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Bedbugs have jumped the shark

Posted: January 4th, 2011 | Author: | | Tags: , | No Comments »

I just received the January-February issue of Money, and I have no business receiving this magazine. What can I say, I like to laugh at the anecdotes about people with inappropriate asset allocations. On page 56, they have an article titled “5 Things You Need to Know About The Price of Bedbugs.”

1. “Smart defense is worth the price.”

Yadda yadda, bedbugs in movie theaters, hotels, gyms. Wait, gyms? Bedbugs in the steam room is a new one on us. With possible sexy results. But anyway, you will get bedbugs; certain doom. They suggest ClimbUp Interceptors and mattress and box spring covers for prevention. Mind you, ClimbUp Interceptors aren’t going to do a world of good if you come home from vacation and plop a bedbug infested suitcase right on your bed. They didn’t mention that bit, but I let you have it for free.

2. “Spotting Bugs Early Can Pay Off.”

They point out that you can save $200-300 on the cost of a trained bedbug sniffer dog inspection by just using your eyes. Imagine that, you can actually see bedbug signs, and you should check around your bed. Considering I spent time under a hotel bed with a flash light last week, this is not news to me, but I suppose it might be to some people. So get with the program: eyes before paranoia. If you can’t see anything, and you’re not being bitten, chances are you don’t need a dog. Put that money you would have spent on an inspection in a high-yield (haha!) savings account instead.

3. “Debugging is no DIY Project.”

Plenty of internet dwellers would beg to differ, but they make the point that if you don’t start off right, you merely prolong your agony and eventually you will need a pro for an even worse infestation. Then they gamely offer tips on how not to start off right: “You can try to battle bugs yourself by washing infested items or spot-treating them with a hot blow dryer or steam cleaner.”  Yes, that does sound rather unspecific and incomplete. The spot-treating with a blow dryer is a new one on me. Here, hold still, bedbug, I’m going to murtalize you!

4. “Some Pros Like it Hot. Others Go Cold.”

More possible sexy results! We’re not the only ones who can pun around here, I see. They suggest that a professional fix can range in cost from $400 to up to $2,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home. This is the only real info on the actual price of battling bedbugs, as alluded to by the article title. They mention that standard treatments may include heating or freezing or pesticide application. Apparently heat treatment is 20-30% more expensive due to the equipment involved. Clearly they have never heard of the bedbug Christmas Lights Killer.

5. “You’ll Get Little Help With the Cleanup Bill.”

This bit is sadly true. Most homeowners insurance policies will give you nada, as things like pests and mold remediation are considered to fall under maintenance. Some cities, including Boston, New York, and San Francisco, require landlords to pay for extermination, but we’ve all heard stories where this just hasn’t happened.

Then, possibly the most hilarious sentence in the entire article: “If you bring bedbugs home from the office, your boss should let you take time off to remedy the situation; some may pick up the tab.” A real example, please? Is this the kind of thing that goes on a Goldman Sachs?



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.



Ain’t no party like a bedbug party

Posted: November 2nd, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

From rally to restore fear/sanity

Now that’s what we’re talking about, America. Elect bedbugs the scourge of the nation! I’m not sure what chickens have to do with bedbugs, but can you imagine if they started helping them somehow?

This has been www.nixbedbugs.com. Election Day Edition.



But What Would Steve Jobs Say About Traumatic Insemination?

Posted: November 1st, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Well, nerds, now the New York Times tell us there is in fact an app for bedbugs. Wish I’d thought of that one! It’s a Google map using GPS to identify bedbug-riddled areas, informed by media reports, governement agencies, and users of the service.

Will seeing little red pins all over New York make you any more cautious than you already are? I say semper paratus, like a good scout. You don’t need a map to tell you bedbugs are everywhere. Of course they are! You should use the same caution no matter where you go, from the fancy places bedbugs like to go like nice hotels to the dive theater where you take the date you don’t like to take out where real people are.

Am I the only one above carrying a tiny Maglite on my keychain for a quick look-see into the potential habitats of bedbugs? Spend that $1.99 for the app on your poor hideous date instead.



Weekly Link Rodeo, 10/27/2010: Solipsism Edition

Posted: October 27th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This link rodeo gig was supposed to be a relaxing Saturday kind of thing, but we’ve encountered a little continental drift. I was gone last weekend too, but don’t worry, we never stop thinking about bedbugs! If you found yourself hanging around just gagging for updates, consider interning.

