Monday, December 31, 2007

"Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite"

Hoo boy. If you're like me and have perused the web endlessly for news on bed bugs, you've no doubt read "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite" ad nauseam by clueless reporters who no doubt assume they are the first to ever use this adage in an article involving bed bugs. I am quite sick of hearing this saying in news stories about bed bugs, and I have no doubt in my mind that 2008 will be full of news stories that contain "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite" in the lead paragraph if not the headline.

I came upon a news story about colonial America that actually tells from where this notorious adage originates. It's from the Norwell Mariner/Patriot Ledger in Marshfield, Massachusetts. The article focuses on MA state Senator Robert Hedlund, who accompanied a class of fifth graders on their field trip to a New England colonial museum. Apparently Marshfield is a microscopically sleepy town or this article was the byproduct of an extraordinarily slow news day. In any case, the origin of the phrase is revealed in the following quote:

It was later learned that colonists often had to cope with bed bugs because mattresses were made of straw; bed supports were tightened with a special device: hence the expression, “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”-Mary Ford, "Oldest Fifth-grader Joins School Field Trip"
The fact offers some perspective when you consider all the technological advancements made since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, and despite all these advancements we still itch for the same reason the Pilgrims did. The bed bugs must've annoyed the hell out of the Native Americans.

Happy New Year, by the way. Next month will be the second birthday of Bugged Out.

Speaking of New Year, do any native New Yorkers actually go to Times Square anymore to watch the ball drop? It was all the rage when I was a kid, and by the time I was old enough to go by myself (since no adult I knew was interested in going), the whole hanging out at Times Square got real lame, especially after 9/11 when security was beefed up and everything from liquid containers (no booze?!?) to backpacks were banned from the area during the New Year's Party.

As far as I know, most New Yorkers attend private New Year's parties where they are free to eat, drink, smoke, snort, inject and swallow whatever the hell they want without being hassled by the fuzz. Times Square at New Year's is for squares, a.k.a. tourists. Let them be herded like cattle into a potential terrorist target area.

So be sure to stock on the alcohol tomorrow, especially if you have bed bugs. And for those who don't have bed bugs, you are cordially invited to my house for a slumber party! Then you can go home and watch your furniture and your sanity disappear.


Monday, December 24, 2007

On the Bright Side of Bedbugs

My mother always told me to look on the bright side of things, especially when those things aren't so great. Well, bed bugs aren't so great, are they? But here's some reasons to be thankful for bed bugs. I know I'm grasping at straws here, but play along.

  1. For those ladies living with their man, bed bugs will make him think twice about leaving his socks or underwear on the floor.
  2. For those men not living with their significant other, bed bugs like to bite women more, as discussed in a past post, so this should encourage you to invite your girlfriend to sleep over more often.
  3. If you're really into the minimalist thing, bed bugs should not be that much of a problem for you. In fact, if you really believe less is more, than watch your living space grow and grow exponentially as your over infested bed and other furniture disappear.
  4. With bed bugs seeming to explode in numbers in cities across the world, I can't imagine that homeless people are feeling as bad about their living situation as they used to.
Not too many good things to say about bed bugs, are there? I believe that if you don't have anything nice to say about bed bugs, then pour yourself, a stiff drink. If you can think of some offbeat positive results of living with bed bugs, please drop me a comment so you can share with the rest of the class.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Been A While...

About a month to be exact.

I do apologize for the unexplained delay. I have the unbelievably bad luck of becoming physically ill around finals time. For those of you who have been paying attention, I am in my last semester of college and am completing my undergrad degree.

In the first week of December I developed a severe pain in my right lower wisdom tooth and it had to be extracted. The pain was so unbearable I lost sleep, and my personal self-prescription consisting on Tylenol and herbal anesthesia was simply not strong enough to dull the pain. At the same time I had acquired the flu (despite the fact that I had received a flu shot October 25) and was basically sick in bed with a sore throat hocking up my body weight in phlegm and sleeping for about 12-14 hours a day. This was of course on days when I didn’t have to show up for my new job or class.

A week later my left lower wisdom tooth began giving me a similar pain and I had to wait four days for my dentist to be able to take it out. I'm over the flu but still have a sore throat
and just finished my finals. I promise I will post something soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sniff, Sniff


I must be really desensitized to the disgusting concept of bed bugs as I am blogging while eating a sandwich of leftover turkey. Are bed bugs a good source of protein?

Came across this article in the Knox News Sentinel in Tennessee that describes the odor that bed bugs emit as smelling like coriander. For those who don't know what coriander is, it is an herb more commonly (at least in the U.S.) as cilantro. The article claims to have gotten this and other bed bug factoids from and the University of Tennessee, but I couldn't find any mention of a coriander-scented odor coming from bed bugs on either website.

I personally think the odor that bed bugs emit are like a musk, the scent created by an animal's (deer musk is used in many fragrances) stink gland between their stomach and their genitals.

My question is, if the smell is in fact a musk, and deer musk and pig pheromones have been used in perfumes for thousands of years, could the bed bug odor be bottled as a perfume? Could those of us living with bed bugs be sitting on a gold mine?

Probably not.

My other question is, what do you think the bed bugs' distinctive odors smells like? Please participate in the new poll located in the sidebar. I've already asked six friends and family members and no one has given the same answer. Their responses as well as mine are listed as poll responses, but feel free to select "Other" on the poll if you don't agree with any of us and then write in the comment area of this post what you think the bed bug odor smells like to you.

Happy Thanksgiving by the way.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Time For a Stiff Drink

Sorry for the delay. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and all my professors felt that loading me down with pointless busywork to complete over the four-day weekend was a great idea. Spent much of the past weekend working on it while looking for more work. Thank God I'm graduating this semester. Man, I hate college. Finals are coming up and I am not my usual cheerful self. If things weren't depressing enough, check out the crap I scooped up off the Web.

The first item of discussion is an article from 7 Online New Jersey's Department of Health investigating a bed bug infestation in an apartment complex. The story itself isn't that noteworthy, but here comes the kicker. One tenant's infestation in her family's bedrooms was so bad she moved their mattresses out to the hallway (presumably a hall in the apartment and not the hallway on the other side of her apartment door) because they were too scared to sleep in their bedrooms.

Is this lady a complete idiot, or am I losing my mind? What part of BED bug does she not understand? They're not called bedroom bugs; they're called bed bugs, and for a pretty damn good reason. It's because they love beds, and if you have a bed bug infestation, chances are the bugs have first settled inside the bed, namely the mattress. So this mental midget basically dragged her mattress and the mattresses of her two children out to the hallway, along with all the bed bugs inside the mattresses. Soon, the hallway will be full of bed bugs and so will the living room with its comfy sofas. Smooth move, ex-lax.

