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Our home infested with pests and dusts - Any advice?

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Our home infested with pests and dusts - Any advice?

Postby Winston » Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:44 am

Hi all,
I was wondering if any of you have any advice about the following problems I have in my home.

Unusual dust - In both the apartments I've had in Angeles, there's been unusual dust always coming in, to the point where I have to sweep and dust almost everyday. This happens even when the doors and windows are closed, though there is a slight crack below the doorway. Even a glass of water eventually gets dusty here. It's like flowing everywhere. That's what I hate about this town. What can I about it? Where is the mysterious dust coming from? It also brings all sorts of icky looking things along with it.

Should I get an air filter system? Those can be expensive.

Pests:

Along with the dust, some nasty pests get in as well.

- Ants: Because our mattress is on the floor (Japanese style), ants get on the mattress quite easily. And they always come out anytime any food is left out or spills. I've used special chalk and black pepper to combat them. Is there a better way to get rid of them more effectively?

- Cockroaches: I got rid of them with Raid spray killer, by spraying under the kitchen cabinet.

- Invisible fleas or dust mites biting me: There seems to be something invisible always biting me. This happened when I lived at Dianne's house too. Usually I can't see anything biting me, but I feel it. Are these tiny dust mites that you can't see? Or fleas? What are they? Any idea?

- Fleas: This is the new and biggest problem. I got an electric swatter to get rid of them, but no matter how many we electrocute, they keep coming. I imagine there must be many eggs they are laying. What can I do about this? Would spraying Raid in the corner of each room kill them off, including the eggs?

What else can I do about the fleas? They keep biting me and like my skin and blood for some reason. It gets so bad that I have to wear socks to sleep and not expose my body to the air, otherwise I feel bites and itches.

I heard that those sonic pest control things don't work and only work on rodents. So my only choice would be spray Raid around, but that might be poisonous to humans, especially to our baby.

Any natural effective remedies?

Thanks,
Winston
Last edited by Winston on Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby momopi » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:38 pm

Hi Winston,

The first step is to elevate your mattress with a bed frame. You can buy inexpensive metal frame ones without the fancy headboard.

Then you should encase your mattress and pillow with a "mite proof" cover/encasing. This encasing should be replaced annually. I order them from here but you might be able to find it elsewhere:
http://www.natlallergy.com/cat/2/mattre ... sings.html
http://www.natlallergy.com/cat/4/pillow ... sings.html

The encasing is not a bed sheet or pillow cover, you still need to put fitted & flat sheets on top and use pillow covers over it. You should launder the bed sheets, pillow covers, and the blanket weekly in hot water, and put it through a full dryer cycle. If that's not avail, then you can try the de-mite laundry additive:
http://www.natlallergy.com/prod/1235/de ... ntrol.html

For the critters running around the house, use an anti-flea & flea egg fogger. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before using. Close all doors/windows, cover all dishes/cooking stuff, put all your food in the fridge, etc. before using. Shake well (point AWAY from face) and when the fogger starts, leave the house for 8 hours (not 2):
http://www.killsbugsdead.com/fogger/

It's also possible that the bites on your skin is from scabies or body mites. You can try Nix dermal cream (5% permethrin). Note that this product needs to be re-applied at least once and to your GF too, so if you decide to use it, you should get 4-6 30g tubes. Read instructions carefully, apply cream before going to bed, and wash off with cold or warm water (not hot) in the morning. Re-apply a week later. If it doesn't do the job, then the mites in your area is already permethrin resistant, and you'll have to see a doctor to get stronger stuff like Lindane or ivermectin.
http://www.canadadrugs.com/otc/product/ ... ream/9723/

As for the dust problem, if it's that heavy, then a small air filter isn't going to help. You need to clean and wipe the entire room clean, then check 1-2 days later to see which areas are dirty/dusty to find where the dust is coming in. Depending on the location and surface area, you can use a sealant like silicone caulk. I think there's someone on this forum who fix up houses? You can ask him for help. In areas where you cannot use a sealant, use duct tape. For windows and vents, use window screen and vent filters:
http://www.natlallergy.com/cat/16/furna ... lters.html

