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YIKES! Daughter returning home from Peru - COCKROACHES!

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Apr 17th, 2010, 10:39 AM
  #1
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YIKES! Daughter returning home from Peru - COCKROACHES!

My daughter's been doing volunteer work in the rain forest of Peru, and there are cockroaches in her room there.
Now that she's getting ready to come home, I'm wondering...
Might she be coming home with "friends"?
What to do?
Can they be in her shoes, luggage, clothing, etc?
If she puts almost all of her packed clothing into a tightly knotted plastic bag and then puts that bag into her luggage, and leaves the luggage outside, and brings the plastic bag with her clothes in it into our house and dump it into the washer before opening the bag, do you think that would do the trick if there were any cockroaches in her clothing?
Maybe wash the clothes twice on hot?
And what of the suitcase lying on the lawn outside?
Dump it?
It's a new suitcase.
We like it. But is it risky?
Not to mention her backpack she brought with her that she'll probably be carrying back home too.. that's not immune to cockroaches is it?
I told her maybe if she has a chance to shower in-between flights during a layover, she could buy all new clothes at the airport (they don't sell underwear though do they at airports (?!), then bag the 'dirty' clothes to bring home in her backpack.
It's weird to be thinking of this - I mean, is it really easy to bring cockroaches back when you've been living somewhere with them for 8 weeks?
Or is it not that common?
My other daughter did volunteer work in Africa where there were roaches also, but when she returned to her apartment, evidently without taking any precautions, she escaped unscathed. Was she just lucky?
Thanks.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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I can't imagine they would be in her luggage (tho not an expert). A good hard crunch (literally) with something would sort them! My brother back packed around Indonesia as a student and had them dropping onto him as he slept on the train. He bought me one back as a souvenir (the little sweeetheart!) - embedded in perspex! It was huge!
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Apr 17th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Will immigration stop them at the border if they do not have a passport?

I have not clue - but thanks for giving me something else to worry about when my dtr goes to and returns from Argentina
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Apr 17th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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I'd say yes, it's possible to have nits and eggs in seams and other similar areas of the suitcase, backpack, and clothes. For the suitcase and backpack, perhaps sealing them in a large heavy duty garbage bag and a fumigant before bringing them in the house?

Our son interned in Peru, although he wasn't in rain forests. Mostly fish processing plants and cities, but there are plenty of little critters there. I don't recall any problems with cockroach "immigrants," but I think you are doing well to consider proactive measures.

P.S. He would love to go back, and made many friends there.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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First termites, now roaches?? Wash everything in hot water and vacuum out all luggage.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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For those of you enjoying this thread, you might want to check out the bedbugs thread on tripadvisor
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Apr 17th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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As to purchasing new clothes at the airport, I am not sure how necessary that is. There are several different types of cockroaches. Unfortunately I made my acquaintance with multiple varieties when I moved to the South. But many common varieties (at least here) are large enough to be seen pretty well, so I doubt that she would be carrying any live roaches on her person coming into the US (I think it would be pretty hard to miss if one was crawling on you). As for the nits and eggs, my understanding is that they lay eggs in their nests, not in other places. So, unless she has a roach nest in her outfit (which I am sure she would be well aware of), I would be surprised if she was carrying any on her person.

Again, they may have different varieties of roaches in Peru than they have here, but I still don't think the threat of transporting them is that high.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 06:32 PM
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It's entirely possible to transport a live roach or their eggs in luggage or other personal effects and not know it -- not to mention bedbugs.

Personally, I wouldn't take chances. I'd ask your daughter to shake out all her items before doing a final packing job. When she gets home, I'd get all her washable items in the laundry (preferably on hot cycle) right away and follow sludick's advice on luggage and such.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 07:04 PM
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Tell her to turn it over and beat it just before she packs her suitcase. When she gets home, toss the clothes in the washer with hot water. Anything else, tumble in the dryer for 30 minutes on hot.

Put the suitcase in a large dark trash bag and leave in the afternoon sun for 2 hours. cockroach eggs look like a kidney bean, but about 1/2 the size. I'd worry more about bedbugs, but the above tips will kill them too.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 07:10 PM
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Best to have her leave her luggage outside and bring in items one wash load at a time. When I have an item that can't be washed I will stick it in a plastic bag and then into the freezer for a couple weeks. Another option is to put items into a plastic bag with a "no-pest" strip.
I visit low income homes and accidentally brought roaches back to the office many years ago. My co-workers have never let me forget it!
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Apr 18th, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Use Borax in the wash too- boric acid will kill roaches (it will not work on bedbugs though).

