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Caulking and infested neighbors...? Prevention?

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  1. ijustwanttosleepagain

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Sun Oct 19 2014 1:28:35
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    Alright, I'm new here, and have a habit of writing novels instead of posts LOL so I will try to make this as short as my little writer heart will allow.

    Basically, we got bed bugs from our neighbor, next to us. We share walls, and live in an old Victorian 4 family divided. My kitchen and bathroom walls as well as part of my guest bedroom wall are shared with her bedroom walls, and we've confirmed a bad infestation at her apartment and a smaller, newer one in mine. The issue is, she is very stubborn and my landlord says they won't keep treating her if she does not complain, and the pest control company says the same. I'm like..."Yeah but, she didn't complain in the first place! I DID! Because I saw them in her unit when I went to help her with something" and they're like "Okay, she has them, we'll treat, but we will only keep treating as long as she complains...which is not at all, so she gets one treatment...but you can have as many as it takes" what kind of logic is that??!!

    It's important to note the neighbors upstairs are not even being inspected. The landlord won't pay for it. Only the units that "complained". So the pest control guy does my unit, but no one else's except the neighbor, once, who is also in denial (EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE SEEN THERE) and is basically refusing to cooperate, clean clutter, do laundry, seal beds, use climb ups, vacuum, or anything.

    UGH I am cooperating so much and doing all I am told but I am the only one.

    SO, I know the general consensus is that caulking is bad since it can cause scatter, at least until the infestation is 100% gone for sure...but if the neighbors keep refusing to comply and they are not getting treatments at all, how will it EVER be gone from me?

    I would really like to caulk JUST to keep them from coming BACK to me from her, because honestly there are HUGE cracks all over this house, especially in the bedrooms around the baseboards, and some directly leading to her unit from mine, and I'd like to seal it all up (yes I understand the difference between "sealant" and "caulk" but I say caulk to be general here, but I do have actual sealant)just so that she can't keep giving them back to me. Honestly, if all the neighbors would comply and cooperate, or if my landlord wasn't lazy and cheap and insisted on inspecting all units, I'd just stick with the whole "don't caulk" mantra, but I can't deal with them migrating to me when everyone else fails to do their part.

    So my question is, for this type of circumstance, is caulking then good to do?

    And IF SO...

    How do I caulk (seal) without disturbing the residuals he (PCO) left on the cracks and crevices? I know you have to have a clean and dry area to use sealant to make sure it works correctly but I don't want to wash up what he put down.

    Any advice on how to caulk (or not to caulk!) and how to keep them AWAY from coming back to me, would be excellent!
    Thanks!

  2. sleeplessinnj

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 29 2014 1:16:11
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    What is the difference between sealant and caulk?? Any update on ur post?

  3. Mmm

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 29 2014 6:17:26
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    I am so sorry you are going through this, my story is much the same a yours. The infestation. In my home started with the downstairs neighbor who had them for months and never said anything. Once my apartment became infested, that's when they finally said they had them. We both had chemical treatments in September and within two weeks it was clear that treatment had not taken care of the issue. So my landlord had my apartment treated again, but not theirs because they had not complained.....they never would have at all if I hadnt! It's beyond frustrating. I wish you luck and pray your situation is resolved soon....

  4. P Bello

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 29 2014 7:56:02
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    OK, maybe we should call this the Fort Apache strategy but whatever, there are things YOU can do to help YOU not have bed bugs in YOUR apartment !

    Yes, doing something in just your unit will not solve a building wide problem nor cure the social ills of everyone in your building but the truth of the matter is that YOU care about YOU, right? OK, good.

    And, sometimes we just can't help people that won't help themselves.

    Above was posted:

    "SO, I know the general consensus is that caulking is bad since it can cause scatter, at least until the infestation is 100% gone for sure..."

    This is NOT true and one wonders where you got this nugget of misinformation???

    The truth of the matter is that you can keep bed bugs at bay from your apartment if you do certain things. Treating wall voids with suitable materials followed by caulking/sealing of potential entry points or PVAs (pest vulnerable areas) is one such strategy.

    In fact, our friend Killer Queen is called upon to successfully treat individual apartments in NYC "all the time" and it works for he and his clientele.

    What questions do you have?

    pjb

  5. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Nov 29 2014 15:16:14
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    Caulk vs sealant you want to go with a sealant because sealants have an elastomericiness, this creates a tighter seal which allows for temperature and building variations while caulk tends to get brittle and crack after a while.. They cost is similar with perhaps sealants being a dollar or two more. get a decent caulking gun and cut a small hole for application, wear disposable or cheap gloves and a plastic trowel or your finger to smooth down.

