Moth balls in air sealed bags as treatment(16 posts)
Does anyone know the general rule for leaving your items sealed with the No-Pest strips? Is 4 hours good enough?
Try contacting Jeff at Bed Bug Central for some guidance on DDVP.
Hi all. Sorry for taking so long to get back to this thread, but Jeff did get back with me and told me that he preferred that I quote him rather than paraphrase him. And because it's easier than hunting and picking selected parts of his email letter, I'm just going to post the whole thing:
I read the post and I’m not sure that I can provide you with a lot of information about what fabrics you can and can’t use this with. The statement that I’m experimenting with DDVP is a little inaccurate in that I have experimented with it a bit but I’m not currently and really shouldn’t be viewed as this overly-experienced person with DDVP. I have additional experimentation with DDVP on my list of things I plan on doing, just haven’t had as much time as I would like to look at it extensively.
As for how it reacts with different garments/fabrics, this is a topic I have little to no experience with. When we look at this product, our concern is with it’s effectiveness against bed bugs. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many different fabrics, garments, electronics, etc… that we’re unsure how DDVP reacts with.
I think contacting the manufacturer was the best move to make but you would have to ask them how they know how it reacts with suede. Manufacturers will sometimes make assumptive conclusions and statements when they don’t really have any data to their claims.
So unfortunately, you may have to rely on what the manufacturer told you and treat your belongings at your own risk. Sorry for the little help I provided.
In regards to the moth balls and respirators etc… I completely agree with Doug in that moth balls do have some health risks associated with them and if you are going to use them, I recommend purchasing a pesticide approved 3M respirator. I know that pesticide labels can be a pain at times, but the directions are there to protect you and if you decide not to follow them, you are using their product at your own risk.
Also, I wanted to say that I don't necessarily agree with Jeff about the moth balls and the respirator. I just don't see how a dangerous amount of fumes could espace into the air when opening a bag or a closed container that has several moth balls in it. Also, I don't know about the "traditional" moth balls, but the directions on the package label of the paper covered moth ball packets that I use don't mention anything about being concerned about the fumes that escape into the air from a closed container. However the label does say: "Do not use dry cleaning bags, garbage bags or other containers that allow vapors to escape into occupied rooms." Therefore, to me, the directions sounds like it's saying that the concern with the fumes is from the vapors escaping from a container and filling up a room. And in my opinion, I don't see how temporarily opening up a container that has a few moth balls in it could fill a room with moth-ball vapors anymore than temporarily opening up a whole box of moth balls so that you can take out a few packets.
Thanks for answering this, I appreciate it. I am going to try these and am glad to know the odor will come out eventually with the newer formulated moth balls.
You're welcome, bitten123. I'm glad that I was able to help.
For those of you considering mothballs or pest strips who don't have sheds or garages: Home Depot sells 5 gallon "Homer Buckets" with lids (same kind you'd get paint or other chemical products in). Lid has a rubber strip. I have not tested them, but expect them to be "air-tight".
I understand that it's bad to mix paradichlorobenzene mothballs with naphthalene ones. My parents have always used naphthalene (in garment bags, in pockets, in drawers, all my life), so I prefer not to introduce PDB into the mix.
Are naphthalene mothballs effective against BBs?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)
I did some research about mothballs and DDVP and found some information from various sources:
-Don't mix PDB and naphthalene mothballs, they react chemically and produce a damaging liquid. 
-Both naphthalene and PDB are toxic, but PDB is more toxic.
-PDB can soften plastic and styrofoam and melt some bags, but not polyethylene bags. It might melt buttons on clothing.  
-Naphthalene is not as effective at killing as PDB   
-Comparing the three, naphthalene was worst, PDB middle, and Diclorvos/DDVP/Vapona/No pest strip best against dermestid beetles.
-Put mothballs above the items to be decontaminated, the gas is heavier than air. 
-Diclorvos/DDVP/Vapona/No pest strips can be cut into pieces. The full size might be too large for a bag. 
-No pest strips are available in Canada as Scotts Canada Ortho Home Defense Max No Pest Strip. Can be found at some Canadian Tire stores.
I tried putting naphthalene balls in sealed garbage bags. I wasn't able to prevent the escape of some smelly vapour despite my best efforts to seal the bags. I think that sealing a garbage bag to be airtight may be difficult. Be careful with DDVP since you can't smell it.
At the average Hawai'i temperature and humidity, PDB works as a fumigant, napthalene repels but is unlikely to kill pests.
There is evidence that wearing clothes stored in napthalene is harmful to children.
