Bed Bugs paid us a visit last year at our home in Bangalore – we realized it after few nights of waking up thinking it was mosquitoes biting us in the night. As usual, we called the pest control guy in the locality. He sprayed standard organophosphate chemical based pesticides and said that he will need to repeat it once again after a week. Also, after the spray, we had to leave our apartment for 2 nights. These creatures are so small and quick, it almost seems that you will need to drip your mattress in these chemicals to get rid of them. Thereafter the thought of sleeping on them with a child seems even more scary.
We reached out to my brother in US who had a similar infestation earlier – he said that Diatomaceous Earth was very famous for bed bugs treatment in US and he got to know about it from an exterminator visiting his place. After trying everything at his place, he felt that applying Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth was the one that got his problem solved.
We searched for the food grade variety in India and found a manufacturer. We requested him to despatch a small quantity to us for use at our home on bed bugs. We were in parallel taking measures like taking most of the clothes that were outside during the event to a laundromart and getting them washed and dried at high temperature. The chemical solution did not work fully, after a week or so, we started seeing some more bed bugs in another room.
After applying Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth and leaving it spread like dust on the floor of the apartment for 2-3 days, we could see the bugs diminishing and then vanishing. The main mattress where we noticed the infestation first, was left in the room for days with Diatomaceous Earth spread all over it. We were pretty liberal in our usage of Diatomaceous Earth across the home spreading it at all places a bed bug can hide. We had it spread below the mattresses, on the sides of the mattresses and in the corners of the bed as well as below the beed for many days. After about 3 weeks, we simply vaccumed everything and starting using the mattress again.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth has fossilized remains of diatoms, a hard shelled algae, that provides it with microshopic sharp edges that cut into the wax coating of these pests. It works mechanically cutting their outer wax layer and drying them up over time. Being a natural compound, it is not harmful for humans and pets at home.
I have read the debates about effectiveness of diatomaceous earth when dealing with bed bugs. Based on our own episode, I can say that it is effective. It is relatively more effective than a lot of other treatments. Its strength vis-a-vis other solutions (at least among those available in India) is that it can be left spread for days without any harm to adult and kids – this makes it more effective than any other chemical solution where there is a potential health hazard. The fact that it can be reapplied and left spread on a mattress, room or living area for days, gives it a lot of strength against bed bugs who tend to move around in search of CO2 emanated by humans. It may take time to work overall, but it is definitely the more friendly solution when looking at our urban living conditions.
It was after this incident, that we decided to create a product using the same that can help many more families like ours. We worked with the manufacturer to have other minerals added that fortifies Diatom Earth and makes it even more effective against exoskeletal pests like Bed Bugs, Dog Ticks, Fleas, etc. This fortified version is what we are selling currently under our brand URBANNS.