Wednesday, May 11, 2011


There's No Such Thing as Bedbug Spray

Summer is apparently "bedbug season," which is horrible, and while some bug spray brands are billing themselves as "bedbug spray" and "organic bedbug repellent," they're useless, potentially harmful garbage, and if you find yourself with little bedbug friends, call a professional. (Warning: That Scientific American piece contains an extremely bedbuggy picture of bedbugs. Spiders are one thing.)

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There needs to be some kind of international consensus that we are only to use Edith's bedbug drawing to accompany any kind of bedbug info ever. Never real pictures of actual bed bugs crawling all over each other.


@winchesterwolcott Actually, I really want a bedbug horror movie. They've been around for a couple of years. Somebody draft a script tonight because we're shooting tomorrow. Winchester, you'll be the preggers detective like Frances in Fargo. I'll be the brutish, but lovable exterminator with huge, glistening pectoral muscles who ultimately sacrifices his own life for the life of your unborn child.

Edith is victim number 1, a young foolish coed who drags home a Pier 1 papasan she finds on the street with the intention of creating a new sitting area/bong smoking retreat in her dorm which she shares with Cassie. Cassie is victim number 2 and she's a naive Minnesota girl who only wears white cotton panties around her dorm room. They'll be enjoyinga pyramid-style waterfall bong and our bedbugs will spring out and shave them to the bone. I feel like this is something that Ving Rhames shows up in eventually so I'll get his people on the phone now to see if we can get him for a day.

But should the bedbugs grow to superinsect sizes or should we just maintain their size and let there be trillions of them?

Edith Zimmerman

@saythatscool Keep them small, it'll be like Piranha 3D


@winchesterwolcott Also, were gonna need some hipster comic relief so I'd like to get Zach Galafanakis to wander in and make some crude manboy statement about fingerblasting bugs in Park Slope. Then maybe do a rap at a piano. Because the kids eat that shit up like flapjacks.


@Edith Zimmerman Yeah, I feel like smaller better in this case, right?


@saythatscool: Bugs on a bed.



krugmanic depressive

@saythatscool Sleep No More


@krugmanic depressive The theater piece/performance art thing? Does that have bedbugs too?!??

krugmanic depressive

@saythatscool OH, I forgot that I'd been hearing that phrase everywhere. It was just a suggested title. Here's a replacement: Joe's Apartment II: The New Tenants



Can there be a scene where a blogger is typing a post and millions of bedbugs come pouring up out of her keyboard because now the INTERNET is infested, too?


@saythatscool I read this whole thing with a dumb smile and my eyes glazed over. Also, I just bought a Pier 1 papasan chair YESTERDAY!

Dun dun!


@saythatscool: Can I be the heavily accented super of the apartment building who refuses to help, but receives a DEADLY COMEUPPANCE?


@saythatscool Dibs on "Recluse Elderly Lady Upstairs" watchin' her stories and cooing to her 12 cats when all of a sudden, Judge Joe Brown flickers and vanishes from the TV screen, and THOUSANDS OF BED BUGS BLAST OUT. All of the cats are quickly overtaken and perish (with the exception of maybe one plucky one?).


@atipofthehat Oh, god, now that's in my head and it won't. get. out.


@DickensianCat: I think it's only dogs who never die in Hollywood, so even the plucky cat will buy it. Sorry.


@saythatscool I'm so sad I missed this. Just have to add that there has to be a bed bug sex scene. We cannot let piercing genitalia go to waste.



The bugs! The bugs! They're in the software!


@saythatscool DIBS on the bitchy fren-emy from H.S. that just moved to the same small town college as Edith, now known as patient zero. we see each other, hate each other again. I'm a total bitch..i could also be the one who gets eaten (in the bad way, ba-doomp-oomp) during the sex scene...with Edith's boyfriend!! BURN!!

we need to make this movie happen, like ASAP!!!


Oh God. "The brown spots are fecal smears of digested blood." That one, and the picture of the bugs hiding in a screw hole REALLY got me. Both chills, and imaginary bugs biting my ankles.


