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Update, and what to do next/A few questions (wall of text, sorry)

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  1. pinkthumbnail

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 10:28:13
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    Just an update on This Post

    My superintendent is bringing in pest control to spray my unit, the one next door and the one below. My parents are taking my dog for however long they need to. I'm going to sort my clothing into clear garbage bags and wash anything I can in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Anything that can't be washed hot, I'm going to run through the dryer on a hot cycle, wash in cold, then hot dry again. I will then seal my clean clothing in clear bags with duct tape. I've already de-cluttered a lot, but my roommate has a crapload of boxes and old junk he's attached to any doesn't want to get rid of (mostly old boxes off of video games he doesn't have anymore). That's going, whether he likes it or not. We've also got an old ripped chair in the living room I'm going to try to convince him to toss after it's been sprayed, as it's way too easy for them to hide in there.

    A few questions:

    How long should I dry my clothes for before washing? Should I let them go a full cycle (60 mins) to be safe, or will a half cycle per loose load work? It's $1.75 per hour for the dryers in my building, and I'm not opposed to spending the money, but I don't want to be that crazy person who is going way overboard either. Also, where should I put my clothes after they are sealed up again? Back in my apartment seems like it's defeating the purpose, but I don't want to risk bringing bugs to my mom's house. Will clear garbage bags with duct tape work? I can't get Ziploc XL bags in stores here and can't wait for them to ship here.

    So far I have found nothing in my mattress, should I encase before or after pest control comes? I'm totally cool with them spraying my mattress - I'd actually prefer they did, but would like to also encase afterwards. Can anyone recommend a cover that I can get in stores in Canada? I can't afford $200 plus another $49 for shipping from the States.

    What about toiletries, computers, DVDs & books, shelving, etc? Kitchen cupboards and their contents? Do I need to throw out my food? My comforter can't go in the dryer - It's too big, and last time I tried to dry a comforter it melted a hole in it. Should I just cut my losses on that one and throw it away, since it's too big for my bed and drags on the floor anyway? It's a gorgeous one from a set I loved, but I can always buy a new one that fits the bed properly.

    This is my biggest (perhaps irrational) fear come to life, as a good friend of mine had bedbugs for upwards of 3 years and got taken to court for breaking his lease and leaving everything he had behind (nowhere in the city would accept him as a tenant due to the ongoing problems in that complex, so he couldn't even move without getting rid of everything he owned). I haven't had any itching, and I don't even know if the spots mentioned in my previous post were from the bugs - I've only fund one, on the couch and could well have gotten bitten out there, as I was laid up on the couch with an injury when the spots showed up.

    Apologies for the crazy wall of text, I've always been terrified of this but never had to actually deal with it before!

  2. cilecto

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 10:42:48
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    "Wash everything-bag everything-toss everything" is not universally recommended. Here's an article and video explaining why. (Also, mostly, pros do not seem to mandate treatment of electronics or disposal of kitchen items.) http://www.bedbugcentral.com/tv/index.php/2010/07/bed-bug-preparations/ If laundering is appropriate for your case, here are some hints. Bed bugs at all life stages die if brought to ~125F. Clean items can go in the dryer direct then be sealed up (no wash needed). Soiled items should be washed (any temperature) then thoroughly dried. You can verify your dryer's temperature with an instant-read thermometer (aim for 140). An oft repeated rule of thumb is "half an hour on high". This is imprecise, as temperatures vary. Also, longer on a somewhat lower setting is less damaging (and allows better penetration) than a short, very hot dry cycle. You can launder your comforter in the larger washer/dryers available at laundromats. Clear bags with tape should be fine for storage, as long as long as they don't tear. Not all pros recommend encasements.

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

    (Not an pro)
  3. pinkthumbnail

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 11:09:25
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    Thanks for the quick reply! A couple things I am still unclear on:

    - my comforter - I know I can take it to a laundromat, but I'm maint concerned it may melt or scorch. I could wash it but I have no idea how to dry it to make sure it's thoroughly cleared. Any ideas?

