No matter which storage facility you use, there are only two ways to be reasonably sure you won’t bring any six-legged hitchhikers back to your apartment: Seal every last thing in plastic to keep bed bugs out, or have your belongings gassed before bringing them back home.
“Seal everything in an airtight manner,” Bedbugger.com advised us when we asked for tips. "The smallest bed bugs are 1/32 inch long. They can squeeze through a tiny gap."
Because most plastic tubs are not airtight, warns Bedbugger, seal your stuff in plastic bags tied with an airtight knot (not a twist tie) and put them in the tubs for stacking.
To seal bigger items, moving companies and some storage facilities sell large bags or provide shrink-wrapping services.
If your things are already stored in an unprotected fashion—or you want to be really, really sure—you may want have them fumigated with Vikane gas.
Vikane is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that has no residue, according to Bed Bugs and Beyond, a fumigation company in Queens. When administered under containment—in a vault or moving truck—vikane eliminates the bed bug's ability to absorb oxygen.
Bed Bugs and Beyond charges about $700 to fumigate a 300 cubic square foot vault—which is roughly big enough to hold the contents of a studio or one-bedroom apartment. You will spend another $700 or so to rent the container, have it delivered to your storage facility where you pack it up, sent out to be fumigated and finally reunited with you at home.
Gassing isn’t cheap. However, it works on everything including electronics (the bugs like to hide in computers), clothes and musical equipment—so it’s usually a bargain compared to the massive (and frequently irreponsible) sidewalk purge many bed bug victims wind up doing.