The re-emergence of a long-forgotten pest has again reared its ugly head to the dismay of most people. This pest I am referring to is the bedbug.
In the August 30, 2010 edition of Time Magazine an article entitled, Nightmare on Bedbug Street grasped my immediate attention. It is written by Nina Burleigh.
The story opens as follows, “An hour after falling asleep in a hotel in Bologna, Italy, I woke up to a nightmare. Flicking on the bedside lamp, I saw a dozen or more small reddish brown bugs on the crisp white linen near my pillow. The bugs were moving slowly, apparently in a state of blood-gorged euphoria, and I was able to trap a few under an ashtray with one hand while dialing the front desk with the other as I tried to remember the Italian word for bug. A hotel manager bustled up and assured me in accented English that the creatures were “just from the garden,” but he moved me to another room any way”.
After reading that account I literally started scratching my arms as an uncomfortable feeling crept over me. How gross and sickening.
Curious as to what type of bug had just invaded her privacy she did a Google search to find out what bedbugs really looked like. Overnight she was to become the recipient of head to toe welts all over her body.
It seems that even though these bugs were supposedly put to rest nearly 50 years ago, they have resurrected from their long and restful sleep. And now they are seemingly making their presence known with a powerful vengeance.
In the past a DDT pesticide was the solution used to eradicate this problem. But that is no longer the case. According to a University of Kentucky entomologist, Michael F. Potter, “The bugs developed a resistance to DDT decades ago. He goes on to say, there is still at least one pesticide, propoxur, that kills adult bedbugs within 24 hours and keeps killing newborns as they hatch.”
Even those this might have been an effective way to get rid of these pests, its use has been prohibited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is believed not to be safe based on the results yielded in testing on animals and exposure to those persons administering it. That argument is contested by EPA Pesticide Chief Steven Bradbury who says, “We believe the window between a safe dose and a dangerous dose for a toddler is very small”.
This plague-like event is apparently worldwide in scope as local and national governments are trying to come up with workable solutions to this catastrophe.
While these bugs may be readily seen in your home and hotels, they are also found in office buildings, churches, libraries and restaurants. In short, they can be found just about any place where people frequent on a regular basis.
Cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati and New York have been especially hard hit by this situation. The need for a solution has been so great that thousands upon thousands of dollars has been spent to get to the bottom of this problem.
Dogs have also gotten into the act in this bedbug battle as they are being trained to sniff out these small creatures.
Here are some recommendations suggested by the EPA in the prevention of home infestation: “reducing clutter, sealing cracks and crevices, vacuuming often, drying infested clothes at high heat and using a special mattress cover so you can sleep tight without letting the bedbugs bite. Travelers should inspect hotel mattresses, box springs and headboards for the pests and the ink-like streaks of their droppings”.
According to this article the author states, “bedbugs don’t transmit disease, but they can be harmful to mental health as many Ohioans (and I) can attest”.
As a person who occasionally travels, I know I would rest much easier knowing that this problem has come to a successful conclusion. Wouldn’t you? While sharing a bed is fine, bedbugs are not what I have in mind.
Time Magazine, August 30, 2010 Edition, pgs. 63-64.