Sooo this morning I realized I might have bedbugs, based on the fact that I've been itchy lately and that my sheets have little blood spots on them. Fingers crossed that my dog just has seed ticks or something (I did find one of those in the bed today, all bloaty). I can't deal with bedbugs.


@backstagebethy Look for tiny dots that appear to have been made by a fine-tipped black Sharpie. These are the fecal stains left on the side of the mattress and boxspring after a night of chowing down on you. When you first see them, you think it might be some sort of manufacturing defect in the fabric because they look very inorganic.


@backstagebethy Please remove yourself from this website and quarantine yourself immediately.

Jolie Kerr

Are there ANY preventative measures one can take?


@Jolie Kerr This makes me feel so hopeless! I was just going to email YOU for prevention advice.


@Lola DDT. You can still order it from Mexico.


@Jolie Kerr I heard if you put your bedposts in little tubs filled with oil, they can't climb in. Or grease the bedposts with Vaseline, same idea. Or never leave your house or have anyone ever, enjoy the summer! I've been to two movies in the past three years due to these little bastards, I feel your pain.

Jolie Kerr

@Lola The article specifically says that being clean versus dirty makes no difference when it comes to BB infestations. I will be of absolutely no help to you, my apologies. Perhaps Ask an Exterminator?


@Jolie Kerr: Drain all the blood from your body. Saythatscool can help.

Jolie Kerr

@Kneetoe Ritualistic bloodletting at The Hairpin meetup? Looking forward to it!


@shenannies I hear you Shenannies. I never go to the movies either because I'm afraid of "catching" bedbugs. I also don't sit on the wooden benches in the subway stations.


Diatomaceous Earth, my people! Follow me to the bug-free promise land and sprinkle this around your baseboards! You may also want to mark your door posts, just in case.


safe for your pets, even your boyfriends dog that has allergies and problems of it's own and stays up all night licking/scratching itself to no avail.

Jolie Kerr

@hotdog Thanks Mama!!


@Jolie Kerr you are welcome! ALSO: another use for a steamer-steam the edges of your mattress to keep them clean/kill things that may/may not want to live there. Steam your couch, steam your wood, steam ALL THINGS WITH CREVICES that would allow bugs to live there.

I am posting this also in tribute to:


@hotdog I would like to second the use of DE! You can also put little plastic bowls under the feet of your bed and fill them with DE if you are extra-paranoid/live in NYC. Also, get a mattress encasement.


@hotdog Thirded! I'm currently dealing with this menace (which only bites ME, not my boyfriend who is sleeping right beside me whatthefuck) and I pulled my bed away from the wall and am sleeping in a circle of DE like some sort of occult practice.

Strawberry Switchblade

I got bedbugs once, and it really was pure hell. The shame! The paranoia!

If you grease your bed up, the bugs will just crawl up the walls to the ceiling and then drop down on you. They know you're there, and they will figure out how to get to you.

They also prefer some people to others. I almost never got bit but they thought my husband was delicious. I bet he tasted like fear to them, while I just tasted like hatred.

What I did was wrap all of my non-essential belongings in heavy-duty garbage bags, and then I sealed every opening and wrinkle with packing tape. I also wrapped up our mattress and box spring with two mattress bags each, also sealed with packing tape.

For over a year, we made do with no belongings except our clothes, our bed, and a TV. We missed our books and records but the relief from the bugs made up for it. The sparseness of our bedroom made it hard for the bugs to hide and we were able to keep them at bay until we moved out.

The first night in our new apartment, we unwrapped all our stuff and put it in a pile in the middle of the living room. I checked the room every hour or so, looking for bugs trying to escape the pile in search of blood. All of our clothes were washed in hot water before entering the new apartment, and if I was in doubt about something being bug-free, I threw it out, because by that point I didn't give a shit.

It worked. We've been bug-free ever since. I even managed to save my wooden bedframe (a hand-painted gift from my grandmother) by sealing it in bags and leaving it in the sun during the hot months (the heat killed the bugs). Now I just tie my suitcase up in a garbage bag when I stay in hotels, so that it won't pick up hitchhikers.


