Health and safety forum

Bed Bugs (Revisited)

  • Tilapia

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    Thought I'd start a new thread rather than stick this onto the end of a rather long one that started a while back.

    I am a trained entomologist, work as a Public Health Inspector, and have 6 years of experience working as a trouble-shooter and quality assurance manager for one of North America's largest pest control companies. Bed bugs are no strangers to me and I have years of experience with them. I have also experienced them while traveling, though not often.

    I've picked out a few comments and responded. I've also included some info on what to look for in a guest house if you're suspicious. I hope that some of what I put down is helpful to some of you.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    "IMHO, I suggest it unlikely that beds in SE Asian hotels, Guest Houses, etc., are sufficiently cleaned to eradicate bedbugs."

    Partially true. It is not always the bedding, mattresses and structure of the bed where the insects shelter, feed, and reproduce. Often, it is beneath baseboards, in openings in floor boards, and similar cracks and crevices. Vacuuming these areas help, but only if done thoroughly and if the vacuum is then emptied somewhere "outside" of the place.

    "So maybe it's more of an issue in cheap places. I don't know."

    Bedbugs don't respect social boundaries. But considering who they hitch rides with in the "traveling world", this is possible. However, as mentioned in a previous thread, they still manage to show up in middle and upper end places.

    "i have burned a mosquiote coil under the bed and that seemed to help with the bugs."

    They do not react at all to coils.

    "It also helps if you eat a lot of garlic as they don't like the scent that puts on your skin."

    They don't care what your skin smells like or what you might be emitting.

    "These fear mongerers would have us believe that only pest control companies are able to relieve us of the problem (and they relieve us of money as well). And, bed manufacturers recommend that a bed is bed bug proof for only a couple of years."

    Bed bugs have become a serious problem in many parts of North America. Not only can their presence in one's living place be highly stigmatizing, they contribute in a very big way to stresses often associated with sleep loss. Added to these problems there are other peripheral issues the occupant/infested must deal with, such as whether or not to have family and friends visit, whether or not to throw away infested or possibly infested pieces of furniture, how to cough up enough money to pay for treatment, etc.

    From my experience, the worst situations involve the new, young parents who are afraid to let their infant sleep alone for fear of the parasites finding their little one in the crib. It is, genuinely, not a simple case of ignoring it if your body isn't sensitive to it and you sleep well. This is far more multifaceted than that. It is highly stressful, emotionally and financially. For hotel and guest house owners, it can be financially ruinous, especially in these days of the internet.

    When a bed bug infestation, especially in an apartment building or hotel, is left up to an uninformed member of the public or superintendent or hotel owner, the problem is more likely to spread than come under control. The availability of household chemicals, use of "alternative methods", as well as the internet, have all contributed heavily to the increase in bed bug infestations, especially in North America. The ability of the bed bugs to migrate between apartments is facilitated by poorly executed control strategies.

    Well-established pest control companies have the person-power, facilities and knowledge required to deal with large infestations, and almost always are used as a last resort when the people dealing with it in the first place discover that they have just made the problem worse.

    Most companies will provide programs that involve education, high-powered vacuuming, chemical treatment, and monitoring. These programs can last up to 3-5 months, and are almost entirely dependent on the cooperation of the occupants/tenants.

    Most companies will guarantee their work, however if they are continually called back to deal with flare-ups, which is often the case with non-cooperative occupants, then the whole thing becomes a massive money losing operation. When I say non-cooperative occupants, I am referring to those who refuse to allow their apartment to be treated, or to allow for monitoring, or who use their own chemicals or methods of control.

    Actually, one of the biggest reasons they have become such a major issue in NA is due to the HUGE "secondhand" industry, which seems to have grown thanks to the economic situation the world has found itself in. Secondhand clothing and, especially, furniture have been major culprits in the spread of bed bugs.

    SO, in guest houses, hotels, etc.

