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Commentary :: Environment
The Bedbug in the Box
09 Feb 2007
A little advice from someone who has been there...
The following discussion is an expansion of a few points I made previously regarding techniques that can be employed against bedbugs in the following article on my discovery of the <a href="http://nyc.indymedia.org/es/2007/02/82624.html";>‘Frankenstein bug'</a>...<BR><BR><BR>



<h2>The Frankenstein bug</h2>

Before I begin, I would like to remind people that the technique I will be discussing here applies only to bedbugs, and not to the Frankenstein bug. A bedbug is a very timid and nervous bug, and the Frankenstein bug is not. It is a reckless, fearless, and aggressive bug. The Frankenstein bug is a human creation, and is what results when you spray a pesticide resistant bedbug with those pesticides. It is this very aggressive mutant bug which is responsible for the bedbug plague sweeping the nation, since it turns out that the plague of bedbugs is entirely a human creation, in that people first create Frankenstein, then they unleash Frankenstein, which requires Frankenstein to be fought, which unleashes Frankenstein (etc., etc., etc.). <BR><BR>

There are those who will say that the bug is not Frankenstein, it is just an irritated bedbug, and once the pesticide begins to break down the bedbug will become normal again. One would hope so, but I have made observations this week that lead me to suspect that the bedbug will never be completely normal again, but rather what we wind up with is a permanently ‘brain damaged' bedbug. In as much as bedbugs have brains, however small it might be, that brain would appear to be damaged in that you see bedbugs doing things that bedbugs should not be doing, which is an indication that there has been a permanent alteration of that bug. <BR><BR>

In the days immediately after spraying, the Frankenstein bug goes into overdrive. If you took a movie of the bedbug and then played that movie back at high speed, the high speed movie would be a demonstration of the stimulating effect of pesticides on that Frankenstein bug. It is during the time immediately after the pest control company visits your pad that the plague is at its most virulent, pestilential phase. This is well demonstrated in our high rise, as the bugs have aggressively invaded three new floors in the last month and a half since the first time pesticides were applied to this place. <BR><BR>

I first got bedbugs when a neighbor had bugs and called for the pest control company. When bedbugs are in the formative stages of developing pesticide resistance only a small number of bugs are resistant, and humans must constantly hit the bugs with pesticide to eliminate the weaker bugs and prevent them from leaving behind genes carried by the resistant females, so that the females can then mate only with resistant bugs. This takes a few years, and in the meantime while someone else ‘exterminated' bedbugs, and brought peace to the building for a long time, the small struggling colony of resistant bugs moved into my place to start over again, so they could then be sprayed that all important one last time, and then take over the building. They seem to have finally made the breakthrough, having been exterminated repeatedly over the last few years, and now instead of peace and quiet we have three floors of aggressively spreading pesticide resistant bugs.<BR><BR>


As the pesticide breaks down, the frenetic activity ceases, which is good, because all that trotting and galloping those things do requires energy, and I received more than a hundred but less than two hundred bedbug bites to fuel all that frenetic trotting. However once the bug gets taken off of speed balls, and begins to calm down, you will see weird things that you just should not be seeing, indicating a change has taken place in the bug. <BR><BR>

You can have bedbugs for months without knowing that you have bedbugs. Eggs take up to two weeks to hatch (the process is temperature dependant). Then it takes at least two months for the bugs to shed their skin over and over again finally reaching maturity, so they can then lay eggs, which will then take more months to mature, before finally you really start noticing those bites. When you first notice the bites, it may seem like something else. In my case I thought I had ‘shin splinters' (little pieces of broken bone that bust off your shin bones). You see I had no bites on my calves, none on my knees, my thighs were perfect, and only my shin bones were being bitten over and over again. You see a bedbug was in a tear in the box spring, which was lined up with my shin bones when I was sleeping, always on my left side as is my habit, and since a bedbug is very nervous about coming out of hiding, and just wants to get that biting over with so it can return to the security of its hole, it would never climb that extra foot to bite my thighs or trot around to my calf to bite me there, since that involve an extra inch or two of crawling, which is intolerable.<BR><BR>