After you reduce the amount of dust coming in, then you can use an indoor air filter:
http://www.natlallergy.com/cat/12/honey ... caire.html

And remember to clean, clean, and clean. If you're lazy get a roomba and have it vacuum your floor daily. I think you have hard tiled floor? Mop it or hire a maid. For your laundry, consider getting a steamer and use it to steam-clean your cloths before wearing it. Wash/launder your cloths after wearing it for the day, then steam it in the morning before wearing. Body lice can lay eggs in the seams of your cloths and survive for up to 1 month, they're resistant to most laundry methods and require high heat (hot water or steam) to kill.
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product ... U=13640718
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Postby Winston » Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:53 am

Thanks for the suggestions, but most of your suggestions seem to be expensive. I was looking for cheap or natural methods. I found some online, such as using water and vinegar to ward off ants, pepper, etc. But the fleas are a more difficult problem.

I've sprayed Raid all around, but a few of them are still around. It looks like I might have to try to clean every corner of the house. The fogger thing looks extreme.

When I looked up dust mites though, it said that they don't bite you directly, but just cause allergies in some people. So probably the bites I feel on my skin are not related to them?
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Postby momopi » Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:37 pm

The issue is that many of these little critters are now resistant to regular laundry methods and many chemicals. They have short life cycles and those with insecticide resistant genes are passed on to reproduce en mass. There is no single effective way to get rid of them.

A single female flea can lay 500 eggs, and young fleas can hibernate for 3-4 months. However, given that the temperature in PH is higher, I think the flea life cycle (2-3 weeks) there should resemble summer time in southern CA.

At minimum, you should consider getting:
1) Bed frame
2) Fogger
3) Mite-proof mattress cover and pillow covers
4) Bag of DE (Diatomaeous Earth)

First, install bed frame and elevate mattress off the ground. This is very important.

Then, remove the old bed sheets and pillow covers. Launder them, then fold it up and put it inside plastic bag (try those larger trash bags). I'd suggest double-bagging it since they don't seal well. Tie the bag and put it inside a box somewhere for at least 4 months. Afterwards you can take it out, launder it again and use it. In the mean time, get some new sheets and pillow covers, launder them weekly.

With the bed sheets removed, vacuum and wipe your mattress clean. Then clean the rest of the house (vacuum/wipe). Wait a few hours to a day for the floor to dry, then bomb the house with fogger for 8 hours.

When you come back, use the mattress cover to seal the mattress, and pillow cover to seal the pillow. Then put your new sheets and pillow covers on top. Make sure you launder your blankets in hot water. Or, seal it in a bag like the old sheets and get new blankets.

Get a pair of plastic gloves and a dust mask (the white one that covers your nose and mouth). Put them on and open the bag of DE. Use a scooper to sprinkle it across your floor. Use the broom to even it it out or brush it into cracks if necessary. Make sure you wear shoes/slippers when you do this. DE is natural and non-tonic but it's still technically silica dust.

Afterwards, vacuum your floor every week and sprinkle DE again. Repeat for a month and you should see flea population drop. Make sure you wear slippers or shoes when walking around on the floor because DE will make your skin very dry. On insects, it'd dehydrate them to death.
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Postby Winston » Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:17 pm

Here is some thorough advice I received.