Speaking of stupid, 7 Online made two embarrassing grammatical errors in their article. I understand this was probably a script that ran off a teleprompter for the on-air people (a.k.a., news puppets) to read aloud on camera, so maybe I'm just nitpicking.

I also want to rant about a good number of the insecticides out there on the market (mostly in aerosol spray form) that are allegedly good to use on bed bugs. These spray cans are never exclusively intended for killing bed bugs, but rather for a host of insects as well such as mites, roaches, spiders, water bugs, termites, etc. I, like many of you, have purchased one or two of these bug sprays if for no other reason than to satisfy my personal curiosity. These sprays usually offer mixed results, which make me wonder if they're effective against bed bugs at all.

What really bothers me about these sprays is their inclusiveness, the fact that their labels claim they can be used to kill an array of pests including bed bugs. But we've been told over and over and over again (and some of us have learned through trial and error) that the pesticides that kill other insects do not really work on bed bugs. Therefore, the claim made by these sprays are an outright lie to me and gives me the impression that the spray was originally intended for those other pests but the spray's manufacturer added bed bugs to the label regardless of whether or not the spray is effective in killing bed bugs. It's 5am, so I'm not sure if what I'm saying is 100% coherent. Maybe the spray's claims do make sense, and I'm the one who's lost touch with reality.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Belated Warmup Wednesday

Hi all,

This weekend I will be blogging about one New Jersey woman who has literally been driven out of her bedroom by bed bug and the infestation in the building in which she lives. I'll also express my myriad disappointments of the pest control industry. If I don't think that's enough, I'll add something else.

Happy belated Veterans' Day, for my American readers.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bugged Out on MySpace

In an effort to further promote Bugged Out, I decided to create a MySpace page. All the Presidential candidates have a MySpace page, and so do various companies and organizations to compliment their primary web sites. I figured, why the hell not? It won’t cost me anything to try.

So if you have your own MySpace page, or are considering creating a MySpace account, feel free to add Bugged Out to your friends list.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In The News


I couldn't decide which news item to write about, so I figured I'd write about both. First up, a New York Times article from November 2005. It illustrates the dramatic increase of numbers of bedbug reports in New York City.

Last year (2004) the city logged 377 bedbug violations, up from just 2 in 2002 and 16 in 2003. Since July (2005), there have been 449. "It's definitely a fast-emerging problem," said Carol Abrams, spokeswoman for the city housing agency.
wow is all I can say.

In other news, Cincinnati, Ohio's Department of Health has accomplished something New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) could not, despite all the token gestures made and lame duck hearings held by the New York City Council last year: form a bed bug task force.

According to WLWT Cincinnati and WCPO Cincinnati, the Ohio State Legislature formed the Bed Bug Task Force after Cincinnati's Council On Aging logged 500 different clients in one month who had complained about a bed bug infestation in their homes. The task force held their first public meeting last Monday with residents, politicians and exterminators to discuss the city's bed bug problem. The task force has already lobbied members of the Ohio state legislature for stricter guidelines in a bed bug eradication strategy.

So Cincinnati has their act together, but what about New York? Well, there's this quote from the 2005 New York Times article to keep our spirits up:
"People come in here and cry on my shoulder," said Andy Linares, the owner of Bug Off Pest Control, in Washington Heights. "They feel ashamed, even traumatized, to have these invisible vampires living in their home. Rats, even V.D., is more socially acceptable than bedbugs."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Warmup Wednesday 11/7

I can't really decide whether to blog about a 2005 New York Times article that illustrates the lightning-quick emergence of bed bugs or a public initiative to address bed bugs in Ohio which should've been implemented in New York a long time ago.

Maybe I'll blog about both. Who knows.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

How the Mighty Have Fallen

I recently saw a blog post from Gothamist detailing the demise of the famous Hotel Pennsylvania. For those of you either new to New York City or not from New York City, the Hotel Pennsylvania is one of the most extravagant hotels in a city known for extravagant hotels.

My brother, father, uncle, and both grandfathers found steady employment within Manhattan's hospitality industry, and although none of them were ever lucky enough to work at the Hotel Pennsylvania, I grew up hearing how grand and high-class this famous hotel was.

The Hotel Pennsylvania's glamorous history, however, has become just that as law suits from guests being bitten by bed bugs have forged a new reputation for the 88-year old hotel. Check out this lead (of what should've been the lead!) from the New York Observer:

ONCE A GLAMOROUS DESTINATION where jazz standouts Count Basie and Duke Ellington performed in the grand ballroom—a place immortalized (along with its phone number) by the Glenn Miller tune “Pennsylvania 6-5000”—the 1,700-room hotel has since devolved into a cheap, decrepit tourist trap more commonly associated with reported bedbug attacks than big-band nostalgia.
The company who owns the Hotel Pennsylvania is preparing to tear down the historic hotel and replace it with a skyscraper. Obviously the pending law suits and the hotel's tarnished reputation have proved to be too much to merit the continued existence of the hotel. Some preservationists are trying to make the City declare the hotel a landmark, which would outlaw its demolition, but I think this movement is too little, too late.

I stated back in April 2006 and to two reporters who interviewed me that this bed bug problem, and the city's unwillingness to adequately address the epidemic would ultimately affect the hospitality and real estate industries, which are huge in New York City. The City Council has chosen to do nothing aside from token gestures about this problem and now this city is losing one of its most historic venues.

Bed Bug Haikus, Part Two

I've only received seven bed bug haikus thus far and was waiting, waiting, waiting for the tenth so I could post my next barrage of haikus. Then I thought, what the hell, seven is good enough. For those first-time visitors, I wrote ten bed bug-related haikus about a month ago and promised to release my next ten provided that I receive ten bed bug haikus from visitors dropping comments. I've decided to ignore my old promise and put up my best eight bed bug haikus anyway.

But before I release my own poetry, I'd like to share with everyone the very amusing and creative bed bug haikus that are too good to not share. Unfortunately, the poster was anonymous and the poems were submitted within several different comments , so I have no way of knowing if these seven haikus were written by one anonymous poster or several. In any case, here they are...


Bugs have given me
Obsessive Compulsive Order
Mess harbors vampires


Bugs! I have become:
Carpenter, maid, repairman,


When I find a bug
I tape it to white paper
My only revenge


My cat has become
Both best friend and enemy
Potential bug bus


My feet are so cold
But the alternative's worse
Socks could carry eggs


My clothes are in bags
My dignity is missing
Where did my pants go?


Red welts on my skin
Either stress hives or bed bugs
I think a mixture


and, without further ado, are my ten haikus.


$400 a room
My kidney's for sale


Bed Bugs?!? Why me, God?
Oh yeah, I forgot
That thing I did with donkeys


Bed bugs in New York
Pay no rent and eat for free!
Freeloading assholes


Unwelcome bed bugs
Go back to 1950
Nobody likes you


My blood is too sweet
I should cut down on Starbucks
That's why they bite me


Spray here and spray there
Wash your clothes and scratch your legs
I sure miss roaches


The next guy who says
"Hey, don't let the bed bugs bite!"
I will throw rocks at


Through pain springs forth art
Bug bites replace my bed frame
Bed bugs are my muse


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Warmup Wednesday!

