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moving fast, what/how to salvage?

(2 posts)
  1. homelessartist

    Joined: Jul '08
    Posts: 9


    Posted 11 years ago
    Sat Jul 12 2008 16:13:10

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    Hi all,

    This is my first post. Monday night I returned from a month-long trip to an apartment with bed bugs. While I was away, my downstairs neighbor's sub-tenant discovered bedbugs, and promptly scrammed. My downstairs neighbor had the place treated, twice, but didn't stay there; no one was sleeping in the bed for at least 10 days. During this time I had someone staying in my place. After 2 treatments downstairs, the woman in my place reported a few bites, but thought they might be mosquitoes. That was just a few days before I returned home, changed the sheets, and left myself out as bait. The first night, no problems. The second night I must have been bitten (I don't seem to have an allergic reaction to BBs, which is odd because I'm fiercely allergic to mosquitoes) but discovered a telltale blood drop/smear on my sheets. The following morning, another smear; the morning after that (Friday, yesterday), I found a tiny dead bed bug on the sheet. I'd already asked the landlord to send an exterminator, who arrived that day). At first he was skeptical it was a "real" infestation, but he asked me to strip the bed and when we pulled it from the wall: bed bugs! A small clutch of them between the side near my head and the wall. He put something on a paper towel and dabbed them off, announcing the ones her got were dead (I asked him to put the paper towel in the same ziploc bag I'd stored the morning's specimen). Then he scheduled a real treatment for Tuesday, expecting me to lie there feeding the bugs for 4 nights until then (are they nuts?).

    My lease is up September 30. Many other apartments in my building have had bedbugs before, and I'm pretty sure they just move from apartment to apartment. I am not renewing my lease.

    So I spent hours yesterday reading the FAQs and forum. And I took a calculated risk, for which some here may condemn me, but I do want to discuss it. I told a close friend everything I know, with links to this site, and he offered to let me stay at his place. I wanted to salvage my computer and monitor, the farthest items from the bed, immediately. I know one can't be certain of these things, but I did it immediately because:
    1. my infestation was, as far as we could tell, small and new
    2. bugs supposedly prefer hiding in fabric and wood to metal electronics
    3. my bugs had been "fed" that very morning, meaning they were likely full for the time being; if I'd waited another day, they might be hungry and spreading out to find another meal

    I rubbed the electronics down with alcohol and wrapped them in fresh trash bags, lest they pick anything up on the way out.

    I also put my laundry in a tightly tied trash bag, and my allegedly clean linens in another; these all went straight into the washing machines at my friend's laundry room, and the bags immediately discarded in the outside trash. I dried everything for 86 minutes on high-high heat (I may dry them again for 30 minutes today, just to alleviate lingering paranoia).

    My friend supplied a fresh outfit for me to change into right before I left my building. I changed again in the laundry room.

    I also brought my (short-hair) cat. This is a concern of course. My friend is aware of the possible risk (which seems low based on my reading here, but who knows?) and I brushed him several times yesterday detecting no signs of bugs.

    Everything else I own I am leaving for treatment. After the first treatment, I intend to have all my possessions - furniture, rugs, books -hauled to a dump.* Yes this is drastic. But I am unwilling to stay there with so little time left on the lease. And I will be traveling July 24 through August anyway; I couldn't stay there even if I were invested in the place, which I am not. I know you're not supposed to flee an infestation, that someone needs to "feed" the bugs to lure them over the poison, but in this case leaving sooner rather than later seemed the best option.

    Now, I could use some advice:

    *I am thinking of how I might salvage some other possessions.
    1. How should I try to save my folding bicycle? I figure I'll first vacuum it, then rub it down with alcohol (except maybe the chain), then seal it in a trash bag with either DE or those superpotent pest strips.
    2. Does dry cleaning REALLY work? I can let my fancy dresses go...
    3. I have a brand new leather jacket I'd like to save if possible. Leather shouldn't be dry cleaned; it's supposed to be cleaned by a "leather specialist." Should I just seal it in a trash bag with DE/pest strips? Or should I discard it?

    I am willing to discard everything if necessary, I just don't want to be crazy and regret ditching my bike later. On the other hand, my bike's lasted a good 9 years and is a little long in the tooth, like most of my possessions. Advice?

  2. buggyinsocal

    Joined: Jun '08
    Posts: 2,431


    Posted 11 years ago
    Sun Jul 13 2008 12:26:29

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    I may not be the best person to answer your questions, since the treatment for my apartment was a combo of chemical and thermal. I didn't worry about specifics for my bicycle or leather jackets because I'm waiting to see if the thermal really knocked them all out. (I am cautiously optimistic that it did.)

    For the folding bicycle, I would assume that Vikaning a UHaul with the bike in it would do the trick if you wanted to be sure. The other option would be to find a way to bag it up for 18 months, but I assume you don't want to be without it for that long.

    My local dry cleaner seemed to think it did, as did my PCO. Until I'm several months absolutely bug free and sure, though, I'm not going to believe them 100%. (I also wonder how much of this is climate-based. The research I've seen suggests that whether we're talking about dormancy or other things, BB don't live as long in heat, and I live in a much warmer part of the country than most.)

    I would ask a dry cleaner how leather is cleaned. The particular chemicals used in the process will probably determine whether it works or not. Again, either Vikane, heat, or storage for 18 months while sealed would all be options that should work.

    I'm a newbie here, though, so others with more experience might be able to give you better advice.

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