The War in My Apartment: Part Four

I have decided that I don’t enjoy being bait. I feel that maybe, in the back of my mind, I knew that all along. 😉

Unfortunately, our eradication strategy demands I do exactly that. Monday night we slept (Jack slept, I tossed and turned) in our bed, ringed with DE, to tempt our house guests to walk through their doom. Our morning inspection revealed three bugs in the sheets, and three more on the wall next to us. I decided I’m done spending time in the bed. Beginning today, we’re working out a way to get this bed set to a landfill and having done with it.

Last night, we slept on the floor again. This makes me feel much better, as I know for sure that anything bite-y will have to leave by way of the ring of dust around our blankets. Bed bugs sometimes climb the walls, crawl across the ceiling, and drop down on you from above. No, I’m not making that up. Even if they try that tactic getting to us, they can’t avoid the DE when leaving.

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And I actually slept some last night!

Today’s project is to finish bagging the last of what we’re keeping, and toss the treated items we aren’t. I’m excited to get our apartment back to some semblance of order.

The War in My Apartment: Part Three

I have made a new friend in Theresa Braine. She’s a journalist and blogger from NYC, and you can find her blog here.  Theresa has blogged about bed bugs for the last three years, in a series which began when her own home was invaded. She knows what it’s like to deal with this issue first-hand, and her blog is a fantastic resource of support and information (including some very honest “what not to do”s, based on her own experiences.)

We’ve taken some great strides forward. Beginning on Thursday night, we began to go on the offensive. We ran out to buy some triage supplies: bed bug grade mattress, pillow, and box spring covers, diatomaceous earth, Space Bags and Ziplocks, turtle masks, rubber gloves, and coffee. Not gonna lie, as of tonight, we’ve spent close to $400. Ouch. (And yet, still better than the $1200 quote I got from a very popular pest control company.)

Some wonderful friends volunteered their time (and their money in the form of pizza!) to help us dust and cover the bed, and then we started treating everything else. To date, I’ve only counted 10 bedbugs total (including one I saw on a wall from a distance and can’t be 100% sure was actually a bed bug.) This is very, very good news.

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To treat our fabric items, we took load after load down to the laundromat and used the industrial dryers. Killing bed bugs and eggs requires heating the infested items to around 120-122 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. We spent a lot of quarters that night.

When the items came out of the dryer, they were sorted and sent one of two places. Items we care enough about to continue treating in the future went into Space Bags which were sealed in the laundry center before being brought back inside. Items that weren’t worth the upkeep were taken directly to the dumpster. We rest easier knowing that we aren’t sharing our infection with anyone who feels the need to dumpster dive in our complex.

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Possessions that can’t be put in the dryer can often be run through the dishwasher. I’m not sure how hot our dishwasher gets, but it feels pretty dang hot. Ours runs for about 30 minutes, so suspect items get run through twice consecutively, and left on the “heat dry” stage for as long as possible. It’s the best we can do there, since I’m not spending $300 on a Packtite.

And for everything else, in the bags they go. We bought some really heavy-duty pest control strips to zip into bags with books, the sewing machine, and other un-treatables. There they’ll stay for the next sixty days. If there are any bugs in with them, hopefully the pest strips will take care of that situation.

Now that everything (more or less) is treated and bagged, we have laid down a line of diatomaceous earth around our baseboards. If the suckers are coming from the walls (which they probably are), this’ll kill off many of them as they emerge each night.

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It’s amazing how exhausting this whole process is. I still haven’t slept at night, but I can get a little in the morning (dozed off around 7 am for about four hours, which is a new record and definitely something to celebrate!)

Emotionally and mentally, I’m stressed. But I just keep taking Theresa’s sage advice, and repeating the mantras: “I do not have bed bugs. My apartment has bed bugs.” “They do not spread disease.” “Knowledge is power.”

Maybe tonight I’ll try melatonin (or something stronger? 😉 ) to get more sleep.

The War In My Apartment: Part Two

I have spent almost two hours writing this post. I detailed every bit of our offensive maneuvers, and talked about the steps we’ve taken over the last few days to deal with the home invaders.

And WordPress deleted everything.

I’m so tired. I haven’t slept in three nights. I dozed for a couple of hours yesterday and a couple today, but I’m wired up and itchy. (I’m not literally itchy. In fact, Jack and I aren’t allergic to the bites at all, so we don’t have bumps or rashes. I’m just there-are-bugs-in-my-house-that-drink-my-blood-while-I’m-asleep itchy.) I’m tired from the physical work of moving things around and packing everything I own into bags. I’m tired from the mental and emotional strain. But despite being so tired, I’m doing really well. I feel like this is a battle I will win. And I’m overjoyed at yet another opportunity to downsize.

My definition of “downsizing” a week ago varies greatly from my definition of the same word today. Before, I wanted space, openness, and as little to pick up on cleaning day as possible. Today, I want every one of my possessions to fit into Space Bags in my car. We’re well on our way there.

I’ll re-type my old post tomorrow, once I’ve (hopefully) slept some more.