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Don’t Move Bed Bugs to Your New Home

By Chris Williams on July 31, 2013.

Moving company and bed bugsQuestion

We had a bed bug problem in our apartment a few months ago and I think they’re gone. We’re getting ready to move to another city but I’m worried that there might still be bed bug eggs in our things and that we could take them with us to the new place. What can we do to make sure we don’t move bed bugs?

Answer

Bed bug eggs hatch in about a week, so if you had treatment weeks ago, any remaining eggs should have already hatched. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have gotten rid of bed bugs before you plan a move. Otherwise, you will just be taking bed bugs with you to a new location. And, if you think you might have bed bugs, it’s a good idea to have a professional pest management company inspect your home before you start to pack. There are precautions you can take (listed below) for your move, but the degree to which you prepare might depend on how optimistic you are that your home is bed bug-free.

Not only do you need to be concerned about taking bed bugs with you to your new location, you also need to have some concerns about picking up bed bugs during the moving process (from moving vans and storage), and from your new location. Probably the most important thing you can do before your move is to learn how to inspect for bed bugs—know what they look like (eggs, too) and where they hide.

If you’re using a professional mover, ask about their bed bug precautions. How often do they check for bed bugs? Do they inspect and/or treat trucks between moves? Do they use new boxes and clean blankets/pads between customers? If you rent a truck, make sure you check it for bed bugs.

  • Wash and dry all clothes, linens, towels and other washable items on the hottest safe setting. If items are already clean, just dry them on a hot setting for at least 20 minutes. Seal cleaned items in plastic bags or tubs and mark them as “Clean.”
  • Items that can’t be placed in a dryer but that could hide bed bugs, like books, pictures, small appliances, should be inspected for bed bugs. Pay the most attention to items in bedrooms, and especially those near the bed. Seal the checked items in plastic.
  • Items that are at highest risk for housing bed bugs can be treated with Nuvan Prostrips or Hot-Shot-No-Pest Strips. The items must be sealed in a bag with a strip in the bag. The strip releases a toxic vapor; bags must remain sealed for two to four weeks. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Use new boxes and packing material. Don’t recycle boxes that others have used.
  • Buy bed bug-proof encasements for mattresses and box springs; install them before you move to keep any bed bugs in your apartment from moving into the bed and to keep any already in the bed from infesting other items.
  • Once furniture has been emptied and cushions removed from couches and chairs, inspect each piece for bed bugs. If there’s a chance that the furniture could contain bed bugs, have it inspected and/or treated by a pest management professional before it is moved. Alternatively, vacuum and/or steam clean the furniture.
  • If you are discarding your beds or any other furniture or household items, destroy the furniture so that it can’t be salvaged or wrap it in plastic and mark it with “Bed Bugs” to warn others.

Once your belongings reach your new place, thoroughly inspect your new home for bed bugs before you unpack.

Photo credit: Moving Simplified / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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