For the riveting Episode 1 of Adventures With Bedbugs, see this link.
In this post, I'm going to write about how much I love my new heat gun, so I think I need to say right off the bat that
- heat guns are not a recommended bedbug tool anywhere I can find on the internet;
- heat guns can damage the finish on your furniture (after all, they're used to strip paint, so if you use them, you might end up stripping paint);
- heat guns can start fires (I've haven't started fires myself, although I've set off a few smoke detectors, I think because of crispy dog hair);
- and I LOVE MY HEAT GUN anyway.
- Hypoallergenic mattress covers and pillow covers: A+. They don't let new bugs into the mattress; they don't let existing bugs out of the mattress; they're non-toxic; they make it easy to search for bedbugs (and I haven't seen any on them). I wish I'd gotten these long ago.
- Flashlight: B. Because if there are bedbugs somewhere in the house, you kind of wake up in the middle of the night wondering if that tickle means they're crawling on you -- but ever since that first night, all the tickles have been hair, or a wrinkle in the sheets, or my imagination. Since bedbugs only come out at night, having a flashlight really helps with identifying where they are. Nightmare inducing, but also useful.
- Oven: A. Bake bedside books at 130 degrees or so for a half hour.
- Dryer: A-. I've emptied out my drawers and heated all my clothes. I leave the dog bed in the bedroom at night to serve as "bait" so I can see whether we still have bugs, and then I toss the dog bed back in the dryer each morning. Our small area rugs got the dryer treatment. Basically, anything fabric we run through the dryer. We use this a lot, and I'm not generally a fan of dryers. The minus in the "A-" is because it uses a bunch of energy.
- Plastic Garbage bags: C. I broke down and bought a bunch of plastic garbage bags, even though I hate plastic. But I really wanted to get the non-essential fabric things out of bedbug range, so now our rugs are in those; my summer dresses are in there; extra dog beds are in there . . . I'll try to give them away to someone who would actually use garbage bags for other things when this is all over. In the meanwhile, they're really helping with peace-of-mind.
- Diatomaceous earth: B. This is non-toxic powder that dries the bedbugs out so they die . . . eventually, so they say. I've sprinkled it kind of all over my bedroom floor and a couple of other places, into many cracks and crevices. It's not nearly as effective as I thought it might be, but I'm still giving it a B because it's nontoxic and partly reusable (eventually, I'll sweep up the excess powder and stick in a jar for potential future use).
- Spray Poison: D. I bought it; I wish I hadn't. There are multiple articles about bedbugs adapting resistance to these sprays; the spray comes in a plastic bottle, and it's toxic enough that you're not supposed to have pets or kids around while you're spraying or until after it dries.
- My heat gun. A. More on this later.
- When I do see bedbugs (there were some under a floor rug, or in the dog bed), I aim the heat gun at them. And they shrivel up and die like the Wicked Witch of the West, and it's VERY satisfying. Then I heat up anything that's nearby that might have been a hiding place. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy that.
- When I get paranoid about "maybe the bed bugs might move to the couch", instead of staying paranoid, I just go use the heat gun (carefully) on the couch, slowly heating up places where wood meets wood, cautiously toasting the seams and such. I don't know if there were bedbugs there, or even if I successfully got the ones that might have been hiding in places that I ignored, but I'm doing *something*, and it's good for my brain.
- I've preemptively gone over baseboards, bedroom furniture, etc, just to try to kill ones that I missed before. I'm not doing the whole house, so I know I could be missing some, but I do feel like doing SOMETHING is better than nothing.