Friday, September 24, 2010

Bedbugs Strike Cleveland Park

We're sad (and a little terrified) to report that bedbugs have been spotted in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. This plea for help was posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv this afternoon. If you have any advice, you can post your suggestions as a comment here or on the Cleveland Park Listserv.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Administration recently issued a joint statement on this growing problem. You can read more about bedbugs in our previous articles here and here.

Dear Fellow Cleveland Park Listserv Members,

I'm sorry to say we have bedbugs in our home.  I'm trying to remain calm though it's not easy.  I have a lot of questions, including "how the heck did they get in our home?" but I'm not sure that can ever be answered. Right now I need to know how to get rid of them, and then how to keep them from coming back.  I don't know if they're limited to/concentrated in the bedroom.  I suspect they may also be on the sofa where I slept last night.

First and foremost, if you can recommend a good exterminator especially if they are experienced with treating for bedbugs, I would appreciate that ASAP so I can start making phone calls.  If you have other advice but don't have time to write it down now, please at least send the name of the exterminator in the meantime.  (I'm also interested in any recommendations you might have against someone.)

Also, assuming an exterminator doesn't provide this information: What specific protocols should I follow in terms of cleaning our home--including, if it's important, the precise timing/sequencing of these activities in relation to one another, so we don't get stuck in a useless loop of internal cross- and re-contamination. Below are some specific questions I have off the top of my head.  As you can see I'm not sure where to begin, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot, so feel free to give any other information you want to share:

Should we first secure the mattresses and box springs in a special plastic cover, and where can I get these? (I read online that it's not a great idea to throw your mattress and box spring away because you might spread the critters on the way out.) Should we wash all our clothes in hot water (how hot?) and dry on high heat (how high? how long?) regardless of whether we've worn them? Do we vacuum the entire home with a standard vacuum or does that spread them? Do we throw away the vacuum bag after each vacuuming? Do we have to clean furniture in a special way (including the insides of dressers)? Is there special cleaner to use? Do we have to throw away books and papers next to the bed? Should we assume they're in the entire home and begin very aggressively or take a moderate approach and ramp it up if it's not working? Where do we sleep in the meantime or how can we minimize bites in the interim? Any special considerations with young children? How long does it take to get rid of them typically? Any advice on itch relief? How can we prevent this from happening again?

Any good websites or other references with practical advice also would be great.

In addition, what's the etiquette with respect to inviting over friends or going to their homes, dealing with housecleaners, etc.? I don't want to spread it to anyone else's home, but also don't want others re-introducing it to our home.  I wonder how widespread this problem is in DC.  I can see why people might not want to advertise their personal experiences but sharing information could be very useful.


  1. Invest in some diatomaceous earth. I hadn't read that report before, but because our apartment complex is predominately Indian and Middle Eastern decent, they are EVERYWHERE here and there is no getting rid of them because they're in the building and the complex will not have the entire building done. We got a huge box of DE and lined the rooms with it, sprinkled it in the couch, and sealed up cracks between the ceiling and walls with caulk. DE works, on a lot of bugs, not just bed bugs. Also, it's pretty harmless for kids and pets. You will probably still want to call an exterminator, and definitely let your friends or any guests know. If they're over frequently, they'll carry the bugs home only to bring them back later. The same goes for work places. Bed bugs are now known to be in many offices and hospitals in NYC. You may have already infested your work place. If it isn't exterminated, you'll bring them back home with you again. I'm not sure how you avoid that, either with yourself or with guests unless you're prepared to make everyone change their clothes before they come in your house. :/ Bed bugs suck, don't they?

  2. Get Bed Be Gone, or Diatech. I had them, and they are killed within 48 hours when they touch this powder. It's a powder, and you apply it, and when it touches them, it drys them up from the inside out. They might bite for a couple days after application, but then it's really death for them.
    I might not have all that right about how it works, but it works. It also is better than chemicals, and I am a hoarder, and just sprinkled it on my stuff, but mainly concentrated on my bed area, and haven't been bit since. It apparently is made from flowers or something. But it works.

    No need to spend hundreds of $. But it's up to you.

    I got it at the hardware store. It costs about $20.

  3. P.S. This powder is made of DE stated above.
    You have to reapply, and it doesn't smell so bad, either.

  4. Oh my god, Mr. Adler, how can you allow such a racist statement as above (K9Trainer) to remain on your blog? I am outraged. White people get bedbugs, too, K9Trainer.

  5. You need to wash and dry all your clothes on high heat. Take your clothes immediately from the dryer and put them in Ziplock storage bags. Before you go out, shower, and get dressed from clothes taken from one of the sealed bags. Then leave your house immediately. Keep your shoes outside.

    Otherwise you risk infesting your office and friends' homes. It's not about etiquette. It's about decency.

    I read on the Internet that if you move rooms to sleep you just spread the infestation around the house. That is, they'll know you're sleeping in the guest room and eventually crawl over to you.

  6. Bedbugs Strike Cleveland Park is really very smart post...very useful for all who are related to Cleveland Park.....Very much informative about the Bedbugs in Cleveland Park........
    Thanks for this vital informations.....