Bed bugs are nasty pests, insects that are too small to see, live in the seams of mattresses primarily, and feed off human blood.
Sadly, they can get into self storage units, too. This can happen when you store a mattress, of course, but they can hide inside boxes. Once in a unit, they can travel through cracks into neighboring storage units.
If you suspect you might have bed bugs and you’re moving stuff into storage, do whatever you can to get rid of them and ensure they don’t get into storage.
You can get rid of the bedbugs in your home on your own. However, it’s a lot of work and tough to get it just right. If you can afford it, we recommend hiring an extermination company. The process of eliminating bed bugs yourself involves cleaning everything in the infected room or throwing away things you don’t need, using heat treatments and insecticides, and more.
Once the bedbugs are gone, though, you can once again sleep comfortably knowing those awful pests won’t bite you while you sleep. Although you can be mostly sure they’re gone, it’s a good idea to pack your storage boxes as though bed bugs might still be an issue.
Before you box up various items, make sure they’re clean and dry. Dust things that have been on shelves, wash and fully dry your clothes, scrub off lawn tools and sports equipment, and so on. We have numerous articles about how to move and store various types of items, and these include cleaning tips.
Various types of cardboard boxes are usually great for storage, but if pests are an issue, you’ll want to use airtight plastic containers.
There are a lot of excellent plastic storage bins on the market that qualify. They’re also sturdy and stack well. So, you’ll put your clean, dry belongings in bins by type and by room. The bins will then keep out humidity and pests, including bedbugs.
If you follow all these instructions, you’re highly unlikely to move bed bugs to your storage unit, but you should still protect any mattresses and boxsprings that you store. There are zippered, plastic mattress covers for just this purpose. On the off-chance there are bed bugs in the mattresses, these will keep them in, thereby starving them. After a month in storage, any bugs will have died. These covers will also keep pests out on the off-chance that they come in from another unit.
Use plastic covers for other upholstered furniture, and use duct tape to seal them shut. You can put cushions and pillows in plastic bags and tie or tape them shut as well.
Renting a climate-controlled unit is one of the best ways to protect your stored belongings. These units are sealed against outside conditions, keep the temperature between 50 and 80 degrees, and keep the humidity between 30% and 50%. These conditions keep your things from getting too hot or too cold and prevent things from drying out or getting too damp. These units also do a great job of keeping out pests.
While you can store non-perishable cans of food in your storage unit, do not store perishable foods or open food containers. These will attract pets like crazy. The food will also rot and the stench will get into your clothes and other items. Also, these things are prohibited in storage units and can be cause for eviction.
After you’ve moved your stuff into a unit, if you suspect bed bugs or other pests, it’s your duty to report it to the facility. This is one case where you definitely don’t want to take pest control into your own hands.
Chances are, the facility already has ongoing pest control measures in place. They probably work with a pest control company that comes in every month or so to set traps around the facility, seal up cracks, and so on. However, some things can get past them. They’ll be grateful you brought a potential problem to their attention.
We hope you never have to deal with bed bugs or pests in storage. However, with these tips, you should now be prepared to keep them away from your storage unit.