Ongoing BB issue

Asked August 29, 2019, 1:33 PM EDT

I picked up BB from somewhere about a year ago. I started out using crossfire and seen great results but never was able to completely eliminate them. After 8 months of spraying my home, I spent quite a bit of time in my car, away from my home, on a trip and realized they were definitely in my car. I looked for treatment for my car, but the only company I found that treats cars for BB is in Philadelphia. Most exterminators insist they don’t live in cars, but I’ve seen many stories online that suggest otherwise. I acquired a kerosene heater from a pawn shop and heated my car with it for 5 hours at 158 degrees. Got back in it and was bitten multiple times again. I’ve started washing and storing my clothes, and shoes in a freezer in freezer bags, and sleeping in my tub full of water! I swear they are in my freezer now because I keep getting bites on my arms when I’m taking things out of the freezer. Also, I can’t clean or cook without getting bites on my legs, butt, stomach, neck and breasts from standing in the kitchen or walking around the house. Forget sitting anywhere in my apartment. I won’t do it. This is definitely not fleas or body lice. I had an exterminator come check my apartment and he found nothing there, but did find them in my neighbors apartment. The apartment complex is treating the neighbors apartment, but refuses to treat mine because the exterminator didn’t see anything in my apartment. On top of all of this, I’m pretty positive I have brought them to my office now. Other people around me are suddenly getting these bites. Proof that I do have something. Although I never see any bug, I know this is not all between my ears. I don’t wake up from my tub of water from with bites, and as long as I’m not in my car or apartment I don’t get any bites. I spent a week away from both and didn’t get a single bite. As soon as I came home, it all started again. I recently purchased Temprid FX and have been spraying my office, apartment, and cars. I make sure I cover every square inch of my office, car and apartment, personal items, including the small amount of furniture I have left. I won’t go to my family or friends houses, and I stay away from anything public. I have noticed improvement from the spray, and the bites are much smaller now so they heal faster, but, again I have not been able to eliminate this horrible issue. I’ve been spraying with Temprid FX for two weeks. I also use cimexa dust in my apartment. Why didn’t the heat work and what can I do to eliminate these awful bed bugs? What am I doing wrong? I’m sure this is BB’s because my brother gave them to me 7 years ago and the bites are the same. Back then I had to heat treat my home, and I parked the car he put the infested suitcase in for almost two years. I got rid of the car after that. I had zero issues for that entire 7 years. Now it seems that I’ve picked up an invincible, and highly migratory species of BB’s. Totally at a loss...


1 Response

Hi - you don't say where you are, there's a tag that says Utah... I'm in Philadelphia, PA, so I'm pretty limited in direct help I can give. I apologize - your question came in just before the Holiday weekend & I was out. My name is Dion Lerman, and I am a licensed pesticide applicator (in PA) and an Associate Certified Entomologist in Penn State's Philadelphia office. I've been working on Bed bugs for the last 10 years.

Bed bugs (BB) are in the process of developing resistance to the pesticides we use against them - all of them. It is a process similar to antibacterial resistance undermining antibiotics. BB can develop resistance in as little as 3 generations. In addition, BB eggs are very resistant to pesticides, and few pesticides have residual activity: the eggs survive treatment, hatch, and the nymphs are unaffected by previous sprays. The more you use the same chemical, the faster you will promote resistance. Plus, it sounds as if you way over-treating, which could have serious health consequences for you: Google "label" and "SDS" (Safety Data Sheet" for each chemical you are using, and FOLLOW the instructions! MORE IS NOT BETTER, and can be quite harmful. Note max. application rates and reentry times. It is also a violation of Federal law to use a pesticide other than as labeled.

Your heat treatment probably failed because of "safe havens" that the BB found in your car - such as under the car seat rails, or inside the seats - that did not heat up to a lethal temperature. Using a kerosene heater was extremely dangerous: you run the very real risk of blowing up your car - PLEASE don't try that again! Cars can be fumigated, but few pest control companies will do that - look for termite control companies that fumigate.

BB are much more mobile than we used to think; they could easily be sheltering in you neighbor's, and plaguing you. However, if professionals are unable to locate them, you may be having a physical manifestation of the fear and anxiety about having BB, but without an infestation. This is not uncommon, especially in people who have had BB before: PTSD diagnoses have been given. I can't attach to this message, but if you Google "Something is biting me - PSU" (Penn State University), we have a brochure about this. You can't diagnose BB by bites - all bug bites look alike.

There is a new biopesticide for BB, developed at Penn State (not by me!), that has a three-month residual. It takes 3-5 days to get the infection going in the colony (it is harmless to all non-insects), and eliminates most colonies in about 3 weeks. It is for professional use only because of it's unique action and mode of application. Check with local pest control operators (PCO). The is a lot of info on their website,, including a directory of PCO's using it.

Good luck!


Dion Lerman, MPH

He - him - his

Associate Certified Entomologist; Healthy Homes Specialist

Environmental Health Programs Specialist

Philadelphia School & Community IPM Partnership

Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management (PA IPM) Program


Penn State Center

675 Sansom Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106