Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite

by Mark on August 21, 2010

For thousands of nights as children, my parents chanted this singsong poem as we went to sleep, “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” One of us normally giggled, “What’s a bed bug?” For all of these decades it remained a mystery – until last week.

New York City, about six hours southeast of us, is a bed bug battleground. At least two Times Square movie theaters became infested. Imagine watching “Eat, Pray & Love” and some creepy crawler is munching on your arms or shins? The one-eighth to quarter inch reddish-brown buggers invaded high priced hotels, 5th Avenue retail shops, and dozens of restaurants. Itchy blotches cover the arms and other limbs of the victims. Bed bug suffers become ostracized by friends, neighbors, and customers that fear the blotches will bring the plague to them. Pest control companies, and those looking for a fast buck, are promoting all types of remedies. I like the ‘BB Alert’ that blasts a warning during a parasite attack.

Bed bugs were common in America prior to World War II. DDT eradicated the pests. We actually used to follow city trucks on our bikes as they sprayed the gassy foggy chemical in the neighborhoods not realizing the U.S. would ban it as major cancer-causer a few years later. The theory behind the latest infestation is world travel. Bed bugs remain active in some popular international destinations. Like a cute little cartoon character they jump into a travelers pocket and make it through full body searches at the airport. Talk about illegal immigration.

I do not believe bed bugs will invade the frozen tundra of Upstate New York. It is disappointing not to be able to pass on my parent’s little poem to grandson, Jaymeson, and my nieces, Kierra and Lexi, without frightening them. “God bless and keep you safe” is no doubt better.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Freeland August 21, 2010 at 11:07 am

Mark:
You write well and I enjoyed this post. My wife has a lot of questions about bed bugs, which compliments the writer, prompting the reader to find out more.

1. How do you get rid of them after the DDT ban?
2. How big are they?
3. Are they the same as dust mites (no).

I heard on the radio that UW-Milwaukee has a BB infestation in progress. I don’t think they’ve got a problem with frozen tundra.

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