    - Bed bugs do not care about sanitation standards ... clean or dirty, it makes no difference to them

    - If they exist, they are most likely there thanks to a fellow traveler, not the proprietor or the proprietor's degree of hygiene or sanitation

    - Bed bug bites occur in lines and are usually close together. The lines can be straight, or they will curve. Rarely will a bed bug bite in one place, then wander far over to another place for another feed

    - Bed bugs are able to carry pathogens, but do not transmit them when feeding. They won't make you sick. However, the bites can become infected and take forever to heal, especially in tropical countries

    - Bed bugs will generally travel approximately 10 feet on their own in search of a meal. This means that then can, easily, migrate between rooms (meaning ... if they are in the GH, go to another place and not just to another room)

    - Bed bugs do not fly or jump, though they can move very quickly

    - Bed bugs are nocturnal so are usually only out when there is no light

    Quick movers, nocturnal, do not kill their host, live close to their host ... they are very good little parasites.

    1) Look for blood spots on the walls around the bed and room. If they exist it's very possible they were created when an unwilling blood-source spotted the bed bug making an escape up the wall and smashed it. Of course, it is possible that these spots resulted from well-fed but deceased mosquitoes.

    2) Look for blood spots on the sheets and pillow cases. Again, these can often be made when engorged mosquitoes are crushed, but these tend to be larger than bed bug spots which are quite small

    3) Remove the bottom bed sheet and check the mattress, especially the folds/seams along the sides, looking for the insects and eggs. They are not social and won't gather in groups, though it is possible to find small bunches of them

    4) Check the bed frame, especially the supports where the mattress or box spring rest

    5) If you don't find anything and you still aren't convinced that you are safe, and everywhere else is full, then do one of the following,

    a) Pull your bed a few inchese away from the walls and make sure your sheets don't touch the walls or the floor. Go and buy 4 cans of something (anything), open them up and dump (or drink) the contents, put one beneath each bed leg and top it up with water followed by a squirt of shampoo or liquid soap of some kind. If there are bed bugs and they live in the floor boards or beneath the baseboards, they will have to go through this to get up the bed, and they will drown.

    b) Again, move your bed and watch your sheets. Grab a tube of vaseline or antibiotic ointment or something that will stick and remain in place, and smear it all around the legs of the bed. Again, if they are on the ground they will have to walk through this to get to the feeding trough, and they will get stuck.

    Both of these also serve as monitors, so if they are there you are going to see them (dead or stuck) in the morning.

    I'm sure there is more that I could write, but I really have to get back to work.

    Cheers.

    #1 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 01:34

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  • smash

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    ugh this repulses me to no end.

    #2 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 02:14

  • Tilapia

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    Smash, people should be more concerned and revolted by the common bottle fly (the ones that have the blue, yellow, or reddish sheen to them) than of bed bugs.

    #3 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 02:46

  • SBE

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    Very interesting post Tilapia and you are soooo right about bottle flies!

    I lived in the Congo for a couple of years and there was a fly there that looked a bit like a greenish bluebottle... we called it a "mouche de Cayor" (Cayor fly?). These flies often lay their eggs in clothes and bed linen etc that is drying outside. Unless clothes, sheets and towels etc are ironed VERY thoroughly you will soon find yourself with painful furuncle-like boil on your skin which contains a live maggot.

    The boil has a sort of crater at the top and the maggot sometimes sticks its head out for a breath of fresh air. Standard treatment at the time was to put some sort of oil or grease on the crater so that the worm had to come up for air. You then squeezed the maggot out trying not to squash it in the process because if you did the wound tended to go septic...very painful and it often left scars.

    My two year old son had about 20 of these things on his back once and there was no way he was going to sit still while I extracted them all so I tried something else which worked a treat.

    If you apply dab of nail varnish on the boil it suffocates the maggots and they get reabsorbed naturally by the body's own macrophages (or something). Never had any problem with subsequent infection and there was no scarring.

    It sure changed life in our household. Let them choose the color you'll find kids don't mind being daubed with nail varnish at all...no more drama and screams every time they get maggots.