Desperately Seeking Bedbugs [via Nixbedbugs.com, as is everything else in this post]

My girl HJM and I searched Greenpoint high and low, looking for bedbugs. We even donned nurse uniforms to make it more official. We brandished clipboards and looked through magnifying glasses. Well, bedbugs are not swayed by trappings of authority. We checked every stray mattress, couch cushion, and jacket on the side of the street, from Manhattan Ave to the river banks. We found innumerable scraps of refuse and even human excrement, but no bedbugs.

So that was a disappointment. We have an important science project in mind, so we placed a Craigslist ad. While it didn’t get immediately deleted, no one has stepped up to offer us a bedbug either. I guess we’ll keep trying. I think JRN will look up from writing Science Corners and have a heart attack and ban us from visiting when we succeed.

THIS JUST IN, and we have zero confirmation, but I hear all the bedbugs are dressing as Snooki for Halloween.

While I was in Brooklyn, I trod near the ground where my own father experienced bedbugs 70 years ago. This was our most popular entry last week, and I think you will enjoy it, too! Sadly, I didn’t see a bedbug in Park Slope either. Just miles of beards and plaid. It’s like Christo is working in facial hair these days.

We wrote some great real information on freezing bedbugs and the perils of DIY extermination, but we know you’re all just here for the Ke$ha.



Everybody Hates Bedbugs

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Via The Onion, Cockroach King Concerned Over Recent Rise of Bedbugs

His Royal Highness, King Leopold Blattodea IV, undisputed lord and ruler of the cockroaches, expressed dismay and concern Monday that the recent rise in bedbug populations could threaten his sovereignty over the realm of human squalor.

“For centuries, the woodwork and drainpipes of the world have been the unassailed domain of we roaches. Exterminators were powerless to stop us. Humans shrieked at the sight of us. But now this meddlesome bedbug has inspired tenfold the terror.”

How must the termites be feeling? The ear whigs, the camel crickets, the ticks and the fleas. It’s true, everyone is Gaga for bedbugs.

Bedbugs rejoined:

“Your petty machinations are useless,” read the message scrawled in human blood. “Soon our numbers will grow so vast that mankind will be too terrified to step into a movie theater, sit on a friend’s sofa, or check out books from the library. Forget not, we can survive without food for up to 18 months! Surrender now and return to the tropical, woody areas that birthed you. The future of the cities is now, my friends. We are the future.”

We are left with lingering questions. What DOES Lady Gaga think of bedbugs? We know Ke$ha was finally appointed their official spokesperson. So there’s that.

Ke$ha



Weekly Link Rodeo, 10/19/10

Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

OK, so the rodeo is a little late this week. I normally like to cram it in over a hangover on the weekend. But I had obligations and shenanigans, see. Like a migrating loon, I was traveling to my ancestral home, a few hundred miles away. Of course I checked all the beds and the staff of JetBlue for bedbugs. They don’t like that, it turns out. They also don’t like that lady who clapped and said “YAY!” when informed the coffee was really Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

Anyway, after my dad stopped laughing at my internet farming enterprises, he told me that he had bedbugs in the 1930s, as a tender child, in his apartment in Park Slope! So the song remains the same, Brooklynites. I offered him the chance to write up the tale of that experience in exchange for absolutely no money, but he didn’t jump on that one for some reason. If you want to hear the story, stomp and hold your breath in the comments, and maybe we’ll reach consensus.

***

NH School cancels field trip for bedbugs at camp [via NECN.com]

I think you get the gist here. Those poor bedbugs aren’t going to camp due to some harsh, pencil-necked paperpusher. Oh, you mean the children aren’t going to camp because there were bedbugs at the camp. Well, why didn’t you say so?  Nature’s Classroom at Camp Cody in Freedom turned out to have bedbugs. Discovered by dogs, being treated by some unnamed method.  Nature’s. Classroom. I can’t think of a more authentic way for children to learn, honestly. You’re just going to be dealing with this same problem when you find yourself at 18 and run off to NY, clutching your well-worn Rent DVD. You’re not gonna pay the rent! Except you are, and you’ll pay even if you have bedbugs! Insolent whelp.

Bedbugs found in Maine hospital surgical unit [via NECN.com again]

Just last week, bedbugs were discovered at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston….

It was a patient who first alerted staff to the presence of bedbugs in one of the medical surgical units. The floor remains closed as a precaution until officials are sure the bedbugs are gone.

