Formication

I’ve got bad news for you, Tree Frog, and all my bedbug-fighting, organic-loving friends.

I don’t think the natural, non-toxic methods are going to kill the bedbugs. I think the professionals with horrid, disease-causing chemicals might be the only way to do it, and even they have trouble completely eradicating them. You have to kill them where they live, and they live in your walls, in the cracks in the floor, behind the electrical switch plates, in every nook and cranny of your furniture . . . we’ve already thrown out Rocky’s mattress, our luggage set and Sunny’s dog bed, and our box spring and mattress are next (Rukan has admitted that she will never, ever sleep on it ever again, knowing that bedbugs might be hatching inside). We might have to throw out our living room furniture, too. My wonderful Ikea chaise that I adore, from the defect room, a bargain I may never see again. Do we have the money to buy a new bed, a new couch, new luggage? Hmm . . . yeah, not so much. And this just because of sighting a few little bugs. A few little bugs that creep out in the black of night to suck your blood, vampire-like, and apparently multiply in your walls at the speed of sound.

My mother-in-law contacted an exterminator on our behalf. Want to know what he told her? He said that bedbugs are going to explode in number, and no one, not any of us, will be able to avoid getting them in our homes. We. Are. Their. Food.

The good news is, maybe Earth will collide with a large asteroid, and all life, including bedbugs, will be destroyed.

The bad news is, what will I blog about then??

[bedbug video to make you feel happy]

I’m taking a poll. How come bedbugs have America in hysterics? Apparently they don’t carry diseases. Why not fleas? Fleas carry diseases. And what ever happened to the West Nile hysteria? Just look out there on the web, and you’ll see what I mean – it’s not just us. Is it the powerful stigma? Is it the sleep you’re losing, knowing that they crawl out in the dark to feed on you? Is it just that they’re icky? Or, is it delusional parasitosis? Delusional parasitosis, a condition, according to Wikipedia, often brought about by a sensation called “formication”. No, forMication. It’s the feeling that bugs are biting you.

I feel itchy.

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3 responses to “Formication

  1. Maggie Jochild

    I had a partner once (the mother of my child) who took a graduate level course about psychological disturbances and became fascinated with people who are obsessed that their food contains ground glass. Apparently you can’t taste the difference, but it lacerates your digestive tract and you start losing blood at both ends.

    Anyhow, she read so much about it that she, herself, became convinced someone might slip ground glass into her food. For a few months we could not eat out. She even looked at dishes I made with suspicion a few times.

    Bedbugs are one of those things we were supposed to leave behind with sanitation and civilization. Like the plague, and belief that the earth is flat. But it’s all making a resurgence. I blame the evangelicals, myself.

  2. Hmmmm, well, it could be true that humans might just have to learn to live with bed bugs in our homes.

    I disagree that the exterminator’s chemicals are the magic bullet against bed bugs. There’s actually a lot of pesticide resistance amongst bed bugs–amongst all bugs, actually. People who hire exterminators for bed bugs end up spending thousands of dollars only for the exterminator to have to return multiple times, and meanwhile that’s a lot of chemicals to have to be exposed to. And the bed bugs are busy evolving resistance with every new application of the pesticides.

    I think we can win against the bed bugs with diatomaceous earth, black walnut hull powder, plastic, extreme hot & cold, and time. I could be wrong–I’ll let you know.

    Before you throw out all your favorite furniture, see if there’s a way you can expunge the bed bugs. You can seal stuff up in plastic for 18 months and starve out the bugs that remain inside the plastic. You can pour boiling water on stuff or put it in your car parked in the sun with the windows up. (I’ve read that 113 degrees and higher kills bed bugs and their eggs.) You can rent a steam cleaner and steam stuff. You can sprinkle the furniture with black walnut hull powder. You can seal stuff in plastic and leave it out in the hot sun until you think that the internal temperature is 113 or higher. You can duct tape over every crevice and crack in your furniture, either trapping them in there or preventing their entry. You can “isolate” any furniture that has nothing but four individual legs touching the floor by putting each leg into a container of soapy water or mineral oil or a glass jar (supposedly they can’t climb up glass?) and putting carpet tape on the rest of the leg.

    When the mattress is sealed in plastic, the bed bugs are not going to be reproducing anymore–they just go into hibernation. They can go 18 months without a blood meal, but they can’t reproduce or progress in any way without blood. So, while you’re sleeping on the mattress, the bed bugs are sleeping in the mattress…until they die 18 months later.

    Inject diatomaceous earth into all the crevices in your walls and then caulk and seal up every little crack, and hopefully the bugs will be trapped in the wall with the deadly DE and unable to come get you.

    I wouldn’t mind if the bed bugs bit me if only they didn’t leave me with painfully burning/itching hives and blisters covering my body. Go ahead, take my blood, just don’t inject me with those stupid allergy-causing anti-coagulants and numbing agents.

    I think bed bugs freak people out because they’re so hard to get rid of. Also, the blood stains on the bed clothes aren’t so agreeable.

    My good news: isolating our bed seems to have helped. I don’t seem to have any fresh hives, just the older ones.

    -Tree Frog

  3. Second time around. The first time was exhausting. This round I’m just plain exhausted. We’re on top of it this time. Last time we had seen quite a few but we didn’t know what they were. Imagine our surprise, and absolute terror! The second time I believe the eggs left over from the last time hatched. We didn’t see anything, but we knew we were bitten. And this time we only saw ONE bedbug that was hungry, walking up the curtain, perhaps looking for someone to jump on as we go out the patio door.

    Have no mercy.

    We have the landlord spraying every second week, now it’s every third. We are using our own home made herbal bomb with nicotine added – smells just horrid and will give you a really sick headache. We leave the place for 4 hours, air it out for one, and back in. We didn’t have much furniture. The bed is in a tarp and has been there since May of 2010. Almost a year. Everything in zipper bags, which are really funny and hideous in color and pattern. We found out how little we need to live.

    We sleep in our living room as the bedroom is full of our stuff, which we won’t get rid of until we hit the 18 month mark. Being responsible is key in not spreading these things. When it’s all said and done, we’re getting rid of everything. We don’t need all that stuff….

    Formication? OH YEAH! It’s nuts. It’s like you get a couple of days of not itching, don’t know why…then it starts again. And we can’t see anything. Oh, did I tell you? THIS SUCKS!!!

    Yawn….

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