Moving is a chore that requires several weeks or months of preparation and plenty of focus. While you’re busy concentrating on the boxes, bubble wrap, and making sure you don’t break your favorite vase, you might be overlooking one issue: insects. Several varieties of insects, including fleas and cockroaches, can hitch a ride and infest your new home. Here are a few tips to help keep your move as pest-free as possible.
Identify Any Insects Infesting Your Home
Before you can create a plan of attack, you must determine which insects are found in your home or on your property. Here are three common pests and how to tell if you have an infestation:
- Cockroaches. In addition to the insects themselves, look for droppings, which look like coffee grounds, a musty odor, and the oothecae, or small oval egg cases.
- Bedbugs. Bedbugs are approximately the size of an apple seed, brown or reddish in color, and will live in the seams of your mattress, between your mattress and the headboard, or inside your closets or dresser drawers.
- Fleas. There are several varieties of fleas. However, the ones that will invade your home are very small, black or brown in color, appear flat, and will jump when you find them. In addition to checking your pets, check your carpets, upholstered furniture, and beds for fleas.
Once you’ve identified any pests, contact an exterminator to get rid of these pests. In addition to ensuring the next person who lives in your house or apartment doesn’t deal with the infestation, extermination will ensure your next home remains pest-free.
Check Your Belongings for Insects
Before you put any of your belongings inside boxes, check them thoroughly for insects. In addition to looking over your clothing, linens, towels, throw rugs, mattresses, stuffed animals, and upholstered furniture, check your electronics for pests. Insects are naturally drawn to the heat produced by electronics, making them an ideal spot to hide.
If you find any insects on your belongings, make sure you eliminate the infestation before placing them inside a box. Here are a few tips to rid your stuff of insects:
- Clothing, bedding, towels, and linens. Launder any insect-infested linens in the hottest setting of your washing machine. Place the items on the hottest setting of your dryer as well. Once the items are dry, store them inside plastic bags or plastic totes to prevent a future infestation during the move.
- Stuffed animals. Place stuffed animals inside pillowcases before washing and drying them on the hottest setting. Also, place the clean stuffed toys in plastic bags or plastic totes.
- Electronics. Place baited traps near the appliance to draw out and kill the insects. Some electronics can be put inside a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for five days. Avoid placing electronics with LCD screens in the freezer, as this will damage the screen.
Don’t forget to check your houseplants for insects as well. Neem oil, soapy water, or sticky traps are safe options that will get rid of insects and won’t harm your plant.
Choose the Right Packing Materials
Used cardboard boxes from the local supermarket can help you save money. Unfortunately, if you gather used boxes from the grocery store, your friend’s garage, or your parent’s basement, you could be inadvertently infesting your home with insects. If you choose to utilize cardboard boxes, check them for pest infestations.
Even if your boxes aren’t infested, make sure to store them in a clean space to protect them from insects.
The best way to stay pest-free is to pack your items in plastic bags and plastic storage totes. If the plastic is sealed tight, the insects will not survive.
Prevent Pests in Your Storage Unit
If you’re temporarily storing your items in a unit, protection from insects and other pests, including rodents, will prevent damage and stop you from bringing the unwanted guests to your new home. Here are a few tips to help protect your items in a storage unit:
- Choose a clean facility. Check the facility and look for overflowing garbage cans and unkempt grounds. If the facility isn’t well-cared for, the unit might not be as secure.
- Ask about pest control policies. If the facility doesn’t provide you with a pest control policy, look for a different storage provider.
- Clean your clothing and linens. Insects and rodents are attracted to the odor of soiled clothing.
- Set traps inside the unit. Baited traps should be checked often and any rodents you catch should be bagged and tossed in an outdoor garbage can.
Avoid storing food inside your unit. Sweep and dust the items in your unit periodically as well.
There are several simple ways you can prevent insects from infesting your moving boxes and your new home. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at Bekins.