Location: Hong Kong

Recently I have had a problem with bed bugs in my house. I've seen them and confirmed they are bed bugs.

I've googled for a way to kill bed bugs. A most accepted solution is to call Pest Control Operator several times. However, this method is most likely not applicable in our situation.

In the suggestion I've seen from the Internet, it is best for the human to leave the house so that the bed bugs won't have any food. We can't afford the trouble of moving around and renting another house for this pest problem. In addition, we've got 2 dogs here. If they use toxic chemicals it would be no good for the dogs.

I know there are different approaches but it is hard to identify the bed bug's hiding places. One of them caught a ride on my bag when I went to work. I caught it in the train. So I turned my bed ( the mattress, wooden bed frame ) upside down and found none of it yesterday evening. I sprayed rubbing alcohol all over them like crazy but really there is nothing alive or moving. Some furniture is huge and is too difficult to move so I can't examine other places.

There are other beds that need to be turned up side down for investigation.

I can steam clean all of my clothes, and the floor, but if they are hiding in some crack in the wall, we can't easily find them. My only worry is that they are not dwelling in the mattress but some cracks in the wall so that they only come at night. I've heard that they are sly - after the feast, they will be gone.

Any of you have any suggestions? I can upload some photo later in the night. More important, what I bear in mind when I am searching for them? Should I search during the night only? If I turn on the light, will they go hiding immediately, like cockroaches?

  • I am not an native speaker. I can't distinguish mattress/box spring. We've only one thick and one thin mattress. Could they be hiding INSIDE the thick one? I doubt they can penetrate it.. Sep 26, 2012 at 7:00
  • 1
    Bed bugs can live up to 18 months without any blood to eat, so leaving for a couple of weeks won't do anything to help anyway. Sep 26, 2012 at 9:59
  • Bed bugs are going to be very tough to get rid of, especially if you can't hire someone or move your furniture.
    – Hank
    Sep 26, 2012 at 13:18
  • Crank the heat up to 118 F (48 C) for 90 minutes, this will kill the bugs in all life stages.
    – Tester101
    Sep 26, 2012 at 13:42
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    @Tester101 That is not a reasonable solution: 1) in many homes (such as mine), it is not possible to do so without calling in professionals with specialized equipment, which is extremely expensive; 2) the heat may not penetrate to the bugs' hiding places, which are often thermally sheltered locations; 3) such high heat may actually damage the structure or objects inside it. Jan 11, 2013 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


We have fought this problem in our rentals before with success using the following techniques.

What doesn't work: Foggers. We treated the rental for MONTHS with weekly applications of foggers - 3 or 4 anti bedbug foggers per floor - hundreds of dollars spent - and the tenants had to leave the building for half a day every week and then deal with the stink and the toxic residues left behind. Not fun, and didn't work at all because bedbugs DON'T hang out where the fumes can get to them.

So, what do you need to do?

First, buy insect resistant, zippered mattress covers. These are usually some kind of plastic. You wrap each mattress in its own cover and zip it shut tight, sealing the bedbugs within the mattress inside. You must take care not to rip these covers or the bugs can get out again. This is done during the treatment process and for some time beyond.

Second, and this is the big step - Treat your entire house with diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is a non toxic, non pesticide means of controlling pests. It's a crushed silica product that is effective in killing not via poison, but by cutting the outer membrane of small insects.

Unlike most dust/powder which is smooth from erosion, DE has microscopic sized jagged edges. Many types of insects have an external shell which is coated with a kind of mucous membrane which helps them retain water. DE slices that membrane to shreds, and the bugs lose all of their moisture to evaporation, so they die of dehydration, NOT poison.

You can buy food grade DE online. It's safe to use around the house, and you can even dust your pets with it (keep away from the face, of course). We have three dogs and when fleas get in the house, we dust the animals and the areas they sleep with DE.

Now bedbugs are not jumpers, so the key with dealing with them is getting the DE where they live and where they travel.

Where they live: Your furniture. Those mattress covers? Open em up and dust both sides of the mattress LIBERALLY with DE, then close it up again. The bedbugs will get coated in it as they crawl around looking for an escape.

Your sofa/chairs - if you can, dust the INSIDES of larger pieces of furniture - heavily. Also apply dust in all the cracks and crevices.

Remove the wall plates - use a dusting sprayer like this:

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and spray that dust into all the electrical junction boxes - the idea is to force the dust into the walls where bedbugs travel. (They don't like open areas, they prefer tight spaces and corners.

Also put a ring of dust down around your bed posts where they touch the floor, along the edges of the walls. Dust your carpets with it to.

I personally bought my supplies at Dirtworks ( http://www.dirtworks.net/Diatomaceous-Earth.html ) - I bought 2 five pound bags of food grade DE (which was 1 bag too many, honestly), a few puffer bottles, the glimmer sprayer, and we did ONE heavy application all over the entire property (we even dusted the lawn with the sprayer) and never had a bedbug complaint again.

  • Where can I buy those sprayer in Hong Kong? Sep 27, 2012 at 4:20
  • BTW, it is impossible to find those mattress sealing cover in HK. People just don't sell these stuff. I found them on Amazon but they are in US size (Twin) which is different from our bed which is in UK size (Single/Double). Amazon.UK don't ship to HK. Sep 27, 2012 at 4:24
  • Try "zippered mattress cover". As for the sprayer, try a hardware store in the gardening section. Sep 27, 2012 at 10:20

DE may work, but the dust gets everywhere. I am allergic to it. Also, any type of dust takes a while to work effectively. I have tried almost everything. I caulked all cracks, put on not one, but 2 encasements with ziplock zippers, and treated multiple times. There is no one fix. A product I recommend is EcoRaider. Plus: It will definitely kill them, and requires 2 to 3 treatments. Also, a decent bed bug steamer. If you have a wooden frame, take it apart (pain in the butt, I know) and steam and treat every crevice you can, including removing screws, etc. Con: Once you treat with EcoRaider, the bed bugs will go into a frenzy and bite the crap out of you. Then they take that poison back to their nests, where it kills the eggs and larvae. Yes, coat electrical outlets with DE, sure, but having that crap all over your house? NO.

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