    - where should I store my clothing? I've read that I should not put them back in dressers and closets until 1-2 months after my last treatment. I have no idea where to store them so that I can access them - is it safe to hang them back in closets in rooms that no bugs are found? (they're spraying the whole works anyway). We don't have a balcony so outside where it's cold won't work (average high temp here for the rest of the week is -10 C)

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 11:27:49
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    Dry the comforter at a temperature that's safe for the item, as per the care label (this may be "low" or "medium"). Once the item is throughly dry, let the dryer run another 30 minutes (you can lower the temperature a notch for this stage).

    Once you've dried your things, you should keep them sealed until you need to use them. Any air-tight container or bag will do. If sealed, you can store them in the dressers or wardrobes. No, if you've gone through the effort of drying your stuff, you should not just place them unwrapped in wardrobes or drawers, as you'll then need to repeat the process if it turns out that there are BB in that place.

  5. pinkthumbnail

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 11:30:02
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    Should I seal everything now, or wait until I know exactly when they are coming to spray?

  6. cilecto

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 11:45:21
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    Review the article and video I linked above to determine if laundry is appropriate to your situation. If it is, you should seal up items as soon as you have rendered them "clean".

  7. pinkthumbnail

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Feb 6 2013 19:20:04
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    I reviewed your article - very informative! I've decided to go ahead and hot dry & bag/seal anything I don't use regularly, so that is underway right now - can't hurt, right? As far as the stuff I use regularly, is there any point to doing that right now, or should I wait until I know when they are coming and what they want me to do specifically? I don't know when the PCO is coming in - my superintendent called them this morning and hasn't heard back yet. I bought some clear bags and tape to seal off the stuff I won't need. I found giant vacuum seal zipper bags that can be opened and resealed for removing and replacing clothing. I'm trying to figure out the easiest way to organize that stuff for easy access while minimizing contamination risk.

  8. cilecto

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Feb 7 2013 7:40:18
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    I find the inexpensive 18-gallon totes that the big home stores sell very handy for sorting and organizing things. They don't seal airtight, but they're something you can throw bags into and know that they won't tear. Bags of assorted size and type are good to have.

    If you have bed bugs, there are also precautions you should follow to prevent bringing them to the places you go (work, family, friends), as outlined in the "Travel FAQ". Having some of your actively used clothing and accessories "clean" is a good idea for supporting this protocol.

  9. pinkthumbnail

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Feb 7 2013 17:21:39
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    I spoke with my superintendent again a little while ago, and he still hasn't heard back from the PCO regarding when they're going to spray. It's driving me crazy! I explained that much to him, and he said he will keep me in the loop but not to hesitate to call him, as he said we're good tenants and he doesn't want us to have a bad impression of the building (it recently changed owners and they're trying to build it back up from it's former rep as a rough building in a bad area). We're only 2 months into a 13 month lease, so it's not like we can get out of it anyway.

    Anyway, a few questions after reading the Travel FAQ, as we're due for a major snowstorm this weekend and I have to work, so I'm staying at my BF's place (which is 5 mins from my work).

    -My current plan is to throw my backpack, shoes, etc. through the dryer, wash and dry my clothes for the weekend, inspect and pack my toiletries in small ziploc bags and pack my bag for the weekend in the laundry room, seal it in a clear garbage bag and upon leaving my apartment, discard the plastic bag in an outside dumpster. I will dress in clean clothes/boots/jacket from a designated ziploc right before I leave my house. My clothes will be put into the laundry and my backpack bagged up again immediately upon returning to my apartment.

    Does this sound right for avoiding passing them onto him? I've only found the one bug still - no fecal smears, no casts, eggs, etc., and I've been crawling around with a flashlight inspecting everything in the apartment for a few days. I know how and where to look and what to look for, and I've found nothing aside from the one dead bug (which is in a ziploc bag on top of my freezer). I'm hoping this means that I have a very light (or no) infestation - I could easily have tracked something in from the hallway, as 3 new neighbours moved into vacant units over the past few weeks, but I still want to take precautions to not spread them to my family and friends!


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