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Do I ignore PCOs poor prep instructions for bagging/release?

(12 posts)
  1. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sat Jul 21 2018 23:37:01
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    Hello pros and warriors!
    I am non-stop preparing for my first treatment, and am concerned about something on my PCO’s prep sheet. The PCO was selected by building management, and while they have been very helpful and available to answer questions, I am worried that some answers conflict with what Ive researched elsewhere. I have followed up and asked them more questions, but to no avail:

    My PCO is in the “seal everything” camp, which is no problem.

    • I have dried all sheets/clothing on high heat and sealed in XL ziplocs
    • I have a plastic bin filled with photos in ziplocs that will remain happily sealed for 18+ months
    • I am having books/luggage/bags/shoes treated in a heat chamber
    • ..and for the few things I have left after all that, I have inspected and sealed them in ziplocs. However, since I’m not a pro, I am anxious about these untreated items and electronics that I’ve just eyeballed, because the PCO says to keep them bagged until all treatments are complete. I specifically asked about releasing these between treatments, so if a BB did sneak in, it could cross poison on its way back to feed, but no luck. They insist the bags cannot be opened until weeks after they are done with the final treatment.

    I can’t find any resource that jives with this, and I do not feel comfortable using DDVP/pest strips if I can avoid it. Do I open these few bags mid-treatments anyway? They use Mikron, Tempo 1%, STERI FAB, and pyrethrins and will be treating the whole apartment minus the bathroom.

    I have tried to absorb as much information as possible in the limited time I have before starting this bed battle, but am stuck on this one. Your insight and advice is very welcome!

    -

    ps. 1br in a small multi-unit building. Other apartments have been inspected but I don’t know that those results will be shared with me.. Bites started in late May, but because I had a bad reaction at first, and no evidence for over a month, I couldn’t be sure. Finally saw one, and my [mis]adventure began..!

  2. micachica

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 11:12:08
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    My PCO had me bag clothes and reduce clutter. After he came the first time he said to unbag everything because you want the bugs to crawl through the poison. The bugs aren’t gonna get killed hanging out in a bag for a few weeks. They need to encounter the poison. I don’t know why your PCO wants you to keep everything bagged. If they aren’t answering your (very reasonable) questions I’d be asking for a different PCO.

  3. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 11:42:07
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    The PCO does not believe bagging will kill any bugs, but they are relying on me expertly inspecting and cleaning(?) these items before bagging. But I am not an expert.. and I feel at risk for reinfestation if there does happen to be a hitchhiker stowed away in there.

    If they aren’t answering your (very reasonable) questions I’d be asking for a different PCO.

    They have been very good about answering my questions, however their answer is to leave these items sealed until both treatments are complete (6 weeks). Unfortunately this only works if I have inspected and prepped "properly" so these items are bug free... but I'd much rather have a plan that doesnt rely on me being a bb spotting master!

    This PCO is through my building management, so I am ideally looking for advice on how to handle while still moving forward with this company.

  4. micachica

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 14:54:16
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    If you’re stuck dealing with them I guess it’s best to follow their instructions. Hopefully everything will work out as it’s supposed to.

  5. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 16:09:02
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    Hopefully others will weigh in with possible options and advice that can be applied to my scenario (either with options that don't require changing PCOs, or professional advice insisting that I must change my PCO)!

  6. jacksonsi

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 21:50:00
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    What are you sealing in bags ? If it’s clothes, hopefully you have heat treated them. You would want to keep clean, heat dried clothes sealed until treatment is finished. Bugs would crawl back in them if they aren’t sealed. Electronics can be sealed in a bag with the Nuvan strips. I know you said you wouldn’t want to use them, but how else would you treat them if you sealed them without it ?

  7. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 22:43:23
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    (oops double post! see my reply below)

  8. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 22:45:29
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    hi @jacksonsi,

    What are you sealing in bags ? If it’s clothes, hopefully you have heat treated them. You would want to keep clean, heat dried clothes sealed until treatment is finished. Bugs would crawl back in them if they aren’t sealed.

    I have dried all sheets/clothing on high heat and sealed in XL ziplocs. They will definitely remain sealed until I am confirmed to be totally bug free - with the occasional rushed open-bag-grab-outfit-seal-bag-again dance My question is about non-clothing items that I have inspected (to the best of my ability), and bagged, but are not otherwise treated in any way.

    Electronics can be sealed in a bag with the Nuvan strips. I know you said you wouldn’t want to use them, but how else would you treat them if you sealed them without it ?

