How to Move Without Taking the Bugs and Roaches With You

cockroaches on carpet
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Before you move and as you pack, you should inspect your items for any presence of cockroaches and other pests like bed bugs. As you pack your checked items, remove them from your current apartment. You’ll want to launder your clothes and linens, shake out shoes and electronics, vacuum everything as you pack. If you are washing your laundry in a place outside of the apartment, pack it there. Do not take it back to the infested apartment to pack.

How Best to Pack Your Stuff

It is preferable to use plastic bins with lids that can be sealed, as opposed to cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes provide great places for roaches to hide within the manufactured structure of the box. Also, if you use boxes you obtained from outside sources, say a supermarket or store, you have no guarantee that the boxes aren’t already infested. Stick with plastic bins with lids.

You should also check linens and mattresses for any bugs, including moths and bed bugs before you pack and move. You can see evidence of bugs by looking for any sign of material damage to surfaces.  If you're not sure if you have bugs, you can ask a professional to take a look. 

Check Electronics and Appliances

If the infestation is very large, it may be best to discard small electric and electronic appliances such as coffee pots, alarm clocks, etc. These provide excellent hiding places for roaches, and it is virtually impossible to treat the appliance with any treatment product.

 If you are set on taking these with you, thoroughly inspect them, seal them in clear plastic bags and keep them there until it is time to unpack. Check them before taking them out of the bags (this is why you want clear bags).

Do the same for computers, televisions, audio and video equipment, etc. Inspect them before bagging, and inspect before taking them out of the bags.

Check Kitchen Items

Make sure you wash and dry all pots, pans, and cooking utensils. Pack them immediately after drying. Check any food items and discard anything that is suspect. Look for bugs in any dry goods, too. Some regions are prone to grain moths and other bugs that can move from your current home to your new one.

If you're concerned that some of your pantry items might have bugs, put any dried goods, including rice and grains, in the freezer overnight to ensure all bugs or any larvae are killed before you pack and move. Or just throw it out and start over in your new place.  

Moving Plants with You

If you are taking plants with you, inspect them. Look at the dirt in the pots for signs of movement, check the leaves, stems and the pots themselves. If you are unsure about them, it is better to discard the plants rather than using them as a transport for roaches to your new place.

Again, the moving preparations are rather lengthy and involve a lot of work on your part, but checking your items, cleaning them, packing them correctly and discarding suspect items will go a long way to preventing the hitchhikers from moving with you to a new home.

If you're moving to another state or a new country, you'll need to check with the state or country you're moving to see if you can move the plants to your new home.

Most states have very strict rules on which plants can be taken across borders and which you'll need to leave behind. 

Moving Into the New House

When you get to the new place, inspect the apartment before moving anything in. You should be aware of signs and evidence of cockroach infestations from your previous apartment.

Inspect your stuff as you unpack each box to make sure there aren't any bugs that you've moved with you. If you used boxes, discard them quickly. Check the clear bags where you may have packed any electronics for signs of roach activity inside the bags.