Battling Bedbugs on a Budget

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Wednesday we introduced you to Shirley Winslow, a West Des Moines shut-in suffering with an inoperable brain tumor, and now also apparently suffering with bedbugs. She says her apartment complex did little to help.

Don Miller with D&D Pest Control of Ames saw the story and offered to help for free. He checked out Winslow’s apartment.  “I’m looking just in every crack and crevice to see what I can see. Honestly it’s not rocket science. You have a flashlight and you’re just looking in every crack and crevice you can see,” Miller says.

He didn’t find any bedbugs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not here.  “You cannot inspect a box spring. I mean you can rip all this off and you probably still will not see a bed bug up in the padding,” he says.

You can spend thousands of dollars on heat treating your home and using chemicals to kill bedbugs, but Miller says there’s a simpler and cheaper way to do yourself.

Bedbugs, he says, like to hide until they feed. And they don’t necessarily just hide in your bed, they can also hide in furniture, clothes and even electronics.  Miller says the best way to kill bedbugs is to cut off their food supply. They can only live for 90-days without your blood, and they only feed on you when you’re asleep. So the first step, Miller says, is to trap any bedbugs that may already be in your bed or boxspring.

“You wrap your mattress and your boxspring in Saran Wrap. Seal the bugs, if there are any, seal then in the mattress and the boxspring. Now they can’t get out to feed on ya,” Miller says, “Blood mill stops. In 90-days they’re done.”

Miller says if you have any wood on your bed, whether it be the frames or the headboard,  there are lots of crevices there where bedbugs can hide. He says just use some hairspray and spray it all over the wood. He says that will keep the bedbugs in place and keep the eggs in place.  Then they can’t feed on you and they eventually starve.

Miller says then make your bed into an island.  Keep the headboard away from the wall and the bed away from any other furniture or cords, anything bedbugs can climb on. Bedbugs can’t hop or fly, but they do climb.

Finally, Miller says put the legs of your bed into bowls lined with Vaseline. Bedbugs can’t climb slippery surfaces.  “I’m going to take the four legs of your bed and I’m going to put glad food storage bowls under them,” Miller says, “Slippery surface. As a safety precaution, I’m gonna smear Vaseline on the inside of that bowl. If one could possibly crawl up that slippery surface and make it all the way up that he’s gonna fall back down now he’s stuck in the Vaseline.”

Again, if the bedbugs can’t get to you to feed, they will die within 90-days.

Miller says chemicals and heat treating can be effective in speeding up the process, but the most effective way to kill bedbugs is to cut off their food supply.

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