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Advice on sealing cracks? Baseboards? Wall outlets?

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  1. misery

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 8:45:51
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    So I asked the landlord if I can caulk closed the cracks, etc. in the baseboards and along the walls. He said no. I said 'thank you' and hung up. I'm doing this anyways. My apartment was built circa 1950 and a lot of little cracks and warps have allowed hiding places. Any ideas on a good caulk or sealant I can use that he may not notice? I've caulked before, I'm not messy and it won't be ugly but i'm curious about any specific product I may have overlooked. I have hardwood floors too so it is about sealing these as well.

    Not a pro here. Call me Jon Snow...... for I know nothing, except what I've experienced.
  2. misery

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 9:09:45
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    Also just found out my PCO is coming back to spray for a second time 9 days after the first spray. Is this normal? I thought it would be 2 weeks?

  3. P Bello

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 12:59:42
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    OK.

    a. Tell the paint dept guy what you're trying to do and he will give you advice on the best caulk and how to apply. With caulk, less is more and you need to work neatly.

    b. Purchase the better caulking gun rather than the cheaper model as this will help you to apply better.

    c. Using clear type caulk may help to deter a messy appearance, etc. for your purposes.

    d. You may wish to avoid caulking the outlet covers themselves as this would deter easy access for future inspection and/or application work. However, it may be useful to caulk the open space between the hidden wall void and the junction box itself which may be accessed once the outlet cover is removed.

    e. Most pest pros are scheduling follow up service in about ten days to two weeks time so that appears to be reasonable.

    Good luck !

    pjb

  4. misery

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 13:06:26
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    Okay, now I have about a thousand of those 'baby safety outlet plugs' left over from my infant, could I use those? I could remove them when needed easily, but they would help keep those holes inaccessible maybe?

    Also (I keep thinking of new things I can't find answers for.......) can I boil my baby's toys? I can't check cracks in some of these but I know I was able to sterilize them previously. Wouldn't anything in them die if I just did it once more?

  5. KillerQueen

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 14:28:32
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    I have good info to share with product selection but can't cover it all here now. If you would like to discuss options over the phone send me a private message.

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 16:21:23
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    Hi,

    I never caulk and seal because unless bedbugs are coming from a neighbor or they have been pushed into such locations through the use of foggers and aerosols they simply won't be there.

    By all means check the outlets and skirting around the bed but doing the whole home is a waste of time and resources because it's rarely needed and fails over time as the caulk degrades.

    In situations where bedbugs are known to be in skirting a it's better to remove to gain access and do a thorough job in the first place. If they are coming from an adjoining they will stop once that unit is being treated correctly.

    Hope that helps and saves you time, hassle and money.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  7. P Bello

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 17:06:20
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    Dear misery,

    Since this is your query and your question, we have a responsibility to provide you with the most complete information available for your consideration.

    As such, some clarification:

    1. I cannot comment on inferior caulk or sealant products that may have available in countries outside the good ole USA however, there are some excellent, long lasting sealant products suitable for this use available on the shelves of your local retailer every day.

    These superior caulk and sealant products last many years without shrinking, cracking, fading, etc. and maintain their elasticity and sealing qualities quite nicely. For example, a tube of Dap brand acrylic latex caulk plus silicone is labeled "35 Year Durability Guarantee" and we've used this and similar products for such purposes. If not, the entire US Suburban landscape would be littered with millions of homes in need of reapplication and re-painting of numerous cracks & repairs.

    As stated previously, check with the paint department guy at your big box home center, local Sherwin Williams store or ace hardware retailer. Tell him what you're looking to do and he will advise you accordingly.

    2. Please note that there are other reasons that bed bugs may be found in harborage areas beyond the known primary locations which have nothing to do with insecticide or "fogger" applications. Such reasons include but may not be limited to:
    a. The presence of an advanced population where aggregations are present in many areas.
    b. The living habits of the residents where they may spend numerous hours in rooms besides their bedroom(s). Examples include but may not be limited to a den or living room where they fall asleep watching television, a home office where they spend many hours working, a "man cave" where they spend many hours playing video games and other such situations.
    c. In the case of a neighboring unit with an advanced infestation such that bed bugs are using pathways such as a utility chase and others to travel from on unit to others.
    d. A neighboring unit which is infested but vacant such that given sufficient time, the bed bugs present in that unit may quest for hosts using various possible pathways present between units.
    e. And other possibilities.

    3. In certain situations we, pest pros, may be called in to resolve a pest situation at an apartment or multi-family setting where the customer can afford to hire their own pest pro who is working independently from the building's pest services vendor. This situation often occurs when the building pest pro is viewed as not being effective, the resident simply wants to hire his/her own pro or some other possible reason. I believe pest pros such as KQ, who works extensively in NY City, and others are called in to do this type of work but we'll let him elaborate on this situation should he wish to.

    In any case, when this occurs the pest pro is working to eliminate and keep the bed bugs out of your place. And, while this may not be a "holistic ideal" building wide long term "cure", the customer simply wants to keep bed bugs out of their own home and don't much care about the rest of the building. It is what it is but we need to be aware that this is happening.

    In such situations caulking, sealing, proofing and void treatments are being done in combination with other methodologies for the benefit of the customer who is paying for the service to keep the critters out of their house. Note that dust applications are particularly useful in this situation when done prior to caulking/sealing work effort.

    Hope this helps and have a great day ! pjb

  8. Daylight

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 18:17:15
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    Paul,

    Could you please explain what proofing and void treatments are and how they are accomplished? Could they be part of a DIY approach?

