Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Help me escape my bed bug hell.

This Question & Answer From Ask MetaFilte
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Help me escape my bed bug hell.

I have been dealing with a bed bug infestation for about a year and a half. It is a nightmare that has been going on for too long. Although it's a minor infestation, no matter how many times my place is treated/vacummed/sprayed etc. it doesn't go away...the bugs probably travel from apartment to apartment in my building. I've gotten to the point where I just want to move. However, I want to make sure I do it right.

THE PLAN: To rent a new apartment and put every single thing I own into storage. Since I live in the northeast, if I move during the dead of winter and store things in an unheated storage unit, I am expecting that the cold will kill the bugs and the eggs.

For the first month all I will bring to the new place will be a brand new bed and clothes that have been freshly washed in hot water. Then after an adequate amount of exposure to below-freezing temps, I will bring the rest of my stuff out of storage and into the new place. The question is—how long is adequate?

I cannot find any hard & fast information online about exactly how long it takes to freeze the bugs and their eggs to death. I am *terrified* to take these critters to a new apartment. The good thing is that since my apartment has been treated so often, if anything the infestation is very minor...so I'm hoping I only have to worry about a few bugs trying to hitch a ride to my new place. But if I don't do this right, I could bring them along. Has anyone who’s had this problem successfully moved to a new place without these critters along? What are your thoughts?

by WCityMike

To clarify, your question is specifically how long does it take for exposure to cold to kill bed bugs? I think you would need to leave all belongings in below-freezing temperatures that were consistently below freezing for a number of days. I am not sure that is a situation you can easily do, although perhaps you can if you move during the worst of a northeast winter.

An exterminator sprayed my apartment, and told me the poisons would remain active for six to eight weeks. I moved within that timeframe and while I do not want to say that I got rid of them (it's become a superstitious thing with me), I will say that I have not seen any live bed bugs since my move. In my case, I tried my best to move long enough from the spray date that it had time enough to kill everything, but not far away that a fresh infestation had time to take hold.

By Sara Anne

I threw a lot of stuff away, particularly wooden furniture, as wood is the preferred egg-laying surface of bed bugs. Keep in mind that bed bugs can live for a whole year without a meal. I stored most things that I kept in an unheated garage for a year, and it seems to have worked.
If I were you I'd buy a new bed, and wash all your clothes and linens in the hottest possible water before allowing them in the new place.
Sorry you're going through this. I had a similar situation, and it made me feel crazy, verging on paranoid, like I'd never escape them.

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