Help with non-clothing items please!(12 posts)
We just found out that we have bed bugs. I was in bed last night and one crawled right across my arm. I have been getting bites since early October, but I thought it was due to recently diagnosed Celiac Disease, and not because of bed bugs. Last night cleared all that up.
Anyway, we have taken all the precautions mentioned here, and contacted a PCO and our landlord who will be treating the apartment on Monday.
We have our clothes sealed, and are working our way through cleaning and re-sealing all of them. What a chore!
I just have a question - I have a rather large closet. It is about 6-8 ft from the bed, where we found the bugs (we found about 10 live bugs in the bed frame, and some eggs. the bed frame was the only place that we found the bugs - so far) and I sealed all the clothes that were hanging, or on the shelves. I have a dresser that is plastic (Ikea) and I don't know whether I should bag the clothes in there or not? I also have some stuffed animals on the top shelf - about 5ft off the floor. Are these in danger?
Finally - I have a lot of bags in my closet as well. Many purses, gym bags, etc. I have no idea what to do with these. They were not near the bed, and the bugs do not seem to have gotten into the baseboards. I have no idea how far the bugs can travel, but they seemed pretty isolated - even to just one area of the bed frame.
I don't mean to take this all lightly, because I know the bugs can hide well. However, I expected to find a lot more bugs than I did, so I am not sure the extent of the infestation and just want to get back to normal as soon as possible.
Any advice is appreciated.
You can bake shoes and purses at your lowest oven setting (mine was 200 degrees) for 20 - 30 minutes. Make sure you watch your stuff carefully; you obviously don't want a fire!
There are a ton of FAQs organized by topic, it can take a little digging to find all the ones you need. The ones relevant to your question are here: http://bedbugger.com/faqs/stuff/
While there are people who no doubt succeed in eradicating their bedbugs without washing everything, it's not what I would recommend. I think it's a mistake many people make. (Not only may people be mistaken about the extent of the spread of their infestation, without removing clothes from dressers and closets, how are PCOs going to be able to treat those locations?)*
That said, what was your PCO's specific advice? Your PCO should have given you clear guidance on this and other matters. Call them up and have a chat.
Absent specific guidance from your PCO, you could perhaps see if the problem is resolved relatively quickly with just the measures you are contemplating now. If it is not, then, well, you should reconsider your preparation.
One very important thing though: please don't wear clothes outside or to work that have not been washed and kept bagged, even if you believe your infestation is small and contained, etc. You can keep the other clothes you do not intend to wash in your apartment. If there are any bugs, they eventually have to come out to try to get to you. But don't wear any of it until your infestation is eradicated.
As for stuff that is not washable, my preference would be to leave it out. Unbagged.
The FAQs explain the nuances of these various approaches to non-clothing items.
Best of luck.
*Although a plastic piece of furniture can just be washed. How lucky is that.
Also, don't forget to take down and wash any window drapes/curtains.
The PCO simply told us to bag our clothes. We were kind of in shock when we spoke to him so I didn't think of the questions to ask right away. Also he hasn't seen what our apartment looks like.
I have bagged all my clothes, except for those that have been closed in the dresser that is far away from the site of the bugs. No clothes will be worn by me, anywhere unless they have been through the wash and a hot dryer.
I guess if I am worried about my stuffed animals then I can put them through a hot dryer, or steam clean them. I am most concerned about some of the bags I have. I cannot put a leather bag in the dryer. I was just going to carefully inspect each bag by hand and vaccuum them thoroughly. I guess I could steam clean these as well?
It just seems like there are so many instances where noone can give me a definite answer on things, and that is the most frustrating thing of all. If I knew for 100% sure that I could do a certain thing and the bugs would be gone and stay away, I would be a lot less worried.
If you spray rubbing alcohol on stuff it will kill any bugs it touches. Take care.
