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Bedbug Lonelyhearts

Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , | No Comments »

We talked about dating in the age of bedbugs, ampoule noting what a good thing it can be, unhealthy when you have a supportive partner and how destructive to a relationship, if your partner does not hold your hand in times of crisis, whether it is chemo or bedbugs, or a really bad  haircut.  Sharing problems (and bedbugs!) with another person is also a stressful, maddening situation.  But what if you have no partner?  Can your loneliness be compounded by this loneliest of scourges?  Tess Russell writes eloquently on this topic for the New York Times:

I couldn’t stop coming back to the same question, no matter how much I hated myself for asking it: If I were worth loving, wouldn’t there be a man standing there with me? Some brave guy who would wear his bites stoically, who would carry the heaviest bags and let me take the lighter ones, rip them open fearlessly, and then try in earnest to take my mind off things, if only for one 39-minute dryer cycle.

The feelings she so earnestly recounts are familiar- the pain of starting over in a new place after a breakup.  It is easy to feel unloveable when love goes awry, and bedbugs will only deepen the isolation.  This moving account is worth reading in its entirety, as full of melancholy as it is lacking in self-pity.  If you are friends with the author, please give her a big, warm hug from nixbedbugs.

How Dare You!

Posted: November 18th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Today we came across the account of a beleagured reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, whose encounter with bedbugs in a New York hotel left him much harrassed.

When I was in New York to interview Isabelle Huppert, I set the clock for 7:30, but I woke at around 5:45 and planned to go back to sleep, when I noticed a little red bug walking on the top of comforter. I was half asleep and didn’t think much about it . . . and then I thought, wait.

Fortunately, the hotel had wifi, and so I looked up bedbugs on the Internet and lo and behold, I realized I was in the presence of a celebrity. His picture was RIGHT THERE.

The poor man, cognizant of the wrath he would incur if he brought home any stowaways, begins a torturous journey through the streets of New York, jacketless, to the dry cleaners, his things taped and bagged.  We highly recommend the article.  He is nothing if not thorough, after recognizing his initial error, in not giving the hotel room a thorough enough check upon arrival.  Following these steps when travelling, it is possible to avert this kind of trouble.

We, too, would be afraid of the wife’s wrath.  But what about Isabelle Huppert?!?  She can probably sense something as distasteful as  bedbug from 50 yards.  It is bad enough she must endure your impertinent intrusion, do not take bedbugs to you interview with Isabelle Huppert.  She will have you killed.

I’d Like to Thank the Bedbug Academy

Posted: November 16th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

There’s a cottage industry in the laborious and often tedious tasks of preparing an apartment or home for extermination, and like many temporary jobs, actors are swelling the ranks, according to this WSJ.com article.

Bed Bug Busters NY offers extermination prep services, and the owner, Janet Friedman, is a former Broadway stage manager who favors hiring actors for their personalities and quick thinking abilities, as well as ability to perform under pressure.

The actors performing the work don’t mind it, as it gives them a chance to see many different home interiors and observe human behavior first hand. “Everybody has some really cool tics—voices, things that they have, things that they do,” says a 25-year-old actress from Chicago. She also points out that it is sometimes necessary to fake it for a role: pretend even the direst contaminated hoarding situation is normal, for the benefit of the homeowner.

The work may include anything from de-cluttering, vacuuming, cleaning, washing, sealing, and moving furniture. It’s also flexible work that pays about $30 per hour, which beats filing with a bedbug-encrusted stick. Sign us up!

The article gives the impression that bedbugs cannot be easily conquered without professional help, which is not entirely true, but it’s nice to know that services like this exist. If you have $1000 to spare for a day of help attacking your problem, this is a boon.

Thanks to alert reader A.W. for the tip.

Reader Question of the Week

Posted: November 15th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , | No Comments »

Q: I already sleep on a futon mattress on the floor. I don’t have much stuff besides some sentimental boxes of photos and CDS/movies. Should I just throw out everything I own and start over from IKEA/Target?

