Bob (LonelyPlanet)


Nobody has mentioned the premium, non-toxic solution for bedbugs.

Diatomateous Earth. It has to be freshwater, food grade. Also referred to as DE. Not the stuff sold for swimming pools. Its used primarily for livestock in keeping parasites out of their digestive system. They mix it in with their food. In Canada its less than $25 for 50 lbs but of course pest control places jack up the prices 10 fold or more. Its a very fine powder like baby powder. You put a thin line along the walls (and make sure there are no windy gusts that are going to blow it away) and it sticks to the bedbugs and physically cuts them as they walk over it. Put too much down and they walk around it as an obstacle. Its not a chemical. But the dust is extremely fine so the person that puts it down should wear a dust max or respirator. Once down it lasts for years. It does take several days to work because the bugs have to walk through it for it to kill them. If you're in a cold season you can drive the bugs from across a threshold (wall) by opening the windows to cool one of the rooms off. They will go to the warmer area. Then you can do it again using the other room as the repelling area. If you have to treat furniture, you dust the furniture with it, especially inside (use a turkey baster to spray inside) and wrap the furniture with plastic. After a weeks weeks they should be all dead as you have to allow for babies to hatch and start exploring. They are restless and often seem to be on the move. Hence if they are trapped in a confined space they will walk over the powder sooner or later.
As for your bed, just elevate it with plastic cups if they're not already in it. Airbeds can be procured at very little cost. No bedbug can live in an airbed or air mattress! Catch a few bugs and experiment to see what kind of surfaces they can walk up. Smooth, clean plastic should stop them whereas most walls give them ample grip. Test what you're going to raise your bed off the floor with. Some people put grease around their bed legs. You need to move the bed away from the wall as they can climb up it and jump to your bed. To them, you're like a big tasty steak sleeping there. Make sure your bed covers are tucked in. In the topics don't use any at all. Otherwise they will sag to the floor enabling the bugs to climb up to feast on your succulent flesh.
Carbon Dioxide (our exhaled air) attracts them so open the windows no matter what time of year it is to keep replenishing the air and the CO2 won't build up. That's common sense for anybody caring about their health. Sleeping in a room with no air circulation demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of our respiration needs.
How to stop them from coming with you when you're on the road? Keep your clothes in ziplock backs acting as stuffsacks. Heat will kill them. Water born heat is far more effective than air. If you raise the temperature to hot as it feels on your skin they will die instantly. But cooking your clothes is not easy when you're on the road! That's why most people find a dryer a good maintenance method. Put dry clothes in the dryer, not wet clothes of course. Make it as hot as possible. 10 minutes should be enough so in a typical dryer cycle you should be able to eradicate 3 - 6 loads of clothes. Pretty cheap maintenance. But if the clothes are thick, take a lot more time. A Tshirt is vastly different from a winter jacket where they can hide in the thick fabric. I'd want to use hot water for thicker clothes. It must be hot to the touch. Hot enough that you couldn't keep your hand in it. Cold is not very effective unless they're directly exposed at about -20c for several hours. They look dead then a few hours later they're up and about. When people put a couch outside they rarely take into account that daytime temperatures in almost all parts of the world aren't low enough and the bugs will burrow into the insulation and it will keep them amply warm for months. Cold only works if they have nowhere to burrow. For furniture, wrap with plastic after dusting with DE. It could take weeks though to be sure.
If you don't need to wear some of your clothes don't remove them from their zip locked bags. They can't possibly get infested so you don't have to worry about those clothes. Compartmentalize your traveling.
Take some precautions and don't let silly bugs stop you from exploring the world.

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