Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watch Your Wires!

For those of you in New York City, you know the temperature went up to the 70s this week. I had a standing fan that I had put away during the winter months, and this week I took it back out to make up for the fact that I have no air conditioning. The area of my bedroom where I usually put this fan is too far away from any outlet, so I used a heavy duty extension cord to solve the problem.

But instead of unplugging the extension cord from the outlet back in November when I put away the fan, I simply left the extension cord on the floor, splayed out along the wall and still plugged into the outlet, without giving it a second thought.

Fast forward back to two days ago: I put the fan in place and get on my knees to plug it into the extension cord, except...

...there are bed bugs in the extension cord.

The extension cord itself is covered with little dots of bed bug feces, and live bugs are crawling out of it, and some dead bugs fall out of the cord as I pick it up. My eyes follow the length of the cord back to the outlet (actually it's one of those box adapters that turn two outlets into six), where I can see a few specks of bed bug feces. Long story short, I replace the infested cord as M mops the area and carefully wipes down the outlet with rubbing alcohol.

I have no idea if the bugs that ventured inside the old extension cord sensed heat from the live electrical currents, mistaking it for body heat. If anyone knows if there's any connection between bed bugs and electricity, it would be great if they could sare with the rest of the class.

I usually have a no picture policy at Bugged Out, but I thought it was necessary to show these photos. Let this be a lesson: watch your wires!


Anonymous said...

Holy sh.t! And I thought you had them under control. Looks not that way!

Lou Sorkin is into pictures of bbs. Maybe you can send these to him for his photo site (of course, he would credit these beautiful pieces of photography to you!).

Well, at least this is a good way to catch bbs. I mean, if people like family members and pcos do not believe you have bbs, this is a sure fire-way of catching these mofos and proving these people wrong.

BedBugVictim Perth Australia said...

Holy moly! And I thought my infestation was bad.

I'm surprised you didn't check the extension cord when you were doing the last extermination though?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bugged Out!

I'm a journalist living in Alaska who picked up bed bugs while doing a story in a little quint town, the cleanest and most harmless place you could imagine. Funny! Of all the crappy places I've stayed and I pick up the critters in a coastal town with no crime or stoplights.
I appreciate your blog, especially your postings. The other bed bug blogs I've visited contain a hell and brimstone attitude, a kind of doomstay thunder in the background. Yeah, this is NO fun. I'm sick of vacuuming and sleeping on plastic pillow covers and washing laundry every damned day and constantly checking my teenaged son's room and worrying that every pimple, bump, scratch is another bite.
But it could be worse. I don't have cancer. No one is my family is dying. We have bugs, we get bites sometimes. But as long as I dust with DE and permethring and keep filling in cracks and tucking boric acid in corners and between floor tiles, things haven't gotten out of hand. It's been a five weeks since the critters hitched a ride home (in my suitcase? coat pocket? laptop case?) and so far, knock on wood, it's not so bad. I can sit on the couch and write on my laptop and not get bit. I can sit on the floor and read and not get bit. Three weeks ago I couldn't do either. I choose to see this as a small victory (Me, 1. Bedbugs, 7, but maybe I'll catch up, eh?)
But the knowledge that it could quickly escalate is daunting. I'm a writer. I have very little furniture. But I do have books. Lord, I have books and books and books. And manuscripts and pages of rough drafts and Jesus, if they get in there it will tough (right now I have DE dust and boric acid lined around all my books on all my shelves).
Anyway, I just wanted to know how much I appreciate this site.
And, have you ever considered work in journalism? It isn't always glorious, but it's a paycheck.
Cheers and take care,
Itching and dusting in Alaska

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's a crazy pic. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Bugged Out,

Just like you, I live in an apartment building in Queens. The electical wiring might be the bedbug highway for your building. That's how they moved through my building.

Here's what I did at my place.

- Shut off power to all outlets.
- Unscrew outlet plates
- Puff in drione dust into outlet box. This stuff poisons and dries bugs up. Left alone in dark space, this powder lasts a long time.
- Replace outlet cover.
- Turn fuse box switch back on.

After that, I got clear duct tape. I taped up the gap where the outlet plate meets the wall. I plugged in a box adapter, so I could still access electric. Then, I taped up the edge of the box adapter to the wall, leaving no gaps. It's a hermetically sealed box of doom. They might crawl out of the outlet, but if you taped it up correctly, they can't get into your apartment. More importantly, they can't get to you.

There's a tiny bedbug that's been dried up in one of my clear electrical prison boxes since 2006.

For anyone reading: it's alot of work, but it's so worth it. Just do one outlet at a time every other day. The tape looks ugly as hell, but it works.

I taped the gap between the molding and the floor of my entire apt also. Good luck to all.