How to Get Around Without Bringing Cockroaches (and Other Pests) With You

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I had a friend who once lived in a small, rundown Manhattan apartment infested with cockroaches. When she moved she told me she had to inspect pretty much everything she owned because nightmare bugs were literally everywhere. (That was, naturally, the main reason she was moving in the first place.) If you are moving out of a place that is slowly filling with cockroachesbed bugs, moths or other pests, you obviously do not want renew the experience. To avoid moving an insect civilization with you, here’s what you can do.

A list of places to check for cockroaches

Your first step is to check everything. Cockroaches and other pests can hide just about anywhere, that’s how they seem to appear out of nowhere. If you pack all your stuff without doing your due diligence, you’ll almost certainly act like Roach Uber. Before packing an item, check:

  • Books. If you have a personal library, shake out each book before packing it up. Believe it or not, if you have cockroaches, you can very well find some in there.
  • Appliances. Cockroaches (and other bugs) love the warmth and darkness of appliances, even the ones you might think aren’t too hospitable. Toasters, ovens, microwaves: check them all out if you take them with you. This might involve a flashlight and light disassembly.
  • Devices. Insects love your laptops, desktops and other devices for the same reason they love your kitchen appliances: darkness and warmth. Just be prepared for an explosion of horror if you remove the case from a cockroach infested desk.
  • Picture frames. Bugs sometimes camp behind your photos because they provide a quiet, dark place that is rarely disturbed.
  • Potted plants. Potted plants – and the bags of potting soil you use for them – are ideal homes for many insects. If you absolutely must transport your houseplants to your new home, inspect them very, very carefully and repot them as needed, using fresh soil.
  • Furniture. OWhen was the last time you lifted a sofa cushion? The cThe forebears and loveseats you sit on every day could harbor an army of sneaky pests. Before loading them into the truck, lift each cushion and look carefully.
  • Clothes and closets. Do you have butterflies? If you’ve ever seen a little brown moth flitting around your home, you might be surprised to find out what’s lurking in your closets. Killing the adults won’t do much (aside from dark revenge for your ruined clothes) – you’ll have to dry clean, bake or freeze all your clothes, then pack them in airtight bags before transporting them.
  • Mattress. If you have bedbugs then you’re probably (very) aware of the fact, but it’s a good idea to check your mattress anyway. Remove the sheets and lift that suction cup and take a good look at the telltale signs. Otherwise, if you can afford it, throw away your old mattress and start fresh in your new place.
  • Moving boxes. If you’ve assembled a billion boxes for your move, be careful. Cockroaches, on the other hand, love them – they have seams and creases to hide in, and the glue used in their construction is delicious. Inspect each box before you put anything in it. This is especially true if you’ve saved a few dollars by salvaging boxes from local businesses or if you’re reusing boxes that have been sitting in your basement for years.
  • Animal food. Pet food can be an ideal hiding place for insects, as these half-empty bags provide both shelter and food. The safest thing to do is throw it all away, but you can also pack all that kibble in airtight containers for travel, after making sure there are no surprises.

As for those cardboard boxes, yes they are cheap and plentiful, but if you can swing them, a much better choice for moving your belongings is a resealable plastic container. This will ensure that once you have certified something as pest free, it will stay like that.

To clean everything

After checking for infestations, the next step is to clean everything up. And I mean everything. You are waging a war here, this is no time to slack off or get lazy. Wash or dry clean all your clothes (hot, unless otherwise specified on the label) and pack them immediately in plastic containers. Run the dishwasher (again, on the hottest setting) and pack your cutlery and cookware straight from the dishwasher, again, in plastic bins if you can.

Washing yourself– one of the last things you should do after packing up and cleaning an infested apartment or house you’ve lived in is take a hot shower and put on some clean clothes. Wrap the clothes you wear in plastic (or wash them, or possibly burn them) and hit the road before anything can attach itself to you.

Pre-treat your new home or apartment

Finally, once you have inspected, cleaned and removed all of your belongings and are As sure as you can be that nothing is accompanying you to your new location, you should call an exterminator or at least do a DIY pretreatment of your new space. Your new home will be empty and (presumably) clean, so this is the perfect opportunity to inspect it for signs of insects, then apply bug spray to make sure they don’t come in after your facility. Without disturbing furniture, crockery or clothes, you can get into nooks and crannies and other hidden places.

You might also consider a bed bug mattress cover, since you are starting fresh. These can help keep bed bugs out of your bedding in the first place, and since you’ve just spent all that time and energy cleaning every aspect of your life, why not make it count? ?

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