Bedbugs!

Lord Gonchar's avatar

My experience as the husband of a hotel pro was that the actual incidences of bedbugs didn't go up at all (and we're in Dayton - supposedly one of the worst cities at the height of the 'epidemic'), but the complaints from guests about bedbugs went up considerably.

Which to me said the scare stories were working. People were thinking they (saw, felt, got bit by, smelled, tasted, sensed, perceived, ingested, cohabitatated with) bedbugs.

I dunno. Thought of this today for some reason. Seems we all like these sorts of things in the moment and quickly forget about them...which is exactly why these kinds of stories take off all the time. We remember the scare, not the reality. I like to go back and assign accountability. That doesn't happen enough and it needs to for these 'stories' to be complete.


CoasterDemon's avatar

It definitely has affected me - about 2 years ago. I was living in a sober/recovery house for just over 2 years. In the last few months there, a girl downstairs found a whole colony of bed bugs in her bed. It was disgusting. We threw out the downstairs mattresses, cleaned, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, I did my own research at BedBugCentral.com. The "Bed Bug Guy" Jeff White (entomologist specializing in bed bugs) has a whole series of videos on the the nasty critters. I watched all those videos.

I never found any in my room upstairs. But they kept popping up in the downstairs rooms. Then I had a bite. I should say bites as many times, a bed bug has to keep inserting their proboscis into you due to you scratching or moving around while you are sleeping. It's common to have a circle of little red dots, or 2 or 3 dots at the bite location. But I still couldn't find any in my room.

The time came to move out. While cleaning my space, I found a live bug behind a shelf and another one on the ceiling! Bed bugs don't normally spread out like that. But we had previously sprayed pesticide, which makes the situation worse as the pesticide simply makes then spread, unless you are lucky enough to spray the bug directly.

It was a nightmare and the psychological effects (I gotta nuff freakin issues!) were horrible over time. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. When I moved, I ended up simply throwing a bunch of stuff out. Everything I took I made sure was sealed in a plastic bag or sort through carefully, cleaned and put into plastic bins.

Bed bugs are not like roaches or mice... they are very hearty and very difficult to get rid of. There were reports here in Chicago about people finding them at Nike Town, 5 star hotels, movie theaters, public transit, etc etc... We don't use DDT ("DDT keeps me happy!") anymore, and they have built up tolerance to other pesticides. Even when you lock them in a plastic bag, they can hibernate up to 18 months in very cold and very warm temps.

I'm glad many of you haven't had bed bugs or been around it first hand, and I hope you never have to.

Last edited by CoasterDemon,
Billy

I've not had any experiences personally since being bitten up at the Hilton a couple of years back. But I still do a quick spot check before unpacking in a hotel room by checking mattress folds, headboard area and other places for signs of them.

The bedbug scare has definitely died down but still hear about it occasionally from friends living downtown. My building does a check with an exterminating company and a dog as a proactive measure about once a year. Here in Toronto there was actually legislation passed not too long ago where landlords/building management are required to take action if there's a problem including full disclosure of a bedbug problem or history to all tenants or prospective tenants if asked.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

CoasterDemon said:

There were reports here in Chicago about people finding them at Nike Town, 5 star hotels, movie theaters, public transit, etc etc...

Yeah, because the sensationalization was out there.

You know what - they've always been and still are at those places. The hype around it has died down.

I guess a better question was did anyone have out-of-the-ordinary exposure or increased incidents?

I guess I'm maintaining/proposing that things weren't actually worse, they just seemed worse because we were all talking about it. We can buy into it and perpetuate it or we can keep a sense of perspective about it.

Going back and revisiting things like this maintains a level of perspective, I think.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,
Vater's avatar

Yep. Again, I point out the media storm around shark attacks in 2001 as a perfect example of this.

In some ways, aside from it being an annoying media buzz, the hype was productive. I'm more comfortable now that my building does regular inspections and that people are aware it to identify a problem.