Most people begin to become suspicious when they see that biting, but I remained stupid for a while longer due to the freakish coincidence that those things were always persistently biting my shin bone area. For you see, you just never see a bedbug, so that you might think to yourself, ‘what is this bug.' Bedbugs are very nervous and very shy, retiring bugs. They only come out of the safe, security of their hole for a matter of minutes each month, and then only long enough to bite someone, and they get that over with as quickly as possible so they can hurry up and go back to being safe and secure inside some hole.<BR><BR>

After the pesticide spraying you will notice that the bug is abnormal. You just don't see bedbugs trotting around the place in broad daylight, nor do they aggressively attack you everywhere in the house, any time of the day or night. The pesticide alters the bug, and what was once a shy, retiring bug, becomes a fearless, aggressive, even reckless bug. When the pesticide breaks down you then will notice such weird sites as a bedbug out in broad daylight, restfully perching on the side of a flower pot, which is a recklessly stupid choice for a bedbug to make when it comes time to choose a place to restfully perch. Thank heavens it is restfully perching, even if it is showing disturbing evidence of being permanently altered, stripped of all inhibitions, without fear, for this means that while bedbugs are no longer bedbugs anymore after they have been brain damaged with chemicals, and while this also means that from now on they will bite you all over the house whenever the mood strikes them, at least they will go back to biting you about once every week or week and half, for you see they are no longer trotting. As a result my bite count has dropped as the pesticide has broken down in the environment.<BR><BR>

So then the conclusion I draw is that while it is true that the pesticide is an irritant, causing the bedbug to become an irritable bug, it is also true that the bug is now transformed and given that it is now a mutant, it is also correct to call the bug Frankenstein, since that is what it now is - it is permanently transformed into that human creation, the anywhere, anytime, anyplace Frankenstein bug, and the only difference I see right now is that it is not an irritable Frankenstein bug, which is good, because I cannot tolerate all that high speed biting and would prefer to be bitten in the kitchen by that Frankenstein once a week or once a week and half. Therefore as disturbing as it is to see some addle headed reckless bedbug perching in all the wrong places, I am relieved that we are not using DDT, which does not break down in the environment, for that would then cause that Frankenstein to be irritable all the time, which would be intolerable. <BR><BR>

Frankenstein is bad enough, but an irritable Frankenstein is almost impossible to bear. Right now I am eating much, and I am on pain killers. You see, I had a cavity in my tooth, which hurt like hell. Actually I then developed cavities in one tooth after another, thus leading to a dental emergency. Then it turned out that perhaps I needed multiple root canals, but then it turned out that I have been grinding my teeth, which leads to symptoms similar to an agonizing series of cavities or a whole bunch of teeth that need root canals. According to the dentist it will take one or two weeks for the terrible tooth pain to go away, provided that I do not grind my teeth in the meantime. I think I can manage not grinding my teeth right now, because thankfully the pesticide has broken down and my everywhere in the house bite count has halted somewhere below the two hundred mark. Now that I am not being bitten all day so I can provide fuel for trotting Frankenstein bugs, I am not grinding, but the pest control company is returning this weekend, because we have bedbugs, which means that if things don't turn out right, I will have to find someone to deal with all that biting other than grinding my teeth, if that is at all possible. My dentist has suggested that when I am working on my computer (I write software as a hobby) I could wear this type of dental pad inside my mouth, and if self discipline does not work, I will have to go around wearing a pad in my mouth all day, because I cannot endure that tooth pain. For the time being I remain on a diet of mushy foods, because my whole mouth throbs if I dare to chew a damn thing.<BR><BR>

By the way, a thought has occurred to me. I would like to switch homes with the Pest Control Company just for the few days following my treatment. They can live in my place after I have been exterminated, while I bail out for those days and go live at their pad. This should become standard practice in the Pest control industry. This weekend, I am once again following the advice of my landlord, which is to take the advice of a trained professional from the pest control industry, because that is their job to know these things, but if things go sour even so much as one more time ....<BR><BR><BR>

<h2>Swarming Frankenstein Bugs</h2>

Someone might suggest that perhaps I leave the place for a few days until those bugs calm down thus avoiding the worst of it. I did that the last time, and damn those things were hungry when I got back. That is not a solution. The longer you stay away, the more likely it is that you will be covered with aggressive swarms of Frankenstein bugs when you return. The best policy is to just go back and let them bite you over and over again right from the start, instead of staying away for a few days, and then have them crawling all over you so they can get caught up on all the meals they lost while they were burning energy trotting around your place.<BR><BR>

