Mr. Ecker rolled up a sleeve to reveal a horrifying tattoo of old bites.
March 14, 2010 8:32 AM   Subscribe

 
I'm for anything that brings pain and death to bedbugs, up to and including tactical nuclear strikes.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 8:45 AM on March 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can attest to the fact that bed bugs fuckin' suck.
posted by gman at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, Cruiser the dog left his fleas behind, so the owners called Quincy, one of a new breed of guard cat that specializes in verifying such infestations. Notoriously difficult to impress, Quincy surveyed the property with a look of disinterest, stopping occasionally to groom his tuxedo-patterned fur. He summed up the results of his investigation by saying to the owners, "You have fleas in your bed." Back in the car, he wondered: Would the reporter, who was equally smitten with Quincy's laconic wit and professional distinctions, happen to know where a guy can find dank 'nip in this town?
posted by Houyhnhnm at 9:14 AM on March 14, 2010


The building I live in apparently might be having some problems. I've been the lookout, but mostly I'm trying to trick myself into thinking that it's impossible for them to survive in my space-age viscoelastic mattress.
posted by floam at 9:32 AM on March 14, 2010


- "Since he and Mr. Rincon returned from Florida in September, they’ve done hundreds of inspections. " [at $350 each]
- "She had called the pest control company she had used, but they were backed up on inspections and couldn’t promise a dog for another week."
- "Increasingly, real estate lawyers are urging buyers in contract to inspect apartments before they close, and in their advertising"

So basically this article is pointing out that there's boatloads of money to be had owning a bed bug dog (or contracting someone to own one), though now that this article has gone mainstream there's surely going to be some of competition. I also think people will have to be on guard for fake inspection dogs as other people post on Craigslist or wherever and try to get a piece of the pie.
posted by crapmatic at 9:32 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Not only would he have to live with bedbugs to train and feed his new roommates, Cruiser and Freedom, he would have to feed the bugs, too. Remember that dinner for a bedbug is a nice long quaff of human blood; Mr. Ecker rolled up a sleeve to reveal a horrifying tattoo of old bites."

OK...sounded sort of interesting until that part...
posted by HuronBob at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2010


That article made me itchy...
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:44 AM on March 14, 2010


I can't imagine that he has a lot of dinner guests. Other than the bugs, I mean.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2010


huronbob explains quite clearly why i'm not willing to take on that kind of work.
posted by lester at 9:52 AM on March 14, 2010


gman: "I can attest to the fact that bed bugs fuckin' suck."

As anecdotal evidence goes, you make an exceptionally strong case. Strong enough, in fact, that it should put the matter to rest without need for further evidence to be uncovered.

please
posted by vanar sena at 10:18 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


How do they teach a dog to smell beg bugs? I mean if a dog's nose is super sensitive to all smells doesn't the poor animal just get overwhelmed? Are they perhaps smelling blood as a proxy which a dog's nose might be naturally tuned to?
posted by three blind mice at 10:21 AM on March 14, 2010


Much as I miss NYC lots of days, today ain't one. We got out just before things exploded, it seems.
posted by emjaybee at 10:36 AM on March 14, 2010


How do they teach a dog to smell beg bugs? I mean if a dog's nose is super sensitive to all smells doesn't the poor animal just get overwhelmed?

Same way they teach a dog to smell pot, or bombs, or anything else. If dogs' supersensitive noses could be so easily overwhelmed, it'd be a disadvantage that would be selected out, and we certainly wouldn't use them to smell things.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:37 AM on March 14, 2010


How do they teach a dog to smell beg bugs?

The bugs have a smell, humans can smell them too. it's like an almond scent. Seriously. My wife was a social worker at a building in Times Square at had to do room inspections, she could identify them by smell. But it's probably got to be pretty bad if a human can detect it. And that wasn't always the worst things in those rooms....(shudder)
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:45 AM on March 14, 2010


Aaah yes, teh bedbugs. Another reason I'm glad I left New York.

Maybe it's time to start using DDT again? I mean yeah, everybody loves birds n' shit, but really? Bedbugs have made a serious comeback. Malaria has made a serious comeback -- and that shit kills people. Maybe a few dead birds ... isn't all that bad?

Aside from that, I do tend to wonder what the bedbug risk is like in SF. When I lived in NYC, everyone I knew either had bedbugs at some point, or knew at least 5 people who had. People in SF don't talk about it as much, but I still wonder....
posted by Afroblanco at 10:51 AM on March 14, 2010


there's boatloads of money to be had owning a bed bug dog (or contracting someone to own one), though now that this article has gone mainstream there's surely going to be some of competition.