PDB is much more toxic than napthalene and is readily absorbed into the body by breathing; it is stored in body fat. It is best to avoid using this chemical.
How to use moth control products
Since the vapors of these products are heavier than air, the insecticide should be placed near the top of the storage container so the vapors will sink. Do not place any insecticide directly on fabric as adverse reactions to the fabric or dyes may occur.
Either place mothballs, flakes, or crystals on a layer of paper on top of items in a box or chest, or, if the container is deep, layer clothing and place paper and moth control product between the layers. If using a garment bag, suspend the moth control product in an old sock or nylon stocking at the top of the bag or use a moth cake that can be attached to a hanger. When using a garment bag, clothing should be
Do not use PDB in plastic containers as damage can occur with certain kinds of plastics. This could affect both the container and the clothing. Hard plastics that may be used in buttons and some ornamentation will melt when they come into contact with the vapors. Some plastic bags will melt and stick to the items, ruining them. Polyethylene garment bags are not affected by PDB vapors. If you must
use plastic bags for containment of vapors, use naphthalene rather than PDB. Many plastic bags do not retain PDB vapors long enough to kill insect pests. It is not a good idea to use plastic bags for long-term storage of textile items.
Contrary to popular belief, cedar closets or chests are seldom effective in preventing fabric pest infestations because the seal is usually insufficient to maintain effective concentrations of the volatile oil of cedar.
Repellents and Insecticides
There are two products most often sold as ‘repellents’ for insects that damage wool. Naphthalene is the active ingredient of many ‘moth balls,’ less commonly sold as flakes. More commonly available is paradichlorobenzene (PDB), usually sold as ‘moth crystals.’
Paradichlorobenzene is generally more toxic to insects than naphthalene, particularly for carpet beetles. At temperatures above about 50 degrees F it turns into a heavier-than-air gas that kills all stages of clothes moths and carpet beetles if maintained at high concentrations for 2 to 3 weeks.
Crystal formulations release gas at a faster rate than cakes or balls, but the release rate is greatly affected by temperature. PDB should be used in tight fitting containers or well sealed rooms to allow the gas to build up to toxic concentrations. Since the gas does sink, the PDB should be applied above the articles being fumigated. After fumigating, clothing or wool may be aired out, although there is no residual effect and new insects can readily reinfest the material.
Paradichlorobenzene will react with and melt some hard plastics, such as polystyrene and Styrofoam.
Other plastics may also soften and melt following prolonged contact with PDB vapors including many plastic sweater boxes. (Polyethylene storage bags are not affected by PDB vapors.) A further precaution is not to use PDB for fumigating clothing that has plastic buttons or ornamentation.
Naphthalene is most often available as ‘moth balls’ and is an effective fumigant against clothes moths.
Carpet beetles, however, are much more resistant to naphthalene and often are poorly controlled.
Naphthalene is a fumigant, and is effective only if high concentrations of the gas are produced.
Naphthalene is best used by scattering the balls or flakes in layers throughout the fabric or wool that is being treated. However, in moist conditions, naphthalene may produce a reddish-brown discoloration due to breakdown by bacteria. Therefore it should be placed within paper or applied in some other manner so that it does not directly contact the wool or fabric. Naphthalene does not react with plastic as does PDB. However, it may corrode some metals.
Never mix PDB with naphthalene as they react chemically and produce a liquid that may damage the collection.
Museums, herbaria, libraries and archival collections have traditionally relied on chemicals for the prevention and treatment of pest infestations. While current evidence suggests that the use of chemicals is declining, however, they are still found in many collections. The efficacy of three insecticides', para-dichlorobenzene, Vapona' and naphthalene (used in some museums to treat localized infestations and
for their apparent residual benefit) against two insect species (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) was evaluated.
Despite considerable variation in insect susceptibility, Vapona' was found in general, to be the most effective of the three chemicals used, particularly against larvae and adults. Naphthalene was the least effective, with low mortality rates recorded in the majority of the insect stages tested. Based on this study, an exposure/mortality relationship is presented for the prevention and treatment of insect infestations in museum and archival collections.
Stored product insect pests are highly susceptiable to tiny amounts of Vapona (dichlorvos) vapor - amounts too miniscule to harm or bother humans. That characteristic, plus it's minimal odor make Vapona preferable to PDB and napthalene in my opinion.