  6. 321gogirl5

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 0:03:18
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    Caulking and sealing is ok to do. Fill in as many holes as possible. I hate to say this but if your neighbor shares a wall with you and has them it's going to be next to impossible for you to get rid of them. I'm battling bugs right now. I know this post is mostly about caulking and sealing but here are some tips helping with my battle. Your exterminator probably told you this already but get a mattress and boxspring cover that is made specifically for bed bugs and DON'T take it off. Get some food grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it between the bed and the bed frame and around any area of the walls in your house that you think the little critters might walk through. While it's not necessarily toxic Just be careful not to directly inhale it and wear gloves but it can bother the skin. You can buy cups that go under the legs or your bed that will trap them and suffocate bugs trying to crawl off your bed and ones trying to crawl on. Put sticky tape along the ceiling above your bed. It's a tape that the bugs will stick too. If they come in through the ceiling you don't want them to drop on you. you can also put sticky tape on the legs of your bed, chairs, desks, walls, etc. CLEAN everything you can on a regular basis. Vacuum everywhere you can while periodically vacuuming up talc powder to suffocate any bugs you may have vacuumed up. you can also scrub your carpet. Don't let anything from the floor touch your bed and put as much stuff in plastic containers and off the floor as possible. Get rid of cardboard. Bugs love it apparently. Wash all your clothes as much as you can and run them extra time in the dryer so the heat kills the bugs. Honestly if your landlord won't do anything I would either try to take legal action or leave. Bed bugs infestations can get very bad without being treated and can cause trama to the people that get them. Hope this helps!

  7. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 8:31:17
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    Some comments on 321's well intentioned suggestions. Diatomaceous Earth or Silica Gel (which is a powder) is placed in cracks and crevices so the BBs re on it for a period of time. Pit fall traps do not suffocate but contain. While cleanliness is next to godliness it is heat that kills BBs so you can skip the time and expense of washing and go straight to drying on high heat for 40 Min. When you vacuum empty bag or vacuum and wrap and discard contents out of the building.

  8. P Bello

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 8:50:04
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    It is said; the longest journey starts with the first step.

    Let's not give up from the start simply because there's a lot of work to be done.

    As our pal Winston points out, let's read the labels of the caulks & sealant materials we purchase prior to doing so. Or, and maybe better yet, simply ask "the guy" in the paint department which caulking/sealant type product is best for YOUR intended use. However, don't be an "askhole" where you don't actually listen to his response and/or advice.

    Just for fun I took a photo of al the caulk/sealant/sealant adhesive type products on the shelves at the local Lowes here. There's many of them these days and they are intended for different uses and purposes. Choose wisely !

    Have a great day ! pjb

  9. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 10:03:39
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    Hi,

    Sealing in to avoid ingress is akin to continually bailing out the sink rather than fixing the broken washer.

    It is certainly not a good idea when you have a dispersed infestation as it can temporarily "trap" bedbugs into remote locations making treatment slower an harder to achieve.

    It's far better to work with building management to make sure they know why fixing the source is the fastest solution and the correct way to go forward.

    I am very anti sealing unless you know all the adjoining units are clear because I have seen this cause massive issues with treatment and certainly causes the extension of some cases which could have been more easily resolved had the bedbugs been left to move around as "normal".

    Hope that gets you onto te right path.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC 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 pro
  10. P Bello

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 12:39:44
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    Above the OP posted:

    "Sealing in to avoid ingress is akin to continually bailing out the sink rather than fixing the broken washer."

    Sorry, but this it only partially true at best and just plain wrong in many ways as follows:

    The fundamental theory here is to block or seal off PVA (pest vulnerable areas) to deny physical access via entry points, harborage areas and/or travel paths for pests at an account location. This methodology is utilized for all pests by experienced and competent pest professionals practicing IPM (Integrated Pest Management) have been implementing such practices for many, may years. To state otherwise is simply incorrect!

    Let's all understand that what we're trying to do here is treat the void/harborage/travel path type areas as well as the PVAs (pest vulnerable areas) prior to sealing with the appropriate materials.

    This type work is to be done in combination with thorough inspection and treatment methodologies within the entire unit in question when an apartment resident wants to take action to help themselves opposite their bed bug problems and concerns. To suggest that same is not effective nor helpful is wrong!