Wow, New England is hopping, er, crawling these days! Aren’t you glad you live in NY, then, paying your rent? Oh, wait. I can’t imagine which would piss me off more after surgery: wake up with MRSA or frigging BEDBUGS. Can’t they just randomly aim a large laser around and kill them all?



Weekly Bedbug Link Rodeo, 10/10/10

Posted: October 10th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bedbugs or no bedbugs, what’s ‘sleep tight’ mean?, [The Journal Gazette]

In short: no one really knows. Does it have something to do with a system of ropes? Making bedbug barriers out of your duvet? Your dumb idea is as good as a guy’s. The OED says “It seems that tight in this expression is the equivalent of the only surviving use of the adverb tightly, meaning soundly, properly, well, effectively.” That’s tight, yo.

Smitherman vows to eradicate bedugs, [Toronto Sun]

Are bedbugs the next war on drugs/terror/cankles? A Toronto mayoral candidate is gearing up to kick ass and take names, if elected. About $3 million dollars in Canada money will be required to do this. There will be protocols, people. It’s about time.

EPA-Registered Bed Bug Products: Product Search Tool,  [via EPA.gov]

Hmm, a way to find just the right pesticide to murtilize all your bedbugs? That sounds great! Their treatment location options include Mattress, Whole House, Whole Room, or Crack/Surface/Void. Let’s say I’ve got a crack that needs treating. It’s a nasty one. I have no idea which product I’m interested in, so I’ll leave the first search box blank. Do I know a specific ingredient? Well, no, I’m just a sap with bedbugs. Am I looking for a company name? Monsanto, they’re pretty evil, right? Oh, not there. Hmmm. OK, do I know the EPA registration number of my pesticide of choice? Well, no.  Fire it up anyway. Wow, only 32 pages of results to treat my crack problem!

Bedbugs make your trigger finger itch? [via WaPo]

A list of products and speculation on their varying levels of importance/efficacy from an entomologist. “Pillow protectors: Unnecessary. Bed bugs typically don’t chill out in pillows, where there are too many disturbances for their taste.” Picks include mattress covers, Ziploc bags, ClimbUp bed leg monitors, and portable heating units, among others.

Bed bugs expected in more schools [via WCSH6.com]

Some lucky, or unlucky, depending on your age and maturity level, kids in Maine got a few days off as pest control professionals treated their classrooms and busses after some students developed bite marks. Search dogs and heat treatment techniques were used. Bedbugs cropping up in schools will be an ongoing problem, and families will need to be vigilant to avoid a home infestation brought back from school. Schools need comprehensive plans for inspections and prevention and treatment. I wonder if faking bedbugs will be the next hot way to get sent home from school for the day? In my day, all we ever had was stomach cramps!



Celebrity skin

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

By now we’ve all heard that Howard Stern fell victim to bedbugs at work in the Sirius offices and in his own limo. Stern is not one to shy away from discussions of the vile and unseemly, bless his heart. It ain’t no thing, and he’s got people to take care of those things, although we hope the chemical fumigation of the limo managed to kill any lingering nymphs and instars as well as the mature bedbugs.

Allegedly, Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper recently had to ditch a swanky mattress over bedbugs, but the source on this one seems a little shaky. But it is certainly plausible. Celebrities frequently travel for work, and these days it seems like only a matter of time until a bedbug clings on to the bottom of your Louboutins and follows you home. You should always perform visual inspections when you travel, even in first class.

Back in 2006, Saturday Night Live star Maya Rudolph and her husband, director Paul Anderson, were forced to flee a $13,000 per month luxury rental loft in SoHo. They sued the property and owner for $450,000, claiming they were bitten within days of moving in. When an exterminator arrived, he apparently told them to clear out for a bit to keep their baby safe, and that was enough for them. One might expect a pest-free apartment for $13,000 per month.

Opera singer Alison Trainer was a bedbug victim during a hotel stay, and she filed a lawsuit for $6 million against Hilton Hotels. “She looks like a piece of wood that has been attacked by termites,” said Trainer’s attorney, Kenneth J. Glassman.

But let’s get to what we really want to talk about: which celebrities look like they should be harboring bedbugs already? Sure, bedbugs are equal opportunity little pests, but let’s say you were on Family Feud, and you had to spit out the first suspect luminary that popped into your head or risk the wrath of your grandmother, who is played by Betty White in this delusion? Would your list go a little like this?

Ke$ha

Lindsay Lohan

Pete Doherty

Courtney Love

Joaquin Phoenix’s beard, tied with Britney’s weave

Spencer Pratt

Tila Tequila

Russell Brand

Insane Clown Posse



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!