Or, you can do it yourself: A new low-cost, homemade bed-bug detector, which only requires dry ice, a 1/3-gallon jug, a plastic cat food dish, a piece of paper, and talcum powder.
posted by Houstonian at 10:54 AM on March 14, 2010 [16 favorites]


ok, how many of you bookmarked the "do it yourself" site? If you didn't , are you just foolish?
posted by HuronBob at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean if a dog's nose is super sensitive to all smells doesn't the poor animal just get overwhelmed? Are they perhaps smelling blood as a proxy which a dog's nose might be naturally tuned to?

Human eyes are way sharper then pretty much all other animals, do we get overwhelmed? No.

Actually we have a huge part of our brain dedicated to vision. And other Other animals that smell really well typical have larger olfactory centers in the brain too, (I think).
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on March 14, 2010


I mean yeah, everybody loves birds n' shit, but really?

I don't think there are too many birds in NYC apartments.

But also, what about tiny bed-bug hunting robots?
posted by delmoi at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2010


As anyone considered how we might poison our blood and kill the little fuckers at their food source?
posted by found missing at 11:22 AM on March 14, 2010


Has anyone considered how we might poison our blood and kill the little fuckers at their food source?

Hmm. Well, I guess the sacrifice might be worth it--as long as you could take a few of those bastards down with you.
posted by washburn at 11:28 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's time to start using DDT again?

Not sure if you were being serious, but keep in mind that:
1) the birds you reference are part of any healthy ecosystem. you take one piece out of a balanced system and others fail (e.g. killing off mosquitoes does terrible things to bat and frog populations).
2) one of the big risks with DDT etc is bioaccumulation, whereby the poison remains in the bird, which is eaten by something, which is eaten by something else, which is eaten by something else, which is eaten by humans. Or replace the last step with dies, and decomposes, letting the DDT into the ground and/or groundwater.
3) there is evidence that DDT is a carcinogen (yay, cancer!) and a teratogen (yay, birth defects!). Do you want that spread around your home and/or the places your food is grown?
posted by whatzit at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2010


What a racket he's got going on here.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:39 AM on March 14, 2010


now that this article has gone mainstream there's surely going to be some of competition. I also think people will have to be on guard for fake inspection dogs as other people post on Craigslist or wherever and try to get a piece of the pie.

Possibly (this isn't the first publicity they've received, though). The facility that works with the University of Florida appears to be part of an accreditation association, and the EPA is considering national certification.
posted by dhartung at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2010


there is evidence that DDT is a carcinogen (yay, cancer!) and a teratogen (yay, birth defects!). Do you want that spread around your home and/or the places your food is grown?

In order to kill all the bedbugs I would mutate GOD HIMSELF
posted by Greg Nog at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


What a racket he's got going on here.

Obviously, you've never had bedbugs.
posted by dhartung at 11:43 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


"yeah, everybody loves birds n' shit, but really?"

My initial reaction to this was "xxxxx". But maybe I'll offer my favorite pest control story instead. I heard this on the radio several years ago, and I hope it's true. It was about a guy in India who had established a relationship with a group of magpies near his village. When one of his neighbours had an insect infestation, he would go out and whistle for the magpies, and they would follow him to the insects. The neighbours paid for this service - during the right season, the man could live off his income from the work of the magpies.

Just saying that, with the proper perspective, "birds n' shit" can realize actual monetary value, if that's what turns your crank.

By the way, bringing back DDT in a responsible, regulated way is probably an option. Using it as the universal pest control solution ("you're soaking in it!") as was done in the past, is where the problem lies.
posted by sneebler at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2010



As anyone considered how we might poison our blood and kill the little fuckers at their food source?


Maybe some bright company has a human/bedbug version of Frontline or Advantage in the works even as we speak.
posted by dilettante at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2010


I've been thinking about that idea of poisoned blood myself. We put an anti-flea treatment on our cats monthly that works by preventing the next generation of fleas from maturing. It's very effective. It seems to me that a similar treatment of the tenants could rid a building of bedbugs within a couple of bedbug generations.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once cured a bedbug infestation with a combination of chemical powders from The Formula Book which was a book of recipes to create common household products like shampoo and mouthwash. I can't seem to find my copy and you can't read it in Google Books or I'd post the recipe. As I remember it called for boric acid and salicylic acid and a few other things which I bought in a drug store. That was twenty five years ago though, you'd probably get on some DHS list as a potential bomb maker if you tried to buy them now.
posted by octothorpe at 11:56 AM on March 14, 2010


I've been thinking about that idea of poisoned blood myself.

