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Moving out of bed bug building - Advice?

(2 posts)
  1. BuggingOuttaHere

    Joined: Jun '12
    Posts: 1


    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jun 21 2012 13:11:01

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    We live in a 16 unit apartment building. I guess the first report of bed bugs was three months ago. We found out a couple of weeks ago that the apartment directly below us had a major infestation (we immediately put down diatomaceous earth in all crevices around the baseboards). A girl at the other end of the building had been visiting the apartment below us, with her boyfriend and two daughters. She started seeing bites right after that and found out from her dermatologist that they were bed bug bites. She called the management of the building and told them. They didn’t do anything right away (I do not know all of the details on who and when and what happened, so I‘m not going to presume anything), but eventually someone called Terminix. It was confirmed that both apartments and the laundry room had infestations. The really stupid thing is they didn’t check any other apartments right away! These apartments have breezeways, so no hallways, but people had been using that laundry room. There was a long period of time when the tenants and landlord were fighting over whose responsibility it would be to pay for extermination. The landlord also tried to tell everyone that the bugs cannot travel between apartments, only from direct contact. Then someone called the city and the building dept. manager told the landlord that he can’t force anyone to pay, but he CAN close the building down if the problem doesn’t get taken care of. So they finally sprayed the apartment directly below us and the one on the other end of the building, plus the laundry room.

    In the meantime, no one else in the building knew about the laundry room so it spread before they got to it.

    I started getting bites about a week and a half (maybe two weeks) ago. They attacked the hell out of one ankle at first (rows and triangle formations). We were not very informed with the first go round, so all we did was put diatomaceous earth in our shopvac bag, but didn‘t throw it out.. We vacuumed the mattress and box springs, sprayed both, plus the carpet and floorboards with alcohol, washed the sheets and dried them. We sprinkled diatomaceous earth on carpet and left it over night and then vacuumed the next day (we left it under the furniture and bedding, but I didn’t want my three year old walking around on it and breathing it in as he stirred it up). I didn’t get any more bites for about two or three days. Then they started getting my arms, legs and other ankle, but not with the voraciousness that they had on the first ankle. We repeated the whole process, but sprayed all of the same things with some bed bug killer mattress and crevice spray (EcoSmart brand). I did notice a few bites the next day, but I had read an entomology (University of Kentucky) study that said, “Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred.” This is the website, for anyone who is interested:
    I haven’t noticed any more bites for four days now. I have actually started to use a permanent marker to put small dots next to the existing bites so that I know which ones were already there. I also bought some Bed Bug Alert bait traps and some sticky pads. I put two under our bed and one under my son’s crib mattress. These were all put in place four days ago, but so far I haven’t caught any bugs.

    Terminix is coming on Monday. After they do their thing and have declared us bed bug free (I know this may take a more than one visit from them) we have decided to move out since the landlord keeps dragging their feet, allowing infestation to grow. We are renting a storage unit. So now the focus is on moving things out without taking bugs with us.

    So far, this is the plan (some of which is already being done):

    1.Bagging all fabric items that we can. All of the clean stuff goes into laundromat dryer on high for 40 minutes (which is what Terminix told me to do). All of the dirty laundry, gets washed on hottest possible setting and then dried for 40 mins. All of this goes into new bags and then gets taken to storage or uninfested family member’s house where we will be living for a little while.

    2. After Terminix bags mattresses we will spray mattress covers with the bed bug killer and take directly to storage. After Monday we are going to start sleeping elsewhere, but coming back to systematically spray, bag and remove things to storage.

    3. Designating “apartment clothes” and only wearing clean, bagged clothes out of the apartment.

    4. Well, trying not to freak the hell out and get good advice on what to do with books, electronics and odds and ends.
    I think the hardest part about this is trying to be paranoid and optimistic at the same time, because I think both of those things are going to be necessary to get through this with any sanity and WITHOUT any bugs.

    So, what I need is advice!

  2. DougSummersMS

    Joined: May '07
    Posts: 1,957


    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jun 21 2012 14:27:54

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    A PackTite Closet would likely be more effective and cheaper than using a laundromat... especially if you have a lot of clothing... It can also be used to decon many items that cannot be placed in a dryer.

    Temperature is an important variable... 40 minutes may not be sufficient for wet clothes depending on the actual temp of the dryer due to evaporation.

    You can acquired a cheap infrared thermometer (Harbor Freight Tools or online) to check the actual temperature of the clothing... I have seen some clothes dryers that only reached 110 degrees in a public laundromat.

    Research has shown that bed bugs and eggs can survive a hot water wash at the water temps that are available in a laundromat.

    One option is to check out the price of having your loaded rental moving truck treated with Vikane gas to treat all of the contents that you are bringing to your new residence.

    Another option is to screen items with a reliable K9 team.

    You might want to rethink spraying the mattress and box spring after they are encased.

    Treating the interior of the box springs with a properly labelled agent before the covers are applied is a better plan... if you are going to treat beds at all... Many professionals will not treat a mattress with anything but steam, heat or Vikane gas due to potential chemical safety issues.

    (Disclosure: I work with scent detection K9s... I'm affiliated with companies that provide pest control services and distribute PackTite products)

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