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apartment building has bed bugs-can i bring them in on my clothes and shoes?

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  1. waiting in panic

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Sep 5 2010 2:37:08
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    I live in public housing in WA state. We have two senior/disabled buildings here and one of them had a report of bed bugs. The exterminator is coming out to treat the infestation and the Housing Authority is having every apartment inspected by a pest company w/canine. They are telling residents this is a preventative precaution.

    My mattress shows no evidence of bugs and I am not being bitten. I will know after the canine inspection if other apartments in this building are infested. But we have shared maintenance and there is a lot of traffic between the two buildings.

    Even though the public housing authority is being very proactive, I know that based on the behaviors of my neighbors (who buy at thrift stores, take furniture let in common areas and even on the street) that i am living in a high risk situation.

    I do not have a door to the outside so i must walk through common areas. Also, I have a dog who needs to be walked. I am in and out a lot. I can't possibly change clothes every time I leave and come back. Do I need to be concerned about bringing them in on my shoes or on my dog?

    I don't have a dryer in my unit either. I am in the process of getting my mattress encased and zipping up things like my luggage (that has not been used in many years). Essentially I am zipping up items that can't be washed and that I don't want to have to throw out should the worst case scenario plays out.

    The maintenance director who is leading the charge against the bed bugs told me that they are nocturnal only and that i do not have to worry about them during the day. This came up when I asked if I could be the first apartment inspected. i don't want to be inspected after they gone through a lot of other apartments for fear the pesticide operator will bring something in on his clothes.

    Am I at risk of bringing them in on my dog or on my clothes from the common areas; hallways, etc.?

  2. firefrorefiddle

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 9 2010 20:53:38
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    hi,
    i'd also appreciate any advice/suggestions on preventing transferal of bed bugs via clothes/shoes in the course of everyday activities. i believe the risk of bringing them on on clothes/shoes/bags/pets from the outside exists, but i'd really like to know if anyone has any practical alternatives to stripping/bagging clothes every time you go out or return to your place.

  3. OhDearMe

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Sep 9 2010 20:56:19
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    I also would like to know, but I feel like if there was a better way, more people would be doing it. :/

  4. delorac

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Fri Sep 10 2010 1:09:25
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    I do not have a door to the outside so i must walk through common areas. Also, I have a dog who needs to be walked. I am in and out a lot. I can't possibly change clothes every time I leave and come back. Do I need to be concerned about bringing them in on my shoes or on my dog?

    As you will be walking through possibly infested hallways, the simplest solution would be to have separate inside shoes/slippers and outside shoes. What we did was to keep a large Ziploc bag right inside the door, along with a cookie sheet. We later switched the cookie sheet for a cheap plastic kitty-litter pan, which cost about $3.00 at a dollar store and which was larger and easier to stand in. Immediately you open the front door, step into the plastic pan, remove your shoes and seal them up in the Ziploc. Step out of the pan and spritz it with 91% alcohol, in case you picked up a nymph or egg from the hallway. If you want to be extra cautious, you could seal up the pan in another Ziploc. Now you can walk around your place barefoot or switch to your inside shoes or slippers or socks. Next time you're going out, just reverse the process, stepping into the pan to put on your outside shoes. Be sure to seal up the Ziploc before you go in case anything fell off your shoes while in the bag. Grab the spray bottle of alcohol, walk out the door, turn around and spritz the pan, set the alcohol bottle down inside the door (or take it with you if you'd rather), close the door and head off on your walk. Really, this is quick and easy and takes much less time to do than it does to describe it.

    Also remember that any bugs in the hallway are not easily going to be able to crawl on your shoes as long as you're moving, although I suppose if you walked through a whole nest of eggs you could maybe pick one of those up, You could pick them up if you stood in one spot while talking to a neighbor or picking up your mail, I suppose, or leaned on the wall for a bit. And it would take a second or two for a bug to crawl up onto your shoe and then onto your pants leg, so again, if you have a normal gait, I just don't think you have to change clothes every time you need to take the dog out. I personally think the risk is a minor one for the shoes as well, but as someone else on another thread just said, prevention is much easier than treatment.

    Regarding the dog, again, if the dog keeps walking, and doesn't sit or lie down in the hallways, I think there's minimal risk that he'd pick up any bed bugs. Someone wiser in the animal area may disagree.

  5. Bug wary

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 18 2010 19:33:29
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    Bed bugs are theortically nocturnal but there are dauytime sightings.

    I'd also recommend removing your socks.

  6. ScaredinCincinnati

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 18 2010 20:10:47
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    It's true... I finally had evidence of my bed bugs when I caught one crawling across the bed... at noon.

  7. so unsettling

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 18 2010 20:28:48
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    If only we could stand in mid air while doing these things! Hard to limit contact with feet and floor at some point in these acrobatics.

    I DO like the ideas about cookie sheet or kitty-litter pan, though. Hadn't thought of anything like that, and have just been spraying alcohol on the part of floor I am using. Another new set-up to make routine!

  8. Richard56

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 18 2010 20:36:37
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    Am I at risk of bringing them in on my dog or on my clothes from the common areas; hallways, etc.?
    -------------------------
    Very, very unlikely according to several PCO's here. Bed bugs tend to hitchike on things, not people, and especially not people in motion as in walking. So unless you're sitting down, or resting bags on the floor for periods of time probably not much to worry about. The more realistic threat is bed bugs from other apartments, but it appears the building is taking care of that. That said, some DE, a more powerful residual, and/or a preventative barrier (like sticky tape) at your front door is probably not a bad idea as at least one study showed that bed bugs can be spread from apartment to apartment via the hallways.

    Richard

  9. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Thu Nov 18 2010 20:57:48
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    Hi,

    As others have correctly said the probability of picking up a bedbug on your clothing while walking through corridors is extremely close to zero. When an infestation gets beyond a certain point in a high density residential setting they will tend to move along the wall ceiling and wall floor junctions in search of other signs of life.

    They can however infected communal areas so if there is a communal lounge or some occasional seats they need to be screened as well.

    Searching all apartments and communal areas with an inspection team and K9 scent unit is a good next step but it is technically not preventative in any way shape or form. It well help you to identify infected areas which must then be visually confirmed before it should be treated.

    The best preventative step is to make sure that everyone know how to inspect for bedbugs when they travel and how to inspect their own homes on a regular basis. Education is the best prevention and there are some good information sheets and FAQ's about.

    With regards bedbugs being nocturnal I can assure you they are NOT. They will adapt to whenever food is present in the area they colonise which is most commonly at night in domestic and hotel settings but if you were to switch to a working night shift pattern and slept during the day they would soon adapt. There was a great paper many years ago about an infestation detected on buses in California which fed mainly in the rush hour and usually on the backs of the calves of secretaries whose skirts would ride up at the back offering an easy meal.

    If your professional is adamant that they are nocturnal and that they are a bedbug expert you know they are stretching the truth. In fact its one of the few edits to wikipedia that I have made over the years that has stuck for more than a few weeks without someone editing facts back into poorly informed pseudo fiction.

    I would prioritise getting your adjoining neighbours up to speed on the problem and create some FAQ's and accurate information for communal areas and lifts where possible. They are at least being communicative about the issue which is ahead of the curve and refreshing to see.

    Hope that helps reduce uncessary worry.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited


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