I am going to make this fairly detailed to help others based on my recent experience dealing with a serious bedbug infestation. Prior to this I had no experience of bedbugs, so I learnt the hard way. Don’t lose hope you can win the war with PATIENCE. It will take at least 4 weeks to see a significant reduction and you have to be detail oriented and focused on this job.
I was itchy and scratchy for a month not knowing what it was. The itch would get worse late in the night which I later found was the time bedbugs venture out to feed. One particular night it felt so damn itchy I woke up turned on the lights and took a close look at the bedsheet and there they were a dozen of them. I knew I had a major problem on hand as evidenced by large brown spots on the carpet and on the wall behind the headboard.
STEP-0 (Night of The Discovery)
I immediately put the mattress out on the back porch with the intent of reusing it as it was only 2 months old.
Disassembled the bed, dozens of bugs were scurrying out of the headboard recesses that I immediately killed with ‘Raid’ insect killer spray the only thing I had at hand that night. As my bed was many years old I right away made the decision not to hold on to it, tossed the headboard, box spring, side rails and bedframe far out in the back yard destined for landfill. I used the “Raid” insect killer spray to kill the ones I found crawling on the walls and also sprayed it generously on the base board, carpet edges and brown spots. Went to sleep in the guest bedroom.
Next day I got the Hotshot multi product pack from Lowes and also “Tomcat” brand Glue Boards from Walmart and proceeded as follows:
STEP-1 (Bag them all)
Removed all clothes, sheets, comforters etc. from master bedroom, closets and stuffed them in big black garbage bags and tied them.
This is also a good time to throw into garbage stuff you don’t need but have hoarded for years. Remember bedbugs hide everywhere.
STEP-2 (Spray to Kill bug and eggs)
Used the “Hotshot bedbug kill with eggkill”. Key here is to spray GENEROUSLY. WEAR A MASK it has strong odor.
Spray on all baseboards, carpets (18 inches wide band from where carpet meets baseboard), closet racks, picture frames, sides of wall outlets, edges of door and window frames where they meet the wall, HVAC vents on the ceiling.
Spray the underside of all furniture (Sofa, couch, recliner, tables, chairs, side tables and others) and especially the joints, seams between sofa cushions. I moved the smaller furniture out into the back porch and garage to do this as the spray has a strong odor to it.
Spray it on the seams and tufts of the mattress and let it dry.
Though the major infestation was in the master bedroom I did the above spraying routine in the other bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathrooms, laundry and HVAC closet.
STEP-3 (Diatomaceous Earth)
Do this step only AFTER the Eggkill spray you did in Step-2 has completely dried. Wait 24 hours after the STEP-2 to do this.
Put the HotShot Diatamecous Earth in the gap between baseboard and carpet edges. Squirt from the bottle and push the powder down into the gap with a thin paint brush. Do it in every room, closet, bathroom floors, kitchen. Places where the flooring is hardwood/tile just sprinkle it all along the edges of the floor along a 1" band.
Sprinkle it under area rugs, furniture joints, under the sofa and couches, between cushions, behind wall outlet covers, anywhere you think bedbug can take refuge. YOU HAVE TO THINK LIKE A BEDBUG!!
Leave the powder in place for a week. Bed bugs do not die on contact it takes up to 48 hours after so be PATIENT. You will start seeing shriveled dead ones in as soon as 24 hours.
STEP-4 (Utilize the sun)
If you live in a sunny place make good use of the sun as I did. I would put a lot of the stuff out to bake in the sun whole day. That would drive drive the bugs from hotter to cooler surfaces of the item that you can target and kill with HotShot Bedbug spray. This was especially useful on the mattress that I wanted to reuse. I baked the clothes, mattress, smaller furniture items and other knickknacks for 4-5 days in hot Florida sun.
STEP-5 (Hot wash clothes)
- After exposing them in the sun wash the clothes in hot cycle and dry them in high heat cycle. Bag them in new garbage bags, do not reuse the old ones there could be bugs lurking.
STEP-6 (Deep Freeze small items)
- Small items like CDs, documents, watches, electronics, key chains and others that cannot be heated should be placed in plastic bags, tied and put in the freezer for 4 days to kill the bugs. Make sure your freezer temp is really cold (zero degrees F).
STEP-7 (Mattress covers and Interceptor)
Order bed bug proof mattress encasements and interceptor traps for beds from online stores. Don NOT skimp buy good quality ones otherwise your whole effort will be a waste. I ordered “SafeRest Premium Zippered Mattress Encasement” from Amazon, they are a bit pricey but very good quality.
Place the interceptors under the legs of your beds as soon as you get them.
After the mattresses has dried off the HotShot eggkill spray, lightly sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on both sides and put the encasement on it.
STEP-8 (Trap them on Glue Boards)
Trap and kill the wanderers with “Tomcat” brand Glue Boards. I found this technique very effective and least expensive. I found the “Tomcat” Glue Boards easier and less expensive than the glue boards that come with the HotShot multipack. These come at $2.75 in a pack of four in Walmart. Cut the glue boards longitudinally in half making eight from a pack and lay them along the edges and center of every room and also under/around the beds. I put about 12 of them in each room and 3-4 in each bathroom and closet areas. Everyday you will see bedbugs stuck to them which would sure bring a smile to your face.
Leave the glue boards in place for couple of months. If they look unsightly with nasty bugs discard and put new ones but have them in place for two months.
As a bonus these glue boards will trap other pests too like earwigs, silverfish, spiders, ants etc.
STEP-10 (Optional step - 3AM is Kill time)
This step is optional but could be helpful to a degree in the first two weeks when a few live bugs will still be present.
Bedbugs hide during the day to venture out for feeding in the night between 2-4 AM. This is when its easy to sight live ones on the walls and baseboards to kill. Set your alarm clock to 3AM , get up, turn on the lights , grab a can of Hotshot Bedbug spray and kill any suckers you see on the walls.
STEP-10 (Vacuum the powder, respray, Powder again)
By end of week-1 you would have noticed a significant decrease in live bed bug sightings.
Vacuum up the Diatomaceous Earth. Spray the Hotshot bedbug kill with eggkill again (i.e.Repeat STEP-2). This will kill any new eggs and nymphs that were hatched after the previous spray.
Let the spray dry for 24 hours and then put the Diatomaceous Earth again (i.e Repeat STEP-3)
Wait for another week and you should barely see a bed bug. Don’t claim victory yet.
After a month if you happen to see bed bugs it means you may have missed some place where they are hiding.
Repeat Step-10 (Spray and DE powder) again making sure you treated every crack and crevice in every part of your house. THINK LIKE A BEDBUG LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HIDE.
Leave the Diatomaceous Earth and Glue Boards in place for two months to make sure not a single bedbug has survived.
I followed the above process and it has been two months since I saw bug dead/alive. Keep the glue boards under the beds and behind the headboard (of every bed in your house) to warn you of their presence in future and eradicate them right in the early stage to prevent a nasty infestation.