Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!

That is a picture of a young bed bug feeding. I chose a young bed bug because people often talk about the adults. A friend of mine from school recently got an infestation. I got scared. She and I were studying together and I had put our bags on a chair together because the table we were at was outrageously tiny and we needed the space to work.

Since many of my readers are Jewish they either live in NYC or they may travel here. Her in NYC, we have a big problem here with this. It's no surprise to me as we are living on top of one another. There is unfortunately far too much inaccurate information out there about this which is why I chose to blog about it.

Originally uploaded by louento.pix

The most glaring myths out there is that either: A) bed bugs used to exist, but they don't any more and B) the only people who get them are poor, dirty or travelers. You can just vacuum or wash your sheets.

First off, it used to be true that bed bugs were close to eradicated, but they were not actually 100% gone. Likely with everyone traveling, they hitchhiked from another country on someone's luggage causing their reappearance in the US. They can spread very quickly and they have done so.

I was working a couple years back with this girl who told me a friend or relative of hers had a child who was waking up every morning with bites all over him or her. I told her maybe it's bed bugs. She said to me, "no, I know these people, they aren't dirty. Man, what could it be?" The myth that people get these when they are poor or dirty I think may be rooted in the idea that there are bugs for which this is true. However, consider that a bug who feeds on food would indeed be attracted to a messy place where the garbage(food for them) is not taken out. Since bed bugs feed on human blood, whether or not a place is dirty would have nothing to do with if they are attracted or not. Poor people don't get them more than rich people. It may even be the opposite since rich people stay in hotels which are huge breeding grounds for them.

Another thing I see on many websites is that you should just vacuum and that will take care of the problem. While using the hose to vacuum would probably be a productive activity, just vacuuming the floor probably would have no effect whatsoever but, I can't find this from a reliable sources. I'm just thinking that a vacuum works by the brush spinning and throwing the dirt up where then it is sucked up by suction. I think these critters can get deep enough into a rug to stay safe from your vacuum's turning brush.

Which brings me to the plethora of inaccurate information out there. If you google and read about this, make sure you are not, as my friend Bec says, "reading someone's eighth grade term paper." Furthermore, there are seemingly reliable sources out there with inaccurate information. However, several RELIABLE sources with the same information is a pretty good bet.

Some Do's"
• Inspect your mattress and the areas around your bed periodically for small black spots (bed bug $hit) or bugs. They like folds on the corners beneath plastic corner pieces, behind pictures and inside electrical sockets.
• Wash item, especially bed linens and blankets in HOT and Dry past when they are dry so that if you’ve picked something up and it’s in your clothes, you kill it.
• Wash your backpack or purse in HOT periodically
• Tell people that this is a real problem and that they can pick them up anywhere so, more people are inspecting frequently.
• Use your own blog, Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word that this is real, not a nursery rhyme from something that USED TO exist.
• Provide me with any reliable feedback based from experiences and information from actual exterminators. I will try to remember to blog this periodically.

Some Don’ts:
• Don’t fold and store clean laundry on your bed
• Don't put your backpack or other bag that’s been out and about on the bed or floor.
• Don't take “free” furniture from people’s trash.
• Don't ignore it if you get a bite. If you wake up with something check the mattress and area. You want to catch it early.
• Don't use bug bombs.
• Don't try to treat a confirmed case yourself.

*note: Dela dust (deltamethrin) seems to be illegal in NY. However, NJ is not listed, so, if you get to another state once in a while, you may want to pick some up in case you ever get them.

Finally, I leave you with some links:

Oh, and this blogger didn't find any spots or bugs on her mattress during her latest inspection/scare that she may have gotten them that day she studied with her friend.

1 comment:

  1. Yuch, that's seriously nasty.

    (Glad you're unscathed though.)