    Just thought I'd pass on that useful tip too in case anyone ever develops painful boils in the tropics... test with a dab of oil and if a white grub sticks its head out then you now know what to do. ;-)

    #4 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 05:05

  • smash

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    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. OMG that is so gross.

    #5 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 05:18

  • BruceMoon

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    Tilapia

    You wrote...

    "The availability of household chemicals, use of "alternative methods", as well as the internet, have all contributed heavily to the increase in bed bug infestations, especially in North America.

    Really!!!!

    You also wrote...

    "I ...have 6 years of experience working as a trouble-shooter and quality assurance manager for one of North America's largest pest control companies.

    Mmmmm!!!!

    I wrote (on the 'other' thread)...

    ""They would have us believe that only pest control companies are able to relieve us of the problem (and they relieve us of money as well)..

    Given your detailed point of view, I stand by my assertion.

    Cheers

    #6 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 05:37

  • SBE

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    Good job I didn't post a link to show people what these maggots look like isn't it. I decided not to as it was a bit too graphic even for me.

    God knows how someone managed to get one of those maggots in their eye.

    #7 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 05:43

  • smash

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    In their eye?!?!?!?!?!

    #8 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 06:09

  • SBE

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    I can post it if you like... I sense you might not be quite ready to see it though. ;-)

    #9 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 06:14

  • smash

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    No please don't! Haha.
    These types of bugs are what freak me out most about budget travel. I'm so used to international five-star properties (Four Seasons, Ritz, InterCont, etc.). Obviously these types of places aren't immune to bed bugs... Guess it's just a stigma about backpacker joints...
    Sounds like I'm going to have a fun adventure. :oP

    #10 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 06:17

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  • Tilapia

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    Bruce, yes, really.

    I wasn't a salesman. I was on a salary and had no potential for commissions. I was an instructor for the technicians, and the company's chief entomologist. I wasn't an applicator, though I had and still have all of my licences. I put together chemical-free programs for a lot of high profile accounts. I studied commercial, public health, forest, agricultural, domestic pest management. I have experience in all but forest pest management. I was already a certified health inspector when I took the job, and I only took it because it there were no jobs in the government at the time. That experience in the private sector benefited me greatly in my work as a health inspector, and continues to do so as I have become a resource for others working in the field.

    And your experience or background in this field is?

    Based on your assumption and your Ti Tree solutions I, on the other hand, can only assume that you really don't know what you are talking about when it comes to this particular topic.

    #11 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 06:59

  • Tilapia

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    Hey SBE, look up Bot Flies. They look like the Bottle Flies, but have a completely different biology ... even though the name sounds kind of the same.

    #12 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 07:02

  • Tilapia

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    Oh, and Bruce, you conveniently left out the "trained entomologist, work as a Public Health Inspector" part and focused entirely on the pest control company part. I guess those other two things don't count for anything when one has sold out to private industry and capitalist greed?

    Very handy for propping up your baseless opinions.

    #13 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 07:05

  • somtam2000

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    SBE -- thanks for absolutely and totally putting me off breakfast -- and yes, as per smash, keep the pics to yourself!

    Tilapia (great post btw - thanks), on your note about them not reacting to mosquito coils, I'll often feel my feet being bitten (not by mozzies) when I'm working in a guesthouse room at the desk. I light a coil, place it on the floor under the desk and the biting stops. If not bedbugs, any idea what it would be? I'd just assumed it was bedbugs as this happens a LOT and I never saw any fleas... any ideas?

    #14 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 08:02

  • BruceMoon

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    Tilapia

    I don't want to start a slanging match on this. Clearly, you and I see the world differently.

    I have, I believe, enough qualifications to allow me to make an informed and qualified statement on this subject.

    What 'fuels' my perspective is the public policy topic of regulatory capture.

