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Back Story and Car Fumigation

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  1. Over_This

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 31 2016 8:33:45
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    Good morning,

    I didn't want to do this, but it's probably important information concerning my question.

    Just before Christmas last year, my mom saw a bug crawling on the couch late one night. Because of the bites she had been getting now and then, she called an exterminator. They came in, said they did find 4 bugs, sprayed only the couch, and left. Disappointing to say the least.

    Not realizing what a nightmare these creatures are, my husband and I visited her house on Christmas Eve and Day. I woke on Christmas Day to several bites, but I stayed Christmas night as well. The next day I went back to my husband's parents' house, where my husband and I were staying at the time.

    I started to get 2-3 bites every two weeks, but I was still making quick trips to my mom's place now and again, so I thought I might have been bitten there. After a while though, I started to worry that I had brought them to my husband's parents' place. I know we waited too long to tell them, but in June, we finally told his parents what happened and about the bites. I hadn't seen a bug up to that point.

    We wrapped up the couch I had been sleeping on all that time. As we were doing so, I saw my very first bug. Well, bugs. What I saw....I will never forget. I only saw about 2 or 3 live bugs, but so many dead ones. When I took pieces of tape to the floor, I was picking up cast skins, feces, eggs. Terrible!

    We got the couch and the carpet out, and I cleaned up the rest of the room, taking a good 3-4 rolls of tape to the floor to pick up the remainder of the skins, eggs, etc. Thankfully, his parents decided to call an exterminator. We prepared for his arrival by washing all of our bedding, clothes, uncluttering, etc.

    Really quickly, I should mention that my husband and I were planning to separate for a bit for reasons other than the bugs. I was looking for an apartment to move into after treatment was completed. Two nights before it was, he and I had an awful fight. I walked out with nothing but five plastic ziploc bags with valuables (which had been inspected) in them, a tote with clothes in a ziploc bag, my laptop bag for work which had also been in a tote, and a bag of clothes I had washed and dried just before the fight. I checked the outside of the tote and my laptop bag before leaving and saw nothing. They were in a room separate from the one where the infested couch was.

    I stayed at a hotel while I looked for an apartment. On the second day, I noticed a bite on my foot. I freaked out and tore the bed apart. Sure enough, I found a cast skin. I was heart broken. I called my mom in tears, and she called my aunt who was awesome enough to take me in. I checked everything before I left the hotel, and I washed my clothes when I got to my aunt's.

    Through all this, I did find an apartment. I plan to throw away everything I brought from my husband's parents' place, buy new clothes, laptop bag, everything. I know that sounds drastic, but I want to take no chances.

    As for my mom, she's still battling them seven months later, because her landlord refuses to do anything about it, and the other two apartments have them as well. She's set to move in a few weeks, and she's taking next to nothing with her as well. I can't even visit her, and it's really getting to me. We're best friends.

    Anyway....to my question. As an extra precaution, I am getting my car fumigated tomorrow morning before I go shopping for new things. How long should I wait before I put anything in it? In other words, how fast does fumigation kill any bugs, eggs, etc? Any other precautions I take?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. GeekOnTheHill

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 31 2016 10:17:31
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    Sorry for all your problems. Hopefully they'll soon be just a distant memory.

    As for the car, you'll have to ask the fumigator about re-entry times and so forth. He or she should also give you a specimen label that you can read that will contain that information. Different products have different requirements.

    The exposure times also vary based on the fumigant used, the concentration, the half-loss time of the enclosure (vault, tent, or tarp), and in some cases the temperature. The insect stage also affects the exposure time, with eggs typically taking longer to kill than exposed stages. Ask the fumigator about that, as well, and double-check the label just to be sure.

    Finally, be aware that like heat, fumigation provides no ongoing protection. Done properly, it will kill literally anything in the car; but once the vapor desorbs, it provides no residual protection at all, so the car can be reinfested if bed begs are reintroduced.

    Richard

  3. howdidigetbb

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 31 2016 20:16:22
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    I have been thinking about my car as well. It has been really hot here and my car sits in a parking lot all day so I'm thinking that the 120+ temps in my car will kill any stage of bed bug. Am I right on this?

  4. GeekOnTheHill

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sun Jul 31 2016 23:15:05
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    DancingBay - 2 hours ago  » 
    I have been thinking about my car as well. It has been really hot here and my car sits in a parking lot all day so I'm thinking that the 120+ temps in my car will kill any stage of bed bug. Am I right on this?

    Actually, I'm afraid that that's unlikely. For heat treatment to be effective, you have to raise the core temperature, not just the air temperature.

    In other words, you'd have to raise the temperature of every part of the car where bed bugs can hide. That would include the seat cushions, the spaces under the carpeting and behind the trim, the electronics, the trunk... basically everywhere.

    Richard

  5. howdidigetbb

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 8:10:41
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    We've had 97+ day time temps for 90% of the last 30 days and some nearing 100. If the windows are all the way up and the interior of my SUV (no trunk) is well over 120 for at least 6 hours each day, I don't know what parts would stay below the temps hot enough to kill any bed bugs that might be in there. I will ask the POC that I choose to do my house.

  6. GeekOnTheHill

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 9:04:18
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    DancingBay - 35 minutes ago  » 
    We've had 97+ day time temps for 90% of the last 30 days and some nearing 100. If the windows are all the way up and the interior of my SUV (no trunk) is well over 120 for at least 6 hours each day, I don't know what parts would stay below the temps hot enough to kill any bed bugs that might be in there. I will ask the POC that I choose to do my house.

    Give it a shot then. It costs nothing to try. The sun is still free. But I think it's unlikely that you'll get all the important areas hot enough.

    If you feel like doing an experiment, pick up a cheap outdoor thermometer. Place it under the seats, in the glove box (approximating the temperature of the dashboard electronics), under the floor mats, and in any other convenient places that don't get directly hit by the sun, and see how hot it gets. It won't be especially accurate unless you get a fancier, digital one (still less than $10.00 most places), but it will give you some idea.

    Something like this would be accurate enough: http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/acu-rite-digital-window-thermometer?cm_vc=-10005

    Richard

  7. SleeplessinATL

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 9:13:19
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    DancingBay - if you do the thermometer experiment, will you report back - I too have been depending on natures heat for the car as well as books from our rooms (in black bags out on our driveway). Interested to hear if I'm kidding myself!!!!

  8. howdidigetbb

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 9:23:34
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    I do know that last Sunday I put a quilt and thermal blanket in black bags and put them on my deck. This past week has not been as hot as the previous weeks have been, but several days the temps were in the mid 90's (95-97). Anyway, I brought the bags into the house and after handling the bags found 2 BB. One after bringing the bag inside. It was full of blood and I though it was a beetle until I squashed it. I washed the thermal blanket, but not the quilt. Then several hours later it dawned on me that the BB might have been from the bags. I threw the other one back outside and then 20 minutes later when I was watching TV found one crawling on my shirt. Now I'm afraid that I've introduced BB to my laundry room.


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