I recently employed the use of a web site tracking service to get a better idea of how many hits Bugged Out gets. I was very surprised to discover how many people visit Bugged Out. I guess my big mistake is basing the number of visitors upon the number of comments, which as I've found is not very accurate at all.

For example, yesterday 120 people visited Bugged Out, and 90 the day before. I was also shocked to find how many non-New Yorkers visited Bugged Out, considering I tried to niche myself away from other bed bug blogs by gearing the content towards bed bug issues in New York City. In the last two days, people from over 15 different countries have visited Bugged Out. From the comments I've read I knew Canadians and Britons were reading Bugged Out as well as Americans, but I was surprised to find so many visitors from the United Arab Emirates (Salam!), Australia (G'day!), India (Namaste!), Turkey (Merhaba!), Germany (Guten tag!), Kuwait (Salam!), Israel (Shalom!), and Malaysia (Selamat sejahtera!).

But let me get to the point.

Since so many people are visiting Bugged Out, I thought I'd offer a preview of what's ahead for my regular weekend post called Warmup Wednesday.

This weekend I'll finally publish my next round of bed bug-related haikus as well as share some of the haikus I've received from creative viewers. Get ready to laugh.

Update 11/01: Really ticked off with Blogger and my own oafish clumsiness, as Part Two of the haikus was written yesterday but was accidentally published that same day instead of Saturday, as I has intended. Instead, this weekend's post will focus on how bed bugs have contributed to the demise of one historic New York venue.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bed Bug Tortilla/Pest Control Orgy

I came across this old CBS story from New York City in which a woman living in a Brooklyn slum complains to her super of, among other things, a bed bug infestation. Check this out:

As for her complaint to the super about the bedbugs? "What you can do with the bed bugs is put them in a tortilla and feed them to your family and then get rid of the bedbugs," she said the super told her.
Yikes. Seems like bed bugs are just one more complaint for slumlords to ignore.

In other news, PCT Online had a very interesting article exhibiting just what it took to destroy a full-scale bed bug infestation in one New Jersey apartment building. People often drop comments on Bugged Out asking how to effectively get rid of bed bugs from their apartments or apartment buildings, and the answer is never a simple one. Because apartments are attached to each other, simply fumigating the affected apartment doesn't help, as bed bugs can escape to adjacent apartments and return when the coast is clear.

Royal Fumigation, however, has devised a fumigation strategy even more comprehensive than President Bush's invasion of Iraq. Keeping constant communication with local police precincts, fire departments and New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, Royal had the property manager evacuate all tenants from the building for the duration of the bed bug fumigation, arranging temporary housing for the displaced tenants. Royal then spent the next 12 hours sealing off, I presume, every nook and cranny in the building.

After that, a pesticide called Vikane was sprayed in the building for about 24 hours. A consultant from Dow Agrosciences, the manufacturer of Vikane, was on hand to help Royal with the proper application of the pesticide. The actual fumigation period was followed by a nine-hour aeration of the entire building using fans. Though the aeration was over by 9 pm, Royal didn't want anyone re-entering the building until the next morning. The next day the property manager brought in a cleaning crew to make the building ready for the tenants to move back in.

I found this to be the most coordinated and thorough bed bug fumigation I've ever heard of. I can't even imagine how much this all cost. The article itself leaves out several facts that I and others would love to know, including:
  1. How many people were actually involved in the fumigation?
  2. How much did this all cost, and was the cost covered by the landlord or by the tenants?
  3. How many apartment units were in the building?
  4. How much time did Royal spend preparing this very thorough operation?
  5. What logistical issues, if any, did the crew face while planning this operation?
  6. Were the apartments unlocked in order for Royal to properly fumigate them?
I certainly wish these questions were answered in the article, but the story had enough information to keep me interested. Wouldn't it be an absolute bitch if the bed bugs still survived in that building after all that?

Have a good weekend.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Bug Man Strikes Again!

Stumbled on an old (March 2007) San Francisco Gate article featuring some pretty good advice from the Bugman, who I mentioned in a previous post.

Here's an excerpt:

Q:I have a pest control company spray our house every month, and we don't see any bugs. They claim they can kill all crawling insects. Is anything wrong with this?

A: Besides spraying pesticides without having a target pest, there are a number of other reasons why I would never recommend such a service.

First, any insect, spider or other arthropod can occasionally wander into your home. It happens to everyone and shouldn't be a concern. You can dispose of the occasional invader however you like. However, occasionally you may see a few insects of the same species, and it may be important to know what they are. Never hire a pest control company that "kills all crawling insects"; hire one that can identify all crawling and flying insects and will make recommendations and treat accordingly.

I checked out his web site and found these bizarre bed bug facts:

Crushed bed bugs, mixed with salt and human milk make a fine eye ointment. In powdered form they were thought to cure all fevers and for hysteria they were given internally, and just the smell of them was considered sufficient to relieve those under hysterical suffocation. In some parts of Ohio, eating seven bed bugs mixed with beans is considered a cure for chills and fever.

And check out this tidbit on the "insectxuality" of bed bugs.
Bed bugs also have an interesting sex life. The males have large, sex organs with which they pierce the females body wall not bothering to use her sex organs. They fill the female's body with semen, some it which makes it to her reproductive organs. The rest is absorbed as protein by the female and used as nourishment. When feeding, bed bugs have been observed climbing on top of another bed bug which is feeding on a human and piercing that bed bug with its beak and sucking the blood from it, thus getting the blood second hand. This body piercing of the females by males while feeding seems to have no effect on the bed bug getting pierced.
Doesn't make me feel any better that two bed bugs may be getting it on while perched on my body sucking my blood. These creatures certainly are multi-taskers.

I highly recommend the Bugman's interesting website, which I should add, advocates the treatment of insect infestations without the use of chemicals or pesticides.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn!

I came up with a new sport you might want to try. It's ever so much fun.

There's no league to join, no official rules, it can be played at home, and you can do all the steroids you want.

The sport? Bed bug burning!

Here's what you need:
1) A live bed bug
2) A long barbecue lighter
3) A linoleum floor or other fire-resistant surface

I'm not going to insult your intelligence by telling you how the game is played, except that each charred bed bug equals one point.

My brother tried burning bed bugs, and he says they scream when they catch fire. I keep trying to position my ear close to the action to hear anything that remotely resembles a scream. So far nothing. Let me know if you hear any screams if you so feel inclined to try out this fun sport.

