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Science Corner: The Deadliest Spritzer

Posted: November 5th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

One home remedy cropping up more often than moving pictures of celebrities doin’ it is the use of isopropyl alcohol to curb rampant visible bedbugs. Isopropyl alcohol, the ginchiest of rubbing alcohols, remains a top accoutrement of choice for the modern bedbug sufferer. But are these wild claims of instant snuffings TRUE?

WELL…yes. A spray bottle filled with 91% isopropyl alcohol will in fact end the lives of adult bedbugs on contact. So thoroughly spraying any crack, crevice and crenellation you’ve got may eliminate the bugs you do find. However, since alcohol this pure evaporates quite fast and the bugs must have direct physical contact with the rubbing alcohol to work, it will not likely stay around for multiple kills. One unconfirmed online claim that this ultra-fine mist of death will eradicate live eggs seems to have been refuted several times over on that very same internet. But since no one will help a brother out with our big bedbug drive, we are still unable to test this theory ourselves.

A few sources have suggested a lower percentage strength or diluting 3 parts alcohol to 2 parts water, but the efficacy of these have been called into question. If you’re going to strip the paint and finish off of everything you own, you might as well get your genocide on, AMIRITE? HIGH FIVE!

So we’ve had no trouble finding anecdotal evidence that liberally dampening everything you own with rubbing alcohol will sort of help with bedbug troubles. But what have our throngs of Imaginixers™ had much more difficulty finding?

Appropriate warnings!

Rubbing alcohol is not a toy, people! Keep away from pets! Keep away from kids!

This stuff is the Andy Dick of household chemicals!

Wikipedia puts it best, plain as day:  “Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or consumption of rubbing alcohol.”

But that’s not all. The fumes prove themselves extremely strong, so thoroughly ventilating the area is mandatory even in winter. Plus any vapors wafting off isopropyl alcohol, especially at these high concentrations, are extremely flammable and remain combustible in a wide range from the source. Absolutely keep the spray away from any open flames, and you also must turn off your apartment’s heat for not only the duration of spray treatment but also until all alcohol has been evaporated.

Plus as we mentioned, isopropyl alcohol is damaging to many surfaces. It will instantly dissolve the finish on hardwood floors. It eats up all latex paint, some oil paints, and other finishes. This stuff kind of sucks.

Do not under any circumstances mix isopropyl alcohol with chlorine. Long term skin exposure to isopropyl alcohol causes defatting (dissolving of skin fats), severe area-effect dehydration and possible cellular damage.

Do not feed isopropyl alcohol after midnight. Do not taunt isopropyl alcohol.

And as always, please, keep any and all alcohol away from The Hoff.

Ruh roh! Roo ravah rrrrrinking rrroblem!

End scene.

Rubbing alcohol!

Science Corner: Eastside, Westside, Carbon Dioxide

Posted: October 17th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

By now we all know bedbugs come running for the great taste of people juice, but do you know how our new blood sucking overlords find us in the dark?

In a line so precious I had to lift it straight from one of our source articles, those parasitic little bundles of fun are attracted to us gravy trains by our exhaled “plumes of concentrated carbon dioxide” (PLUMES oh I love you bedbugs).

But JRN, I hear you mumbling between gooey handfuls of drug store mac & cheese, what can I do with this information? Well don’t you worry your pretty little head, that’s what smart people from other countries come to American universities for! True to form, Wan-Tien Tsai and Changlu Wang of Rutgers have taken this fact and created a makeshift bed bug monitoring rig worth a look.

Dry ice; check. 1/3 gallon jug; check. Cat food dish; check. Talcum powder; check. Paper to make itty bitty bedbug ramp (for serious); check.

What do I have to work with?

We're trapped in a bedbug infested bedroom with a fire extinguisher and 18 tampons...but the lease isn't up for MONTHS!

By placing the dry ice in the jug and keeping the spout just slightly open, the small carbon dioxide stream of an exhaling mammal (PLUMES!) may be simulated. This jug is placed atop the overturned cat dish, the inside walls of which have been treated with the talcum powder for extra slipperiness. An adorable ramp is added, half to assist the bedbugs up the side of the dish and half to assist you in narrowing your eyes and cackling away in anticipation of luring dozens of small ignorant creatures to their deaths. Well, capture anyway.

If this detector comes across as a little too…Rube Goldberg for your tastes, consider the cost: a startling $15. Add to that the possibility that this little number may actually outperform professional monitors, and I’m sold.

For complete instructions to the bed bug monitor devised by Wan-Tien Tsai and Changlu Wang, visit the Detecting Bed Bugs Using Bug Monitors page at the Rutgers University website, and download the accompanying 3 page PDF.

