What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tips for a bug-free move?
Location: New York, NY
November 8, 2010 7:30 pm
Hi Bugman,
I live in New York City–a.k.a. Bedbug Central–so when I found a bug on the rug in my closet a few weeks ago, I completely freaked out! I was pretty sure it wasn’t a bedbug–it didn’t look like any of the pictures I’d seen, I hadn’t been bitten, and a thorough search of my mattress and headboard turned up nothing. Still, I panicked!
Thanks to your website, I’m now confident that that bug–and a few that have subsequently appeared–are spider beetles and beetle larvae. (The latter look exactly like the many carpet beetle larvae photos on your site, and they curl up into a ball when touched.) They seem to love the dark corners of my closet (see photo). So far I’ve found two dead spider beetles in a hanging jewelry organizer that I keep in my closet, and a few live larvae–the one on the closet rug, one in a ratty old pair of slippers (which I immediately bagged and threw away!), and one crawling up the tile wall in my bathroom.
Here’s my question: In about a month I will be moving to a new apartment here in the city. Do you think it is worth having an exterminator visit as a precautionary measure? If not, will I run the risk of transporting these pests with me to my new pad? I’m not sure if hiring someone to inspect my stuff pre-move is a smart idea or a waste of money.
I’d also appreciate any tips on avoiding picking up bedbugs during a move. (The other day I saw a mover on the street with one of those filthy blankets that they use for padding, which just seems like asking for bedbugs to me!) I’m planning to pack all of my clothing and linens in sealed plastic containers, wrap my couch and mattress in plastic, and provide my own packing materials. Are there any other steps I can/should take?
Signature: R.D.

Dark Closet: What is lurking in there?????

Dear R.D.,
In our opinion, your desire for a bug free move is a fantasy, and the best advice that we could give you to attempt to accomplish that goal with anything vaguely resembling certainty will probably be rejected by you as an impossibility.  The best way to ensure that you will not take any bugs with you is to leave everything behind, including those nice wool sweaters hanging in the dark closet.  Especially leave all food behind.  Move into a brand new apartment in a brand new building that is composed entirely of synthetic materials.  When you purchase brand new clothes and furnishings, do not buy anything made with organic materials.  Never ever eat in your new home.  Do not store any food in the kitchen.  Make sure that you discard the clothing you are wearing before entering your new home and purchase synthetic clothing prior to your first visit.  Do not entertain nor ever allow any visitors to enter your new home.  There is no guarantee that you can have a bug free existence even with the extreme measures we have described.  We share this planet with insects and other bugs and they can be found most anywhere.  On a more practical level, the measures that you have described in your email sound like a good way to reduce the chances of transporting undesirable creatures from your existing apartment to the new place.  We agree that an inspector and a visit by the exterminator prior to the move is most likely a waste of money, especially since you already know you have Spider Beetles and Larvae in your home.  In our opinion, you probably have cause to be concerned about the moving company you employ and the dirty blankets they use to wrap belongings.  You may want to wash or have all your clothing and textiles professionally cleaned before moving.  Even that might be extreme unless you have cause to believe you have an infestation.  Since you have no evidence that there are Bed Bugs in your current household, you probably do not have them.  You have said nothing about Cockroaches which can also be transported while moving, or indeed, when bringing home groceries or laundry from the laundromat.  Creatures that are considered Household Pests have a nearly cosmopolitan distribution because of they way that they have adapted to living with humans.  These Household Pests include Carpet Beetles, Spider Beetles, Pantry Beetles, Clothes Moths, Cockroaches and others.  We also hope our readership will provide additional advice for you.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: New York

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