What kind of bags??(4 posts)
My first post!
Found ONE dead bug on my dresser. Neither my roommate or I have any bites and there are no other sign of bugs- (have found no blood stains, etc). Does that mean I don't have that many yet?? PCO came did not even look through anything he just confirmed that it was a BB and said I need to bag and clean everything in preparation for treatment. UGH. Apparently there are bugs in the building--landlord said the problem was coming from one tenant's mattress and that he was asked to throw it out.
I am about to order some ziplocs online...Which are the best--as in secure/tough?? Which sizes have you found useful? Should I double bag everything? What about using trashbags additionally? I plan on cleaning out my closests/drawers, inspecting, vacuming everything and then putting them in zip locs till....forever. Is that good enough? I'm really worried about the non-washable items. Packtite is too much of an investment right now. Advice?
la la land,
Stop and take a deep breath. I know bed bugs are scary, but a lot of people go into panic mode and end up doing things they later regret.
First of all, depending on where you are, you may be able to find plastic bags at a local store rather than needing to order them. I found both Hefty and Ziplock brand bags at my local Target. If you're not in the US, other stores may still carry them. (In Canada, someplace like Canadian Tire seems like a possibility.)
If you must order them from online because no place near you has them, think about how many you're going to need.
The ziplock-style ones are convenient because they're transparent so you can see what's in them and they can be opened and closed repeatedly.
However, it's important to understand why you're being asked to bag.
Bed bugs are stealthy pests who hide away in places that they feel safe in. They also like to stick close to their food source (i.e., you and other carbon dioxide breathing and heat exuding mammals in the home.)
For that reason, they will often hide and lay eggs in spots near the sleeping area.
To make treatment more effective, many PCOs ask you to kill as many bed bugs and eggs as possible prior to treatment by using heat.
A dryer will, when used long enough, get fabrics hot enough to kill the bugs and their eggs.
For laundry purposes, you never want to dry an item that is dirty, smelly, or stained because the heat sets those things into the item.
However, for bed bug purposes, it's the heat of the dryer that does the job--not the washer.
Any fabric items that you have that are dirty should be washed to clean them. They should then be dried until they are dry, and then dried for about 20 minutes past that point to make sure they get hot enough to kill all the bugs and eggs.
At that point, you put them into plastic bags that are sealed as air tight as you can get them to make sure no bugs wander in and hide there and/or lay more eggs there.
Items that are already clean and don't need to be laundered can simply go straight into the dryer. This will lower the cost, since dry items being heated don't have to be dried as long AND many items that cannot go be laundered without being damaged can take a round in the dryer if they go in dry. (Apparently for delicates, it's being wet and then being subjected to high heat that's the cause of harming the fabric and shrinking the item. )
I had heat treatment of my apartment, so I didn't have to do this for long, but even so, the idea of trying to keep all my clothes and linens bagged as overwhelming.
For the few weeks that I had bed bugs but before treatment, I did the following:
I purchased three cheap outfits: men's basketball shorts, women's polo shirts, and cheap sports bras. All could be subjected to high heat in dryers, unlike most of the t-shirts and shorts I already owned.
I kept a few outfits for work in ziplocks. (I only had to be in the office one or two days a week at that point, so that was easy for me.)
As soon as I got home from work each day, I'd strip off the work clothes and put them into a ziplock.
I'd change into my house clothes outfit.
I was sleeping on one flat sheet laid over the futon on top of a bed bug proof encasement.
If I'd needed to bag everything long term, the other fabric items that I wasn't using would have been debugged and then placed in tightly, tightly sealed shut garbage bags.
Garbage bags'll keep the bugs out, but you need a new one every time you untie and unseal the bags, which you need to do when you go looking for stuff inside them. They're cheaper than the ziplocks, though.
So if you carefully sort your stuff, putting items that you won't need for the next few months into trash bags after you've debugged the items, you can spend less money on the ziplocks for the stuff you need to access frequently.
That might help.
As for which I preferred, ziplock to hefty? I found that the bag with the little plastic zipper slidey thing were easier to use; however, those bags seemed to break (i.e., the zipper mechanism would stop working) sooner than the ziplock style.
The Ziplock style where you mash the two sides together could be a PITA to get shut (I never seem to line both sides up right), but they lasted a lot longer.
Other people may have had different experiences.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for the advice. I was going to order online mainly because I don't want to spend so much time running around looking for those XXL ziplocs- I heard places are usually out of them (I live in NYC).
PCO said I need to empty all drawers, closets etc because they are going to treat the furniture. They also said to remove items from the walls to be inspected/treated...They are are also treating the floor.
How long did you live out of plastic bags? On the info sheet they gave me it says "keep all items in bags until after the second treatment (about 14 days after initial)." I assume I will be allowed to take items out and not just walk around naked....I plan on having extra bags to store dirty clothes in to be relaundered.
Ok -this is my plan: Wash all clothes. Put most clothes in the large ziplocs/trash bags and store in the closet. Take out a couple weeks worth of outfits and put those in smaller ziplocs in my dresser- for the next couple weeks. After that I guess I will have to see what the PCO says...
So, what should I leave out for them to treat-- Can I leave any of these items out?
laptop, printer, books, lamps, large speakers trashcans, files, cat scratching post? plants???
Also, do I have to go through everything in my kitchen & bathroom cabinets?? Seems excessive...we're not even getting bitten!! yet..........
Most hardware stores and chains like Home Depot sell "contractor bags". They are FAR more sturdy than Hefty and similar garbage bags. I wish I knew about them when I started; I discovered them about halfway through the process. Regular garbage bags tend to break and tear, my cats scratched through them easily, etc. Contractor bags aren't too expensive, btw.
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