A: So you are some kind of transient. Then you should just get used to bedbugs, along with cold beans from the can and fires lit from oil drums. I kid, I kid. Boxes of belongings that have sentimental value but do not come into everyday use can be placed in storage bins or bags, such as Ziploc Big Bags (Large, XL, XXL) or clear contractor bags for 18 months to ensure that any bedbugs hiding in their leaves expire. Or you could put them through a heat treatment device, making sure you follow the directions carefully so that you do not expose anything flammable to heat.

It does not follow that you should throw everything out and start over. This will not suffice to get rid of your bedbugs, if you have them. And any remaining bedbugs will happily reinfest your new furniture. Why they will just be thrilled to put up their multilegs on your brand new ikea sofa. Your exterminator should be able to make recommendations as to what should stay or what should go. A heavily infested item might be a lost cause for treatment and will have to be disposed of in the proper manner. Local ordinance may require you to wrap these items, such as mattresses, in plastic and clearly label them to prevent others from taking them.

Mattresses that do not fail on the basis of ICK factor can be salvaged with mattress covers, which prevent the bedbugs inside from creeping out and biting you.

Psychological Reappraisal of Bedbugs

Posted: November 12th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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So You Want to Be an Entomologist

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

We at Nix Bedbugs often try to spot the latest trend, fancying ourselves the Faith Popcorn of the pest world. Eventually bedbugs are sure to beat a retreat, but what will be America’s Next Top Pestilence? Carpet beetles? The stink bug? The Asian long-horned beetle? Relatives in town for Thanksgiving?

Well, search us. If we had any formal training, perhaps we’d have more of an edge. So we naturally thought “Huh, perhaps all three of us should become entomologists? How hard can it be?” After all, now that everyone on Earth is in a bedbug panic, we’ve all seen the news clips of unflappable science sorts, like our hero Lou Sorkin. One wants to calmly address the camera and perhaps even allow a bedbug a charity nibble here and there. One wants badly to own a bedbug colony for research purposes.

How does one get a start in entomology? It turns out this is not something you can pick from an online course at DeVry, much to our disappointment. Skills required include math and statistics, writing, chemistry, and biology. Typically someone might get a bachelor of science degree in Zoology or a related biological science field. Here’s a list of colleges and universities offering undergraduate entomology programs, and here you will find examples of the types of courses found in an entomology program.

Graduate course work is required, with most professionals holding at least a masters degree. A Ph.D is often a requisite for doing academic research at one of the top universities.

However, there is always room for amateur entomologists, reassures the Amateur Entomologist’s Society. Hook us up with a bedbug colony, then! We are chomping at the bit to take “Alien Empire: Bizarre Biology of Bugs” from Cornell.

You Know You Hate Bedbugs When…

Posted: November 6th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

You almost barf after chopping an apple seed in half while slicing up your snack.

Here’s a nifty (or not so nifty, really) visual of the much beloved bedbug vs. apple seed comparison.

How Do Bedbugs Feel About the Midterm Elections?

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Did the bedbugs of America get up to feed Wednesday morning and start muttering amongst themselves about politics? Are they even particularly invested in the political process in terms of maintaining their survival?  Are bedbugs greedy welfare queens, doing nothing but having litters of little bedbugs and sucking your life blood after you work hard all day, damn it?

Bedbugs are the closest thing we have to an equal opportunity pest. They are a uniter, not a divider. They care not whether you support fetal minimum wage or whether you ride tax loopholes or an immigrant all the way to the bank. They’ll bite you anyway, if they happen to squeak their way into your home, by hitching a ride on the instep of your Louboutins or popping out of the baseboard thanks to a rowdy infestation in the studio apartment next door. We all can agree that they are not America’s Favorite Houseguest. We’d all happily vote for bedbug interment camps if we could. We are not for genocide, mind you,  just insecticide.

