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How to move without bringing the bugs along?

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  1. sistersalvation

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Apr 24 2012 14:29:13
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    The building I live in has chronic bedbug problems that the management company has been ineffectively treating for years. It's a fairly large building, so I didn't have a problem with them until recently, but based on what I've heard from other tenants, I am confident in saying it won't be going away. They have been using the same company (which does a one-time chemical treatment) and are not open to trying anything else. I'm done with them, so I'm getting out of here.

    Clearly, the main issue for me now is moving without taking any of my new little friends along. I need to go about this in as careful a manner as possible, and have been developing a plan, but would appreciate any input. I don't have very much stuff, so I'm fine with just getting rid of everything if it comes down to that, but if I can save anything, I'd like to. My major concerns are electronics and my mattress.

    Here's my plan so far:

    1. Clothes and linens -- expose to sufficient heat in the dryer and place in sealed plastic bags (I have some Ziplock XXL bags I plan on using. If I run out of those, I will double bag everything in garbage bags and seal over the tie with mailing tape). I will wipe down the outside of the bags with isopropyl alcohol before taking them to my new apartment.

    2. Books -- buy plastic bins, seal them in there, and leave packed for a couple of years. I talked to someone that helps people prepare for exterminations, and he suggested wiping down the books with isopropyl alcohol, but I don't know that that would be sufficient.

    3. Couch -- dispose of properly.

    4. Assorted furniture (shoe rack, bookshelves, coffee table, etc) -- clean thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol or dispose of. It's all cheap IKEA stuff, so I'm not too attached to any of it.

    5. Cookware/dishes/assorted kitchen stuff/toiletries -- wash thoroughly.

    6. Shoes -- carefully inspect visually and wipe down with isopropyl alcohol.

    Things I haven't quite figured out:

    1. My plant -- I'd really like to take this with me, and from what I've heard, bedbugs don't really infest plants. I have no idea how to treat it, and save from giving it to my mom (who could keep it outside over the summer), no idea what to do with it.

    2. Mattress/box spring -- I have them in encasements, but what about treating the outside of the encasement? I'm also afraid the encasements will be damaged during the move (it was nearly impossible to get the mattress in here, so I'm afraid there'll be scraping/tearing while moving it out-- granted, if it's done carefully, it might be ok, but that still doesn't account for the outside of the encasement). Should I just get a new mattress? I'm open to sticking it in a moving truck and getting it treated (along with my other stuff), but I've been trying to figure out options, and have been having a difficult time doing so. I live in Chicago. I've talked to Smithereen (who would only be able to treat the unit, so that's out, since there's no point to only treating my unit and the management company isn't going to change exterminators any time soon), McCloud hasn't gotten back to me, and everyone else I've called has no way to treat a truck.

    3. Electronics -- I do freelance video work, so I've got camera equipment and a computer that I can't easily replace. I haven't been able to figure out anything to do with these. Extermination Prep Guy suggested carefully vacuuming them and wiping them down with isopropyl alcohol, but this doesn't seem like it would be effective enough.

    4. The cat -- Going to get him a haircut and possibly take him to the vet for some sort of bath if possible, but again, not certain what to do here.

    5. The vacuum.

    6. My car. I really don't want to take any chances.

    I am moving, with or without my stuff (save for the electronics, which are my biggest dilemma), but either way, I need to make sure I don't take the problem along with me. What are my options? I've been doing a lot of reading on this site, and have yet to find any real options in my area. Heat treating a moving truck seems possible, but again, I'm left with the dilemma of the electronics. As far as I've read, there are no options in the area for Vikane gas in a moving truck (although I have no real knowledge of how expensive or effective that would be).

    Any advice would be appreciated. I hope I don't come across as careless or treating the problem flippantly, but the only way I'm staying sane right now is by not thinking of it. I am definitely doing everything in my power to make sure they don't come along, which is why I need whatever help I can get.

  2. cilecto

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Tue Apr 24 2012 15:06:14
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    Sister, here's our FAQ on getting BB out of "stuff". http://bedbugger.com/faqs/stuff/ The most secure approach is to have a fumigation (Vikane gas, not a "fogger" or bomb) service fumigate your truck or belongings en route to your new place.

