Saturday, October 23, 2010

All-natural bedbug sprays have little bite

   A new article published in the L.A. Times takes a look at "natural" bedbug sprays and finds them wanting. Read up on their in-depth analysis here:,0,2017880.story

Friday, October 22, 2010

AP Interviews Bed Bug Expert

   Some common sense suggestions from a "bed bug expert" named  Jody L. Gangloff-Kaufmann on keeping bed bug free when staying at a hotel. I've pasted two snippets from the AP interview below:
AP: How do you inspect a hotel room for bedbugs?
JGK: Experts say that inspection of the mattress under the sheets is good, but you're even more likely to find bedbugs in less disturbed places like the box spring and the headboard, so I make some effort to inspect these areas. I'm not especially paranoid so I don't go crazy inspecting. But even rooms that appear clean have been found to harbor bedbugs behind the headboard. And most headboards are mounted on the wall with hooks and can be lifted off and removed or replaced. Places where the box spring meets the frame are good; crevices are favorite hiding spots. And I always look between the mattress and box spring by lifting the mattress. The fecal stains are what to look for primarily, although they could be old. If those are found, it's a strong indication to either do a very thorough inspection or change rooms.
AP: A number of products claim to repel bedbugs. Has any product been found to be effective?
JGK: The only thing that was studied and published in a peer-reviewed journal was standard insect repellents versus bedbugs. They found evidence that DEET is repellent to bedbugs. It makes sense that other botanicals might be repellant as well, but none is foolproof because you can't possibly cover your whole body or your entire environment with an even layer of the scent. Plus given a no-choice situation, bedbugs will likely brave it and get their meal. Also all these repellents wear off over time, so by 4 a.m., you might no longer be protected, and that's usually when they like to feed anyway.
   I stay at a motel about once a week and I've inspected my rooms carefully when I'm there. I've mentioned the motel before on this blog and it's clean, has cable tv, and they make an okay sandwich. I've never seen bed bugs in that establishment but it's a sleepy little motel that doesn't see many visitors and I'm puzzled as to how they stay in business. Maybe they're dealing drugs in the basement.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New iPhone App Tracks Bed Bugs

   For the measly fee of $1.99, you can download Bed Bug Alert from the Apple Store today. According to the publisher Apps Genius:

   "Stay on top of the rampant spread of bed bugs with Bed Bug Alert. No matter where you are located, you can easily see all reported infestations of these pesky creatures. Thousands of locations of bed bugs are updated daily. Protect yourself and know what lurks around you with Bed Bug Alert."

   The app also allows iPhone users to report bed bug sightings by tapping on the "Report Bed Bugs" bar which brings up a screen which requests the address and any comments that you might have. Once you've filled out the address fields, tap on the "Report" button and your sighting is added to the Bed Bug Alert database.

   While the app is a welcome one, I thought something like this already existed. Must've been something else but the app also opens up the opportunity for false reports. For example, if a motel operator wants to screw a rival motel operator, there's nothing stopping him from making a false bed bug report and sending it to Bed Bug Alert. There's no screening at the moment so "false positives" are possible. A bed-bug-spammer could also blanket the database with a list of addresses that don't really have bed bugs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bed Bug Dogs

Bedbugs Put Bite on Co-op Deals

   I own a co-op in NYC and the building had its annual inspections about a week ago. During the inspection, someone from the company that operates the co-op comes by and looks at everyone's living quarters to ensure that no one's flouting the co-op's bylaws or living in filth. My apartment is on the second floor (of an eight floor building) so the lady that came by had pretty much seen everyone's apartment by the time she reached me. They start on the eighth floor and then head downwards when they do their inspections.

    In any case, she was reasonably attractive (usually the first thing I notice) and she went around the apartment with a clipboard and made some notes. I asked if anyone in the building had bed bugs because that was the hot topic in the city this year. She hesitated for a minute but then said, "No, but as you know, we've had a roach problem in some apartments for months now." Her hesitation was a concern but maybe she was thinking about another building since they operate a few of them.

   According to a WSJ article today, bed bug disclosure will soon be the law:
"Selling a co-op apartment has been tricky in today's market, but now it may get harder—because of a mistake in a new bedbug disclosure law for renters.
State housing authorities have ruled that buyers of co-ops, but not condos, in New York City are entitled to learn the recent history of bedbug infestation in the building and the apartment they plan to buy.
The law's prime sponsor said it was intended to provide renters with bed bug histories, but through a drafting error, the state housing agency has determined it also triggered the same requirement for co-op buyers.
The ruling is a major—if inadvertent—expansion of the new disclosure law. It could unveil now-hidden bedbug histories in some of New York's most expensive co-ops at a time when outbreaks of the tiny nocturnal blood-sucking insects have spread across the city"

   I'm all for this law. I don't plan on selling the co-op since the building imposes a 20% flip tax and I'll just give it to one of my siblings if I ever move out or buy another place. I saw a roach scampering in the kitchen earlier this year and I put out Boric Acid which appears to have solved the problem. I think the roaches migrate throughout the building by crawling on the pipes which reach every apartment and provide them with the means to go everywhere and into every apartment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bed Bug Bill a Bust

   Did you know that there's a Bed Bug bill going through Congress? It's called the "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act" and it was originally introduced to the House in 2009 by Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill would have put federal money behind the bed bug menace and was designed to help public housing and the hotel industry.

   If passed, the bill would hand out $50 million a year between 2011 to 2013 for bed bug inspections and pesticides if the pests are discovered. However, according to an article in today's LA Times:,0,931424.story "The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, aimed at lowering the volume on loud TV ads, appears headed for approval. But a bill seeking to squash another annoyance, the Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act, is likely to fail. And the sponsor of the All-American Flag Act must figure that the bill's name alone should ensure its success."

So, it would seem that Congressman Butterfield's bill is going to die a lonely death as the Congressional session comes to a close. Notch another win on the belt of the bed bugs.