    Without doubt, every commercial industry has seen benefit in organising itself to capture (usually governmental) regulations that impact on its industry. By converting regulations to suit their own agenda, the industry is thus able to weed out the small fry (they're all shonks, some cry) and so focus on enhancing profit margins.

    In the process of regulatory capture, an increasing number of chemical based industry's don't merely stop at converting the regulations to support their business intentions, but use the regulations to suppress 'non-chemical' opposition. All the while, the industry points to the regulatory structure as 'evidence' that it is doing what is socially responsible.

    I note you come from Canada. You live next to a country where the drug industry has so captured the regulatory structure that ordinarily grown (or natural) foods cannot be marketed as 'healthy'. Why? Because while the drug and chemical industry can refer to studies to back up their claims (as they re-wrote the regulations to so do), they point out that ordinarily grown food can't say their food is healthy because that industry doesn't have the studies to back up such claims.

    The point I'm making is that worldwide, the major chemical based industries have not only captured the regulations to suit their own interests, they are also converting the public gaze away from themselves. And, in too many cases, the chemical based industries are also pursuing an approach to destroy the credibility of anything that stands in the way of the chemical based industry profit motive.

    As an entomologist, you obviously have the skills and training to know about bugs and chemicals. I am not criticising your knowledge, skill or experience. Rather, I'm situating the 'discussion' into a larger context. In this larger context - and as Marxian critics often posit - are you not merely a vehicle and advocate for the aspirations of the chemical industry?

    In agreement with some of your thrust, I use chemicals as a defence against bugs. However, I just don't reach for the nearest chemical. Rather, I look at the situation and search for possible solutions - chemicals often being but one of several.

    - - -

    Stuart

    As you'd know of FNQ (or similar), midgies are hard to see, are bloody annoying, and seem to disappear with coil use.

    Cheers

    #15 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 08:36

  • smash

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    So in one line and one sentence...

    1. What is the best and easiers way to avoid getting eating by these disgusting bugs?
    2. If you do get eaten, what's the best way to clean yourself and stop the itching?
    3. What is the best way to get these bastards out of my clothes if they do get in (especially given some of my clothes can't be washed in hot water or steamed)?

    Thanks...

    #16 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 09:03

  • busylizzy

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    OMG - you guys are grossing me out! SBE, I can't believe that your experiences didn't put you off for life - it's just about putting me off...

    Hmmm, maybe the ole' 9-5 job ain't so bad after all! At least in my world, the only bugs that I have to deal with are software bugs. :-)

    Somtam - I think this thread needs a 'R' rating off some sort on it!

    #17 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 10:04

  • BruceMoon

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    Ash

    1.

    Get yourself a sleeping sheet and loaded it up with an antiseptic oil. The sleeping sheet with a natural antiseptic oil (rather than water based, which would evaporate quickly) I'd suggest ti-tree oil: you won't need very much, just enough to 'flavour' the fabric. If were to go down this path,, I'd suggest two points...

    a - buy some ti-tree oil and try it out on (say) a pillow first to see if you can sleep with the oil aroma (it's strong, and you may not yet be used to it), and

    b - if you can sleep with ti-tree oil so close (I can, but you may not), get a good polythene (not plastic) bag to store your sleeping sheet and get a small bottle of ti-tree oil to 'refresh' the sheet as you travel, or

    c - if you can't use ti-tree oil, try another antiseptic oil such as lavender oil or eucalyptus oil.

    2.

    Hopefully, you'll not be bitten if you get a sleeping sheet and use a natural antiseptic oil. But should the unenjoyable occur, use an antiseptic oil (such as ti-tree oil to cleanse the bite (same for mozzie bites, etc).

    3.

    I suggest ordinary washing would suffice to remove bugs. I suspect that if you are really obsessed (which I doubt), you could always store your gear in a large plastic bag overnight.

    When in doubt, and all else fail - panic! NOT!!!

    Cheers

    #18 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 12:13

  • SBE

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    "I have, I believe, enough qualifications to allow me to make an informed and qualified statement on this subject."

