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Helped someone move with bedbugs in my car!

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  1. DEDDED

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 20:18:03
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    I was helping someone move yesterday in an emergency situation, and took load after load of plastic bagged items in my SUV. Mid-move, she tells me that the place she is moving from has bedbugs. (In other circumstances I would have been mad at the person for not disclosing this, but this girl is very young and a recent immigrant and didn't really know how big of a deal this could be, so she wasn't withholding information on purpose).

    On my way home, I stopped and vacuumed my car at a gas station, and when I got home, I immediately super-hot-washed/dried my shoes, clothing, and myself. My plan was to park the car in the sun and not drive it for a few days, but my research today taught me that this is not effective.
    Today, I did park the car in the sun (though it was only 75 degrees outside) and I used a steaer throughout the car, though I am unsure if that even gets hot enough to matter.

    I think I have bites from when I was moving stuff, and her description of the problem sounds pretty bad, so I am considering it a sure thing that some bugs would have gotten into my car. Although while taking apart and steaming today, I tried to look for anything scurrying, and did not see anything. Would I have?

    How can I stop them before they spread into my house or anywhere else?

    Would it help to get it steam cleaned at a car wash, or is that not likely to get hot enough or hit all the hiding spots? I would prefer to avoid chemicals but I also don't want to be "lazy" and miss my chance to stop them before they come inside.

  2. DEDDED

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 20:19:28
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    I used a steaer throughout the car, though I am unsure if that even gets hot enough to matter.

    Correction: used a STEAMER

  3. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 20:30:41
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    It sounds like you've taken good steps in vacuuming the car. The belongings were bagged and the exposure time wasn't that great nor the best transfer scenario for bed bugs to emerge from the bagged items and hide in the car. I would very much doubt they would feed on you while you were doing all of this, remove the bites from the equation and what are you left with?
    Keep an eye on things, but I don't think you've taken a huge risk since the items were bagged and your friend knew there was a bed bug issue at the old house.

  4. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 20:49:12
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    As explained, not a huge risk however you could optionally treat the car with DDVP strips (follow label), Cirkil (familiarize yourself with strong odor first because it may linger for some time) or Vikane (professionally). Also, I believe there is a pro only formulation of DDVP that I think Killer Queen commented on favorably some time ago and I believe specifically mentioned vehicle treatment as a good application. Probably this here but I'm working from memory:

    Edit: Confirmed that the pro product (see link below) was commented on favorably by KillerQueen. I also just saw it for sale online for DIYers. (see my next post)

    http://www.pctonline.com/article/amvac-nuvan-directed-spray-aerosol/

    Richard

  5. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 21:00:44
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    So here's a past thread on vehicle treatment including an endorsement of Nuvan Directed Spray Aerosol by KillerQueen.

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/treatment-of-vehicles

  6. DEDDED

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Tue May 2 2017 22:50:14
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    Thank you for your responses!! I did not move a bed or furniture. All clothing was bagged, although the bags were not sealed airtight. Other items, such as books and small electronics, were not bagged.

    I could be wrong about being bitten. I found at least one bug bite, but I was outdoors so it be from another insect. I have also been itchy, but that could be a combination of the dust, other allergens and paranoia.

    You mention that you doubt they would feed in this circumstance. Do they typically only feed when a person is still? Also, would one expect to see bugs while cleaning it with a steamer, if there were only a few in the car?

    I do prefer not to go a chemical route unless I have to. But any advice you have on the ideas below would be very much appreciated!

    Would "professional" (i.e. at a car wash, not a full detail) steam be a waste of time and money or could it help?

    Would spraying all nooks and crannies with rubbing alcohol help if I can't see the bugs? Or is that only effective when you can see & spray them directly?

    Would leaving the car running with the heat on, or sitting in the sun on a hot day do anything at all or is that wasted effort?

    How can I identify if there are any bugs in the car? For example, if I look closely for a month and don't find evidence, would I assume they're not there? I don't drive that car daily, and I'm willing / able to change my shoes and clothing as soon as I get home for a reasonable period of time but that's not maintainable forever. Is there a typical time frame that it takes to start seeing them?

    Thank you again for your kind replies!!

  7. GonnaMove

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Jun 15 2017 10:48:09
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    Sigh. Sadly, given the nature of cars, and your inability to full dismantle them to clean them, I would just set the damn thing on fire in a big, empty concrete lot, and collect the insurance. e_e

    Pessimism aside, don't write off those bug bites as something else. It's almost surely bed bug bites. You won't be able to see nymphs or eggs, and my own place, I have no visible bedbugs anywhere in my room (the infestation is in someone else's room) but I still get a bite occasionally. Over the past few weeks I've gotten ten bites or so, and have not seen ONE bedbug in all that time. Not one, not anywhere in my room or the rooms I spend time in, and I've been looking, because even a single bite has me in benadryl-is-totally-necessary land. ONE bite. I am apparently horrifically allergic and I get these egg-sized welts on me that last 48-72 hours, and, no exaggeration at all, make me want to claw my skin off. So to say I've been hunting for them is an understatement. They are MISERY INCARNATE for me at even the lowest levels, because even a single bite means I have to be in a doped-up antihistamine daze for 3 days. If I lived in a warzone, I'd probably be in hell on earth and in possession of multiple epi-pens. You could have an egg or nymphs in your car and soon have a problem, so I would look into products that specifically kill eggs, as well as live bugs. Make some sodium lauryl sulfate spray and douse the crap out of everything on the interior of the car. While this is technically a chemical, it will break down both the bugs and the eggs, and it's not nearly as harsh as most pesticides. It's used in soaps and shampoos to make it them more foamy, so most of us put SLS on our skin every day in some concentration or another. If you're into au naturale soaps and whatnot and don't use SLS, remember that there was probably a time before you stopped specifically using SLS and are probably fine. It is probably one of the least toxic things that will kill bed bugs, that has any decent effect.

    And I do actually think that a professional steaming would be a waste of time, because unless you tell them your specific situation, they probably won't steam clean in the "kill every possible bed bug egg in every possible nook and cranny" sense. You'll just be spending a ton of money on a service that makes your car a little cleaner on the visible surfaces.


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