Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why extermination fails & My strategy

Here's a quick update on me:

I isolated my bed immediately after I caught the first nymph, thanks to the method I found on this Blog . I had no more bites for about three or four days, then I caught another nymph in my bed, later on I discovered that there were gaps in the joints on the underside of the bed frame, so I caulked them again. I haven't had any bites since then, although occasionally I did get some mysterious bumps that were tiny, weren't itchy and disappeared quickly. I started caulking my apartment and my parents', in the meantime I was preparing for moving.

I moved out in November. I am not sure if I have brought any bedbugs with me, but I isolated my bed and started to caulk the new apartment immediately. My parents caught two more adult bed bugs on the ceiling, right above their bed in September. Then two months later, they caught one more on the floor. They still haven't been bitten yet.

I don't think we can claim victory yet. In fact, one probably can never be able to do so, especially in a multi-family dwelling, since the bedbugs might just go dormant for a few months or spread to the neighbors and then come back again. But as long as we don't get bitten by them, I can confidently say that we are wining (see below for reasons).

I developed a simple strategy right from the beginning. To understand it, you first need to understand why extermination fails. I believe that there are three reasons why it is so difficult to get rid of these bugs:

1. There aren't many effective pesticides available due to insecticide resistance and the banning of some more powerful insecticides.

2. The bedbugs constantly lay eggs and most chemicale aren't able to kill the eggs, the eggs hatch after extermination and cause new infestation again.

3. The bedbugs hide between walls during extermination and come back out once the chemical breaks down.

(revised on Feb 23, 2007. Initially I believed that no insecticide was able to penetrate the eggshell, and concluded that no insecticide was able to kill the eggs, as many other web sites do. This is apparently inaccurate, since some contact killers do have the potential to kill eggs.)

I developed the following strategy based on the above theory:

We are always advised to let the exterminators handle the bed bugs. However exterminators rely heavily on chemical but there aren't many effective chemicals available. Therefore, I think an integrated approach would make more sense.

Many people know how to isolate the bed but don't really understand the importance of it. The most effective way of preventing them from laying eggs is to not let them bite you. Without blood meals, they simply can not reproduce. If you can manage to be bite free at least a few weeks before and after the extermination, I think your chance of success will be greatly improved. By protecting yourself, you effectively cut off their food supply and control their population. In my opinion, this is better than any growth regulator.

I believe the importance of caulking is also under estimated. To prevent them from going into the wall and spreading to your neighbors, the best thing to do is caulking. Any gaps can be sealed, but you have to be thorough, persistent and creative. If you caulk thoroughly, I think you can eliminate the most population without using any pesticides, and more importantly, the remaining ones will have no hiding places and have to come out in the open. Then with some Diatomaceous Earth (more on DE in the future) and chemical, extermination will be a lot easier.

Simply put, my strategy is to control their population by protecting myself, caulk the whole place to eliminate their living spaces and prevent them from escaping the insecticides and spreading to the neighbors, drive them out and keep them running with some chemical if necessary, and kill them through mechanical action with DE.


Anonymous wantmyskinback said...

Frank, can you tell me again how to caulk my bed frame? What should I use?

8:14 PM  
Blogger Frank said...


I am sorry that I don't read the comments on my old posts too often. To get a prompt reply, you can always post your question on the Yahoo Bedbugger message board. I mainly used latex or siliconized latex caulking on my bed frame and the slats. For wood frame, latex caulking is the best choice, since it is easy to apply, clean up, and remove. If you are not comfortable with caulking, use masking tape instead. For metal frame, I also used latex caulking, but masking tape may not be a good choice since it could damage the paint. You can also apply caulking with your finger wherever it is too awkward to use a caulking gun.

When caulking your bed frame, be thorough and caulk all joints, and never assume that a gap is too small to accommodate a bedbug. Pay close attention to the underside.


11:10 AM  
Anonymous chantal said...

I had a professional killer here 3 days ago and I am still seeing them occasionally at night. They usually look looped but are still moving in the same areas of the bedroom and living room. NOW, I had freaked and removed the bed and couch 2 days after the extermination. Was I the village idiot in that aproach?????? It has been 3 days and I just found an adult that I tried to kill and had a tad trouble doing so. It, however, did not spill blood. I also have had only a half a dozen bites. Hmmmmm. Please please please help me with your knowledge of these monsters!!!!! Thank you!

3:33 AM  
Blogger fearful family said...

Fearful family of five
We had all been getting bit for a while and when we brought home our new born we discovered on the internet what the bites were. Before that all the doctors I had gone too did not know what the bites were and kept treating them as scabies. It has been dreadful. We rent and the landlord said they would exterminate so we packed up our family and stayed at a hotel. The exterminator said that we would still get bit after but we threw out our couches and beds anyways to be on the safe side. After a week of still getting bit after the fumagation we had them do it again, and he only stayed for five minutes, was in and out fast. We again stayed at a hotel, it has now been ten days after the second fumagation and I am getting eaten alive, worse than before, much worse. I am horrified, scared for my children and feel like I'm losing a bit or sanity. I have no idea what to do. My husband wants to just move but again I think we would just end up taking them with us. If you have any suggestions besides Neem Oil, and wrapping and caulking as we now have no furniture to worry about. Please, Please help, You seem to know quite a bit and I believe that knowledge is power, and I am feeling powerless in this battle.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well its HAMMACOK TIME ! or should i say hammer time lol because the only clear way not to get bit by bed bugs is to hang a hammock from your ceiling that way they cannot crawl on you:) im thinking of doing it after i nuke my house to rid myself of these little ****s

4:40 AM  

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