Almost everyone that’s had bed bugs has thought about moving to get away from the infestation forever. But moving out due to bed bugs isn’t a good idea. That’s because bed bugs are so good at hiding that they could be in any of your belongings.
Launder and bag your clothes before attempting to kill bed bugs inside. Bed bugs in moving boxes can be killed with repellent pesticide. Throw away your mattress, or use an encasement. Consider having an exterminator treat your new home shortly after you’ve moved home.
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Is Moving Out Due to Bed Bugs a Good Idea?
If you’ve done everything you can to kill your infestation, but they won’t die, you’ll want to move home. But there’s one major problem with this idea. The bed bugs could come with you. If they do, there will have been no point moving to a new property.
There are several ways that the bed bugs could move house with you. They include:
- Bed bugs in your clothes. There are folds in clothes for bed bugs to hide in. Clothes may also smell like you, which bed bugs like.
- Bed bugs in your bedding. Bed bugs hide in bedding for the same reason they hide in clothes.
- Bed bugs in your mattress and furniture. Bed bugs lay their eggs underneath furniture, and live in your mattress.
- Bed bugs in moving boxes. If you start packing before you leave home, there’s a chance the bed bugs could hide inside.
How to Prevent Bed bugs from Moving with You
There’s no guaranteed way to ensure you don’t take bed bugs with you when you move. They’re so good at hiding that it’s possible you’ll miss one. However, you can make that chance lower by taking the right action.
Below, we’ve provided the best bed bug killing tips to use before you move. If you follow each of them, then bringing bed bugs with you when you move becomes unlikely.
1) Throw Away Your Mattress to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The main issue with moving house with bed bugs is the mattress. Most bed bugs in an infestation live in the mattress. That’s because it’s the closest they can get to you while you sleep.
Moving house without either replacing or treating your mattress guarantees that you will bring bed bugs with you. The most straightforward idea is to get rid of the mattress. This is easy and effective.
You must throw away your mattress before you move. If you bring it with you to use for a little while before throwing it away your house will be infested. You, therefore, have to time when you throw it away carefully before you leave.
Alternatively, you could treat your mattress. There are several ways to do so:
- Heat treatment. A pest controller raises the temperature high enough to kill the bed bugs.
- Pesticide treatment. A pest controller uses permethrin or pyrethroids to kill the bed bugs.
- A mattress encasement. This fits around the mattress to stop bed bugs getting in or out.
An encasement is the only way to guarantee your mattress won’t infest your new house. You can fit it long before you move. Brush the mattress encasement down before you bring it with you.
2) Launder Your Clothes and Seal Them Away
Laundering clothes is a sure-fire way to kill bed bugs. Both the heat and the water are proven bed bug killers. A laundry cycle is enough to kill every bed bug in your clothes.
But laundering your clothes before you leave isn’t enough. You have to follow a specific procedure:
- Start with the clothes that you only wear occasionally.
- Launder them at a high heat with laundry detergent. Laundry detergent kills bed bugs, too.
- Dry your clothing in a drier. Hang the clothes up to dry in a place that bed bugs can’t reach.
- Once dried, seal the clothes away. Either use a sealable plastic bag or a plastic box with a lid that clicks in place.
- Continue until all your clothes are laundered.
The most crucial part is sealing clothes away. If you keep your clothes folded in a drawer, a bed bug could lay their eggs there. This is even more likely if bed bugs live in your furniture.
By bagging your clothes, you know for sure that there are no bed bugs in there. You can, therefore, pack them away as soon as possible. That’s why you should start with occasional clothes. This all applies to bedding, too. It applies to anything that can be laundered.
3) Treat Your Whole Home for Bed Bugs Before You Move
You want to make sure that you don’t take bed bugs with you to your new home. The best way to do that is to kill them all before you move.
Doing so requires similar methods to those described above. Heat treatment is a better way to kill bed bugs before a move. That’s because:
- Heat treatments kill bed bugs immediately. Pesticides take weeks, even months to work. Heat can kill within minutes if the temperature is high enough.
- Heat treatments penetrate deep into furniture and wall cavities. Pesticides don’t, which means that you might not kill every bed bug.
