattress and prevent bedbugs from getting out.

  3. Find out if your neighbors have bedbugs. Together you can determine how widespread the problem is and bring it to the attention of your landlord and hopefully come up with a strategy to get rid of the bedbugs
How to Do-It-Yourself
  1. Purchase a spray that contains Deltamethrin at your local hardware store or online. This will kill and draw out the bedbugs from their hiding places. Make sure to spray mattresses, furniture, drapes, floors, baseboards. The spray comes ready made or mix-it-yourself.

  2. Purchase a powder/dust such as Drione Dust which contain Pyrethrins (derived from flowers). Apply the powder (AFTER spray from step 1 has dried) to baseboards, mattresses, behind picture frames, around the bed, and in the bathroom where bedbugs go for water. As the bugs crawl over the dust, it will dry them out and kill them. The powder has a lasting effect for months and will supplement the spraying.

  3. Make sure in the mean time to wash clothes and sheets in hot water, remove clutter where bedbugs can hide (consider getting plastic containers for storage of documents and clothes).

Bedbug Links
Academic info
http://www.ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/bed_bugs.htm Penn State
http://www.ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/pdfs/bedBugs.pdf Penn State
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/bedbugs/ Harvard
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2105.html Ohio Sate
http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef636.asp Univ of Kentucky
http://mayoclinic.com/health/bedbugs/DS00663 Mayo clinic
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bedbugs-topic-overview Web Md
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol11no04/04-1126.htm CDC
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/bugs/bedbug.html Kids health


Bedbugs in the News
http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/1427.htm (Pen state news article about bedbugs)
http://a.abcnews.com/US/story?id=90005 (ABC news)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/19/nyregion/19bedbugs.html?_r=1&oref=slogin (NY times)
http://www.wftv.com/news/15032105/detail.html (Bedbugs a Dysneyland hotel)
http://www1.umn.edu/umnnews/Feature_Stories/Bloodthirsty_travelers3A_Bedbugs_are_biting_again.html?enewsemail (university of Minnesota)
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/02/nyregion/02bedb.html?ex=1383109200&en=0c8b915eb62d9bba&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=print
http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/04/04/050404ta_talk_singer

Blogs
http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2006/09/bed-bug-city-council-hearing.html
http://bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-tell-friend-about-your-bed-bug.html How to tell a friend that you have bedbugs
http://bedbugger.com/
http://www.mahalo.com/Bed_bugs