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Advice for Car?

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  1. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 2 2013 14:45:14
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    Hi - I'm a newbite here. My husband and I were on vacation in another state for a week. At one place we stayed, we may have been exposed to BB's. We're not 100% sure, but there were some signs present in the room that could have been BB's , though we never saw a live bug that we know of and did not experience any bites, that we know of.

    We have tried to minimize risk as best we could, but are concerned that a bug or two (or a few) may have hitchhiked on our things and gotten into our car. We haven't brought much stuff from vacation up to our unit (we returned nearly a week ago, and we live in a multi-unit building). We are trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the stuff in our car (life jackets, kayak paddles, a metal desk fan, a bunch of books, a netbook, beach chairs, a beach umbrella, and random other things). Most of the items are in the trunk (many loose, not in bags) and some items are in garbage or zip lock bags in the backseat. My husband has had to drive the car to work each day.

    We had a PCO recommend just leaving the car in the sun, but after doing a lot of reading, I am not convinced this will work. The weather where I live has not been warm enough anyhow.

    I am hoping I can get some advice on how to determine if we have BB's in the car. I've thought about getting the Packtite passive monitor (a few for at home and one for the possibly-infected car; maybe even one for the "clean" car). I seem to be reading that the C02 monitors won't really work if someone has to drive the car most days.

    We don't really have the ability to abandon the car for a week or two.

    If the bugs had been deposited into the trunk (or in our car), would they eventually come out to feast on the driver, if the driver is only in the car for about 30-45 minutes twice a day?

    Would the use of a C02 monitor in the trunk or anywhere else in the car work if someone is driving the car? Would a non-C02 monitor be our best bet (like the packtite passive)?

    I realize that we don't have any definite evidence that we have BB's yet. But, we realize what a HUGE problem BB's can become, so we are trying to do the best we can to be sure we stop anything that might have hitched a ride - both for ourselves and our home, and for all of the other people we come into contact with everywhere. We wouldn't wish this on anyone. And we have been dealing with a lot in our families this past year and really feel we couldn't handle an infestation on top of serious health issues, family cancer diagnoses, work stress, etc.

    I appreciate any advice and guidance anyone can provide about figuring out if we have them, and how to treat our stuff if we do (and if anyone would recommend treating our stuff preventative-ly).

    Thank you.
    njm13

  2. NY Bug Man

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Aug 2 2013 20:51:12
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    If your dealing with a PCO who is telling you to leave the car in the sun with the windows up, get a new PCO.

    Treat the problem accordingly. If your car is infested your going to need to do the same thing as your doing in your home. Treat and monitor.

  3. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 3 2013 15:45:38
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    Or maybe monitor, treat if needed, and monitor? I wouldn't treat the car unless you have visual evidence it has bed bugs.

    We are told cars rarely get infested. And while the "sit car in hot sun" trick doesn't reliably kill bed bugs, the environment of the car may not be the most hospitable place for bed bugs, which is good.

    Most people who think they have bed bugs in their cars tell us this is because they "feel" they're being bitten. But since most people have delayed reactions to bed bug bites, it seems some of us can feel we're being bitten long after it happens.

    People have used passives in cars. I'm not an expert but you can ask David Cain about that. And others may be able to comment on the C02 monitor idea in a car which is being driven (sounds like it might not be the best idea).

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  4. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 3 2013 15:59:52
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    Hi,

    Sorry, I am not about much on weekends but this one needed the added advantage of a full keyboard to do a reply.

    You are 100% correct about the car in the sun, please explain this one to your PCO so that they can "get with the program". Cars are lower risk for many reasons but with the exception of sleeping vehicles (which can be more engrained and thus need specific treatment plans) I generally find that the following works best.

    • Thorough deep clean removing seats type deep clean using a fine weave stocking or tight placed into the nose of the cleaner to act as a "pre bag" to collect anything.
    • Once done you can check the "pre bag" for evidence but honestly its likely to be unpleasant so I would zip lock it for safe keeping or checking should you get access to a reliable K9
    • If you have a steam cleaner use it on the seats as you reassemble but this is not an essential step. If you don't have one don't get one just to do this. The dryer the steam the better and the hotter the steam the better.