    So what was your PhD in Bruce? You seem to be an expert in so many fields that I can't quite work out what subject it was.

    Yeah sounds like it was some kind of bot fly we had in the Congo Tilapia. I saw on wikipedia that there are other ways to get rid of the maggots too.

    "Removal processes include placing raw meat on to the area, which in theory will coax the larva out. Another option is to use the tree sap of the matatorsalo, found in Costa Rica, which will kill the larva, yet leave its body in the skin. Additionally, one can attempt to seal the breathing hole of the larva with nail polish, vaseline or adhesive tape and then, after a day, squeeze out the suffocated, dead larva."


    Didn't occur to me to use raw meat but another thing you could maybe do is use one of those snake venom extractors to get the maggots out. We had one because my eldest son said he found it and tried to extract his wee brother's eyeball one day when I wasn't paying attention. Strange I didn't think of using it ...or maybe I did and it didn't get the maggots out intact. Can't remember now as it was a long time ago.

    In any case I found it was much easier just leave the maggots where they were once they were suffocated and let macrophages (or something) get rid of them naturally. If you try and pop the grubs out there's nearly always a scar and an infection risk because of the gaping hole left in the skin.

    ... Hey Somtam, have you eaten lunch yet because there are other interesting parasites that rarely get a mention on travel forums and this might be an opportune moment to draw people's attention to them.

    eg larva migrans and hookworm and the perils of strolling barefoot on beaches and lying directly on the sand when sunbathing ... I expect Tilapia can expand on the life cycle of these parasites and what to do if you get them. :D

    #19 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 17:09

  • smash

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    So feral lol

    #20 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 17:10

  • somtam2000

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    I'm just about to put a pork loin roast in the oven, so please hold off till after breakfast tomorrow. Thanks...

    #21 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 17:34

  • BruceMoon

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    SBE

    "So what was your PhD in Bruce? You seem to be an expert in so many fields that I can't quite work out what subject it was.

    Yep, ignorance is a tickisih dilemma.

    Cheers

    #22 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 17:56

  • Tilapia

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    Bruce, yes, we're cool. However, you have to understand that I am not a patsy for the chemical/pharmaceutical industry, as you clearly are not. With the exception of large scale control strategies (apartment buildings, hotels, etc.), everything I mentioned was completely chemical-free, as was all of the work I did. Nowhere did I mention that one should run to a pest control company at the first sight of a bed bug.

    Also, with regards to chemicals and regulatory structure ... the majority of the most effective chemicals used in pest control during the last 20-30 years have been banned in North America. Methyl bromide, a fumigant, for which I have an application licence, was taken out of use many years ago because of its effect on ozone depletion. This forced the industry to look for other ways of controlling, mostly, stored product pests, and most companies responded by offering new services such as sanitation, housekeeping, and property maintenance programs. Those who didn't were either bought-up or went out of business.

    #23 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 20:07

  • SBE

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    "Yep, ignorance is a tickisih dilemma."

    You're referring to your ignorance and tickisih dilemma I presume seeing as you avoided answering the question?

    Never mind, Tilapia seems to know his stuff anyway!

    #24 Posted: 1/9/2009 - 22:34

  • wanderingcat

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    a little thing to add - bedbugs smell like almond essence. smell's obviously easier to sniff out if a few have already been crushed.

    i rem university coursemates dropping out of parasitology class immediately after the first series of (graphic) lecture slides were flashed...a few walked out of the room immediately :P & it's in that very university that i saw bedbugs for the very first time - crawling in computer keyboards at shared PC terminals...

    #22: 'Not pride of knowledge, but humility of wisdom'.

    #25 Posted: 2/9/2009 - 01:39

  • Tilapia

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    Hey Somtam,

    My guess would be some kind of flying insect, but it's impossible to know without seeing them or without you catching one and sending it to me in a film vial. Film vials! Remember those? So many practical uses.

