Boat Bug Nightmare Part 2: Happy Ending with Prenuptial Honeymoon? April 28, 2018 09:00

 At this point, in spite of all the time and effort spent on my infestation problem my ISLAND GIRL® business was doing well and I was regularly in touch with a previous Marshallese girl friend , who I had visited in Ohio and I got on very well with her kids. I had later  joked in a text message about marrying her. Perhaps due to her mother, she showed interest and was to come out and stay with me on the boat to see if this would be a good idea.

I had spent the entire day cleaning the boat, and spraying everywhere with the oily J.T.Eaton® Bed Bug Killer. I later picked her up at Honolulu Airport. We went back to the boat and feventually lay together on the V-berth. Suddenly she shouted out: "SOMETHING JUST BIT MY ASS!"  I turned on the light and was horrified to see one big bed bug scuttling along at high speed and saw some of the baby bugs (the worst biters)  on the white sheet. We both leapt up, and after spraying some more, we slept on separate cabin berths. Luckily, she had a really good sense of humor about this, although I was mortified!

I realized two final lessons:  First, there is always somewhere for the bugs to hide, even inside the cushions that I had been repeatedly spraying.  I either had to replace the cushions (too expensive) or seal them in with a bug-proof mattress cover.

We did the latter as seen in the pic below:

 

Interestingly, after this was done, there were no more bites or visible bugs except where  you could actually see where the bugs had tried to nest under the cover but could not get out!  After about 4 years they must now all be dead.  Incidentally, these mattress covers are also waterproof and once saved my cushions from being ruined by rain, when I forgot to close the V-berth hatch. 

My second lesson was that the best spray for routine preventative  use should leave a residue that is still fatal to the bugs long after spraying. Enforcer®  is the best non-professional product that I have tried since it is  non-staining, can be used on any surface and has a residual killing effect on bugs and EGGS for up to 2 weeks. Luckily bed bugs cannot fly and with this product "IF THEY WALK, THEY DIE! "(my slogan).

I now PRO-ACTIVELY use this spray in my car, clothes and bedding (at home and on boat) .

I no longer live on my boat but use bug traps to monitor if live bugs ever return , as seen below. Still no traces of them in the  trap after 4 years.

 

In retrospect, this whole episode showed that I eventually did all the right things but made several mistakes. The first mistake was not to prevent the bug infestation pro-actively by assuming that bugs are ALWAY OUT THERE, ready to pounce!.  Secondly, I spent a lot of unnecessary time and money, when I could have had the boat tented professionally for about $750 that would also have eliminated any possibility of termite damage too!.

 

However, sealing off potential hiding places for the bugs and routine spaying with the ENFORCER® product is good "insurance" against new infestations.

Diatomaceous earth (DE):  As additional non-toxic bug-proofingI I used this in many enclosed spaces on the boat  In my clothes locker (see pic above)  I put a layer of  this under some rubber mesh,   I have mixed feelings as to efficacy. of DE. To save  money, I used the DE sold for swimming pool filters that is a bit different to the (expensive), stuff sold for killing bugs. During the "nightmare" period (Part 1 of this story,)  I did see a cockroach that had died covered by the DE, but I also one saw a large live bed bug burrowing though it! Whether it eventually died, I do not know. Apparently, the product designed for bug-killing is of a smaller particle size and is more amorphous See this article for more info on diatomaceous earth.

As for the girl - we did marry but she eventually turned out to be a worse problem than the bugs AND  a problem more difficult to eradicate!