Editor’s note: This was left in another thread, but I think it warrants a specific discussion of something that is coming up again and again: how to move when you have bed bugs. Relevant also: should you?
We have some success stories: WindyCityMike’s and ABigFatWasteofTime’s. They took extremely different routes: Mike moved while treatment appeared to be successful. See here and here. ABigFatWasteofTime fled with nothing, zilch, nada–and even bought new clothes to wear that day on her way to her new pad. So, keeping in mind that we really need a FAQ on this issue, what advice can we give?
Please keep the comments on topic, though others’ questions and stories about moving / not moving are very relevant here!
Here’s Jane’s question:
HOW DO YOU MOVE AND LEAVE THE BEDBUGS BEHIND?
February 6, 2007
Before I get into my stuff, I want to give encouragement to everyone out there who is suffering from infestations. If you read on, you’ll realize that I ain’t seen nothing yet, (literally and figuratively), but I have gone through severe anxiety and other emotional malaise related to bed bugs. I sincerely sympathize with all of you. We need to remember that we can beat these little f’ers, and we shouldn’t forget to enjoy life as we battle them. Life is too important to let these bugs ruin it for us. Stay positive!
I live in an apartment building in, that has recently had (and continues to have?) a bed bug infestation. My roommate and I have yet to see a bug or any hard evidence of bugs, and our apartment has been treated twice by a professional pest control company. All other apartments in our building have been treated at least once. But I have been suffering from some kind of minor skin condition that could be bed bug bites since December 18, 2006. My roommate is not suffering any similar skin condition.
A friend of mine has been kind enough to allow me to move into her house. I will be moving there at the end of February.
So there’s my back story. I am thrilled this community exists and I would dearly appreciate advice on one big bed bug topic:
How can you prevent bringing bed bugs with you when you move?
The last thing I want to do is bring bed bugs to my friend’s house!
My plan so far is this:
1. Throw out whatever I can part with (mattress, old clothes, etc.)
2. Give all my furniture and my vacuum to my roommate (he’s planning to stay).
3. For the things I can’t part with (photo albums, paper records and keepsakes, favourite books and DVDs, etc.), I plan to buy large hopefully airtight Tupperware containers and put everything in these containers. As an additional precaution I’m going to search for commercial saran/cling wrap (I worked with this stuff on a summer job once) to wrap around the lids on the containers. These containers will be kept in either my friend’s unheated garage or my mom’s unheated shed. I hope our winter stays harsh for awhile!
4. Freshly wash and bag up all clothes and linen I plan to keep and store these as well for an indefinite time.
5. Enter my friend’s house freshly showered from the gym, wearing all brand new clothes (including shoes, jacket, and backpack). Bring only brand new clothes and hardly anything else into my friend’s house.
I feel pretty good about my plan, but there are some grey areas. For example, I would like to treat the items I store with some sort of pesticide before I seal them up in the containers. But what could I use?
I would like to find something that won’t damage the items. It would be nice to use something other than Raid, the only pesticide I have found in stores that proclaims to kill bed bugs. A guy from the pest company who treated our building told me there is nothing on the market for consumers. He seems to be right as far asis concerned. But maybe there is something I can buy off the Internet? Does anyone have any suggestions?
There are also several possessions of mine that I am not quite sure what to do with. If anyone can give me advice on these things, that would be awesome:
- My acoustic guitar, two electric bass guitars, and a bass speaker and amplifier. How likely is it that bed bugs would be in these? The music gear is all kept in the living room at the opposite end of the apartment as the bedrooms. The guitars are all in cases. I don’t want to put my guitars in cold storage because it’s not good for them. My mom will probably let me keep them in her basement, but the last thing I want to do is spread bed bugs to her. Advice?
- My houseplants. I have two houseplants that I don’t want to kill. One is in the living room. The other one hangs from the ceiling in my office nook, which is actually part of my bedroom. My office nook is about two feet away from one of my bed corners.
- My laptop computer and printer. Once again, these things are in my office, which isn’t too far from my bed, and the computer probably won’t respond too well to cold storage. Would bed bugs dare venture inside my computer? I have never found any information on this in my research. (I am using my friend’s computer when I move in.)
- My bird’s cage. I have read several times that pet birds can be bitten too. (By the way, I am 100% sure that my little zebra finch is not the source of the building infestation.) I think my bird’s cage is a low-risk area Ã¢â‚¬â€œ his plastic cage is on top of a metal filing cabinet that is not kept flush against the wall. And I regularly clean his cage and use bleach when I clean it. But should I transfer him to a new cage when I move?
- Books and paper. I’m a student. I’m already keeping my textbooks in Ziploc bags (except when I’m using them of course). When I move I will probably keep them in the garage except when I need to use them. I will type up all my handwritten notes and just keep electronic files. Am I being a paranoid freak, or is this wise? Do bed bugs inhabit books and papers?
- My glasses and my hair. I feel a little silly to even mention this, but I’ve read a post on this very site from someone who speculated that they may have brought bed bugs when they moved in their hair. I thought I would add my glasses to the suspect list just to be thorough. Anyone have any comments on this?
- My car. We have had plenty of weather well below 0 degrees Celsius (the freezing point). Since our apartment first got treated in late November, the back of my car has housed garbage bags of clothes. I have read on the Internet that you need to freeze things for as long as two weeks to ensure the bugs die. Occasionally the temperature rises above 0, and I drive my car probably every three or four days. My car is a super-low risk environment for supporting bed bugs right? Or is it?
Please, if anyone has any advice regarding my huge paranoid list, you have no idea how much I would appreciate it. Thank you.