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To bag or not to bag? "Baking" stuff in the midst of treatment

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  1. ladymaier

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 10:41:10
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    We have a lot of toys and craft supplies, and being that I'm just so darn dedicated to the decimation of BBs, I just ordered a ZappBugg oven to bake the stuff we can't dry.

    For context, I'm in the middle of the treatment process. It's been a month since my first PCO treatment (treatment of bed frames, dressers, nightstands, couches, baseboards, and carpets with a combination Bedlam Plus and Crossfire), two weeks since the first follow up (baseboards only), plus an extra baseboard touch-up treatment just this week after seeing a live BB in my bedroom. The final treatment is scheduled for two weeks from now, and it involves nearly everything from the first treatment done over again, minus the dressers, with an added application of dust beneath the baseboards and in the outlets. Prior to the first treatment, I dried and bagged all of our clothes, bedding, towels, pillows, curtains, stuffed animals, coats...basically anything fabric-based. The clothes were returned to the dressers after they were treated.

    MY TWO QUESTIONS:

    1) Since I'm in the middle of treatment, do I NEED to bag and seal items as they are baked? Or can I skip the bagging step, since the rest of the house has been treated?

    2) Lastly, where should I start with baking, roomwise? The bedrooms of the house, where bugs have been spotted? Or should I start with my living room, where I've not seen any evidence of bugs? Basically the question is, do I start furthest from the problem area and work towards it? Or problem areas first, then work outward? Or does it matter?

    SCROLL DOWN ONLY IF YOU NEED ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFO

    BACKGROUND (optional read): My infestation has been labeled as "light" by our PCO; four inspectors from two different PCO companies found nothing in or on all the beds in our house. They pulled up the slats (platform beds) as they inspected, and found no traces of bugs (alive or dead), castings, or fecal spots. Our only indications of bugs have been randomly spotting live bugs around the house (captured by me, confirmed by PCOs).

    The first PCO company quoted us $1500 per room with only a 30-day warranty, and they didn't want to treat until we had a "real" problem; they opted to "wait and monitor" the situation. The second company charged $1200 for the whole house w/ a 6-month warranty, and they advocated treating immediately, saying that seeing one or two live bugs necessitated treatment. Seeing as the second PCO came highly recommended to me by a friend who survived BBs himself with the help of this company, I went with the more immediate, affordable, and comprehensive treatment option. So far this PCO has been terrific; they are responsive, knowledgeable, and sympathetic with regard to my anxiety, and they are confident that their treatment process will eliminate the BBs. I see the same person each time, so he understands our house and the nature of the problem.

    For context, we live in a 3-floor townhome, and the houses on either side of us are attached. There are firewalls between the houses, and we all have our own utilities entering the house (water, gas, electricity, etc.). Both PCOs were inclined to believe that we brought in a pregnant bug, and our infestation stemmed from there. They didn't say it was impossible that the bugs were coming from a neighbor, just unlikely, citing two potential scenarios: in order for us to get them from a townhouse neighbor, the infestation next door would have to be so extremely extensive to cause the bugs to leave their food source to traverse firewalls, etc., OR the neighbors were infested and abandoned the property (which they haven't), causing the bugs to begin wandering in search of more food. Both companies believed that we'd

  2. ladymaier

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 10:50:41
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    PS, MORE BACKGROUND - All mattresses were encased by my PCO during the first treatment. There was no treatment of the mattresses themselves, since the PCOs found nothing on the mattresses. My son has asthma, and I was concerned that use of pesticides on the mattress could irritate him and set off an attach. Our PCO was sensitive to this issue, saying that normally they'd treat the mattresses, but given my son's sensitivity and the fact that they didn't find anything on the mattresses, they felt it was reasonable to simply encase the mattresses.

  3. mp7ski

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 12:36:51
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    Sounds like you have a decent pco working on your issue. Crossfire is one of the newest products on the market and studies have shown it is a very good contact killer on top of being a residual.

    As far as dealing baking stuff, I'd start with the rooms you've seen bugs or anywhere farthest away from your baking site, bag and take every precaution as to not spread anything while your transporting to where you'd be baking the items. The reason I'd do the rooms first is so that if there was a tear in the bag and a bug dropped out while you were walking through the living room but crawled into something you planned on baking, it would be killed when you did indeed bake whatever was in the living room. So I'd start farthest away from the baking site, then work your way to it.

    I am not an expert, any advice I give should be considered as amateur advice and not taken as fact. I mean well with all my posts and try to give back. If you plan on using any of my advice, I suggest doing research into said advice to make sure it is in your best interest.
    Study on Thermal Death Points(pages 18-29 of pdf) : http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/Council/Research_and_Development/REP_12221%20Efficacy%20of%20Heat%20on%20Bed%20Bugs.pdf
    Study on Cimexa: http://www.pctonline.com/article/pct0814-silica-gel-research-bed-bugs/
  4. ladymaier

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 13:15:25
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    Thank you, mp7ski! That's great advice!

    I do have one more question for you: after baking bedroom items, should I bag them and keep them bagged when I return them to the room? I think if I do this, my strategy would be to keep all items bagged until I made my way through everything in the room, then unbag it all at once before moving on to the next room so I could re-use the bags.

