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So afraid... musical gear

(23 posts)
  1. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 2:01:00
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    Hi everyone... please help....I knew absolutely nothing about bedbugs until today, when a "lovely" pile of them was discovered. I've stayed in a couple hotels this year so it most likely came from somewhere in my luggage. Reading everything has made me so afraid... is the social ostracization for real?

    I recently recovered from two major leg surgeries in 6th months, lost most of my friends because I couldn't drive, just started continuing my education... I'm starting to get my life back...and the best thing in my life is my rock band... I'm so afraid of thousands of dollars of gear being unusable and my band members/friends/co-workers not wanting anything to do with me.

    I live in a single family home with my family and have been desperately hoping to move out soon for other reasons... so far today we steam cleaned my futon mattress and put a cover on it (walls too) and discarded the comforter and sheets. I have no issue with ditching the futon entirely. Tomorrow we're calling an exterminator. We've started the clothes washing, and I don't intend to take anything out of the house without wiping it down. Friends have been over to our house (and upstairs) and nothing bug related has ever happened to them. I've got rehearsals and shows coming up that I can't bail on. All of my guitars but one are solidbody and most of my gear hasn't been upstairs.

    I'm just shocked and stunned that these stupid bugs can cause so much fear and harm. It's unbelievable... I've been so depressed. I'm not trying to whine, I'm just stunned. I'd cry but I have nothing left. Is this the end of everything? Are people not going to want to touch me or be near me?

    I want to move within the next year after these beasties are all gone.

    Please help. After all I've been through, I can't let a bunch of stupid bugs run my life.

  2. blargg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 6:25:38
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    Could you post a pic of the suspected pests you found? A "pile" sounds unusual....

  3. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 9:27:48
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    Hi blargg, I'd love to, but we sealed the infested bedding in a garbage bag and took it outside. (Not throwing it away.... yet).There were some bugs and larvae on a bedskirt and decorative pillow. The futon frame is metal. The other concerns in the room are 400 books (yikes), electronic equipment, and all of my clothing. We redid the room with new furniture in December and there were no signs of an infestation at that point. Hopefully a family member will start contacting exterminators today so they can examine the damage. (Sorry to be abrupt, I'm at the office).

    Does wiping anything off with water/soap/cleanser/whatever help ? As in... if I need to take a CD or some kind of metal/plastic/nonwashable object out of the room....? I'm kind of freaking out here.

  4. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 9:44:43
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    What do you mean by larvae? Bed bugs don't have a larval stage that I know of.

    Could you post some pictures of what you discovered? That way you could get the bugs id'ed.

  5. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 10:33:44
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    AshamedandScratching - 37 minutes ago  » 
    What do you mean by larvae? Bed bugs don't have a larval stage that I know of.
    Could you post some pictures of what you discovered? That way you could get the bugs id'ed.

    I'll try to take a look in the bag again tonight *shudder* and capture a photo for you all - I wasn't the one who discovered them so I didn't get a good look. I do know that there were a lot of them - maybe it was the eggs we were seeing? It all started when we found some itchy rash-like things on our legs and my arms, took a look at the bedding, and ...ewww. We steam-cleaned my futon mattress, frame, and the walls behind and beside it, and enclosed the mattress in a anti-bedbug protector (can't think of brand name) so I could get some sleep. The bite nastiness seems to have faded a bit, and I'm not seeing any new bites. Once again, sorry for being vague - sneaking online at work!

  6. diesel

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 10:37:24
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    You really need to catch a few and post pictures for the experts. Make sure they are good quality and they can tell you what they are most likely, could be many different things.

  7. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 5 2011 23:05:45
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    Ok. Here's a photo of one that we nabbed about 5 feet from my bed. Gross. There's an acoustic guitar nearby... but it's the electrics and amps downstairs that I need for 2 out of state shows this month. @$@#$2. There's no way I can quarantine them for weeks...

    Click for Nasty Bug Photo

  8. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 5 2011 23:54:11
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    machina2 - 44 minutes ago  » 
    Ok. Here's a photo of one that we nabbed about 5 feet from my bed. Gross. There's an acoustic guitar nearby... but it's the electrics and amps downstairs that I need for 2 out of state shows this month. @$@#$2. There's no way I can quarantine them for weeks...
    Click for Nasty Bug Photo

    You should do a separate post so the etymologists see it, but the one larger looks like a bed bug. The other caterpiller think makes me think of carpet beetle larva.

  9. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 5 2011 23:55:13
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    You should do a separate post so the etymologists see it, but the one larger looks like a bed bug. The other caterpiller think makes me think of carpet beetle larva.

  10. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 6 2011 12:08:53
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    Will try to post some more photos tonight. I'm terrified of losing/harming via treatment thousands of dollars worth of guitars and gear... I need to take it out of the house this weekend to rehearse... show in 2 weeks... and the piano... tt's a freestanding single family home so we don't have to worry about neighboring units...

