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Ear to the Ground

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite (Update)

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Posted on Aug 30, 2010
CDC, Harvard University / Piotr Naskrecki

Bed bug infestations are way up, thanks in part to stricter health standards for chemicals and the critters’ mounting resistance to pesticides. The problem is so out of control, reports the AP, that desperate Americans are dousing their possessions in toxic chemicals, despite warnings from the EPA.

Update: The New York Times some interesting information about the outbreak and bed bugs, themselves, starting with the acknowledgement that we know relatively little about them.

AP via Yahoo:

A resurgence of bedbugs across the U.S. has homeowners and apartment dwellers taking desperate measures to eradicate the tenacious bloodsuckers, with some relying on dangerous outdoor pesticides and fly-by-night exterminators.

The problem has gotten so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency warned this month against the indoor use of chemicals meant for the outside. The agency also warned of an increase in pest control companies and others making “unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost.”

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By Druthers, August 31, 2010 at 7:38 am Link to this comment


No wonder there is such an epidemic!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, August 31, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

They say Bedbugs are spread by Republicans having sex with lobbyists.

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By samosamo, August 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment


Believe it or not, but the common cock roach loves to eat those
bed bugs, along with ants, spiders, mites. And a pity that
‘biological control(making your house a hazardous materials
toxic waste dump) isn’t very practical. So maybe the cost of
getting a dog to come in and sniff them out will justify the cost
of finding that you just may not have bedbugs in the first place.

Natural enemies of bedbugs include the masked hunter (also
known as “masked bedbug hunter”),[17] cockroaches,[18] ants,
spiders, mites, and centipedes. The Pharaoh ant’s (Monomorium
pharaonis) venom is lethal to bedbugs. Biological control is not
very practical for eliminating bedbugs from human

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By Queenie, August 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

A safe and inexpensive way to get rid of bedbugs, fleas, lice and other pests in your home is food grade diatomaceous earth. You can get a 50 pound bag for about 25 bucks. Just sprinkle it around the mop boards, between the mattress and box spring or wherever you want. It is harmless to pets, crawling babies (house apes) plants, fish or what have you. But when the bedbug comes in contact with this stuff, it cuts them to shreds.
So far, I have not heard of an outbreak here in Maine but I am sure they are around. I am locked and loaded.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, August 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment


Mucha gracia amigo!

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By Gmonst, August 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

You are such a smart-ass Rico grin

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, August 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Try buying a new mattress and getting the store to take your old one. Yesterday yeah, today, shit no man, bedbugs! Try selling it on craigslist- same story.

You could follow Gmonst’s “heated” advice, but look at the HUGE carbon footprint you’d leave behind! And laundering? All those phosphates dumped into the environment? You could fumigate and risk getting beheaded by the EPA gestapo. “fly-by-night exterminators”! I LOVE THAT!

Look at it this way. It’s the “get back to nature” paradigm you guys have all been rooting for. Learn to coexists with the BBs. They’re all Gaia’s creatures and should be properly valued.


Good one!

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By Gmonst, August 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Bed bugs have hit the media cycle.  I have seen a lot of reports on this lately after first seeing a story in a small local paper several weeks ago.  I was a bit surprised and disappointed that this article didn’t mention that there is an effective control method that doesn’t require chemicals, heat.  Radiant heaters can be used to raise the temperature of a room to 114 f.  and kept there for several hours it will kill the bedbugs and their eggs which are very sensitive to dehydration.  The downside is the same as for chemicals in that they can escape the heat by going into walls and moving to another area, just as they can escape chemically treated rooms.  However it seems to me a practice of sealing off the space with plastic and then heating it would be far more desirable than looking to use unsafe chemicals.  Probably not as much profit in using heat and in hawking chemicals.

I personally will be laundering all my clothing and inspecting my luggage immediately upon returning from staying in hotels.

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By skulz fontaine, August 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Alrighty then, now we know why the housewives are desperate.

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By Druthers, August 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

This may be called Kafka’s revenge.

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