Incompetent Landlords and Diatomoceous Earth

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


If your landlord is as incompetent as Forward Management, LLC Pittsburgh (i.e., our landlord) then you'll get stuck on your own to fix things every once in awhile. Like. A month after moving in you get a flea infestation from an upstair's neighbors 5 cats (*ahem*). I will save you photos of the bites and my two tiny captives, but I will share what is pretty much an amazing fix to most bug infestations...

Diatomoceous Earth.
It's basically ground up algae that work like tiny shards of glass, but looks like white powder to the human eye. The bug gets it on himself and it slowly tears away at the bug's external shell until it dehydrates and dies. It's non-toxic, but you don't want to breath in too much (i.e., wear a mask/bandanna while applying). I used a broom to sweep a fine dust over all the floors in the apartment, lightly dusted underneath the sofa cushions, under the bed, bed legs, the top of the mattress, etc. and then let it sit for two weeks. If you don't clean it up there's no need to reapply as diatomoceous earth works through physical means and doesn't really expire. It's not an immediate fix, so you'll have to be prepared to walk around in dust with your pants tucked into you socks for two weeks, but it's effective and non-toxic, especially compared to exterminator treatments.

After 5 days, the number of bug bites went down considerably and by day 9 I stopped getting bitten. It's been over two weeks and I'm pretty sure we're good to go now. In this case, it worked on fleas but the internetz tells me it works on bed bugs and cockroaches, too. Diatomoceous earth might be a decent sort of preventative measure to bug infestations. At $8 for a 2lb bag from the local hardware chain store, it's also priced quite well. 2lbs will probably treat our apartment ~20 times, lol. However, don't use it outside as it will kill other insects like lady bugs and the like.

Now if only we could use it to get rid of slumlord management companies...

4 comments:

Caerphilly said...

I just stumbled upon your blog looking for crafty things (mainly recipes)..... Anyway... I went to CMU for undergrad (am currently in graduate school) and it seems like you attend CMU for grad in HCI?? Anyway... EVERY LANDLORD in Pittsburgh is awful. Keane Holdings especially, avoid them...I had four apartments in Pittsburgh, and all were awful (landlords I mean), so I completely understand!!!

rooth said...

Shudder...ugh sorry to hear about the bug infestation. It's making my skin crawl and I'm glad you've gotten rid of them

S.I.F. said...

What a cool fix, but - I can't believe you had fleas. :( Uggg, that would totally freak me out and piss me off!

Andrea Carol said...

Fleas are so horrible! My little man caught them from a stray kitty and it was hell getting rid of them. I actually have some diatomaceous earth -food grade, and pesticide too. It is a lifesaver! Too bad I didn't know about it then (:

Also, I LOVE your blog. I hope you're doing well adjusting to Japan!

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