Got a Bedbug Bonanza?
Coming soon: the definitive bedbug extermination and prevention eBook!

Update: oh, the holiday horror

Posted: December 28th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I am sure you are all wondering with baited breath to find out if I got bedbugs from our hotel! I am happy to report that I saw nary a sign of those little suckers. But I did get double charged! We can’t have nice things, obviously. If they don’t reverse the second charge, then I guess I’m going to have to find a bedbug and drop it off for a walkabout.

It really could be an eye-opening experience peeling back the sheets on a hotel bed, but I am happy to say these mattresses were pristine, as were the areas around the beds. Is it ever conceivable that you might spot a mattress that was stained from a past infestation but since heat treated and bedbug free? Is the only acceptable option for a hotel to destroy any mattress that has been implicated in an infestation? I am curious. We shlubs at home can’t always afford to toss a mattress, but a hotel should have a budget for total replacement, no? I would think there should at least be an encasement on the mattress, for added protection.

If you found an encasement on a hotel bed, would you demand another room just to be on the safe side, or would you assume they were aware of the problem and had it under control?

Iowa you one, Real Landlord of Genius

Posted: October 4th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Hot bedbugs in Sioux City!  Sioux City landlord Scott Mann claims that for $200 per room, he will bake your bedbugs at 140 degrees.

Bedbug ground zero was an abandoned apartment Mr. Mann called “the mother of all infested places.” His new heater system raised the temperatures to a deadly 140 degrees, high enough to kill bedbugs (anything over 120 degrees is thought to do the trick) but not to damage home furnishings.

Apparently this did the trick. After 4 hours, dead bedbugs littered the apartment. Imagine being the guy with the push broom cleaning that up. Do they crunch when you step on them? What does one do with bedbug corpses? Viking funeral? Do they make fertilizer? A nice addition to pet food? We don’t want to know, for once. What if one of the bedbugs was just faking, as you might find in your finer horror films? Bedbug commandeers garbage truck; rams blood mobile.

Heat treatment may be a desirable alternative to chemical pesticides, as pesticide application often fails to penetrate all areas of an apartment. Bedbugs are notorious for hiding in the tiniest nooks and crannies. There are also potential environmental and health concerns with any pesticide use, although some people swear by professional extermination.

Heat treatment of an entire apartment or home is often logistically difficult, so it will be interesting to see if Mr. Mann’s methods are feasible on a larger scale.  People mistakenly think that cranking up their apartment’s thermostat will do the job, but this is simply not accurate. The maximum high temperature on a typical thermostat is only about 90 degrees. At this writing, no one has done any studies on wearing all your clothes at once in a sauna, although this site’s writers wouldn’t shy away if someone gave us a grant.

Heat is often used in small, controlled environments to treat personal belongings like mattresses and furniture. The average household dryer is capable of reaching temps high enough to treat clothing.  A product for the home market, the Packtite, heats up a sealed chamber, allowing easy treatment of suitcases and other small personal items.

On a commercial scale, welcome the Insect Inferno, a portable trailer that will raise its inside temperature to appropriate but non-damaging levels. Apparently, it takes less than an hour to decontaminate a king size mattress. Paying for heat decontamination seems like a blessing compared to discarding all your worldly creepy-crawly goods. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of various extermination methods in more depth in the coming weeks. If you’ve used heat to beat your own bedbug problem, leave us a comment!

Bedbug Stowaway

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Lower Manhattan, 2008.  It was the first day of spring truly warm enough to sit outside for lunch.  I left the office tower overlooking ground zero and headed over to Centre Street to get a cup of soup.  The weather was fair, so I ate seated on a park bench in City Hall Park.  At the end of the day, I passed through the park again, and boarded the M train back to Bushwick.  The train was not crowded at Chambers St., so sat down on the slick, cold, powder blue bench and began to rummage through my bag in search of my phone.  On the black surface of the bag’s exterior, something amber caught my eye.  I forgot about the phone, wondering about the tiny seedlike spot on my bag.  I looked more closely.  Some kind of insect, nestled in the velcro closure.  Gross.  I grabbed a pen from my bag and used the tip to prise it off and onto the empty seat beside me.  It was small, but much too large to be a bedbug, right?  I mean, aren’t they supposed to be the size of a pepper flake? (As it happens, bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed).  I had no problem making out its horrid little details as it sat there, inert and ugly.  A tick or some kind of beetle, I thought.  I took a photo that I might consult the internet.

The train filled up and everyone kept their distance from the unwanted passenger.  Not knowing what it was, I let the ugly little fellow be and promptly forgot all about it.  Two months later I was greeted by the A.M. paper at that station, its shrill cover announcing “Epidemic!” and covered with a dozen huge copies of my little stowaway.  The ICK traveled forward through time.  Bedbug!  My innocence was thus lost.  No mere accidental tourist, that was a villain, a saboteur cleaving to the fibers of my bag’s closure, hoping to smuggle itself into my bedroom to feast on me at night.  “I had a bedbug!  And I nearly brought it home!”, my mind shrieked and chattered.  But where had it come from?  Subway cars are likely culprits, due to the volume of human traffic.  But I had just boarded the train.  My recollection flew back to the park bench, also suspect.  City Hall Park is host to travellers, office workers, walkers of large breeds and crazypants vagrants alike.  It is definitely possible it came from the office , but it seemed unlikely to me in this case since the space was very new, I sat in an isolated area entirely by myself, and had never been bitten there.  The park bench was definitely a variable element in my day.  City Hall Park.  Where is America’s Mayor when you need him??  Probably off whispering “9-11” into the ear of a prostitute.  It is lucky I dispatched the loathsome fellow myself.  I never sit on park benches now without giving a good little once over.  These days, even my office chair gets a periodic check.  Shudder.