Now I do not have a very large infestation of bugs here. Thankfully I killed almost all the bedbugs in my place before the pest control company arrived, and thus I was able to sleep in the open one day for five hours without getting even one bite. <BR><BR>

Last night the horrifying vision formed in my mind of swarms of extremely dangerous Frankenstein bugs attacking humans in a swarming formation. Now as I mentioned in my previous post, the growth of the Frankenstein bug population can be modeled by an exponential function (x squared) and for those of you who are rusty with math, that means that it starts out small, then it reaches the stage where the growth suddenly and shockingly becomes explosive. I have been observing the signs and it would seem to me that the city of New York will become a good primer for everyone on the nature of the accelerating rates of explosive growth found in exponential functions, once the function reaches that part of the curve where the growth becomes just amazing in its rates of change. When just one single pest control company has received 22,000 bedbug calls, and then when you consider the size of a city like New York, which has more than one Pest Control Company because it is a mega-metropolis, then you can understand that the Frankenstein bugs are getting ever so close to reaching that part of the curve where the function just skyrockets and goes up like a blazing rocket. That time is very close in New York, very, very close.<BR><BR>

What this explosive growth would indicate is that finally at long last the female resistant bedbug is not burdened with the left over genes of some weak male bedbug, thus forcing her to make more of those sprayable bedbugs that drop dead in the presence of pesticides. Now she can finally mate only with resistant males. She lays a lot of eggs, and she does so every day, and every little nymph cannot be sprayed with pesticides. That does not mean that the nymphs will not be treated with chemicals, it just means that when you see a bedbug in New York it will be definitely be Frankenstein , the brain damaged (and very, very aggressive) bug.<BR><BR>

Now what would happen if someone had a whole place just full of those resistant bugs. That has not happened here yet, since these bugs where I live have just finally, at long last, made their big breakthrough, and now the females are finally able to lay eggs for resistant nymphs, since they are no longer saddled with the leftover genes implanted in her by some now dead weaker male. This took years to accomplish. I am fortunate, I realized last night, that the bedbugs just made that breakthrough, because all though we have bedbugs, and no longer get a break of a year between outbreaks, we just don't have a whole large horde of the things, which is good, because when they swarm I want the bite count to stop at two hundred, and the thought of thousands is to horrible to consider.<BR><BR>

But consider the thought we must, because once those bugs make the big breakthrough, and the pest control company shows up to exterminate them, and you wind up with an entire place full of those Frankenstein bugs, well you will see people getting swarmed by those things. Perhaps they may even begin killing people, since you can only suck so many quarts of blood out of people before they die.<BR><BR><BR>

<h2>The Child of Frankenstein</h2>

Because of my dental problems, I slept three hours one time, then I was awake for 36 hours straight another time, and then I made the mistake of passing out in the chair in front of my computer for three hours, instead of passing out protected by tenting, which would be a lot safer around here.<BR><BR>

It turns out that a Frankenstein female laid a bunch of her nymph eggs down on the right side of my computer chair. As I was considering this concept, my mind went back to that movie, ‘Aliens', you know the part where that parasitical female Frankenstein laid her heads by shoving them right down your throat.<BR><BR>

This development has allowed me to do more amateur science, and I can report that, thank heavens, the nymphs that resulted are normal bedbugs. My right hand was covered with what someone else would have possibly mistaken for a rash, but with my experience in these matters, I immediately recognized as the bites of a swarm of nymphs. You see, they waited until I was sleeping, and being amazingly well adapted creatures, they know when you are sleeping, and they jumped at the chance to swarm over my right hand. These are bedbug nymphs, so my left hand and the rest of me is fine, since only my right hand was real close to where those nymphs hatched on the right side of my computer chair.<BR><BR><BR>

<h2>Recognizing the bites of bedbug</h2>

Some people go to a dermatologist to diagnose a bedbug bite and then since it has been so very long since a dermatologist was asked to do a thing like that, the dermatologist will diagnose something else and perhaps write a prescription.<BR><BR>

