A BART train was temporarily taken out of service after a passenger complained about bed bugs crawling on his leg.

The San Jose Mercury News reports,

On Thursday, a rider got to work and said he found some bedbugs on his leg after getting on a train at 19th Street in Oakland, said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. The train was a San Francisco International Airport-bound train.

The train the man had been on was taken out of service for a thorough cleaning.

BART officials believe bed bugs are not a regular occurrence on their trains.  They told the Mercury, [click to continue…]

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Smoking bed bugs? Truth or hoax?

by nobugsonme on April 11, 2014 · 7 comments

in bed bugs, drugs

Are kids getting high from smoking bed bugs?!?

The maker of this video would have you think so:

 

The video has gone viral in the last week or so. [click to continue…]

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The New York Times offers advice today to a family dealing with a protracted battle with bed bugs, in a New York City cooperative apartment (“Ask Real Estate: When Bedbugs Bite”).

The resident in this case has had a bed bug issue for a year, and reports that the problem started in a neighboring unit and spread to several others.  The building’s exterminator has not succeeded in eliminating the bed bugs thus far and the family is considering thermal treatment, while also enquiring about legal routes for getting someone else to cover the cost of bed bug treatment.

The Times consulted experts on real estate and bed bugs.  Elliott Meisel, a local real estate lawyer, urges the coop owners to get rid of bed bugs before trying to fight a legal battle.

Local bed bug experts Gil Bloom and Lou Sorkin (himself well known to users of this site), in turn, warn against thermal treatment of one unit in a situation like this, and suggest other units be inspected to determine the full scope of the problem so it can be fully addressed.

And there were very useful  suggestions from Ask Real Estate’s Ronda Kaysen on how to get building management to address an issue properly:

Enlist other affected neighbors to sign a letter to building management urging them to solve the problem. Tell them that they must take the lead and employ an exterminator experienced in handling infestations in multifamily buildings. If management doesn’t respond adequately, file a claim in housing court to compel them to employ more effective methods. Raising the issue at a shareholder meeting might shame the board into responding and help you gather allies whose homes might also be at risk. But be aware that the approach could also backfire: No one likes the bearer of bad news.

You can also view additional Bedbugger stories about cooperatives and condominiums.

I am interested in hearing about other coop- or condo-dwellers’ experiences of fighting bed bugs in their buildings, and also additional tips from experts.

Please comment below if you’d like to share!

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The Washington Post published Jessica Goldstein’s story of dealing with bed bugs yesterday. The article (“An army of bedbugs was partying in her mattress. What else could go wrong?”) does a good job of conveying what it’s like to deal with the hassle involved with having bed bugs, and reminds us how the stress of bed bugs may come at the same time as other crises (Goldstein unfortunately also loses her job the same time).

It would of course be worth checking out this article solely for Andrew Rae’s fantastic graphic of cartoon bed bugs partying in the author’s bed. The story, too, is one many users will relate to: a saga including an all-night laundromat trip, a Packtite, the prep, the prep, the prep…

As is often the case, Goldstein’s Pest Control Operator tells her to double bag, wash, dry on hot, and then again double bag every fabric item in her home. Goldstein writes, [click to continue…]

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Sorry for the short notice, but regular readers will be familiar with the wonderful Lou Sorkin, of the American Museum of Natural History.

We’re pleased to share an invitation to an exciting event this week:

Forensic Entomology and Bed Bugs: Illustrated Lecture and Live Show and Tell with Louis Sorkin, Entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History
Date: Tuesday, March 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Place: Observatory Room, 543 Union St., Brooklyn, NY (Directions)
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
(Also: Facebook invitation.)

According to observatoryroom.org, [click to continue…]

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Cracked.com article on bed bugs

by nobugsonme on February 24, 2014 · 9 comments

in bed bugs

Cracked.com features a lively new story about dealing with bed bugs.

The article “Six Horrific Realities of Living with a Bed Bug Infestation” includes some advice this site wouldn’t necessarily recommend (like isolating beds — or human bodies — using Vaseline).

not a bed bug

What is that, a shield bug?

It also features an image of a woman being terrified by an enormous bug– which isn’t a bed bug.

While far from ideal, media outlets using images which aren’t bed bugs in their bed bug stories is not an unusual problem, and this has affected many respected news organizations such as the CBC, CBS, and ABC.

To be fair, the Cracked story also does not actually label this as a bed bug, though it’s implied.  Thankfully, correct bed bug images also appear in the story.