Guys, I saw this movie and it does not go well for Mira Sorvino
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


In regards to my previous comment -- I didn't mean to seem callous to environmental causes, but I have read that the dangers of DDT have been overblown. A number of people believe that global DDT bans have done more harm than good, especially taking into account the resurgence of malaria in the 3rd world.

And having dealt with bedbugs in the past, would I be willing to take a chance with DDT to be rid of the fuckers? You bet your sweet ass I would.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2010


Houyhnhnm: ... Quincy surveyed the property with a look of disinterest, stopping occasionally to groom his tuxedo-patterned fur. He summed up the results of his investigation by saying to the owners, "You have fleas in your bed."

Yeah, but man, are those CAT scans expensive!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


To follow up on my do-it-yourself link, the researcher is at Rutgers University. That university's website now has a PDF (free download) with the complete instructions including photos.
posted by Houstonian at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2010


And having dealt with bedbugs in the past, would I be willing to take a chance with DDT to be rid of the fuckers? You bet your sweet ass I would.

QFT
posted by gemmy at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have read that the dangers of DDT have been overblown.

And I have read that global warming is bunk, and that Obama wants to kill my granny.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have read that the dangers of DDT have been overblown.

I, too, would like to know if there is a safe and responsible way of using it. Spraying it on a river out of a firehose? Probably not the safest way to be using DDT. But if DDT is as effective against bed bugs as the article claims, certainly there is a safe, responsible way of treating an urban apartment building?
posted by geoff. at 12:20 PM on March 14, 2010


"Not only would he have to live with bedbugs to train and feed his new roommates, Cruiser and Freedom, he would have to feed the bugs, too. Remember that dinner for a bedbug is a nice long quaff of human blood; Mr. Ecker rolled up a sleeve to reveal a horrifying tattoo of old bites."

OK...sounded sort of interesting until that part...


Crushed fresh cilantro smells like bedbugs. Another name for cilantro, more usually applied to the seeds, coriander, supposedly comes from the Greek word for bedbugs.

I don't see why you couldn't use cilantro to train your dogs.
posted by jamjam at 1:03 PM on March 14, 2010


I had a bed bug sniffing dog come check my place out after an infestation. After the dog did her thing and the chemical-wielding guys did their thing, I was blissfully non-itchy. I was really happy with the results, even though it cost a pretty penny. It was completely worth it.
posted by inmediasres at 1:09 PM on March 14, 2010


Maybe it's time to start using DDT again?

DDT is not a miracle substance. It has a "DDT solved everything" aura around it because it was one of the first widely used pesticides that wasn't equally toxic to humans and insects. Also its manufacturers, such as Monsanto, were damn good at marketing it as a cure all substance. It certainly saved many lives preventing disease in WW2 and around the world. However, like I said, it is not a miracle substance. Like other pesticides, insects become resistant to DDT. It's well documented that mosquitoes and beadbugs become resistant to DDT. Some DDT mosquito control programs were cancel because DDT used in large quantities led to widespread mosquito resistance. Continuing DDT spraying would have been a waste of money. In fact there is research suggesting that widespread DDT use created beadbugs that are not only resistant to DDT but other modern insecticides that use similar modes of action. So if anything DDT use created super beadbugs whose great great great great grandchildren are currently happily walking around. DDT is really good at creating pesticide resistance because it can be environmentally persistent in sub lethal quantities for long periods of time.

DDT is not a miracle substance. It's just one pesticide in a long list of pesticides whose time has come and gone. Also, "the DDT was so awesome crowd" is often closely associated with the ant-science, conspiracy theory, sort of libertarian crowd, who want to blame Rachel Carson for the deaths of millions of Africans due to malaria. I'm not accusing anyone here of being wacko conspiracy people. Just be careful about what websites you use for DDT information.
posted by Procloeon at 1:41 PM on March 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


A number of people believe that global DDT bans have done more harm than good, especially taking into account the resurgence of malaria in the 3rd world

DDT and malaria.
posted by Bangaioh at 1:49 PM on March 14, 2010


Forget DDT. We had a whole building full of bedbugs, and a complete nightmare in my household, but we all worked together, steamed everything that wouldn't be destroyed by water, and sprayed rubbing alcohol on everything else. Problem solved. I think the psychological effect of bedbugs is far worse and more durable than bedbugs, and there is no reason to start poisoning our world out of irrational fear and paranoia.
posted by fuq at 2:06 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


DDT is not a miracle substance.