    From what I understand, there are a few different, very acceptable methods for handling "stuff besides clothes." From the bagging FAQ:

    Some PCOs say, “seal all your stuff in preparation, open it after treatment begins” (when, depends on the PCO: could be right away or after a few treatments), some say “seal it in preparation, and keep it sealed for 18 months,” and some say, “don’t seal it”.

    However my PCO wants me to seal everything, but only open them (even the non-clothing/electronics/untreated items) weeks after all treatments are complete, instead of releasing those items at some point mid-treatment, to let out any bugs looking to feed, where they'll encounter the poison and die.

    I'm hoping for advice on opening just these bags between my two treatments anyway, because it seems my PCO is advising a method that could put me at risk later on..

  9. thirdusername

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Sun Jul 22 2018 23:49:18
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    It is really good the PCO your landlord sent answers your questions.
    I couldn't get my landlord to get the PCO to answer anything for me.
    If your untreated stuff is away from where bugs would typically hide and the stuff is not usual hiding places and your infestation was light then the risk of reinfestation might be low.
    The good thing is they will keep treating as much as they need to.
    It doesn't seem smart to me but I'm not an expert?

    I am NOT an expert.
    My opinions are just opinions, they may NOT apply to yours or any situation.
    My advice is to always do a LOT of research.
    A lot of what I read contradicts other stuff on the Interweb.
  10. killingthemsoftly

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Jul 23 2018 9:50:09
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    Thanks, I do think/hope it is light. I do react to the bites, so I know they are chomping away maybe once a week, and my PCO confirmed bbs after inspecting the mattress, but the only bug Ive actually seen anywhere was the first one - tiny, unfed, roaming on my sheet at 1am one night.

    Unfortunately the PCO didn't inspect any other areas "because they are treating the whole apartment anyway" but have planned only 2 treatments for now, because they don't think its too bad.

    It is great that they will do more treatments if necessary (although they say 3+ treatments would only be for a serious infestation), but of course my lease is up in a few months, and doesn't give me a lot of time to be super sure I am bug free before its time to move out. Im crossing my fingers..!

  11. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Jul 23 2018 23:25:44
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    This FAQ goes into this sort of thing: How to prep for bed bug treatment; should I put everything in bags?

    These factors may be relevant:

    1. Do you have any sort of guarantee? If so, not following instructions may void it. (If they’re aware of this.)

    2. Will they still treat if you follow their instructions and evidence arises after that point at which they’ve told you to unpack, and if so, how long do you have for evidence to arise?

    3. Is there a reasonable way to treat the items so you don’t have to worry about this? Heat and Rag in a Bag may be options if you don’t want to try DDVP.
    More on those in Useful Tools.

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

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Jul 24 2018 10:33:37
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    Thanks Nobugs!

    1. Do you have any sort of guarantee? If so, not following instructions may void it. (If they’re aware of this.)

    2. Will they still treat if you follow their instructions and evidence arises after that point at which they’ve told you to unpack, and if so, how long do you have for evidence to arise?

    Yes to both of these. They have a guarantee and will continue to treat as needed. Not following their instructions will void this if they are aware, although talking with them again still resulted in mixed advice: They clarified only the items out in the open; on bookshelves, wall units, etc. need to be inspected/bagged/not opened for 6 weeks (once treatments are over), but other items inside kitchen cabinets for example, don't need to be bagged at all. So, now Im just trying to educate myself and understand the difference..

    If hard-to-treat items like art supplies or electronics are on a shelf, they must be inspected and sealed for the duration of treatment, but if they are in the cabinet next to that shelf, then I 'don't need to worry about it'..?

    Im sure I am overthinking it all, but Im really trying to be as spot on with prep as possible because my timeline is so tight. With my lease up in a few months, it doesn't give us time to continue treatments beyond the two we currently have scheduled - and I am aching to be confirmed bug free before its time to move..

    3. Is there a reasonable way to treat the items so you don’t have to worry about this? Heat and Rag in a Bag may be options if you don’t want to try DDVP.

    Most things are being treated in a heat chamber already, so this really is for just some oddball items that can't be heated, laundered, or stored for 18+ months. If it really is the best option, I can use the pest strips/chemical solutions, but was just hesitant because I work from home in a tiny apartment, and will be sharing the space with the bags all day, every day.

    ps. After continuing to push on these questions, and still not feeling fully informed by their responses, my PCO did eventually offer Nuvan strips if I am 'really concerned' - although conflicting again with all other instructions I've read, they said the bags with the strips would need to be sealed for 6 weeks.

    My confidence is just a bit shaken, and some educated voices in my ear are always welcome


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