Oh, I wish I'd seen this earlier! Bedbug are really annoying. But they are not the end of the world, and (at least where I live, in Chicago) they seem to be a fact of life again, like they were for thousands of years. Only now we've got lots of really good ways to control them!
Bedbugs do not transmit diseases, although it can be really hard to sleep while you are worried and thinking about bedbugs. They scared me a lot, too, at first, and grossed me out. But now I think about them like fleas and mosquitoes: insects that suck my blood, which are annoying, but which are not particularly gross or intimidating.
I hope you've had professional extermination, and shame on your landlord for spraying RAID around. My property manager has been able to get the professional bedbug sprays, and does the spraying himself. Not as good as a real professional, but at least he is looking up real bedbug treatment information, and using treatment methods that actually work. I didn't have to throw anything I own out (although I want to throw out a patched old chair that has lots of hiding places, my cats and my spouse like it, and we're keeping it, at least until we move out of here -- I just don't sit on it anymore), and we've essentially solved our bedbug problem, even though we keep getting new bedbugs from neighbors (because my property manager is not up to treating the entire building at one time, and people keep bringing in old furniture). The property manager spraying got rid of the bedbugs entirely for 5 months.
My current solution is food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and vacuuming the wall-to-wall carpet every 2-3 days. Hopefully you don't have carpet. Also, hopefully your bed frame has four feet, and doesn't touch a wall or floor elsewhere. My bed touches the ground all along the headboard and with two long feet at the bottom. Once your bedframe has been been treated for bedbugs and you've encased your mattress in a bedbug mattress cover, keep new bedbugs from crawling onto your bed by using heavy-duty double sided tape or, as I do, by surrounding your bed legs with a moat of DE. Putting each bed leg in a bowl of water should also work: bedbugs are not aquatic, and can't survive in water. I'd put a little soap in the water to cut down on the surface tension of the water (like I do for fleas: when flea combing cats, I just put the fleas in soapy water and go back to combing), but putting water around bed legs is an old-fashioned way to keep the bedbugs from biting.
DE is just the glass shells of long-dead diatoms, and it kills insects by mechanically abrading the waxes on insect cuticle. These waxes cover insect exoskeletons and keep from from drying out. Once coated in DE, an insect will die, usually within 24 hours, by simply drying out. The huge advantages of DE are that is completely non-toxic to mammals (to me and my cats) and that it is persistent: it's just a powder that hangs out on the floor. I have all of the wall/floor corners covered in DE, my table and bed legs surrounded by moats of DE, and I vacuum the floor to keep any bed bugs from hiding in the carpet. It works. Occasionally, I'll see a bedbug (or catch one biting my foot as I sit in front of my computer), but I don't get bitten while I sleep anymore (except that one day when I had bed sheets drying on a chair and brought them with me to bed: apparently I brought a bed bug or two with the sheets, but the DE around the bed and in the bed frame meant that those beg bugs died when they went to hide after biting me).
As far as tips for sleeping, when the beg bugs were still biting me, I slept in long underwear even when it was warm. I still got bites on my hands and face, but I wasn't getting huge numbers all over my body any more. But it is not that hard to keep them from biting you while you sleep: have an encased mattress (no need to replace it, once it's encased), all of the seams and cracks and screw holes of your bed frame covered with DE, and a moat of DE around your bed. Once you know that bedbugs can not survive on your bed and you will no longer be bitten, you will be able to sleep again.
Last edited by Enuja
on Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.