--------------------------------------------

"They make Flea bombs, and you would make sure that you take open boxes from cabinets, and where the

Bomb will go to, as it is like a fart, it will go everywhere in your apartment. Then just like clock work, you need

To do it again, and again, as there are eggs, and they will hatch, and need blood to survive on. So they say

To bomb the apartment, and then in a week to 10 days, and then again in another 10 days. And then you

Should have killed all of them, and then NO PETS in your Apartment. Then keep the toilet seats down, and

The lids down, as they need water, and they will jump in, Drink, and jump out. So what you do is, take a

Bowl, and put some dish washing detergent in it, and then fill half way with water, and or fill with water

Around half way, and then add the dishwashing liquid, as so it does not get foamy, and then put it

Under a table, and out of sight. The fleas need water, and they will travel to the nearest water, as

They can smell the water ? Sounds dumb, but they can, and they will jump in drink, and the soap

Will drown them, and they will by lying in the bowl dead. But you must bomb the apartment, and

Do it, again, and again. But you must wait a week to 10 days, as the eggs need to hatch, and

Be able to kill them also, as they are to young to breed, and lay eggs that soon. Then the

Water, and soap in the bowl will kill the others that come in the house otherwise. You can

Also spray OFF in your bed, and they do not like the smell, and they will not get on you

In your bed, as it will also kill them. To them it is like mace or something like that as a

Example. The electronic noise maker should keep bugs out of there ? as CockRoaches ?

And it should work for Fleas also ? I would just bomb them a few to three times, and

You should be OK from then on, using the water, with soap in a few bowls in the

House. You have to Vacume the house often too. The door, you can buy a thin

Strip of rubber that will attatch to the bottom of the door, and it will seal the

Bottom of the door, and keep many things out. You have to take the door

Off of the hinges, and put on the door jamb floor or the bottom of the

Door ? You do this buy knocking out the pins in the hinges, as there

Is a pin that makes the hinges work, and take it out, and the door

Hinge comes apart in two pieces, and so one on the door jamb,

And one half on the door. Then attatch the rubber strip to the

Bottom of the door, and put it back up on the hinges. You

Have to make sure you have the right height, or the strip

Will just drag, and tear off, or not let you close the door ?

So measure the amount, and buy the right strip. You can

Maybe get your Owner of the Apartment to do this for

You, if you asked him, or her nice enough. This is their

responcability, I would think. Since you are renting from

them ? Then again vacume the floor regularly, almost

every day, and in time, you can only have to do weekly.

Once of my friends vacumes every day ? he has a dust

Free house, and clean air to breath in there. Now to the

Ants, I would get a bed frame, and raise the bed, and

For get the Floor shit ? then you can put the water under

The bed In bowls, and maybe this will kill them too ? You

Do have to clean this when they get some in there, as so

The others do not see them dead in the bowl. I think that

They make ant traps, as that they will go to, and it has like

Honey or something that draws them in, and kills them, and

Of a like fly strip, and they walk in, and get stuck ? I do not

Know why the electronic device does not keep them out ? I

Think if you vacume daily, you will have less problems, and

Do as I told you to do. The bombs will probably also kill the

Ants also, and then it is just a weekly vacume to get the others.

Raid is Poisonous and not good for the child. Keep this only

Under the sink, and have a lock on the doors of it, as so the

Child stays out from under the sink. You will get many pests

That will crawl under the door, and so fix that real soon, and

Also the dirt, and dust comes in under the door. If you laid

Your head on the floor by the door, and watched the dust

Blow around at that level you would understand where all

The dust is coming from. As the wind like blows it down

The street at ground level, and right under your door.

Another wasted Half hour of my time, and you will

Maybe not listen ? I hope you do, as you will

Solve all these problems that you say you

Have below in your email. I have fixed the

Same problems, and or people have told

Me that they have these ways. I know that

The Bomb works, as we had a flee problem

In my town, all my childhood, and the bowl

With soap in it works also. You will see.

But you must bomb them more than once

To get rid of them all, and to not have the

Eggs from them hatching, and then a new

Batch of Flees. So bomb twice, or three

Times, and then put the bowls around the

Apartment, and under beds, and so on.

Like in every room, and then the will go to

Water them selves, and drown on the soap.

Close the toilet lids, and so they are not

Jumping in there to drink, and put things

Over the glass of water, or they will jump

In them, and out. They can jump like 4 feet

At a time, if they want. You will see this

All works, and very good.