As Billy touched on, getting bitten is a really horrible experience. Fortunately the Hilton treated my clothing and bags from that incident and they didn't come home with me. But the psychological fallout from it is really draining. It really takes several weeks before you're able to get a good night's sleep.

kpjb's avatar

Who cares about bedbugs when there's a zombie apocalypse going on?!


Hi

I found out my house got infested last month, and it cost me $1,200 to get rid of em. :( Fearing they may have come from the Nursing Home my Mother's in, I checked her room and found none, the next place was a friends house, none there either. That means they probably "Hitchhiked" on me while I was "Garage Sailing", which I do each weekend. From now on I check every box that houses merchandise I look at, as well as the merchandise itself. Trust me, these @&%#!! Pests will strike you when you LEAST expect it! :(


Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!
CoasterDemon's avatar

I take back what I said about never wishing bed bugs on anyone.

I think some people could benefit from the experience (insert smiley face). And then I would be interested in reading their post(s) online.


Billy
LostKause's avatar

I never experienced them, but because of the "epidemic" a few years ago, I always check my hotel rooms before I let my bags touch the floor.

Other than that, I never give Bedbugs any thought.


Wow...I remember when I started this thread in 2010!

I still am facinated by the relationship between parsites & hosts.

Last year I caught a few small snappers [Baby Bluefish] from a Long Island Pier. I would always check the gills for leeches before thowing it back. When I see them, I use a small knife and remove the leech to prevent it from damaging other fish. On one leetch, I rememeber slicing it down the middle and about a thousand ash-colored, spider-mite sized parasites of it's own started pouriing out en mass, looking for the saftey of a new host. It was one of the sickest things I have ever seen in real life.

I do bring a high-powered flashlight to hotels and I check the mattresses, couches, chairs, carpet, luggage carts, etc looking for evidence of bed bugs. I also check my own house cusions every so often. I work in 4 schools, my son is in school and mom teaches a younger grade in a different school.

You have to be on guard...but I do get caught up in the hype.


Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

I have bedbugs right now. A 3 year old and a 5 year old. And yes they do pack a mean bite! ;)

Ensign Smith said:

Speaking of which, Ffej seems to have gone away. Did he get himself banned, or did he just stomp off in disgust?

I just saw this and was wondering if you were referring to me, the "Ffej" that has been posting on PointBuzz for 10 years?

I had never discussed on CoasterBuzz until I joined as "Jeph" at the end of 2011. The user name "Ffej" was already taken on Coasterbuzz, so whoever is posting under "Ffej" on Coasterbuzz is an entirely different person.

It makes things very confusing I imagine, as we're 2 different people with very different perspectives using the same odd user name on PB / CB.

I've been debating if I should just drop the user name "Ffej" from PointBuzz to end the confusion, but I've been posting there 10 years, and many people know my history, thoughts on topics, etc. Plus, I've gotten as attached to that username as I was to Wild Cat. ;)

So, to clarify: Ffej on PointBuzz = Jeph on Coasterbuzz, for now at least.

That was two years and thousands of posts ago for me. Nevertheless, I regret making that comment. In the intervening time I believe I've become online friends with both you, Pointbuzz Ffej, and Ffej on Coasterbuzz.

So, sorry to both of you.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

:) No apology was needed; I wasn't taking offense to it in any way. I just wanted to point out that we're different people to you and everyone that doesn't know. There have been several instances where I've felt confused with the Coasterbuzz Ffej. Sounds like you were already well aware though. :)

Oh, and somehow this thread made me research bed bugs for a couple hours last night, and then I didn't fall asleep until broad daylight.

Timber-Rider's avatar

I worked for a major retailer for 15 years, and I was constantly getting sick, and, couldn't figure out why. A majority of the time that I was sick happened in the last few years that I worked there. A doctor and I finally figured out what the cause was. It was those fabric re-use bags.