You, however, do not need to consult a professional on this matter and can do your own diagnosis. For example, I have a right hand rash, right. Perhaps I should run to the dermatologist. That wouldn't be necessary, for even nymphs have that habit of having gorging on your blood so they don't have to come back to many times, thus leaving their hole. The nymph will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner (three bites in row, typically evenly spaced, and in a straight line). You see it bites you, then it takes two or three steps forward, then it bites you again, then it takes two steps and another bite.<BR><BR>

You see, bedbugs do not like biting, and therefore they gorge. They use an anesthetic on you, and so therefore those Frankenstein bugs can be biting you right on the face while you are at work, and you won't know it (they also have softly padded feet, and you won't feel them crawling over your face). They also use an anti-coagulant to thin your blood, and when that runs out, if they are not yet gorged, they must walk ahead two or three steps, and do the thing again. Sometimes after the second one, they are gorged, but if not then its time for dinner.<BR><BR>

Some bedbugs might wander, and their bites won't be lined up in straight line rows, but that three in a row thing happens very often and the very first time you see that, you should think to yourself, ‘I have bedbugs', because you do. You don't need to ask your dermatologist because your dermatologist might not know, and will just write you some useless prescription.<BR><BR><BR>

<h2>The work bug</h2>

I don't call that chemically mutated Frankenstein bug a ‘bedbug' because it is not a ‘bed' bug, and calling it so only leads to confusion. A ‘bed' bug is very shy, retiring, easily spooked bug, that only comes out for less than one hour in total every month, and then only long enough to bite you, typically at five in the morning when you are in the deepest stages of REM sleep and thus the least likely to wake up and thus spook one of nature's most nervous and frightened bugs. Once that thing becomes chemically mutated and is then found restfully perching on lampstands, in between episodes of biting you in the kitchen or biting you at work, it is no longer a ‘bed' bug, but rather is a kitchen bug, or perhaps a work bug.<BR><BR>

I remember hearing that story about how Ralph Lauren's Manhattan office is infested with what they called ‘bed bugs'. I remember thinking to myself, ‘do they sleep on the job at Ralph Lauren's'. There were so many weird reports coming out about bedbugs where they should not be that I just could not figure things out. Now I do understand, for after stalling for several months the place has been sprayed with pesticides, thus allowing me to meet, for the first time, the Frankenstein bug.<BR><BR>

As I mentioned previously, that Frankenstein bug insisted on biting me all day at home, and then since that was still not enough, that thing insisted on following me to work so it could carry on biting me while I was on the job. It is not a bedbug and in that case, given its location, I would call that thing ‘the work bug'.<BR><BR>

As I mentioned previously, that Frankenstein bug is permanently altered, and when it is not out perching on your wall or some other weird place, when it finally gets hungry in a week, or a week and a half, it will be biting you on the cheek while you are making a sandwich in the kitchen. Unless you happen to keep mirrors in the kitchen, and so you are able to catch the little bugger in the act, it will pad softly onto your cheek, bite you, and then pad softly away, and the only way you will know that you were just paid a visit by Frank will be the next time you do look in a mirror and perhaps find that Frank dropped by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (just depending on how stuffed Frank was after each bite).<BR><BR>

For this reason people do not need to sleep on the job to get bitten by Frank. Frank doesn't need to be irritable to bite you at work, just because the place was sprayed a few days ago. If he is irritable, because of that spray, and is thus galloping around where you work like a race horse, you will just be getting bit far more often to fuel his high energy lifestyle, and then, after that pesticide spray wears off at work, Frank will go back to biting you once every week or week and half, that is, if someone doesn't find Frank perched on a wall in some office and swats him before he bites you again next week.<BR><BR>

After those Frankenstein bugs go through their exponentially explosive growth phase, and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, they are every damn place you can imagine, you will find the work bug on the job. This leads me to wonder how a person could possibly strip naked out of their work bug infested clothes and change into a safe clothes before they enter their home, in the hope of not bringing Frank home with them to meet the family. I wouldn't change out in the garage, because that is to close to your house, and stripping naked in the street might cause someone to call the cops on you, and besides, it is the street outside your house, and only if someone happens to come walking by on the sidewalk, thus causing Frank to hop up onto them for a quick snack, can you be sure that Frank might not wander up the sidewalk and come into the house after you tried ditching him out on the street.<BR><BR>