If I were you (and I WAS you a couple of months ago) I woukd wash every single washable item and I would put anything in the dryer that seemed even remotely dryable. For me, in a few cases, that meant I shrank some clothes beyond repair. FOr some blankets and bedclothes, I was able to heat them in the dryer, even though they didn't fit in the washer. For stuff that I could not either wash or dry, I had different tactics. Some stuff - like books - went out to the detached garage to live for awhile. They're still out there, six months later, though I don't really think any BBs are still alive. I bagged some things (clothes requiring dry cleaning) and put them in the car, which I then parked in the sun for several days (this was back in July and August). Finally, there were some things, like suitcases, purses, shoes, the cat's scratching post, small rugs, cushions from the sofa, that I took outside, vacuumed, then sprayed with insecticide (Bedlam or Suspend). I also threw some things away. Not much danger here of things being trashpicked.
The dryer is your friend - don't be shy about using it.
The reason that it's difficult to be prescriptive is that bedbugs can hide in tricky places and the eggs and the smallest bedbugs can be hard to see. We generally know what kills them, the problem is finding them. There's no recipe that fits every situation.
I would run the stuffed animals through the dryer.
Inspecting and vacuuming the bags would be good.
Do not take things from the bedroom to other areas in your home.
The PCO basically needs room to work and access to all the locations/furniture that will be treated. And this includes closets.
You can use rubbing alcohol like pleasenotme suggests for any bugs you see, but remember that it will likely mar some surfaces.
Murphy's Oil Soap is another contact killer (provided you reach all the crevices and nooks and crannies of whatever it is you are so treating). And just washing in hot water/soap. Lots of things can be washed (like blinds). Vacuuming carefully can help.
Steam cleaning is also an option but I'm not sure that every type of bag would survive it. In addition to the oven method, some people, who have their own dryers, buy dryer racks for them so that they can put things like shoes in for a few minutes (no tumbling).
You're going to be fine. Concentrate on what you can do (prioritizing clothes and linen) and leave the rest for the PCO.
I didn't see buggeroff's post. Agreed, the dryer is our friend.
However, I don't think you should use pesticides yourself unless you know what you are doing. And do not use them before the PCO's visit.
BuggedinOttawa: Hi there, Northern BC here. I never used pyjamas and basically just stored seldom used clothes in it so I thought my cheap pressed wood dresser would not be infested. But prior to PCO treatment I found one adult bug chasing me in broad daylight from out under the dresser. Well they do like wood dressers.
In my bachelor suite, the dresser, the lounge chair and my accursed tongue-in-groove murphy bed were the only places I ever saw evidence of live or dead bugs.
If there's any places in your plastic dresser that can't be visually inspected and carefully cleaned you'll have to have it treated. If you don't, even when you think you've seen all the eggs/nymphs, you haven't so I hope you are very, very thorough. I know they will lay eggs on plastic and can walk on it too, I have seen it with my own eyes- I captured some adults in a plastic jar and raised a crop of nymphs from eggs.
Also, any any paperwork, fuzzy toys or clothes that you skip out on heat or wash/dry treating for sentimental reasons might be the source for renewed infestation.
People can't give you a definitive answer because BBS are unpredictable, being the insects they are. But there's a lot of accumulated wisdom both here and on the web. If you follow it you can minimize your chances of persistent agony.
I should add that there is a librarian protocol to heat paperwork at 130degF for 3hrs to kill insects (remember to include a pan of water to keep some humidity). Any longer will melt binding glue (I know I forgot one night and it did). Also, till tape receipts are heat sensitive so they will turn dark. Annoying if you need the receipts for business!
See the 'Bookworm' section, Paragraph #7:
Thanks everyone. This has been the most exhausting 36 hours of my life.
We are working to get things under control. Being in an apartment and having to PAY to do all my laundry is awful. We ran out of change, so we have to wait until the banks open tomorrow to get more change.
We have cleaned as much as we can clean and slept on our isolated mattress last night (the Orkin man was so kind and dropped off an approved mattress cover for us) and we did not get any bites.
I am relaxing a little bit, but I do not deal well with chaos in my life so I am struggling some.
We threw out our bed frame. It was a cheap IKEA one and we wanted to get a new one anyway. It creeped us out to have it in the apartment.
I guess the one good thing out of all of this is that I now know that what I thought were hives from complications with Celiac Disease were actually bug bites! Now I know that I have, indeed been following my gluten-free diet like I was supposed to. All this time I have thought that my food was being cross-contaminated from something else in the apartment!
I am just praying that this is over as soon as possible. Thanks for all the help everyone.
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