Well, that's not entirely true. DDT was very effective - too effective - not only did it kill mosquito populations, but it was devastating to fish and bird populations:

DDT is most famous for its effect on birds. Some research have shown that for certain species, DDT causes the thinning of eggshells.

Some species affected by DDT:
osprey
eagles
pelicans
falcons
hawks


Joni Mitchell said it best: Give me spots on my apples, leave me the birds and the bees.
posted by three blind mice at 2:25 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes everyone, please lookout for the DDT resistant "beadbugs". Man I suck at proof reading if you haven't noticed already. Now I'll stop attempting to write and go back to identifying mayflies.
posted by Procloeon at 2:39 PM on March 14, 2010


Procloeon : DDT is not a miracle substance.

True. But with virtually all home-pest insects, a miracle cure does exist, and one totally harmless to humans and pets (unless you have pet insects that you allow free run of your house - creepy!)...

Diatomaceous earth. Comes in 20-50lb bags for a pittance. Pour it (just a thin line, like drawing with sand-art - pointy-tip ketchup dispensers work great for this) into cracks in your floors, around the edges of rooms, across door jambs, and anywhere you have cracks and crannies in your house. Leave it there for a week (it has no odor and basically just looks like and feels like white sand). Vacuum it up when confident your insects have vanished.

For human/pet parasites (like bedbugs), wash the human (or pet) and their bedding thoroughly (in hot water, if you usually use only cold).

Your insect problem will vanish. Diatomaceous earth works as a purely mechanical toxin to anything with an exoskeleton - To them, it looks like a million tiny razor blades that lightly scratches their carapace, and effectively they die of dehydration.

I really don't know why people resort to poisoning their home with such a simple, cheap, effective, low-tech solution exists.
posted by pla at 3:09 PM on March 14, 2010 [20 favorites]


This isn't just a New York problem. I've encountered bed bugs in a rental house in Ottawa, Ontario and a hotel in London, England.

They are everywhere.
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on March 14, 2010


pla,
Does DE really work? I have a friend who;s using it now.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:32 PM on March 14, 2010


To them, it looks like a million tiny razor blades that lightly scratches their carapace, and effectively they die of dehydration....I really don't know why people resort to poisoning their home with such a simple, cheap, effective, low-tech solution exists.

Because it's so mean!
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:32 PM on March 14, 2010


so do the dogs eat them or what? i imagine bedbugs are rich in protein and calcium. if the dogs just ate them, we could eliminate the need for chemical pesticides.
posted by crystalsparks at 3:37 PM on March 14, 2010


i imagine bedbugs are rich in protein and calcium.

Not to mention iron!
posted by Afroblanco at 3:40 PM on March 14, 2010


Liquidwolf : Does DE really work? I have a friend who;s using it now.

In my experience, yes. I've (successfully) used it to get rid of ants, fleas, and carpet beetles, and know others who have used it for roaches.

For non-parasites, it works like a magic bullet.

For parasites, the real trick comes from keeping them off you (or your pet) long enough for any other treatments to work. With bedbugs, they don't actually live on you, so not too much of a problem. Fleas take a bit more work, because of the numbers involved (ie, hard to get all of them off Fido at once) - Putting Fido up at a kennel for a week will make it MUCH easier, and they'll usually even do a wash and dip for a small fee on the day you pick him back up.

And of course, you need to keep it around long enough to deal with two full reproductive cycles of the insects in question. For most, that means under a week.
posted by pla at 4:16 PM on March 14, 2010


vanar sena - what an odd comment. Have I inadvertently offended you, friend? Unless of course you're mistaking 'please' for 'hamburger'?
posted by gman at 4:32 PM on March 14, 2010


gman, I think what vanar sena meant is, "Oh my gosh that photo is horrible. Please, mefites, do not show any more photos of bedbug bites! I need no more convincing that they are terrible!"
posted by Houstonian at 4:39 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


gman, I thought vanar sena's comment was clear, but I ran it through google translate to be sure. Here is the output:

"ewwwwwwwwwww"
posted by found missing at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Much as I miss NYC lots of days, today ain't one. We got out just before things exploded, it seems.

