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Mild Infestation

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  1. natalie

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    Joined: May '09
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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat May 30 2009 13:01:45
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    I got bed bugs through a neighbor. (Actually several) My landlord was very uncooperative, wouldn't hire an exterminator, and insisted on treating himself with a spray called Good Night and a fogger. We were able to break our lease and are moving on the 15th. Like everyone else, I don't want to bring them with us.

    Our case was never severe, maybe one bite a night, and I found 3 bugs, but no eggs, etc. We threw away our mattress, headboard and box springs and afterward had no more incidents.

    I guess my main question is, what can we keep? TV, dvds, books? Laptop? I'm throwing away my couch, and most of my other furniture, and of course I will wash anything that can be in hot water and bag it. But, I don't want to lose all my electronics. We are poor, and don't have money for expensive treatments.

    So, how long should you be free of BBs before writing them off, and how do you know if they are in your electronics. Thanks.

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Joined: Jun '08
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    Posted 10 years ago
    Sat May 30 2009 17:55:04
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    First of all, I'm sorry your landlord is a schmuck who won't pay up front for professional treatments. It's little consolation that he'll likely pay for it in long term costs when his tenants are the ones enduring the daily suffering. If there's any justice, he'll get his own infestation.

    Secondly, bed bugs can and do harbor in electronics. And what you're likely seeking is reassurance or percentages about how likely your electronics are infested. the bad news is that no one here can tell you that. Bed bugs are somewhat unpredictable. It is true that the heavier the infestation, the more likely they are to hide out in unlikely places, but you could have stragglers that you don't know about.

    Without a detailed inspection by someone who knows what they're looking for, you can't be sure. and any detailed inspection is going to cost money, which we all know is in short supply.

    The rule of thumb around here is 55 days bug and sign of bug free is a good sign.

    If I were you, after reading all the relevant FAQs over at the main website, I would do the following:

    seal up in airtight containers (by which I mean something as simple as ziplocks that you trust can't get torn) any books you can live without for a long time (i.e. 18 months.)

    Anything that's not electronic, that you can't live that long without, you might try treating with DDVP strips (Hot Shot makes one.) MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU READ ALL THE LABEL PRECAUTIONS. DO NOT use them in an enclosed space that you're breathing in. (I put my DVDs and CDs into big rubbermaid bins with DDVP strips for a week and then sealed the bins with duct tape. These bins hadn't been treated but had been stored outside for about 8 months. In so Cal temps, I figured between the DDVP strips and the 8 months, chances were that the bugs were dead. DDVP strips weren't, I don't think, available when I started my fight. But many people have used them.

    However, here's the important part. I wouldn't use DDVP strips to treat clothing, shoes, bedding etc. No items that come into contact with your skin.

    And any sealed container that's had DDVP strips in them must be opened and aired out in a really well-ventilated place (i.e. outside, not indoors). DDVP is a gas that you don't want to be inhaling in concentration, and having put those strips in a bin or a bag is very much it being concentrated.)

    As for electronics, I wish I could reassure you. However, it's possible there are bugs in your electronics. It's also possible that there aren't. Unless you hire a reliable bed bug detection dog/handler team, it's going to be basically guesswork. Electronics can't be treated with heat or DDVP(it's corrosive), so you're personally going to have to evaluate how much of a risk you want to take.

    I can tell you that many people here regret tossing as much as they do in that first panicky stage. On the other hand, other people here feel like they might have cleared an infestation sooner if they ditched more stuff. I generally think there are more people in the first category than the second, and the fact that your infestation sounds light is a good sign, but as much as I wish I could tell you for sure, no one here can do that.

    Hang in there, and let us know how the move goes. I assume you've checked the new place on the bed bug registry to make sure you're not leaping from the frying pan into the fire. I'll cross my fingers that your new landlord is more compassionate and more sane.


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