Here is what you can expect with chemical treatment
You can save yourself a lot of grief if you resign yourself to a couple of facts. You are going to working double time on half the sleep for a couple of months and no one who hasn’t done this is going to really understand.
Always ask your pest professional for advice about how long to wait before washing the floors after treatment, when to “unpack” and any other precautions you may need to take after treatment.
Pesticide treatment will require a minimum of at least three applications at 10-14-day intervals. This is because most FDA approved pesticides or the only ones you want to use in your home don’t kill on contact. Most legitimate pesticides labeled for bed bugs take up to 10 days to kill after the bug has come in contact with it. This is because bed bugs don’t groom or lick their legs. Getting the pesticides on or in the bugs requires they be fed and heavy so they drag their bodies through the pesticides. The pesticides have microscopic bubbles of pesticides that can remain active for up to 90 days, possibly more. Once the pesticide is on the bed bug it begins to kill it from the outside in through its exoskeleton. Some products that contain DE or Diatomaceous Earth (silica) work to dry and break the outer shell of the bug, but that also takes days after they come in contact with it.
The pesticides have microscopic bubbles of pesticides that can remain active for up to 90 days, possibly more. Once the pesticide is on the bed bug it begins to kill it from the outside in through its exoskeleton. Some products that contain DE or Diatomaceous Earth (silica) work to dry and break the outer shell of the bug, but that also takes days after they come in contact with it.
This is why the whole kill on contact idea is unrealistic. Chemical treatment is hard on you because your pest control person is going to tell you that you must sleep in your bed and act as bait so they can feed (on you) and drag their bellies through the poison. I’m sorry, that is the ugly truth and why heat treatment is so popular.
It is likely your pest company will use at least two different pesticides in your home, including a long-acting residual pesticide and some formula with diatomaceous earth a form of silica that dries the exoskeleton of insects out and is also in those little bags in your vitamins to keep moisture out.
I began by decluttering. That meant throwing some things away (in sealed bags), and bagging up other stuff I thought I could live without for at least a year. Extra clothes, books, files, records that I could live without for at least a year I put in giant heavy trash bags, sealed the bag, then put that bag in another bag and twist tie sealed it. Those went in my storage unit.
I couldn’t realistically treat EVERYTHING right away at the same time, but I could live without some stuff for a little while. This includes shoes. Try to get your available shoes down to three and as much as I hate to say it, but Crocs, those plastic shoes are really handy because you can boil, spray and heat them unlike fancy shoes that can be damaged or hide bed bugs in velcro. Get anything with velcro on it in a sealed bag until you can deal with it or store it for over a year.
This was quite a lot of stuff. How to decide what to bag and store? Pretend you’re going on vacation for a month and decide what you absolutely can’t live without for a month. You can probably get by for months on that in reality. The more space you can give the pest control company to work, the better job they can do. If you can get your room or home in a condition that similar to staging to sell your house where you remove everything you don’t need from shelves and counters so it looks roomy and spacious, that’s what you want to do here.
It will be easier on you if you can figure out a 10-15 piece mix and match wardrobe for the duration of your infestation. If you can reduce the amount of clothes you have to deal with it will just be easier. If you’re working in addition to prepping, this will make your life simpler. Take all your clothing and either launder it or put it in double sealed bags until you can launder it or store it for at least 12 months. I waited 18 months. Keep your clean laundry in sealed zippered bags. Plastic tubs don’t seal so I suggest the Zippered Bags. Shoes can be kept in regular gallon zip-lock bags in your fridge.
Shoes can be kept in regular gallon zip-lock bags in your fridge, unless you go the Crocs route in which case you can just wash them before you leave your house, every time.
When you leave your house, you’ll change into clean clothes and shoes from your sealed bags. When you return, immediately change from your “outside place” clothes into your being home clothes.
Clothes you’ve worn can go in a white plastic laundry hamper.
If you have isolated your bed ONLY GET IN YOUR BED WITH CLOTHES FROM THE CLEAN BAG. Or take a shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed (during your infestation) and don’t wear any clothes in bed. If your bed is isolated, it is your only haven from them, an island. Don’t infest your island. During your infestation do not bring anything onto your bed. Do not read in bed. Don’t put your purse on your bed. The only thing that goes on your bed once it’s isolated is you. And you can sleep!
You can get a head start by going around your furniture and baseboards, floors, rugs and walls with a low vapor steamer which is going to kill what it can reach including eggs. Remember bed bug eggs are sticky and very durable. Steamers melt bed bugs and their eggs. I still use mine to dissolve dirt on my floors, baseboards, and windowsills. It’s a great non-chemical cleaning tool, also bed bug killing tool. You will not be able to use it post treatment in any area where pesticides are because it will vaporize them. These get hot and can cause serious burns. **Heat can cause permanent damage to some furniture, melt glue, etc.
The most important thing is that you understand that you need to remove all of your possessions as if you were moving until you can treat them and after they are treated they should be double-sealed so they do not become infested. I know it sounds extreme and it is. Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t quick or easy but you can do it!
How To Inspect for Bed Bugs