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Monday, November 22, 2010

Hacking together a bedbug exterminator - Hack a Day

Hacking together a bedbug exterminator

posted Nov 22nd 2010 3:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: home hacks

We’ve seen so many stories in the news about the growing plague of bedbugs. It kind of infuriates us because the spin of these “news” pieces is always that we’re going to have to live with these insects and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Bullcorn! [Ed Nisley] was dealt a bum hand in the form of a bedbug infestation but instead of losing his mind he used it to get himself out of the mess. One of the steps in the dis-insecting process was to develop a bedbug killing box that raises the contents above the kill temperature for the pests. He built an insulated chamber, with a grate to raise the target material off the bottom and allow for heat exchange around all edges of the item. Light bulb combinations of 60, 100, and 120 Watts were tested along with a fan for air circulation. He graphed the results and plans to use what he learned to build a more efficient heater for the box.

But the hot box isn’t his only defense. His household developed barriers, blocking the insects by height or with a sticky zone. Check out the collection of his bedbug posts and stop being afraid of these things! We can fight back and we can do it using common items and ingenuity.

[Thanks Steven]

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Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs - Infestations of Bed Bugs are up 5000 percent as are the number of reported attacks! The nightmare begins when a Bed Bug finds its way into your clothing; it usually happens at a hotel but can start anywhere.

Hospitals, businesses, homes, busses, apartments and hotels are just a few places where bed bugs are being reported. It is said that bed bugs don't transmit disease from feeding on your blood; however, an engorged bedbug can burst at the slightest bit of pressure exposing you to human blood. If that blood is infected, then you run a risk of infection as well.

Taking a few simple precautions can prevent the nightmare from ever happening. We provide you with information to help determine if you have bed bugs, how to deal with infestations, pictures of bed bug bites (from people around the world) and most important, how to protect yourself during travel!

Bed Bugs on           mattress with eggs and feces

Bed Bug Infested Mattress
Click to enlarge

Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene! It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence. What's worse is that they can live up to one year without drinking a drop of your blood. Feeding takes about 10 to 15 minutes for adults and less for the nymphs; they feed about every three days. Depending on the conditions, bed bug nymphs can survive for months without feeding.

Bed Bugs are insects, more specifically, 'True Bugs', which have piercing mouthparts that in most species are used for feeding on plants. Unfortunately, there are some species of bugs with mouthparts that have been adapted to feed on human blood while inflicting very little pain (most never feel the blood feeding).

Bed Bugs and their lifecycle

Bed Bug Lifecycle
Click to enlarge

The eggs are white and about 1mm long. The nymphs look like adults but are smaller. Complete development from egg to adult takes from four weeks to several months depending on the temperature and amount of feed available, see the lifecycle chart on your right.

How do you know if you have bed bugs?
Bed bugs did this to Ross' arm

Bed Bugs attack arm!
Click to enlarge

Bed bug bites are the best way to determine if you have bedbugs. In the photo below you'll see a visitor who was bitten by bedbugs; he itched throughout the night and when he went in to check, this is what he found!

Although the image to your left is a severe reaction, you may find that your bites are not this bad; not everyone reacts the same to bites. The grouping is a good sign and you should start checking for mold like spots on your mattress.

If you have such a reaction, check with your doctor who may recommend an antihistamine or topical cream to relieve any itching and or burning. Do not scratch the bites as this may lead to infection!

If you suspect you have an infestation, you should contact a licensed exterminator. You can try to do it yourself using the tips found here, but your odds are a lot better letting a licensed professional handle it.

Here are the facts about Bed Bugs:

  • Bed Bugs are flat, brown, wingless and about 1/4 of an inch
  • They have 6 legs, shiny reddish-brown but after a good serving of your blood, they appear dark brown and swollen as in the picture below.
  • They can be seen with the human eye, but do a great job at hiding
  • Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases as of yet
  • They feed on human blood preferring to do it in the dark when you're sleeping
  • Simply using chemical treatments will not remove the infestation
  • These bugs love to hide in the seams of your mattress including:
  • Sofa seams
  • Cracks in the bad frame and or head board
  • Under chairs, couched, beds and dust covers
  • Under rugs, edges of carpets, drawers, baseboards and window casings
  • Behind light switches, electrical outlet plates, cracks in plaster
  • Televisions, radio clocks and phones
  • Backpacks, Sleeping bags, Cloths
  • Behind wallpaper, picture frames and other dark areas

Quick tips to help remove bed bugs

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By Mayo Clinic staff


Image of bedbug bites Bedbug bites

It can be difficult to distinguish bedbug bites from other insect bites. In general, the sites of bedbug bites usually are:

  • Red, often with a darker red spot in the middle
  • Itchy
  • Arranged in a rough line or in a cluster
  • Located on the face, neck, arms and hands

Some people have no reaction at all to bedbug bites, while others experience an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.

When to see a doctor
If you experience allergic reactions or severe skin reactions to your bedbug bites, see your doctor for professional treatment.



Sept. 2, 2010

© 1998-2010 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

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Bedbugs or bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae (most commonly Cimex lectularius)
Hacking together a bedbug exterminator - Hack a Day
Bed Bugs: Wrapup « The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning
Bed Bugs: Overview « The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning
Bedbug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bed Bugs: Hot Box Disinsector « The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning
IPM Publications & Resources
bed bugs - Google Search
Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs in Hotels, Prevention and Treatment of Bites, Bed Bug Pictures, Signs of Infestation by
What we offer | IdentifyUS
Bedbugs -
I'm itching just reading all this!:O


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