All your protective measures will probably fail to keep Frank out in those days, since even if you figure out a strategy to not bring home Frank from work, you will still have to worry about brining Frank home from the supermarket. Then there is the car. Perhaps one car should be the work car, and only the work car, because I have read real world reports that Frank infests the car
and for this reason the car should not be parked in the garage, and even parking it out on the street in front of the house would still be to close to where you live. <BR><BR>

But then, as I said, why worry. No matter how many strategies people use to keep Frank out sooner or later they will bring Frank home, for you see people have to work, because the electricity company isn't going to take ‘Frank at work' as an excuse, and people do have to eat, and even if someone becomes a hermit, and orders their food in, someone will have to deliver the food to your door.<BR><BR><BR>

<h2>The bedbug in the box</h2>

In a previous posting I described a technique you can use to control bedbugs, and I felt that I should say a little more about the subject, but before I did, I wanted to make sure that people understand that my advice concerning bedbugs is advice that only applies to ‘bedbugs' and that my advice isn't worth shit when it comes to the Frankenstein bug, since that is a separate species and thus requires an entirely different control protocol.<BR><BR>

Currently the child of Frankenstein is just a bedbug, and unless the mutation of Frank is passed along in genes, there are still people who will get bedbugs, thus meaning that there are still people who can take my advice about bedbugs should they wish to do so. One thing to remember here is that the mutation of Frank into an aggressive, fearless bug with no natural inhibitions is very, very desirable, and is exactly the thing those bedbugs have been missing out on for thousands of years, and therefore the possibility still exists that Frank will complete the mutation process and start laying eggs for Frankenstein bugs. This would be a good mutation for bedbugs, for as you can tell by how virulent the Frankenstein plague has become, this might very well be the very best next step in bedbug evolution, since those chemically induced mutations work out very well for those bugs, and before you know it they are aggressively invading entire high rises and taking over, and even rolling over continents like a steamroller, and how much better does a mutation have to be for some bug before that bug decides that it should keep that mutation by passing it along to some nymph. Hasn't happened yet in my place, but it could happen, and so it is something to keep in mind. Just remember, my advice is always for ‘bedbugs' and not for Frankenstein bugs.<BR><BR>


In the previous post I described the bedbug in the box trick, whereby you set up as bait a cardboard box with some natural fabric that can be used as perching areas for bedbugs. The idea here is that when a bedbug comes to your place it will go looking for a place to live, and therefore it only makes sense that instead of allowing that bedbug to start picking spots, you should pick a spot for that bedbug, otherwise the bug could be anywhere.<BR><BR>

Now when you put some cotton linen into a cardboard box you plan to use as the bait in your trap, it is important that you fluff the linen so that there are many curves and so on, for you do not want some bedbug showing up, checking out that box as a possible location, and then leaving to go somewhere else, because the bedbug hotel was full and thus there was no more room at the inn. The only time you will find natural bedbugs perched out on a wall is in extremely heavy infestations, where that bug was finding it impossible to find a good place to perch and thus got shoved out into the room This hardly blows the cover of those other hiding bugs, because by the time an infestation becomes that heavy, and people are just being covered with bites everywhere, there remains nothing more to hide, so it doesn't hurt those other bugs if they kick some bug out of the hotel and leave it to get squashed on some wall somewhere. The point here is that when the hotel is full the bug moves on, so make sure to fluff that cotton linen.<BR><BR>

You must eliminate any possible competition for nesting spots, for if you give a bedbug a choice in nesting locations, bedbugs will choose, and you don't want those things to choose, for if a bedbug is presented with an either/or option, you will wind up having bedbugs in both locations instead of just one.<BR><BR>

You should consider caulking the baseboards and other cracks and so on. Place duct tape over unused electrical outlet holes. Wrap the alarm clock radio in a clear zip bag and then duct tape around where the cord sticks out. Wrap your mattress, since if a bedbug has a choice of getting into your mattress or your box spring or living in some box, it will always prefer the bed itself, since that is the closest a bedbug can ever get to you, and thus is always the first choice. Do not buy cloth mattress wrappers, since this a natural type fabric, and you might have bedbugs wedged in the crack between your mattress and the box spring. If you use cheap vinyl wrappers, you might consider double bagging. Duct tape the zippers. Each extra foot you can move any possible nesting spot for a bug away from your bed, the less desirable it becomes as a nesting roost. <BR><BR>

