Sunday, September 6, 2015

Do It Yourself Pest Control (Bad Infestations)

I have had many people within the past couple months asking me how to get rid of bedbugs and extreme cock roach infestations which are getting real bad in Roanoke right now. Over the years I have dealt with some extreme infestations and by trial and error have become a self taught expert.

I decided to write an article that will be going out with the email blast and will be posted on the REI website as well that I can send members to when they have a problem. Rather than explaining it to people over and over which is what I have been doing. This article is about how to get rid of a major infestation, not just a few here and there which can be dealt with by other means.

You have to hit them real hard to kill them all in a critical situation like this or you will be dealing with a never ending problem that won’t go away. If done exactly as I explain, you will completely eradicate every bug in the house (with exception of wood boring bugs) while keeping people and pets healthy. What I’m going to explain to you is very similar to the methods that you will read in forums that landlords nationwide have found to be effective. However I have my own very particular way of doing it that I have found to work well.

Fist things first, you need to explain to your tenants that you never take a mattress, couch, recliner or anything like that off the street again, even if it looks brand new. It is there for a reason and there is a high likelihood you will be bringing in a colony of bugs if you take it. And go ahead and let them know that you will treat the infestation for them but they are required to replenish their security deposit within X number of days.

If it is a heavy roach infestation tell your tenants that they can’t leave even a crumb of  food on the counter or a dirty dish in the sink. If they do they will be working against you by feeding the roaches and a roach doesn’t need much food to live. That includes not leaving out pet food.

No bug can live in an environment that everywhere they go they are walking in Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous Earth is a powdery type substance that is made up of prehistoric ground fossilized animal life mostly in the form of shells that have hardened to a sandstone type consistency. It is said, on a microscopic level, DE,  has sharp little edges all over it and it gets in bugs joints and cuts them open while drying them out.

So the first thing you need to do is to buy some “food grade” DE. You can get little expensive bags of it at Lowe’s or you can order a big 50lb bag from a place like 7 Springs Farm in Virginia which I have found to have the best prices. Most bags of that size you are looking at about 50 bucks for the bag and 25 for shipping.

You want to make sure that you are always getting food grade diatomaceous earth. They call it food grade because they feed it to cows, horses, etc to kill a bad form of bacteria in their stomach that will digest their food before their stomach has a chance to digest it and absorb the nutrients. They also blow it in the chicken coups to kill parasites that get on the birds. And they put a little in their feed to keep them healthy. 

People eat DE as well as a supplement. You wouldn’t believe how many people claim that it has cured them from all kinds of varied ailments. It is one of those “cure all” products like ACV ~ apple cider vinegar.

Regarding the application of the DE, you can’t just sprinkle some on the floor and expect it to work. Just like you can’t just sprinkle boric acid on the floor and expect it to kill bugs. You have to literally coat every square inch of the room, attic, basement, etc with a fine layer of DE. So no matter where they walk in the house they will get it on them.

In order to apply it correctly, you have to have a blower. I recommend the  Dustin Mizer blower so you can quickly get enough dust throughout the house.  All of the other dusters for sale are very small puffer type dusters and don’t put out much dust. You can buy Dustin Mizer blowers on eBay or Amazon. I don’t know of a store that sells them locally.

Have a look at the link below showing the blower in action using a different pest control product.

At this point you need to tell your tenant that they have to leave that dust on everything for 1 full month. You have to give enough time for the babies to all hatch out and get killed as well. So that means no sweeping and no dusting. If they want to dust off their food preparation area that’s fine. Yes it may be irritating to have this dust everywhere and leave it there but so what. Do they want the bugs gone permanently or not. It will kill them all. Fleas, bedbugs, roaches, ants, spiders, everything. And them and their pets will be safe in the process. If they don’t believe you feel free to eat some. The dose recommended online for humans is from 1 teaspoon to 3 heaping tablespoons per day. It’s a pretty remarkable product.

In Addition to DE Treatment, With Roaches:

Along with that, once the dust has settled, get a tube of some clear roach gel bait. I typically use Hot Shot Clear Roach Gel Bait.  Any kind will be fine. Squeeze out a pea sized drop and put them every 12 inches across the top of the kitchen counter back splash, down the side of the cabinets and across the baseboard of the cabinets. Then also run a line of pea sized beads down the side and bottom of the refrigerator and stove. Do the same to the bathroom cabinet.

Then after 2 weeks, come back to the house and do the exact same thing with the gel bait again to leave some fresh poison for the babies to eat. There are many roaches in the walls that will never come out but no worries. Roaches are cannibalistic. Several of those that came out and ate the poison will go back in the walls and die. They will eat the dead roaches and they will in-turn get poisoned.

In Addition to DE Treatment, With Bedbugs:
An additional step with bedbugs beyond treating the house with diatomaceous earth would be to get some bedbug spray like Hot Shot Bedbug Spray and treat the bed, couch and recliner. Take all of the sheets off and spray the mattress and box spring down. There is a little sewn flap at the top edge of a mattress. Look under that flap. That’s one of their favorite hiding places.

They can also hide in areas as small as a screw head hole. There can be 10 to 20 in one of those holes. So look the bed over very well and spray it down well.

On the box spring pull away some of that thin cover that goes over the bottom and hides the wood frame. Put your duster in that hole and blow dust in there as well.

Go around all of the electrical plug outlets in the room and blow the dust directly at it.  If you aren’t lazy you will do a better job by taking the plates off the electrical outlets and then blow them so you get it all in and around the insides of the box. They like to hide in those electrical outlets. There’s something about electromagnetic waves and bugs. They love to be around them.

Now once you’ve done that and instructed your tenant to take their bedding to the laundry mat and have it washed, you need to also instruct them on how to keep their bed bedbug free while we’re waiting for all of them to die off from the DE.

The next thing you or your tenant needs to buy are bedbug traps. These traps go under the bed and or couch legs. See pictures of the bedbug traps that are at Home Depot. They have a textured surface that allows the bedbug to climb up in it but a polished smooth surface that prevents the bedbug from getting to the bed leg so they remain trapped in the plastic device.

Now for these traps to work… you have to pull the bed away from the wall. If the bed is touching the wall than the bedbug can walk up the wall and on to the bed. You also need to instruct your tenants to not allow their sheets or comforter to touch the floor. If they do they will just take that route up on the bed.

Yes, this can be a real pain in the A**. Now if you don’t want to do it yourself, REI of Virginia recommends using a good, reputable, competitively priced pest control company such as our friend and sponsor Twoie Knox who owns B and C Exterminating. He can have it done turnkey by his crew. It’s up to you on how much work you feel like doing.


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