Bed bug bites
June 18, 2007 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Is there anything that I can do to prevent bed bugs from biting me?

We have a bed bug problem in our flat and it is being dealt with by the council. Is there anything in the mean time that I can spray or rub on my body, to prevent the bugs from biting me? I can't find any information anywhere on that. My boyfriend doesn't seem to get bitten, but they love me, and the itching is driving my crazy!

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!!
posted by jp021272 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Run, don't walk to this site as well as this group. I personally haven't had any bedbugs but I've followed those sites out of morbid curiosity. The short story I've seen is that there's really nothing you can do to prevent bites except to isolate your bed from the floor (those sites tell how). You will need a serious pest control operator that has bed bug experience; apparently using home treatments or the wrong chemical will drive them deeper into cracks where they're harder to rid.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:23 AM on June 18, 2007

Also Bedbugger's site is strongly recommended.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:25 AM on June 18, 2007

The first answer here addresses using regular bug spray to protect against bed bugs (basic answer is that it won't do a thing, but it seemed a bit wishy-washy).

From looking at past askme's and googling though, there are things you can do in the meantime to prevent bedbugs from getting access to your bed, such as pulling bed away from wall and putting the legs of your bed in cups of mineral oil (or spreading vaseline on the legs). Another good recommendation is to cover your mattress with a thick plastic cover so bugs currently in the mattress will die out.

Good luck coping!
posted by artifarce at 9:28 AM on June 18, 2007

I'd say just sleep somewhere else until the problem is fixed. Get a hotel or sleep over a relative's for a few nights.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 10:03 AM on June 18, 2007

Please don't go to a hotel, you will just spread the bugs. From rolypolyman's link:
If you suspect there are bed bugs where you sleep, don’t begin sleeping in another bed, on the sofa. Do not go to stay with someone else. The bugs may follow you to your guest room or sofa, and then it will be much harder to get rid of them. They may hitch a ride to your relative’s home, and you can cause them to become infested. (All of these situations have happened to Bedbuggers we know.) Also, staying outside of your home means the bugs may become dormant. They can live without feeding for up to 18 months. When you come back, they can begin biting you again. So staying in your home during treatment, and sleeping in your usual bed, is the way to kill bed bugs. Read our FAQs, isolate your bed, and sleep there while you’re getting a Pest Control Operator (PCO) to treat your home. Once you are being treated, you must remain in the bed–you are the bait, attracting bugs to the poison and their deaths. If you isolate the bed, they need not bite you.
posted by caddis at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2007

When I had bedbugs a few years back, I found only one solution to stop the f*ckers from biting me:

posted by jk252b at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2007

How not to be bitten while you have a bedbug infestation, and why your boyfriend isn't being bitten. And, my sympathies.
posted by WCityMike at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, there are both repellents you can spray on yourself and barrier sheets for the bed which help keep them off, see my post in this previous thread. The repellent is in the kit I link to - it's a UK firm but there must be US equivalents if you live there.

Also it's not true to say you can't exterminate them yourself, I did so by using the insecticides in the kit and taking the bed apart and spraying it to hell, while looking for the little buggers in the seams and crevices. The spray has a residual action so it keeps them from coming back. I moved to the living room sofa for a day or two after spraying, as a precaution against inhaling the spray, and that was it, I was never bitten again. So don't be put off going on the offensive, if you keep being bitten.
posted by Flitcraft at 4:08 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I dealt with them and have a few tips - one is this: pull the bed away from the wall and put the legs of the bed in little dishes of soapy water. BedBugs can't fly or jump, they only climb. First make sure that there are none in your bedding though and wash everything. If your headboard is wood or is hollow or has places for them to hide, be extra-cautious. This should prevent them from getting into your bed. Another thing (even easier) is to put a reading lamp under your bed and leave it on at night. They don't like the light and this seemed to help too.
posted by mateuslee at 10:28 AM on June 19, 2007

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