By the way, I have collected nine bed bug-related haikus from anonymous posters so far. As I previously promised, I would only unleash my next ten bed bug haikus when I recieve ten from you. So please, stir up those creative juices and drop that last haiku in the comment area!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

New York, the Perfect Scapegoat

Even in a post-9/11 world, Americans love to talk trash about New York City. This LA Times article on bed bugs is no different. While I didn't find anything of significance in the article that I haven't already blogged about, I did find this particular passage interesting:

They used to be associated with cramped and dirty living quarters, grimy motels and high-rise living in places like New York.-Los Angeles Times
Because cramped and dirty living quarters and grimy motels can only be found in New York, right? Right.

If you click on the second page of the article, you will find some interesting bed bug trivia to share with your friends when you're up at three in the morning because you're too paranoid to go to sleep. But if you don't feel like making that extra click, I copied and pasted the factoids below:
Bedbugs are established members of the global community. Archaeologists in Europe have found bedbug fossils dating back 3,500 years, the University of Kentucky's Potter said, "and they go way back before that." They arrived in the New World with the first colonists and were plentiful until about the 1940s, when DDT seemed to do away with them.-Los Angeles Times
By the way, someone has already posted in the comment area four bed bug haikus. They're really good, but as promised, I would only post my next ten bed bug haikus when you guys submitted ten of your own. So try and send in six more, and only then will I unleash to the world my next ten bed bug haikus.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who Wants To Laugh?

With all the crying many of you are doing as you throw out your beloved bed bug-ridden furniture, I'm sure you can all use a good laugh.

The following is an article I found in The Spoof!, a publication featuring outrageously made-up news, kind of the British version of The Onion. This particular article showcases a new strain of bed bug that resembles a lobster.

Here's one hilarious quote:

These super-bugs thrive on crisps and of course the lower orders are always eating food in bed, and as they always buy shite for their kids and that, then it's no surprise that this plague is getting totally out of hand."
In case you're wondering, "crisps" are what English people call potato chips because "chips" are what they call french fries. "Feckers" is, well, replace the first e with a u and you'll figure it out. "Shite"? Remove the e and you will have the American translation. "Council estates" I imagine refers to public housing, and the "lower orders" means lower-class people.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Bed Bug Haikus, Part One

Some of you may not know that I am a writer. In addition to the blogging, I worked for a few years as a reporter and editor. I've done some unpublished fiction and am currently writing a book. I thought about how art develops through suffering and emotion and loss, three things I've encountered since I first saw bed bugs in my room.

Long story short, I sat down and began writing bed bug haikus. For those unfamiliar with the term, haiku is a Japanese form of nonrhyming poetry. The first line contains five syllables, the second line contains seven and the final line contains five. There are a few variations to this rule but 5, 7, and 5 are the standard. Without further ado, I give you ten haikus I wrote in the last hour.


My blood is their food

I itch yet they are not there

I miss my mattress


"Don't let bed bugs bite"

Much easier said than done

Bring back DDT


Please, legalize it

DDT, I mean. Not weed

No, wait...yes to both


I live with bed bugs

If you can call it living

Ow, my arm itches


Are bed bugs a dream

For minimalist people?

Bare rooms confuse bugs


Die, Rachel Carson!

Say, now that she's dead, can we

Bring back DDT?


I live with bed bugs

I sleep on an air mattress

You come here often?


It's hard to get laid

With bug bites on your body

They look like herpes


Comment on Bugged Out

If you don't do so tonight

More bed bugs will bite


My bedroom is bare

These bed bugs are everywhere

Do you even care?


After I wrote these I thought, why should I have all the fun? If these goofy haikus inspired you in any way to write your own bed bug-related haiku, please do so in lieu of a comment on this post. If you have writer's block, just remember your little buddies waiting at home for you to come back to bed! Remember the pain and suffering! The itching! The humiliation! The stigma! Oh, the humanity!

I've actually written ten more, but you won't see them until I see at least ten haikus from my dear, dear readers. They must be bed bug-related. If you need any more inspiration, peruse the many many posts here on Bugged Out.

Note: Non-haiku poetry also accepted.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Why I Do This

A few weeks ago I received an anonymous comment that I have literally read over and over because it makes me feel great. It's from someone living with bedbugs who is a regular reader who welcomes Bugged Out as an oasis of support in a desert of loneliness and hopelessness.

To her I say, thank you. You are the reason why Bugged Out was created, and I'm glad that Bugged Out and many other bed bug-related blogs out there to serve the simple purpose of letting those people living with bed bugs know that even though they feel alone, they are anything but. Your parents may not understand your problem, your friends may look at you like you're a leper and you may go through various episodes of bed bug paranoia, but understand that we've all been there before, everyone who has a bed bug blog or has read or commented on a bed bug blog, we've all been there.

Don't give up hope.

Without further ado, I will now paste that inspirational comment.


Though I have never commented, I read your blog religiously. As you might have guessed...I have bed bugs too. And I need to thank you, profusely.

I'm a nineteen year old college student. After my first year at a big university in a small town, I decided to take control of my life and start following my biggest dream--to live in the city. I changed schools, friends, and locations to live in beautiful apartment in downtown Denver. I bought all new furniture and decorated my apartment with care (and all of my student budget). I even bought myself a cat and--presto!--insta-home. I woke up one morning about 6 weeks ago with some strange bug bites on my stomach. I am very allergic to mosquitoes, so I passed the blame to that and went on with my day. As time went on, I kept getting bites. Of course, my boyfriend never recieved one. I must have tasty blood. After research, I realized my true problem--bedbugs. As no one here seems to understand the problem, my boyfriend and I took it upon ourselves to rid my apartment. We isolated my bed and for two blissful weeks, I was bite free! Then I woke up a week and a half ago with 23 bites in a circle on my thigh, a line of them on my ribcage and my back...I'd been practically eaten alive. And that brings me to where I am now. I got out of my lease (after much arguing with my landlord who STILL doesn't believe there are any bugs..) and have signed a new lease in a fully-furnished (YES!) building. This is REALLY nice considering my new bedroom set and living room sets are in a junkyard somewhere. My new community doesn't allow pets so my cat has found a new home. I'm washing every item of clothing I own.

It doesn't matter though. At the moment I can feel them on me. Crawling. Biting. Sucking away my blood. I wish I could explain rationally to those darn bugs that I'm anemic! I need my blood more than they do! I don't sleep much, and when I do, I have vivid nightmares. Last night when I was eating sushi, I became convinced that a sesame seed was a bug that had brazenly followed me to dinner. My family thinks I am crazy---they are probably right. I saw a commercial for that new movie Bug. I burst into tears. I cannot wait until I think back on this and it's been years since I saw one or felt one.

Anyway, the purpose of this disgusting long comment was to say thank you. Your blog made me feel less alone. No one I know really understands and I don't like to share. Some people act like I have a communicable disease when I try to explain it.

