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treating my laptop: cryonite, bed bug dog, or DDVP?

(10 posts)
  1. jeffersonny

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 28 2010 16:21:37
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    Hi all,

    I was going to wait to see the results before posting on this, but the tension got too much, so I thought I would start. I'm a grad student who's just in the city for the summer, before heading back to Massachusetts to start classes. I unknowingly ended up taking a sublet that had bed bugs. It's a long, drawn out story (of course), BUT, this is just about my computer. As I need to move back next week, and the only thing I have left is some clothes (will put in dryer for forever), a few items I can wipe down with 91% (shampoo, condition, seasonings. I don't know why I've picked these out of all the things I'm throwing away), and my computer. A new mac lap top.

    I have only slight reason to believe it has bugs, but the risk is too much for me. I studied this forum, then started calling. I wanted to post it to add to the information about computer treatment.

    I called Dial a Bug. They said they could Cryonite my computer for $175.00. I would have to sign a waiver excusing them for any liability, though he said it should be fine, that they do it on their computers. I felt a little nervous about them.

    I then called M & M Pest Control, and talked to someone there for a while, explaining my situation. The person was very nice. Finally Tim got on the phone and he was also very nice and said they would Cryonite it. He then said they would do it for free, that he likes to help out people like students and the elderly. I actually started to cry on the phone, there in the middle of the NYC, I was so happy. It was the happiest I'd been. I started to believe I would get out of the city without bed bugs. We made arrangements for me to drop it off the next day.

    But then the people I had left messages for started to call me back and warn me against Cryonite.

    Bed Bugs and Beyond (they do Vicane) returned my call and said not to Cryonite. He said Vicane works, but they don't do just computers. This just stressed me out and gave me no solutions.

    Cesar from Freedom Pest Control called me. He said not to do Cryonite. I explained my situation, and he was amazed that M and M made that offer. He seemed genuinely taken aback, and so after saying a dog would cost about $250, he said if I could get to the Bronx, then his dog could smell my computer and that he wouldn't charge me.

    I went with this because I thought this way I could know if I had bugs before going through potentially risky procedures on my new lap top. My work (a temp job in a very nice office) was searched by a dog that pretty much located my trail throughout the office, so I have respect for dogs.

    The next day I called M and M, leaving a message saying I wanted to learn more about Cryonite before doing it. I was nervous saying no to their offer, as it had moved me so much, and as this left me relying on Cesar who I didn't know outside of this forum.

    Anyways, we've been playing phone tag for two days now. Mostly I am trying to get in touch with him, and I'm stressed, as I only have a few days left here. I imagine he's busy. I just wish I could know.

    But I will add updates. And let me know if you have any ideas/advice

  2. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 28 2010 17:40:03
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    I would be wary of Cryonite--not because I think it might damage the computer (although honestly, I would call Apple and see what they say. If it's a new laptop, it should still be under AppleCare, and they can tell you whether the temps used for cryonite would risk damage to the laptop or not.)--but because I don't think it's the most effective option out there.

    Personally, if you're going to be moving anyway, I would pack the laptop up for a week in a completely airtight and puncture proof container and toss a DDVP/Nuvan strip in there with the computer.

    Make sure you read all the info on DDVP (must not be allowed to offgas in inhabited spaces, may corrode electronics *if* used for longer than 3 or 4 weeks, although none of us can remember at the moment where that info came from, I would personally seal it inside a large ziplock and put that in a second container that isn't likely to rip or get holes poked in it) before doing so.

    None of those methods are perfect. Well, Vikane is, but as you said, most places don't use Vikane to treat a single item as small as a laptop. And even Vikane has to be done properly. Done properly, it and whatever museums and rare book collections do to things like priceless paintings, medieval furniture, antique musical instruments, and first editions of Whitman's Leaves of Grass are all perfect, but well beyond the reach--both in terms of access and price--of mere mortals like us.

    Of the ones that are left, I am least trustful of heat for electronics as after having thermal on my apartment, almost all damage was to electronics. I am second least trustful of cryonite because the freeze has to pretty much come directly in contact with any eggs to kill them, and that seems logistically hard to do with a laptop. (Plus, if it's the new MacbookPro, that's a unibody build, which means you can't remove the battery, which is pretty much a requirement for heat treatment of electronics, and may well be for cold treatment too? Dunno. But it's something to think about.)

    I am most likely to trust DDVP of those, but BE SURE you read ALL the cautions and info before trying it.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Tracy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 28 2010 18:20:56
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    If I may add some insight here, I posted some rather long entries about my experience in utilizing DDVP last year to rid my apartment and belongings of bedbugs.

    Long story short, I would offer some cautions on using DDVP in plastics bags - I tried a number of different experiments with infested items with different thickness of plastic bags and utilizing different types of tape to seal it.

    I would say from my experience that the best possible way to treat items with DDVP is not to do it in a plastic bag and NOT have the items being treated with DDVP in an occupied room. I know as I tried to do it.

    There were a couple of issues I encountered.

