|Special Report MWHL
To Kill a Bed Bugger: Operation Cut and Dry
The good news is to go ahead and just clean everything for the winter months. It is fair to say the same clean practices you would use to prepare for winter are not far different than rituals found to eradicate or limit flu epidemics, battle back to school lice and with a little more effort reduce potential or existing bed bug infestations. Here I am going to slam home my love for 190 proof alcohol, borax and a few other weapons to make the event as affordable as possible. You can buy products from us or learn to make them in this report. If these don’t work just have a shot of the alcohol. J Regarding lice, sleep overs seem to be the common issue re-introducing it to the household. Raising three girls I only allowed sleep overs in October [lice peak weeks] if I had parental permission to inspect the invitee’s head (which was rude but necessary and effective). So giving more consideration to overall practices is of great value. Sleep overs may offer year round exposure to bed bugs. We often fail to see the obvious.
Recently Rachel Ray has been giving well deserved press to the freeloaders known as bed bugs and coining it the worst epidemic in 60 years. Not many people savor the idea of a bed bugger traipsing across their skin at night. Subsequently millions of Americans are doing the “Caddy Shack” flashlight in the dark military operations to eradicate bed bugs; a problem they may or may not have. “Better safe than sorry” goes the American motto. Well sign me up! I am itching for no reason as I write this segment. Since I am not into “offering” a bowl of my blood by my bed to bugs, it is survival of the fittest time. I visited a lovely friend last week who had unexplained marks upon waking up-about 50 bites and within a super clean home. This prompted me to go ahead and write the article.
Being a writer of all things natural I will lower my environmental standards when it comes to any bug war fare. But do I really need too? No, I have a Tempur-pedic. For everyone else there’s Borax! Seriously, my first thought seems to be my best thought. Operation “Cut and Dry.” I know Borax, a salt, because of the jagged way it is cut on a microscopic level is fairly fatal to a predator such as a flea. The same holds true for bed bugs. Harmless to humans’ borax crystals will pierce the armor of many tiny bugs crawling over it and dry them out. For example friends I knew suffering from flea infestations would not have them long after allowing borax to just stay deep down in the carpet a week or two and then doing a few good vacuums. If you treat the travel areas to the “host” you need not worry so much about treating any actual hosts or family pets. Few bugs of any kind live on a host.
Although Borax just a salt, any airborne powder can irritate our lungs so I would pick times family and pets are no so active in the areas. And yes, the first place I would put a mixture in between and under my mattress because it is akin to having a barb wire fence for any uninvited visitors. If I had pets I would not treat under my bed. Pets can step on chemicals only to lick them off. Also consider an outdoor spray can penetrate a pets paws and enter their bloodstream. Discovery Chanel segment on Bed Bugs. [Note the 30 second commercial suffers bandwidth but not the intriguing short bed bug segment.] Borax is great but should be used in conjunction with other natural ingredients that collectively raise havoc with the pests.
Know Your Enemy – Like many pests bed bugs tend to stay hidden in wall and floor cracks, moldings, picture frames, linen drawers or mattresses by day and feed on human or animal blood at night. They can hide almost anywhere - under base boards, the back of dresser drawers, and behind light switches but with any predator they like to stay close to their food source [usually that is you]. To combat these successfully remember three things: Location, Location, Location! Bed Bugs are actually an off white color until they feed off humans or pets which then makes them a cock roach brown. They come out in the deepest hours of our sleep when no light or vibration are apparent -making a debut at about 4:00 am. Bed Bugs do transmit disease. Bed bugs can live a year without feeding on a hosts blood. An adult female can lay 200 - 500 eggs in her lifetime. It generally takes an egg 50 days to mature.
Know Your Options - Before you go spending a fortune for Diatomaceous Earth which is basically fossil dirt marketers pounced on to “up-sell” us tree huggers at a 600% mark up-understand the full spectrum of natural pest control. Make your own blend. “I like to pick effective natural components that are fairly broad spectrum and reduce other pests as well.” Diatomaceous Earth can be found at pool supply stores.
SLS Kills Them!