On Saturday morning I will cart away the last of my belongings. Hopefully that will be a start to the end of the nightmares, the paranoia, the crazed searches in the middle of the night. I'll continue to read this blog...makes me feel like not such a freak.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

See-Oh Too

I apologize for not blogging sooner. Between looking for work and the start of my final semester in college, I've been more than busy these last two weeks.

Al Gore may be on to something after all.

From what I've read online about bed bugs, almost every source I've read states that bed bugs are attracted to us by the CO2 a.k.a. Carbon dioxide from our breath. But the London-based Times has examined the great mystery as to, why are the bed bugs suddenly coming back after being near-extinction almost half a century ago. Obviously humans have been exhaling CO2 from our mouths and nostrils for the last 50 years, so what was it that brought these insects back to our world?

They are attracted to the very thing that has caused the US, and the rest of the world, so much grief lately: carbon dioxide. While historically it is the carbon dioxide in human breath that has brought them out to feed, experts speculate that rising levels in the air could be behind their renaissance. Every day seems to bring a new tale of infestation - and, in the land that spawned the compensation culture, a new lawsuit.
Though it is, for now, only a theory, CO1 or carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles may have been what jump started this bed bug resurgence in the last few years. Perhaps it is just carbon itself which attracts these bugs, whether it's from an exhaust pipe, from a smoke stack or our own lungs. Could the massive amount of CO emissions have been what attracted the few bed bugs remaining on this planet to return from wherever they were hiding to feed once more? Even if this was the case, reducing carbon emissions won't get rid of them.

Hopefully, the same experts who ponder why the bed bugs have returned will focus their time and energy on making sure this world is bed bug-free.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Feeling Depressed?

Well, for those of you living with bed bugs, get ready to feel further depressed.

The Village Voice's blog, Running Scared wrote about a Bedbug Control Seminar held by Pest Control Technology Magazine this month at the Park Central Hotel. According to the blog, the unofficial theme of the seminar was, the bed bug problem's getting worse and we don't really know how to deal with it. A note of warning: the entry features a disgusting YouTube video of a bed bug feeding on an arm.

Here's a few excerpts from the blog entry:

“We have to be in an absolute bed bug state of mind,” warned Dr. Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky and leading expert in the now global bed bug war, with no apologies to Billy Joel. “This problem is not going to go away. I don’t see how the problem is going to get better. It’s going to get chaotic.” appears that even the exterminators' deadly pesticides are no match for bedbugs...
More horrifying was Potter’s assertion that these tiny vampires are growing increasingly resistant to the arsenal of mostly pyrethroid-based compounds currently approved by the EPA. “We’ve had cases where we’re spraying 200 to 300 times the label dose of toxins and we can’t kill ‘em,” Potter said.
The only solution offered to affected New Yorkers were mattress covers, which to me are not only disgusting but do not put up a substantial defense in your bed bug infestation if the bed bugs are not in your bed, or are in your bed and in other areas of your home. The name bed bug is misleading, because beds are only one of the only many, many places in a person's home these insects can live.

Notice that the blog mentions "
currently approved by the EPA", hinting that, as many bed bug bloggers have, the long-banned DDT just might be the only hope in combating bed bugs, just as it did half a century ago.

While effective solutions were non-existent at the seminar, one exceptional idea to decrease the spreading of bed bugs was discussed: a hotline that New Yorkers can call to pick up their bug-infested mattresses rather than have them lying around on the sidewalks, or worse, in an apartment hallway.

Long story short: bed bugs growing epidemic, nothing in sight that can stop them, give up hope, find a nice corner to sit in (corners should be easy to find once you throw out your furniture) and cry silently. Or howl like a banchee, whatever works for you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bed Bugs Just Won't Co-op Erate!

I’m always happy to write about bed bug-related info that’s relevant to New York City as opposed to writing about bed bugs in general. I came across an article this afternoon in The Cooperator, a New York City-based trade publication for “the co-op and condo community” (not exactly sure if that refers to building management, individual owners, or both) about bed bugs, aptly referring to them as “domestic terrorists”.

I was pleased to found some myths dispelled that have previously flourished among the general public, a sign that as time has passed, our knowledge of bed bugs and how to deal with them have been better researched and documented, resulting in a higher quality of information concerning the subject. I found the article to contain some very interesting facts, such as:

According to the National Pest Management Association, complaints of bed bug infestation increased by 71 percent between 2000 and 2005, and the city's exterminators are reporting record numbers of calls about the problem.


Bed bugs get the signal to forage when they taste the scent of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the dark. Nighttime typically means increased production of CO2 while we sleep, and that's when the pests emerge to sip drops of blood from their host.

...and even tips on hiring exterminators that I’ve never read before…

"If [an exterminator's] pre-treatment checklist is detail-oriented, you probably have a good exterminator," says Pearlman. "If he doesn't have a checklist, don't hire him. If the bugs aren't exterminated, you will be bitten again within three or four days."

My only complaint about this particular piece is that one exterminator interviewed in the article claims that bed bug bites do not itch. Anybody out there think bed bug bites don’t itch? I sure think they do.

The article is an interesting read, so feel free to check it out if the above excerpts seem interesting. And if you find any helpful information out there about bed bugs, please, share it with the rest of the class, okay?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

School Daze

Finally, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) has adopted a policy to curb the spread of bed bugs in city schools. According to Fox 5, principals must notify parents in writing if bed bugs have been found in their school.

Check out this scary statistic:

Last January and February, there were 72 reports of bugs at 43 schools, according to the Department of Education.
Schools are a great place for bed bugs to spread especially elementary and junior high schools, where students have to keep their coats together in a large closet all day long, the perfect place for bed bugs to jump from one garment to another. The only question I have is what the principal or the more appropriately, the DOE plans to do when once bed bugs have been found in one of their schools.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


To those of you who followed the instructions I offered in a previous post for a non-chemical approach to killing roaches in your home, I hope you were as successful as I was! The majority of the roaches in my apartment have died as a result of the recipe I used (mushed up hardboiled egg sprinkled with boric acid).

This method was far more effective than the roach fogger, especially since I did not need to vacate my home for several hours for my own safety, as I would have with the fogger. Also, roach fogger has the negative side effect of irritating, not killing bed bugs, and causing them to scatter throughout the home and laying eggs in multiple, sometimes far-flung areas of your home as a result.

Although bed bugs are far more bothersome than roaches, nobody likes to have roaches in their home. And I'm glad I found a more effective and safer roach killing alternative to any spray fogger out there on the market.

To those of you who haven't tried the aforementioned recipe to kill roaches, I seriously suggest you do so and share the results on Bugged Out.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Battle Continues…

M recently found a tiny cluster of bed bugs in a black plastic bag that had fallen into a space between my solid wood armoire.

Three weeks ago we already got5 rid of a very nice wooden dresser because we found bed bugs living upside down in the underbelly of the dresser’s drawers themselves. This week we determined that our other wooden dresser needs to go as well, as we have spotted bed bugs crawling in and around the dresser.

