A very low income family I know has a terrible bed bug infestation. Mom also has a lower IQ. I need some ideas to share with her on how to get rid of these things....preferably simple and cheap ideas but any ideas are greatly appreciated. Her kids are absolutely covered in bites and miserable. TIA
Eta: the ideas do not need to be natural.
does she rent or own? if she rents then maybe her landlord can help. but i do believe that every last square inch of everything has to be cleaned. including rugs, clothing...everything! probably wil have to buy new mattresses tho. maybe a local thrift store can donate?
Me, 31yo SAHM , married to my wonderful husband , and have 3 amazing boys! Landen 7/17/03, Izak7/31/05,and Nicholas 4/22/11. And just found out that we are expecting a girl !
The good news is, some natural remedies are genuinely more effective than chemicals, in this case!
I read about bedbugs when our family and the one across the street (8 kids, between us - all best friends) came down with lice, this summer. Lice and bedbugs are typically treated with similar or identical chemicals. Both have been on the rise in the US lately, due to overuse of those chemicals. The nice, gentle-sounding alternatives like tea tree or grapefruit oil, I found ineffective. But both bugs can be very effectively killed, by heat! There is good science to support this, if you research online. Like any other living thing, these bugs have a limited range of temperatures in which they can sustain life.
Wash everything you can put in a washing machine, in hot water, on the longest cycle and dry everything on high heat, in a dryer. Don't forget things like pillows, stuffed animals and curtains. Carefully quarantine disinfected items, so they are not exposed to bugs from unwashed items - even clothing the washer is wearing. A low-IQ person would need help with this, since one mistake can mess up the whole process.
A steam cleaner will kill bugs on carpet and upholstery that won't fit in a washing machine. I'm not talking about the steam cleaners you rent and put chemicals in. I rented one, during our lovely lice episode, and had trouble getting the soapy water that came out of the machine to be very hot. The steam cleaners you can buy (which may be marketed as wallpaper removers) use only water and get nice and hot. They cost ~$60 at places like Lowes or Home Depot. Perhaps you could buy one and let your friend use it (I get a lot of use out of mine, for various cleaning jobs around the house); or she could buy it and you could help her resell it on Craigslist after she clears up her problem. It's important to let the steam sit in one place for several minutes, not just sweep over it for a second or two, with the wand. It will get things like mattresses and cushions pretty wet - you'll need some fans, for thorough drying - but it's better than bugs!
Bugs on humans (more of an issue with lice, but it can still be an issue, with a serious bedbug infestation) can be killed by sitting in a hot sauna for 20 minutes. This is 100% effective! Can you get a trial membership at a Y and bring your friend and her family, as guests? Or, she may be eligible for a discount or free membership, based on low income. Obviously, hit the sauna before allowing any of them to sit down on furniture or do anything else that might spread the infestation to other members.
Bedbugs can also survive - temporarily - in clutter, like stacks of papers. Get rid of what you can. Put what you can in sealed, plastic bags for several weeks. The bugs can't survive indefinitely, if they never get access to a living food source. Expose what you can't store, to heat: clean everything possible with scalding hot water; if possible, turn up the heat in their home as high as you can and have them all leave the house for a day; or, if you're in a warm-weather area, you can drag things outside in the heat of the day and expose them to sunlight for as long as possible. It may be impossible to heat-treat every last thing in the house. But the fabrics that come into contact with human bodies are the key things to treat. If that is done meticulously, then cleaning other items as best you can should be enough.
I would first make sure it's really bed bugs and not fleas, lice, dust mites, bird mites or even just kind of allergy - to cheap laundry detergent or dust or pets or something else.
Bed bugs are visible - about a quarter inch long. You should be able to SEE them on the mattresses and bedding. I thought we had bed bugs but later determined it was mites which are invisible.
If you google bed bug you will find a lot of information on how to get rid of them. Agreed that heat treatment seems to be the best.
Here's where it would be nice to have an expert of some sort, because I only know what I read and what worked for me, on lice.
I read that 15-20 minutes in a 120-degree sauna (which sounds extreme, but saunas can get much hotter. Kids can sit through 120 degrees, if an adult is with them.) will kill any bugs on a person or their clothing. I know that worked, for lice. I hate to be gross, but they were definitely dead, not escaped.
I also read that items which can benefit from a longer exposure to heat are deep things, like mattresses. I.e., it doesn't take hours to kill the bugs with heat, but the longer the exposure, the deeper the heat penetrates.
Oh goodness. I had an apartment with bed bugs years ago - turned on the light in the middle of the night and saw the little red suckers all over the bedroom wall, lamp shade, bed etc. To be honest, bed bugs are HARD to get rid of. You can have someone come in and fumigate. But I moved out of the place and got rid of my mattress and all my furniture. If she doesn't have the money to fumigate and/or replace furniture and MOVE if at all possible, I would recommend contacting local Health and Human Services or organizations like Emergency Family Assistance who could provide funds to help her pay for this. It's a health concern!
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival
OMG! Poor thing! Yuck!
I had Bed bugs here, I first noted them last spring. I deliver airfreight by grd. I assumed I had stayed in a infested hotel in New York. I tried everything,over $2000 and no success.. I finely used the "heat treatment" I heated my home to 125 degree for 6 hours. Killed all signs of bed bugs, even had a few on my bed. carpet and other odd places, dead!. Melted the face off some of my electronics in the house. 9 months later we are re-infested again. This leads me to believe the infestation is coming from another source. Now it's the waiting game for warm weather to come and reheat the entire house. FYI, these little vampires are possibly the worlds best hitch hikers. HEAT (over 120 degree for at least 6 hours to insure nesting or hiding bugs are affected, "killed") is the ONLY weapon I found to kill all bugs, eggs and molting larvae. Good luck to this family your trying to help.
BTW, DDT is the only pesticide known to kill bed bugs. The fact is due to the harm to a certain butterfly the FDA and EPA has ban the use of DDT in the USA. Other Country's are allowed to use DDT. Until the USA allows the return of this pesticide we will not deal with this issue properly. Bring back DDT for in home use to kill bed bugs. I love butterfly's. I love my children and my sanity more! DDT will not harm you, your children or pets. Research the facts about DDT before you start to hate on me please. Some things are a necessity. If you have never been infested with these little vampires, you have no clue of their effect on the mind and your family's sanity. Thanks and God bless..
Bed bugs are horrible. I lived in a tudio apartment and was given a recliner. Little did i know it was infested and eventually evrything i owned was infested as well. We tried everything but eventually had to move and leave most things behind. We moved to a house and bought a used furniture set. Turns out...it had bugs in it. So once again I tried everything. After months of dealing with bites and thinking they were gone, we moved and brought only our clothes and small mementos. Bed bugs can live anywhere and can squeeze into the smallest holes. The only thing that really works is extreme heat done by a professional. I tried every natural thing, every chemical, spray, exterminator I could find and nothing worked. They can live for over a year without eating. They generally live near their food source ie...us. I have heard of bed bug seeking dogs...maybe that could work to find where they are living.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
Some relatives just went through this... They did notice pretty quickly what the problem was, so it wasn't a big infestation yet. They decided on the heat treatment. I'm pretty sure that's not a great idea to do yourself. All the furniture needed to be pulled away from walls, drawers opened, boxes unpacked, etc, because the heat won't necessarily penetrate a tightly packed box and the bugs can crawl into the depths to hide from the heat. In addition, the edges of all the rooms get sprayed with some sort of poison so the bugs have to go through that if they try to hide in the walls. The company brought in heaters and put them throughout the house to bring it up to the recommended temperature for a recommended number of hours.