    Take extra care around the boot (trunk) and once cleaned install Passive Monitors to at least the driving position and any other heavily occupied seats.

    I don't think you need to abandon the vehicle for two weeks or try a CO2 lure.

    The FAQ on decontaminating items will cover the cars contents, the larger items are wipe down with alcohol and visually inspect.

    The final advice though is read up, form your action plan and then start, I suspect its a Sunday afternoon job. The car cleaning will literally take a few hours to do and please don't just leave it to the kids or the local car wash its the kind of clean it's never had before and you have ever incentive to do it personally.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor.

    If you have found this information helpful please consider leaving feedback on social media via google+ or FaceBook or by like/loving the images.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  5. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 3 2013 16:15:21
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    Thank you! We have no idea how to take the seats out of the car...or how to put a stocking or tight over the nose of the cleaner (would this be done on the interior of the vacuum or over the hose? We're not sure we can take the seats out of the car.

    We have a bagless vacuum (I'm suddenly thinking these are not as awesome as i used to).

    I've just asked my husband how exactly he vacuumed our car (it's been vacuumed twice since we first realized we may have been exposed). The first time, he vacuumed the whole car (seats, floors, headrests and just the initial floor of the trunk). The second time, he vacuumed the whole car (seats, floors, headrests, the initial floor of the trunk, and underneath the top carpet of the trunk - but not under the second board/carpet in the trunk and not where the spare tire is located). He says he may have not done up and down the entire sides of the seats, didn't do beyond underneath the top layer of carpet in the trunk, and did not do the glove box or cubbies in the dashboard.

    If we are unable to take the seats out, does that change anything? We don't have a steamer, either.

    We called a K9 unit, but they said they can't really do cars. I read from one of the K9 experts on this site that K9 inspection for cars is still really not ideal and many places won't do it because it's too difficult to interpret the dog's behavior in the car and too difficult for the dog to pick up the smell in many cases.

    Thank you so much for your help. I am unsure if we will be able to do exactly what you've outlined here, David, but we are absolutely trying to do what we can!

  6. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sat Aug 3 2013 18:00:41
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    One more question -

    I'm guessing that though we've already vacuumed the car twice, since it still has stuff in it, we should vacuum it again, even more thoroughly and do as good a job on it as possible (even if we can't remove the seats). Should we remove the things in bags from the car? We have nowhere to put them until treated, I don't think, except for in our home (which doesn't seem like a good option!).

    Should we do things in this order:
    1. treat individuals items that are not in bags (alcohol, etc).
    2. vacuum car including trunk and around spare tire
    3. place passive monitor and hope!

    Should we also vacuum the spare tire itself? Or pray it down with alcohol?

    Should we think about using Nuvan strips in larger contractor or banana bags on things like our beach umbrella, which will be very difficult to examine and get alcohol onto each and every nook and cranny?

    Thank you!

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Aug 4 2013 3:15:23
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    Hi,

    Most vehicles the seats can at least be folded down for full access, it's about cleaning into the cracks and being thorough.

    Bagless cleaners are good but using a stocking fed down the pipe to make a "pre-bag" is best and works on all types of cleaners.

    Yes remove items from car before you clean but items can go back in after as long as they are sealed.

    Remember this is a lower probability of having an issue in the car than people assume so its about cleaning to be certain and not adding to stress.

    David

  8. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Aug 4 2013 13:50:49
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    Thank you! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to treat things like kayak paddles or personal flotation devices (life jackets)? I've done a reading on the PFD's - looks like they can't go in the dyer without compromising their integrity. Ours cost us about $95 per PFD. They can't be subject to heat. It seems like alcohol might work, but they have pockets and stuff where it might be hard to get to. Would people recommend that we just soak them in alcohol and let them dry?