Our solution? Plastic dressers. We already purchased a three-draw plastic dresser for about $30 at BJ’s Wholesale Club, but because they are smaller than the two wooden ones we need two more to replace the old dressers. Currently, our washed clothes are lying in stacks on the living room coffee table because there is literally no place to put them away in our bedroom.

The clusters of bugs we found in the dressers were tiny, and could hardly be compared to the teeming colonies I discovered more than a year ago and chose to throw out my mattress, bed and headboard. But I learned my lesson: take care of a small problem before it grows into a bigger one. Perhaps if I had followed that advice a year ago, I might still have my bed furniture today.

So continues the war between bed bugs and the urban dwellers seeking to drive them out of their home.

Until next time…

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Roaches and Bed Bugs

A neighbor told me what she does to rid her apartment of roaches, and I decided to try it. As one exterminator opined in a previous post, those of us who have roaches as well as bed bugs have found that foggers designed to kill roaches end up irritating bed bugs and scattering them further throughout your home. This does not kill or even harm the bed bugs, but instead makes it that much harder to ensure that you've killed all the bed bugs in your home when you do go after them.

Obviously, an effective roach-killing method that won't affect bed bugs in any way (until I'm ready to kill them) interested me, as I do have both roaches as well as bed bugs. So here is what my neighbor told me to do:

Boil some eggs, then remove the shell and mash up the insides (yolk and white) with a fork. Then add a generous amount of boric acid onto the mashed egg. Using the same fork, lay a few pieces of this mixture onto the kitchen sink, behind the toilet bowl or anywhere else in your home you've seen roaches.

The beauty of this, of course, is that it effectively kills the roaches (and it does, I tried it out last week) without disturbing the bed bugs. That way the bed bug will never see it coming when you actually do go after them.

I advise anyone to try this hard-boiled egg/boric acid mixture in their homes as an alternative to roach fogger which, as I've witnessed firsthand and many people have told me, will only irritate and scatter the bed bugs.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch...

Hi all,

I'm sifting through my bed bug-related Google alerts, looking for blogging material for Bugged Out and I'm eating Tostitos with salsa. It suddenly occurs to me that I must truly be desensitized to the "eewww factor" of bed bugs if I'm eating while reading about bed bugs and browsing through magnified images of the multi-legged creatures.

I'm not sure when exactly I stopped being creeped out by bed bugs. I remember this time a year ago, just thinking about them made me lose my appetite. I remember when I first saw a picture of bed bugs and started gagging at the notion that these tiny, disgusting things were crawling all over me and sucking my blood while I slept. But now? I'm blogging about them, and I'm still eating my chips and salsa. Yum!

Anyone else out these desensitized? If so, what are you eating as you read this?

Remember folks, when it comes to bed bugs, don't be grossed out. Don't be scared. Don't be paranoid. Just be prepared.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Time Management!

I just finished my finals for the semester and am looking forward to my fall semester, after which I will have finally earned my undergrad degree. With all the obligations of work, school, a relationship and fighting another bed bug infestation, it hasn’t been easy to allocate adequate time and energy for everything. Keeping one’s home bed bug-free is like a part-time job, if not a full-time one.

I was considering going to graduate school, but began thinking about how much of a hassle college has been so far, especially the aspect of having to be at a certain place at a certain time or it will affect your grades. I’m notoriously tardy for my classes, usually commuting to college straight from my job. My professors make an attempt to sympathize, since it is the City University of New York (CUNY) and many of the students here have to support themselves, and in some cases, their families.

Which comes to the concept of online college, which makes things a lot easier on those of us who have to commit to an hour plus commute to our schools. I know CUNY offers an online undergrad degree, but they are still stuck in the 20th Century when it comes to a Masters degree.

I’m thinking of studying a field that looks good on a resume. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Gender, Not Race?

In a previous post I theorized that people with fairer skin have more severe reactions to bed bug bites than people with darker skin. I based this theory on the fact that M who has very fair skin has had a far more severe reaction to bed bug bites than I, who is a shade or two darker. I also gave the example of my black neighbor who had his own infestation and had almost no visible sign of any bites, although he did complain about the itching.

In the Comments area for this post, Nobugs suggested that it may very well be gender, and not race or more specifically, one's presence of pigmentation in their skin. It changed my view and made me consider that females may indeed have a more severe reaction to bed bug bites than males.

Interesting--I don't have any data about race, but that's partly because most of the sufferers I know are known to me on the internet so I have no idea of their race :-)

My hunch is that men are less likely to react to bites, or be allergic to bites (and possibly even less likely to be bitten) than women. Of the people who come on Bedbugger, women often say the men they live with aren't bitten. Men are more likely to say they aren't reacting to bites and their female partners/relatives are. -NoBugs
Other posters stepped in to offer their own stories to support Nobugs' theory.

I would agree with Nobugs.

I am darker skinned than my boyfriend. I have visible bites but he doesn't.

I think he's being bitten but isn't reacting. -Anonymous

Could anyone lend any additional personal accounts to support this theory? It sounds far more plausible than the one I supported in my previous post.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

White (Wo)Man's Burden?

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, finals and two days in the hospital will do that to ya...

But I've been itching to address a topic that has been on my mind for a while. It is my belief that white people (or people with fairer skin) have more severe reactions to bed bug bites than people with darker skin. Example?

M is very light-skinned, and almost all of her ancestors came from Europe, causing her to be occasionally mistaken for someone of Northern European descent, even though her mother is Sicilian and her father is Puerto Rican. We had a tiny re-emergence of bed bugs in the last two weeks, and her bites are more profound (redder, more protruding) than mine.

Also, remember the news reports of all those European tourists who stayed at those fancy Manhattan hotels and sued them because they were bitten by bed bugs? I remember seeing that report on Dateline NBC, and the footage of the tourists' white thighs, literally riddled with ugly red bites. I mean, they looked like they had a disease!

I've never had such a bad reaction to bed bug bites. Not as bad as M and defintely not as bad as those European tourists. Like almost all other persons of Puerto Rican heritage, I have black, white and Native American ancestors, which contribute to my light tan complexion. While I have suffered from bed bug bites, the physical reaction my skin gives to the bites have never been as bad as anything I've seen on M's body.

The other example is my neighbor, who is a dark-skinned Jamaican. He had an infestation in his apartment and complained of the constant itching, but the bite marks he's shown me on his arms are almost invisible.

I understand that a few examples do not equal legitimate research. But I wonder if there is a connection between one's level of melanin (skin pigment) in their body and how bad a reaction their skin gives to a bed bug bite. Could melanin cause a person to have an increased indifference or even an imunity to bed bug bites? I think it's a question worth researching.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Word on Air Mattresses

An anonymous poster recently asked a question about air mattresses and how exactly they help people who are living with bed bugs.

