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How To Get rid of Bedbugs on The Cheap

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Artist Rachel Green

Bedbugs are what happens when horror movies come true.  It’s confirmation that, ‘yes, gross creatures who suck your blood at night do live in your walls.’ Despite the macabre, bedbugs are relatively simple to handle if you understand these key points:

1. Every one of those bastards has to die
2. This takes time
3. Don’t believe the urban myths

Before the killing begins, here are some of the stupid things that people believe about bedbugs…that you should not:

Common Bed Bug Misconceptions:

  • You’ll know it if you have them
    • Only about 70% of people react to bedbug bites, and they don’t always bite in the textbook series of three.
  • They feed on dead skin cells or pieces of hair
    • They are parasites who actively suck blood. They need you. They can’t survive on your remnants.
  • They are invisible
    • There are five stages of the bedbug, and the egg, which is the tiniest stage, is about 1mm, which is visible to the naked eye.
  • The egg of the bed bug is impervious to chemicals
    • Let’s think about this rationally.  A bed bug egg, which is an unborn baby, is at most risk to chemicals.

Back to killing.  There are an array of killing weapons against bedbugs; rubbing alcohol, household cleaner (this can be anything, we used a mixture of bleach, and floor cleaner), diatomaceous earth, CO2 traps, cheap tents at [pick your store].

Artist Rachel Green

 Cheap Steps to Eradication:

Step 1: Clean everything.  Vacuum everything.  Wash everything in hot water and dry in high heat.  Things that cannot be cleaned this way can bake in a car parked someplace hot.

Step 2: Place diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the room.  Dust it in every crevice.  Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring soil blah blah but acts as a dessicant to a bedbug and will kill all of them.

Step 3: Set up tents.  Spray outside corners of tent with rubbing alcohol.  Clean clothes are kept in these tents with you.  Dirty clothes, ie any article of clothing that has been worn that day, get placed in a plastic, sealable, garbage bag outside of the tent before bed each night.  Take shoes and socks off before entry.

Step 4: Invite friends over.  Just because you live in a tent doesn’t mean that you have to hide in one.  Make friends take shoes off before they get into your tent.*

Step 5: Set-up CO2 traps to check progress.**

Step 6: After about 30 bite-free days you can come out of your tents.  You outstaked the bedbugs and took back your house.***
*It’s safe for friends to stop by after about 1 bite-free week.
**Set up traps about 1 week in to indoor camping.
***Make another 3 CO2 traps before moving out and verify they are bug-free.


Helpful things to know:

  • The scientific name for bedbug is cimex lectularius.  This is an important term to use on internet searches because these articles tend to be fact-based over advertising-based.
  • Bed bugs fornicate with their siblings (inbreeding), which is why they multiply so quickly.  This practice is detrimental in many other species of insects.
  • It takes roughly 4 to 21 days for the egg of a bed bug to hatch.  Exterminators usually spray every 2 weeks, so if the nest is in a crack, bed bug eggs will be missed by spray again.  A good term to use is ‘horizontal transfer’ when searching if the specific chemicals that exterminators are using can indeed be brought back into the nest and infect the aggregation.
  • You can smoke and get high off of bedbugs.

I was asked if I thought bedbugs laid eggs on our heads while we slept in our tents, and the answer is No.

Most of the nuisance of bedbugs is the encompassing hysteria that something is taking advantage of you while you sleep. It IS all that you can think about for a while. But rest assured. These guys are enjoying an elite membership into dark mysteries provoking terror, the false notoriety of why everyone is still a bit Afraid of the Dark, an ageless Fear that won’t leave you developmentally disabled if you never overcome it.

Revert to key point #2.

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Badinage- Senior Drug Analyst

Badinage- Senior Drug Analyst

I wanted to be a 'traveling bartender' and live in every major city for 6 months and have a girlfriend and a boyfriend in each city. At the end, I would pick my favorite destination and live there permanently. I've lived in Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Madison Psychiatric Ward in the corner room on the top bunk that we decided to keep on the floor.