I was a cashier, and I often had people who would bring in those bags, and a majority of them never clean them. So, every time I would open a bag to put something in it, I would get a face full of dust. (Most likely dried up bits and pieces of produce.) Or, I would experience and odor so foul, makes you want to vomit on the spot. Just touching them made my skin crawl. And, that dosen't include all those who keep their kids snot rags in there. GOD!!!

Since I left that store I have not been sick since. Not even once since 2009. But, when I was employed there I was sick almost every other month, and usually spent a week sick in bed, with a week of recovery. I have no allergies that I am aware of. I'm just glad that doesn't happen any more.

I also spend my summers camping. I have been going just about every weekend for the last 5 years, and the only thing I ever came home with was bug bites. But certainly not bed bugs. I even escaped the poison ivy!

LostKause's avatar

You are a strange fellow, Timber-Rider. I don't get the connection to your post and the topic. I may have missed something.

Edited - added the letter r.

Last edited by LostKause,
CoasterDemon's avatar

^There is a connection Travis, if you look for one.

^^I can understand that, Timber-Rider. Not to mention all the dust mite carcasses going into your system. They really should print on those bags something happy happy joy joy like "throw in with your weekly laundry" or something.



Billy

Even before the hype, we always checked the bed, and behind headboards and pictures for bugs. It was just something I was taught growing up. During the hype we checked a little closer, but luckily never had any issues.

I guess I would agree with the point the things weren't significantly better or worse, just the discussion du jour.

Bedbugs are a major issue. The "hype" has died down because they are as dangerous as fleas. They carry no infectious diseases and that really didn't allow much for the media to do other than report on where they are showing up. The reality of the situation is that the EPA is not licensing any companies to produce, for indoor use, the only known chemical that is highly effective against them (Propoxur) other than DDT. Currently the only way to attempt get rid of an infestation is up to 3 treatments at $400-$800 a treatment by an exterminator using a cocktail of chemicals.

Bedbugs are unlike other infesting insects as they have no preference of the cleanliness of the house. Higher class hotels and hotels near airports see it worse than motels and 1 and 2 star hotels. The reason? Bedbugs were eradicated in the US after the last major outbreak in the '50s mianly by using DDT and Propoxur. Travelers from Europe started bringing them back in lugage and then leaving them in hotels, etc. Higher class hotels usually exterminate on an as needed basis where lower end are constantly throwing some kind of chemical into their rooms to repel odors and other insects that may present themselves. Medical facilities and schools are the ones having the biggest issue with containment.At the current rate, without the approval of Propoxur, it is estimated that the majority of the US will be impacted by Bedbugs in the next 5-10 years depending on which research you go by.

I personally was responsible for the inspection, containment and extermination of Bedbugs for a 28 store, 150,000 customer furniture rental company in Southern Ohio. We spent over $2m annually to prevent the spreading of Bedbugs. I can give you guys some pointers for those that are concerned. Spotting Bedbugs is actually quite difficult in a light or early infestation. The use of an LED flashlight is the most effective. Look at the staple lines on box springs and couches as well as all the folds and seams on mattress and pillows. Bedbugs do not like light and will run and hide deep in upholstry. Use the LED light and look for small rice like pods that are the eggs. The LED will illuminate them easier since they are opaque and will almost glow. Blood like staining on seems and on wood will also be an indicator of an infestation. If you think you have come in contact with furniture or if you have been in a house with Bedbugs take your clothing off outside at home and immediatly put them in your dryer on a heavy duty cycle for at least 30 minutes. You should do this with your childrens jackets and book bags periodically during the school year and encourage your school to not share coat hangers with other students. The only 100% effective method of killing Bedbugs and their eggs is heat. The items must maintain a tempereature of +120 degrees F for 30 minutes or more depending on the item size.

An adult Bedbug can lay 3-5 eggs a day so if you bring them into your home the infestation can start early and spread fast. They are not pleasant and it really wasn't just media hype. I just thought I would throw and expert opinion in the mix. There is much, much more information that the media and most health departments are not education on passing along.

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