    The paddles are hollow in the middle and come apart for transport - so, they are currently "broken" in half and both halves are hollow metal tubes.

    Is there anything we should look for in the tights that we choose to use as a pre-bag? Like any wording we need to look for on the package? I don't generally wear tights, so I'm not really familiar with what we would need. Also - I'm assuming we need to secure the stocking/tight to the outside of the tube. Do you cut the leg off and then secure it, or just use the one leg with the other still attached? Will we be able to use both legs of the tights?

    Sorry we have so many questions - this is really new for us and not something we had thought about before. I think this is going to change pretty much everything about how we travel and how we pack for travel. I think everything we ever stick in the car from now on might just go in some kind of plastic bag - though, it's really hard to find bags to fit things like the kayak paddles and beach umbrella...

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Aug 4 2013 14:30:20
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    Hi,

    Alcohol spray for floats and paddles, bedbugs will NOT be on the inside of the tubes.

    With regards the "pre-bag" the finer the weave the better.

    David

  10. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Aug 4 2013 14:47:30
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    Thanks, David.

    Do you have any instructions on how to set up the pre-bag? I'm not sure I understand how to do it...

    Also, I think my husband would prefer to take the car to the gas station and use the vacuum there. Should we not do that? And if so, can you please let me know why so that I can pass that along to him? He'll want to know why, otherwise he'll likely just do what he wants.

    Thank you!

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 6:53:42
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    Hi,

    In the past the following has always sufficed:

    Insert toe end of fine weave stocking into the pipe of the cleaner and secure open with tape of a cable tie.

    If you need more of a visual guide it will take a few days to put together.

    David

  12. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 11:55:21
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    Thank you, David. I think I've got it - basically, just be sure it is 100% secured to the opening of the tube/pipe.

    Is there a reason, other than having samples, that we would not want to use a vacuum at a car wash or gas station?

    Thanks!

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 12:53:41
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    Hi,

    I am sure you don't want to be at the gas station all afternoon and by the time you have added up at the 3 minute sessions on the pay-vac its a costly exercise. The danger is also that the increasingly cost will cause you to cut corners.

    David

  14. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 13:07:10
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    I have a few remaining questions:

    1. Let's assume the vacuum misses some (if they are there). The passive monitor, placed on the driver's seat, should show us if we have any issues, correct? (the passive you designed: sold as Packtite passive here in the US).

    I don't think my husband understands how serious this is. He doesn't think it should take him a few hours to vacuum the car. And I'm not sure I can do it (I have a recent car accident injury that makes bending , twisting and reaching difficult & painful, as well as a risk for re-injury).

    We also don't really have anywhere to plug in a vacuum to vacuum our car (we live in a condo and don't have a private garage).

    2. I know we can use alcohol to treat items like the floats, paddles, beach chairs and umbrellas (sometimes I think it would just be better to get rid of them and be done with it!). However, we also have a lot of other items in the car, such as my husband's electric razor, some books, and a laptop. I've read the FAQ's, but can't seem to find anything other than the Packtite for books, and I've read that electronics can't go in the Packtite. What options do we have for the laptop and razor? And what about books, if we don't get a Packtite?

    I'm going to try to be sure we do this the absolute best we can, but I'm concerned about my husband's buy-in (since we don't know for sure we brought any with us, he's not willing to put in a lot of work yet- and here I was thinking if we do the work now, we may be spared more tedious work later, as well as other problems).

    Thank you so much for your help. This has been very stressful, and I don't feel that I have my husband's support on this. This forum has been extremely helpful, as has your website.

    Truly, I appreciate your help and your expertise. I appreciate that you are willing to help people an ocean away on this forum.

  15. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 13:25:36
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    Hi,

    1 Yes, exactly what it is designed to do.

    All I can say is that to clean to the level of detail I mean I know it takes me hours. How if he is the flash, on speed or speedy Gonzales he could prove me wrong but a thorough job is often not a fast one.

    Extension cables.

