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A few questions

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  1. Tryingtokeepcool

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Aug 22 2015 18:59:05
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    Hi Everyone,

    Can't tell you how happy I am to have found your site as a resource. Already you've been a huge help. I have a few questions that I would love your expert input on. First, a little background.

    I live on the top floor of a 4 story apartment row home, in a studio apartment. I have the only apartment on my floor, and my building is connected with another, only on one side. I discovered the first bug on me about 2 weeks ago. I told my landlord, and he did two rounds of bug bombs, and used powder on the outlets (but did a very poor job.) Obviously, this didn't work, and I now realize that the bug bombs may have only driven the bugs deeper into wherever they are hiding. I have no idea where I got the infestation from (there are several possibilities), and I may have had it from longer than two weeks ago, because I don't have much of a reaction to the bites.

    Ok so here's my questions

    1. Would you recommend a heat treatment? I've already had a PCO come to my place and spray chemicals and do some much more thorough dusting. He came two days ago. He was very well reviewed online, though I'm a little suspicious because there's no mention of him ever getting rid of a bed bug infestation, though this is a service that he offers. He said that it's normal for me to continue seeing the bugs after the first treatment for several days (and I have), and he is going to come back to treat in 3 weeks, and again 3 weeks after that. I heard from a friend that they used a heat treatment, and it was very effective, and I'm wondering if it's worth springing for it, even though I've already had chemical treatment done. Is there any detriment to doing both? It seems they are coming from the walls and baseboards (I had a bed bug cover on my bed already, and most of the fecal stains are on the baseboards and in a dresser next to it.) If I do a heat treatment, am I risking merely pushing them deeper into the walls and risking re infestation? Money is no issue, I just want them gone.

    2. After the first chemical treatment, should I continue to keep my stuff in bags after I've dryed it on high heat, or should I put my clothes and belongings back in the dresser/where they go? As I mentioned before, I'm still seeing bugs and getting bites. My PCO told me that after the treatment I could put my stuff back where it goes after I dry it, but I'm skeptical. However, I also read somewhere on here that you shouldn't keep all your stuff in bags because you are risking harboring them in the bags, and then reinfesting yourself once you've finally gotten rid of them. This poster said that unless you can tie the bags tight enough so that air cannot escape (something I've been unable to do entirely), the contents are not safe.

    Please let me know if you have any clarifying questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Aug 22 2015 21:27:26
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    If I do a heat treatment, am I risking merely pushing them deeper into the walls and risking re infestation? Money is no issue, I just want them gone.

    The problem with doing a heat treatment is you don't have any idea where bed bugs are coming from, and you not only have your 3 apartments downstairs, but an attached neighbor to the side.

    At the very minimum, the other attached units (including house next door) should be professionally inspected.

    Heat can work (and pros usually seem to back it up with pesticides or dusts now, to kill stragglers), but it is expensive and in a situation where you could easily be infested, you can't be sure it will work.

    2. After the first chemical treatment, should I continue to keep my stuff in bags after I've dryed it on high heat, or should I put my clothes and belongings back in the dresser/where they go? As I mentioned before, I'm still seeing bugs and getting bites. My PCO told me that after the treatment I could put my stuff back where it goes after I dry it, but I'm skeptical.

    If items were treated (dried on high heat), they should remain sealed in bags until the problem is gone. Every PCO doesn't require this kind of prep, but when they do, people are usually told not to unpack until the problem is gone.

    However, I also read somewhere on here that you shouldn't keep all your stuff in bags because you are risking harboring them in the bags, and then reinfesting yourself once you've finally gotten rid of them. This poster said that unless you can tie the bags tight enough so that air cannot escape (something I've been unable to do entirely), the contents are not safe.

    There are two issues here:

    1) Laundry dried on hot is bug free but only if kept sealed. Sealed means in an airtight manner. So yes, those bags have to be sealed. There are XL Ziplocs and other XL zipper bags which can be useful for everyday laundry. Some people like to seal most things in cheaper garbage bags (I recommend a cable tie to help with that airtight seal) and not disturb them until it's over. It depends how many clothes you have.

    2) Items which were NOT treated but just bagged should be put back, so the bed bugs in them can come out, cross poison and die. You don't want them sealing the live bugs in and then releasing them when it's over. It's not clear if you have this kind of stuff bagged.

    Remember different PCOs have wildly different instructions. This FAQ explains more about different possibilities and concerns about some of the issues you've mentioned: Bagging and prep for bed bug treatment

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

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Aug 22 2015 23:23:17
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    Ok, thanks for your input. I have a few follow up questions.

    When you say all attached apartments at a minimum, do you mean just the apartment directly below me, and to the side of me, or do you mean all 3 apartments below me?

    So it sounds like there is no issue with combining heat and chemical treatment? The PCO who did my first treatment on 8/20 doesn't offer heat treatments. Would it be a bad idea to go elsewhere to get a heat treatment as well? If I did that, I would probably put the two people in touch with each other so they are on the same page.

    Message heard about the bags. Looks like I will need to start the process of washing and drying over again, this time with airtight bags. I'll take my other non-treated possessions out of the bags and put them back where they go.

    Thanks again for your help!

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Aug 23 2015 0:07:54
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    Keep in mind I am not a pro or expert on bed bugs.

    Tryingtokeepcool - 36 minutes ago  » 
    Ok, thanks for your input. I have a few follow up questions.
    When you say all attached apartments at a minimum, do you mean just the apartment directly below me, and to the side of me, or do you mean all 3 apartments below me?

    You want the units which are attached to your unit directly searched -- so the one below you and the one next to you.

    If another apartment in your building were to have bed bugs, then you'd want all units attached to that unit searched, and so on.

    So it sounds like there is no issue with combining heat and chemical treatment? The PCO who did my first treatment on 8/20 doesn't offer heat treatments. Would it be a bad idea to go elsewhere to get a heat treatment as well? If I did that, I would probably put the two people in touch with each other so they are on the same page.

    Heat treatment providers now often treat with pesticides (chemicals or dusts) after heat treatment, in order to make sure any "stragglers" are killed.

    However, I don't know if there are any issues with having had a chemical treatment previously and then getting heat while those chemicals are present. You'd have to ask the PMPs-- and yes, getting a list of what was used to share with the heat company is a good idea.

    Message heard about the bags. Looks like I will need to start the process of washing and drying over again, this time with airtight bags.

    Well, let's take a step back from this. My response was based on you not putting away already cleaned/bagged items.

    Is it worth re-drying the stuff? Consider this:

    1. Some good PCOs don't require customers to do laundry (dry things on hot) at all. My understanding is that for those PCOs this isn't required in most cases but might be required in more severe infestations.
    2. Your PCO did require drying clothing on hot, but also told you to put things away now.

    There's an argument to be made for just doing that. I don't know if I would bother to re-wash/dry everything. It's important to follow your PCO's prep instructions and it sounds like you did just that. You won't necessarily have better results from doing more than you were asked.

    If you want to do it because it makes you feel better, of course, it won't hurt.

    (Also, you know that even if you do choose to do it, drying on hot alone is sufficient for clean, dry items, right?)

    I'll take my other non-treated possessions out of the bags and put them back where they go.

    It sounds like this is the PCO's plan and it does gel with what other PCOs seem to tell people if they do ask for non-treated items to be bagged. (Many don't-- and I'd say more don't ask for bagging untreated items than ask for clothing to be treated FWIW.)


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