Okay. So I’m at Starbucks the other day feeding a serious caffeine jones. I order a latte and Barrista #1 picks up a cup, writes my name and order on it and hands it off to Barritsa #2 who proceeds to whip up my drink (140 degrees thank you very much) and hand it to me. As I took an immediate sip (which you can do when they don’t scald it to the point where it can melt iron) I heard the following conversation:
BARRISTA #1: I can’t believe the exterminator can’t come until next Tuesday!
BARRISTA #2: What are you gonna do in the meantime?
BARRISTA #1: Sleep on the couch on top of a blanket and stay out of my room. The bed bugs were eating me alive!
I immediately started itching and checking my cup for any signs of infestation, not that I even knew what a bed bug looked like or if you could even see them with the naked eye. I had the vague sense that maybe they were microscopic, kind of like dust mites. And though I’d read something or other online about a resurgence of bed bugs, an epidemic even, I assumed it was isolated to cities on the East Coast. Uh, apparently not according to the L.A.-based Barrista!
Then MAMMAKAZEBabette emailed me with a horrific true bed bug story that happened to her SISTER and NIECE:
“My poor sister went thru a nightmare in her Forest Hills apartment: her daughter was bitten all over her stomach, had one eye closed by bites to the eye lid; My sister was poisoned by the moron exterminator because he misused the chemicals, wound up with vasculitis and an exacerbation of her asthma- and bed bugs, if not killed, can go without “feeding” (on human blood) for 18 months.”
Horrifying. So I did a little research on this whole bed bug thing. Yep. It’s reaching epidemic proportions. Mostly because of people travelling and the fact that they have banned the use of DDT on mattresses.
What can you do to avoid them? Well, it may surprise you to know that being extremely clean makes no difference. Bed bugs will come even if you are the biggest clean freak on the planet. The key is not to let them in your house to begin with!
1)Don’t buy used furniture!
2)Cover your mattress and box springs with plastic – which, if you have a kid who is still prone to the occasional nighttime “accident” you’ve probably done already.
If you do get an infestation (and don’t blame yourself, it can happen to anyone!) …..
1)Try not to succumb to the phenomenon called “bed bug psychosis” which causes people to pay for and allow almost anything to be done to their home to get rid of them. You don’t want that horror show with the chemicals that happened to Babette’s sister to happen to you and yours. Instead try something natural. Babette recommends going to www.cedarcide.com Our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq use it. It’s non toxic, smells pleasantly like cedar (because that’s the main ingredient) and also repels snakes which Randy the perfekt husband would like very much.
2) And if you discard bed-bug ridden furniture spray paint the words “BED BUGS” on it. Because you know there are people who drive around neighborhoods at 5 am looking to snag stuff put at the curb for the trash guy.
Okay. Now that I’ve thoroughly grossed you out with this whole bed bugs thing, let me gross you out further entertain you with this lovely little video starring Isabella Rossellini(she of “Blue Velvet” fame) made as part of her “Green Porno”series on the Sundance Channel.
It’s part informative video, part performance art all about, you guessed it BED BUGS! And yes, it looks like something David Lynch would have directed! Enjoy and forgive me.