K-9 clear - Can we put clothes back?(9 posts)
We've been getting treatment since the end of December- on Jan 22 a K9 inspection alerted in one area of the master Bedroom and cleared the rest of the house. More treatment and then last, Sat. Feb 19, The same dog cleared the entire house. It's hard to say the last time I was bitten but for its been some time. (in the beginning I knew exactly what the bites were- now it seems I've just occasionally get red spots and some I know are old bite sights.) My last real definite bite - at least a month. My husband insists on putting clothes back in his drawers today (of course, clean and dried)- I am waiting. Just don't feel good about it yet-wish he would wait too but I can't convince him. Do you all think its too soon or is the K9 clear good enough? It was by a reputable company and dog.
Maybe your husband doesn't mind doing laundry, but if I were you, I'd wait at least 3 months from the last "spot" on your skin. I hope you're also using some type of passive monitors.
Personally, I would place my clothes back in the drawers and monitor the sleeping areas with a BB Alert Passive... Not just based on the K9 search, but based on all of the evidence... No bites for at least one month + Negative K9 search + No visual sightings for a prolonged time = Move to the next step.... The next logical step is to unbag the isolated contents and continue to observe for any signs of live activity.
In some cases, there is still an problem in the isolated contents that doesn't pop up until the bags are opened... I realize this can be an anxiety provoking event...Go ahead and open the bags... if you want to make some incremental progress.
Look at this way... If we find more bugs after he puts his clothes back in the drawers... You will be entitled to say "I told you so" at least once.... Just kidding... The stress can take a real toll on our lives... I am just suggesting that moving forward could reduce the amount of tension that has built up over the subject.
All the items coming out have been washed and dried- I'm leaving approx 20 bags of books, etc bagged for the 18 months and leaving them in the garage. We really don't need the items and I don't want to chance that. I actually wish I had not bagged all those items or took them out long ago. If I listen to others advice I will be living out of bags for close to 6 months - that's just too much. All I can say and I've said it before, if this ever happens again I will definitely go with the thermal treatment. I had not done enough research in the beginning and panicked. This has been overwhelming but I do see an end in sight. I may just suggest we hang up some clothes and leave the drawers for later (closets are across the room while dressers are much closer to the bed.) Thanks!
Thermal and Vikane gas treatment can dramatically reduce the cost and time spent on prep work, but some bed bug specialists like Killer Queen and David Cain utilize a chemical treatment protocol that does not require extensive use of isolation methods like washing and bagging for successful treatment.
I think that in the future," washing and bagging" will be viewed as an old school treatment approach.
Reducing clutter, sealing, vacuuming and other prep activities are helpful, but there are alternatives to washing and bagging or dry cleaning every item of clothing in the residence.
My house was pretty much "clutterless" already. If in the future I could find a local PCO like the two you mentioned then maybe I would do chemical treatment again. But like many on here, my PCO gave little instruction except to bag everything and I was frantic so I did it. I took every book off the shelf in my daughter's room and there were many. They are still iffy now about when to put things back- no real definitive answers from them-that's why I came here. We got the K9 separate from them- not part of their service. What alternative methods are you speaking of to washing and bagging? I'm curious?
David Cain and KQ have said they prefer to treat an undisturbed environment... Prep activities can spread bugs that might otherwise be found harboring in predictable locations... Sometimes viable eggs and live bugs end up inside of the bagged contents and get reintroduced into the household when the bags are opened weeks later.
Thermal and gas fumigation can be used to treat contents as an alternative to expensive dry cleaning or labor intensive isolation strategies like washing and bagging every item of clothing.
This is a tough question for a lot of people. I didn't take my very last stuff out of sealed bags until nearly 2 years after my infestation because I can tell you that every.single.time I unbagged something or brought back in items that weren't in the residence during treatment (thermal), I went through a whole new wave of anxiety for several weeks.
