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Commentary :: Environment : Technology
Sleep 'tight' and don't let the bed bugs bite
28 Nov 2006
Some common sense advice
In the past two years there has been a resurgence in the number of bed bug infestations in North America.

Bed bug city has maps showing the extent of the plague, with the situation being worst with some of the heaviest infestations spreading in the Western Coastal regions of the United States which has a climate the most favorable to year round bed bug travelling (they are killed in winter should they be found outside the warm comfort of a nest in someone's bedroom, which inhibits their ability to travel in some regions of the country).

Bed bugs are making a comeback

The story linked to above is typical of much of what you can read out on the internet about this rising plague of bed bugs. The plague is blamed upon 'interntional travel' in this article, while in other articles the plague is blamed on conditions in homeless shelters. Chemical bed bug Weapons of Mass Destruction are praised for allowing North Americans to live bug free for decades.

One thing is certain. People having been travelling internationally throughout the twentieth century, and they did not bring home a plague of bed bugs. Similarly people have been living in homeless shelters throughout the twentitieth century without infecting the rest of the country with a plague of bed bugs. Cities like New York had no major bed bug problem right up until 2005, and now infestations are spreading far and wide throughout New York City.

This leads one to ask the following question - why now? What has changed. International travel has not changed and homeless shelters have no changed, although these are being blamed for the currently raging epidemic of bed bugs. We also know by reading reports that pest control experts are holding emergency meetings around the country since it turns out that they don't have any effective pesticides against bed bugs, and thus are meeting to try to figure out what to do when someone calls for an exterminator and expects an extermination to result. We also know that bed bugs must be exterminated over and over again, repeatedly, and repeated and constant exterminations are the standard advice now being given on the bed bug websites out on the internet, since it is understood that the little buggers cannot easily be killed and thus have to be exterminated over and over again.

When you study the problem and have a couple of weeks to think it over, as I have, you draw the inevitable conclusion that we do not have a bed bug problem because people are travelling internationally or because homeless people live in shelters, but rather we have an explosive plague of bed bugs raging all over the country because the pest control experts have run out of pesticides that work, and now, having adapted to spraying, the little red buggers have burst through the pesticide barrier and are now out on a rampage all over the continent. It took them a few decades to overcome every pesticide we have available, and if there is one lesson people should have learned during the twentieth century, it is that you cannot rely on weapons of mass destruction forever, and that if you strike nature she strikes back, even if it does take a few decades. Each time those bed bugs are sprayed, and they need to be sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, because they are already so resistant, the survivors are the toughest of the little buggers. The end result is that today's spreading plauge bed bugs are the descendants of the toughest survivors of repeated sprayings over the past few decades. Since each spraying knocks out the weak and leaves the environment wide open for the strong to take over, spraying bed bugs with pesticides speeds up the development of resistance by artificially 'selecting' for resistant bed bugs, and therefore we can conclude that spraying is not the solution to the current bed bug plague but rather that spraying is the cause. It is because spraying has caused this modern eco-plague that pest control companies are now having emergency conferences to discuss what they are going to do about bed bugs now that the pesticides are no longer working.

There are those who might wonder what to do about the rising tide of super bed bugs that are spreading like a plague over the entire continent, and if calling for that biological nerve gas which is all that is left is off your list (as it is off my list) you might be wondering what you can do now that the bed bugs have kicked down the barriers and are coming for you sometime soon. (And yes, there are voices on the internet calling for the nerve gas, provided it is done properly, which involved throwing a tent over your dwelling and then exploding a biological weapon of mass destruction inside the tent, since it turns out that now bed bugs are so resistant to pesticides that only a wide spectrum killer, like a WMD, will now kill them, since it is capable of killing not only bed bugs, but anything else that lives on the planet. This could be considered our 'last line of defence' and it could be called a solution if you don't mind having your sofa and all your stuff coated with nerve gas in order to get rid of a bed bug, and if you don't mind the risk of shaving 10 or 20 years off of your life because you were exposed to carcinogenic substances which are as harmful to you as they are harmful to a bed bug).

I would like to propose a common sense solution to this bed bug plague, and I turn to the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of our ancestors, who after all have had to put up with bed bugs since time immemorial, and did not have any WMDs to fall back on when the going got tought. They said, "Sleep 'tight' and don't let the bedbugs bite.' This is simple common sense, for you see people who have bed bugs have bed bugs because they allowed the bed bug to bite them. What happens is that first the bed bug will scout out your place, and then it will bite you just to find out if it can bite you. Once the bed bug bites you, thus confirming that it is possible to bite you, it will then proceed to scout out a location for a nest and set up camp so that it can bite you at its convenience from that time on. I know from my own experience that bed bugs are well adapted to humans, for you see if a human knows that a bed bug is around a human will not allow bed bugs to bite them, and so therefore bed bugs have adapted to be real sneaky since they don't want to be caught biting anyone. For you see you are a human and that thing is just a bug and therefore you are (theoretically anyways) smart enough to do something to stop a bed bug from biting you if you find out about that bed bug, so the bed bug would rather that you did not know. Therefore what it does is waits until you are in the deepest REM sleep, typically around five in the morning, and then it bites you and then it takes off and hides. It also injects an anesthetic so you can't feel anything when it bites you, because it does not want you waking up and finding out there is a bed bug in your room. Bed bugs have also adapted so that close to three quarters of the humans they bite do not even show signs of having been bitten (unlike a mosquito, they leave no welt, since a mosquito isn't trying to be real sneaky like a bed bug is sneaky.)