    Thanks

  9. misery

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 20:35:07
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    I threw out my bed skirt when I tore down my bed to inspect and encase it. I check it repeatedly, it's starting to affect my sanity. I wake up at 3:00 a.m., nurse the baby, and inspect the bed. Lol. The bedskirt was too much work, it's gone now.

    I'm assuming 'dust treatments' are DE, I have some that was given to me (extra from another person I know so it's free!) and I was told to dump it into the cracks. My concern is that if my infant gets near it and eats it, is it ok? I know it's the 'safe' kind of DE but 'safe' is used carelessly in a lot of industries. I figured powder, then caulk (for baby safety) would be best. Plus, I am 100% sure this is coming from another apartment. I figured it would be prudent to seal the gaps and spaces between the two. I'm sure that since the neighbors moved out just before I got here that the little frakkers are just searching out a food source and are happily creeping into my apartment now.

    Thank you for confirming that my line of thinking was valid!

  10. KillerQueen

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Oct 6 2014 20:53:13
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    I do this type of work all the time in the city for people.

    We’re past the education part and now educated enough to ask – Should I take a proactive approach to reduce the risk of a migration problem from an adjoining apartment? Answer - Why wouldn't you? We've educated everyone about drugs, drinking and driving, smoking, and everything else under the sun. Most are not paying attention until its too late. So should you just sit there waiting to be a victim of migration or do something about it? Seal up work will help reduce migration, period. Common, do nothing or do something if you can. Why even ask?

    I live on Long Island in a stand-alone home where I don’t have to worry about surrounding tenants. I don’t have to worry about people subletting for days, weeks, or even months at a time. I don’t have to worry about tenants sharing their space with 4 roommates. I don’t have to worry about how my neighbor travels or hope they will inspect like me. I don't have to worry about used books, the great find on Craigslist, my neighbors girlfriends infested building, Blah, Blah, Blah! In short – others will not usually be as careful as you moving forward.

    In a stand-alone home – No. Seal up work for Bed Bugs is usually not necessary if the treatment is done right from jump street. Seal up work for other insects and to help reducing energy costs? – Yes.

    Seal up work is about as “green” as one can get while being proactive. You're reducing migration and harborage areas for Bed Bugs as well as other insects.

    People here in the US use these technique for flies or flying insects. We call them screens and they sit right up against our windows. We even use screen doors for some of our entryways. We do exclusion work for rodent infestations to help eliminate entry points to a structure. We do seal up work in kitchens to remove harborage areas for roaches and other insects such as stored product pests. It’s called integrated pest management (IPM) and it’s the first step in any “green” approach. The definition of integrated pest management is often defined as – “removing the conditions that are conducive to a pest infestation”. If you're worried about migration from an adjoining unit the first thing to do is reduce or eliminate the migration path.

    Dusting wall voids, cracks, crevices, and pipe line penetrations with the proper materials should be done by a licensed professional. You can always do this yourself but there's an art to dust work and it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly not something a handyman or super should be trusted with.

    That being said, the seal up process is another thing that shouldn't be taken lightly. I have yet to see a super seal an apartment like I do. They will use a tube of caulking with zero knowledge of the pest they are trying to lock out. On average they spend 45 minutes to an hour to seal up a typical 1 bedroom apartment. It should normally take 8-10 hours to dust and properly seal an apartment. It takes this long to do it right and for it to be worth your investment. Also, a handyman or super will not typically apply a killing agent into the migration paths prior to sealing.

    I have done my research to select the right products. From flexible sealants to heat resistant foams, I know the best products to use for the job. Five different materials are used typically but nothing is “garden variety”. I have taken the advice of company owners who install windows in buildings here in the city. I’m talking about 40 plus story buildings with thousands of windows. I’ve talked with construction contractors that build houses and buildings for a living. I have learned from HVAC guys, plumbers, and electricians. I have picked their brains to choose the right products.

    I could go on but the bottom line here is – Dusting and seal up work is the best choice to help reduce a migration issue, period.

    You can hope the next 40 people surrounding your apartment have your fears and worries in check or you can take charge and do something to help yourself.

  11. P Bello

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Oct 7 2014 6:30:55
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    Dear daylight,

    This ain't rocket science and methodologies used by pros can certainly be conducted by non-pros as well.

    Sorry, but sometimes things that seem obvious to a pro are sometimes not included in my posts.

    What I failed to mention previously, but included in the subsequent post, is that we want to apply a suitable product in the hidden void areas prior to sealing. In this way, pests are forced or confined to areas where we've treated with a suitable pesticide product.

    Remember that for void areas a dust insecticide product such as cimexa, DE, tempo and other such products are good choices.

    Note that pros equipped with ULV (Ultra Low Volume) generating devices such as an actisol or a microgen type unit (these things can cost over $1,500 each however) may choose to apply residual liquid insecticides rather than dusts using such application equipment.

    Additionally, this technique need not be limited to wall void and such areas alone as this can be useful to treat and seal hollows found in tubular metal bed frames and other such areas. Your only limitation might be your imagination and/or your powers of observation. Many pros adopt a "think like a bug" mentality and ask themselves, "where could I hide or travel?" when doing such work.

    In any case, the insecticides are applied and then the potential entry point/pathway that may be used by bed bugs (and possibly other pests) is then sealed as described above.

    Have a great day ! pjb

  12. Daylight

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Oct 7 2014 10:04:39
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    Thanks for the feedback and information, Paul and KQ.

    Your expertise and tips on practical applications are much appreciated.


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