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How can I fight this when I live in a warehouse art space?????

(8 posts)
  1. bbsohgod

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 17:40:40
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    I live in a concrete warehouse with (illegally) 8 other people, all their belongings, not to mention we have hand-built a theatre in our space and have stores of costumes, fabric, curtains, props, set pieces, paintings, bikes, a wood shop, and general CRAP EVERYWHERE! I did the stupidest thing possible - I picked up a piece of furniture off the street, and it was infested, and now so are we. All my roommates are being really positive and hopeful about the situation but I am despairing. I feel like I ruined everything we have worked so hard for, and now we might have to move or get rid of everything.
    We are constantly having tons of people over to shows and sleeping here on tour, and I am afraid they are all going to be infested as well. If we were to be careful at all, we basically have to stop being artists and cancel all future shows, including a mostly-booked US tour. The worst part is, there's no way we can afford an exterminator, and our landlord is a piece of [expletive deleted] that wouldn't fix a thing, especially this. I've tried all the things this site warns you not to do in my own room, like bombing, cleaning, and DE dusting, but I am still getting bit and I am worried about my roommates. I really don't know what to do. Are there any DIY success stories?? I'm a pretty die-hard DIY-er in every aspect of life, and I can't believe Karma could be so cruel. Really, any words of hope from other experienced readers would be helpful in my climb out of this pit of despair.

  2. bbsohgod

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 17:59:07
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    OH YEAH AND WE DON'T HAVE A F***ING DRYER EITHER.

  3. bugnut

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 18:01:45
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    You poor thing! If I were you I would get rid of all of the clothes you don't care about (I did this) clean the rest with hot water and in the dryer or dry clothes into the dryer 20 mins and put into large ziplocs (expensive - use only for everyday stuff) or contractor heavy duty garbage bags very well duct taped shut. Then try and isolate your bed - keep bedding from touching the floor and double sided tape around the legs. You will sleep better. DE can work, but SLOWLY and only if they walk thru a thin layer of it. It works best in conjunction with other methods. The foggers will drive them into cracks and they will eventually return. An exterminator is really the only way to go. If there are 8 of you, you could each chip in $100 or so. If you don't get rid of them they will make your life miserable - trust me - this is the SECOND time I have had them (separate infestations - this one courtesy of an expensive vacation destination). If you live in NYC, pm me and I will give you the name of a reasonably priced exterminator that worked for me and several of our tenants. Maybe because you live in a concrete warehouse it could be done in as few as one treatment. Good luck!

  4. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 20:05:40
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    Do you have a lease for that space? Is it zoned commercial or residential? Look and see if there is anything like Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in your city and call them immediately. They may be able to help solve your problem. They often know about funds or patrons of the arts that can help pay for your place to get exterminated. They can also tell you whether you can make your landlord pay for the treatment or not.

    In the meantime, it's a good time to go through all your art and living stuff...purge what really is not necessary to keep (i know, i know everything can possibly be used for something -- especial when building sets, etc) but if you're going to beat that problem, you're probably going to have to streamline your possessions.

  5. bushbugg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 20:24:13
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    I know the kind of space youre talking about. Let me ask some questions so that the older timer people can better answer.

    Is your floor the only one occupied? What business do the other floors run (textiles or cardboard in large amounts may allow them to hide on other loors longer, but if people arent sleeping there, I wouldnt count on it)
    Is it all concrete or are there wooden columns? Wooden floors or ceiling?
    Did the people in the space put up drywall themselves? Does the drywall go floor to ceiling?
    Does the landlord know youre living there, or is it just the city that doesnt consider it a living space?
    Have you seen any bedbugs or droppings or do you just suspect the bites are bedbug related?
    If there are signs of infestation, is it limited at the moment to one part of the space?

    Id try and come up with a plan. Read more on this site and others and investigate a PCO. If your landlord helps you, good, but since its illegal you may have a problem calling 311.

    p.s. I hope to god this isnt my friends in Philly. Sounds just like them. EEP!

  6. cilecto

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Jun 14 2010 23:50:35
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    BBsOhGod. You have a space with 7 other people and lots of stuff. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of people and their stuff come through in any month. You're a a creative community, which means collecting, trading and adapting stuff. (And selling to others.) I'd consider all that "risky" (disclaimer; I'm not an expert). You are at risk from your visitors and neighbors and they from you. I'd also not be so quick to "pin" blame for this on your particular action.

    This sounds like the "McKibbin Lofts" in Bushwick, which got a lot of publicity, incuding about its bedbugs, and even made it into the story line of "Law & Order" (noted on this site's 'blog).

    If I were visiting or living here, I'd minimize what I expose and prepare in advance for the day when I need to move on and do so safely. To me, you issue is "huge", bigger than just tossing stuff and washing and bagging your stuff, or just calling a PCO. I'm sure you "need" lots of your stuff, and a lot of it (and your walls and floor boards) won't fit anyway. And you will need to deal with the fact that like a hotel room or theater, you are at constant risk for re-infestation. I think you're gonna need to strategize big time about how to deal with this. (People, cities and public health officials need to come up with a strategy for this kind of situation if this kind of vital, creative element of urban life is to survive in the age of BBs.)

    Please do visit the Resources page and read the practice guides. Perhaps Cornell's guide to BB in shared living might be of help. http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/bb_guidelines/ Perhaps you could reach out to someone in academia (like Jodi Gangloff Kaufman at Cornell, Lou Sorkin at the Museum of Naural History or Changlu Wang at Rutgers) for "out of the box" ideas.

    Again, I'm no expert, but barring the re-infestation issue (and the possiblity that your neighbors are also infested), I wonder if "thermal" could help you resolve this issue quickly. (Not like the Greenpoint Terminal "thermal", mind you.) AFAIK, it's relatively new to NYC and probably expensive.

    Another option (for treating your things, not space), if you have the space and expertise, is to build a "bed bug sauna". This method was pioneered by the Vancouver Housing Authority, They build a room where bagged stuff can be brought and "baked". They even published plans online. http://www.bchousing.org/resources/Programs/ILBC/technical%20bulletins/29-09-12-15-Heat_Treatment_Room_for_Bed_Bugs.pdf

    Short-term maybe it does come down to treating "just your stuff", isolating your sleeping and(which can bring other complications) and treating your skin reactions. Learning how to prevent spread to your visitors or buyers and the places you visit. And strategizing for the day you move on.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Jun 15 2010 23:45:28
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    bugnut - 1 day ago  » 
    Then try and isolate your bed - keep bedding from touching the floor and double sided tape around the legs.

    I recommend CLimbUps instead. I know you're broke but at $20 per bed I would rather catch bed bugs coming and going than possibly deter them (cause them to roam) with tape.

    The bed FAQ will help. So might the DE FAQ, though I strongly recommend you get an experienced, knowledgeable pro, both because DE is slow, and may take forever if bed bugs don't cross the dust, but also since by fogging you have probably already made this an even more difficult to treat situation.

    (Note to others: where FAQs exist, it's usually best to recommend them, since the process of isolating/protecting a bed, for example, is complicated.)

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

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Tue Jun 15 2010 23:49:16
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    bugnut - 1 day ago  » 

    If you live in NYC, pm me and I will give you the name of a reasonably priced exterminator that worked for me and several of our tenants. Maybe because you live in a concrete warehouse it could be done in as few as one treatment. Good luck!

    bugnut, why not make your recommendations publicly?


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