Freezing Bedbugs & Treating Electronics(5 posts)
I travel a lot and have encountered bedbugs in a few places. This time, I was in Guatemala and ended up with this:
(That's my fiance looking shocked at the line of bites across my arm.)
The good thing about picking up bugs while traveling is that, if you know you've got them before you get home, you can do something about it. We travel light, so all of our clothes and backpacks have already been through the hot dryer treatment.
I have questions about how to treat the following items: netbook, other small electronics, paper products, toiletries, sandals, and hiking boots.
NETBOOK: This is the trickiest one. First, I need to determine whether I really need to treat it, or whether I'm being paranoid. Second, it seems like my options are: try to heat treat it (putting it in a warm/ 120F oven for an hour?), try to deep freeze it (put it in the freezer for 2-3 weeks?), fumigate it (with what? and how?) or destroy it. All four options sound terrible to me. Thoughts?
OTHER SMALL ELECTRONICS: I have a battery charger, a headlamp, and a small UV water treatment pen. It seems unlikely that bedbugs would have wanted to hang out on any of these items--smooth plastic with nowhere to hide and pretty much constantly in use. Right now, they're sealed in a plastic bag in the freezer. Treat?
PASSPORTS, JOURNALS, & BOOKS: We were going to put paper items into the freezer for a few weeks, but as I've learned more, it sounds like this is not fool-proof. Does anyone have a definitive "this ___ cold for this ___ long" guideline for freezing bedbugs to death? Or am I going to trigger a Homeland Security alert when I destroy the RFID in my passport by putting it in the oven?
TOILETRIES: If I do a visual inspection of my toothbrush, can I be reasonably certain that there are no eggs sticking to it? (I'm being half-way sarcastic... half-way.)
SHOES: 1) My sandals were on my feet most of the time, and my feet did a LOT of walking. It seems unlikely that any nymphs or adults would want to hang out on my sandals, but should I treat them in case any eggs were laid on the shoes? If I only have to worry about eggs, would a visual inspection be sufficient? 2) My poor hiking boots might be a problem, because they're full of nooks n' crannies and I generally didn't wear them unless I was hiking (so they were in the bottom of my backpack, a great place for bugs to hide). Something I should worry about? Best way to treat?
I thought we had a bedbug infestation last year, and it turned out to be nothing. I'm trying to strike a balance between being reasonable--yes, this time I'm certain that we encountered bedbugs--and not paranoid--we've already taken care of the most likely places for the bugs to hide, and I'm confident that we didn't bring anything into the house. Even had a change of clothes waiting at the airport.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and input!
Anyone? I've done as much reading as I can, and I'm more confused than ever. Does freezing work, or doesn't it? And how can you decontaminate electronics? Should I even worry about the electronics? HELP!
Freezing without monitoring and checking the temps can be hit and miss with adult bedbugs so it's generally not advised and when done correctly is a slow process at best.
The best advice to to look at PackTite as an option or DVVP stripes but the key advice is always check when you travel as avoidance is always more preferable to treatment.
Bed Bugs Limited
Dude, here's what I do. Specifically for your netbook but I think the same applies to everything else. Don't put it in a regular oven. I thought about it and busted out the thermometers. Even on the lowest setting, a household oven pulses. The temperature is not stable. It will get hot and then cold and then repeat. The hot is too hot for your netbook. My concern about freezing it is condensation. You'll have to make sure everything is bone dry before turning it on. Unfortunately, a netbook has so many nooks and crannies, such as in the BGA of a SMD chip, that it's going to be hard to make sure it's dry.
I use a low temperature oven. I make sure it's not too hot and not too cold. I run mine between 120-122F. I run my laptops, cameras, passport, shoes, etc, etc.... pretty much everything I can't wash and dry through it. I actually even run everything I can wash and dry though it since I don't want a stray bedbug or egg making a break for it in the washer. I do it everytime I get home. I've done it a few times. I haven't had any issues. So far I haven't gotten a secondary for having a bad RFID chip in my passport. I'm typing on the laptop that's been through there after every trip. Here's a thread with more details.
Nice photo !
Here's some comments/suggestions:
> DDVP Strips: Place the items to be treated into a suitably sized sealable plastic storage container. You may need to use packing tape to seal vent holes which may be present in the molded handles and along the rim of the container. Afix a Nuvan strip to the underside of the lid, use tape to hold it there. Leave the treatment going at least seven days. When placing the items in the container, be sure there is enough air space to allow the vapors to travel to all areas within the treated space.
> Heat Treatment: Clothes may be run through the dryer. Other hard good items can be treated in a Packtite Unit and NOT your oven ! ! ! If your budget is a concern you can fashion a heat treatment if need be for items that cannot be placed in the dryer.
Let me know if any remaining questions.
Hope this helps ! paul b.
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