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How to Prepare for Extermination

Posted: September 30th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

1.  Confirm that you have bedbugs. The f@#$ers are biting.  Have an exterminator come to inspect before you do any crazy cleaning or vacuuming, to make it easier for them to find evidence of your problem.  After all, it could be fleas or mites, or a raging case of paranoia that has you scratching.  In the case of bedbugs, you will be tempted to flee to your sweetheart/friend/parent’s basement, but keep in mind that you run the risk of taking your unwanted guests with you.  And no one wants that.  Gird your loins to stand your ground and fight the good fight in your own insect flophouse.  Once you have been inspected by an exterminator, and even your fortune cookie reads “sorry, you have bedbugs”, then you can prepare your apartment for the treatment.  The exterminator should provide you with very specific instructions. At this point you should begin treating your clothes and bedding.

2. Treating the bedding. Remove all bedding from mattresses, gather all linens, and clothing from your living area. This includes all textile materials that are machine washable – pillows, mattress covers, anything – and those that must be dry cleaned. Even fabric that is in storage should be collected. Wash bedding and any clothing/fabrics that may have come in contact with bedbugs in hot water, and dry in the dryer if possible. Wash all other linens and fabrics as directed.  After washing, place items in storage bins or bags, such as Ziploc Big Bags (Large, XL, XXL) or clear contractor bags. Seal to prevent bugs from entering and hiding in the clean fabrics.  Maintain your belongings in their sealed compartments until you feel it is safe to unpack them, wait at least a month until after there have been no signs of bedbugs.  Take out very little at a time to prevent having to repeat the whole process, if you need further treatment.  Do not start bagging up all of your stuff, without washing and drying first, unless you plan on storing them, sealed, for more than 18 months, as that is how long it will take to kill any bedbugs sealed inside. Empty out any plague areas closets in rooms where bugs have been found, or closets in which fabrics, linens, towels, etc. have been stored, so that the exterminator can get to these areas.  If you live in New York City, this will not be a problem, since you don’t have any closets.

3. Clear the area. Vacuum floors and carpets, in particular hard to reach areas where bedbugs are likely to hide. Steam cleaning rugs and couch cushions is also a good idea. Reposition your furniture and other belongings away from the walls and toward the center of the room so that the exterminator can treat the perimeters, and you can vacuum these areas as well.

4.  My stuff, my precious stuff. Bedbugs love wood almost as much as they love beds.  Empty wooden bookshelves, desks, dressers, etc., and remove the drawers. You may find them between the boards of your furniture, and even smaller items like picture frames.  Your exterminator can consult with you on whether items need to be disposed of or not.  Throwing away all of your furniture is a drastic and expensive step that may not prevent a recurrence.  It might be better to attempt to treat what you have. You can buy an encasement for your mattress that will trap bedbugs inside and prevent any re-infestation after treatment.  Put the encasement on the mattress after the exterminator is finished so that they may treat the mattress as well.  Anything that you do dispose of should have a scarlet B painted across it to prevent anyone else from taking it.

As an alternative to bagging and sealing items that can’t be washed, such as books and shoes and your collection of creepy doll heads, you might want to consider one of the new fangled devices on the market that comprise a container you can put non-washable belongings into, that will heat them over 120 degrees for a few hours.

2 Comments on “How to Prepare for Extermination”

  1. 1 Nix Bedbugs » Blog Archive » DIY Bedbug Treatment said at 3:06 pm on October 26th, 2010:

    […] want maximum casualties.  However, as we have pointed out previously on this site in relation to preparing for extermination, the most extreme sounding measures are not necessarily the most […]

  2. 2 Nix Bedbugs » Blog Archive » I’d Like to Thank the Bedbug Academy said at 1:09 pm on November 16th, 2010:

    […] a cottage industry in the laborious and often tedious tasks of preparing an apartment or home for extermination, and like many temporary jobs, actors are swelling the ranks, according to this WSJ.com […]

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