You could also put the empty suitcase and the other stuff that can't be washed (not in the suitcase, and make sure the suitcase is open- you want the hot air to be able to get to it) in the car and leave the car in the sun with the windows up for a few hours.
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Apr 18th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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Our daughter was in the Peace Corps in Mali. Her belongings were sent back in a metal trunk, which we kept outside so we could go through each item. The clothing was wrapped in a plastic bag and taken directly to the washing machine. Some items were washed with detergent (using the sink in the workshop); others that could not be washed directly were left overnight in a plastic bag with paper towels that had been sprayed with bug killer. We sent the trunk to the dump (it was a cheap one we would never have used anyway). Even after all our precautions, about a year later I found some strange insects in her dresser. They had been dormant in a wooden musical instrument and eventually came out. We threw the instrument away and I sprayed paper towels with bug spray and left them in the dresser for several weeks. It took months to get the odor out, but eventually it dissipated. So, take every precaution you can!
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Aug 27th, 2010, 04:45 AM
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"perhaps sealing them in a large heavy duty garbage bag and a fumigant before bringing them in the house?"

I'd consider laying everything out or hanging everything in a small area such as a laundry room, empty closet or shed and setting off a insect fogger in that space.

I really, really hate these and don't like the idea of using toxic chemicals or having the residue around for years.

However, I'd prefer not to have uninvited guests from other places taking up residence in my home.

Good luck!

Happy tourist - You should start a Peace Corps thread. I've love to hear from you and others with relatives who have served in the PC. My DD talks about doing so. She really needs to hear the good and the bad stuff.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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Cockroaches don't infest people or clothes you are wearing - no need for her to shower. I fyou want to put her luggage on the lawn and unpack it - if there any roaches they will fall out if you just shake it (then wash of course). these aren't tiny things like bedbugs - can't hide. Just shake the things, kill any roaches and wash - or with luggage wipe clean (but do inspect all the pockets.)
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Aug 27th, 2010, 11:25 AM
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Agreeing w/ nytraveler above~
Cockroaches aren't like fleas or bedbugs which infest clothing or are carried on a person!
If one cochroach comes along for the ride it would be by accident. They are also easier to deal with because they are BIG, you'd see them.
I think buying new clothes at the airport is not necesssary & really isi not going to work anyway. Maybe I missed it but I've never seen underwear or pants, etc. Just tshirts.

Just take her stuff and put it on a porch or in the garage or whatever, don't bring it inside right away. Wash all the clothes. Wipe off the backpack and luggage. Leave it outside for awhile and check back.

But I think you are worried over nothing, honestly.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Listen, cockroaches are endemic in the Southern United States. You don't have to go to Peru.

Everyone I knew in Florida and everyone I knew in Mississippi had at least a monthly visit from the exterminator to keep them under control (not eliminate them). They are endemic in NYC, where they are known as water bugs (ha, ha, LOL) and no doubt most other big cities as well.

If you have been to Florida or New Orleans, you probably had as many roach eggs on your suitcase -- to say nothing of the critters themselves -- as she might bring from Peru.

They have nothing to do with clean or dirty habits or housekeepin, though they could conceivably walk through anything disgusting that might be under your sink. They like damp, dark places (i.e., entire Caribbean and Gulf) and boric acid is effective against them since it dries 'em up without hurting you or pets. But Otto the Orkin Man and Truly Nolan are better. Have the exterminator treat the stuff before you bring it into the house.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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I totally agree with suze and Ack. They aren't going to infest her things or lay tons of eggs or anything like that. I'd just unpack and wash the clothes like you normally would. If you see one, you can step on it or kill it with Raid. If it will make you feel better, you can put those roach bait motels around. Put them in dark cool spots like under the sinks.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Tell her to pack a couple of lizards in her luggage and backpack. The lizards will eat the cockroaches.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 08:22 PM
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When I came back from the rainforest in Peru, I went into the washroom in the Lima airport to change for the flight home. I just had a little duffle bag and had checked my larger suitcase. I opened it up and a huge cockroach jumped out. So yes you can bring them home in your luggage. I doubt he would have survived but none the less I dumped everything out of my bag and repacked to be sure there were no more of his family still there. When I got home I umpacked my suitcase outside on the deck and shook everything out just in case.

Just the one. Probably an isolated incident and I am sure your daughter has been home for a while now, but for interest to anyone else who may have this concern unpack outside if you can.
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Aug 27th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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"Use Borax in the wash too- boric acid will kill roaches (it will not work on bedbugs though). "

Agree with cocontom. Powdered boric acid will be very effective against them. http://doyourownpestcontrol.com/boricacid-cb.htm And, yes, it is safe!

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