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1st treatment coming up: Tips for bag brands? General prepping tips?

(6 posts)
  1. paranoidinchicago

    Joined: Aug '14
    Posts: 20


    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Sep 19 2014 11:35:48

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    Hello all,

    Well, it turns out my paranoia over the past several weeks was rooted in unfortunate reality: we have confirmed bedbugs. My roommate reacts like crazy, which was key to her doing a deep search that turned up the buggers--so far I rarely react and, when I do get welts, they don’t particularly itch, so I suppose that’s a small blessing (although it makes detection much harder!)

    My first (of three) treatment starts on October 1st, and I got a list from the condo association of what we need to do until then to prepare. It’s all standard, I think, but pretty barebones, and I have some questions on what the best types of brands to use are for stuff. What kind of bags should I be using for holding the washed clothes/fabrics? I know garbage bags are not airtight, but I’ve lately seen people saying that the XXL Ziploc totes and whatnot are also not really airtight (they have mesh around the top?). Then again, the instructions just say “bags” and don’t specify airtightness or anything. Is it possible they just want them to be put in non-airtight bags? Although that seems a bit strange to me, I don’t know what usual practice is. I’ve read the FAQs, I think, on these, and didn’t really see specifics for brand mentions.

    Also, the instructions state that all knick-knacks and similar should be put in boxes or plastic tubs--I assume these also should be airtight? Or not, maybe? Any brand suggestions there?

    I’m sorry this is so vague--mostly I just need some assistance and reassurance, I think, that I’ll somehow be able to get this all together. My roommate, who's an international student, has basically had a meltdown about this and is somewhat unhelpful at the moment (understandably so), so I’m currently going solo; I'm far away from most of my family (like, 1,000 miles away) and am a pretty recent college graduate, so I don't have a whole lot of cash to burn. Any tips at all that you could give to a newbie on how to best/most efficiently go about prepping would be great, and I will of course also be in touch with the condo association and my landlord about this.

    Thank you all so much in advance!

  2. Daylight

    senior member
    Joined: Dec '13
    Posts: 416


    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Sep 19 2014 12:14:19

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    Hi, Sorry you're going through this. Here is one of the FAQ's and it's on prepping for treatment:

    Hopefully it will help to answer your questions.

    Good luck!

  3. paranoidinchicago

    Joined: Aug '14
    Posts: 20


    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Sep 19 2014 13:20:50

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    Thank you, Daylight! I've read through things.

    I'm still a bit confused on what we do with non-fabric stuff, however, like books (my biggest issue). They can't really be washed or dried--do we also try to disinfect them somehow and put them in airtight stuff for the time being?

  4. JustChecking

    Joined: Nov '13
    Posts: 782


    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Sep 19 2014 16:30:47

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    Hi para,

    Please check to see if these links help:

    Please use the search box in the upper right corner if needed.

    I use all these sizes of Ziploc bags:

    -sandwich bags
    -Value pack 30 bags X 3 (=90 bags), freezer heavy duty, large, double zipper, smart zip, 26.8 x 27.3 cm
    -Big bags, double zipper, L5, 38.1 cm X 38.1 cm
    -Big bags, double zipper, XL4, 60 cm X 51 cm
    -Big bags, double zipper, XXL3, 60 cm X 82 cm (almost as large as a medium size luggage)

    *** I don’t know if it has to do with a certain batch but find the 38.1 cm X 38.1 cm (L5) bags leak air. Sometimes, the zipper gets broken with the 60 cm X 51 cm (XL4) when I open the bag.

    The Ziploc brand is expensive but the material is thicker and the double zipper comes in handy if one of the zippers is broken. I also have tried the Dollar Store ones. From what I know, they don’t have the "L5" and the largest size ("XXL3") as the Ziploc brand, and the largest sized ones from the Dollar Store are not as large as the Ziploc brand ones. You will have to compare the measurements. With the Dollar Store ones, the larger the bag, the thicker the material.

    Take care!

