Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!

My parents, and my grandparents, used to say this when we were off to bed – we thought it was funny.

It’s funny and cute, until you have them taking up residence at your place (as we did recently). My son had woken up with some serious looking bites across his tummy, so we went into sleuth mode. Closer inspection showed some tiny little brown specks towards the end of the bed – evidence that he wasn’t sleeping alone….

Bed bugs can arrive in a myriad of ways – on visitor’s clothing, and they love to travel, so luggage and bedding that’s been on holidays is a favourite method of travel. A quick rehash of everyone’s movements yielded a possible connection, with my son having recently returned from school camp. They take up residence in bedding, mattresses, pillows, and can hide in carpets, stuffed toys – you get the picture.

We went into action mode. All of our bedding was stripped, washed in hot water with our Eco safe detergent and a little tea tree oil. We sun dried the mountains of washing and dusted off the old clothes dryer that someone had bequeathed to us years ago – and gave each load a half hour burst on hot – just to make sure.

We had all this time while the washing machine was doing its thing, so we set about a full vacuum of each room mattress, base, floor and well, anything that we could find. Next I sprinkled my secret weapon – diatomaceous earth (food grade) on the bed base and mattress, and around the perimeter of the bed and the room.

Even the dog had a dusting! Just to make sure she was totally clear.
Diatomaceous earth is great – an odourless free flowing powder made from diatoms, the fossilised remains of marine algae. It’s predominantly silica; completely harmless to humans (food grade only please) and deadly to unwanted houseguests like bed bugs, cockroaches, etc. where the powder actually dissolves its shell (sounds a bit violent but I’m completely ok with it).

Pleased to report we are back to original head count at our place.