Saturday, April 01, 2006

Mattress-cide Part II-Operation Extermination

I know it’s been a week since my last entry, and it’s because I finally decided to throw out my bed, mattress and headboard. Because so much time has passed between my last entry, and because so much has happened, I will split this entry into two. As I wrote in an earlier post, I had called an exterminator who told me of the small colony of bed bugs residing in and under my bed. I wanted a second opinion, so I asked my building manager to send up his exterminator, who was far more thorough than the one I hired on my own. When the second exterminator inspected my apartment on Wednesday, he pulled out the drawers from my captain’s bed and shone a flashlight into the bed’s shaded underbelly. There I saw scores of bed bugs of all sizes scurrying about. The drawers themselves, as I removed the articles of clothing inside and threw them into a plastic bag, were consistently dotted with black spots of bed bug feces. Each drawer (my bed had four of them) featured at least one nest of bed bug eggs and hatchlings. It was truly disgusting, and truly depressing.

Perhaps if I had attacked the problem back in January as fervently as I did this past week I might still have my bed, headboard and mattress. As the exterminator and I lifted my mattress we both saw the underside was riddled with little rips and tears, most likely made by the bugs and evidence that they were also living inside my mattress. I was a bit surprised to see this, as I had never really noticed these holes before. See all the difference a flashlight can make?

As for the headboard, the exterminator pounded the side of the headboard with his flashlight until a few bugs emerged from the board’s many cracks. The headboard was deep enough that it had two shelves inside, which I had half-filled with stacks of magazines and newspapers. He sprayed all over the apartment, but admitted that this wouldn’t do much to alleviate the problem. The only solution he saw was to get rid of the bed, mattress and headboard.

Even before Wednesday, I knew my bed would have to go. When I would go to bed last weekend, within five minutes after I laid down at night, the bed bugs would come out of their hiding places and bite the hell out of me. And this was with the lights on. They were no longer wary or cautious when seeking out their blood meal; they knew they now owned the bed. The pests knew what I didn’t know until the exterminator revealed it to me: that they had successfully colonized the place in which I’ve slept for the last 15 years. The insects even began biting my face, something they had never done before.

The whole thing reminds me of a popular lyric sung by the late Tupac Shakur: “We don’t die; we multiply.” Though he was referring to gangsters and thugs, I can easily view these insects as thugs, going wherever they please, doing whatever they want to whomever is unfortunate enough to be in their presence.

4 comments:

the Caitlinator said...

Oh man. I'm glad you found their lair, but I'm so sorry that it ended up being as ugly as it was. Hopefully disrupting their hiding spaces will help you to conquer them. Make sure you get someone in to spray AND dust. The powder seemed much more effective than the spray for me.

Bugged Out said...

Hey Caitlin,

Thanks for commenting.

When you say dust, what exactly should I be dusting with? I'm currently using powdered boric acid. I've sprayed bleach along the parts of the apartment where the floor meets the wall, but I had a bad allergic reaction (nonstop sneezing) to the bleach.

Anonymous said...

BORIC ACID IS A STOMACH POISON FOR ANT'ROACHES. DELTAMETHRIN IS A DUST USED BY EXTERMINATORS. A IRON ALONG THE CORNERS OF THE BED WILL KILL THEM BUT AFTER A INFESTATION IS FOUND THE DESTRUCTION OF BEDDING THE ONLY SURE WAY" REMEMBER YOUR GRANDPARENTS GOOD NIGHT AND DON'T LET THE BED BUGS BITE.

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering about this powder. The exterminators sprayed and left the powder behind. Is it toxic? I feel like I'm inhaling it daily and that it's probably not too great for my lungs. I was instructed to leave it down for 3 weeks. Seems like a long time to breathe it in. Has anyone ever had any success with neem oil?

By the way, my problem...lots of bites but I have never found a single bug.