    Does this strategy work to eliminate and/or significantly reduce bed bug activity in the unit where the work is being done? Yes it does.

    Are many pros successful doing this here in the US? Yes they are.

    Will this solve a building wide problem in your apartment building? No it won't.

    Does the individual apartment resident have control or suitable influence about what happens in the entire building community for the short term such that suitable change may be implemented resulting in long term bed bug control? Nope !

    Can this strategy be successfully used in the short term to help save YOU and YOUR family from bites and a significant infestation from occurring in YOUR apartment? Yup !

    Should this "sealing strategy" be viewed and commented upon as if it were being promoted as a sole or lone practice? No, that would be silly and lead to inapplicable comments as per above.

    Do the tips posted on this thread include everything one person can do to help themselves in their own apartment? No, don't be silly.

    Are sealing and pest proofing viable and fundamental pest management methodologies that are embraced and utilized by the greater majority of the US Pest Management Industry? Yes they are.

    Are these methodologies suitably applicable to bed bug control work? Yes they are.

    Just to be sure, we're talking treating with suitable materials followed by sealing not just sealing alone.

    Overall, posters are better served when viable practical advice that they can understand and implement is provided rather than incomplete, argumentative posts which do a poor job of fully and clearly explaining the view points expressed.

    To boot, I would ask this theoretical questions:
    Twenty two bed bugs of various ages plus seventeen eggs are harboring/hiding in a wall void clinging to the sheet rock just 2.54 centimeters from an electric outlet box in apartment A. This is the only utility penetration in this entire wall but the wall is shared with an infested apartment B. Joe Resident of apartment A removes the outlet cover to inspect and treat. He then properly dusts the wall void surrounding the outlet, seals the outlet wire entry points, replaces the outlet cover and seals around the marginal edges of the outlet. When this is done, all the live bed bugs and eggs are contacted by the insecticide dust and the void surface areas are suitably covered by the application as well. Assuming that the dust applied is effective against bed bugs; 1) Will all the bed bugs be killed? 2) Will bed bugs which subsequently enter the treated void area from infested apartment B be killed? 3) Will any bed bugs traveling from infested apartment B be successful in entering apartment A through the sealed area? 4) Apartment A resident Joe is a community minded individual who volunteers at a nearby homeless shelter. In doing so, he inadvertently picked up a bed bug on his back pack. When he brings his back pack home and the bed bug crawls off it, is there any possible chance that this bed bug would be killed by the dust Joe applied into the wall void area? 5) Since the area was sealed, is there any chance that this bed bug would be able to crawl behind the edges of the sealed outlet to hide subsequent to Joe's treating and sealing efforts?

    It's reasonable to state that the scenario and following questions above further explain what we're trying to accomplish here and underscore that this is an acceptable a viable strategy.

    If any person, whether US based or otherwise, wishes to refute the above, please do so by presenting a well written, clear, concise and complete retort.

    Have a nice day ! pjb

  11. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sun Nov 30 2014 17:58:37
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    Paul,

    OP stands for "Original Post" in internet parlance an as such refers only to the first post in a thread.

    With regard my post I expressed my opinion based in my experience. That is, that when correctly treated in a fashion that is based on eradication of the problem without risk of dispersal such as through isolation and chemical based treatments the secondary infestations resolve faster than if you attempt to seal yourself away from them. In essence the water main is turned off and as such less bailing out is needed.

    Unfortunately you have been misleading in that you have presented what is opinion in your reply as fact. While something may be an industry standard approach it does to mean it is automatically correct or better. In the same way that at some stage popular opinion said the world was flat or that Dr's could only cure people by leeches.

    To hve replied in the tone and fashion that you have makes it appear that you are not open to a discussion on this to see why 12 years of field experience has led me down that path because you feel the popular opinion must be the correct one.

    I am fairly certain that given my tenure in the field and the cases I have dealt with I have encountered many more adjoining and dispersing cases than you, also most likely more than other exponents of this approach and also in a greater variety of architecture than anyone else.

    Had you expressed your post as an opinion it may have passed but to position it as an absolute fact is fallacious because while there are those out there that disagree with it being fact it is by definition fallacious.

    The fact remains that in over 28,000 cases we are yet to recommend sealing/caulking and the majority of housing stock in London adjoins at least 1 other and about 50% adjoins 4 or more. We also have a greater range of architecture to account for.

    The fastest way to stop the ingress is to correctly deal with the source and no to impede the movement of bugs between units.