    Of course, this idea is operating on the notion that any survivors in the room are relegated to fewer hiding places, and a lot of those places have been treated, so I'd be killing off the portion of the population that so far has evaded poison. I'm not yet sure if this logic is flawed.

    Ultimately, I'm trying to figure out how many oversized ziploc bags I need to buy to work through this process. It would be nice to not have to buy as many bags, but I can do so if necessary.

    What would you do if it were your house? Would you just bag everything in the afflicted rooms, leaving all items bagged until the final treatment had been completed? OR would you leave everything bagged until the bug sightings stopped, after the recommended 60-day window?

    So far since we began treatment, I've seen a handful of dead bugs (most of them young) and one live, moving adult (this past Monday), which is what precipitated the latest touch-up treatment this past Thursday. All I can assume is that this bug was hiding somewhere in our stuff (closets, blanket chest), finally popping out in a quest for food, and it hadn't been exposed to the poison on the carpet (where I found it) long enough to show any effects. I should have captured it and watched it to see if/when it would die, but I panicked and flushed it. I've seen nothing, alive or dead, since, and the blanket chest was emptied and treated at the latest PCO visit.

  5. jim danca

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 13:24:46
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    In my experience, with a light problem, clothes are really that big of a concern.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  6. ladymaier

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 13:33:53
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    Just clothes, Jim? Or other stuff too? I've already dried all of the clotheing in the dressers. The dressers were treated, and our PCO told us we could return our dried clothing to the dressers without worry.

    However, we've yet to dry/bake the clothes and shoes in our bedroom closets; all other closets have been treated, and their contents dried. I'm happy to dry/bake the closet contents, bagging as I go, if that's what's necessary. The one live bug I found was hanging out on the carpet less than a foot away from my closet, soooooooo....I take your point. Thank you for the advice!

  7. jim danca

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 16:01:30
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    I meant to say 'not that big of a concern.' Same with the shoes and other contents of the closet.

  8. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 22 2017 18:32:59
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    As long as you ordered the oven, I would definitely bake the contents of the closet near where you saw the bed bug. Optionally bake the contents in the other bedroom closets. Given a light infestation, probably not necessary to bake contents of closets outside of the bedroom if you have seen no activity in those rooms. As long as you're going to bake, I would also bag and leave everything bagged until you get the all clear from your PCO. Items that you may need in the interim can be put in separate bags and/or containers to live out of.

    Richard

  9. ladymaier

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun May 14 2017 14:46:47
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    Richard56 - 3 weeks ago  » 
    As long as you ordered the oven, I would definitely bake the contents of the closet near where you saw the bed bug. Optionally bake the contents in the other bedroom closets. Given a light infestation, probably not necessary to bake contents of closets outside of the bedroom if you have seen no activity in those rooms. As long as you're going to bake, I would also bag and leave everything bagged until you get the all clear from your PCO. Items that you may need in the interim can be put in separate bags and/or containers to live out of.
    Richard

    Thank you, Richard. I didn't see this post earlier, and I appreciate the feedback.

    Since writing this post, I haven't yet begun baking things in the bedrooms. I was taking care of baking items in my husband's den on the 2nd floor, where I had seen bugs previously but not recently. There were a lot of baskets filled with stuff that could have been potential harborages, and the baking process is unfortunately slow and tedious, more so when one works full time. In fact, I took a few weeks "off" from baking after I had my THIRD (and presumed final) scheduled PCO treatment on May 1st. They sprayed steri-fab on the bed frames, couches, armchairs, carpets, and closets. Then they dusted the outlets and baseboards; they wrote it down (began with a D)

    I was told that I shouldn't see anything, alive or dead, after this final treatment, and my PCO didn't think the continued baking was necessary. I think he sensed my heightened stress level and may have been trying to get me to calm down and give myself a break. I took that break with mixed emotions, on one hand relieved that I didn't need to worry about baking something nightly, but on the other hand feeling like I still should be doing it.

    We've been good since treatment UP UNTIL TODAY, when I found a dead bug on the floor, just outside my bedroom. Quite dead, in fact, which is always better than alive, but still a bit disheartening because we were going on nearly 3 weeks without a sighting; the clock has to restart on # of days bug-free.

    QUESTION: How common is it to continue seeing dead bugs like this throughout the treatment process? If a treatment has been effective, when should I stop seeing ANY bugs, dead or alive?

    The third floor is the only place we've still found these dead or alive bugs, and they've been in or near the master bedroom. Based on these sightings alone, I do think the remnants of the infestation are at least confined to that zone of the house. My son's room is on that floor as well, but I've seen no evidence of anything in his room.

    So I will take Richard's advice, and I'll attack our closeted belongings just to make sure I've left no stone unturned.

    LAST QUESTION:
    Would it be better for me to MOVE the oven to the 3rd floor to bake the items (I can set it up in the master bathroom, and I can turn on the vent to exhaust some of the excess heat), limiting travel distance and the risk of spreading hitchhikers throughout the house?

    OR should I leave the oven where it is on the ground floor in the kitchen, and bag the 3rd floor closet items before bringing them to the oven?


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