Okay, so just trying to confirm, as I am also living in New York with bedbugs - getting an air mattress will stop it? Like, really?

Trying to figure out what to do...
Air mattresses don’t exactly get rid of bed bugs, but they do make life a bit easier for those trying to get rid of them. In my case, as I had explained in an earlier entry, the bugs had made a comfortable little colony for themselves in my wooden bed base, pillow, mattress and headboard. While I remained in denial for a few months (because I did not want to get rid of the bed) ultimately I had to get rid of the whole damn thing in order to destroy about 90 percent of the bed bugs in my apartment.

Air mattresses are a great solution for people living with bed bugs because the bugs are famous for cutting into conventional mattresses and burrowing themselves into the fabric of the mattress, waiting for you to go to sleep or even lie down. Remember, bed bugs love fabric, paper and wood simply because they make great hiding and nesting places to quietly hide and even launch a small colony. Air mattresses have none of these. Even when you put a fitted sheet over the air mattress, the rubber mattress cannot accommodate bed bugs. The best they can do is crawl onto the blanket, sheet or fitted sheet, but even this environment is not as bed bug-friendly, as the sheet is obviously not as thick or deep as a mattress.

I’ve had a lot of satisfaction with my air mattress. My queen-sized sheets fit perfectly over the bed. They do require some routine maintenance, though. Depending on the temperature of the room, air mattresses will require to be re-inflated twice a week to once every other week. Remember science class? Well, in hot weather air expands, keeping the air mattress firm for much longer than in colder weather, where the air will become thinner, requiring the mattress to be inflated more often.

A word of warning: make sure the air mattress you’re buying comes with an air pump. I made that mistake and discovered there was no way to inflate my new mattress. I had to go back to Target the next day and buy the pump. Make sure the pump you’re buying (usually ranges around $10 to $15) has a power cord and is not the battery-operated kind.

Also I guess you’re probably wondering how to clean an air mattress, like if you spill something on it or if it’s just dirty from constant contact with the floor. Any damp cloth with water or diluted pine will do; it's much easier than cleaning up a spill from a conventional mattress, since the whole thing is made of rubber.

Where to buy air mattresses: I bought my queen-sized mattress for $25 at Target. I trust the Coleman brand simply because they have quality camping products. But other brands are also well made and long-lasting. In February M’s mother threw out her bed bug-ridden mattress and was basically sleeping on a table. I gave her a $10 twin-sized air mattress from Walgreens and it is still in fine condition.

Let’s move to a subject that I’m sure is on the minds of everyone who is considering replacing their bed bug-ridden mattress with an air mattress. Obviously sleeping is not the only thing we do in bed, and I’m sure some of you are afraid your sexual activities just might pop the mattress like a party balloon. I too was concerned about this. My advice would be to check the maximum weight capacity on the air mattress, which should be printed somewhere on the packaging. Simply combine your own weight with the weight of your partner, if you’re single, the average weight of whoever you bring home and add 50 pounds more for all the bouncing up and down that will take place on the mattress. Take that magic number and compare it to the maximum weight capacity listed on the box.

The best time to buy an air mattress is right now as the stores are stocking up their outdoor merchandise. Air beds are widely regarded as camping equipment (so don’t look for them in a furniture store like my dumb ass did!), and since summer is coming many stores will be stocking up on these beds and probably have them on sale. Some are affordable, others are expensive. Some are self-inflating with the air pumps built into the bed; some have three-foot high frames to give the illusion of a traditional bed. In short, there are many different kinds of air beds to choose from, so use the Internet to shop around for one that suits your tastes.

Well, I can’t think of any more tips to offer on buying a mattress, but if you can come up with some questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Bad!

I know I failed to post on Saturday, like I said I would every Saturday from now on.

How about every other Saturday? I got one coming up for April 21, I promise.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Night's All Right (For Blogging)

Just popped in to announce that since I've decided to commit to adding a new entry every Saturday for my other blog, it's only right I do the same for Bugged Out. I've been a professional writer for several years, so the notion of sticking to deadlines is nothing new to me. It's simply a matter of making my own and sticking to it.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bed Bug Paranoia 2

It's funny how my July 7 entry on Bed Bug Paranoia has been the most popular post in Bugged Out, totalling 13 comments, including a new one that was just made this week. I can't believe eight months after writing that entry, that people are still reading and commenting on it.

Given its popularity I felt I should give bed bug paranoia the attention it deserves.

I did see a bed bug last night, crawling on my sheets. M pointed it out and cried, "Get the tissue!" It was still flat and black, so it hadn't eaten from us yet. I grabbed the little @#%*er with a wad of toilet paper (we find keeping a loose roll of two-ply toilet paper in our bedroom is more convenient than a box of tissues) and run to the bathroom to give him a burial at sea.

Of course, all night long we felt little pinches and and we scratched various body parts as our skin periodically crawled. Falling asleep and staying that way was certainly not easy after seeing the little bug.

Check out the latest's hillarious...because it's true and we've all been there.


Anonymous said...

this makes me think either we are all crazy or just i am. but i cant see bites, eggs, or bugs. i am just constantly ichy all over. is this just a case of dry skin i must ask myself. i always wonder if im this uncofortable do others around me feel this way too? goin on 6 or so years with this constant feeling (15 years old up to now.) my mind plays games on me? the eyes do they see my thoughts? can i see what they think? im must be CRAZY! so where do i go from here?


I don't have any cure for paranoia, I don't know what to tell people when they relate to me their accounts of bed bug paranoia. The only thing we can do that helps is tell each other these stories so we can have some comfort in knowing we are not alone in having these paranoid feelings.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Address!

Just bought a new domain name for Bugged Out.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

...It's Been A While...

I know it's been over a month since I last blogged, and I apologize.

A new job, another new side gig, classes and a badass flu have taken up all of my time since my last post.

On the bed bug front, I really haven't seen any bed bugs in my home since February. M, however says she did kill a live adult bed bug she saw crawling on our bedroom door yesterday. I just asked M right now if she saw any bed bugs lately, and she said yes. When I asked her if she killed the bug, she replied in her usual New York sarcasm, "Of course I killed it. What the hell was I supposed to do, save it and eat it?!?"

hahaha. I like 'em feisty.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Twelve Months Later...

Okay, I know I missed it by a week or so, but January 24 was the date I launched Bugged Out back in 2006, marking this blog's one-year anniversary. Allow me to write what I had meant to write almost two weeks ago.