    Here are my non-expert takes on your approach:

    There are uses for "contact killers", like alcohol, but it has its limits and there are alternatives. Alcohol will only kill those bugs (and not eggs) that you spray directly (you can achieve the same with your fingers and/or a tissue). Alcohol can damage surfaces. Alcohol is flammable. As an alternative to alcohol (also only as a contact killer), you can use detergent. Heat is also very effective if used properly, and will kill eggs.

    1. Clothes and linens -- expose to sufficient heat in the dryer and place in sealed plastic bags (I have some Ziplock XXL bags I plan on using. If I run out of those, I will double bag everything in garbage bags and seal over the tie with mailing tape). I will wipe down the outside of the bags with isopropyl alcohol before taking them to my new apartment. Use any bags or containers that you can secure. avoid the alcohol, as it can dissolve some plastics. Just be "aware" of the exterior of the bags as you're moving them (on exiting old place and entering new place).

    2. Books -- buy plastic bins, seal them in there, and leave packed for a couple of years. I talked to someone that helps people prepare for exterminations, and he suggested wiping down the books with isopropyl alcohol, but I don't know that that would be sufficient. Paperbacks: Inspect (between pages, edges, behind creases), apply pressure to the book to kill anything between the pages. Hardcovers: Packtite. No alcohol. Of limited value and will likely just damage the book.

    3. Couch -- dispose of properly. There are some approaches, such as sealing in a giant bag, fumigation.

    4. Assorted furniture (shoe rack, bookshelves, coffee table, etc) -- clean thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol or dispose of. It's all cheap IKEA stuff, so I'm not too attached to any of it. Inspect carefully, with attention to hollows, insides, seams. Heat (steam, packtite), contact killer (detergent).

    5. Cookware/dishes/assorted kitchen stuff/toiletries -- wash thoroughly. Yes, be mindful of nooks, seams. A dishwasher should do fine with dishes.

    6. Shoes -- carefully inspect visually and wipe down with isopropyl alcohol. Packtite, steam. If you're going to apply a contact killer on shoes, use a soap, like "Murphy's". It's much more gentle on leather.

    Things I haven't quite figured out:

    1. My plant -- I'd really like to take this with me, and from what I've heard, bedbugs don't really infest plants. I have no idea how to treat it, and save from giving it to my mom (who could keep it outside over the summer), no idea what to do with it. Perhaps an inspection and a spray with insecticidal soap for plants, observing for movement. Pay attention to the exterior and bottom of the pot, especially if it's wicker.

    2. Mattress/box spring -- I have them in encasements, but what about treating the outside of the encasement? I'm also afraid the encasements will be damaged during the move (it was nearly impossible to get the mattress in here, so I'm afraid there'll be scraping/tearing while moving it out-- granted, if it's done carefully, it might be ok, but that still doesn't account for the outside of the encasement). Should I just get a new mattress? I'm open to sticking it in a moving truck and getting it treated (along with my other stuff), but I've been trying to figure out options, and have been having a difficult time doing so. I live in Chicago. I've talked to Smithereen (who would only be able to treat the unit, so that's out, since there's no point to only treating my unit and the management company isn't going to change exterminators any time soon), McCloud hasn't gotten back to me, and everyone else I've called has no way to treat a truck. Inspect the encasement surfaces. Perhaps a steaming. Protect them with extra wrapping (bubble wrap, perhaps) and a giant poly bag. There are operators with trucks that have built in heaters. Most popular option for a truck is Vikane.

    3. Electronics -- I do freelance video work, so I've got camera equipment and a computer that I can't easily replace. I haven't been able to figure out anything to do with these. Extermination Prep Guy suggested carefully vacuuming them and wiping them down with isopropyl alcohol, but this doesn't seem like it would be effective enough. Vacuum & observe. Wipe the outsides with damp napkin (with electronics cleaner, if you wish), with attention to holes, nooks, seams, etc. Packtite the cases.

    4. The cat -- Going to get him a haircut and possibly take him to the vet for some sort of bath if possible, but again, not certain what to do here. Clean & groom. BB do not like hanging out on living things when not feeding. It's the carrier that needs attention.