    1. I found there was no real way for me to completely seal the bag. I was treating a small ottoman and some pillows in a 60" by 90" (2mm) bag and I tried to tie the bag with a plastic contractor cable tie and then tape the end of the bag over itself. I could still smell the chemicals - I don't know why it was not sealing tightly but it was not. The bag did not appear ripped at all.

    2. When I had the items in the bag with the No-Pest strip for 10 days, I opened it and there were still bugs alive! Again, I don't know if it was because there was not enough air circulation in the bag for the gas to penetrate into the items or if I just did not leave it in the bag long enough

    I could not find a plastic bin large enough to accomodate the items, but I suspect the bin would have contained the gas more effectively (assuming the edges of the cover were properly sealed) and also would allow for more air circulation (the bag had a tendency to collapse in on the items it contained - thus restricting the airflow)

    Eventually, I opted just to place the items in a large closet that was emptied out and sealed the closet door with tape and tarp - that worked just fine.

    By the way I recommend leaving the DDVP in a minimum of 3 weeks and preferebly 4 weeks. I also experimented with the amount of time to leave the item with DDVP and more is not always better especially with items that have porous materials. DDVP, as a fumigant, is not supposed to leave a residual but I fould that the longer a fabric item was left with the chemical - the more of the chemical was absorbed into the materials.

    That meant outgassing took longer and there was a residual smell. I placed some charcoal briquettes in a box near the items and that completely took away the smell

    With regards to electronics, I had my computer in my bedroom with high concentrations of DDVP for about 5 weeks with absolutely no corrosive effects at all. It worked perfectly afterwards

    hope this helps

  4. jeffersonny

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 28 2010 18:21:30
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    Thank you. That makes sense. The potential for erosion made me nervous, but I think I'll do it if there are bugs in there, and if the Vicane thing (below) doesn't work out.

    The update: I called M&M Pest Control back to explain why I wasn't bringing in my computer. Tim said they could have their dog check out my computer, and that I could bring it in in the morning. Happy again! Tim is not going to charge--he said a computer is such a small thing. He also said if the dog finds bugs, I will have a few choices: the Cryonite, or if anyone is having a batch of stuff treated with Vicane, he might be able to add my computer.

    While I had him on the phone I asked him some questions about Cryonite. He said it is safe, that he's done it to hundreds of computers. He also said that bed bugs are usually in the keyboard, so he doesn't open the whole computer, just access to the keyboard. So it does seem safe, but, as said above, might not be as effective as other treatments, since a bug could be hiding out. Any risk is too much when moving, I think.

  5. jeffersonny

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 28 2010 18:22:56
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    oh, and my response was to buggyinsocal. The other post came up while i was writing, and I haven't read it yet....

  6. death_to_bed_bugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 3 2010 17:54:01
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    I have not looked at much of the information about Cryonite, but if you can research how cold the computer can get, you might opt for using your own Dry Ice in a closed container. You get both the cold and the CO2 fumigation effects. Remember that CO2 in concentration can kill you and your pets.

  7. jeffersonny

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 4 2010 13:15:53
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    i just wanted to give an update on my computer: After not hearing from Cesar for a day, I called Tim back at M&M. He said he'd be happy to have his dog check my computer, so I brought it in the next morning on my way to work, and picked it up at the end of the day. He didn't charge me, and said my computer was fine, that his dog didn't pick up any trace.

    This was great news---and not just for peace of mind. I was going to treat my computer as if it did have bugs, so this meant i didn't have to do any of that stuff. I could just put it in plastic, and open it up once I got to my new place. If anyone is dealing with this issue and you're in NYC, I would recommend calling M&M. Tim seemed open to helping without charging, if it was an odd case like mine, and if you are a student or in another position where you don't have much money. I don't know...I called a lot of people who gave me a price quote and then a lecture on bed bugs, so Tim listening to me and then helping me for free was pretty amazing.

    As an FYI, Cesar did end up texting me back.

    So now it is one day after my move, and I'm just waiting to see...

  8. jeffersonny

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 10 2010 8:16:41
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    Over a week since my move, and no bites. If I don't post back, that means everything went well------

  9. cilecto

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 10 2010 8:41:33
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    death_to_bed_bugs - 6 days ago  » 
    I have not looked at much of the information about Cryonite, but if you can research how cold the computer can get, you might opt for using your own Dry Ice in a closed container. You get both the cold and the CO2 fumigation effects. Remember that CO2 in concentration can kill you and your pets.

    Days, weeks, months or years from now, someone will come across this idea here. It was suggested based on mis-understanding of the role of CO2 in detection and control of BB. Please do not attempt it.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  10. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 10 2010 10:12:01
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    Tracey,

    When I suggested plastic bags, I was specifically suggesting ziplocks. Sealing plastic bags (contractor bags or trash bag types) thoroughly would be very difficult. Ziplocks are generally set up to be sealed to be air tight.

    While there are no ziplocks large enough for furniture, there are many that would fit most laptops and many desktop computes.

    I also do not advocate using DDVP on items that are stored inside; for most people and situations, it's just too much of a risk of poisoning you and/or your neighbors.


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