@Strawberry Switchblade - it is so comforting to hear a success story. thank you. also, i've read everyone gets bitten, only some folks react. so you're hated vs your dudes fear didn't matter much to those fuckers.


@Strawberry Switchblade Shame and paranoia indeed!

I'll add that if you suspect you have them, go to bedbugger.com and read through all their basic information first. Most agree that bed isolation is a good way to start (search this for more details). Get your mattress and boxspring covers, and make sure you invest in the good ones. Simplify your bedding and use all white if possible. Use a basic metal frame (wood is much easier for them to inhabit), and buy a set of climb-up cups for the posts.

For the bedding itself, I just used a bottom sheet, pillowcase (over a bedbug protector for the pillow, of course), cheap mattress pad and a $20 Mysa Stra Ikea comforter while omitting a top sheet. I was able to peel all of the bedding and just throw it in a weekly extra heavy hot water wash and dryer session. Also, DO NOT remove your mattress/boxspring/pillow protectors, ever.

Note when applying DE, it's good to invest in a respirator mask. You really don't want that stuff in your lungs.

I didn't have a severe case to begin with, but with 2 exterminator visits, the bagging of stuff as described in a previous post, and cautious monitoring along with regular spraying of an alcohol-water solution, I've been bite free since January 6.

Recently my friends were excitedly talking about their new pillow shams and bedskirt investments. One has sheet sets in black. They both have fancy wood frames. I don't know if either has purchased mattress protectors yet as I have repeatedly suggested.


@Strawberry Switchblade: Holy crap, that is crazy. I'll stop complaining about our head lice infestation last fall...those fuckers were a breeze to eradicate compared to bedbugs.

Strawberry Switchblade

Oh god, I forgot about how bedbugs smell. I have flashbacks whenever I smell Sharpies. My husband still scrambles out of bed and turns on all the lights whenever he thinks he feels something bite him at night. He makes me get up while he strips the bedclothes, searching. The horror...


Proof I really, really love my boyfriend - when we first started dating he got bedbugs (they were rampant in his building). I went over and helped him bag & freeze everything he owned, then moved him to a new place.

One thing about the bites: YOU WILL KNOW. I had two on my legs and they went from a tiny dot to huge welts within 24 hours. I think I got about six bites total, but those things took 2-3 months to heal completely. They are evil.

Strawberry Switchblade

@parallel-lines Yikes, that sounds like an allergic reaction. A hostel I used to manage got bedbugs as well, and I only saw one person who reacted like you did; most people just looked like they were bitten by mosquitoes.

They are evil though. The hostel owner finally went a little nuts -- "I hate them! They're ruining our hostel!" -- and he caught some bugs and tortured them with a lighter, while we all watched in satisfaction. No one who has had bed bugs would judge us.


@Strawberry Switchblade The strange thing is, we never saw a single one. And the infestation was based more in the couch then the bed. I woke up one night feeling creepy crawly after falling asleep on the couch, but never saw any blood spots on the bed or mattress.

The exterminator did this strange thing where he drilled holes in the baseboard, put down wire mesh between the walls, then put diatomaceous earth in the holes. Bed bugs drag their bellies when they walk, so this tears up thier thorax and kills them.


@parallel-lines I'm apparently super allergic - I get huge swollen welts immediately and they hurt like a second degree sunburn. I actually wake up from deep sleep because of it, but at least I can hunt down and kill every fucker that has ever bit me, from fully grown to tiny aphids. I just whip out my phone w/ the flashlight app & they usually haven't gotten very far.

Theda Baranowski

Actually, Sterifab works pretty well.


I stockpile the stuff and spray the hell out of my baseboards, bed, couch, et cetera. My roommate brought some in when she stayed at a hotel in Chelsea for fun. It's been a delightful experience.


@muzivitch My exterminator recommended this as well! Luckily I ended up not needing it. At that point I just began the alcohol & H2O solution with the intention of ordering the Sterifab (I was exhausted by supply shopping trips), and it seemed to do the trick.

If I get them again, I'm investing in a PackTite.

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