Thursday, July 10, 2008

A dose of reality Bed Bugs

I had two concepts that I wanted to blog about, but because I am a chemist and 50 something, I forgot the first one, so on to number 2.
BED BUGS, yes those annoying creatures have been back for a while and this lab identifies the nasties and says "yep, they're bed bugs!" to the people who bring them in.

But We actually try to keep track of where they are and what they are doing and maybe what has caused the explosion.
First - my job is easy, I just tell people that it is what they feared and give them literature on how to get rid of them.
The inspector, who's job it is to deal with Landlords and tenants,has the hard job.
It is hard to tell why they are where they are. They are not attracted to filth, like roaches, but do hide in it. SO you can have a completely spotless apartment and still have bed bugs.
You might not have been the one to bring them in - or you might have. Lots of stories of people traveling bring them home in the travel bags from the hotels they stayed at (Even a 5 star hotel). But they could have come from the next door neighbors, who just tried to get rid of them by spraying and the bugs simply moves over next door.
You might have brought them in from the laundromat you use or from the friends house you visited.
The Problems:
-There is no real ordinance that helps the HD deal with this problem except the one on infestations.
-There is not a lot of interest in dealing with the problem because bed bugs won't cause disease and are NOT considered a public health threat -they are considered a nuisance only.
-It is expensive to get rid of the pests, it can take two to three applications of pesticides over the course of a month in not just the one room or one apartment, but all the adjacent apartments as well.
-people throw out the mattress and the bed bugs spread
-Beg Bugs love one thing - people - if you are a person you can get bed bugs
The Sources:
Travel any where - keep your suitcases off the floor
New York City - the bed bug capital of the world
Your cleaning crew
Your neighbors
Your friends
Your laundromat
The rent it center

A solution:
while everyone else has been throwing pesticides around, spraying carbon dioxide and trying to freeze the critters or burn them out, this one crazy chemist found out that bed bugs are very susceptible to one thing, ethyl alcohol. Even the fumes kill them. Did I say a scotch and water keeps the bed bugs away? - naw, scotch straight up does the trick.
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