Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Bed-'Buggy' Story

Image via WikipediaLot of apartments in US are infested with bed bugs. I didn't know this fact and hence I stayed in a room which had bed bugs for three months. I didn't realize it for first two months, but I felt that something was biting me and disturbing me in sleep. After a few days, I found some on my bed and thats how I discovered them. The apartment people came and treated it for bugs. Luckily I had to shift to another place after this. This place didn't have bed bugs or atleast I didn't see them initially. But after one month, I observed bed bugs on the bed of this room too. I thought even this apartment had bugs and was cursing about how bad it is that U.S people had to put up with bed bugs.
I wondered why we don't have bed bugs in India. I found out that because of the high temperatures in India, they don't survive and hence we didn't have this menace. See how lucky we are that sun shines all round saving us from these bugs. First some bed bug facts:

Bed bugs are small bloodsucking insects that feed on humans & other warm-blooded animals.
•Bed Bugs often hide in mattresses but they can also survive in furniture, behind wall coverings and pictures/paintings. They will crawl and nest inside tiny crevices anywhere indoors, as long as there is a source of food (blood).
•While bed bugs do not transmit any pathogens or diseases, their bites usually result in swollen red, itchy welts.
•Bed bugs are typically nocturnal insects (they creep about at nightime).
•There are other types of bed bugs including the bat bug, the chimney swift bug and the swallow bug. All of these relatives survive on blood feeding, however these secondary parasites thrive on either bats or birds as their primary victims.
•Small reddish or brownish spots on one’s linens are often the first sign of an infestation. These spots are the bed bug’s droppings. Another sign is swelling where you’ve been bitten.
•Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of unkempt/dirty homes or buildings.
•A female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs during her lifetime.
•Bed bugs are less than 1/4″ in length, flat, and oval-shaped like; a bit like a sunflower seed.
•Bed bugs can go up to a year without a blood meal
•A bed bug’s saliva features an anesthetic to numb the pain as it’s biting. It also contains anti-coagulant to keep the blood of it’s meal host flowing.
Furniture that is inspected should be inspected thoroughly. Remove pull out drawers and inspect any and all small creases and openings.
Taking apart furniture is often advised you want to get at the source of the bed bugs infestation. Doing this in a garage or outdoors is preferred if possible.
The covering on the bottom a box spring bed should be taken off for inspection and treatment measures. If the infestation is severe, you may want to dispose of the mattress.
Bed bugs are many times also found underneath the edges carpets, where ceilings and walls meet, behind light switch covers and outlets, in clothes, inside appliances, and behind baseboards and carpet stays.
If possible, it is usually recommended that you hire a professional pest control company. They will know where and how to look for bed bug infestations and will have the equipment required to remove the critters. Homeowners should get rid of any clutter (boxes, clothing, papers and junk) in order to help the process.
It often takes a professional 4-6 hours to do a thorough inspection and initial treatment. Please be advised that additional inspections and treatments are usually necessary.
Bed bugs infested bedding materials and cloths will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Take them to a laundry mat if you don’t want to bed bugs in your washer and dryer. But never use insecticides on materials that would come in contact with your body. Also, if you have pets, be sure to understand the possible affects chemicals may have on them.
A thorough vacuuming effectively removes both bed bugs and their eggs from mattresses, walls, and carpeting. Special attention should be given to creases and crevices. Be sure to get rid of the vacuum bag/contents in a sealed garbage bag. A professional hot water carpet extraction is also recommended if possible. More information at

So what happened to me: Actually I should have reported that I found bed bugs, but as my previous apartment I thought they were common everywhere. But now I had to move to a different place again. I had paid a deposit of 500$ to my previous apartment which I should get back on moving. But what happened was that my apartment owner was slapped a $600 fine for having bed bugs in his house and because of that - he says I was responsible for bed bugs in his home - a claim which I cannot prove. But he has refused to give me back my deposit. Ohh..these bloody suckers, I mean the bed bugs, have not only sucked my blood, but also my hard earned money. So now I have to carefully observe if something happens in this new apartment too, lest I lose my deposit again. So all those people who dream of coming to US beware of bed bugs. Always make sure, where ever you stay doesn't have bed bugs and report bugs the first instance you see them. This will make your stay as well as everyone's stay pleasant.
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