I think the reason some people report odor / metal staining / feeling ill problems from using Vapona strips are due to overdosing and overexposures. For example, the label directions on a Vapona strip say to use 1 strip per 1,000 cubic feet of air space for housefly control - about the size of a guest bedroom in a home. While a somewhat higher dose is necessary for dermestid beetle and psocid control,
it appears people with insect collections are using rather large pieces (1 1/2 inches square) of those strips per Cornell drawer and somewhat smaller pieces for Riker Mounts. Thus the tiny airspace inside those drawers and mounts is receiving a comparatively massive dose of dichlorvos vapor - an unnecessarily high dose in my opinion based on 23 years' experience working with dichlorvos in dried food, fruit, feed and flower storage warehouses.
The vegetable seed storage warehousing industry has used Vapona strips for years to protect seed stored in large bulk bags and bulk metal bins (about the size of a Volkswagon) from museum type pests and they find one strip is a sufficient dose. Therefore I think one tiny percil eraser sized bit of Vapona strips, or smaller would be sufficient for for a drawers / mount holding insect collections.
Information about the proper use of these products for the control of bed bugs is scarce & the info that you have posted may be very helpful for people that are utilizing the products for such off label uses.
Clearly, you have done a commendable amount of research to locate relevant information on these household fumigant products.
Paul Cherubini's point about using the proper dosage of DDVP is insightful.
Did you find a formula to calculate the amount of DDVP that should be required in an enclosed space like a 5 gallon bucket with an air tight lid or a 55 gallon 6 mil contractor bag to achieve a successful outcome? If a pencil eraser sized piece of resin strip is used...are there any indications about how long the items should be exposed to DDVP at room temp to successfully treat household contents?
The DDVP strips seem to have disappeared from all the Canadian Tire stores. Does any canuck on here know if they can still be bought in Canada? I don't know if they're off the shelves because they're seasonal or if they've been withdrawn from the market (something I heard might happen)
They're still available. The small hardware stores have them, if anyone is interested. I have heard rumours that they will be banned in Canada soon though.
I am interested in the idea of treating stuff with a pesticide strip. I heard that flea collars can be used as pesticide strips to kill bed bugs, but i am really not sure if that is true or not. Does anyone know?
How long does stuff need to stay sealed in an airtight container with the pesticide strips?
I have a question about airing of items exposed to moth balls. I have used naphtalene (old style) on my 2,000 or so books, double bagged, stored outside. Something I now regret doing. We are starting to unbag them in batches, using respirators and gloves, for safety.
We have been leaving each batch out in the sun for about 4 days, we cover them at night with a tarp so that they don't get moist. But it's winter here, I am afraid they are not getting enough sunlight both because the sun is not very hot and because the area I am using for airing does not receive sunlight for that many hours.
We have brought back about 100 or these books into the office and I can detect a trace of napthlene in the air, not a strong odor or anything, but a faint smell of naphtalene. I always leave the door to the garden open, plenty of ventilation. When I do that, the smell goes away immediately.
My question is if I can smell it are the chemical vapors still at work? Or is 4 days of airing under those conditions sufficient? I am concerned about exposure when I bring the rest of the books in, I figure concentration of these chemicals in the air will increase drastically.
What should I do? Throw them away? Unbag, remove mothballs and put the books in bins outside while I wait for the Brazilian summer with plenty of very hot, sunny days?
Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions
A high quality air scrubber with the proper filter might help. IQ Air (IQAir.com) makes a commercial grade air filter with a multiple chemical absorbing carbon filter... Another possibility is to use an ozone generator, but I am not sure about the byproducts that may be produced ... Heat should help degrade the chemical... check resources online for library books or museum objects for some further guidance.
I figure this may as well be a better time than any to ask this.
I have [sealed] BINS of my stuff. I was treated for bedbugs two months ago, haven't seen anything yet, except for a couple mosquito bites, so I'm happy about that. But I *know* they can be lurking inside my sealed belongings (no clothes). So I've been debating DDVP. Do you guys agree?
Also, just to clarify, is there any problem or concern if I DDVP the bins OUTSIDE and then air them out afterwards OUTSIDE? It seems nearly all the concern seems to be [logically] centered around exposing oneself to the gas (hence any sort of indoor application problem, or misuse).
Outside should be fine ... an unoccupied garage or shed... Prolonged exposure to the fumes is the health issue...
Once the contents have been aired out thoroughly... they can be placed back in an occupied space safely.
Yeehaw, I might build a little chamber outside
Follow the label directions carefully and / or call the 800 number on the package for guidance ... Amvac makes a pest strip that is labeled for bed bugs & may be more specific about the proper use of the strips for bed bugs.
Let us know about your progress
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