fear of bedbugs seriously cramping my scavenging - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 12-02-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so... I just moved back to NYC after a 7-year absence and... BEDBUGS. Everyone is freaked out about them. And you can't take furniture, books, or really anything off the street or from second hand stores or even off CL if you don't know the people without worrying about it.

 

ARGH.

 

Mostly venting but also, does anyone else anywhere else even worry about it? I swear I never heard anything about los chinches before in my life! Almost all of our furniture and rugs and much of our clothing and a good portion of our books and toys were found in the trash or extremely cheap and now its like a major no-no.

 

We're living on a very tight budget and just moved across the country with almost nothing, so what the heck can I do! Its really cramping my style.


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#2 of 43 Old 12-02-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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OMG -- me!!!

I work for a property management company and several of our buildings have gotten infested -- when just one new person moves in with bedbugs, and soon they spread and its a total nightmare. I recently went through an education session with the rest of our staff and learned all there is to know about bedbugs, how to prevent getting them and/or bringing them home, what to do when you go to a hotel, someone's apartment, etc....but to your point....Its totally killed my love of thrifting/trash picking/Craigslisting lately. Ive completely stopped. Not to mention I wake up some nights at 3am wildly inspecting our sheets and bed for signs of life...

those things are terrible!!


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#3 of 43 Old 12-02-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Yeah, I'm completely over second hand furniture and thrift store shopping. I will still do CL, but not for things that are upholstered or fabric that can't go directly into the washing machine on boil. I also have some anxiety about hotels. Here in Vancouver bedbugs are exploding, especially in the wake of the Olympics. We just bought a house and I hope we never have to rent again (not that this is a guarantee, but it does reduce the exposure). I've known people who've had to deal with bedbugs, and in addition to the trauma and shame, the expense was enormous.


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#4 of 43 Old 12-02-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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We've had outbreaks in our area too! Last time I went to a thrift store all I could think about was bedbugs and had to leave!!! I do buy used clothes from a kids store, my laundry room is outside so I can wash everything and dry it with high heat before bringing it in... such a bummer!


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#5 of 43 Old 12-03-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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Yes, yes and yes!  I am totally squigged out by them and have also stopped looking for used furniture and books.  I am an ER nurse and have seen so much of them in my area!  It is awful for my poor patients :(  People wind up throwing all of their stuff away....  Also, they just had to fumigate my triage room - where i work!  ugh.  Also, our local library had a scare too.  They are coming for us, I swear.  

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#6 of 43 Old 12-03-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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Nope, you aren't alone. I no longer buy second hand furniture and am extremely picky about secondhand clothes now. The town I work in is dealing with major bedbug issues and having known folks who got bedbugs it simply is not worth the risk to me. I live in a large old house and after I heard how much it would cost to deal with an infestation of bedbugs that killed it for me. That said, even buying new you have to be careful, pretty much every thing I buy clothing/fabric-wise visits the dryer first for 20 minutes on high.

 

As someone who has furnished places using thrift-stores I would pick and choose, maybe some items are worth it but for larger stuff couches, beds unless you know the person you are getting the stuff from, I would look for bargain places and just save up for the larger items.

 


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#7 of 43 Old 12-03-2010, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post

. That said, even buying new you have to be careful, pretty much every thing I buy clothing/fabric-wise visits the dryer first for 20 minutes on high.


But that shrinks a lot of clothing!  Right now I'm leaving stuff outside because hopefully the below-freezing temps will kill whatever. 


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#8 of 43 Old 12-03-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Ugh, you guys have me completely freaked out about used stuff now! I live in an apartment, and we buy things from consignment shop. I guess I'm going to be washing everything just as soon as I bring it in now, instead of letting it sit around. Awful :(

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#9 of 43 Old 12-04-2010, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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maybe I would have felt better if everyone else said, "no way, no such thing, its all hype" but then again misery loves company so I'm also glad I'm not alone in this. Its just such a different crazy way to think about everything... potentially INFESTED. I hate the idea of buying everything new. I hate the idea of dousing my house in all those crazy chemicals to kill the bugs though... 

 

toddler DD is interested in getting involved with my typing now so I'd better get off!