    The reason I say this is because you aren't feeling anything on you, but then you feel a bite and then it's gone. Also, you probably wouldn't realize that you were being a bed bug's dinner until after the fact. Most people cannot feel them on their bodies, and most do not realize they are being bitten (they secrete an aesthetic when they feed.)

    But, having said that, I caught a couple crawling on me because I felt them (they actually woke me up, and they were big ... over 1/4"). And they moved quickly, too.

    #26 Posted: 2/9/2009 - 03:21

  • SBE

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    I read today that temperatures over 46C will kill bedbugs and their eggs in 7 minutes and that steam cleaning is very effective at killing them. In SE Asia not many GHs have steam cleaners but would putting mattresses out in the sun all day be sufficient to get rid of them in bedding? I think it gets hotter than 46C in full sun in Asia.


    I also discovered today that bed bugs have an unusual sex life.

    "All bedbugs mate via a process termed traumatic insemination. Instead of inserting their genitalia into the female's reproductive tract as is typical in copulation, males instead pierce females with hypodermic genitalia and ejaculate into the body cavity."

    Hmm... I wonder how that works exactly. Very strange.

    It's strange how people are grossed out by bedbugs biting them but not mosquitoes. Bedbugs don't transmit any nasty diseases but mosquitoes do ... malaria, dengue, various types of encephalitis, rift valley fever, yellow fever, filariasis ... oops worms again. How did that happen? ;-)

    #27 Posted: 2/9/2009 - 04:49

  • Tilapia

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    "... temperatures over 46C will kill bedbugs and their eggs in 7 minutes and that steam cleaning is very effective at killing them ... would putting mattresses out in the sun all day be sufficient to get rid of them in bedding? I think it gets hotter than 46C in full sun in Asia."

    Doubtful unless it was certain that 46C was achieved throughout the entire mattress. Heat is sometimes used on shipping containers before being processed and unloaded for just this reason - insect/pest control.

    "I also discovered today that bed bugs have an unusual sex life."

    Many insects have sex lives that make even the most adventurous of us seem downright prudish.

    "It's strange how people are grossed out by bedbugs biting them but not mosquitoes."

    Maybe it's the "monster under the bed" complex. Nobody likes things coming unexpectedly out of the dark to feed on them while they sleep. I think that we're too accustomed to mosquitoes to think of them the same way.

    #28 Posted: 8/9/2009 - 01:02

  • patrickien

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    Tilapia, thanks for starting a new thread but this one seems to be getting longer than the one i started, with all the old names getting stuck in to a bit of healthy literal combat and lots of intresting bits 'n' pieces in between, the vaseline sounds alright but wouldn't it melt in the summer tempratures ( intending to go to Cambodia in feb/march)?? tins with fluid another intresting idea anyway with all the info these 2 threads are generating i'll ave sussed something by the time i touch down. anyway thanks for the different tips.

    #29 Posted: 11/10/2009 - 02:08

  • apriljune

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    i have some tips for bed bugs,
    if you notice that bed bugs take out the sheets, blanket, fellow case, and the cushion. make sure your going to wash it and expose it to the sunlight.

    #30 Posted: 1/6/2010 - 17:07

  • cas84utd

    Joined Travelfish
    15th June, 2010
    Posts: 3

    "5) If you don't find anything and you still aren't convinced that you are safe, and everywhere else is full, then do one of the following,

    a) Pull your bed a few inchese away from the walls and make sure your sheets don't touch the walls or the floor. Go and buy 4 cans of something (anything), open them up and dump (or drink) the contents, put one beneath each bed leg and top it up with water followed by a squirt of shampoo or liquid soap of some kind. If there are bed bugs and they live in the floor boards or beneath the baseboards, they will have to go through this to get up the bed, and they will drown."

    Do you mean beside the bed legs? Not beneath? Because beneath implies that you now have the bed balancing precariously on 4 cans... please clarify.

    #31 Posted: 25/6/2010 - 17:14

  • SBE

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    I think Tilapia meant stand the legs of the bed inside the tins. If you turned the cans upside down and stood the bed legs on them you'd lose all the soapy water wouldn't you.

