Saturday, September 4, 2010

Google and Bed Bugs

   Somewhere amongst the orange-colored balls, the ping pong tables, and the flat-screen LCDs of Google's Chelsea offices, bed bugs are apparently lurking.

Snippet from the Wall Street Journal:
   A spokeswoman for Google confirmed Friday that bedbugs had found their way into the search-engine giant’s sprawling space in Chelsea. “Like several other businesses in New York City, we’ve discovered bedbugs in a small area of our office,” the spokeswoman said. “We have notified employees and are taking steps to treat the affected area.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bed Bugs Do No Evil

   A tweet from a Google N.Y. marketing employee earlier today goes as follows:

jeepers i am not immune from the bedbug epidemic. bedbugs have been found at work.

   Maybe an employee brought some bed bugs over from Hollister which were hiding out in her t-shirt for the past couple of weeks. I was thinking about what some evil people could do to sabotage a business if they were really evil. One scenario would be to take a vial brimming with bed bugs and release them in a competitor's storefront or office. That's evil and the kind of evil that'll probably whoop some major karmic backlash on your misbegotten soul, your next life, and the lives of your children.

Update: The Google bed bug tweet and the sender's Twitter account pammy5 have both been deleted. Click on the original link and you'll be greeted with "Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bed Bug Mass Hysteria?

   Remember the Salem Witch Trials? Of course you don't. They happened in 1692 but back then, there was mass hysteria and delusions as the populace of Salem, Massachusetts saw witches everywhere.

   Bed bugs are the Salem witches of 2010. People seem to see them everywhere or imagine that they're everywhere as an incident in downtown Toronto indicates. I'll quote the salient portion of the article from below:

"On Aug. 24, Toronto-based music writer Helen Spitzer attended a 6:10 screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. Later that night, she awoke with itchy spots on her back, bottom and thighs — all body parts that would have come into contact with a theatre seat.

“I woke up and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so itchy,’ ” the 38-year-old recalled. “It took us about a day to think, ‘Oh my God, it must be the cinema.’ ”

Spitzer grew increasingly alarmed, researching bed bugs online and tweeting warnings to her followers about how bed bugs are transmitted.

Spitzer also used Twitter to air her suspicions the Scotiabank theatre might have bed bugs. She can’t remember exactly when she fired off the tweet — and Spitzer has since deleted the message — but her goal was to warn others of a potential infestation, she said.

   So, she tweets about bed bugs to her followers which leads to more tweets and soon mass hysteria sets in. At the time, no one knew if bed bugs were really infesting the cinema but one tweet from an itchy individual sets off a firestorm that threatened to consume Canada and potentially cause it to sink into the sea. Maybe she was just, y'know, itchy.

   Cineplex Entertainment which owns the theater hired a pest control company to sweep the venue and they found... no bed bugs. Can someone tweet an apology?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thermal Heaters vs. Bed Bugs

   Good Morning America ran a segment this morning on the use of "Thermal Remediation" to destroy bed bugs and their eggs by heating up the rooms of a home to temperatures of 134° F. Once the temperature inside the house reaches that critical level, fans are brought in to circulate the hot air into the crevices, couches, under the mattresses, and basically anywhere that bed bugs can hide.

   One advantage of thermal remediation is that no chemicals or pesticides are used inside the home. Clothes, towels, and furniture can be left inside the home so that the heat can kill any bed bugs and their eggs. However, all plastic and other materials that will melt at high temperatures have to be removed prior to the service. The company that was featured in the GMA segment was an outfit called A&C Pest Management and the customer who had her bed bug problem solved was Allison South of Long Island, NY.

According to the show, thermal remediation costs $2,000 to $6,000, while chemical solutions range from $1,300 to $5,000.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bed Bugs in the New York Times

An article posted last night on the N.Y. Times' website appears to concede tentative victory to the bed bugs. The writer cites the evolution of super bed bugs that Mother Nature has adapted for resistance to pesticides. The writer's solution for possibly conquering beg bugs? I'll quote the pablum below:
"So, what to do with these genetic superbugs? Burn them. And if that doesn’t work, freeze ‘em. Exterminators no longer just treat houses with pesticide, as they did in the forties. Now they’re employing the full arsenal. That includes using heat and steam machines that reach over 180 degrees. In other scenarios, exterminators use what is essentially dry ice to freeze them, like they’re a villain from Batman."