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#10 of 43 Old 12-04-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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Quote:
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. That said, even buying new you have to be careful, pretty much every thing I buy clothing/fabric-wise visits the dryer first for 20 minutes on high.


But that shrinks a lot of clothing!  Right now I'm leaving stuff outside because hopefully the below-freezing temps will kill whatever. 


So far nothing has shrunk and most everything I have read says high heat kills bedbugs. I did get some dressers earlier this year and I left them in my barn for months before I brought them in so I think you might be okay leaving things outside in cold temps.

 

I think when it comes to bedbugs its better safe than sorry. I know in my state we even had a case of them at an elementary school, again you don't want to go crazy but for me the idea of possibly spending thousands to deal with an infestation on top of getting rid of stuff would cost me way more than whatever I save buying super cheap. Just use caution. Like I no longer go to the thrift store in a town that has a high case of bedbugs that to me is tempting fate.


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#11 of 43 Old 12-04-2010, 08:37 AM
 
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We aren't in an area that is getting press for bedbugs. I have still decided to stop
Craigslisting to furnish our new house. In the meantime we are just living spartan with a few really beat up pieces that are way overdue tomb replaced. I did buy a plastic wagon for DD, but we scoured that with bleach when we brought it home.

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#12 of 43 Old 12-04-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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Yikes!

I think about them but now I'm wondering if I should be more on top of it.....

 

books? really in books?

 

so are they so tiny you can't see them?

 

we always wash everything we get from the thrift store but I never thought about books!

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#13 of 43 Old 12-04-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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Me. I won't buy things like that secondhand or off CL. Did you know they can live inside the legs of bed frames and thingslike that for something like a year? I am from NYC originally and in the last 3 years I know of 4 different people there who have had to battle bedbugs. They are all clean, regular folks. The time, the expense, the futility of it not working...it's just not worth it to me to take a chance. 

 

They aren't such a problem here (and I still don't buy stuff used out of fear) but in NYC, definitely, I would think twice. 


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#14 of 43 Old 12-05-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by phillychiquita View Post

 

I recently went through an education session with the rest of our staff and learned all there is to know about bedbugs, how to prevent getting them and/or bringing them home, what to do when you go to a hotel, someone's apartment, etc.


Will you share what you have learned?  I would like to know how to take precautions.  And what is the deal - does nothing kill them??  

 

What if your kid has a sleepover at someone else's house?  What if they bring their pillow?  Sounds like lice, only way worse.

 


- single homeschooling mom to 16, 14, almost-12, and 10
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#15 of 43 Old 12-07-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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My sister in Ohio had bedbugs earlier this year. One day just before summer started her youngest daughter, 7 years old, woke up with her face, neck and hands covered in little red marks. They discovered the bugs in her pillowcase. They were also in the crevices of the mattress underneath the sheet. Then her oldest daughter started waking up with the bites. I don't think her middle daughter had them in her room but all three girls slept in the living room for months while their mattresses stayed in the hot garage all summer to kill the bugs. They also had a pest control man come in and it cost them several hundred dollars. In fact, he told them once is not enough. He came by a second time but they declined a third trip due to finances. My sister put everyone's sheets, pillowcases, etc, including her own in trash bags and kept them in the attic for awhile to kill the bugs then washed them all in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. On the bedding she removed from the bags before she put them into the washer she could see lots of tiny dark spots which were the feces. It was a hard summer for her family, they were all freaked out. They never discovered the bugs anywhere but in two of the girls' bedrooms, though, and so far haven't seen any further sign of them.

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#16 of 43 Old 12-07-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Ok -- So most of what I learned was about avoidance. We now have bed bug sniffing dogs going through our buildings regularly. The team that does that led the education sessions...here are some of the highlights of what i learned.