    JustChecking, not a therapist / bug pro
    Please click my user name on the left for these threads:
    (OR go through my thread starter list OR use the search engine)
    --->stress busters --->energy boosters
    --->songs of hope and faith --->help U sleep tonight
  5. acs80

    Joined: Sep '09
    Posts: 182


    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Sep 21 2014 13:32:57

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    Hey, paranoid! I feel your pain. I'm also in Chicago, though I'm about 99.5% sure (never want to be 100% and jinx things!) that I'm BB free. Feel free to PM me if you have area-specific questions about the whole BB game here in the city.

    Just wanted to chime in about your bag question. I agree that the big Ziploc bags are NOT the way to go, since they don't seal very well, and often when you move them around they open up (sometimes without your noticing) and then you have to go back and re-treat everything. My recommendation would be to get the CLEAR "lawn and leaf" bags from Home Depot. Not sure where you're located in the city, but the store on Elston has them for sure. They're really large and the plastic is thin, but surprisingly durable, which is good, since it lets you easily knot the top. They're so large that I was even able to store some small-ish dining room chairs in them. And the best part is that they're something like $15 for either 30 or 50, can't remember which, but they're still way more affordable than the XXL Ziploc bags.

    My PCO didn't make me take all my books off the shelves, but I did have a few books in my bedroom, which he told me to just visually inspect and wipe down with alcohol (a contact killer only).

    Knick knacks, etc. should also be visually inspected - ideally, you would also heat treat this stuff before storing it, but it sounds like you don't have a PackTite - wiped down with alcohol when you can, and then put into sealed plastic bags. From there if you want to put the full plastic bags into a tupperware type tub, that would be okay, but the key is to keep everything sterile, obviously.

    Good luck!!!

  6. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,262


    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Sep 22 2014 2:20:41

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    I would just caution you not to try and do more than the PCO requires (per the prep sheet). The exception would be treating items before sealing if possible.

    It sounds like the PCO is telling you to seal untreated items like books in an airtight manner. Too bad, because if they're not treated, you might be saving bed bugs' lives.

    It's not that likely your books are infested, unless you have bed bugs all over your home (or perhaps if you have bookshelves very close to normal harborages like beds, sofas), or you infested books in the bed and returned them to shelf, etc. Even in those cases, it isn't always an issue, but can happen.

    One of the link Daylight provided is to a FAQ about prep that suggests you ask the PCO some questions about when those containers (of untreated items) will be opened. For obvious reasons, the "release date" should not be after your treatment has ended.

    If you can get a heat treatment device like a Packtite, then you can treat books, etc. in this before sealing in an airtight manner. (See Useful Tools or the FAQS for info on this and other tools.)

    Not sure about the value of spraying books -- even with alcohol -- because it's a contact killer, so if you see bed bugs, you can just kill them. It's better to heat treat if you're concerned but books can be carefully inspected with some confidence if not 100% perfection.

    Nuvan Prostrips (or other DDVP strips) might be an option. Use with caution, follow all label directions, and I'd consult forum participant/pest management professional (PMP) P Bello who has experience with the product.

    Per our FAQs, cable ties can be used to seal strong garbage bags (3 mil thickness) to an acceptable level. You twist the ends together, and then throw the cable tie over and pull tight. There should be no gaps. However, it's not handy for anything you need access to. If you have access to Costco, their dark lawn bags are quite strong. If not, look for 3 mil thickness which is quite sturdy.

    They're pricier than XL ziplocs, but watertight tubs and trunks from e.g. The Container Store are valuable in my opinion since, unlike bags, you can stack and open and close them and reuse them indefinitely (and for storage later). Unlike normal Rubbermaid type totes, they have a very good (if not perfectly airtight) seal. Bugs shouldn't be an issue there. Iris is a brand that makes watertight plastic containers in various sizes.

    Consider a few for your "currently in use clean/dry clothing" storage, to avoid juggling bags.

    XL ziplocs are also quite good and IMO a good size for storing clothing. The Ziploc totes contain cloth, so yeah, I would not bother with those or space bags which leak, in my experience.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."

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