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Funny story - but I need your help. THERE'S STILL TIME!

(5 posts)
  1. Itchy2000

    Joined: Jan '15
    Posts: 3


    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Jan 30 2015 10:33:26

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    Hey guys, I've read the FAQ and read a few anecdotes on similar topics, but there's such a vast array of knowledge and tips, I thought it would be helpful to see if anyone has any other tips or helpful things to add.

    Short, humorless version

    Had infestation, had to move out, thoroughly checked all possessions or threw out, packed into boxes, stored in basement of friend's house. Now moving into new place, stuff has been in storage for six months, don't want to infest new place.

    The PLAN

    Here's my plan, how does it sound to the experienced?:

    - Go to storage location (cramped basement) and place all items inside large plastic boxes (invent feasible reason for doing so to avoid suspicions)(sounds like escaping a prison, right?)
    - Re-wash all washables en route to new home. Not sure how to wash rug though - the dry cleaners is way too expensive.
    - Drop all boxes outside home (there is a private yard. Acers!)
    - Make sure each box exterior has no creepie-crawlies as I bring into the home.
    - Carefully unpack each bin in the middle of the room, on a large sheet of white paper, inspecting each and every item as I go, spray at the ready.
    - But what should I do about non-inspectable items? Such as a hi-fi system, a small hollow dulcimer, etc.

    The story

    I had a full-scale bed bug infestation in my last room, in a bohemian ex-office property in the warehouse district of East London . It got to the point where I was sleeping in my tatty office chair, leaned fully back, waking at 5am (feeding time!) with a sore neck, looking longingly at my bed that had been recently decked out with a cosy new duvet and egyptian cottons as a birthday present from Dad, and in the end was even drawing halos of Windex on my duvet and attempting to sleep within the circle, like some sort of manic ritual.

    I felt like a bacon sandwich being chucked into a ring of starving dogs.

    The room was a soundproofed 'room within a room', which meant there was a cavity between the walls, I was totally broke and it felt like there were just too many places for the cold-hearted bastards to hide, so I couldn't seek professional help. It didn't help that I'm a professional musician with hollow wooden, acoustic instruments everywhere, not to mention my soft spot for antique wooden furniture.

    I never thought moving would be a quick fix but I had to move out anyway as the building got shut down. I was lucky to have access to an empty room down the hall, which used to belong to a taxidermy freak, where no BBs had been reported.
    At one point, I was even sleeping in that room, secretly, creeping in there when no-one was around. I remember waking up on a dingy mattress in those weird, windowless quarters, lit by only a faded skylight. It was a strange time that I'll never forget.

    Sorry, tangent. So I used this room as my quarantined area, and 24 hours before the move I got down to work. I washed and dried all linen and clothing - anything that was washable - at 60 degrees at the laundromat. I was carting old Ikea bags full of clothes up and down the high street all day. Everything that was treated got put into the quarantine, in black plastic bags.

    The old venetian rug was a different matter. I knew this could be a real hotspot. I hung it up on the clothes line outside and beat the living crap out of it with an old crutch. I then vacuumed it for about twenty minutes and took it back to the clothes line for another beating. Finally, I battered every inch of it with cheap Bed Bug spray and a domestic steam cleaner for over half an hour, and rolled it into a bag.

    All furniture was scrapped and burned in the yard. All of it. My maddened eyes danced with the flames, my ears perked for the cries and howls of the Bed Bug Apocalypse. I worked through the night, binning anything I didn't need. I kept all my books but went through each one, flicking the pages and inspecting. Finished boxes went into the quarantine. I halved my posessions. I had to keep a lot of stuff - musical instruments, my PAC bag, that sweater. Nothing was sealed to a clinical level, just thoroughly inspected and when possible sprayed with Bed Bug spray. I have no illusions about the likely ineffectiveness of that spray. I just did the best I could and worked for 24 hours straight, choking away on the fumes. Poor me.

    The stuff was stored in the basement of a friend's house in August. Since then I've been staying short-term in various places. I accessed the stuff once to get a few essentials, moved them into my girlfriend's room (with her permission), and have neither seen nor felt any bed bug evidence after three months.

    I'm now moving into a new room (hooray!) and will want my stuff back. My friend no longer lives in the house where my stuff is being stored, so I will have only one chance to access it, and I won't be able to do any sorting at that end. I also don't want to rouse any suspicions at either storage location or new home. So what are my options? I've outlined my plan at the top.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,265


    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Jan 30 2015 13:06:23

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    I am confused about the "raising suspicions" concerns. Are you saying that people have your potentially-infested items in their basement, and haven't been informed? That's unfortunate.

    If you have items which need to be treated, there is a bed bug decon facility in your area run by David Cain of Bed Bugs Ltd., who posts here. He may be someone who can offer advice.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Itchy2000

    Joined: Jan '15
    Posts: 3


    Posted 4 years ago
    Fri Jan 30 2015 15:07:55

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    I see your point, however my friend did know that:

    a) I had bed bugs at the time and
    b) that I'd been through it thoroughly to minimise future infestations

    It raises some interesting ethical issues though.

    Let's face it, it's hard to know where to draw lines when you're in the grip of a bed bug frenzy. Anything you do, anywhere you go, you are potentially a hazard.
    Also financial situations have a big impact on how feasible it is to take drastic measures. What if you don't have a washing machine in the house? Should I have turned down my friend's offer to store my stuff because she didn't inform all of her housemates that it MAY have been infested?

    Sometimes you have to do the best you can with the options you have, including minimising the risk to others.

  4. bed-bugscouk

    Joined: Apr '07
    Posts: 18,188


    Posted 4 years ago
    Mon Feb 2 2015 13:39:29

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    I can only suggest two options as we have limited options in the UK for this sort for thing.

    • You move all the items to the decon facility and they are processed to be 100% certain there is no activity.
    • You prepare the move property for treatment by Passive Monitor replacement and don't waste the time trying to do more than a basic hand check as you move.

    The reality is that the first option takes time and resources and is thus the more costly. I am also hesitant to do such things unless needed. It may be that as you pack you only isolate the highly suspect items or things with faecal trace signs. It will cut down the workload and thus cost.

    If you don't see signs then the TbyPMR option would be ideal as you relocate and unpack as normal and rely on the natural behavior of any bedbugs to work against them in proving a harbourage that not only detects but can easily be replaced.

    The likelihood is that unless all the items are wrapped and sealed any bedbugs associated with them are now most likley associated with the occupied areas of the property which is why this approach and the "put it in storage" are never advisable as it can shift the issue around.

    Hope that helps and gives you some options, the reality is that the UK has few options but at least the ones that are available are 100% effective.

    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
  5. Itchy2000

    Joined: Jan '15
    Posts: 3


    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Feb 4 2015 12:37:27

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    Thanks David - I believe I spoke to your colleague Terry and will be taking a visit to the Decon centre in Battersea.

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