  • Freezing temps dont kill them - they can be frozen and then go dormant until it warms up. They can live for up to two years in dormancy.
  • High heat kills them. Putting clothes or anything you suspect having had contact into a hot dryer immediately for 30 minutes is a good way to ensure you are killing them.
  • They are least likely to be in a person's kitchen or bathroom. If you suspect there might be bedbugs, dont sit on soft furniture, dont put your jacket down on a chair, or your bag on the floor.. you can stand on hard surfaces - the middle of the kitchen is usually the safest place to stand, middle of a clean kitchen counter, safest spot to put your bag/jacket.
  • When a person who tracks/exterminates bedbugs goes to a hotel, they take two smooth plastic trashbags (bedbugs cannot climb up into smooth plastic trashbags with no ribbing). They open the door and put their bags at the entrance, in the trashbag. They inspect the room. They look behind the bedboard and behind the artwork for signs of bedbugs (coffee ground like substance is what you are looking for).
  • When an exterminator goes home at night, he changes before going into his house -- puts all his clothes, shoes, bags into plastic and then, carries them in, then puts everything in a dryer on high heat and throws out the bag in the outside trashcan.
  • They can be carried on anything and they are most likely to be somewhere where there is a regular blood host (us, your pets...) available in the pre-dawn hours. They use pipes and electrical lines to travel from apartment to apartment. If you hear that they exist in your building, take immediate measures to protect yourself.
  • Plastic covers on mattresses can kill them or prevent them.
  • Chemicals and foggers on the market often do not work and many times, allow the bedbugs to get more out of hand than if you work with an exterminator right off the bat.
  • Remediation can cost upwards of $5000. for a home. Its no joke how hard these things are to get rid of.
  • One thing they said was to not trashpick or buy secondhand because there is no way of knowing what you would be bringing in to your home.

 

Here is a good website with more tips/info: http://www.actionpestcontrol.com/new_jersey_bed_bugs.htm

Hope that helps!

 


Mama to Charlotte (2/14/07) and Julian (11/27/10) both born at home.
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#17 of 43 Old 12-07-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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thanks for sharing!

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#18 of 43 Old 12-07-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Is there anyway to "pre-strike" used books to be safe since you cant toss them in a dryer or spray them down?


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#19 of 43 Old 12-08-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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DH has to travel a lot more in the next few months and I have been freaked out about getting bedbugs.  Before he can come in the door I make him strip down and I put everything he's taken in to the hotel room and put it directly in the washer and then dry it on high heat.  He's started packing in a backpack that I throw in the dryer. 

 

Anyone know what to do about dress shoes?  I thought freezing killed them, but reading above shows it doesn't.  I don't mind drying tennis shoes, but I would think dress shoes couldn't take the heat. 


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#20 of 43 Old 12-08-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Major bedbug hype here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We live in a detached older home with lots of wood, carpet and wallpaper. All places bedbugs like to hide and very difficult to get them out of all.the.little.crevices.

 

We are MESSY people. This is the best motivation I have ever had to declutter. Yes, I know messiness doesn't CAUSE bedbugs; but we would be in soooo much trouble if we got infested. So many places they could hide.

 

I am finding it frustrating to get everyone in the family on board. After spending days cleaning and washing all the bedding on hot, I come home to find a wool thrift store dress on my dd's bed, not washed since it was brought home. My dh does not take me seriously.

 

I have started doing simple things, hoping to make them habit. I ask dd and dh to change when they get home from school/work. I vacuum after friends have been playing in her room. I try not to take handbags to places like shopping malls or restaurants; just put my wallet in my coat.

 

I have taken the bedskirts off the bed and I now wash linens in hot once a week.

 

So far, I am just being much more aware of my surroundings. I am getting rid of all excess clothing and stripping us down, which is good for us anyway. The joy of STUFF is gone. This issue is REAL.

 

I know we can't prevent them and I haven't stopped going out or anything. I just want us to be prepared to act fast if we do find ourselves exposed or infested. I have heard it can be managed if you tackle it immediately and aggressively.

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#21 of 43 Old 12-13-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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Havent read the other post so sorry if it's been suggested.  You can get some diatomaceous earth, very cheap, at your local hardware store.  Before you bring in any furniture bought second hand, paintbrush the d-earth in all the cracks of the  furniture you purchased.  Do this out side as you don't want to breathe in the fine powder.  Let sit for a day before bringing in. If you want an extra bit of assurance, buy some cedar oil and between the two, I guarentee you will not have any living bedbugs in your house.  We brought in a bed loaded with bedbugs from freecycle.  It was hard work but finally got rid of them with these two non-toxic bed bug killers. 

