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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bedbugs and Dust Mites and Rodents, Oh My Part 1 - Bedbugs

First of all I do not now, have ever had in the past, or anticipate having bedbugs in the future. But Baltimore and surrounding areas seem to be infested.  On the local evening news, we've had tales of woe from various and sundry folks like the megamillionaire estate owner,whose face and voice were obscured like she was some kind of mafia informer, who's had the exterminators out five times no avail; to the poor guy who gave away all of his possessions, walked away from his condo and shaved his head because of an infestation.  Wouldn't you hate to be the realtor handling that sale?

Since both of these poor souls got their bedbugs while traveling, we now have had a spate of information on how to travel during these insect driven times. So since I don't think you guys out west have this problem yet, I decided to share some of the bedbug info.

Since it would probably be a very bad idea to go up to the front desk of whatever hotel, motel, spa or lodge in which you are staying and ask, in a very loud voice, about the establishment's bedbug status, there are new rules for the intrepid traveler.

First, when arriving at your room, leave your suitcases in the hall outside of the door.  It helps if you have a traveling companion who can watch the luggage while you walk into the room barefoot.  A bedbug can lodge itself in the crease of your shoe, so it's best to leave your shoes outside.

Then carrying a flashlight, proceed to the bed where you will basically strip it down layer by layer, carefully inspecting for any red insects the size of an apple seed.  Then turn your attention to any upholstered furniture, making sure none of the sneaky little devils aren't lurking there.  If the room is all clean, it's more or less safe to bring in your suitcases.  Of course your going to have to remake the bed. But this is the price you pay for travelling.  If on the other hand you see any bedbugs, report it immediately to the management. Now here's where things get tricky.  You are supposed to get rid of all of the clothes and shoes you are wearing.  Not just take them off but trash them.  No one says where you are to do this.  Do you do it in the infested room and run out naked out into the hall where you quickly change your clothes. Or do you go into a public restroom and change your clothes and shoes, leaving the potentially infested items in the trash. No one has been very clear about this.  When I get the definitive answer, I'll certainly let you know.

Upon arriving home you have a new routine to follow.  Since bedbugs can be anywhere and you could have potentially gotten one in your shoe in that public restroom where someone has just trashed their clothes. You do not take your potentially bedbug infested suitcases full of potentially infested clothes into the house .  No, you open up your suitcases and immediately sort your clothes, including the ones you are wearing, into two piles, wash and dry clean.  Opening up the box of large trash bags which you should carry with you at all times, you dump your clothes into the bags and stick your suitcase in a construction sized bag.  Then stark naked you can proceed into your house and  go to your laundry room where you wash your wash pile in the hottest water you have. Oh yes you have to set your water heater to at least 130 degrees, because only water at the temperature will kill bedbugs.  Now I don't know about how things are where you live, but I could get arrested for running around my neighborhood the way God made me.

This is all so confusing, it sort of makes you want to stay home.  But wait, we will soon be talking about dust mites.


  1. We do have bed bugs here in the West and they are a pain in the arse! Heat kills bed bugs- heat lamps on your bed, or floors, and vaccumming everything also helps.
    Hope you don't have them now!

  2. No, I don't have them. But they're everywhere in the news. I know that you have to cook them or freeze them. The housing projects where our patient population lives are infested, which means our patients are infested. This is something that no one around here can mention. We can talk about the socialite and the marketing guy, but not the housing projects. Oh well dust mites are more politically correct.