Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yes, I Still Have Bed Bugs

I see there's been a bit of a debate as to whether or not I still have bed bugs in my apartment. To respond to one slightly rude anonymous commenter:

The answer to the question "do you have bedbugs?" isn't yes and no. It's yes. I'm sorry, but if what you describe is true, then yes, you still have bedbugs.

There's been a reduction in the population in your apt. But you're still finding live bedbugs. Only some of the ones you find are dead. You either have bedbugs or you don't.

You're still getting bitten. You probably don't react anymore, but your girlfriend still reacts.

Since you're doing regular deep cleaning anyway, try steam on all your furniture and home crevices. Get a decent steamer. Read Australia's Code of Practices re: bedbugs. Deep steaming kills bedbugs.

Your blog's been around for a while. It might give people the wrong impression that it's acceptable to "live with bedbugs." This has gone on so long, you guys have probably spread them to school, work, public transit etc.

I know this sounds harsh, but wake up!

To second anonymous: your goal should be eradicating the bugs from your home. Don't settle for just getting bit less.-Anonymous commenter
Do I still have bed bugs? Yes. Is it a full-blown infestation? No. Even though it's been over a year since I had a full-blown bed bug infestation, I've found the experience to be so traumatizing that I clean and inspect my home as I were waiting for another large infestation to appear. When most people say they have bed bugs, they pretty much mean a full-blown infestation where they only feel uncomfortable sleeping with all the lights on wearing socks and sweatpants and long-sleeved shirts. That's also the mental image that I have when people tell me they have bed bugs.

Also, having this blog for so long is in no way a message that it is "acceptable" to live with bed bugs. This ignorant commenter obviously has never had bed bugs in their home, at least not for very long. Anyone who has ever had bed bugs will tell you that is a never ending ordeal and eradicating bed bugs is a long-term task that requires a significant amount of time, money and effort. If the commenter bothered to read the header at the top of the website, they will plainly see that Bugged Out was created to facilitate an online community for New Yorkers who are suffering or know someone who is suffering from bed bugs, not solely to chronicle my personal ordeal with bed bugs. I have no problem with non-New Yorkers or non-Americans relating their experiences, fears, tips, triumphs, etc., in regards to bed bugs. Perhaps I should create an FAQ page for people like the Australian commenter.

Anyone who thinks this blog or any bed bug blog that is as old as Bugged Out promotes the idea that it is acceptable to live with bed bugs is an idiot, and I suppose that includes the commenter who suggested such a ridiculous notion. I am by no means a bed bug advocate. It is not acceptable, ever, to live with bed bugs. When I say I live with bed bugs, I do not mean humans and bed bugs should live in peace and harmony. When I say I live with bed bugs, it is to me, like saying "I live with HIV or cancer". I do see bed bugs as a communicable disease that affects millions, and the only difference between living with bed bugs and living with HIV or cancer is that with cancer, at least you get sympathy. Is it acceptable to live with cancer? Of course not.
"Since you're doing regular deep cleaning anyway, try steam on all your furniture and home crevices. Get a decent steamer. Read Australia's Code of Practices re: bedbugs. Deep steaming kills bedbugs."-Anonymous commenter
Since the commenter seems to be quoting from Australia's Code of Practices (I thought you Australians spell it as "practise", or is that just the British?) I'm guessing they are from Australia. Perhaps the American use of passive-sounding language (i.e., "living with cancer" as opposed to "suffering from cancer") is confusing to foreigners. Yes, I am suffering from bed bugs, but I am still living nonetheless. Funny how Americans employ such passive-sounding language when you consider how warlike our government is. Perhaps like most non-Americans, the commenter thinks all Americans are outrageously wealthy. Yanks, when we're not gun-slinging and adjusting our cowboy hats, actually do make ourselves aware of the power of steam cleaners. I just can't afford one. I don't even own a vacuum cleaner.

As for spreading bed bugs around to work, school, etc., I am happy to say that this is no longer true for me. One of the other reasons I said yes and no as to whether or not I still have bed bugs is that I no longer spread them wherever I go. I know it sounds impossible, but I've always conducted a thorough inspection of my backpack before going out, always finding one or two bed bugs hiding under a flap or something, but in the last few months my inspections of my clothes, jacket and backpack have shown nothing.

What's more, M and I have been apartment-sitting my future mother-in-law's home for a few weeks last month. If I was spreading bed bugs, I would've seen one there after a few weeks. We're talking about a species of insect that can breed a few generations within one week. The absence of bed bugs in her home after four weeks, to myself and any other rationally-thinking human being, is clear evidence that I am no longer spreading any bed bugs from my home. M's mother is back home and she can be somewhat critical of me (and everyone else), so I'm sure if she finds any bed bugs, she'll have no problem letting me know. The fact that I don't seem to be spreading bed bugs anymore is another reason I said yes and no as to whether or not I still have bed bugs.

So do I have bed bugs? Yes. Am I still experiencing the typical symptoms that almost all people suffering from bed bugs endure? No. I thought I made that clear in my last post. Please don't take my little backlash as hostility towards Australians or any other nationality, for that matter, but rather my response to a single, anonymous and ignorant comment .

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs

Many of you may have read or seen on TV stories about dogs that have been trained to sniff bed bugs. Now, Advanced K9 Detectives, a company that boasts a pack of bed bug sniffing dogs that can quickly, cheaply-and most importantly, effectively-sniff a room for bed bugs following an exterminator's visit.

It amazes me how dogs' powerful sense of smell-which can be as much as 2,000 times stronger than that of a human-can be capitalized on to detect so many different things. There are even dogs who can sniff out bootleg DVDs!

But I am not interested in hiring Advanced K9 or any other similar company; I want to know how a dog can be properly trained to detect bed bugs. I would love to buy a beagle or any other breed that could accurately pinpoint the secret locations of the bed bugs in my home, because although I haven't been bitten in a long time, I do occasionally come across a dead bed bug or two, which makes me believe they're still out there, like Al-Qaeda, silently waiting to execute their next great attack.

Would anyone know if this is possible for a civilian to own a detection dog? M loves dogs and I know a trained bed bug sniffing dog would be an incredible bonus to having a dog living with us.