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Emily B
(emilyb)
how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/15/2012 21:36:16 MDT Print View

I am really hoping someone else has experience dealing with a similar problem…

Recently I rinsed down my Vapor Ki pack after a trip, and set it on the porch to dry overnight. In the morning it was speckled with miniscule white bugs. Turns out our apartment building’s built-in mandatory decorative porch planters have all been infested with these things, after which they took over the whole porch, but they were just too small and light-colored to notice until they were contrasted with my dark-colored pack. They seem to be a type of mealy-bug although that hasn’t been definitively confirmed yet. From what I’m told mealy-bugs are pretty harmless, but I don't want them taking up permanent residence in my pack or home. So instead of just ditching the pack (as I might with something like bedbugs etc), I’d like to try to get the bugs out of it, rather than giving into the temptation to use this as a justification for getting a whole new pack.

I gave the pack a couple more firm washings with my shower, but some of the bugs just keep hanging on, especially around the spongy places like the straps, belt, and whole back panel. It’ll look like there are no bugs left, then a minute later, they’ll emerge from wherever they were hiding during the shower deluge. I don’t know why they insist on staying on my pack, since it’s not a plant.

There are various concoctions with which I can wipe down the pack to (hopefully) kill the bugs. But there are some significant nooks and crannies in the pack which are impossible to visually inspect to see whether I got everything, so I’m trying to figure out additional options. I thought enclosing in airtight plastic and stowing it away till spring might kill them, but some anecdotal accounts on the internet indicate that this doesn’t always work. I don’t have access to a deep freezer, and from what I gather, home freezers can’t maintain the temperature well enough. And I am guessing that heating hot-enough would melt all the plastic parts. (Including possibly the framesheet, which I can’t get to.)

Anyone ever deal with something like this?

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/15/2012 22:10:48 MDT Print View

Have you tried submerging the whole pack in water? After that, throw it in the washing machine and let it air dry. That should do the trick, at least I would hope so.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Soapy water on 10/15/2012 22:22:04 MDT Print View

Mix some mild detergent like dawn and water and wipe down the pack. It will kill any bugs or larvae and, hopefully, stored well will prevent their return. We do this with mites like you've described on our house and balcony plants occasionally and it works. There are other dilutions that work as well but this seems safest for a pack.

Edited by bcutlerj on 10/15/2012 22:23:03 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/15/2012 22:22:33 MDT Print View

vacuum with the skinny car seat attachment for small places?

Michael K
(chinookhead) - F - M
Permethrin? on 10/15/2012 22:25:25 MDT Print View

I personally wouldn't put a pack in the washer. I'd be scared it would damage it or at least degrade the DWR etc. I don't know about its effectiveness on these specific bugs, but it may be a good idea to try washing it or spraying in a solution of permethrin.. I have started doing this with all my gear and now I rarely use bug spray. I even use it on my boots. This stuff both wards off and kills bugs and it is harmless to humans.

Edited by chinookhead on 10/15/2012 22:27:16 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/15/2012 22:53:49 MDT Print View

I have machine washed packs with no ill effect. Line dry.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Dry side of the Eastern Sierra's
Re: how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/15/2012 23:12:06 MDT Print View

Place the pack in a black yard trash bag and set it in the sun for a few days. The bugs may still be there but they'll likely be dead.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: how to get bug population out of backpack? on 10/16/2012 03:17:57 MDT Print View

> Place the pack in a black yard trash bag and set it in the sun for a few days.
Preferably a closed bag.
+1

Cheers

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Stick the pack in the freezer. on 10/16/2012 10:17:22 MDT Print View

Assuming it fits, put the pack in the freezer. A few hours should do the trick. If you're worried about the bugs falling off and contaminating things, wrap the pack in a garbage bag first, then put it in the freezer.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Stick the pack in the freezer. on 10/16/2012 10:25:02 MDT Print View

+1

If they're mealybugs, they're pretty high moisture content and freezing will kill them. I'd leave it longer than a few hours, especially if it's in a bag, just to make sure the freezing permeates all the nooks and crannies.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Stick the pack in the freezer. on 10/16/2012 10:54:17 MDT Print View

Yep, black trash bag in the sun or in the freezer. I'd recommend the freezer. Leave it in there for a few days and the bugs should be frozen solid (the ice crystals rupture cell walls, so you're effectively killing them at a cellular level). In the sun you'll kill most but a few may still survive, depending on how long you leave it out and the intensity of your sunlight/temps.