Too soon, man, too soon.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on March 14, 2010


This bedbug story reminds me of this termite story. Apparently Britain is almost completely termite-free, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to remain almost termite-free.

The "almost" in this case is down to a single home infestation that they thought they'd nuked, and years and years later discovered it was re-infested. Lesson learned: Bugs Are Tough.

I can not imagine this is a solvable problem for NYC. How would they ever get a high enough compliance rate to eliminate enough bedbugs to stop the problem? I think the population will just have to live with it, like rats and pigeons.

Every other city should be going overboard to prevent bedbugs from gaining ahold of the community. Creepy nasty icky eww.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:33 PM on March 14, 2010


Let me just ask: It is possible to move and not take them with you if you take precautions right? My friend thinks that he's going to have bedbugs to some degree from now on wherever he moves, but I told him you can get rid of them then move. I know people who used to have them in a former apartment but don't in their new place. Am I right about that?
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2010


To them, it looks like a million tiny razor blades that lightly scratches their carapace, and effectively they die of dehydration....I really don't know why people resort to poisoning their home with such a simple, cheap, effective, low-tech solution exists.
...
Because it's so mean!


No lie, 90 percent of why I used diatomaceous earth when I got bedbugs was because I wanted them to suffer as much as possible. If someone made a pesticide that would have forced the bedbugs to choke on their own pubes while listening to Bright Eyes, I woulda bought that instead, but as it was, millions of dehydrating lacerations had to do.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:55 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just went through a horrible, horrible battle with bedbugs in October, which culminated in me losing a lot of my stuff, my money, and my sanity.

I have lived with all kinds of infestations, including an infestation of giant cockroaches that would crawl up the wall by the hundreds whenever someone would turn on a light. I have dealt with mice, ants, fleas, roaches, and scabies. I felt nostalgic for all of them when I was in the midst of the battle with the bedbugs.


People, I have held a live rattlesnake in my hands, but a little flat brown bug sent me into shaking hysterics. I still get the howling fantods when I see anything that is small, brown and oval.

It was no joke one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my life.

I'm for anything that brings pain and death to bedbugs, up to and including tactical nuclear strikes.

SO MUCH OF THIS

However - DDT isn't the magic bullet people seem to think it is. Bedbugs didn't become extinct because of DDT; they were driven into hiding. The strains that are infesting our homes now would probably be resistant to DDT.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:02 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bangor, Maine. July 2003. Mr Frugal (that's me) decides that staying in a no-name motel for one night will save us a couple bux.

Not so much. It was a bit more skeevy than we anticipated. And, it turns out, we had some new pets, which we failed to declare at the border when we returned home to Canada.

I started noticing bites in the first few days home. I thought it was spiders, but the pattern of bites (a few in a row, on my lower side) screamed bedbug. And I finally caught one in the act.

We immediately declared war - bedding was stripped and washed and dried HOT, mattress was vacuumed, floors and baseboards thoroughly vacuumed, especially crevices. I did some baseboard and crevice spraying with Raid, but I also puffed in a dry diatomaceous earth powder insecticide into every crack. We kept the bed pulled away from the walls and removed the bedskirt, because the lil suckers can't leap, they can only climb.

We lucked out. There were no further bites. We won.

If you can control your space - clear out the clutter, pull the bed away from the wall, remove any carpet, etc, and you can keep your mattress and bedding checked and clean - you CAN beat the suckers. Hygiene is the key.

I'm especially fond of the diatomaceous earth insecticides because they are not a toxic chemical, and it keeps killing bugs for up to six months. Yessss.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2010


gman: "vanar sena - what an odd comment. Have I inadvertently offended you, friend?"

It was a hamburgery comment, but the visceral reaction was real. I had flashbacks from the war*!

* boarding school
posted by vanar sena at 10:00 PM on March 14, 2010


I've been there, & they are a massive pain. Reading this, & writing about it, is making me squirm.


crystalsparks: so do the dogs eat them or what?

They track down where the bedbugs are, so those specific areas can be treated, instead of treating an entire building.


pla: Diatomaceous earth. Pour it ... into cracks ... Vacuum it up when confident your insects have vanished.

Airborne diatomaceous earth is bad for your lungs, so this probably requires masks or certain vacuums.


Liquidwolf: Let me just ask: It is possible to move and not take them with you if you take precautions right?

