Warning: the following article might provoke a sensation of itching. Better to scratch yourself for two minutes while reading this article than having to face skin irritation from two weeks of pest infestation.
Everything seems to be going as planned for your moving preparation. Your boxes are all ready, the mover has been booked, you already received the keys and you took some time to clean before you start unpacking. Until… All the necessary measures to avoid the presence of some intruders weren’t taken and mysteriously, they managed to creep into your boxes.
You start experiencing skin irritation and some unusual bites all over your body, especially the areas in direct contact with your bed sheets (arms, legs, back). The bites seem to be in a straight line or in groups of 4 or 5. It all sounds like a bad omen…
Start by checking your bed sheet to see if there are any blood stains. Then examine with scrutiny your mattress and the base of the bed to see if there isn’t any unwanted presence hidden around. What does it look like? A little brownish insect, the same size and shape of an apple seed. The internet is overfilled with pictures, each one more inspiring than the other, such as this, this or even this.
How to avoid moving with your bedbugs?
If you please and out of respect for your future next-door neighbours, take the time to apply the necessary measures. Let’s start by taking the fact that you have already informed your landlord so he can contact a qualified exterminator in order to get rid of the problem for granted (just because it is the right thing to do). In no case you should attempt to solve the problem by yourself using over the counter products. You would risk aggravating the situation rather than fixing it.
Before moving, place all fabric items (clothes, curtains, linens, etc.) in the dryer on the hottest cycle for a good half-hour. Then, instead of the usual boxes, place everything in hermetically sealed plastic bags and store them in a bug-free room.
Empty your cabinets and your storage furniture. Vacuum the splits, cracks and crannies of your furniture, appliances and decoration articles. Clean thoroughly your furniture with hot soapy water or if possible, steam. Then store clean furniture in a bug-free room.
Ask the exterminator for tips on how to clean your mattress and padded furniture and accurately follow his instructions. It is possible that he will not be able to clear the pest infestation if it is at an advanced stage. In this case, tear your mattress to render it useless and wrap it with a big hermetically sealed plastic bag. This step is crucial in preventing the bugs from accidentally dropping in your hallway while moving the mattress to the garbage bin outside.
How to avoid having a bedbug infestation?
When moving your personal belongings
Cases of bedbug infestation have been growing in no other place than inside the moving trucks (yuck!). Before signing a contract with a mover, ask him what sort of precautions and measures are taken to avoid the spread of bedbugs. Among the many things to go through is checking whether they wash their covers on high heat (in case of doubt, do not use the covers) and whether their trucks are systematically cleaned between each move and with which products.
If you are renting a truck for your move, make sure you leave enough time to be able to vacuum-clean thoroughly all the interior of the truck before you place any of your boxes or items.
When you wish to pick up second-hand furniture
Yes, that little vintage couch left on the curb is luring you to take it, but it is essential not to succumb to temptation. The risk of it being infested is pretty high. Same thing applies if you wish to purchase padded furniture and mattresses off Kijiji. Be very picky when it comes to the source from which the furniture is provided. Ask the sellers to see if they have already had a bedbug problem in the past.
Do not take any chances. All the second-hand furniture that makes its way to your house should be thoroughly inspected and washed.
When you move into a new apartment
As soon as you arrive, meticulously examine with a flashlight all the cracks, crannies and mouldings in the rooms to check for any intruders. Vacuum clean before you get any furniture or box inside. Throw the vacuum bags outside or clean the dust receptacle with hot water. If by any chance, you spot some bedbugs, notify the landlord immediately so he can contact an exterminator.
Do not set up or leave anything in the infested rooms even if it means sleeping in the living room for next few days. Keep your clothes and your boxes in the rooms with the lowest risk of infestation such as living room and dining room. Do not unpack anything except the things that you really need. Always leave your used fabric items in the dryer on the highest cycle for at least half an hour.
Let’s hope that you will never need to put our advice into practice…