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