Many thanks to everyone who came out for BrickUnderground's BedbuggedNYC Meetup Thursday night. It has been especially gratifying to hear from some that not only do they feel more equipped to deal with their bed bug problem, they also feel less alone.
Along with pinot grigio, there was a lot of bed bug intel zinging around the Chelsea headquarters of our co-host, neighborhood social networking site Romio.com. Here are some highlights:
- False positives (and occasionally, false negatives) are still a big problem with bed-bug sniffing dogs that have been improperly trained or handled, according to panelist/bed bug guru Gil Bloom. Make sure your handler is certified by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association. Also, if a dog identifies a "hot spot," don't immediately fly into a panic and/or spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on treatment until you have other evidence, such as actually seeing a bed bug or signs of one such as fecal deposits, shed skins, bites, etc.
- Your dryer = Bed Bug Chamber of Death. Thirty minutes at 120 degrees kills everything, says Bloom. (Just don't pack it too tightly and run the dryer longer if the items are wet).
- Early next year, the Fume Cube 3.0 will be coming to a NYC apartment building near you. The existing generation of the Fume Cube (invented by our Meetup sponsor, Bed Bug Fumigation Specialists) is a shed-like container constructed on-site at an apartment building into which infested belongings can be conveniently transported and fumigated overnight. It has to be operated by a licensed fumigator--which is fine in the throes of an active infestation, but less convenient for ongoing day-to-day prevention. Enter the Fume Cube 3.0: a self-operable heat chamber big enough to toss your luggage after a trip or to bed bug-proof that sofa you just bought off Craigslist.
- If you think you have bed bugs, under no circumstances should you start throwing things out willy-nilly, advises bed bug survivor and Bedbugged! columnist Theresa Braine. It is completely unnecessary in most cases, it won't throw out the problem and in most cases will only spread bed bugs if your stuff is even infested. If it's not, you've wasted tons of money. Instead, educate yourself aggressively via bedbugger.com and the other good sites out there, and call in a knowledgeable pest professional to help you evaluate your situation so you can figure out how best to treat it. Also, find out what's happening next door, and talk to the landlord/property manager.
- If your landlord or co-op/condo board isn't taking appropriate steps to clean up your apartment or the building, consider filing an easy, do-it-yourself lawsuit that attorney Steve Wagner refers to as "the nuclear bomb." (For more info, see #5 of 6 ways to get your landlord to fix stuff in your apartment.)
- Even if you don't have bed bugs, monthly or periodic inspection of both your living space and your hotel room/luggage is essential if you are going to nip an infestation in the bud. "People don't inspect because they don't want to think about bed bugs," says Braine. "This will keep bed bugs out of their head, but not out of their life."
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Bed bugs 101: Fumigation Demystified (sponsored)