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Heat treatment - what can get damaged in our house?

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  1. cricket333

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 13:15:55
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    I'm leaning towards treating all three floors of our house even though the dog we had in this week only alerted on the third floor. I admit to maybe over-reacting but this has really taken over my head to the point where I don't know if I can ever relax and enjoy my house again -- so whatever I can do to try to make that happen is worth the cost.

    I'm going to be getting more info from the company on what the prep would entail but I know there are certain things that have to be removed. I was told electronics could stay but my husband checked the apple website and the imac is not rated above, I think , 120 degrees for storage. So we'll have to take that out (luckily it's on the 2nd floor where dog did not alert so I think it's okay - double sided tape around it before we put it back in the house afterward).

    Photo albums? DVDs and CDs? Old photos in frames? Antique furniture? Food?

    Can anyone give firsthand experience of what needs to be taken out of the house and what may get damaged no matter what. Our house is about 100 years old - well built, was gutted and redone in the 1980s - I'm almost certain all new wiring.

    I have a fear (one of several about this situation!) that I might cause more harm with this treatment than is warranted.

    Our bugs are bat not bed and something from the Univ. of Colorado online says they "can not sustain and reproduce in the absence of the bat hosts" so maybe the two we found are not enough to warrant my panic. The bats were removed a couple months ago - I think the batbugs are now hungry and moving to us for food but will they create the same havoc as bedbugs - I don't know.

    Anyway, any advice on heat treatments? I've read a lot of posts but still looking for more info...
    Thanks.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 13:31:08
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    There are a lot of posts previously made in this forum that have detailed explanations of many of the answers to the questions you asked. I know since I'd wager that I wrote about 70% of them since I had heat treatment. I distinctly recall answering a lot of those questions in the last few months.

    The forums can be kind of hard to navigate. There are two reasons for that. Sometimes we don't type in the key words other people have used. Sometimes people don't tag their posts.

    I've added some tags to this post so that if someone finds those earlier threads and links to them here, this post should pop up more readily if people search by those key words.

    A lot of people overlook tagging their posts or don't understand how tags work.

    I have to go to work, but if I get a chance later and you or someone else haven't been able to find those other threads, I'll take a look.

    I think the only thing on that list I haven't done much on is food. Any food or drink that I was worried about, I just stored in my fridge. The fridge is the only electrical appliance they leave on, and it keeps things plenty cool during treatment.

    If you think about it, the temps they raise the house to (except immediately beside a duct or heater, which I cannot image they'd be running through or placing directly in your pantry or cupboards) is no warmer than it gets inside your car on a hot day in a really hot climate. (By really hot, I mean places like the desert southwest where the air temp in the summer routinely gets up to 120 degrees F. Places like Las Vegas, El Centro, Blythe, Palm Springs, Pam Desert . . . and probably large swathes of Arizona and New Mexico.)

    In places where the air temp routinely hits 120, the inside of a car ought to routinely hit 140.

    People in those places do have to bring groceries home. They put cans of food in the car from one store into the car, stop and park at a second store, go in and shop at the second place while the car bakes in the noonday sun for an hour, and then come back to the car, load it up again, and finish driving home.

    I doubt they store cold or frozen foods in those temps. I know when it's hot here and I have multiple food store trips to make, I either use insulated grocery bags or a cooler so that I don't have to shop at one store, drive home, drop off my cold items, get back in the car, drive to the second store, shop, and drive home again to drop off those cold items.

    Here at the coast, we don't generally hit 120 or more, but even when we're at 105, I don't worry that the cans will explode in the car at 135. I've been out to visit desert cities, and I've left groceries for the weekend that aren't cold in the car without worrying about them.

  3. cricket333

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 15:15:55
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    Thank you for the reply. Yes, I've read a lot of your posts on this! I did just read one though that freaked me out big time. A guy who used a company that heated his house to possibly 180 and caused a lot of damage. Well, of course you hope that won't happen in your case (my case) but the list of possible problems, cracked hardwood floors, breaking down of electrical wiring, etc. is giving me major 2nd thoughts. I guess the food I asked about is the LEAST of it.

    What might make my original decision to do thermal rash is the fact we have no bites and ZERO evidence beyond the 2 (one dead already, one alive) BATbugs we found on our third floor. The assumption is they are left behind after bats were removed in a crawlspace above 3rd floor ceiling this spring and just now are moving into the house.

