Monday, July 21, 2008

Does the Media Hate Bed Bugs, Or Just The People Who Have Bed Bugs?

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I was recently in the hospital for six days due to a serious diabetes-related ulcer in my left foot. As a result, I lost my job at AM New York and am currently taking nausea-inducing antibiotics and am hooked up to a small machine that sucks out the infected tissue from the wound.

The good news?

  1. My doctor reports that my infection is 75% healed.
  2. I did not see one bed bug at the hospital where I stayed which was a great relief to me because while I only see dead bed bugs in my home and a live one rarely, I was still very afraid of carrying a bug to the hospital. I've experience a rise in bed bug paranoia ever since I found out an unused extension cord had become a nest for bed bugs.
I did find an interesting article regarding bed bug infestations in precinct jail cells and police cruisers, this time in New Rochelle, a small town in Upstate New York. It amazes me how ignorant most people are in regards to bed bugs. I've met many people (mostly Americans) who think that bed bugs do not exist outside of New York City. I don't quite understand the logic behind this theory (perhaps they are associating bed bugs with a particular ethnic group in New York City) but I am always pleased when I read about bed bugs infesting areas that are far away from New York City.
"Capt. Kevin Kealy said the issue first cropped up about three weeks ago, when some prisoners in the cell block complained of insect bites. There are no mattresses or cushioned surfaces, just a solid sleeping bench in the holding cells, he said, but bed bugs were discovered on the floor. The cell block was quarantined for three days of chemical applications to exterminate the bugs, Kealy said. "That seemed to have worked," Kealy said. But then bugs turned up in three radio cars from different tours, including a car used for a daytime tour of duty yesterday. The car was taken out of commission for 24 hours so it could be fumigated, he said."
Now some people might read that article and come to the conclusion that criminals spread bed bugs, or confirm some misconception that only poor people spread bed bugs, since most blue-collar criminals are poor. I think some people just like to equate bed bugs with a particular group to offer some logic or explanation toward the spread of bed bugs, or in some cases, their own bed bug infestation. For example, someone might believe that only people from the Middle East bring bed bugs to America and may think to themselves, "what Middle Eastern person have I been in contact with the past few days?" and use this mis belief to express their own real prejudice against people of Middle Eastern descent.

I don't know, I'm just babbling. Sometimes I feel like the media depicts people suffering from bed bugs in an unfavorable light, as if they're telling their audience, "This could never happen to you; these people are very different from you and I." In this particular article, only the inmates (and one cop) are reported as having suffered bug bites, and the inmates are directly blamed for having introduced the bugs to the cruisers and jail cells, even though the officers' locker room, which is obviously one part of the precinct a suspect would never be allowed to enter, is also fumigated.

The original bed bugs must have come in on a prisoner, he said. While the county jail said they did not have "a massive infestation," it only takes one person to carry in the bugs and create a problem, Kealy said.

"The concern is even if you exterminate every inch of the place, another prisoner could bring them in and they re-infest," Kealy said.

Myabe this is just isolated to American media or New York media. I know Bugged Out is visited by a lot of people from across the U.S.A. and around the world, so can anyone tell me about the quality of media coverage of bed bugs in their hometown or country?