Good Luck. "
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Postby Winston » Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:08 pm

Wait a second here. I'm confused about something. Someone told me that fleas jump. But the ones I'm talking about fly and hover around. Are there different types of fleas? Or are the flying little pests in my home something other than fleas? How do I know what they are? They are very small and black and fly around. That's all I know.

Besides, I read online that fleas usually come in with pets, and we have no pets.

Also, if you can't see dust mites since they're microscopic, how do you know whether it's dust mites or not? All I know is that something unexplained is biting my skin and leaving red bumps and lesions. But Dianne doesn't get that. It seems my skin is tasty to critters?
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Postby momopi » Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:20 pm

Fleas do not fly and hover, they only have legs and no wings.

As a foreigner your blood is like an exotic meal to local critters. When I go crabbing, I use chicken instead of mackerel, because the crabs and lobsters will look at the chicken and go "wow, exotic meal!". Same logic.

Image

Flea bombs (foggers) will leave a chemical residue that will continue to inhibit flea development for several weeks to months. However, after so many generations of being exposed to the chemicals, some have developed immunities. Regular vacuuming and throwing out the vacuum bag weekly will reduce their numbers and eggs. If you think that's wasteful, put the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and leave it there for at least 4 months before re-using.

There are many species of mites. Dust mites eat dead skin cells. A person sheds 1.5 grams of skin cells and flakes daily, and that's enough to feed up to 1 million dust mites. Scabies are mites that feed on blood. Body lice is a louse that also feed on blood. They lay eggs in your clothing and bedding, and can lay inactive for a month. If you launder your clothing and bed sheets in hot water, it'd kill them.

If there's some kind of exotic mosquitoes flying about, you probably need a mosquito net.

Because bugs will come from outside, either through animals or contact with other people, it's nearly impossible to protect yourself 100%. You could shake hands or hug someone and catch scabies mite. The mite takes some blood, then lay dozens of eggs in the seams of your pants. Next thing you know you get 2-3 dozen bites across your body. Some people are show little or not allergic reaction to it, others are hyper sensitive.

Same with fleas. Just because you don't have pets, doesn't mean someone's dog didn't walk through the market and scratched, tossing fleas and flea eggs on the ground. As soon as you walk near, the flea detects your warm body and hops on. A flea can jump 8-10 inches high and 12 inches across in one single leap. You take the flea home, then the flea lays a few hundred eggs in your bedding and flooring. Next thing you know you get bites allover your arms and legs.

Wait until your kid is older and tries to climb a tree, and brings home chiggers. LoL. Those things bite and feed on living skin.

Image
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Postby Winston » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:52 am

Ok I just asked Dianne today what those little black things that are flying around the house are called. She said they were mosquitoes. However, every picture I've seen of mosquitoes shows them to be big, brown, with long legs and big wings. Are there different types of mosquitoes? If so, are any tiny and black too?

Maybe they are just small types of flies or fruit flies?

Sorry for my lack of knowledge on insects.
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Postby Winston » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:07 am

Ok I just looked at a lot of images of different mosquitoes here on google images:

http://images.google.com.ph/images?hl=t ... mahe&gbv=2

and they do not look like the flying insects we have, so I think they are not mosquitoes. Maybe they are a type of tiny flies? But flies don't usually bite right?

I've had a strange skin allergy all my life though. When I go to a dermatologist, they say there are too many things that can cause skin allergies for them to trace down. But I've noticed that just going to a swimming pool can cause rashes on my skin. A doctor in the US long ago said I had an unusual condition where my skin gets rashes during changes in temperature. He said that only 1 in 50,000 people have it.

So I don't know if that's what's happening here. Dianne isn't getting bitten like I am at all.

Like he said though, there are too many things that can cause skin allergies, so how can you pin them down?
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Postby Sonic Monkey » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:21 pm

For the cockroaches and ants, you need to put all food in the fridge, so that there is nothing available for them, and wipe up all spills immediately. You need to get rid of the bugs that are there, as well.

For dust, you have to dust every day.