Place the lovely cardboard box (or boxes) full of fluffed linen about a foot away from the bed, or even right under the bed if it s fits. You should do this best of all, before you get bedbugs, since that way, when they show up, they will pick the cardboard box.<BR><BR>

Do not open the cardboard box to keep checking for bedbugs. Remember, bedbugs need to feel very safe and secure and if you spook them they will leave the city because the neighborhood was to dangerous and go to live out in suburbs where it is safer. If you want to check for bedbugs, check your body (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). As an alternative to this strategy, you can tent your bed, so that if the bedbug shows up, and finds that it can't bite you, it will be forced to move on and not bother to set up shop. <BR><BR>

If you already have bedbugs, you can set the box up as bait, and since it is in a desirable neighborhood with the ideal location for a bedbug, and since it has all the amenities, such as lots of fluffed up cotton linen, and since it is a safe neighborhood and no one opens the box, you can be sure that a few bedbugs will move in pretty quick. Now bedbugs use an oily secretion which I am told smells like strawberries but which humans can only smell in extremely heavy infestations. As more bedbugs move into the box, they will mark the box with oily secretions. When a new bedbug shows up and sniffs the atmosphere in that box, each deposit of these secretions counts as a vote. If the odor is strong, indicating that bedbugs have survived with success in that box, and were perfectly safe for a long time, the bedbug will be encouraged to move in. This odor leads bedbugs to begin to congregate in large numbers in certain nesting locations. The more there are, the more secretions they leave behind, the more the box will begin to attract more bugs, for it is in the ideal location, a very short crawling distance, and it is a very safe, unopened, never disturbed box, and it has no competition, in that a more ideal location no longer exists, so the box it is for those bedbugs.<BR><BR>

Around here in the winter the temperature drops to minus fifty including the wind chill. When you put a box of bedbugs outside in that weather, first they will begin to climb out of the box in their attempt to escape the cold, and they will only make it a couple of inches in the snow before the drop dead (for this reason you will find that box surrounded by dead beg bugs since they only survive for minutes at fifty below zero.) If you have a deep freeze, you could wrap the box in a garbage bag and freeze the bedbugs for several days, just to be sure, since your freezer isn't set for minus fifty, so they might live longer in your freezer than a few minutes. You also want to hard freeze their eggs, so don't be in to big a rush to take the box out. Remember to wrap the box first, or they will hop out and die all over the place in your freezer, which will be less tidy.<BR><BR>

If you don't have a freezer, you can try baking them to death, since if they are kept for hours and hours at temperatures over 120 degrees, they drop dead. If you live in a hot climate, you could wrap the box in a garbage bag and then leave them out in the hot sun day after day until you can be sure they have roasted to death, but remember, you also have to roast their eggs, and if that is impossible, you will need to leave the box out for a couple of weeks, just to make sure that you roast to death the nymphs that come out of the eggs.<BR><BR>

You could also throw the box and the linen into the trash using, of course, a couple of garbage bags to make sure they don't escape to colonize the neighborhood. However, freezing would be best, because you do want to use that strawberry scented box again if you can, and the linen, since if you start with a fresh box it will take longer to attract more bedbugs into the box, while if it is marked, and very smelly to a bedbug's nose, they will start moving into that box a lot quicker if you need to use the box again.<BR><BR>

Using the freeze the bed bugs in a box trick I was able to sleep for five hours in the open without a bite, since I knocked back so many bed bugs that were few remaining. This technique might not get rid of one hundred percent of the bugs, since there is always the chance that there is some loner bedbug off somewhere by itself, but even so, if you got bit once a week by some lone bedbug, that would be a big improvement over being bit all over the place all night by a hive of those things. I just completed removing most of the bugs in my place before the pest control company came, which is good, for it meant that I mostly had to deal with those invasions of Frankenstein survivors from the neighbors place, and they were a minority, so that meant I only got bitten under two hundred times instead of perhaps the four hundred times that might have happened if I hadn't bumped off so many of the potential Frankenstein bugs that would otherwise have remained in my place waiting to be sprayed with pesticides.<BR><BR>
See also:
http://www.awitness.org/bedbug.zip

This work is in the public domain