Thursday, October 21, 2010

And Now for Something from the "Otherwise" Category... Bedbugs! (And a Guest Blogger!)

Since I continue to be under the weather, which translates to lazy as fuck, imagine my delight when someone requested to write a guest post for yours truly!

Anyhow, everyone welcome Andrew Hall from the (now defunct) My Dog Ate My Blog!

Bedbugs: Tiny, Itchy, Little Horsemen of Despair

Long thought to be a problem of the past, bedbugs have suddenly gone from "bad" to "unbelievably bad" to "much worse than we ever expected," especially in New York, where the situation has degenerated into the city's major calling for the appointment of a "bedbug czar" and movie theaters closing to destroy all of their seats and reupholster following a bedbug invasion. Some New Yorkers have even reported seeing bedbugs crawling on people taking the train, much to their shock and horror. And given how well bedbugs can move, this is unsurprising.

The pesticide-resistant bedbug came from somewhere else in the world following a 50-year hiatus and relocated to New York in the last several years. They can spread far too easily through apartment buildings, as a single contaminated space can lead to the contamination of every apartment in a building horizontally or vertically; bedbugs can even be seen literally crawling from apartment to apartment across hallways. They can spread through plumbing pipes and also through the wiring in apartment complexes, making cleanup obscenely expensive; one building in Ohio lost thousands of dollars eradicating bedbugs from its property.

Bedbugs can come into a property through a number of ways; they can be brought in through bedbug-infested furniture (or books, or clothes, or electronics, or anything, really, made out of wood or offering a spot to nest in), crawl onto clothing when people are out during a day, on animals, or on anyone carrying anything with a bedbug infestation. The evidence of a bedbug infestation becomes increasingly apparent as they multiply and grow in numbers; you'll see bedbug feces - small red spots that smear - on bedsheets, bedbug exoskeletons, which resemble small flakes, and on some people reddish welts. Bedbugs emerge just before dawn and inject a numbing agent into blood sources before they consume, making it difficult to see an actual bedbug. Furthermore, they're extremely small, making screening tools such as bedbug dogs increasingly valuable as invasions increase.

One can get rid of bedbugs by getting rid of the objects they have invested and through vigorous screening processes, but it's extremely difficult, as two survivors can produce 500 more and reinfest. The coming autumn and winter will change little; bedbugs stay inside, where it's warm, and can live for years without feeding, meaning that it's going to take something else before this scourge comes to any sort of resolution.

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