Treated With DDVP: How Do We Know They're Gone?(2 posts)
Backstory: we lived in a townhouse and the neighbors to one side abandoned the property. About 2 weeks after they abandoned the property, our eldest daughter started getting an abnormally large number of insect bites. We attributed it to real estate hunting, and the possibility that we brought fleas home with us on one of our trips. Thankfully, before we started treating for fleas, our younger daughter had an appointment with her oncologist. A nurse practitioner looked at the bites on the eldest. Having experienced a bed bug infestation that came into their home with their niece from her dorm at college, she suggested that we consider the possibility. This was a Friday. I went home and did a TON of research (A lot of it on these forums; THANK YOU!) and had a sinking feeling. Sunday we dropped our girls off at camp for the week, went home, and set about investigating. We found the little buggers along the mattress seam that was against the wall of the neighbors who abandoned ship. Best guess is that they came through the electrical outlet from their place. When the landlords moved their belongings out of the house, it was covered with evidence of infestation. Anyway... treatment ensued in our home, with the landlords refusing to do a single thing. 6 weeks later, none of us have had any bites for weeks, and we've seen no signs of anything.
We packaged up items both known and suspected to be infested 6 weeks ago. The items were put into plastic storage tubs with a DDVP strip secured to the lid of the tub, sealed with duct tape, and placed into a storage unit where the temperature is uncontrolled. Things that were too bulky or awkward to fit into plastic storage tubs were placed into 3 mil thick contractor bags with a DDVP strip secured to the bag, then the bag was sealed shut with duct tape. I know, from reading the forums, that 3 weeks should be sufficient to end the life cycle, but as I'm sure you can all understand I'm just a wee bit paranoid about re-infesting the house.
We'd like to start taking these things out of storage, but have no idea how to really and truly tell that the bedbugs are all dead and gone. We planned on running all of the stuffed animals through a 90 minute dryer cycle anyway, but there are a number of things that can't be washed or dried. We have one contractor bag in particular that contains items that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt were infested, and (of course) it contains some of our daughter's favorite stuffed animals. We marked that one clearly for... call it research purposes.
My question boils down to this: can we use those items to somehow make sure the life cycle is finished? My husband had suggested putting one of the known infested items into a clear plastic tub with bait of some sort and leaving it there for another week to see what we see. That sounds great in theory, but if we were to seriously consider that, what could we possibly use as bait? Is there another, better way we haven't considered?
We got rid of so many things through this process, and we'd really like to salvage the items we treated, but they're not worth re-infesting our home. If the only way to be sure is to leave them in the storage unit through the January/February deep freeze, then so be it. If even that's not enough and we really need to leave them there for an entire 18 months, so be it. We know there's no Easy Button, and that we're incredibly lucky to (apparently) be infestation free after 6 weeks of diligent treatment. Any input would be appreciated!
Have you considered getting a Packtite? Most of the items that you're worried about, I would think, could get Packtited.
Also, as far as objects too big for a Packtite or a dryer, careful inspection is also a possibility. Since the items are already sealed and in storage, there's no real reason you can't bring back small amounts at a time and carefully inspect each batch. If you're doing small amounts at a time under good light and stopping when you get fatigued, there's no reason a good inspection shouldn't turn the bugs up.
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