The Bedding Snob

Cultivating relaxation need not leave you starving for style …

Snobbish Thoughts November 2010

Bed Bugs: Who?

Part 2 of the Why, Who, How, When & Where series on Bed Bugs.
In part one, I discussed “Why” bed bugs have returned.

In this part, we’ll talk about “Who” is at risk.

WHO is at risk?  Well…sorry…we all are. Bed Bugs are not indicative of an unclean or untidy home and they can be found in even the cleanest environment.

Being the world travelers that we are, these little critters travel with ease from one country to another via clothing, luggage, and, yes, on us. They are found in hotels, motels, on airlines and in cargo holds. The bugs wind up staying in the seats of airplanes, buses and other means of public transport, eventually clinging to a passenger and finding their way into homes.

Short of hosing down the house guests as they arrive for the holiday visit, you are at risk. Houses with no history of Bed Bug infestation have suddenly become infested soon after visiting relatives leave. Bed Bugs aren’t a sign of filth but are simply opportunistic parasites who are able to get into even the cleanest homes. Bed Bugs do not discriminate and are not at all particular about WHO they choose to live on…I mean with.

Discreet precautionary measures can be employed as we head into the holiday season.  Reassure your incoming guests that they do not need (you do not want them) to bring their own bedding and pillows.  Protect your guest bed with bed-bug-proof bedding protectors.  Provide luggage racks for your guests and encourage their use.  Upon their departure, wash all bedding in hot water and thoroughly vacuum mattresses, and the room; paying particular attention along the walls, corners, and draperies.

The bottom line is that Bed Bugs feed on human blood and will live anywhere that it is available. YUCK!!  However, we can limit their residential opportunities by taking some basic precautions.

Bed Bugs: When?

Part 4 of the Why, Who, How, When and Where series on Bed Bugs

WHEN do I know I have a Bed Bug problem?

 Previously, we discussed How we ended up with this problem, but ultimately, you need to know when you have the problem.

Adult bed bugs are the size of an apple seed. The bugs are wingless and possess a flat, oval body that is generally brown in color (though immature bed bugs are translucent) with bands of small hairs that give the bug the appearance of having stripes. They live exclusively off of the blood of warm-blooded mammals (us) and other animals, and often live in nests or bedding so that they can bite their victims as they sleep. They tend to be most active approximately an hour before dawn, biting their victims with a mouthpiece made up of two tubes that inject them with saliva to prevent clotting and then suck the blood from the wound.  OK…so that’s pretty gross. 

You know WHEN you have been bitten when you notice bites similar to mosquito bites, usually in a grouping of three.  You know WHEN you have a mattress infestestion when, upon pulling away your fitted sheet and inspecting the seams of your mattress, usually in the corners, you notice brown or red spots.  The brown spots are bug excrement and the red indicate a crushed bug.  You may also find exoskeletons, as Bed Bugs shed about 5 times during their lifetime.  Ew, ew, ew…

Depending upon the extent of the infestation, you may opt to just get rid of the old mattress and box spring and start anew (invest in a bed bug proof mattress protector and bed bug proof box spring protector to help avert this scenario). Since I am getting itchy just writing this blog, I think I would likely spring (no pun intended) for the new mattress and box spring.

Bed Bugs: Why?

  Part 1 of the Why, How, Who, When & Where series on Bed Bugs…

I Googled Bed Bug and got 1,150,000 search results!   Trying to absorb the web of information regarding this newest and most disgusting of annoyances has resulted in my little blog about bed bugs turning into a 5 part series.  Hopefully, by breaking it down and keeping it simple, I am able to help with a problem that will stay with us for the foreseeable future.

WHY are Bed Bugs suddenly so prevalent?

The truth is that bed bugs exist in American literature as far back as the early 1700s.  It is suspected that they arrived on infested sailing vessels from Europe.  The Bed Bug epidemic, therefore, is not a new phenomenon, just a recurring one that has probably been around for centuries. They just took a little break from the mid 20th century until now.

WHY if we were able to all but eliminate them, are they here now?

The most direct and frightening answer I got for the “why?” question is that the elimination of the use of DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) has brought the Bed Bug curse back.  Before the use of DDT, Bed Bugs were just another daily life annoyance that folks dealt with as a matter of course.  There is a very interesting report on the EPA website, DDT Regulatory History: A Brief Survey (to 1975), which I recommend if you are interested in the long version.  For brevity’s sake I will summarize my take on the situation. 

DDT was widely used as an effective control for such diseases as typhus and malaria.  According to the EPA, approximately 1,350,000,000 pounds of DDT was used in the United States during the 30 years prior to its cancellation as an effective and cost efficient tool in both agricultural and commercial pest controlWell, I’m thinking that much pesticide should kill just about anything…and that should be a concern.  A wide and varied array of reports ensued and eventually, in 1973 a court ruled that there was “substantial evidence” to support the EPA Administrator’s ban on DDT. 

My conclusion, therefore, is that short of having the exterminator drop by and spray DDT or a similar toxic potion around the home, bed bugs are here to stay and precautionary measures need to be employed to protect your bedding, home, and family from Bed Bugs.

Who is at risk?  Stay in touch for part 2 of Thebeddingsnob’s 5 part Bed Bug Series!

John Denver and The Muppets sing “Grandma’s featherbed”

John Denver Sings "Grandma's Featherbed" on The Muppets.Do you remember The Muppets? If you don’t, you should know that this is one show well worth catching up on! Despite being a “children’s” program, The Muppet Show won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, and a Peabody Award. With whacky, off-the-wall skits, creative humour, and an adorable cast of puppets, it provided entertainment that was both innocent and hilarious for kids (and adults) of all ages.

Here’s your chance to catch up on lost time! Whether you already love them, or have never seen them before, this video of John Denver singing “Grandma’s Featherbed” with the ragtag cast of Muppets is sure to bring a smile to your face…and if it makes you long for a featherbed of your own, Cuddledown offers hand-crafted down featherbeds or synthetic featherbeds to complete your bed’s coziness!

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