lets try this again...(2 posts)
I wrote an earlier post, but had no luck with responses. I'm guessing because it was a bit of a novel. Hm, and might come across as slightly rambled. Bed bugs can make you crazy I think.
Anyways, just a few questions. I'm sure they've been asked a lot, and I appologize if they have.
What's the best way to get rid of BB's from electronics? I wanted to have my moving trailer heat treated, but the only thermapure PCO here said he didn't think it would work, and he has a minimum rate of $850. And we don't have Vikane here. And I can't afford a Packtite.
Will using the shared dryers to heat treat clothing, hold the risk of getting more bed bugs anyways? There are a lot of units in this building that have BB's, so I'm worried.
What are the chances that I can carry BB's or eggs out on my bagged stuff?
Can bed bugs live and lay eggs in the dogs fur (or even ears)?I don't see bites on her, but she shakes her head a lot, and when brushing her out, I've seen little white "particles" come out from deep in her fur. I'm hoping its dry skin, or maybe shampoo residue.
Last but not least, Anyone know the instant death temp. for all life stages of BB's? I've seen info about death over time being between 114.7F - 125F, but I'm getting a steamer to treat a few things, and I don't know how long I have to go over things with it.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
1. The best way to get rid of bed bugs from electronics is either Vikane or whatever anoxic treatment museums use on delicate items. Both are, as you have already pointed out, expensive--often to the point of being out of reach of mere mortals like us--and hard to find.
Second best would likely be treating the whole residence with conventional chemical treatment, which means putting down residuals and waiting for the hungry bugs (or newly hatched hungry nymphs) to leave the electronics in search of a meal.
I don't think that putting electronic items in a Packtite is a good idea. I know people do it, but many of the people who've done it (not all, perhaps, but many) are folks who aren't still posting two years post treatment to let us know that their electronic devices are still working two or three years down the line after treatment. Since I had three electronic items that failed after my home was heat treated (partly my own fault, I forgot to unplug them), two of which failed immediately, one of which failed about 6 months to a year later, I'm a bit more conservative about that than many people, but it's also because I worry about the long term, not just the first 6 months. That worry is partly because experience strongly suggests to me that the financial stress of bed bugs lasts a long time.
Some people have used DDVP strips in air-tight containers that are stored outside of places that people live to debug items that cannot be treated with heat. (Full disclosure: I did this.) DDVP can be very useful stuff, but it's the last organophosphate labeled for use in the US, and organophosphate poisoning is nothing you want to mess around with, so read carefully and educate yourself fully before you even consider it seriously.
There were concerns that too long with the DDVP strips might cause corrosion of electronic devices. I didn't use it on electronics. I used it on DVDs and CDs. The best science I've seen suggests that the corrosion may be the result not of the gaseous form but a liquid spray (which isn't licensed for use by people like us anyway) and/or can be avoided by not using the strips for more than three weeks (if the gaseous form causes it,which we're pretty sure it doesn't.)
It's not available in all states. And I cannot stress enough that it should not be used in structures that are occupied by people and animals (like homes). It has been used in places like detached garages or storage sheds. (I put the strips into Rubbermaid bins then sealed the ever-living crap out of the bins with a lot of duct tape--paying extra attention to the little holes in the bins that weren't right on the seal between lid and bin bottom. If I had to do it again, I might use contractor bags inside the bins too to be extra safe.) I stored them outside of my apartment for about three or four weeks. This was all probably overkill anyway as the bins contained the items that couldn't be in my apartment during heat treatment. Those bins had been sealed up, air tight for about 8 months post treatment already, and I found very little evidence that there were bugs in my living room anyway. The PCOs didn't think it likely that the bugs were in those items to begin with.
So. We're talking about a few straggler bugs at the most who'd managed to live food free for 8 months. Outside of any climate control in a southern California summer and fall. If any bugs were still alive, three weeks with DDVP surely would have taken them out.
DDVP is potentially dangerous stuff, and I did a lot of reading and thinking about how to handle it before I chose this method. When I opened the bins later, I let them sit outside for a good 30 minutes before I brought them inside, and after emptying the items out, I took them right back outside where they sat for several months again. (Probably overkill, but I wanted to be safe.)
You should educate yourself about DDVP--particularly the effects of acute overexposure to look for on the MSDS for the chemical (it's the second page that lists those) before you attempt to use DDVP strips.
I'm a big believer that like DE they can be an important part of an overall plan of attack on bed bugs, but they shouldn't be used lightly by people not fully aware of the possible consequences.
They shouldn't be. Things going into the dryers are going to get heated up to the thermal death point. At those temps, even if there are bugs from neighbors in there when you start (and that would only be because other people hadn't run them long enough), the bugs and eggs will be dead after you've run the dryers long enough.
Hitch hikers on plastic bags.
Bed bugs are surprisingly bad climbers, and they're not especially good on plastic. (Remember that the Climb Up interceptors use plastic to make it harder for the critters to climb out. They also use talc, but plastic bags are really slick.)
I cannot tell you that it's 100% impossible. I can tell you that it's statistically very, very unlikely.
For what it's worth, when it comes to inspecting for eggs, I found my hands to be of much more use than my eyes. The places I found eggs I found them by running my hands across the surface. When I hit patches that seemed to have what felt like sugar crystals but smaller stuck in place, I would follow up with visual inspection to confirm eggs or something else.
A good PCO should be able to help train you to distinguish bed bug eggs from other look alike/worry alike things. You can inspect the bags. It's time consuming, but it might give you some peace of mind if people telling you that it's unlikely isn't certain enough for you personally. (Everyone has different levels of risk they are comfortable with.)
Bed bugs do not live on their host. It's highly unlikely that the dog has bed bug eggs laid on it. If you're really that worried about it, you could always bathe the dog yourself or take the dog to a groomer. Inspecting the dog's ears ought to put your mind at ease. The while flakes you're describing sounds like doggies dandruff, which I remember my family dog having growing up. It's possible the dog has been bitten by bed bugs--bed bugs will feed on other mammals if they're hungry enough and we're not around (I'm pretty sure the bugs fed on my cat while I was out of town three times during my infestation).
But remember, in humans, exposure to bed bug bites often makes our skin more reactive to any irritant. If I had to guess about your dog's itching and scratching? It may be due to bed bug bites, but not bugs harboring on the dog--and generally extra reactive, extra itchy skin from exposure to the bugs and/or bug treatments that can make skin more sensitive.
I think that the instant death temp is higher than those numbers. I'm an English major, so I'm bad with numbers, so you'll get a more accurate answer from people who are better with numbers, but 120 degrees will kill them, but only after a certain amount of time. the higher the temp, the shorter the time required. Maybe it's that the bug itself dies when the bug reaches 117 (which is the number I remember), but remember, with heat transfer and all, what you're waiting for is for the ambient temp of the thing or area being treated to reach temps high enough to get the space immediately around the bug to reach its thermal death point. The bugs aren't like the animated frog in the beaker of water in An Inconvenient Truth. The bugs will flee heat to cooler spots. Part of the reason that many steamers don't work for bed bugs isn't just that they're wet steam. It's also that they don't treat enough surface area at a time to be as effective. (That is, is it's a small steamer, the bugs will just move away from the heat to a cooler spot inside, say, your mattress. You might get the stationary eggs, but with a bigger steamer, you would kill more bugs? Just a guess. I'm not a scientist, so my guesses are often wrong.)
hope some of that helps.
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