   That sounds all nifty and comic-book mighty but the real world doesn't work like that. Cleaning up one domicile by burning and freezing isn't a permanent solution. All that needs to occur after the scorched Earth tactical strike is for another pair of bed bugs to enter the home on the sleeve of a visitor, the UPS delivery guy, or the plumber from an outfit that ends in "Rooter." So, is there really a solution for the bed bug problem? Sure there is.


   I haven't slept with bed bugs. Ever. Neither have my neighbors, the neighbors down the street, and the neighbors who live right next to the local sandwich shop. The one that serves bacon and egg heroes to the locals. I don't expect to wind up with bed bugs either because I avoid dirty ass people and I never frequent joints where dirty ass people frequent.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Where do bed bugs come from?

   I'm not going to speak for anywhere else in the world but here in New York City, bed bugs definitely come from dirty ass people. No, not the bums on the street but inhabitants of apartments which are filthy and have become breeding grounds for mold, mice, roaches, fleas that live on the mice, and bed bugs that feed on the dirty ass person. It's like a dirty ass ecosystem where all the elements are brewing for a bed bug population explosion. I'll outline one day in the ecosystem below and how bed bugs spread:

01) Dirty ass person (aka DAP) eats a ham and swiss sandwich and drops at least two crumbs and a small slice of ham on the floor.
02) A rat on his daily food foraging excursion finds one of the crumbs and scurries back to his rathole to feed. He'll come back later for the ham if it's still there.
03) Two roaches find the second crumb and start eating. They see the DAP sitting there but they don't care.
04) After the DAP is finished eating, it's time for a nap.
05) Upon hitting the mattress and scratching for a few seconds, DAP is snoring. Loudly.
06) An army of ravenous bed bugs detect the DAP's presence and start marching towards him.
07) As the bed bugs feed like a bunch of vampires, DAP shuffles around in bed and scratches but he's no match for the sheer number of bed bugs that are feeding en masse.
08) DAP wakes up and notices the welts on his body but he's used to it. Time for a donut run at the local DD or KK where his favorite is the glazed.
09) DAP enters the local DD and three bed bugs scurry from his jacket and into the establishment
10) One of the bed bugs climbs up a cop's sleeve and will hitch a hide home with him.
11) The other two bed bugs are a couple and very much in love. They're going home with a family man who dropped by DD to pick up a dozen for his kids. The bed bugs will have lots of kids. Three thousand of them.

   The above is not conjecture. It is an outline of the bed bug infection vector - namely, the DAP. How does one avoid bringing unwanted visitors home? Avoid DAP. If you see one, scold him or her for being a DAP. Offer to buy him some soap and a loofah. You can visit the donut shop but be on the lookout for creepy crawly bugs that are hankering for your blood. In conclusion, be vigilant. If you see something, say something. That's the only way we're going to stop the bed bug invasion.

Do Bed Bugs Have Sex?

   You know how mammals have a penis which they insert into a consensual vagina in order to procreate? That's not how bed bugs do it. Although females have a reproductive receptacle, it is only used for laying eggs. When an amorous male bed bug is ready to spread his seed, he'll try to locate a female bed bug who's recently had a meal of blood. Male bed begs aren't very smart however and they'll occasionally try to mount other males in an attempt to procreate.

   Once a male bed bug locates a suitable female specimen, he'll plunge his pin-like penis into her abdomen and release a dosage of sperm directly into the female bed bug's bloodstream. The sperm makes their way to the female's eggs and impregnates her. Due to the way that members of the Heteropteran infraorder Cimicomorpha (which includes bed bugs) procreate, bed bugs have developed a specialized organ called a spermalege which contains haemocytes that prevent bacterial infection and pathogens due to the obtuse way that males inseminate females. This form of mating is called "Traumatic insemination" which can also be applied to some human pregnancies.

Bed Bug Brouhaha

   New York City has gone bed bug crazy. Not that bed bugs haven't always been around but with all the blogs, twitters, and news articles mentioning bed bugs, Gotham's mind space is being owned by the little buggers. So, are they really that much more widespread or are we just hearing about it more because of the information overload that we're immersed in everyday?

   I'd prefer the second explanation as to why bed bugs seem to be mounting an invasion rather than the fact that they're really multiplying faster than Mother Nature ever intended. Sure they've got uncanny survival skills such as being able to survive without food or water for a year but c'mon now.

   In conclusion, the bed bug population hasn't exploded. It's just that people are talking about them more so they've infested the thoughts of the city. If you're unfortunate enough to be the host of a bed bug colony, you might have to hire a professional extermination service to eliminate the infestation but costs can and do go up to a few thousand dollars for a thorough cleaning. New York Magazine featured an article a few months ago where a family spent nearly $100,000 to clean their UES apartment.