As I've said before, Bugged Out was created to create an online community for New Yorkers suffering from bed bugs where people could gather and exchange news, information, tips and personal experiences. Now that January has come and gone and Bugged Out is now a year old, I would like to know, from the people who visit this blog, if I've actually achieved this goal. I know this blog has a reasonable amount of visitors, and that there is a handful of people who have been reading Bugged Out from the beginnin. I'd like to know if you feel I've accomplished what Bugged Out was meant to do, and if not, where I can improve.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Defense of Rachel Carson

As you may have read about in other blogs, this blog and other bed bug-related sources, DDT has been credited to have killed off bed bugs in the 1950s, short of a few survivors of the species, apparently. It is widely believe that if DDT use was legalized in the United States, we would be able to eradicate the total bed bug population as we had done a half century ago.

I've come in suppport of the repeal of the ban on DDT before, and have read many articles defending DDT and damning Rachel Carson's 1962 book, Silent Spring in which Carson claims that DDT causes cancer in humans and thins the shells of bird eggs. She also stressed this concept of environmental connectedness, which basically states that although a pesticide is designed to kill one organism, its effects are absorbed into the food chain, until it ultimately poisons humans. It appears that Silent Spring jumpstarted the Environmentalism Movement in the U.S., the federal government was pressured to to ban it completely by 1972. To date, I have not found any legitimate research backing up the claims in Carson's book.

Here's an article I found from Melbourne Indymedia in Melbourne, Austrailia defending the DDT ban and even going so far to claim that DDT would have no effect on today's higher evolved species of bed bug. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"If you read the bed bug blogs you will find lots of angry villification of
Rachel Carson, who wrote the book 'Silent Spring', which then led to the banning
of DDT, for the theory is that because DDT was banned, now we have bed bugs, a
theory which makes no sense whatsoever since DDT was banned half a century ago,
and we are only experiencing a plague of bed bugs in the last couple of years.
People are also unaware that bed bugs became resistant to DDT back in the 1940s,
which is one of the reasons why the pest control industry turned away from DDT
and began using alternative chemicals in the last part of the century. DDT is
constantly being promoted as the bed bug panacea, but the truth of the matter is
that bed bugs are amazing creatures showing an ability to adapt to any form of
pesticide, and that includes DDT, which bed bugs long ago defeated in the 1940s,
and which they will defeat again should DDT be brought back onto the market
because now we have bed bugs."

I couldn't help but notice that there is no scientific research to back up the author's claims in this article, which is why DDT should be legalized, if for nothing else, than to conduct legitimate, LEGAL research as to how dangerous DDT could be to humans, animals and plantlife and how effective it would actually be in eradicating bed bugs.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Like many people, I too have made my New Year's resolutions. For 2007, I resolve to:

  1. Buy a domain name for Bugged Out (
  2. Launch my newest blog, something I've been planning for several weeks
  3. Do more to promote Bugged Out
  4. Share more accounts of my own personal struggles with bedbugs

Hope everyone has made their own meaningful resolutions and will do their best ot stick to them!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reflecting on 2006

2006 was quite the life-altering year for me. This time in January 2006, I was working for AM New York, handing out free newspapers in Washington Heights from 6 to 10 am, and coming home to blood sucking bed bugs. I still had my bed, mattress, headboard and pillows, all appealing real estate for the tiny insects which would soon irrevocably change my life. At the time I kept telling myself the problem would go away, that the right amount of roach spray and fogger would take care of everything.

I remember searching the web for information about bed bugs, only to find deals on fumigation tents for detached houses. I still remember grumbling to myself, “I live in a 10-story apartment building; you’re gonna throw a tent over that?” I remember the hopelessness I felt as I continued to peruse the Web, looking for that magic answer that would make the bugs go away. I remember being thankful that the weather was still cold so I could wear clothing that would cover my bite-riddled forearms. It was the lack of resources and support for New Yorkers that prompted me to launch Bugged Out.

By spring, the bugs had fully established themselves in my bed and were now visible in our sofa and love seat. They went out along with my bed, only to be replaced with a series of $10 beach chairs. Thankfully, we inherited a couch and love seat from a relative in December.

In February, there was the City Councilmember who made headlines by proposing to draft laws protecting New Yorkers from bed bugs. The Councilmember’s press people made sure to paint her as some kind of Consumer Affairs superhero, but her proposal didn’t even get an official hearing until half a year later. Even then, the hearing was lackluster with a bill that has been laid over in committee only to be revived next year. Unfortunately, this bill is most likely not to be reviewed, have a hearing scheduled on it before September 2007, as the City Council usually spends February to June drafting and revising and bickering over the City’s 2008 budget in order to approve it into law by its July 1 deadline. What do City Councilmembers do during July and August, while they're still recieving their paychecks? E-mail them and ask them just that!

Perhaps embarrassed by its inability to get any meaningful law passed that would help New Yorkers suffering from bed bugs, the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) published pamphlets regarding bed bug awareness, detection and treatment for both homeowners and the hospitality industry. Definitely a step in the right direction for the DOHMH.

My blog roll has grown as more and more individuals launch web sites related to bed bugs, including projects attempting to provide a comprehensive map of infestations in the five boroughs.

The highlight of 2006 was definitely meeting M, who is now my fiancé. What were the chances of meeting another person (through MySpace, of all places) who had also lost their furniture to bed bugs? Someone I got along with, someone I grew to love, someone with whom I share a deep spiritual connection. I remember that first date when I went up to the Bronx to meet her, when I pulled her close to me and we shared a full, passionate kiss under a big tree under the rain in Van Cortland Park. I remember in the pizzeria when she showed me the bug bites on her arm, and I took her arm, gently caressed the bite marks with my fingers and then leaned forward to kiss them.

I would not have been able to clean out my home strike a winning blow to the bed bug infestation without her and my brother. My brother who eventually lost his own mattress to bed bugs (thankfully his bed is a metal spring-loaded frame!) and now sleeps on a much thinner sofa bed mattress wrapped in plastic. He says he can feel every spring with this cheap mattress, but I asked him if he’d rather feel the itch of bed bug bites instead. For months, the bed bugs lingered within my pillow, the last remaining remnant of the sleeping environment I’d known almost all my life which I refused to throw out. By fall, that too was trashed, and for several months my folded arms were my pillow.

Bugged Out earned its share of notoriety in the national spotlight, the local beat and from fellow bloggers who were cool enough to swap links (A big thanks to Caitlin for being a faithful blogger and reader from the start!). Then there was the controversial DDT ban issue, an argument which has supporters on both ends (including myself) debating on Bugged Out whether or not the chemical should remain illegal.

Like I said before, I started this blog to create an online community for New York City residents suffering from bed bugs, a place where they could exchange personal accounts, advice and sympathy for those in the early stages of infestation. A year later, I am happy to say that more and more ventures in cyberspace have materialized to inform and support New Yorkers suffering from bed bugs. I hope 2007 will see even more steps in the right direction, with fewer and fewer New Yorkers suffering from bed bugs, until the days comes when no human being ever has to, in sheer paranoia, scan their sheets, pillows, mattresses or furniture for any sign of these despicable little monsters.

Happy New Year!