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Donating items one year post-treatment?

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  1. mobert

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Mon May 20 2019 15:03:11
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    Bit of backstory: I first discovered that I had bed bugs winter of 2017. I only had bites as evidence until I found a live one in a spiral notebook. I got my apartment treated by a professional, still was getting fresh bites. So I got it treated again, this time also heat treating all of my belonging. This was in March 2018. After that I didn't get any more confirmed bites.

    So my question is: since I haven't found any bed bugs or gotten any bites for a year, would it be safe for me to donate old clothing? Prior to donation, I'd still visibly inspect the clothes, put them in the dryer for a full cycle on high, and then secure them straight out of the dryer.

    My concerns are that maybe there are still bed bugs present and I wouldn't know because I no longer react to the bites. That seems a bit far fetched to me, but it could still be possible. I do sometimes get an itchy spot, but they only are itchy for a few minutes and don't look like the confirmed bites. I assume they are simply skin irritants from something else, since there's plenty of things besides bed bugs that cause small itchy spots. And I have seen no other evidence of bed bugs whatsoever.

    Opinions on this topic I know are a bit conflicted. But I just really, really don't want to throw things away if I don't have to. I've been hanging on to the stuff all this time with the hope that one day I can donate it without having to worry about spreading an infestation.

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Mon May 20 2019 15:52:48
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    If you're going through the trouble of running them through the dryer I don't see any issue.
    I question the original diagnosis unless the PCO found actual live samples, what you found in the binder could very well have been a psocid, booklice.
    Either way, a year down and then run through the dryer I'd take anything from your donation into my home without concern.

  3. mobert

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Mon May 20 2019 16:09:50
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    They were actual bed bugs. The one I found in my spiral I managed to trap, fully intact, on a piece of duct tape (like an absolute ninja. I'm still proud of myself for my reaction speed, tbh). I got it checked. It was 100% without a doubt a bed bug.

    And thanks for your input. I probably will end up donating them.

  4. mobert

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Wed May 22 2019 18:48:30
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    What's your opinion on donating items that I can't put in the dryer? I can't use my ZappBug right now due to electrical issues, so if I donated non-fabric items, they'd not have been heat treated. I'd still very closely visually inspect everything, of course. but unlike the clothes, they'd not have the additional safe guard of heat treatment.

    Should I just wait until I can use my Zappbug? Or would that be unnecessary?

  5. thirdusername

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu May 23 2019 0:34:01
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    I wonder how many people have donated stuff without knowing they have bed bugs.

    How bad was the infestation?
    Was the big stuff EVER treated?

    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.
  6. mobert

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    Posted 5 months ago
    Thu May 23 2019 2:12:37
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    Ironically, I'm pretty sure I actually got my bed bugs from buying clothes at a thrift store. That's why it's so important to me that I don't do the same thing to someone else.

    My infestation I'm assuming had to be pretty small. The only non-bite evidence of them I ever saw was the one live bug I captured and one I found dead post-treatment. That's it. Lots of bites, but since there was no droppings, shells, blood smears, etc, I assume there can't have been a ton of them.

    Everything that could be fit into my ZappBug got heat treated a year ago. Only exception was electronics. And after heat treating, they were all securely wrapped in plastic and not opened until after a PCO did spray treatment. Some of the things I didn't even unwrap until today. Only things that didn't get heat treated were my desk and dresser, and those got sprayed instead. (I don't have a bed or couches/armchairs, so I've never had to worry about those.)


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