    5. The vacuum. Disassemble and inspect. Or Packtite.

    6. My car. I really don't want to take any chances. Inspect. Vacuum interior thoroughly (might require removal & flip over of seats). In worst case, can be Vikaned. We hear that for some reason, BB don't infest cars that often.

    I am moving, with or without my stuff (save for the electronics, which are my biggest dilemma), but either way, I need to make sure I don't take the problem along with me. What are my options? I've been doing a lot of reading on this site, and have yet to find any real options in my area. Heat treating a moving truck seems possible, but again, I'm left with the dilemma of the electronics. As far as I've read, there are no options in the area for Vikane gas in a moving truck (although I have no real knowledge of how expensive or effective that would be). People have taken their things "out of area" for Vikane.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I hope I don't come across as careless or treating the problem flippantly, but the only way I'm staying sane right now is by not thinking of it. I am definitely doing everything in my power to make sure they don't come along, which is why I need whatever help I can get.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  3. blackadder44

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed Apr 25 2012 19:01:50
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    That was a great reply, and helpful to me as well

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Apr 26 2012 3:14:14
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    As an alternative to Vikane, a firm called Insect Inferno sells heating trailers -- you could call and ask them if anyone has one locally who can treat your stuff.

    It's http://www.insectinferno.com/

    Though they're just marketing the tool, I am sure they could help you find a local service if there is one.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. esperanza

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Apr 26 2012 22:28:37
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    I had my moving truck gassed in Chicago (successfully -- no signs of bugs 8 months later). I also considered heat treatment, which was offered in our area as of last summer. So I will share what I found out with you.

    McCloud treated my truck with Vikane for around $450. I was ultimately happy with the service because it worked, but getting in touch with them was difficult because their main salesperson never responded to my messages. I kept having to call the main line, and then they would get him to call me. Eventually, they gave me the number of the location that does the gas, and those people answered the phone, answered all of my questions, and set up the appointment for me. I don't know why their salesman is so bad at getting back to potential customers -- but I found that I really had to be persistant and call other McCloud numbers to get help.

    The company that offered heat treatment in Chicago was Gold Seal Pest. It was more expensive but still under $1000 for the size truck I was using -- I don't remember the exact quote. The person who does it was good about getting in touch with me. He also answered a question over e-mail for me, and he seemed competent and helpful. I strongly considered using Gold Seal -- it was basically a toss-up for me since I felt both would have the same chance of working -- but ultimately went with the gas.

    So, if you want to get a truck treated, you have the option of gas or heat in Chicago.

    I caught my infestation in the VERY early stages (I think I caught a couple coming in from another unit, because my stuff had no signs and I never had any bites), and I also threw out my bed & couch for peace of mind, so I doubt I took many (if any) bugs on to the truck before I got it treated. So I can report that the gas worked for me, but I may have just been lucky because of early detection.

  6. sistersalvation

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed May 16 2012 2:03:15
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    Thank you for your responses-- they've been very helpful and I'm currently sifting through all my stuff trying to decide what to do item by item. I think I may be able to fit everything that can't be treated in the dryer into my car, and then get it all Vikane-d. It seems like the easiest and most cost-effective way to ensure that my miscellaneous difficult-to-treat items are taken care of.

    Esperanza, I have been having the same problem with McCloud-- I've called multiple times and have yet to hear from any sales agent. Is there any chance you have the name of the company that does the gas, or their number? I'm going to call McCloud again tomorrow and see if I can manage to get that information out of them. The heat treatment isn't as appealing, as it still leaves me worrying about my electronics.

    On an unrelated note, my kitchen sink backed up and flooded all over the place this morning. I can't wait to get out of this building.

  7. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Wed May 16 2012 4:36:19
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    You can contact Dow for a list of fumigation providers in your area.

  8. Itchygirl44

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Wed Sep 11 2013 19:44:48
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    I recently discovered I have bed bugs. I feel like I have entered the Twilight Zone. I feel so overwhelmed and sad. Reading everyone's posts is helping me get though this. Up until a few weeks ago I had no knowledge of bed bugs or even the thought of ever getting bed bugs. I just wanted to say I am grateful for this forum.


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