    #32 Posted: 26/6/2010 - 05:50

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
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    Ah maybe you were thinking of coke/beer cans? You'd need to take the lids off with a Swiss knife or something.

    #33 Posted: 26/6/2010 - 06:00

  • rachelle23

    Joined Travelfish
    8th June, 2010
    Posts: 20

    Bed bug spreads in this way, they enter your house through a carrier like personal belongings through old suitcases, clothes, and mattresses are a favorite haunt.

    #34 Posted: 28/6/2010 - 11:01

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Thanks SBE ... yes cas84utd, the legs go inside the cans.

    Do a search for a product called ClimbUp. It uses the same concept. What I described is the low-budget way.

    #35 Posted: 30/6/2010 - 19:29

  • bekk

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 14
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    Tilapia,
    just wondering....would that ti tree oil/ bed sheet thing work? seems to be like they could still probable get in

    thanks

    #36 Posted: 22/10/2010 - 18:57

  • Tilapia

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    Hi Bekk,

    Lots of people claim that TT Oil works on bedbugs, but from what I understand it is only useful for preventing their bites from becoming infected.

    I'm not sure what you mean about "bed sheet thing", but if you are referring to the mattress covers, they are only useful for preventing the insects that already exist in a mattress from getting out, and for preventing bed bugs from hiding in mattresses. The sheets will not stop the insects from getting onto beds if they are not living inside or on the surface of the mattress. Also, bed bugs will hide in box springs, so if that is not also covered the product is effectively useless for preventing bites.

    If you are referring to TT Oil infused bed sheets, all I can say is that at the last bed bug symposium I went to we were informed by the keynote speaker, Dr. Dini Miller from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute State University, the person who runs the site BedBugger.com, that there is no evidence to suggest it works. It does not repel or kill. If anything, pure oil merely suffocates the insect, just as any other oil would, and it is unlikely that anyone is going to soak their bed sheets in enough oil to manage this.

    In the past sheets and mattresses used to be treated with kerosene, but this is no longer done for obvious reasons.

    She tests most online, eco-friendly, and so-called eco-friendly products that are on the market in the US and has found that most are useless or, at least, do not live up to their billing. She found that some killed the insects if applied directly onto their bodies, but this is unreasonable and unrealistic. The key is to deal with the infestation, not individual bed bugs.

    The only way that a bed sheet is going to stop the insects from gaining access to one's body is to have one that will completely envelope the entire body. If there is any opening, like for your head, they'll get in if the room is infested.

    Hope that makes sense.

    #37 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 03:00

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Sounds like there is a worse problem in New York City these days rather than in Asia! (It's been making headlines here in NZ)

    #38 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 03:45

  • Tilapia

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    This is most likely due to the fact that most SE Asian countries still use DDT. Thailand definitely imports the stuff. DDT is one of the only chemicals that effectively controls bed bugs. In most Western nations where DDT is banned (and where bed bugs are now on the rise), pyrethroids are the only approved chemicals for use on bed bugs, but bed bugs are resistant to them. This doesn't mean that they are immune to pyrethroids, but that the chemical works slowly and only partially on them. Slow knock-down, and only about a 20% kill rate. That's why most homes require multiple treatments.

    #39 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 03:51

  • maryray

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 9

    funny - we went to our travel doctor for our shots and he sold us a bottle of Permetrin (durathon repellent) with the specific instructions to check into the hotel, spray the bed/room down and then go out for the day while the room airs out and dries. He told us to also treat our clothing, luggage etc - as the spray works on mosquitoes, bed bugs etc. I'm now wondering if he sold us an expensive bottle of raid.

    #40 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 04:11

  • maryray

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 9

    sorry - I meant to type "duration repellent"

    #41 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 04:12

  • bekk

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 14
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    thanks Tilapia!
    So in conclusion, if you suspect bedbugs, there is little you can do except find a new room or put your bed posts in watery pop cans, but it is not the end of the world because they are not going to get you sick with anything, just a minor risk of infection when bit.

    yeah, i hear NY is rather plagued with the little monsters. it is like this...