Despite all this, the article does convey useful information and gives readers a good sense of what it’s like to live with bed bugs: [click to continue…]

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The horrific story of a Rutland, Vermont foster family’s bout with bed bugs and subsequent failed treatment, followed by the alleged application of banned pesticides by a second pest control company, suggests some changes need to be made to how bed bugs are treated — and that education about how to deal with bed bugs needs to be more widespread.

Vermont Public Radio (VPR) reported today on the story of Neil and Patricia Whitney, who have been foster parents for 21 years (and were deemed Rutland’s Foster Parents of the Year in 2008). Two years ago, the family took in a foster child who had bed bugs, on the condition that the Vermont Dept. of Children and Families would pick up the bill for treatment, if it ended up being necessary later. It’s not clear whether DCF also offered any educational materials on how to prevent the spread of bed bugs (such as using a Packtite or the dryer to treat clothing and items worn or brought into the home).

Had the foster child’s clothing and belongings simply been treated before her arrival, the problem would likely have been prevented. Instead, a month later, the Whitneys discovered they had bed bugs.

Vermont Public Radio reports that DCF then asked the family to self-treat for bed bugs:
[click to continue…]

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DWR

The University of Utah has eliminated the much-loved “womb chairs” from its library, partly due to fear that bed bugs, now eliminated from the library, might appear in them in future.

The photo above shows an Eero Saarinen-designed womb chair in a retail store window, though Ellen Forsyth’s image here of womb chairs in use at the Marriott library of the University of Utah suggests the ottoman was not part of the package.

According to the Daily Utah Chronicle, a student paper,

The new arrangements, which feature more tables and easier access to outlets, were made because the library staff believes it is a better study setup for students. As far as the bedbugs go, Godfrey said there is no denying they were involved in the chairs’ removal.

“We did have the problem with bedbugs, which was on the third floor where those chairs were, so we figured it was the perfect time to upgrade,” Godfrey said. Students, however, are not as keen on the new arrangements. Juno Kim, an undeclared freshman, wishes the chairs were still around.

“The chairs provide a sense of home to those who does not have access to one during the day,” Kim said, referring to the common practice of students napping in the chairs during schedule breaks. “I love those things. [They’re] comfortable!”

There’s no implication in the article that bed bugs were ever found in the womb chairs before their removal.

In fact, it might be argued that as far as upholstered seating goes, there are much worse options when it comes to hiding bed bugs, or for that matter, encouraging naps.

However, if the chairs did become infested, cleaning off fecal stains might be tricky, and even if these are knockoffs, they still fetch upwards of $1000 each. (Knoll branded Womb Chairs retail for $4000-$5000.)

We’re always interested when bed bugs affect the design of any space. This isn’t the first time a college has made such a decision. For example, back in 2009, San Diego State University removed its much loved “egg chairs” from the counseling center — in this case, after bed bugs were actually found in the chairs.

As always, the best idea is for employees to learn what to look for and regularly inspect potential hot spots like upholstered seating, especially in places with high traffic or turnover, like library seating and hotel room chairs.

Perhaps one of the experts here can tell us how feasible it would be to clean fecal stains off wool or leather chairs?

Or perhaps are there better upholstery fabric options, and carefully choosing fabrics is the way to go here…

Photo credit: DWR by Jeremy Noble (uberculture on flickr.com) used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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More info on the Packtite recall, and a photo

December 14, 2013

I have updated Thursday’s post about the recall affecting two of the Packtite Original models, to add additional helpful videos about the recall process, links to FAQs, and a photo submitted by a site user: As I noted in the update, I do not have any information confirming this but I suspect Packtite users getting […]

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Important: manufacturer recalls heaters from some original Packtites

December 12, 2013

Two models of the original Packtite heating system are part of a voluntary recall initiated by the manufacturer, after three consumer complaints (of incidents where heaters overheated, malfunctioned, and in one case, singed some items being treated). Thankfully, no injuries have been reported. It’s essential that if you currently have a black Packtite original, that […]

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Bed bugs, genitalia, and sticky tape. WTF?!

November 27, 2013

Bed bugs, genitalia, and sticky tape. Are you squirming in your seat yet? Just wait, it gets worse… (If video does not work, you can watch it on WOIO’s site.) Arlene Sampson, a social worker, claims her boss ordered her to remove bed bugs from a sixty-something year old disabled man’s genitals using “highly adhesive” […]

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Orlando’s Fire Station 6 battles bed bugs in firefighters’ dorm

November 19, 2013

Firefighters at Fire Station 6 near Orlando Executive Airport are dealing with the red scourge: bed bugs. As WFTV notes, The Fire Department is taking aggressive action to keep the pests out of other stations and even homes. The first thing to do with a bed bug infestation is to throw away mattresses, which the […]

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