  11. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 6 2011 22:02:22
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    Ok, got a PCO in. It's definitely BB. Treating the upstairs/downstairs and leaving the basement be is still a couple thousand dollars. Ugh. The PCO says to take the CDs/DVDs out of the house as it's unlikely that they moved in. The infestation is centered around my bed, and there were a lot of CDs stored under there. Is it ok to wipe the cases off with alcohol before bringing them back in? I'm not trying to bombard you all, just want to collect as much information as possible.

    We're going to get a second opinion of course... no doubt about the infestation... just concerned about the damage. Instruments are definitely getting wiped down and out of the house. Probably amps too.

    Any thoughts? What a scary mess.

  12. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 22:12:54
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    Here we go (once more). The PCO wants to flash heat at 135 anything that can't take the full heat treatment... does anyone have any experience with this?

    I'm still vaguely sick about the thought of heat treating any wooden instruments (all except one are other floors of the house (2000 sq ft) and no humans have touched some of them for months) due to glue and warping issues... Now we're at ten guitars, two banjos, five amplifiers, a violin, tons of effects pedals, some long forgotten bongo drums, and a trombone *head in hands*

    Is cleaning every nook and cranny with rubbing alcohol a viable option for anything long-untouched?

    On the interesting side, I had no idea there was a trombone in the house until now??

  13. BuggerBeater

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 23:10:20
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    Given the many instruments and electronic equipment, I'd suggest looking at chemical treatment instead of heat.

    I was concerned with my piano but I'm a little more relaxed now because after learning about bed bugs' life cycle and feeding habits, it's clear that they will need to leave the piano to feed. When they do, they'll cross the residual pesticides that the PCO will put down around your bed and floor boards. There's a possibility that there may be eggs in your instruments but those too will hatch and leave to feed on you and will also die. You'll probably need 2 or 3 treatments.

    There's also the possibility of vikane gas which will be as effective as heat treatment but won't harm your instruments.

  14. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 23:21:26
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    I'm so sorry. I had just bought my first guitar when this started and dropped several hundred on it.

    I ended up calling someone Lou Sorkin recommended on a thread and what the gentleman told me is that neither Vikane or heat could be done to acoustic instruments without affecting them. Both require sealing the structure off and higher than acceptable temps.

    I think a chemical treatment option would be it.

  15. spideyjg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 23:42:18
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    I had instruments Vikaned to no ill effect.

    They are electrics though.

    Jim

  16. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 6:15:00
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    Chemical's not an option for us for a couple reasons... (and I'm not the one paying for it, so the choice isn't mine). I don't know if anyone does Vikane around here (central MD). I seriously might just have to clean the ones on another floor off with alcohol and get them out of the house... I literally feel sick about the idea of exposing them to that kind of heat. Both PCOs we consulted have said the chances of any BBs/nymphs/eggs being in them is slim to none because of their location in relation to the nest.

  17. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 6:23:42
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    Oh, forgot to mention - I play in a band which is why the 18 month quarantine is not an option for the guitars. The banjos aren't really played.

  18. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 6:24:41
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    Sorry to keep posting - are pest strips an option?

  19. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 8:48:50
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    Pest Strips still require a long time sealed in a bag. Vikaning might be better just because of the duration.

    Here's the thing about sealing the instruments up: The accoustics will be affected. The wood may be changed by the experience. The extent to which will depend on the sensitivity of the instrument to humidity. It may change the sound. .

    That is a risk you have to decide whether you can live with or not.

    FWIW, my Dad once took an old Gibson dreadnought that had been savaged by storage--it was split up the back--and put it together with wood filler and hand stained it to refinish. It bears no resemblence in sound to the original Gibson, but it has a really unique sound. It vibrates simultaneously in two different places. It's sounds almost like two smaller guitars being played at the same time.

  20. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 8:51:43
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    BTW, this fellow agreed with your PCOs that they were low risk items. If the PCO feels they could be removed from treatment, that would be my choice. I would make sure that it doesn't void the contract in some way if there's a warranty or guarantee on the work ot get his permission in writing/email.

    If you have an LL willing to do heat treatment though, I think you're lucky overall.

  21. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 10:04:23
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    No LL - we own a single family home. We had fumigation done about 20 years ago (roaches, how thrilling) and my brother and I developed lifelong athsma afterwards, so it's something we want to avoid if at all possible. I do want to ask the PCO about the possibility of using residual chemicals in certain areas. We're not treating the basement. One PCO was only going to treat the upper floor of the house. I'm not seeing a lot on Vikane use in MD.

    I often wonder... how is the entire world not infested with BBs if they spread so easily? Perhaps we should all invest in Packtite and BB products since we're already ahead of the game...

  22. machina2

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 10:05:14
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    Ugh - I forgot to ask again - how long are items usually quarantined with pest strips?

  23. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 21 2011 10:13:30
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    I haven't used them, but I think the timing is 3 weeks. You should search the site.

    One thing is you have asthma is they leave a risidual odor that's supposed to be strong.


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