Supplies for all 8 Steps can be found at our Zapp Store.
Step 3: Dealing with Large Furniture
We’ve broken out large furniture into a separate step, because it has its own challenges.
The easiest way to save your furniture is to use the ZappBug Room. It is large enough to heat treat your bed, couch, tables, chairs and just about anything else.
Small pieces of furniture can be heat treated in a ZappBug Oven 2, but large pieces of furniture won’t fit. Also, you could construct a giant home-made bed bug oven (see our blog post about this), but for most people this is not practical.
Upholstered furniture is the most challenging because it’s especially easy for bedbugs to hide in the upholstery. Despite what some pest control professionals will tell you, steam cleaning is usually not effective, because it’s difficult to get the steam to penetrate deep enough and thoroughly enough through the upholstery.
We understand that some people are hesitant about using pesticides and we explore this issue in a lot more detail in Step 7. Unfortunately, there are just not many other options for upholstered furniture, besides disposal.
We feel Hot Shot No-Pest Strips or Nuvan ProStrips are the best option because their active ingredient, DDVP, is considered relatively safe (for a pesticide). DDVP has been used since the 1960’s for pest control in enclosed storage areas, including warehouses for foodstuffs. Hopefully, this means it’s a safer bet for humans.
To treat your upholstered furniture, take the following steps:
- If the piece of furniture has removable cushions, then these can be heat treated in ZappBug or your clothes dryer set on high. (See our section about heat treatment.)
- Encase entire piece of furniture in a large plastic furniture bag
- Use Hot Shot No-Pest Strips or Nuvan ProStrips throughout the furniture and bag.
- Make sure the bag is sealed.
- Leave sealed for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Supplies You Need to Treat Upholstered Furniture:
Hot Shot No-Pest Strips or Nuvan ProStrips
The active pesticide in both Hot Shot No-Pest Strips and NUVAN ProStrips is DDVP also known as DICHLORVOS (2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate). These are different brands of what is effectively the same pesticide. So either one will work equally well.
Please note that Hot Shot makes an entire line of pest control products, but we do not recommend any of them other than the Hot Shot No-Pest Strips. Hot Shot No-Pest Strips use DDVP, but Hot Shot’s other products use other pesticides. It is the DDVP that you want to use for the purposes of your upholstered furniture. Many of the other pesticides in Hot Shot products are not necessarily that effective with bed bugs.
Hot Shot No-Pest Strips available on Amazon.
NUVAN ProStrips available on our web store.
Furniture bags are large plastic bags designed to protect furniture when it is being transported.
Warp Brothers makes a line of different sized furniture bags that are available on Amazon.
Here’s a package of 2 Warp Brothers’ bags that will fit most sofas that is available on Amazon.
Non-upholstered furniture is not as challenging as upholstered furniture because you don’t have to worry about bed bugs hiding in the upholstery. However, bed bugs can still hide in corners and cracks and crevices. Your primary weapon will be a vacuum to remove any bed bugs that might be lurking in the furniture.
Take the following steps:
Vacuum the furniture thoroughly. Be sure to vacuum all cracks and crevices and undersides of any drawers, etc..
2. Use Diatomaceous Earth (If Possible)
If possible, put diatomaceous earth in cracks and crevices. For example, if there are joints in the furniture that have gaps and you can apply some diatomaceous earth to those gaps without making the furniture unsightly, then go ahead and do so.
Consider putting diatomaceous earth in the bottoms of drawers. This is helpful just in case any bed bugs manage to get into drawers. Diatomaceous earth is a fine chalky, powder, so this can be rather messy. But if the items you are placing into the drawers are sealed in plastic bags, the diatomaceous earth won’t get on them.
3. Caulk Cracks & Crevices (If Possible)
If you can caulk any cracks and crevices without making the furniture unsightly, then go ahead and do so. This will prevent any bed bugs from finding harborages in those crevices. We go into a lot more detail about caulking in Step 5.
Supplies to Treat Non-Upholstered Furniture:
We go into more detail about choosing the right vacuum in Step 6. The most important thing to remember is that you must use a vacuum with bags. Do not use a bag-less vacuum like a Dyson. This is because bag-less vacuums can release bed bugs when they are emptied.
If you are looking for a vacuum with great suction power and which uses bags, we recommend the Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright Vacuum. It is relatively inexpensive and has gotten excellent ratings from Consumer Reports.
Hoover Tempo Widepath Upright Vacuum (Model U5140-900) available on Amazon.
Replacement disposable vacuum bags for this Hoover available on Amazon.
Diatomaceous Earth (Possibly)
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic substance that is very effective in helping control bed bugs. We go into a lot of detail about diatomaceous earth in Step 4.
Any brand of diatomaceous earth will work, but we like Thomas Labs’ 3 lb Jar of Diatomaceous Earth, because it comes in such a convenient plastic jar.
If you buy diatomaceous earth in larger quantities, the price per pound drops dramatically.
Thomas Labs’ 3 lb Jar of Diatomaceous Earth available on Amazon.
50 lb Bag of Diatomaceous Earth available on Amazon.
10 lb Bag of Diatomaceous Earth available on Amazon.
Caulk is generally sold in tubes. With small tubes of caulk you simply cut off the tip of the tube and squeeze to apply. With large tubes of caulk, it’s very helpful to have a caulk gun for application.
Generally caulk is available in either white or clear.
Hand Squeeze tube of caulk available on Amazon.
Large tube of caulk available on Amazon.
Caulk gun available on Amazon.
The ZappBug Room
The ZappBug Room kills 100% of all bed bugs in all life stage, including eggs, nymphs and adults. Scientific evidence shows that bed bugs die in one minute at temperatures above 120F. The temperature inside ZappBug ranges from 120F to about 145F.
The ZappBug Room has the largest capacity of any portable thermal chamber available on the market today. Measures 111” x 57.5” X 78″. This large capacity lets you heat treat more items at once, thus reducing your time in getting rid of bed bugs. Easily transport and store the ZappBug Room with the included carry bags.
The ZappBug Room is extremely easy to use. One person can assemble the Room in less than 10 minutes; it is designed to operate in residential or commercial locations using four separate 120v, 1500w power sources. Operate the room unattended with included timers that automatically shut off the Room. Also included is a wireless digital thermometer with three wireless probes to ensure that temperatures reach above 120 F in your items (bed bugs die rapidly at 120 F and above.)
Posted by Cameron Wheeler