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/cockroach-king-concerned-over-recent-rise-of-bedbu,18289/

    #42 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 04:40

  • Tilapia

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    Mary ... permethrin IS a pyrethroid. Pyrethroids do not guarantee a "100% kill on contact" which means that if you are only there for a couple of nights, it might work, or it might not. You'd have about a 20% chance of not being bitten if the room is infested.

    Frankly, I'd say that your doctor doesn't know what he/she is talking about and, worse, is highly irresponsible for encouraging you to spread chemicals around in not only your room, but also on your personal belongings when there might not even be evidence of an infestation. What kind of "doctor" would have you do such a thing? That's crazy. The only time chemicals should be used is when there has been a positive identification, and then they must be used judiciously.

    ======

    Bekk ... you're right. Bed bugs are not known reservoirs of pathogens, which means that they do not transmit pathogens. So, no disease transmission through their bites. Infection comes from scratching the bites which are irritating.

    #43 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 06:46

  • maryray

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 9

    In hind sight it was a waste of money to go to the travel doctor - any vaccination that we needed could have been given to us by our family doctor and in the end we didn't need any additional shots as we already had everything. Live and learn - thanks for the advice.

    #44 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 16:49

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Stayed in a guesthouse last month. $5 a night.

    When the pillow smelled like cheap hair product it was obvious that they didn't change the sheets.

    When I inspected the bed closely there were bed bugs!

    #45 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 20:50

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Care to share the name of the guest house and town where it is?

    #46 Posted: 30/10/2010 - 01:12

  • Misstay

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 1

    Hi Everyone!

    My husband and I did some live-in bar work in a pub in England... little did we know we were walking into a bedbug infested place!!
    They really are horrible things, and it turned out I was allergic to the bites!
    Normally when bitten you may not even know you have been, the bugs apparently first inject you with an anesthetic so that you don't wake when they bite you. In my case every bite swelled tremendously, leaving me looking like Quasimodo! I was bitten all over my hands and feet and even my face. We eventually left after 2 months of trying to get rid of the things.
    Once they are there, getting rid of them is nearly totally impossible!

    All of the tips above are great! Another thing I would add is to try to ensure that you don't pick up a small unwanted travelling friend along the way. Keep your belongings packed away and bags closed as much as possible ;) And check your rooms before you stay!

    #47 Posted: 13/12/2010 - 05:57

  • noladenett

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hi all, currently traveling throughout SEA on a 3 month holiday. Stationed in Vientiane at the moment and sad to say that I have been ravaged overnight by bed bugs. The name of the guesthouse I was staying at is Lani Guesthouse. I brought the problem to the hotel managements attention as soon as I was certain that what I was covered in were indeed bed bug bites. They were quick to change my room but seemed very skeptikal as to what the cause of my bites were. I tried to explain as best I could, why this was such a big deal but they don't seem to understand, Which makes me feel that nothing will be done to properly eradicate the bed bugs. The problem will only get worse due to the negligence of the staff. This is very sad because the staff are quite nice as is the guesthouse but the presence of bed bugs is a MAJOR deal breaker.

    #48 Posted: 10/1/2011 - 10:01

  • neighbour

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1

    Tilapia, thanks for an excellent article. It's good to have a 'real' expert providing such information, and the information you've provided concurs with everything that I've personally researched (In some depth, by the way). You've also provided additional information and advice, so here's one otherwise sceptical person who trusts you! Great stuff. Thanks again.

    Neighbour.

    #49 Posted: 14/10/2011 - 00:05

  • jennilynB

    Joined Travelfish
    21st March, 2012
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for the post about bed bugs. It really make me nuts when I see it. I always want my bed to be clean.

    #50 Posted: 21/3/2012 - 03:55

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