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Is there a connection between Bedbugs and Hoarders?

Posted: September 24th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Hoarders and bedbugs have something in common- they are all the rage!  Since we are no longer throwing Christians to the lions, generic we like to tune in and watch the mentally ill struggle with the consquences of their obsessions.  Often these are filthy dens of despair.  We hope for, we long to see vermin.  For we delight in a little gross-out,

and wish to assure ourselves that as long as we spring clean and do not let our Lionel Ritchie gatefold collection get out of hand, We Are Not These People.  Apartment dwellers who detect bedbugs are always looking for the ground zero of the scourge, a single unit in the building where they expect to find an elderly person cowering behind a wall of newspapers, or a family of illegal immigrants living in squalor.  Bedbugs do not have the same prejudices that we do.  Blood is blood.  Poverty, mental illness and crowded conditions do not attract bedbugs. 

That is not to say there is no connection between hoarding, extreme poverty and bedbug infestation.  Hoarders (and hipsters!)  have the unfortunate compulsion to trashpick, which is tantamount to a bedbug importation business.  Their deep sense of shame  at the way they live (the hoarders that is, hipsters are shameless) will characteristically prevent them from seeking outside help for an infestation.  Crowded living conditions can also aid in the spread of bedbugs and make them nearly impossible to treat.  And so, we sometimes have instances of extremely vile conditions.

Old box spring, underside of canvas strap 2

But more often this is not the case.  Most calls to the exterminator come from very ordinary homes.  There might be bedbugs on the bookshelf and the seams of the mattress.  Not enough to see, but enough to keep you awake at night watching “Hoarders” on demand. 

The moral of the story is NEVER dumpster dive, even if and especially if you are crazy.  And be sensitive to your neighbors, even if they are insane and unkempt.  They may not be the cause of your problems.



4 Comments on “Is there a connection between Bedbugs and Hoarders?”

  1. 1 HBK said at 2:10 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    That picture! My EYES! And the one of the bedbugs is pretty horrifying too. I wonder if LiLo will pick up bedbugs in prison? There’s got to be an institutional problem these days, huh?

  2. 2 HJM said at 2:23 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    If she did, she will be serving them drinks at the Chateau Marmont pretty soon.

    I don’t know how easy it is for bedbugs to infiltrate the prison, since you surrender your belongings. But once in, I am sure they would have quite the party. At least you can’t hoard in prison!

  3. 3 Susan M. said at 7:52 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    OK, this is seriously gross. I have a roommate who is always bringing home crap he finds on the street. He’s all “But it’s mid-century,” and I’m all “Pestilence.” I spray it with Lysol when he’s not looking, which may or may not help, but it makes me feel better. I got rid of bedugs at another place a few years ago, and I can’t deal if that idiot brings in even one. It was an ordeal. There should be laws against leaving furniture on the street or something.

  4. 4 HJM said at 9:10 pm on September 24th, 2010:

    IEEEEEEE, your roommate is a disaster waiting to start itching. Put him out on the street. Someone will pick him up, I mean he must be at least a quarter century!


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