    David

  12. P Bello

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Dec 1 2014 22:44:01
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    I stand corrected in that OP = original poster whereas I was using it for "other person" which was incorrect.

    Now, I've read your post and found it to be non-responsive to the questions and points raised.

    In any event, please either try to stay on topic and respond to the points raised or simply do not respond at all if you can't provide an on topic response as requested.

    Whoa!
    Wait.
    What?
    Now it's 28,000?
    Moments ago it was just 26,000?
    The math just doesn't work out for the time period that you claim to have been in business with the number of people you claim to have working.
    Please explain that math to us?

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Dec 3 2014 5:23:43
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    Paul,

    I am not sure if you are serious about you questioning of my experience but the genesis of my company and our achievements are well documented aside from the numbers of people that I employ. To enlighten you somewhat, at one stage I employed 10 people working full time on bedbugs and only bedbugs. I am sure that you can appreciate that with such a capacity we were hardly rate limited by staff and as such have at times dealt with up to 20 cases per day, five days a week.

    There are also the initial years where I was contracted to a London local government team where I was tasked with up to 8 cases per day and since there was no-one else willing to deal with bedbugs I was in effect exposed to a lot of data very quickly. This enabled me to rapidly test variables and optimize what I was doing so that once I started my own company in 2005 we were already ahead of the learning curve. Given that much of the media focus and attention did not start until 2007 onwards and I think we did not meet until 2010/11 when you started getting interested in bedbugs.

    I suppose my point here is that just like any skill based job, tenure and time in the field do not automatically make you better but they do make you more experienced. In some ways that experience has also placed me ahead of the wider knowledge base. A few examples include the early debates proclaiming that female bedbug flee males due to traumatic insemination, that was obviously incorrect to me and yet many chose to argue it until the definitive paper was published (based on one of my cases which is still the heaviest confirmed case of bedbugs studied) or the work of Stephen Kells on the thygmotaxic responses of bedbugs in 2012/13 which was already part of my 2009 patent application although not specifically named as such.

    Yes I do have very different opinions from a lot of people but that may be partly due to how I derive my data. I collect and analyze it myself rather than relying on conclusions presented to me. This approach has always served me well in the past and in my previous work in the field of molecular biology I achieved a number of things that people still talk about today and record setting from direct genomic DNA YAC sequencing to new DNA manipulation tools capable of cleaning post-PCR amplification samples at record speed with minimal cost. I have spent a lot of my career in different fields striving to prove that "it cant be done" is often more accurately "I don't know how to do it yet".

    I did not reply to your hypothetical question because in my experience and taking into account the more recent research it is an unlikely scenario give the colonization behavior that bedbugs repeatedly show in the field. I have NEVER seen bedbugs in an outlet without either being driven there through the use of an in-effective chemical or once the initial harbourage sites have been fully occupied and that means the infestation is already established beyond the basics of the scenario you have outlined.

    I feel therefore my point still stands, in my experience sealing does more potential harm than it resolves and is best avoided. That is my recommendation based on my personal experience. What you have written is presented as an absolute which you claim to be the truth, but it is clearly not a universal truth because I and my experience disagree.

    To this day I am still one of only a handful of people who only work on bedbugs and nothing else. There are many who would claim that or even give the impression that they do when in fact they do other pest related jobs as well. I have certainly claimed the title of being the first dedicated bedbug specialist of modern times for long enough without that being contested that its an established fact. Just as with any skill it takes time and dedication to develop. There are very few musicians or artists who pick things up immediately and are overnight successes in the same way that you do not get to the Olympics without years and years of training.

    I think you can also appreciate that I have a vast body of work on the subject which although mostly directly published it covers only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we have collected and analyzed. Increasingly however projects are delayed from being launched because we need more equipment such as camera mounts to take things to the next level in terms of giving people access to the raw data as well as the analysis of it. This is also on top of the 1TB of digital data I have collected as well, it makes quite a data set when it's all in filed and in a searchable format.

    What may appear outwardly to be a single person is not, I am the figure head of a team who work together to specifically resolve bedbug related problems. We are not a national or global team but what we lack in numbers we more than make up for in terms of experience and sheer hours dedicated to the problem. It also means I can be working from the office on a project while my team are doing work or with mobile communications I can post from the field which I often do. I have even gone away traveling on business for a month and simply kept in touch with my team via video calling and conferencing as and when is needed.

    Maybe you could are to clarify what you mean by "moments ago"?

    David


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