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#22 of 43 Old 12-14-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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there've been infestations in stores, too... victoria's secret was one, I think?


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#23 of 43 Old 12-15-2010, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my sister says they've been found in Barneys NY and other very high end stores here in Manhattan.


GROSS.

 

anyway, we had a double extermination while apt was empty, and nobody is currently living down there. I plan to encase all mattresses and pillows, but like an earlier responder said... we are not the tidiest people. An extermination after we're living there will be such a PITA. I guess I am not doing used stuff that can't be washed-- but what a bummer.

 

And yes I'd heard that freezing doesn't reliably kill them. :(

 

I am thinking of thrifting for baskets (for toys and storage and clutter-containing) and heard that there is something I can put in basically a ziplock bag (airtight) for a couple of days that will kill them... maybe that was ceder oil?


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#24 of 43 Old 12-15-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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also goldman sachs?  Somewhere on wallstreet.

 

diatomacious earth should work I would think, too, in a plastic bag on baskets.  I didn't think bedbugs were that small, though...

 

http://pestcontrolcanada.com/INSECTS/bedbugs.htm  <-- says adults are 1/4 inch long.  That's a pretty good sized bug...


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#25 of 43 Old 12-16-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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I'm so itchy after reading thjs.  Yuck.

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#26 of 43 Old 12-16-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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I have had several bedbug scares, but I think it's hit or miss if they attack your home or not.

 

1) When I lived on the East coast, half the building where I lived got infested.  My side of the building did not get infested at all for some reason and when I moved, nothing moved with me.

 

2) Some friends of ours were living in an old farm house and their little girl's room had bedbugs.  The poor thing was a sight to be seen.  Nobody else was affected by them, no other beds, furniture, etc was infested and when they came to stay with us they did not bring anything with them in their luggage or on their person.  I have to say though that this was a very close call and I still catch my breath when I think of what may have been...

 

3) When we were traveling this summer one of our hotels had bedbugs.  But, again, only one of the beds!  We left everything in the car in the heat for three days and afterwards I took all the blankets and pillows that we had brought with us directly to the laundromat without bringing them inside (I like to travel with my own wool blankets & pillows because the hotel ones are usually icky polyester).

 

That said, I would be very hesitant to buy anything used now except clothes, which I was at a laundromat before bringing home.  We very badly need a new mattress and I see them on FC all the time, but no way am I getting one there!

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#27 of 43 Old 12-16-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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but... I heard that because the trucks pick up the old mattresses sometimes brand new mattresses can be infected with bedbugs?  Maybe I'm crazy... anyone know?


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#28 of 43 Old 12-16-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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but... I heard that because the trucks pick up the old mattresses sometimes brand new mattresses can be infected with bedbugs?  Maybe I'm crazy... anyone know?



Brand new mattresses are usually still wrapped in plastic, hopefully.


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#29 of 43 Old 12-16-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post

but... I heard that because the trucks pick up the old mattresses sometimes brand new mattresses can be infected with bedbugs?  Maybe I'm crazy... anyone know?



Brand new mattresses are usually still wrapped in plastic, hopefully.



Maybe that's not enough?  I just did a cursory google search and it turned up way too many hits involving getting bedbugs from the truck that the mattress was on, for my liking... http://www.google.com/search?q=new+mattresses+infected+trucks+bed+bugs&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a


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#30 of 43 Old 12-23-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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So when we had bed bugs, we ordered a new mattress.  The mattress delivery guy said he would take our old one away in the same truck which carried our new one.  I informed him that we would take our own mattress to the dump so we wouldn't infect his truck.  But it got me thinking how bed bugs must spread.  Trust me when I say the d-earth and the cedar spray works.  Must be diligent about it but it really worked and the best part is it's non toxic.  Just wear a mask when using the powder.   We got our from a bed we got free from Freecycle.  Beware of getting any new furniture with out a thorough inspection and even then, it doesn't hurt to dust it with d-earth. 

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