Recently, while interviewing a bed bug sniffing dog handler, the topic of DIY treatment came up. Here is a story I’ll share from that discussion. As you know, the owner of this website does not recommend DIY treatment for bed bugs over treatment by a licensed pest management company, BUT, this is an intriguing success story. (I’ll inject my own comments in italic)
Using a low vapor steamer and a bed bug dog a young couple eliminated bed bugs from their home. It wasn’t free or quick, but not as costly as professional heat treatment.
IMPORTANT: If you have applied pesticides to the floors/baseboards recently you cannot use this method. Steam will vaporize the pesticides, which you would then risk inhaling. It is recommended that a protective mask be worn when steaming
Here’s how they did it.
They made arrangements with a bed bug sniffing dog handler to have a series of inspections until they were bed bug free.
They had their first dog inspection to determine where the bugs were. Then they could treat those areas in depth, with the knowledge that yes, bed bugs could move to another location. Their plan provided for that.
They procured a low vapor steam cleaner (low vapor so as to minimize the risk of mold by emitting very little water).
They treated the items in their home according to typical precautions; Laundry, clutter, sealing things up in bags, cleaning. (I don’t know if they had a Packtite, but this would be very helpful for cushions and paper, etc.)
They isolated their bed after they steamed and ensured all blankets and pillows had been cleaned.
Keep in mind you would NOT use pesticides or DE during this process as steam will remove them and possibly poison you. If I were taking this approach, I would definitely use DE after the bed bugs were declared gone, just in case.
Then they began steaming everything in and around the areas that had positive “hits” by the dog. They did this repeatedly. They were meticulous in not re-infesting their bed by bringing one onto it.
Then they had another dog inspection. They pinpointed the positive hits and steamed again, and again.
This is how they did it. Until there were no more positive hits. If my memory serves me this took only a few weeks from start to clear. I’m really happy to hear stories like this. I know how hard they worked to succeed.
I admire their determination. That’s what kills bed bugs, determination.
There’s more information on our website Bedbugsnorthwest.com