    2 Don't throw anything out unless you have no economic value left in it, its just a waste to do so when a few minutes means its not an issue. Books are really a PackTite only option but others items have solutions if you search the forum and FAQ's.

    Appreciate its all about buy in from others but this is why the approach has a safety net of catching anything you miss. Its also fair to say the risks are low and by no means certain you have an issue but taking these steps is the best advice that we can give you to be certain you don't develop a problem.

    David

  16. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 14:32:45
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    David,

    Being a bed bug expert - a few questions on the most likely behavior of any bugs that might be in the car?

    1. Do you think it is likely that if we had carried bed bugs out on our bags that they would have just stayed on our bags (and therefore either died in the dryer or been vacuumed up after our stay)?

    Or would they have crawled into other items in our car? Because, while the car has been vacuumed at least twice already, the items in the car have not been dealt with. we went through the car and pulled out items that could be washed & dried and/or just dried.

    What's left are the loose items in the trunk and bagged items in the car itself (though our camera is in the cubby-hole in between the two front seats, along with a few hand-held games...should we get teh camera out of there?)

    2. Since my husband is driving the car daily (except Sat & Sun - and this past weekend, also Fri), if there were any bugs that were hiding in our unbagged things, would they have started moving toward the front seat of the car where he sits each day? And hopefully taken up new hiding places in the car near him (which is hopefully easier to vacuum and will be faster to show up on the passives if there is anything?)?

    Again, I am so thankful for your help here. I know that many people have said cars are low-risk, but I also know there are posts from folks who have infested cars. I am trying to take your encouragement to heart. I will hopefully be feeling less anxious about 2 weeks after installing the passives.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    (and if anyone else wants to chime in with any successes they have had with inspecting and/or treating such strange items as we have, I would greatly appreciate it)

  17. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 14:41:13
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    No enough is known about bedbug observed behavior in vehicles for answers to be anything other than guesses.

    All I can say is that the longer you delay, procrastinate and pontificate the more likely it is that you will have to work harder to control this.

    I don't care what you have done already if you have not done it to the level I have described you HAVE NOT DONE ANYTHING. In the bedbug world a badly done job may as well hone have been done so frankly what has happened before makes no difference to all the advice I have given.

    Movement of bedbugs depends on their hunger and a lot of other factors which comes back to the lack of modeling in vehicles.

    I have said before buy me a load of scrap vehicles and I will do the work but I don't have cash to spare on such projects, I run a very tight ship.

    Stop debating and get working on the solution, its that simple.

    David

  18. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 15:03:21
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    Thank you, David.
    My apologies - I don't mean to ask so many questions - just trying to get all of the information we need and enough info to convince my husband.

    Unfortunately, we both work full time and don't typically come home until a bit later in the evening, so, I'm unsure if this can happen until the weekend now. We'll certainly try.

    Again, sorry if I have worn out my welcome.
    And again, I sincerely appreciate your help.

  19. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 17:00:26
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    Hi,

    I mainly get to see cases where people have waited months do while a week is not a huge issue most bedbug issues need to be resolved sooner rather than later.

    Yes long hours can get in the way but sometimes that extra effort pays dividends. It's been a long day at this end as well and just as I was leaving the office I get the call to say a friend has a fractured foot and can't get out to get food. Although a rescue call was the last thing on my mind delivering food has been fun.

    No offender taken, caps used for emphasis.

    David

  20. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 17:15:34
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    Thanks, David. I appreciate all of your help very much.
    We're going to try to figure out how to work your advice into our schedule as soon as possible. And put a passive in the car once it arrives. I'm assuming we should do this after cleaning the car out?

    I hope your friend heals quickly. Sending good vibes and a prayer (just to cover all our bases).

    Again, thank you. I know you are a very busy guy! We appreciate you taking the time to help.

  21. njm13

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Aug 5 2013 17:37:29
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    Oops - sorry, I just re-read and yes, we wait to put the passive in until we have thoroughly cleaned the car. I'm sleep deprived, please forgive me. Thank you again for your help! You're a God-send!


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