If you are moving, you may be understandably concerned about picking up bed bugs in transit.
Yet whether out of cost worries, denial or ignorance, New York City moving and storage companies have been slow to adopt procedures that cut down the risk of in-truck transmission. So we were intrigued to hear that Moishe's, the 30-year-old local moving company, recently announced a prevention program.
Among other things, the company has stopped wrapping furniture in blankets, which are an easy and obvious means of conveyance for bed bugs. Instead, furniture, mattresses and objects are wrapped in moving-quality, tear-resistant plastic bags sealed with heavy duty tape. That diminishes the risk of picking up bugs from the truck and also the chance that bugs will wander into the truck from infested furniture. (No special precautions are taken with moving boxes, however.)
Moishe's is also doing monthly canine inspections of each truck, and then fumigating trucks that come up positive.
So is this enough?
We asked entomologist and pest management expert Gil Bloom of Standard Pest Management in Queens. After calling up Moishe's with a few questions of his own, he seemed reasonably satisfied.
"Unlike any other company that I know of, they apparently do have an organized, systemic way of addressing the issue," said Bloom, recently named #1 bed bug warrior by NY Magazine and deeply involved in the city's efforts to battle bed bugs.
As to whether the precuations are good enough to sleep tight on, "unless you check a truck between every job with a canine inspection, then have it fumigated if anything is found, you could always have a bug," Bloom says. "But the bug would not necessarily hitchhike on the next load anyway. And the expense and down time"--fumigating a moving truck takes 24 hours and can cost $800-$1,000, he notes--"would drive a firm out of business."
If you're really concerned, Bloom notes, Moishe will perform a canine inspection of your truck the day before for an extra fee.
For ultimate peace of mind--and for anyone moving away from a bed bug issue--get the truck fumigated with all of your belongings inside.
"That way you pretty much know you are safe from transporting anything," says Bloom.