I dislike Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on humans or pets (SLS) and I talk about it a LOT because most people use it for everything that bubbles to clean. SLS goes into our bloodstream and remains embedded in our skin. I now use a natural liquid soap I formulated. As far as SLS I found it funny the stuff is toxic to bed bugs too! For the same reason I do not like it on humans is the same reason bugs do not like it on them. Among many toxic features SLS possesses protein degrading enzymes. When we sold it as a bubble bath it was almost impossible to weigh it down. We had to wear masks anytime we wanted to fill an order for it. I can definitely see how it can stick to a bug and make it miserable. So SLS finally has a viable purpose as a bug killer and the first ingredient I would use as a bug killer along with a major desiccant such as Diatomaceous Earth and a salt such as borax. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not all natural but affordable as all get out and effective as part of a good pest power game plan.
Borates in Pest Control: Larvae and eggs of fleas are fortunately soft and pliable, making them an easy target for a desiccant. [A desiccant is that which draws moisture from anything around it.] Larvae that eats in areas treated with Borate products are also killed by the other mode of action: stomach poison. Feeding on adult flea droppings that have been coated with Borates kill the larvae from the inside while direct contact with the insecticide kills them from the outside.
Boric acid based products have two modes of action: desiccation and slow acting stomach poison. Boric acid can be used in cracks and crevices but should not be used where humans and pets are walking around. Amorphous Silica Gel is another desiccant that pest control operators feel that is safe to use in homes that have infestations of ticks, bed bugs and other unwanted creatures hiding in wall voids, attics, cracks and crevices.
Sassafras root oil equals Piperonyl Butoxide which is great for extra power containing natural pyrethrins. Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is a pesticide synergist. It does not, by itself have pesticide properties. However, when added to insecticide mixtures, typically pyrethrin, pyrethroid, and carbamate insecticides, their potency is increased considerably. This is basically the same stuff used to kill lice, mites and scabies. The more broad spectrum to have in the household, the more I like it. Always educate yourself when using pesticides in the home even if they are natural. Whether something is natural or not natural has no bearing on how toxic it can be and in what amounts.
#1. Evaluate the situation. If people are already waking up with “mysterious” bites you most likely have them. Find the stickiest tape you can to help gauge bed bug visitors or level of general infestation. Some people use double sided tape but that is hard to find in a wide width. I feel duct tape is great and I would wrap it around the entire bottom mattress to see what the next morning reveals. When cleaning or taping work your way from the food source out.
#2. Not much different than a lice outbreak, flea or cock roaches-wash everything in the hottest water you can produce and that means EVERYTHING. Bed bugs as well as other pests start dying off at 116 degrees F.
#3. Vacuum every possible nook and cranny a few times, always dumping the vacuum contents in a tightly sealed bag destined for the garbage.
#4. Wear a quality Tea Tree and Thyme essential oil blend to bed. The local stores seem to sell cheap diluted essential oil versions. These essential oils won’t kill them but they will not find you appetizing at all. Neem stinks like pooh so ignore natural folks who talk about neem. Sure neem is great for outside pest issues.
#5. Use a cinnamon & lemon essential oil spray in a 190 proof alcohol base which will dissolve their shells and dry them out. Repeat non-human and pet contact areas weekly. Add cedar essential oil and you have a more broad spectrum spray.
#6. Steam cleaning is great but we know that is not going to get the middle of any mattress or nooks and crannies of walls.
#7. Alcohol will kill them on the spot. Rubbing alcohol is fine at 90 proof but I prefer 150 or 190 proof when possible-normally called Everclear brand or Mohawk. The higher the proof the less it smells and the faster it dries.
Easiest and minimal room down time:
#8. Freeze them out: Bed bugs will also die at 2 weeks of below 130 degree F so consider that an option of you are going away for two weeks.
#9. Heat them out: Done correctly and under supervision thermal heaters can force a room into 120 degree F and kill all forms of bug life. ThermEx Heat Remediation Solution is one company who sells such a service. Two hours is the maximum and everything should be a goner. Steam cleaning if you can get one for every area seems to be fairly immediate.
Our Bed Bug Killer Banquet is made up of Borax, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Diatomaceous Earth, and Amorphous Silica Gel and sifted with cedar and lemon essential oil.
~End of Report