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Can you drown bed bugs in hot tap water?

(11 posts)
  1. Jeanette

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 12:33:21
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    I have been bed-bug free for the past 5 months in so far as I have not been bitten or seen a bug in my appartment for this period of time. I did not use a PCO but used IPM and also sprayed my carpets, behind fridge and stove, etc., with a mixture of DE, ethyl alcohol, liquid soap and water, recommended in an article I read, written by an entymologist, and it worked.

    I will be taking a trip next month. I have a number of suitcases but they are all stored in the walk-in closet in my appartment. I have sprayed the carpet in the walk-in closet and put double-sided carpet tape around the door and not a single bedbug has come onto the carpet tape so I am taking that as a good sign. However, I have not checked each item in the closet as there are some boxes and many suitcases stacked there.

    My first instinct was to buy new suitcases for my trip. However, in view of the number of suitcases and knapsacks I have in various sizes and types of material, I am wondering if I could put my knapsack in the dryer for 60 minutes and then use it safely, just as I have done with clothes?

    More importantly, I have two vinyl suitcases (aside from the fabric ones) that I thought I could soak in hot tap water in the tub (one at a time) for a few hours. If I submerge the suitcase in hot tap water, will any bed bugs that might be lurking in the suitcase drown?

  2. Marixpress

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 12:46:19
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    They die from boiling water. I don't think tap water gets hot enough although I could be wrong.

  3. barelyliving

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 12:51:30
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    You could get some no-pest strips or mothballs and treat in a sealed bag, the 55 gallon drum liners would be big enough for just about any kind of suitcase.

  4. bitten123

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 12:51:34
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    What about sealing the suitcases in a large sealed bag with ddvp strips? I believe it is over at bed bug central, Jeff White discusses he does it with his suitcases.

    http://tv.bedbugcentral.com/index.php/2008/10/bbctv-episode-5-product-review-hot-shot-no-pest-strips/

  5. Jeanette

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 13:19:08
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    I thank all of you for your feedback. What are 55 gallon drum liners? I live in Montreal (Canada) and am not surse what these are or which store I can get them at. Are they very arge size Ziploc bags? Those I can get at Walmart or Zellers.

    I am a bit worried about using the No-Pest Strips as I will later be putting underwear, clothes, etc. in the suitcases, and Christmas gifts for family that I will be visiting. Does the No-Pest Strip or DDVP Stip have an residual effect on items or skin when these items are worn later on?

    I am more comfortable with using mothballs as I grew up in an era when mothballs were used when storing away winter clothing. Could I just put moth balls with each suitcase in a sealed plastic bag and would that work? Any idea how many moth balls I should put in each sealed bag?

    I was afraid the tap water would not be hot enough to kill the bed bugs on contact, but if the vinyl suitcases were submerged in the hot tap water would the bed bugs not drown? Can they swim? I am going back to my original suggestion only because it seems the simplist and does not involve pesticides.

    Thanks so much for all your feedback. I look forward to answers to some questions I have asked in this post.

  6. Itchy-Scratchy

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 15:14:29
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    Hi Jeanette:
    Allow me to share this horrifying story ....

    A couple of months ago I decided to take a super-hot bath. I filled the tub with hot water and tons of bubble bath. I had been soaking for about 10 minutes when a BB floats by me. I still don't know how it managed to hang onto my body to get in the tub, though maybe it was my hair. I freaked, fished it out and my daughter put it in a Ziploc snack bag (we were bagging all evidence at that time).

    Two days later, I look at the bag, and the damn thing is still alive. It soaked in a hot, soapy tub and then went without air, and it was still alive.

    Obviously BBs can't drown. And I don't know how much hotter the tap water can get, but I wouldn't count on it as a solution.

    As for the drum liners, I wonder if Canadian Tire carries them?
    Kate

  7. bitten123

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 15:29:49
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    Drum liners are just super heavy duty trash bags, they could be super strength or construction grade. You put the clothes in, the ddvp strip, you seal it up tight with a zip strip (do not tie, use the zip strip cable locks)

    DDVP once aired out should not leave a residue. You could call the manufacturer and ask if it would leave a residue, I would assume not as you can use it in a shed or in an empty house. The empty house would be reoccupied at some point, and the label makes no mention of needing to wash surfaces, etc. Again, do your own research here and at the other site and draw your own conclusions. At the very minimum read up on DDVP. I remember these strips hanging above my kitchen table 30 years ago, and certainly in every stall of the horse barn. Obviously not a good idea to have them in your kitchen now...yikes, but we didn't know.

    You could use the newer labeled moth balls instead, put the luggage in large, very thick strong trash bag (so no rips or leaks) and then ziptie cable lock it. I believe you have to wait two weeks but not positive. I was told the newer moth balls (the non napthalene type) that although they have an odor, that it diminishes when left to air out outside (you could let them air out on your balcony if you have one).

  8. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 16:06:37
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    Look for contractor bags or lawn & leaf garbage bags.

    The advice that everyone is giving you is sound.

    Instead of drowning your suitcase, you might want to look at using steam.

    I would recommend a hard sided suitcase for travel wrapped with some cling wrap.

    Samsonite makes a model that doesn't have a liner with good weather seals that are pretty secure. The cling wrap will keep any hitchhikers out of the pocket that holds the telescoping handle & protect the piano style hinge.

    Bed bugs can ride on the outside of a fabric suitcase.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 16:32:02
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    Hard-sided case and steam sound good.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  10. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 16:33:16
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    I have also dried cloth duffels and backpacks on hot in the dryer. We can't promise you the item won't be damaged. But if it is empty and gets good and hot, it should kill bed bugs and eggs.

    I have washed and dried such items. But I suggest that if you want to wash first, I would wash, air dry, then use the machine to hot dry the DRY item to decon / kill anything remaining. Why? Because it should not take 60 minutes: less drying time is needed to kill bed bugs in a dry item, and less drying time is probably less likely to damage items for which manufacturers don't recommend a hot wash and hot dry.

  11. Jeanette

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Nov 6 2008 17:05:05
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    Thanks for the sound advice, everyone. I see that my plan was not a good one and I am really glad I checked with you before going ahead with it.

    I guess I can get the ddvp strips or newer non napthalene type moth balls at a pharmacy or a Canadian Tire? What are zip strip cable locks that I should use to seal the heavy-duty bags with? Do they come with the bags or should I ask for them at Canadian Tire? I hope I am able to find these items soon. I am leaving on vaction on the 10th of December and I believe I have to leave the suitcases sealed for 2 weeks?

    I will have the suitcases shrink-wrapped at the airport for a fee. That is a good idea or all my toruble may be in vain.

    Regarding putting the dry backpack on hot in the dryer, how long would you keep it in the dryer to kill the bugs but possibly not damage the backpack, Nobugsonme? You mentioned you had gone this route. I understand the article could get damaged and am willing to take the chance, but want to be sure to kill the bugs.

    I appreciate answers to my questions above. I sound like a newby, which I am, so it is rather confusing. Thanks a lot, everyone. I really appreciate all your help.


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