As for clothes that were bagged--the only clothes I would leave bagged are clothes that you don't want to have to launder again. That is to say, if you're okay with having to rewash and dry on high heat a particular item, it's fine to put it back. Bagging of clothes after laundering them is basically about making items easier to treat for the PCO (spraying will take much longer if the PCO has to stop and empty each drawer).
As for other items, well, that's a harder call.
If you live somewhere where using thermal or heat to treat not the whole home but a subset of your stuff, that's a great option. Thermal and Vikane, if done properly, are both one time only treatments. Prep for each is slightly different (Vikane cannot penetrate plastic, so everything has to come out of plastic. Heat can damage some items that are safe for Vikane treatment.) However, sadly, places that will treat a container of your stuff with either are not widely available. I say sadly because these are, hands down, (when done properly) the most reliable way to treat items that chemical didn't take care of.
If you're living in a home with any unattached outbuildings (a storage shed, an unattached garage that no one lives in), you could also consider using DDVP strips in sealed--as air-tight as possible--containers to treat the bagged items. DDVP isn't without its risks, and there's a lively debate among pest control professionals about how effective is it when used this way, so please understand that I'm not advocating it so much as describing alternatives that you might want to look into.
DDVP strips offgas a chemical pesticide (the last organophosphate available to laypeople like us) that can kill bed bugs. DDVP strips can be sealed up inside the bags that have your possibly infested items.
However, DDVP strips are only labeled for use in unoccupied structures. They can be extremely toxic if used improperly, and that means NOT using them in occupied structures under any circumstances.
In addition, getting a truly air-tight seal that will stay sealed isn't easy. And some pros feel that without a system to circulate the air inside the container, they aren't effective.
I'm an English major, not chem major or a pest professional. I did choose to use DDVP strips to treat the CDs and DVDs that had to be removed from my apartment during thermal treatment.
Those CDs and DVDs were stored in sealed containers (Rubbermaid bins that had been duct taped shut within an inch of their lives) for about 8 months outside my home. I was anxious about possibly reintroducing a bug, so for extra security, I put a DDVP strip in each bin and resealed the containers for a few weeks. I then opened each one--one at a time--in a very well ventilated area (the driveway) and brought the goods back inside.
Likely, the goods were never infested.
And I was careful in how I disposed of the strips afterwards.
I would be hesitant to put DDVP strips in plastic bags stored outside without putting those bags into something else. It's too easy for pests like mice to chew a hole in the bag. At that point, you're not only offgassing an organophosphate into wherever the bags are, but you're lessening its effectiveness on treating what's in the bag.
And you need to be very careful to make sure you're not offgassing organophosphates into places where they might affect other people. For example, using a room you're not using that shares a wall with someone else's residence (like in a row house), could introduce organophosphates to someone else who doesn't know to be on the look out for symptoms of organophosphate poisoning.
Thermal and Vikane are much better options for treating items that didn't get treated by the chemical treatment in your home. However, if those aren't available and you're willing to do the thorough research and take the proper safety precautions that educating yourself about self-treatment always requires, you can look into treating bagged items with DDVP strips as one possibility alongside thermal or Vikane treatment of some belongings. I can't tell you if it's a good option for you, but I can tell you that it is an option to be investigated.
Hope that helps. I'm glad your overall treatment is going well.
I am okay with leaving the rest of the bagged, untreated items in the garage for 18 months- they are mostly books, and knick-knack from my daughter's room who is away at college anyway. She can do without these items while she is home. I think most of these items are bb free anyway but I don't want to chance it.
I wanted to keep clothes bagged a little longer - even though I hate the whole process. (I actually afraid I may have been bit 2 nights ago-so hard to tell) but if my husband insists, he can and jus know he may have to wash them all again. He doesn't have tons of clothes. I really jus wish this were over once and for all. I must reiterate- never again will I do all this -thermal for me if it ever happens again!
I may wait another couple weeks and see how it goes and if I have to bring a K9 back. Again thanks to all for responses.
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