For instructions that have nothing to do with bedbugs yet still may prove useful in life or death situations, try this: MacGyver – The Complete First Season

Science Corner: Luminol I See

Posted: October 7th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

For this week’s science corner, we’ll slip n’ slide our way across blood-slicked rugs, peer knowingly at questionable wall spatter, and delve into recent popular suggestions that Luminol, a chemical usually reserved for crime scene investigations, may work as a first line indicator of bedbug invasions.

If you’ve never plunked your rump in front of a prime time cop procedural drama or appeared before the odd grand jury, Luminol is a blood detection agent liberally spritzed around wherever you’re on to the real killer but just need a little DNA evidence.

It works like this: Luminol reacts when introduced to an oxidizer, a compound which can deliver oxygen. Hemoglobin is the iron content in red blood cells used to carry oxygen throughout the body. Therefore when the Luminol sprayed on the bedroom floor is oxidized by the traces of hemoglobin from even invisible or old blood, the result is a chemically induced glow, also known as chemiluminescence. If you’re really interested in the chem lab fun about REACTIONS, science science, tldr;.

So the hidden gore has been revealed, and at this point, David Caruso will whip off his sunglasses, furrow his brow, and remark that he hasn’t seen that much blood since that episode where that incredibly bloody thing happened. And wasn’t that terrible, that thing that happened. Don’t you know he has a SON?

What was that ten dollar word again? Ah yes, chemiluminescence. If I’m not mistaken we’ve all been introduced, and then relentlessly exposed, to the merits of glow-in-a-bottle recently.

Chemiluminescence alerts you to the presence of a dirty little hamster.

Chemiluminescence is best observed in a darkened room, FYI. We say pitch black, please.

So the theory goes that this morbid glowstick technology sprinkled atop your finest Frette linens will out any bedbug fecal matter, as this contains primarily your once delicious blood. This ghastly evidence will show up in dazzling electric blue highlights all over your bedbug afflicted bedding, as if Jackson Pollock worked in the medium of psychedelic Adidas track suit piping.

This certainly sounds like it would work well enough. Some valiant souls at CytoSignet, Inc., have been granted a patent in detecting blood-feeding activity.

However, our staff of highly trained Nixbedbugs.com Imaginixers are having just a dickens of a time figuring out how the hell this might save you time or money. In most cases, the naked eye and your designated bedbug metrocard will do in finding these fecal traces, and the Luminol method saves no time as far as going over all the tucked away nooks and hidden crannies of your bedroom. At no less than $20 a pop, it won’t save you any money either. Not to mention this could very well indicate an infestation of fleas, not bedbugs specifically or exclusively. It’s possible that this could be useful for establishments like hotels or cruise ships with a lot of turnover, but we don’t see much application for the home bedbug sufferer. Although if you really want to play CSI/high school science teacher, have at it, intrepid swain, with this chemiluminescence blue light kit.

And we all know they still don’t put bedbug proof caps on bleach or retail horseradish sauces. Thanks CONGRESS.

But worry not, readers currently worrying! Our internet sleuthing has unearthed a possible early detection method which comes in at around the same price but would save plenty of time and work for those fearing the worst.

What have our seasoned experts at all things blood-filled-feces found? Stay tuned for our next Science Corner for the answer!

Science Corner: The Birds and the Bedbugs

Posted: September 28th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments »

Do you want to know how bedbugs bump uglies? Sure, we all do. Well do I have some good news for you, thoughtcriminals! Only months ago, science finally walked into bedbugs’ bedroom to see what that all creaking was about and oh god the scarring. The horrible, nightmarish scarring.

You see, when a male bedbug loves a lady bedbug very much, he crosses the bar to buy her a drink and drop a fake name. If he plays his teeny tiny cards right they will retire to his apartment. Then to his bedroom. And his bed.

(Of course, by that we also mean your apartment. Your bedroom. Your bed. Goodnight.)

The moment arrives. We’re both grownups. We both know why we’re here. It’s time to stop playing games, and start living. Hey…easy. Woah now. Don’t fight what you want. Just relax.

Now that he’s in a prime position, the male prepares himself. He looks in the mirror. “You’re a tiger. Take what’s yours.” And when he’s ready, he will casually…seductively…PIERCE THROUGH THE FEMALE’S SHELL WITH HIS HARPOON PENIS AND FILL THE ENTIRE ABDOMINAL CAVITY WITH SEMEN.

I am completely not making this up. It is called traumatic insemination, and I can’t WAIT to try it.

Male bedbugs bore through the dense lady-exoskeleton with…are you ready? Hypodermic genitalia. HYPODERMIC. GENITALIA. Can you stand it?

traumatic insemination

Traumatic Insemination: An artist's conception (ha ha)

When all this fun with a purpose is over our suave hero strikes a match on the only dry spot on her shell, lights a cigarette, and lifts a smooth line from Barry White, like “There’s a party in your abdomen, and nature’s flood of sexual horror is invited!

End scene.

Bedbug sex!