Here is an example. I set my alarm to wake up two hours early, and I caught a bunch of bed bugs running like hell to hide before I could see them. Apparently they did not expect the human to be waking up early and thought they had plenty of time, but I needed to get up early for a reason, and thus I caught the little red buggers. Now, you see, those bed bugs are in trouble, because they got caught, for you see, I am a human, and therefore I am not going to let them bite me anymore now that I know they are around.

When I surfed the internet and found out about all that spraying that is going on, and found out about how useless that spraying is and how resistant those bed bugs are, and then I found out that even though you have to spray over and over and over again, calling that exterminator again and again and again, because the buggers are resistant, and even then, people are going mad about spraying bed bugs, right then and there I knew that I needed a long term solution since apparently everyone else in the country has plans to replace our current super bed bug with an even more virulent strain, which will be the end result of all the spraying going on right now. I knew that somehow I would have to stop those things from getting me, since it was obvious that the rest of the country was planning to make damn sure that bed bugs became a part of life from now on and I also knew I couldn't put up with those disgusting little buggers.

Therefore I have isolated my bed. I am sleeping 'tight', and I just will not let those bed bugs bite. Bed bugs have trouble climbing the side of a metal coffee tin, which some people use around the bottom of their bed posts. I am using the highly polished slipper surface of a stainless steel bowl, since if bed bugs have trouble with a coffee can, I am sure they will have even more trouble walking upside down up the slippery slope of that stainless steel bowl. Inside the stainless steel bowl I have water. I have been considering adding some insecticide, but even water would probably be good enough. You see a soaking wed bed bug can hardly walk, due to the extra weight of that water, and therefore, since I have greased my metal bed posts with slippery vaseline, it seems unlikely that such an overburdened creature will be able to pull its soaking wet carcass vertically up that greased pole. I have a glue trap consisting of double sided carpet tape further up the pole. I am wrapping my mattress and box spring, trapping bed bugs inside where they will starve to death. I am adding on tropical insect netting, as an extra barrier. I will be putting a six inch barrier of fresh water Diatomaceous Earth around the stainless steel bowls (do not use the salt water variety as it is unsafe, and keep in mind that there is an inhalation risk when spreadin this substance). This substance cuts the shell of crawling insects and causes them to dehydrate and die within 48 hours. The bed bug will also be falling upside off that stainless steel bowl I am sure and landing on that DE a few times I am sure and getting cut up a little more each time. If need be I will pitch a tent, using velcro or duct tape around the zipper each night, since immature bed bugs are small that a pin head and can make it through a zipper.

In short I am going to "sleep 'tight' and I will not let the bed bugs bite. After all, I am a human and those things are bugs. They know that, which is why I am sure that these bed bugs are real sorry they got caught since now they can't get away with it anymore. For you see, if someone has bed bugs, that means it is their own fault. Instead of feeling sorry for people who are telling horror stories about bed bugs, a common sense response would be to say to them, 'you aren't letting them bite you, are you?' They do not have a 'moral responsiblity' to increase pesticide usage by spraying bed bugs, thus sparing their neighbours the ordeal of possible infection, but rather everyone has a moral responsibility to not allow a bed bug to bite them, because if the allow bed bugs to bite them, they will nest, then breed, and then move on in greater numbers to bite you neighbour, which would be your fault, since you did not sleep 'tight', but instead you just let some damned bed bug bite you, which was morally wrong, since now it will be biting someone else.

If you do not have bed bugs now, the best thing to do since their is plague of pesticide resistant bed bugs now sweeping the country, is to prepare in advance by taking such steps as I described above, or other steps as seem sensible to you. In the days ahead, a bed bug will coming by to check out your pad, and when it finds out that it can't bite you, it will shove off and move next door and bite your neighbout, provided that your neighbour is morally irresponsible, and decides to host and feed a nest of bed bugs, in which case you should not feel sorry for your neighbour or feel guilty for having sent that bed bug next door when it found out it couldn't bite you, but rather you should give your neighbour shit for doing something so stupid as allowing themselves to be bitten by a bed bug, thus spreading the plague even more, instead of starving that bed bug to death, a solution for which a bed bug has no known resistance, nor could it ever develop such resistance.

So then "sleep 'tight' and whatever you do, don't let those bed bugs bite," for your neighbours are going to spraying bed bugs like mad now that the pesticides aren't working anymore, which means that we are going to be putting up with a virulent plague for quite some time, and you might as well adapt to the new reality right now and start getting used to the idea that the world has suddenly changed for you. And if you hear about someone else who has been bitten by a bed bug, be sure to give them supreme shit for allowing that to happen, and just tell them the same thing our ancestors used to tell anyone who pissed them off by being bitten by a bed bug, thus keeping those around for another generation - 'Sleep 'tight' and don't let the bed bugs bite.'

This work is in the public domain
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Brent Herbert, you're the best.
28 Nov 2006
You've long been my favorite writer on the web. Keep up the good work, Brent Herbert.