It's definitely possible. There's a Bedbugger FAQ on getting rid of bedbugs. Heating up the entire building, freezing items, diatomaceous earth in crevices, & rubbing alcohol (on contact) are all effective, I think.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:21 PM on March 14, 2010




"True. But with virtually all home-pest insects, a miracle cure does exist, and one totally harmless to humans and pets (unless you have pet insects that you allow free run of your house - creepy!)...

"Diatomaceous earth."


Diatomaceous earth is not harmless to humans. It's a eye, throat and skin irritant and can cause silicosis. It's also a lung cancer hazard working on the same principle as asbestos.
posted by Mitheral at 11:34 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"adorable yet stunningly accurate"
Now to convince people that this is my new tagline.
posted by redsparkler at 12:17 AM on March 15, 2010


Don't fear the DDT. It's bad. So are bugs.
posted by caddis at 4:21 AM on March 15, 2010


Mitheral : Diatomaceous earth is not harmless to humans. It's a eye, throat and skin irritant and can cause silicosis. It's also a lung cancer hazard working on the same principle as asbestos.

Ah, good call, and I have to admit, if someone else had posted raving about this "harmless" crap that aging hippies use, I'd have jumped on the claim as well.

That said, it has an NFPA health rating of 2, defined as "Materials that can cause incapacitation or residual injury, during intense or continued exposure, unless prompt medical treatment is provided" (emphasis mine). For comparison, that matches the rating on cement (with some "quick setting" cements even having a higher rating). So yeah, it can hurt you - After either falling into a vat of it or working with it every day all day for 40+ years. Casual visitors to coal mines don't get black lung.

I should not have called it harmless, but talking about the risk of cancer (in California, of course) compared to gleefully spritzing organophosphates around the house? Yes, certainly try to minimize the dust (usually not too bad, and it works just as well wet if you really feel worried); and don't put it in your bed, just around it. But let's keep this in perspective compared to the alternatives.

Caution: You will read this post on a device that contains high levels of either lead or arsenic (or both). Grinding your monitor up and snorting it may cause cancer (offer valid only in California) and respiratory distress. ;)
posted by pla at 7:15 AM on March 15, 2010


Yeah, I just went through this - in bucolic Asheville, NC, where my exterminator told me that more than half the hotels are infested - and it was finally a combination of caulking every hole in the baseboards, endless vacuuming, diatomaceous earth and a rubbing alcohol solution that did the trick. This was after I'd had the house sprayed down with toxic chemicals of death three times, including one time that was so bad I nearly passed out from the fumes and had to spend the night at a friend's. The little bastards went away and came back four times; the last horrible zombie like resurgence happened after almost 6 weeks of freedom. It was godawful. I spent over a thousand dollars, lost tons of clothes (you have to put every piece of fabric you own through a hot dryer, which just does wonders for wool sweaters) the couch I inherited from my mother, a big painting I did in college (they really like hiding behind paintings) and a futon. Bedbugs SUCK.

That said, on the subject of the FPP, the bedbug sniffing dogs have been around a while. They even have one in Charlotte now, although I balked at the cost of importing him.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:40 AM on March 15, 2010


The dogs don't eat the bedbugs. In fact, some dogs don't even use their paws to point them out, but their noses, because the paws can spread the the infestation.

It's interesting to me that Florida seems to be on the forefront of the bedbug dog trend. I've never even seen a bedbug before, but apparently we have the leading schools for training the dogs. At $350 a pop for inspections, that does sound like a lucrative business.
posted by misha at 9:46 AM on March 15, 2010


found missing : As anyone considered how we might poison our blood and kill the little fuckers at their food source?

Alcohol is a poison, right?
posted by quin at 12:12 PM on March 15, 2010


Alcohol is a poison, right?

Tried it. Didn't work.


When you're in the midst of getting rid of a bedbug infestation, one of the things you are advised to do is to sleep in the infested bed. If you stay elsewhere in the house, the bugs will follow you and harbor near your new bedding; if you leave the house to sleep, they will just hang out and go dormant. If you are treating them with poisons, you have to be the bait. So, uh, yeah, good luck with that sleeping thing; you might want some of this *passes bottle.*
posted by louche mustachio at 3:09 PM on March 15, 2010


Tried it. Didn't work.

Clearly, you weren't poisonous enough.

*passes bottle.*

Now, you're getting there... :)
posted by quin at 3:37 PM on March 15, 2010


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