There has been some speculation that the tightening of environmental regulations, including the 1972 ban on DDT, have paved the way for the rise of the bedbug. Are bedbugs the fault of namby pamby liberals who want everyone living in a safe but bland nanny state? This Newsweek article points out that bedbugs actually developed a resistance to DDT prior to the ban, so it’s a bit of a moot point. ““Bloggers talk about bringing back DDT,” says Bob Rosenberg, director of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association, “but we had stopped using it even before 1972.””

However, they bring up other regulatory concerns when it comes to bedbugs. In 2002, Diazinon was banned for indoor use, despite still being effective after other entire classes of pesticides had become largely useless.

According to Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech, the holy grail of pesticides is “something that you can spray on the floor and two months later a bug will pick up a lethal dose from walking across it.” Most current pesticides need to be applied nearly directly to the bug to be effective.

Propoxur seemed to be a solid bet, but when the EPA asked for more safety data in 2007, the manufacturer simply pulled it from the residential market. Per the article, “As a political matter, you face the awkward fact that several of the key decisions, in 2002 and 2007, were taken under the auspices of the famously antiregulatory Bush administration.”

Last year the EPA refused the bedbug-stricken state of Ohio’s request for an emergency exemption from the ban on Propoxur, basing their rejection on the potential unstudied danger to children in a home. Apparently the agency is still considering making it available on an emergency basis if special precautions for children are followed.

There are no new chemicals in the pipeline, and, as Miller points out, companies looking at a 10-year testing and approval process costing as much as $200 million aren’t lining up to produce one. The big profits in pesticides are in crops and lawns, and research money, such as it is, mostly goes to mosquitoes. Bedbugs suffer—or, from their point of view, benefit—from the fact that they are merely household pests and don’t transmit disease. Miller, in jest, says she sometimes wishes they did.

So, bedbugs, it looks like you may be off the hook for now. Even an overnight sea change in government can’t alter the fact that research still needs to be done. It’s unlikely that the patent and testing and approval process will be dismantled overnight, especially not in a congress split between red and blue control.

Or maybe bedbugs will in fact turn out to be the new WPA as infestations spread. Job creation! Ahem. Not that we do this for a living or anything. Come forth, ye unemployed, don a headlamp and grab your contractor bags and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. The government will pay you a shiny hay penny per bedbug head. You’d be wise to convert that to gold, ASAP.

Why Me, Bedbugs?

Posted: October 29th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

You awake, scabby and crusty, swearing to never touch meth again. Oh, you’re itchy too, and you don’t have a personal meth lab set up in the tub? Yeah, probably bedbugs. But wait, your beloved who slumbers beside you doesn’t have any bites at all. What gives? Is your lover sneaking out on you the whole night? Are you sleepwalking and sleeping in someone else’s bed by accident? Do bedbugs just like you better?

Yes, it is possible for one person in a household to be the target of bedbugs while the other inhabitants skate scott free. One answer for such one-sided noshing is that the afflicted party is allergic to the bites while the other is not. The non-bitten party could be bitten, but if there is no allergic reaction, he or she will not end up with swollen, itchy bites.

Another possibility has to do with bedbug behavior. They like to hang out together and tend to cluster during feeding behavior, so you may be the unlucky soul on the “bedbug side of the bed.” Once they’ve found a host, they tend to feed several times from the same host, especially in the classic “breakfast-lunch-dinner” bite pattern with three bites clustered closely together or in a line. They are unlikely to stop for a bite on your arm and then cross an entire bed to sample your blanket buddy.

At this time we are only offering advice on treatment, not on how to redirect the bedbugs to your partner. However, you could probably try switching sides of the bed without telling the other person why, just sayin’.

Oh, Snooki

Posted: October 28th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments »

Be careful what you ask for, ailment honey girl!

Sleep tight, malady but do NOT let the bedbugs bite. Are those ever a problem on the Shore?

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