    I'm having the crawlspace (no access so we can't really see what's going on I should mention) dusted this weekend. But truly with the temps outside being over 100 all week I'm confident the temp in that space is easily 140 and they must be dead now.

    So with such a small infestation if it's even to be called that I might be over-reacting to go forward now with heat. I'm rethinking -- maybe just getting third floor chemically treated and then monitoring with CO2 monitors to see if we have anything else or not. could always go back to heat plan if we do.

    I think with a good heat company it would be worth the money just to feel more peace of mind right away but the fact that there is SOME risk with that is starting to give me pause.

  4. jeffklein

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 15:38:57
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    We do thermals all the time and we have a detailed list of what should be treated by other means. This should have been furnished to you by your present company. Send me a pm and I will send the sheet to you or you can reference it on my site under resources.

    Bed Bug and Thermal Remediation Specialist
    Please email me directly for support. Thank you.
  5. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Jul 22 2011 16:05:11
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    Cricket333,

    Your experience, of course, may vary, but I have to tell you that I'm not sure thermal is going to give you any more piece of mind than conventional treatment.

    It is true that "one shot" treatments like heat or Vikane mean not having to be bait for months on end, which an be a big bonus factor for people who are especially prone to sleep disturbances or anxiety.

    But even though I had thermal, I didn't believe I was really bed bug free for a very, very long time after thermal.

    In the immediate days after thermal, I:

    *stayed at a friend's place upon returning from a family trip I was on during the day of thermal treatment (wedding, so unavoidable scheduling)

    *imagined that nymphs had survived because I had smaller, less itchy "bites" that turned out to be irritation from the stubble growing back in on my legs

    *continued to sleep on the futon in the living room rather than my bed for 5 months after treatment

    *had a panic in August or September (treatment was least weekend in June) when I was likely exposed to bed bugs at a local movie theater. Called PCO who came out and inspected (since I was still under warranty) who found noting.

    *had another wave of panic maybe 8 months later when I needed to move the DVDs and CDs that had had to be removed during treatment back into the house. Why did I wait 8 months? Because during my warranty period I was so terrified of a random left over in the items not in the house that I couldn't stand to do it even though I knew I should.

    Granted, I clearly function at a pretty high level of anxiety (obviously) in general, and I am a big fan of thermal--no doubt about it.

    However, based on my experiences and the experiences of a lot of people on the boards, I feel it's important to warn folks that even the best executed one shot treatments often do not relieve the anxiety and uncertainty around bed (and bat) bugs that many people feel.

    Thermal's awfully expensive for a house that size to treat without any current evidence of new bug activity. If I thought it would make your anxiety evaporate, and you could afford it, I'd endorse it thoroughly. But I'm not at all sure it's the cure for your anxiety that you're hoping it would be, and it would be remiss of me not to say so.

  6. cricket333

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Jul 25 2011 12:36:45
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    buggy - Thanks for the reply. It does sound like you've been through a horrible time and I can understand the anxiety attacks. I went right to the extreme of worrying and feeling sick and ready to do anything at all at any cost to get rid of this problem. Part of my anxiety was the feeling that it was a problem that could never be truly solved - I would never get rid of every single one, every nymph, every egg. I was crushed under the feeling that all efforts were futile. So if heat was a close-to-perfect method the price didn't matter, damage to the house or things in it didn't matter TOO much.

    But here's where I am now -- we had an entomologist/PCO come to the house this weekend. He confirmed that the 2 bugs I found (one dead, one alive in the same spot) were definitely bat bugs not bed bugs. He treated the third floor by drilling into the walls and dusting with DE. He really put my mind at ease to a huge (OK, not total but still....) extent. He explained the difference in bat bugs and their behavior vs. bed bugs -- that they needed bats to live, don't seek out humans, etc.

    So I think now it's such a blessing I got him in there and he helped me realize I was jumping the gun with the idea of heat treatment. It seems like in my case that would be killing a mouse with an elephant gun even if they were bed bugs since we found no other evidence, had never been bitten (unless we are both non-reactors which seems unlikely but I don't know), the dog only alerted on the third floor - no evidence to point at anything other than that one area being a problem.

    Anyway, since I'm MOSTLY convinced what he did worked and that I can try to stop obsessing I'm going to check out of this forum for now. And pray I never need to come back. It's been a godsend - such a lot of good information - but also it does make my stomach start churning every time I read posts and I'm probably suggestible enough to keep worrying unnecessarily.

    At any rate - thanks again for your advice and GOOD LUCK with getting past this. Sounds like you're in the clear and can move on, too.


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