There are good reasons why you should do so. If you live in rented accommodation, you want to leave your apartment or house in good condition. Doing so means you get your deposit back.
If you’re selling your old place, then without a doubt you want it to be bed bug free. An infested house will get fewer offers, and will sell for less. It’s in your financial interest to have the place treated, then, whether you own or rent.
Besides that, it’s also the ‘good’ thing to do. The people who move into your old place will appreciate that you didn’t leave them with an infestation. Imagine if your new home already had bed bugs—you would feel terrible.
4) Kill Bed Bugs in a New Home
You should also consider treating your new home for bed bugs. This might seem like an unnecessary and expensive step. But it can be a shortcut that makes your life much easier.
Even if you do everything you can to avoid taking the bed bugs with you, accidents still happen. Bed bugs are excellent at hiding, so there’s a chance you won’t find them all. This wouldn’t be your fault, but the infestation would annoy you just as much.
You should consider having your new home treated for bed bugs. Consider either pesticide or heat treatment. There are arguments for both approaches.
- Heat treatment is guaranteed to work if done correctly. It can kill every bed bug in your belongings with certainty.
- Pesticide protects against infestations several weeks, even months down the line. If you unpack gradually, this is vital.
By killing the bed bugs before they breed, you prevent the infestation from ever getting bigger. It’s much easier to kill one bed bug instead of having to kill hundreds.
This is also a good idea because it kills any bed bugs that may have already been there. It’s common in some areas to find an existing bed bug infestation. If you are renting, the landlord is obliged to kill these bed bugs, provided you can prove they were already there.
How to Kill Bed Bugs in Moving Boxes
If you suspect there may be bed bugs in your moving boxes, it’s vital that you kill them. That applies even if you want to throw your moving boxes away after moving. That’s because the bugs could infest your belongings inside the box.
There are several ways that you could kill these bed bugs. The most obvious is to use a handheld pesticide spray. This is the option that most people would instinctively choose.
However, there is a significant issue with using these sprays. They take several weeks to achieve a full effect. According to the journal Insects, if the bed bug stays in contact with the spray, it usually kills in a day. But in reality, they find a new home instead.
Instead of killing bed bugs with heat treatment in your new home, you could do so before moving. After everything is packed away, you could have the house heat treated. This will kill any bed bugs that got inside your moving boxes.
Can You Get Bed Bugs by Helping Someone Move?
It’s possible that you could catch bed bugs by helping somebody move. Ways that this might happen to include:
- If you put some of the person’s boxes in your car.
- If you put your bag or belongings on the person’s moving boxes.
- If you pick up a box that has a bed bug on the outside, and it transfers to you.
- If you’re offered and keep something belonging to your friend, as thanks for helping.
The easiest way to catch them isn’t when you’re moving boxes, however. It’s when you’re in the other person’s house, and put your belongings down. Bed bugs are quick, and will try to get inside your bag or clothing.
How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Helping Someone Move
There are ways to avoid catching bed bugs from helping someone move. Bed bug quarantine is an effective way to prevent them from coming home with you. The quarantine can be achieved using the following guidelines:
- Buy a clear plastic box. This is your quarantine box.
- Any outdoor clothes you wear should be kept in the box/boxes. If they are, the bed bugs can’t get out of your belongings and into your home.
- Any outdoor clothes should be washed after use. Take the sealed box to the washing machine and empty it directly inside.
- Keep your indoor things entirely separate to your outdoor things.
- Put bed bug traps around the feet of your bed. These are called interceptors.
Washing on high heat is a sure-fire way to kill bed bugs. They die because of both the temperature and the water.
The interceptors are the most important thing, however. A bed bugs’ preferred home is your mattress. It’s ideal because it’s hidden, secure, and rarely disturbed.
The interceptors will prevent the bed bugs from infesting your bed. This limits the size of the potential infestation. Not only that, though, but it stops bed bugs from living anywhere else in your room.
Even if they only live in your furniture, they still need to feed on you. And if they can’t reach you, then they can’t grow, breed or lay eggs. Interceptors are therefore your best tool in setting up bed bug quarantine.