I wonder if you have bedbugs, if something is biting you at night. If they are bedbugs, they are very hard to get rid of, unless you can get your hands on DDT.

When I lived in Ukraine, I had neighbors who were not very vigilent and the bugs they did not eradicate ended up in my apartment. Fortunately, authorities could be called to get the neighbors to take action, but to get rid of the pests who had already immigrated to my apartment, I asked locals what was best to use. They can point you in the best direction. I think you have to keep everything meticulously clean and watch if bugs are coming from elsewhere. If even only one neighbor doesn't deal with the problem, no matter how often you eradicate the pests, they'll be back, even if your place is spotless.
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Postby Mr S » Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:41 am

Sonic Monkey is right, you probably have bed bugs, along with the other critters you mentioned. You have to take into consideration where you live and who your neighbors are also. You can kill off everything you find in your apartment and keep it meticulously clean but if your neighbors are dirty than bugs will keep coming back.

I've noticed many Filipinos do not have any education about what basic hygiene is and they seem to like to live in filth and they find it normal, acceptable behavior.

You also need to consider your own hygienic habits and whether you are part of the problem as well. I don't know how you live but generally most of these types of issues are caused by the people complaining about the problem in the first place.

Those little black flies are the local fruit flies, they lay their eggs in everything here organic. You bring them home by purchasing the local produce here, especially vegetables and fruits. However they can be found also in eggs, and meats here since the locals tend to keep everything outside to let whatever lay eggs on it.

The only way to get rid of them is to monitor what and where you buy food. You have to refrigerate everything and keep it covered. If you leave any kind of food out they will hatch or lay eggs on it and they will just keep repopulating your room. They have very short life spans so thats why you keep seeing them cause they keep laying eggs on something and hatching.

They are not the ones biting you but they will land on you if you are motionless or have strong body odor as they are looking for a decent place to lay their eggs so the maggots can have a feast.

Whether you realize this or not if your eating local food here you are ingesting insects eggs that are laid on the food. How else do you think they become so prevalent in your room? When i first moved to this country i was wondering where they were coming from too as i lived in a high rise condo. I then soon discovered they are in all the food here along with their eggs. If you want to experiment buy some local fruit or something and put them in a cupboard (tomatoes work well) where nothing else will get to it. In a few days you will see maggots or flies around it.

What i do is either buy most of my food canned or immediately refrigerate it. I also don't leave food out unless i plan on eating it within an hour. You got to look at your own personal living habits and modify them accordingly. The previous tenant where I live now let roaches run around in the room and it took me a couple of years to actually totally eradicate all of them.

Other peoples living habits and yours perpetuate pest problems. So if you can eliminate how you are creating them then you can determine if your neighbors are the problem and if so then move to a cleaner location or better unit of housing.

You got to be fair and realistic about yourself though. Some people think they have good standards of hygiene but they don't when scrutinized by others. I would suggest you do your own research and understand what is considered good and bad hygiene and modify our lifestyle accordingly.

I learned what is good and bad by being in the Navy. You learn real quick if you got bad habits because the other guys won't tolerate it and you will be humiliated in one fashion or another. Look up "navy shower", that will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
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Postby Winston » Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:02 pm

So if I have bed bugs, how do I get rid of them? Washing the sheets isn't enough?

I do try to keep all food refrigerated or sealed in containers.

Lots of nasty stuff flying around here. That's what I hate about tropical areas.

It's gross to think that when I eat the local food here, I'm ingesting insect eggs. What if I wash everything before eating it, such as the local fruits? Would that get rid of the eggs?

Does refrigerating the food kill the eggs too? Is that why you do it? Otherwise, they'd hatch into flies and fly around your fridge. lol

About my hygiene, well I shower everyday, brush my teeth twice a day, and wear each washed shirt two or three times before tossing it into the laundry bag, unless it smells like sweat. And I keep my place fairly clean, though not spotless. Isn't that good enough?

That's some good practical advice Mr S.
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